Question about old gasoline

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  #1  
Old 10-12-10, 10:14 PM
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Question about old gasoline

I've got a car that's been sitting undriven for quite some time. (Brief background: It tested successfully for spark. Fuel pump was broken —in several ways: the strainer was ripped (almost completely off), the return inlet nipple thing was cracked and the pump motor itself was inoperative. I replaced both the fuel pump and the fuel filter. Pump runs and it now gets fuel, at least, as far as fuel filter out.)

It has a full tank of gasoline, the freshest, no newer than about 3 years old blended with some, probably, as old as 6 years. (Incidentally, I believe the color of regular unleaded is supposed to be an off-white; not quite as clear as Vodka but maybe more like light beer. This is somewhere between an aged Scotch and Dark Rum.)

After necessary repairs were made to the car, for the heck of it, I tried to start it using the old gas. There was absolutely no reaction. Considering the age of the fuel, I wasn't too surprised. I am trying to drain the tank and add fresh gasoline but, when trying to do so in a responsible fashion, you might be surprised at just how difficult it is to get rid of old gasoline.

One suggestion I've repeatedly heard is to gradually use it up diluting it with fresh gas at each fill up, for example, 1 part old to 10 parts new.

I've always been under the impression that, without Stabil or similar, gas goes bad after just one season ..or a few months. Especially considering the age of this gas, using it at all didn't sound like a very good idea to me. I also frequently heard/read to "just use it in your lawn mower". I experimented combining these both, trying it in a lawn mower, at first, at about 1:4 / 1:3 then as it was consumed, continued to fill it with the old gas to see what would happen, if I would reach a point at which it would choke, fire erratically, etc. I mowed the lawns and continued to top it off until it reached 90-100% old gas and it continued to run fine.

So my question is, is it possible that gasoline could behave so dramatically different in a small engine versus an automobile engine or is it no longer safe to assume that the car not starting is simply due to old gas?

Considering that it fueled the lawn mower with no noticeable difference, in the car, if all else was OK, shouldn't I have gotten some ignition? even if not a perfectly purring engine at least one that occasionally fired with a mixed in bit of choking & sputtering?

I have no problem with getting rid of all the gas and refilling with new if that's the solution but if that's not the actual issue and I should instead be focusing on solving some other problem, I'd rather not.

Thanks for any help.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-13-10, 07:17 AM
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After sitting 3 years there could be the problem of moisture/water buildup in the tank as much as the issue around stale gas. Did you try and spray carb cleaner into the air intake as a first step to see if it will fire at least. You didn't tell us the model, mileage etc. as this can help out also.
 
  #3  
Old 10-13-10, 12:17 PM
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Transfer the fuel in the tank into plastic or metal fuel storage containers. Once in the containers add 2 bottles of fuel stabilizer to each container. Use that fuel for any gas powered tools or equipment you have.

Do not use that fuel in any motor vehicle.

Fill the cars fuel tank with fresh clean fuel and let us know if the car starts. Since the car has been sitting for so long you should rule out blown fuses, circuit breakers and fusible links. You should also rule chewed up electrical wires and circuits, from rats, field mice, squirrels and other animals.
 
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Old 10-13-10, 02:45 PM
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First, thanks for your response.

You didn't tell us the model, mileage etc. as this can help out also.
Yeah, that was intentional.
I wanted to focus on the gasoline issue, the assumption being that repairs were already made and the problem, possibly, hopefully, already solved. Now, I have to test to find out and I'd like to know how big an issue the old fuel is to be factored out.

(Incidentally, I've since found another discussion that addresses this issue pretty well.)

But thank you for the offer to help. I (and I bet you guys also probably) hope I don't have to, but I may still take you up on it (in a separate post).

Did you try and spray carb cleaner into the air intake as a first step to see if it will fire at least.
Now, since you mentioned this, I have to ask: did you actually mean "carb cleaner"; not "starting fluid"?
I didn't try "carb cleaner" and actually didn't know you could use it in this way.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 10-14-10, 04:04 AM
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(QUOTE) Pump runs and it now gets fuel, at least, as far as fuel filter out.

Is the above quote your way of telling us that fuel is not reaching the plugs?

Among other things, fuel and spark must reach the plugs for a vehicle to start. If fuel is leaving the filter, but not reaching the plugs, then obviously there is an [COLOR="red"]obstructed or crushed fuel line, or the injectors are not firing (if so equipped). To confirm the firing of injectors use a "Noid Light".. Posting the year, make, model, and engine size would allow us to provide you with additional information. Still waiting for confirmation on blown fuses, circuit breakers, or fusible links.

Any of which could be the reason the injectors are not firing.
 
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Old 10-14-10, 04:13 AM
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Yes, equinox meant carb cleaner; it's flammable like gasoline but not nearly as volatile as starting fluid.
 
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Old 10-14-10, 04:22 AM
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(QUOTE) Pump runs and it now gets fuel, at least, as far as fuel filter out.

Is the above quote your way of telling us that fuel is not reaching the plugs?

Among other things, fuel and spark must reach the plugs for a vehicle to start. If fuel is leaving the filter, but not reaching the plugs, then obviously there is an obstructed or crushed fuel line, or the injectors are not firing (if so equipped). To confirm the firing of injectors use a "Noid Light". Posting the year, make, model, and engine size would allow us to provide you with additional information. Still waiting for confirmation on blown fuses, circuit breakers, or fusible links.

Any of which could be the reason the injectors are not firing.
 
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Old 10-20-10, 11:15 PM
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ASE MASTER:
..Use that fuel for any gas powered tools or equipment you have..

..Do not use that fuel in any motor vehicle.
See, this is what I was asking about.

Not just on this forum but in general, Some say trash it; it's no good.
Others say gas doesn't really go bad; it's fine. Add some (isopropyl alcohol-based) dry gas and use it in anything.
Others say it's OK for some purposes but not for others.

I'd have thought that, if it will combust in a lawn mower, it will also combust in a car engine and if it's bad to run in a car it's also harmful to a small engine.

What accounts for the difference? Is it an issue of clogging fuel injectors but somehow being acceptable in a carburetor?

I'm not resisting getting rid of it; that's no problem. I''d just like to understand what the facts are.


As for the car problems, as I said, I thought I may or may not have already fixed it. I had to factor out the bad gas issue as a possible reason it's still not starting. I didn't want to waste anybody's time with something I'm able to handle myself but I'm starting to exhaust my options and about to close in on my "point of incompetence". Since some of you seem so anxious to help (which I appreciate) the details and the latest on the car are now posted here.

Thanks!
 

Last edited by ActionClaw; 10-21-10 at 12:14 AM.
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