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Time slips by and if you are like me, my Riviera doesn't get driven much at all.

I have Sta-bil in my tank but I believe the gasoline (or todays pumped corn cat piss) is well over a year old.

 

I see on the 'net this is alleged as a very bad thing to let happen. I have nightmares of gummed up lines and carb.

 

What are your thoughts? Should I drain the tank and lines immediately?

 

Thanks

 

 

 

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Drive your car and burn it out and put new gas in it.....It's very hard on the car to just sit that much without being driven. You need to drive it at

least every three months or so, weather permitting.

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If the engine seems to be running OK, I would not worry about it.  I use Sta-Bil 360 (kind of gold color - not red) for gas treatment when sitting and have not had a problem.

 

Prior to using that stuff, I got a chaulky white powdery corrosion on the inside surfaces of my gas cap when the car would sit with today's crap gas.

 

You can also look for an ethanol-free gas source near you. Popular for boats around here. But you need high octane for the Riv Nailhead... harder to find alcohol-free.

 

😎

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I fill up like ever other week (if not more) because these days I drive it more than I do my regular daily driver. 

 

It doesn't help that the gas tank on the Riv is so small and the fuel economy is so bad.

 

PWB - I think you should be fine.  It looks like gas with Stab-il can last up to 2 years. I would run it a little and fill it with new fresh premium gas to dilute the old gas, just in case. 

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I have been filling the tank with ethanol free gas before long storage.  Around here in Michigan it's usually about 90 octane. 

 

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Drain 5 to 10 gallons through the carburetor every week and be sure to jostle what is in the tank around pretty good.

 

Lots of other stuff on the car will benefit as well.

 

When I was servicing cars I had a customer who owned four old cars I quoted him a price of about $3,000 per year to drive each one 50 miles a week. It was pretty close to the cost of monkeying with stuck and deteriorated parts repaired due to sitting idle.

 

On a Saturday afternoon I told him I was going to a cruise night 50 miles away. He said "Here, take my '56 Eldorado and see if you can tell what's wrong." He drove me home the next morning after I had run the 100 mile round trip.  He still thinks I did something to repair it. Didn't touch a thing but the door handle and steering wheel.

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4 hours ago, PWB said:

Time slips by and if you are like me, my Riviera doesn't get driven much at all.

I have Sta-bil in my tank but I believe the gasoline (or todays pumped corn cat piss) is well over a year old.

 

I see on the 'net this is alleged as a very bad thing to let happen. I have nightmares of gummed up lines and carb.

 

What are your thoughts? Should I drain the tank and lines immediately?

 

Thanks

 

 

 

Two ways to test for water: 1. Drain about a half quart of gasoline in clear glass jar. If there is water in the gasoline the water will puddle on the bottom of the jar.

2. I also use water paste you smear on clean piece of wood. If water is in the gasoline the stick will change colors where you put the paste. I’ve had a bad time with water in my gasoline and ethanol problems with my small engine power equipment.

if you can get ethanol free gasoline where you live use it in your zRiviera. Boat marinas and small airports will let you buy small quantities.
Turbinator

 

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1 hour ago, 60FlatTop said:

Drain 5 to 10 gallons through the carburetor every week and be sure to jostle what is in the tank around pretty good.

 

Lots of other stuff on the car will benefit as well.

 

When I was servicing cars I had a customer who owned four old cars I quoted him a price of about $3,000 per year to drive each one 50 miles a week. It was pretty close to the cost of monkeying with stuck and deteriorated parts repaired due to sitting idle.

 

On a Saturday afternoon I told him I was going to a cruise night 50 miles away. He said "Here, take my '56 Eldorado and see if you can tell what's wrong." He drove me home the next morning after I had run the 100 mile round trip.  He still thinks I did something to repair it. Didn't touch a thing but the door handle and steering wheel.

 

Yep. Drive them—they were designed for that!

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Puregas.org 

 

Find that station near you that sells the ethanol free gas.  Most of the time it's the highest octane gas which is a bonus as well.  

