Stationary Engine List

Draining Fuel

| December/January 2002

  • Stationary Engine

  • Stationary Engine

I almost didn't get the Stationary Engine List done this month, thanks to two weeks of horrendous computer problems. When I finally got back on-line and downloaded all the mail there was such a suitable-looking thread that I abandoned my backup restorations and got to work! A contributor from Canada, for whom thoughts of winter come early, began this thread, and the replies reflected, to a certain extent, the geographical variety of contributors.

I was wondering what the general opinion is on draining fuel tanks for the winter on gas engines. 1 have always done it, then started out in the spring with fresh gas, but some people tell me they don't bother. Thoughts?

In my opinion, nothing serious will happen if you let untreated gasoline sit over the winter. I have, however, encountered some difficulty with engines stored for a few years.

I'm not sure about modern gas, but a few years back I had to get a motorcycle going that had been in storage about five years. The shutoff valve leaked fuel into the carbs, where it evaporated. The resultant varnish built up to 3/16-inch thick in some places. I came close to having to throw both carbs into the trash pile.

I've also seen engines where dried varnish completely plugged up the gasoline lines, check valves, etc. Of course, they had been stored for years. Bottom line: Over the winter, don't worry about it. Long-term, drain.

One argument in favor of draining is that next season you may favor other engines in your collection, and this one might not make it out to play. Then it moves farther back in the shed and misses another season. Pretty soon it's five years later and the tank is filled with stinky goo.