Old fuel in your sled

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Old fuel in your sled

Post by Sleddog »

If you do nothing else to get your heap ready for this season, do this. DRAIN YOUR FUEL TANK.
Your legislators in their infinite wisdom passed a law a few years ago mandating a minimum mixture of 10% ethanol to be blended with regular gas. ALL regular gas. Don't let anyone tell you different. Now some companies use a lower percentage in their premiums to obtain the proper octane level, but all regular has a minimum of 10% ethanol.

One thing your brilliant lawmakers forgot to research was the effects of ethanol blended fuels used in snowmobiles and other two stroke engines. The problem isn't so much the fuel itself, but the conditions created by the ethanol. The State of Maine Snowmobile Assn is sueing their legislature due to passing the ethanol law without researching all of the effects on two cycle engines.
Ethanol absorbs moisture. Once it does this, it separates from the gasoline and settles to the bottom of your fuel tank. Imagine your sled sitting for 9 months, since last March. Your tank has had condensation due to temperature change. This moisture has been absorbed by the ethanol and is now a milky mixture sitting in the bottom of your tank, because water is heavier than gas.

Now it's the Shakedown Ride and you start your sled. As you pull out onto the trail, you decide to crack the throttle. As you demand more fuel, remember this, your fuel delivery system pulls from the bottom of your tank. Your sled begins to sputter and suddenly, you squeek a bearing or fry a cylinder due to drawing water into your engine instead of the gasoline needed to help cool the combustion chamber. Now you're looking at a $1500-$2000 bill that could have been avoided.
Don't believe me? Google and familiarize yourself with this term - phase separation. Ethanol based fuel has a shelf life of no more than 30 days! That's right 30 days. So do yourself a favor and take these tips:

1) Get a syphon hose and gas can and get all of last years fuel out of your tank. Even if you used a product like Stabil. There are a couple products out there that prevent phase separation, but not regular Stabil.

2) Wait until just before you ride to fill your tank on your sled.

3) Use a product like Gas Rx or Star Tron. They are made for ethanol based fuels.

4) NEVER put an alcohol based fuel additive like Heat in your sled. This just compounds the problem.

5) Beware of buying fuel from stations that don't turn over their supply on a regular basis

There is a lot of information out there on this subject, so don't just take my word for it, be a wise consumer. The last thing I want to have to do is to tow you on the Shakedown Ride.
Drive a Hybrid. I need your gas!
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Re: Old fuel in your sled

Post by mfoster »

Not that I didn't want to take your word for it, I did what you suggested and googled. Here is some more information on the Topic.

http://www.enertechlabs.com/fuel_phase_ ... thanol.htm
Dave Gabriel

Re: Old fuel in your sled

Post by Dave Gabriel »

Sleddog wrote: . . .

3) Use a product like Gas Rx or Star Tron. They are made for ethanol based fuels.

. . .
Right on! Ethanol can be evil, but it does not have to be deadly. I run Star Tron through my fuel system on my last ride each year to reduce the effects of ethanol blends, and (knock on wood) I've had no problems.

Here is a brief video (ok, company propaganda) that describes what the stuff does. Skip to slide 20 for info on Phase Separation.
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Re: Old fuel in your sled

Post by trailhead »

ethanol shield works best statron has been tested does not work ethanol shield does. test it yourself .
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Re: Old fuel in your sled

Post by Snowmobill »

These are all good ideas for the short term but keep in mind that the ravages of ethanol over long periods are hard to avoid. Nancy and I headed north one afternoon last January (the first real snow of last year) and decided to ride into town for dinner. She asked if we could take the two-up so she wouldn't have to worry about keeping up with me and I thought, what the heck, let's enjoy some together time. :wink:

With plenty of gas we took the 2000 Polaris Classic on its maiden ride of the season. (Yes, I own a 2-up). Did a little sight seeing before making our way into town for a great fish dinner. The sled ran great as always. Decided to take a detour through the Jordan Valley before heading home and it was beautiful. The snow laden cedars glistened in the headlights as we wound through the Valley. ;cool:

We popped out on the powerline along M-66 and I opened it up a bit. Imagine my surprise when suddenly, as each telephone pole aproached quicker than the last, the sled died and everything went instantly dark. :gasp:

It's then that you wish you paid more attention to where the next utility pole was but fortunately we coasted to a gentle stop. Checked the gas, over half a tank - checked the plugs, really dry and gray but no metal. Put in new set of plugs, nothing. Used hose to put gas in cylinder and got a fire but wouldn't run. Finally, called to get a ride and towed the beast home.

Upon investigation found that the rubber fuel pick up line that's in the gas tank and has the filter on the end, had broken off the fitting that runs to the carbs and was laying on the bottom. That fitting is about 2/3 of the way up from the bottom of the tank. With a full tank it had good fuel flow but once the level got below the fitting, no gas. When I pulled the hose out it was very chalky and split in several places. The mechanic told me this is what happens to fuel lines after 12 years of sitting in ethanol based fuel. The fuel lines on the outside were also a little brittle so I changed them all and once again she runs like a champ. Beware of the ethanol :evil:
Bill Chatfield
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Re: Old fuel in your sled

Post by spire43 »

i can confirm. drain the tank. i burned down last year. missed out on the best year of snowmobiling in years. had my fuel tested. and it contained ethanol. a lot of ethanol. there are gas stations in lewiston and luzurne that have pumps just for rec fuel. read ethanol free.
i think the carbed motors might hold out a bit better if they are running fat. mine is EFI; these motors already running on the edge of too lean. add some water and and you loose a cylinder.
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Re: Old fuel in your sled

Post by Vitarious »

This is the exact reason why I only run premium. For the most part when you buy 92+ it is ethanol free. Regardless of what I ride - be it my sled in the winter or any one of my summer toys, it drinks from the rich pump and I have never had any fuel related problems - ever. So it costs a few more cents at the pump, cheap insurance I'd say.
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Re: Old fuel in your sled

Post by Polarized »

I suggest using a trusted fuel stabilizer (specifically for today's ethanol enriched gasoline) as opposed to draining the fuel tanks in fuel injected snowmobiles. The reason for this is there has been documented cases of fuel lines (and internal componants of the fuel pump) inside the fuel tank drying out and cracking when the tank is dry. If this occurres one of two things may happen (1) if you are lucky the machine will not start due to a lack of fuel pressure, or (2) once your fuel level runs low enough to expose the lines to air you will lean out and burn down. I personally never drain the fuel from my sleds, I top them off, I use Star-tron enzyme based fuel treatment and I start the machines monthly and let them warm up to operating temperature (thermostat open). I have not had any fuel related issues!
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