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I believe it was the BCA national meet in Denver where the Pre-war division had some very good tech sessions.

The subject of gas came up,  mainly what to do about ethanol gas.....however someone said that Marvel Mystery Oil worked as well as

Stab-il and had other benefits.    The discussion immediately shifted to the Marvel Oil and everyone raved about using it in gas and oil.

I started using it in my gas powered tools and equipment and the cars that are not driven regularly  can't say I have seen a difference but

I also have had no problems

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I have found that ethanol gas,  even with seafoam creates problems in my truck on long storage. 3 years in row I had to take the carburetors apart to clean the white powder in fuel bowls from the ethanol when it evaporates. You couldn't drive the truck it ran so bad. I would use ethanol free all year but they charge a dollar more a gallon around here. With social distancing I have not needed gas yet, will probably fill tank on the Riviera today. 

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21 hours ago, RivNut said:

Puregas.org 

 

Find that station near you that sells the ethanol free gas.  Most of the time it's the highest octane gas which is a bonus as well.  

 

But the ethanol free gas near me is 87 Octane. 

 

I cant put that pee in my tank!

 

Where do you guys get hi-octane ethanol free gas???  The nearest jet-fighter air base?

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, Turbinator said:

Two ways to test for water: 1. Drain about a half quart of gasoline in clear glass jar. If there is water in the gasoline the water will puddle on the bottom of the jar.

Yep.  This is the gas I drained from the tank of a wood chipper that I was just gifted because "It doesn't run."

 

water-in-gas.jpg.c083899c9288ebaac8173548af1965f2.jpg

 

Cleaned the cottage cheese out of the carb, filled it with new gas, and it runs like a top.

 

That's the second piece of equipment I've scored like that with the same problem.  Moral of the story: don't store your stuff outdoors.

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1 hour ago, PWB said:

 

But the ethanol free gas near me is 87 Octane. 

 

I cant put that pee in my tank!

 

Where do you guys get hi-octane ethanol free gas???  The nearest jet-fighter air base?

 

 

 

  Find a local oval track or drag strip and chances are you will find a service station in close proximity that carries high octane racing fuel. Marinas will often carry ethanol free fuel but not sure if you`ll find high octane there.

Tom Mooney

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OTOH, racing fuel is several times the cost of regular leaded gas -- which is substantially more expensive than unleaded as it is.  At some point, there's a cost/benefit ratio to be considered.

 

You can also buy Race Gas.

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2 hours ago, KongaMan said:

Yep.  This is the gas I drained from the tank of a wood chipper that I was just gifted because "It doesn't run."

 

water-in-gas.jpg.c083899c9288ebaac8173548af1965f2.jpg

 

Cleaned the cottage cheese out of the carb, filled it with new gas, and it runs like a top.

 

That's the second piece of equipment I've scored like that with the same problem.  Moral of the story: don't store your stuff outdoors.

I’ve read small airstrips in my area will sell ethanol free 100 octane gasoline to folks who bring an airplane or a container to the pump. I do not know how much the 100 octane is at the pump. Other entities that sell fuel and oil have non ethanol gasoline in quart cans that cost a fortune.

Ive heard the 10% ethanol gasoline has a stabilizer already in the mix. The fellow said if you add more stabilizer to the ethanol gasoline you make the situation worse. I could not tell if what the fellow said was fact or fiction regarding stabilizer.

Turbinator

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The lack of non-ethanol fuel must be a regional/area thing. Most of the gas stations in my area (central Wisconsin) have non-ethanol premium. In all of my travels through the years I have not really had a problem getting non-ethanol gas in the areas I have been through. The only place I ran into a problem was Iowa where I have heard they grow some corn. I always carry a couple of bottles of additive to handle a tank of ethanol laced fuel if that should be the case.

 

There is a small airport in a city that is 15 miles from where I live. I hear that they sell high octane leaded gas. It is expensive and most will go and get enough for 1/2 a tank and then mix with their normal gas.

