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  1. #1
    Grandmaster shibumiseeker's Avatar

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    My long term gasoline storage experiment

    A few of you know that I homestead and am off-grid and have been since the early 90s on a large piece of land in the back beyond. For those of you just tuning in, opsec dictates that's all you're getting...

    I have always stored gasoline, diesel, and kerosene, keeping 6 months to two years supply on hand in 55 gallon drums, buying a little more when it is cheaper and buying less when it goes up, keeping my rotating stock within those supply parameters.

    A few years ago I wanted to experiment to see how long I can store gas under those conditions so I sealed a handful of drums and set them back. They are in an open shed in deep shade stored off the ground.

    I opened one at two years, three, and now four. Gas when stored was whatever I bought (winter or summer) and no stabilizer was added. The drums were filled to within a couple of inches and sealed.

    Just cracked one from four years ago yesterday and it looked and smelled like the day I put it in. Put 3 gallons in a generator and it fired right up, no issues. Given my experience with years two and three I was unsurprised.

    I have two more sealed from then, so the experiment continues.

    I also have one that was left with the bung off from two years ago. Every now and then I siphon off a gallon or so and inspect it. It's starting to turn a little darker and smell a little different, but the generator still runs it fine.
    IWTFM Eternal vigilance is the price of chickens. JFC advocate.

  2. #2
    Grandmaster Cameramonkey's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by shibumiseeker View Post
    A few of you know that I homestead and am off-grid and have been since the early 90s on a large piece of land in the back beyond. For those of you just tuning in, opsec dictates that's all you're getting...

    I have always stored gasoline, diesel, and kerosene, keeping 6 months to two years supply on hand in 55 gallon drums, buying a little more when it is cheaper and buying less when it goes up, keeping my rotating stock within those supply parameters.

    A few years ago I wanted to experiment to see how long I can store gas under those conditions so I sealed a handful of drums and set them back. They are in an open shed in deep shade stored off the ground.

    I opened one at two years, three, and now four. Gas when stored was whatever I bought (winter or summer) and no stabilizer was added. The drums were filled to within a couple of inches and sealed.

    Just cracked one from four years ago yesterday and it looked and smelled like the day I put it in. Put 3 gallons in a generator and it fired right up, no issues. Given my experience with years two and three I was unsurprised.

    I have two more sealed from then, so the experiment continues.

    I also have one that was left with the bung off from two years ago. Every now and then I siphon off a gallon or so and inspect it. It's starting to turn a little darker and smell a little different, but the generator still runs it fine.
    YMMV, based on the carb. I'm going to assume that genny has a good engine with a quality carb. Ive got several low end carbs that flat out will NOT handle old gas. One was my snow blower. First year I had it I took gas purchased in August and poured it into the tank in late January. Wouldnt run. Even using electric start I couldnt get it to take. I could hit it with a shot of ether but once that was gone it would slowly wind down and die with no real power produced.

    I called for maintenance (on site warranty) and the tech drained the carb bell, smelled it and said "Bad gas. Off the record, these cheap carbs dont like stale gas. Stand by..." and he drained the rest of the tank. He added a cup or so of fresh gas from his can and it fired up on the second pull and ran great. I poured the rest of my can into my car's tank and refilled it with fresh. Sure enough, ran great.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Freeman View Post
    A confused cop is an arresty cop.
    Quote Originally Posted by hoosierdoc View Post
    also, where do we sign up to touch Frank's equipment?

  3. #3
    Expert

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    Good info. Thanks for sharing.
    "That government is best which governs the least " Thomas Jefferson

  4. #4
    Grandmaster shibumiseeker's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cameramonkey View Post
    YMMV, based on the carb. I'm going to assume that genny has a good engine with a quality carb. Ive got several low end carbs that flat out will NOT handle old gas. One was my snow blower. First year I had it I took gas purchased in August and poured it into the tank in late January. Wouldnt run. Even using electric start I couldnt get it to take. I could hit it with a shot of ether but once that was gone it would slowly wind down and die with no real power produced.

    I called for maintenance (on site warranty) and the tech drained the carb bell, smelled it and said "Bad gas. Off the record, these cheap carbs dont like stale gas. Stand by..." and he drained the rest of the tank. He added a cup or so of fresh gas from his can and it fired up on the second pull and ran great. I poured the rest of my can into my car's tank and refilled it with fresh. Sure enough, ran great.
    While this is true with gas that has gotten stale, the point of this experiment with the sealed drums was to see if/how much it deteriorates over time and the gas gets used in a variety of equipment. Most of us have experienced gas that has sat in a 1 or 5 gallon can that has gone bad in a few months. Larger quantities of gas take longer in unsealed containers based on how much of a percentage of the surface area compared to the volume is exposed to oxygen, and how much of the lighter fractions have evaporated off. My original hypothesis was that in sealed metal containers the storage life is essentially longer than I will ever need to store it and the data appears to support this.
    IWTFM Eternal vigilance is the price of chickens. JFC advocate.

  5. #5
    I Care...Really
    churchmouse's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cameramonkey View Post
    YMMV, based on the carb. I'm going to assume that genny has a good engine with a quality carb. Ive got several low end carbs that flat out will NOT handle old gas. One was my snow blower. First year I had it I took gas purchased in August and poured it into the tank in late January. Wouldnt run. Even using electric start I couldnt get it to take. I could hit it with a shot of ether but once that was gone it would slowly wind down and die with no real power produced.

    I called for maintenance (on site warranty) and the tech drained the carb bell, smelled it and said "Bad gas. Off the record, these cheap carbs dont like stale gas. Stand by..." and he drained the rest of the tank. He added a cup or so of fresh gas from his can and it fired up on the second pull and ran great. I poured the rest of my can into my car's tank and refilled it with fresh. Sure enough, ran great.
    Are these 2 cycle engines...???

  6. #6
    Sharpshooter Lee11b's Avatar

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    Hey your better off using WD40 to start an engine than ether. Ether is alcohol based and helps scar the cylinder walls at fire up. WD40 is petrol based - adds a little lubrication at fire up. I got to see first hand what it did to our old pump cylinder walls - they were scared.

  7. #7
    Grandmaster Cameramonkey's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by churchmouse View Post
    Are these 2 cycle engines...???

    4. Cheap ass Chinese carbs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Freeman View Post
    A confused cop is an arresty cop.
    Quote Originally Posted by hoosierdoc View Post
    also, where do we sign up to touch Frank's equipment?

  8. #8
    I Care...Really
    churchmouse's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cameramonkey View Post
    4. Cheap ass Chinese carbs.
    2 cycles are notorious for being temperamental.

  9. #9
    I Care...Really
    churchmouse's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee11b View Post
    Hey your better off using WD40 to start an engine than ether. Ether is alcohol based and helps scar the cylinder walls at fire up. WD40 is petrol based - adds a little lubrication at fire up. I got to see first hand what it did to our old pump cylinder walls - they were scared.
    Been using this trick for a long time.

  10. #10
    Grandmaster GodFearinGunTotin's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee11b View Post
    Hey your better off using WD40 to start an engine than ether. Ether is alcohol based and helps scar the cylinder walls at fire up. WD40 is petrol based - adds a little lubrication at fire up. I got to see first hand what it did to our old pump cylinder walls - they were scared.
    Huh. I'll have to remember this. I always have WD40 around.
    INGOer #18,319

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