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Stale petrol

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Post by Locknut on Fri Jan 11 2019, 15:00

I had a problem with my Norman T300 at a rally last year - it just stopped and despite everything I did it refused to start - much to the amusemet of the spectators!When I got it home I checked the plugs again,timing and carb settings - still no joy.I returned to it several times over the succeeding months topping it up with petrol with no success.Then the spark disappeared - took the mag off and cleaned all the connections - spun it over by hand on the bench and got quite a belt and lovely big strong spark - put it back on the engine and the spark was there but reduced - no idea why as the surfaces between the mag and the engine were clean.Tried to start the engine - nothing. Then at last the penny dropped - stale petrol!The system was drained and fresh petrol put in - after 3 swings it burst into life - what a great sound!I felt a right wally for not realising that the petrol was to blame.
I have heard of petrol giving problems but never come across it myself.The petrol I was using was purchased last june ( doesnt time fly!) and works fine in my Lister D but the Norman doesnt like it.
All the best,
Kev.

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Post by Robotstar5 on Fri Jan 11 2019, 15:35

It's odd how some engines don't like stale petrol, never had it myself and we have some kit that isn't run for 6+ months at the stables, the quad and mower are parked up over winter and start fine in spring, the opposite is the generator does nothing all year until the nights start closing in and we need it for lighting, that just needs a jump start so it can charge it's own battery.
Just remembered my can of Petrol/oil mix for the strimmer must be 2-3 years old as it uses so little, maybe the oil has something to do with it?

Stuart.
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Post by Woodsman on Fri Jan 11 2019, 16:29

Not had a problem with my engines as I drain them for the winter. However some my items of garden machinery were a pig to start in spring as I can't seem to fully drain them even when I run them dry.
Briggs & Stratton Fuel Fit seems to help.

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Post by woody on Sat Jan 12 2019, 09:56

I always leave tanks as dry as poss for this reason.

I know people say that condensation is more of a problem but I ignore that.

The ethanol in modern petrol is quite corrosive to older metal parts and swells older rubber parts.

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Post by Boathorse on Thu Jan 17 2019, 09:59

I agree with Woody and drain as much petrol as possible from all my carburettors and fuel tanks before storing them away. Modern unleaded fuel contains all sorts of evil stuff deemed necessary to reduce emissions. When modern petrol is left in small carbs it evaporates off and leaves a fine white powdery residue on exposed surfaces. If this powdery residue is left for extended periods of time it crystallizes and increases in volume substantially, which can seize moving components and potentially ruin a carburettor altogether
I now treat all my petrol in the can with an inhibitor so I know that all my machines have some protection, but I still drain them off completely for winter, a lesson learned from bitter and expensive experience. If you know for certain that you will use all your petrol within 30 days you should be ok, but make sure that you do!
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