 

Bill

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On small engines, if I have varnished up fuel in carburetor and fuel tank, I take carburetor apart, and remove fuel tank, I have a large pot I put on outside gas grille and mix lemon juice and water together, and boil for about 10 minutes, then put back together, now it runs like a dream. Next I am going to do the same to an automobile carburetor to try it.

 

Bob

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4 hours ago, Riviera63 said:

The lack of non-ethanol fuel must be a regional/area thing. Most of the gas stations in my area (central Wisconsin) have non-ethanol premium. In all of my travels through the years I have not really had a problem getting non-ethanol gas in the areas I have been through. The only place I ran into a problem was Iowa where I have heard they grow some corn. I always carry a couple of bottles of additive to handle a tank of ethanol laced fuel if that should be the case.

 

There is a small airport in a city that is 15 miles from where I live. I hear that they sell high octane leaded gas. It is expensive and most will go and get enough for 1/2 a tank and then mix with their normal gas.

 

Bill

Bill, your observation about the availability of non ethanol gasoline being regional is correct. I must drive at least 45 miles in any direction to find ethanol free gasoline. Central Maryland is not the most densely populated area in the US, but the air gets dirty at times. I suppose the suppliers believe the demand for non ethanol gasoline is low or the government prohibits sales in Central Maryland.

 

Some people believe adding more stabilizer to ethanol gasoline increases chance of more moisture. In most cases I keep the gasoline tanks on my small engines dry as possible especially over longer periods. My zRiviera has been in the garage without an engine for 3 months. I tested the gasoline for water 2 different ways for moisture. No moisture was found in the sample. I still may drain the tank and put in 5 gallons of fresh gasoline when I start the engine.

Turbinator

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On 6/19/2020 at 2:04 PM, PWB said:

Time slips by and if you are like me, my Riviera doesn't get driven much at all.

I have Sta-bil in my tank but I believe the gasoline (or todays pumped corn cat piss) is well over a year old.

 

I see on the 'net this is alleged as a very bad thing to let happen. I have nightmares of gummed up lines and carb.

 

What are your thoughts? Should I drain the tank and lines immediately?

 

Thanks

 

 

 

I'll probably be chastised for saying this but my personal experience has been I have not had issues with year old gas other than a barely noticeable drop in performance or idle quality. There is so much hatred written out there on 10% ethanol gas I just haven't experienced it in anything larger than a weed whacker or chainsaw engine which are very sensitive to age of gas and believe me I have a lot of gas engine equipment.

I quit using Stabil 10-15 years ago because in "my experience" it doesn't perform the miracle work as folks like to think. I know people that have had more trouble and they use Stabil in everything. There are variables that affect how well a vehicle or piece of equipment will deal with old gas.

 

Not sure how much gas is in your tank but you could get a cheap electric pump and stick a hose in the filler neck and pump most of the fuel out. But then you have to dispose of it and that can be a problem and cost especially if you have 2 or 3 5 gal cans but otherwise I'd try and run the car as-is and if it runs OK drive out the old gas.    

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, JZRIV said:

I quit using Stabil 10-15 years ago because in "my experience" it doesn't perform the miracle work as folks like to think.

 

x2.

 

I run all of my outdoor equipment dry at the end of the season, with the exception of my snowblower (because that season never ends here...) Actually, the snowblower has a pretty large tank, so I simply close the petcock and run the carb dry.  Then I top off the tank with new gas before I run it again.  I fill my boat (Mercruiser I/O) and classic cars as full as I can (with non-ethanol gas) at the end of the season  to leave as little air space as possible to minimize opportunity for condensation to occur.  No Sta-Bil, no issues.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks all for the input.

 

Indeed, my car was idling horribly as I posted the symptom here over a year ago.

 

I couldn't find anything wrong and could only guess it was old fuel going bad.

 

Even some fresh fuels are already low quality from the get go.

 

At least prices now are below the stratosphere.

