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Dan O

Old Gas - How long does it take to get Jellied?

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How long does it take for gasoline to go bad these days?  And by bad, I mean getting thick and viscose and damaging to the tank, screens and lines where you have to pull the tank to get it clean and usable again.

 

I was talking to a mechanic the other day that I don't particularly like (he is  never wrong about anything) and he said today's gas with the ethanol in it gets gooey after a year in the tank.  I personally have soon this gooey jellied gas in a carb on a little Briggs & Stratton engine lately and it is like hard petroleum jelly.  My Roadmaster has been sitting 1 year and 9 months and I am ready to start her up again.  I am sure I should drain the tank but will I have goo in the lines, filter, pump?  The gas in the glass filter bowl looks normal.

Edited by Dan O (see edit history)

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Boy a lot of thoughts on this subject I think the official feeling is three months it starts to go bad.. Not into a gel but still... That being said I had let my Buick sit for almost three years and it was just fine.. I'm sure it was bad but it still smelled ok and ran fine with no problems popping up

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I make sure I run it down to 1/4 tank or less each season, then fill it with all fresh in spring.  But it u add usually gets started a few times during winter too to burn even more off and keep the parts limber.

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For ethanol in the gas, a few months is correct--it goes bad that fast. For non-ethanol fuel, more like six months to a year, in my experience.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

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There can be several issues at play, with gas going "bad".  Remember, too, that storing gas in a vehicle's fuel tank is somewhat different than in a closed/sealed gas drum.  The reason I make that distinction is that when researching what used to be Phillips66 Racing Fuel about 10 years ago, they mentioned a "shelf life" of about a  year, in a sealed drum.  Even within the sealed drum, with some air space in it, the more volatile parts of the fuel can evaporate out of the fluid.  That's the part with the higher octane stuff in it, as I recall.

 

So, in a carb float bowl, that's open to the atmosphere, or a vehicle fuel tank with vents, that same evaporation with temperature changes can happen, which can mean the remaining fuel can be a few octane numbers lower than when it went into the tank.  Might make cold starts a bit longer, possibly, too?

 

We know that ethanol also absorbs moisture out of the air, which leads to "phase separation" in fuel tanks.  At the bottom of the tank, where the fuel pickup is.

 

There are some fuel additives which can help prevent these things, in the mid-term lengths (like over the winter).  The Lucas Oil "green stuff" Ethanol additive is one.  Works great in my lawnmower gas, even between seasons.  But some other "red" additives can cause problems, which Carbking has mentioned.  Like when the fuel is treated with that noted additive, then the vehicle sets, and the fuel in the carb float bowl evaporates out, with time, leaving a hard, red coating that is hart to remove in a normal carb rebuild process.

 

BAD thing is that not all states have labeling requirements for their gas pumps, as to ethanol content.  This should change!

 

The positive thing is that in many parts of the nation, some gasoline chains (regional or private brands) are "ethanol free" gasoline, in all grades.  Just as many of the TX WalMarts with updated MurphyUSA fuel islands, now have ethanol-free regular fuel.

 

Unfortunately the world we now live in has made some things more maintenance-intensive than ever in the past.  Used to be that if the fuel didn't small of turpentine, then it was good to use, possibly, after the vehicle having sat many months.  Just add some fresh fuel and it'd probably be good enough.

 

Even if the mechanical fuel pump diaphragm is the special ethanol-resistant material, IF the diaphragm has had ethanol'd fuel rhrough it, then the vehicle sits long enough for the fuel in the lines to evaporate, such that the diaphragm dries out, then that special material allegedly becomes brittle and will fail when the engine is started again.  So put "Fuel pumps" on the maintenance list, too!  Fresh carb kits, rather than NOS, generally, are best.  Just as leather accel pump "cups" are better than the rubber-type ones, when available.  Many things to consider!  NOT as easy as it used to be.

 

NTX5467

 

 

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Great points ... what I have done for at least the last 15 years is when winterizing in the fall I have a couple 5 gallon cans of real gas (non alcohol) that I get from either the marina or local municipal airstrip and put my favorite cocktail of fuel enzymes and stabilizers mixed well into it.  Then hook my external fuel extractor unit to the detached incoming steel or rubber line of the fuel pump to it.  It sucks most if not all the fuel out of the tank.  Then reinstall the line and fill the tank up with about 2 gallons then start the car up and let it idle for about 5 minutes. This flushes the complete system.  The external fuel extractor I use is battery operated and has a 1/2 id open hose with adaptors on one end and a hand held dispersal nozzle on the other end.  I can use it to suck gas out of the vehicle tank as noted or use it to suck gas out of jerry cans or fuel containers to fill up with.  Works simple and quick.  But yes corn-a-ol wanna be gas gummy bears, coats, dissolves, separates and corrodes on a linear time basis meaning it worsens as it sets longer with time. In the spring the fuel is still fresh, no dried gaskets etc. just prime, spin and then start.

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      Look into Marine Stabile Treatment with Vapor Technology  . I use with non-ethanol ,  the vapor tech is to prevent rusting of the top of tanks by gassing off .

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