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Author Topic: Look after your Fuel, and it will look after you.  (Read 1714 times)

Offline Mick

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Look after your Fuel, and it will look after you.
« on: July 06, 2019, 11:07:51 AM »
Petrol Tips

Pump Fuel:

1: Avoid the crappy supermarket fuel where possible.
2: Use Super Unleaded from one of the big fuel companies, like Shell, or BP, you'll find it'll keep better, and give you less problems.
3: For use in two stroke machines, it advisable to use up the fuel and replace with fresh after 30 days. This is a guideline most machinery manufacturers are recommending. 
4: Don't use fuel left over and sitting in the can from the previous year, it really won't do you any favours, and might cost you big time to have your machine repaired.
5: Don't leave fuel sitting it the machine all year round, or if you do at least start it up a few times during, so it replenishes the fuel in the carburettor.  Ethanol is at it's worst when sitting still in your carb.
6: Pump fuel in the UK contains 5% Ethanol, not only is it corrosive, it's also hydroscopic, which means it'll corrode the aluminium your carb is made with, and it also draws in moisture from the air, so you'll eventually get water damage.  Hence why a lot of mower carbs are now made from plastic.

Alkylate based fuels. (IE: Aspen, or Stihl MotoPlus). *

Keeps for around five years in it's original coloured container, but keep it out of sunlight, and in a cool place.  If you store it in your clear strimmer tank which lets the light in it won't keep for as long.

Alkylate based fuel doesn't contain the nasty Ethanol. so that eliminates 99% of your problems, it also doesn't contain some of the other nasty chemicals which makes it better on your health.

* Why didn't I include Stihl MotoMix above?

Well as far as I can make out, (And someone will no doubt correct me on this), Stihl MotoPlus (neat fuel for 4stroke engines) has the word Alkylate on the can, while Stihl MotoMix (Premixed two stroke fuel for two stroke engines) doesn't, and from the data it states it's a fully synthetic fuel, which suggests it's completely man made.   

MotoMix again has a five year shelf life if stored in the original container, but they also state it will stay fresh for extended periods in your equipment, though how long I haven't a clue. I'm guessing around two years, based on the fact that the early 1Litre bottles of MotoMix were shipped in clear containers, and had a two year shelf life apposed to the five litre coloured can which had a five year shelf life.

Note: I would also recommend, anyone who's been running chainsaws, strimmer's, blower's or anything which uses a diaphragm type carburettor on pump fuel for quite a while,  change the diaphragms before switching to Alkylate based fuel, it's pretty common for the change in fuel to make the diaphragms go hard, and therefore give you running problems. 

Anyway, hope you find this useful, and remember, keep it lean, and keep it fresh, it'll save you money in the long run.

Information above is my own thoughts and observations, if anyone would like to add or comment, then feel free to join in.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2019, 09:39:23 PM by Mick »

Offline GardenKit

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Re: Look after your Fuel, and it will look after you.
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2019, 09:32:11 PM »
Its great to see someone like Mick spreading the awareness of the problems caused by using old fuel as there are some folk who still refuse to believe that there is any problem at all with using 'pump' petrol as they have been lucky and not suffered.....yet.

The odd thing is that there is no fixed time at which pump petrol becomes unusable, it depends on many factors.

'Pump' petrol begins its process of change from the day it is blended, it is after all, a blend of well over 100 chemicals and is a chemically 'unstable' product. The thing with being unstable is that chemical reactions take place in the fuel from day one, forming chemicals that were not present when it was bought and losing some of the required chemicals that were there. So the petrol becomes less suitable as time progresses.

But the process of change depends on many outside factors such as temperature, humidity and oxygen exposure.

The slowest change will take place in fuel stored, for example, in sealed, non translucent containers, stored in a cool dry atmosphere which is not subject to a wide temperature range. A full steel jerry can stored under the bench in a clean dry stone or concrete workshop will last in usable state for many months or even years.

Rapid change will occur in  the fuel left in a translucent tank of  hedge cutter left half full in the window of a wooden shed with leaky roof. This small quantity of fuel is going to heat up during the day and cool at night which is going to make the tank 'breath' causing the fuel to be exposed to more oxygen and moisture which really can make the fuel unusable in less than 30 days.

Stale fuel is responsible for the decay of fuel lines and carb diaphragms, for the formation of solids and gels within the fuel, for corroding aluminium, and for general poor starting and performance.

In the case of a 2 stroke mixture the oil, which was perfectly dissolved in the fresh fuel will become separated from the fuel as it ages. Whilst the oil is still there in the tank, it is not as evenly distributed and does not do its job well. This can, and does, result in engine seizure in hard worked machines.

So in short, follow Mick's hints and keep that fuel fresh, use a fuel preservative, or better still, follow the lead of thousands of users and switch to an alkylate fuel such as Aspen.