 

 

 

 

Edited by PWB (see edit history)
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All,

  Regarding the use of a fuel stabilizer like Sta-bil, I think it depends on storage environment more than any other factor. I have owned a small car collection and a ton of gas powered equipment for many years in various storage environments but never felt the need for a fuel stabilizer until I started storing in a metal pole barn. Even when ventilated, a large metal building in direct sunlight will experience elevated temps in any season as compared to more stable storage environments. The first season I used pole barn storage I was shocked at the fuel related issues I experienced! It`s unrealistic for me to drain fuel or run the equipment dry so I top off the fuel tanks with treated fuel, maybe add a little extra stabilizer depending on the quantity of fuel added, and I have had zero problems since after about 10 years.

  Regarding the cost of high octane non ethanol fuel, Paul indicated he was using so little fuel he was concerned about quality with a preference for high octane. Given Paul`s preference and the fact he is only using 20 gallons of fuel per year, which MANY owners experience, why would cost per gallon even be relevant? Personally, I would be elated to find the fuel locally and happy to pay the little extra...maybe an extra $100 per season? If one cant afford that for the purpose of running preferred fuel maybe another hobby is in order, or a raise in pay!

Tom

Edited by 1965rivgs (see edit history)
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Well, all this dialogue has me thinking regarding my nailhead. I purposely leave the fuel level low hoping to address the fuel tank that has a damp spot in the corner and questionable fuel gauge sender over the coming winter, then next winter. Many winters have gone by and still haven't addressed it. Otherwise, I usually add fresh fuel periodically.

I run my garage-bound nailhead about once or twice per year, not on fumes but pretty low on fuel. It must be especially low as I haven't added any in years. Anyway, it runs terrible on start. After warming up and off fast idle with the choke open and lifter clatter subsided, the nailhead's 'thumping' resonates inside the passenger compartment at idle, like a 'miss-fire'. Now I'll add old fuel to my trouble-shooting List when I finally get it out of the garage. Could be as simple as that - I hope.

 

There is a difference between a sealed Jerry Can (full) or a vented car fuel tank, full or not. I run my equipment dry, tank and all. If just the carb, the petcock is closed and the tank's vented cap screwed-on with a plastic bag.

I agree, if you do not consume much fuel, who cares about cost?

 

John B.

 

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Hi,

 

Speaking of gas.   I do run 93 octane, but is not ethanol free hard to find in Delaware.  I do add a octane booster.  Does everyone run octane boosters?  if what brand is good?   Don't mean to change the subject a little.

 

Art

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Art & ALL,

 

     IF the engine in your car is original even though compression was stated at 10.25-1 in actuality it wasn't.

On ALL the "Nails" I've done NONE have the advertised compression ratio.   The BEST I've ever tested was

9.75-1 & that was with the piston in the hole at .040".  Normally most common they are at .055" in the hole.  Now this calculates as approx.  9.4-1.   When the engine is rebuilt with off the self cast pistons, which more than likely are EGGE,  they sit in the hole on average of .065"-.085" in the hole.  The pistons are a fit ALL because of the deck heights of diff. blocks can be more or less than engineering specs.  There's a lot of tolerance built in from the specs.  This is some-what variable by as much as .020" between each block. Mentioning a 401 can have a deck wight from 10.002" to as much as 10.020". This is a lot of lost compression.   Same thing goes for head gaskets.   The stock shim steel head gaskets are approx. .015"-.016" compressed.  At 9.75 or 9.4-1   When you get an overhaul gasket set they consist of multi layer head gaskets.  The thinnest I've measured is approx. .038" compressed & they can go up to .048"-.050" compressed.

    I KNOW that at .045" compressed against a stock shim steel gasket is a loss of .077-1 on a 401.  

SO with off the shelf pistons & composite head gaskets IF NOTHING was done to the heads or block compression could be as low as 7.9-1 to 8.5-1.

   Low enough that IF everything is in the proper working order you can use regular unleaded.

Understand where I'm coming from???

