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Snowblower summer storage. Is this ok?


JeffB777's Avatar
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05-28-14, 09:25 AM   #1  
Snowblower summer storage. Is this ok?

Hi folks,

I have a 3 year old 26" Craftsman Dual Stage with a 208cc 4-cycle engine. The owners manual says that for summer storage, you should run the engine until the fuel is gone and then remove the spark plug and pour a bit of oil into the hole. I have not been doing that. What I've been doing is keeping gas with fuel stabilizer in the snowblower and running the engine once per month all summer long. I let it run for about 5 - 7 minutes to get up to operating temperature.

My question is, am I doing my machine a disservice by doing that? I've had no start up or running issues with it. It is also kept inside a shed year round if that makes any difference.

Thanks!

 
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stickshift's Avatar
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05-28-14, 09:32 AM   #2  
I run mine dry but skip the oil part.

Even with stabilizer, fuel goes bad so I don't store the mower or blower with gas in them and only buy a gallon or so ($5) of fuel at a time for them to keep it fresh.

 
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05-28-14, 09:34 AM   #3  
I think your three years of success show that it's OK. Not the best but OK and more than many people do.

Fuel stabilizers can help prevent gas from developing varnish. Unfortunately it cannot prevent the finer more volatile components of gasoline from evaporating off which can make the engine harder to start. Also, most gasoline now contains alcohol which absorbs moisture. So, even with fuel stabilizer gasoline has a limited shelf life so fresh is always better than old gas, stabilizer or not.

 
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05-28-14, 09:54 AM   #4  
Mitch & Pilot.....Thanks for the replies. Looks like I've got 2 votes for following the owners manual and getting the fuel out of it for the summer. So......that is exactly what I will be doing this weekend.
Thanks again for your input!

 
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05-28-14, 10:00 AM   #5  
If it's working for you, I would say that it's okay. I'm almost reluctant to say anything for fear of jinxing it, but my Simplicity turned 25 last fall, and each spring I drain the fuel down, start it, let it run until empty, inspect the belts, etc., oil and grease the wear points, and put it away. It never sets outside, still looks new, and has always started the first time of the season by the second or third pull. I have never put oil in the cylinder for the off-season, even though I know that a lot of the manufacturer's recommend it, and my mower, tiller, and even one of my weed whackers are also over 20 years old.

 
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05-28-14, 10:50 AM   #6  
Aka Pedro.......You and Mitch both mention that you don't put oil into the cylinder. Any particular reason for not doing that? And congrats on a 25 year old machine!!! I try to take really good care of my equipment too, which is why I wanted to see if what I was doing was not the right thing. You're another vote for getting the fuel out.
Thanks!

 
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05-28-14, 11:36 AM   #7  
Well, first off, as I mentioned, I know that a lot of manufacturer's suggest oil in the cylinder(s), and they know more about what they build than I do, so don't let anything that I say sway you. But what is the purpose of the oil, and where does it go when you put it in thought the spark plug hole? Okay, on a horizontal shaft, vertical bore, single cylinder engine, which is probably what your snow blower has, you pour it in, let it set a bit, assume that it ends up on top of the top ring, spin the crank a few times by hand, and you have a light coating of oil on the cylinder wall. That makes sense. But what about a vertical shaft engine as on a push lawn mower or V-twin engine as on many riding mowers? The oil is going to lay at the lowest point, and is only going to protect a small area of the cylinder. So, rather than picking and choosing, I have always opted to skip that step, keep things out of the weather, and it has worked for me.

 
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05-28-14, 07:16 PM   #8  
What you are doing is fine.

1. By running the engine for a short time you are moving fuel through the system. It's not likely to gum or varnish.
2. You DO NOT need to put oil in the cylinder. Since you are running the engine it is spreading a thin layer of oil on the bore, just as it should.

I've done the same as you for years, after getting sick of constantly cleaning carburetors (even drained or with stabilized fuel), and never had a problem.

My snowblower is 33 years old now. I also have a 41 year old generator. Just run them up to temperature every so often and you'll be fine.

 
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05-29-14, 08:27 AM   #9  
aandpdan.....You make a good argument for continuing to do what I've been doing for the past 3 years. I must admit that my snowblower runs like new each winter, even though by December, it usually has 10 month old gas in it (normally February is the last time I'll need to add fresh gas to the tank).

Now I'm torn because Aka Pedro, Mitch & Pilot Dane all made pretty good arguments for draining the fuel (or running it until empty). If I do leave fuel in it, I should probably run it to empty by mid-summer so that I can add some fresh gas to it and that way I will never have gas that is more than 6 months old in it. Aghhh! What to do????

 
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05-29-14, 09:22 AM   #10  
I run it out of gas because that's easy to do. I don't add the oil because that's more effort than I'm willing to put into the project.

Not the most scientific of processes.

 
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05-29-14, 04:38 PM   #11  
Do what YOU want to do.

If you want to run it occasionally, that's perfectly fine.
If you want to drain it, that's perfectly fine.
If you want to store it full of stabilized fuel, that's fine.

I don't think you need to oil the cylinder storing it for 6 months.

Odds are there will always be some fuel in the carb bowl left to varnish.

I do what I do because, with a generator, it's a good idea to exercise it occasionally so that you know it works under load when needed. I treat the snowblower the same.

The lawnmower usually only sits for about 4 months here so I don't really worry much about it but it does get stabilized fuel. The snowblower sits for almost 9 months - that's pushing it.

 
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05-29-14, 05:44 PM   #12  
I know its not the popular thing but I fill the tanks, add fuel stabilizer and make sure it gets into the carb. Store it and forget it. Never had problems, but I have had problems when I stored them empty.

 
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12-15-14, 09:57 AM   #13  
My process for storage of: lawnmower (old), snowblower (likely 40+ years old), motorcycle (1990), van (1984), small outboard (197x) is almost the same across the board:

- add fuel stabilizer, run for 5-10 minutes, top up fuel
- change oil
- all but the van get stored in an unheated garage, van stays outside, covered, on pavement
- none of them get run at all in the off-season

A bit of rationale for the fuel choice: I've never had a problem starting/running at the beginning of the season, it keeps the rubber lines from drying out, topping up means less space for condensation to occur, and even if you drain float bowls, it's hard to get all the fuel out of the small passages in a carb (where evaporation/varnish is most likely to be a problem).

Everything starts up without much complaint.

Andy

 
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01-05-15, 08:39 AM   #14  
Amason.......I see you resurrected my old thread from May. Thanks for your input.

Every Friday in May & June I told myself I had to decide what to do with my snowblower that weekend, and every weekend came and went with other things coming up and preventing my from getting around to it. By July, it had already been 4 months since the snowblower was used, so I was just continuing my past way of running it every 4 weeks or so. I did that all summer. In November, I changed the oil, put in a new spark plug & pulled off the wheels and greased the axles. When our first decent snow hit in mid-December, she started on the first pull and ran like a champ.

Guess I should just stick with what works?

 
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