Small Engines and Ethano: a dubious mix

Discussion in 'Alternative Fuel Forum' started by BROWNS LAWN CARE, Jul 23, 2013.


    BROWNS LAWN CARE LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 615

  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Unfortunately, The small ethanol free cans, or even a 50gal drum isn't economically feasible in our operation.

    Now, we don't have a single gas station in town that carries ethanol free fuel, so that hurts.

    But, one thing that I was talking to my dealer about is it seems that the quality of ethanol fuel is starting to get much better and he thinks it's helping the small handheld equipment.

    That and I feel equipment makers are starting to catch up in regards to engine designs, and rubber compounds.

    With us, we always run 93 octane through our handhelds, with opti-2 synthetic 2 stroke oil. Only issue I've seen is that the spark plugs tend to foul over time and we get a little gunk on the intake and exhaust port.

    I attribute that to the ethanol. Before, I used to run non-ethanol fuel and the opti-2, and never had any buildup issues.

  3. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,758

    It would make sense for HH manufacturers to adjust to the current fuels w/ ethanol...but, of course, this just makes 'too much' sense.

    I'll not know for a few years whether my switching to true 4-stroke (no mixed gas required) BP blower & trimmer will make it for the long haul, but so far so good. I still run e-free through all my equip...mowers included...though higher octane is not required in my HHs.

    Bummer, I see that only 87 octane e-free fuel is available in your immediate area, WG.

    Opti-2 is a blended/semi-synthetic 2-stroke oil, fwiw.
  4. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,288

    2 years ago we had to start using ethanol, nothing but problems that year.

    Last year we switched to rec gas--90 octane, ethanol free--and had one runnability issue in August due to gas.

    This year, we've replaced 2 carbs on mowers (1 was bad at the end of last year already) and 4 trimmer\edger carbs. Pretty sure this was due to the ethanol prior to last year.

    Ethanol is crap. Bad for engines, bad for the economy but good for the farmers. Stupid gov't.
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I'm pretty sure that even the one or two listed facilities on non-ethanol fuel web sites are out of date.

    I've checked those places and they said their supplier had to switch to ethanol fuel.

    As for the opti-2, I've always known that for the blend factor. Never switch to a full synthetic as we've always had great longevity results, and easy hot starts with it.

  6. Marshmallow

    Marshmallow LawnSite Senior Member
    from IL
    Messages: 329

    first off ethanol is bad for everyone as the government has to invest tons because they cannot make money without the subsidies. just like the corn crop. find ethanol free gas in your area!
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Don't go there.

    Without farm subsidies, there weren't be too many farmers still left after the early eighties debacle.

    As an ex-farm boy, I can attest to that.


    BROWNS LAWN CARE LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 615

    luckily for me i have access to two different eth-free stations. one is even pay at the pump.

    unfortunately you have to get out of the big cities to find it. if i still live in Dallas and was mowing i would be aggravated not being able to get it.
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    The by-products from ethanol production is used for feed stock. One is a liquid protein, dubbed Heinz 57, an another is gluten, which is the kernels of corn that is left over. So it's "re-cycled" so to speak.

    But I digress, I don't like ethanol in fuel for my business. Larger motors such as vehicle engines can digest it with not problem, but small equipment can't.

  10. AlohaLawns

    AlohaLawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maui HI
    Messages: 379

    We run Rec 90 on our machines and have had much less problems.

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