    You don't know how many phone calls I get " I just had my stock engine rebuilt & it doesn't even have the power my old engine did, HOW COME???

    I can go on for the rest of the day, BUT I've got other things to do demanding my time at the moment.

 

Tom T.

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2 hours ago, awk409ak said:

I do add a octane booster.  Does everyone run octane boosters?

 

Art -- it is my understanding that octane boosters are a waste of time and money.

The label may say that the bottle raises the octane in the tank by one point and one would logically assume that 93 octane than becomes 94 octane.

Nope. 😔

One bottle of octane booster in a tank of 93 octane gas raises the octane level to 93.1.   🤑 for the manufacturers.

Craig

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Well guys that good to know.  Glad I asked the question.  So just the 93 octane is fine for my Super Wildcat 425 Nailhead.

 

Thanks,

Art

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Tom, thanks for enlightening us on the business end of our nailheads. I knew about composite head gaskets affecting overall compression ratios over the OE steel shim. But I thought surfacing the heads during a valve job (when they installed my exhaust seat inserts) offset the thicker head gasket. Of course I forgot to ask how much of the surface was machined.

I would still use the best premium fuel in my 401 since it is not a daily driver and it was rumored Shell includes a stabilizer in their higher octane offering here in Canada. Makes me feel better.

 

John B.

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Tom T. is correct in his analysis, as usual. Thanks, Tom!

 

Let me add the flip side argument to this topic of compression ratio...

 

Does your nailhead have any carbon buildup in the combustion chamber? I think mine does.

 

When I do a standard compression test on a hot engine, cranking with just the starter motor and all plugs out of the engine, I get about 210-220 psi in every cylinder. That's pretty high compression, which I attribute to carbon buildup in the combustion chamber. (The heads have never been off.)  I have to reduce the initial ignition timing from Buick's 12*BTDC spec (remember this is a '63, not the later years) to 6*BTDC to not have it ping on 93 octane fuel. And I had Dave Ray curve the distributor for me to follow the low end of Buick's advance-vs.RPM curve for this engine.

 

I'm not complaining or saying anyone is wrong, just passing on my observations. And yes, I agree, octane boost is a waste of money.

 

The best thing you can do for your car is to go drive it. My Riviera never fails to put a big smile on my face when I get out and STEP ON IT!

 

8-)

 

 

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2 hours ago, 1965rivgs said:

Jim,

  Those figures sound very high to me. I also prop the throttle blades wide open when I do a compression test.

Tom M

 

I know! I was surprised.  But it sure runs great, so I'm not messing with it!

 

Yes, I usually prop the throttle open, too.

 

😎

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I have a good memory, it's just short!

My compression test was recent so I do recall zero difference when I re-did the test on some cylinders where the throttle shaft had snapped shut.

I averaged 160 PSI - no carbon build-up

I agree, if it ain't broke . . . . !

 

Considering using a sealer in my fuel tank or replacing it. My experience with replacements in the past on other vehicles, not nearly as good as OEM.

 

John B.

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Now the following is just an approximation.

IF you divide your cranking compression & divide it by atmospheric pressure which is 14.7-1

So take in Jim's case of 210 PSI cranking compression divided by 14.7 = 14.3-1 taking into case carbon build-up.

Now we know that in Jim's case this can't be entirely true, BUT it's a close approximation.  This ALSO has to do with cam timing & overlap & lobe separation angle which ALSO ALL comes into play.

One way to help clean carbon build-up is on a nice warm engine hold open the throttle with one hand while misting in water with a spray bottle.  Now not so much that the engine wants to stall but enough to start making the engine know something other than fuel is being dumped in.  In total maybe about 1/2-3/4 of a quart,  two to three pints.  The resulting stream will help to loosen & get ride of the carbon deposits as well as clean some of the debris around the intake valve heads which will then go out the exhaust.

Of course the easier & in my mind the better way is to use the B & G brand 44K as was talked about in the past for a couple of cycles.

 

Tom T.

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