How critical is it to use 87 octane fuel that is only stored in plastic containers?
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Thread: How critical is it to use 87 octane fuel that is only stored in plastic containers?

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    How critical is it to use 87 octane fuel that is only stored in plastic containers?

    For my new 590...have not used it yet. I've always stored my gas in metal cans - a 5 gallon and 2.5 gallon. I keep it for months at a time and never used stabilizer when running my Cub Cadet for over 36 years. So I suppose - if the owner's manual is presenting sound advice relative to this - that the newer EFI engines are more critical as to the type and condition of fuel used? Any advice before I pour in stuff that's been in my metal can for at least the past few months? I'll check today to see what the octane level is where I usually buy gas for the tractor. Thanks...
    Last edited by three4rd; 10-31-2018 at 08:27 AM.
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    Hiya,

    If it's ethanol blend with no storage additives in it, dump it in your car and go get fresh fuel and add a ethanol stabilizer to it or better yet, find ethanol free fuel. Local airfields will normally sell "auto gas" aviation fuel out of the pump, that is ethanol free and has no pollution additives in it as they don't want fuel issues at 5000 feet... That's what I use in my 4 stroke small engines.

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    There is nothing special about the way fuel needs to be stored for EFI engines compared to carb engines. Chances are whatever fuel containers you are using now will be just fine. If they are old I would check to ensure they are nice and clean inside with no rust. If they are a little on the funky inside then it might be a good opportunity to get a new can.

    I do recall reading something about issues with storing diesel in galvanized containers.

    The most important thing is that the container be clean inside (and outside too as outside dirt has a tendency to work its way inside). Even though your tractor has a fuel filter it's always best to ensure whatever you pour in the tank is as clean as possible.

    It's always best to use Ethanol-free gasoline if you can. Although without a carb bowl for fuel to sit in EFI engines seem to deal with Ethanol a bit better. Whatever you use I would recommend a good fuel stabilizer like Sta-Bil (although there are other good products on the market as well).
    Last edited by jgayman; 10-31-2018 at 08:33 AM.
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    Your owner's manual says "Store fuel in plastic containers to reduce condensation." and that's a general "makes sense" sort of statement. If your fuel storage can is left in an unheated/cooled shed where it is subject to temperature swings, you'll get condensation. If it's stored in a temperature controlled garage your risk of condensation plummets. So you have to look at how YOU store your fuel.

    Ethanol in most commonly available gas sucks up water. That's just the way it works. So you're options are to avoid ethanol when possible, use additives to control water absorption or find ways to prevent water from getting into the fuel entirely (or any combination of the above!).

    None of this is unique to an EFI engine. It's due to the changes in the gas, not the engine.
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    And as far as condensation goes, the absolute best way to combat that in both gas cans and the tank on the machine is to keep them full when not in use. A topped off tank and topped off gas can has no surface for condensation to form. So when you're done with the machine for the day, top the tank off as the last thing you do.
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    Generally speaking, ethanol in gasoline is evil. It is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water. Its use was mandated as both a way to replace MBTE (an oxygenate) for reducing ozone emissions and a pact with agriculture to increase the market for corn. In some regions it is not required or is only required in the summer, but fuel blenders usually sell into widely divergent geographic areas and often have to blend to the worst case conditions.

    Where I live, a lot of premium gasoline is ethanol free year round. Since my BMW specifies a minimum of 91 octane, I fill up all the gas containers with it when I'm topping up the car and use it for the small engines, boat and snowmobiles.

    I suspect the caution against using anything but plastic containers is the possibility of rust forming in the can and finding its way into your fuel system.

    Buy the ethanol free premium gas, store it in any approved container and don't worry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    Your owner's manual says "Store fuel in plastic containers to reduce condensation." ...
    Condensation forms whenever the temperature of a surface is less than the dew point of the air in contact with it. It doesn't matter whether the surface is metal, plastic, grass or whatever. Plastic will not reduce condensation but, unlike steel, will not rust in contact with water.

    Al

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    Ethanol free gas - keeps cans and tank full at all times. Here is where to get the gas -

    Ethanol-free gas stations in the U.S. and Canada
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    I agree with most everyone else.
    Condensation doesnt care what material it collects on. Cooler surface plus warmer air means condensation.
    The way to stop it in fuel containers is to keep them sealed. If you cant keep them completely sealed (I dont), keep them full (I dont).

    Ill say too that Ive found that leaving cans on the concrete floor of the garage means they are generally colder than the air temp, because if the concrete isnt insulated from ground contact, it will generally always be colder, and keep whatever is sitting directly on it colder too. This is especially bad regarding condensation in the Spring and Fall, where temps can vary wildly, at least around here.
    I also run only ethanol free fuel in all my small engines. Each 5 gallon fuel can is also treated with 1oz of Mercury Quickleen and 1oz of TCW3 ashless 2 cycle oil. Since doing that, I have NEVER had a problem with fuel, no matter its age or storage. The Quickleen cleans everything and keeps it that way, and the oil, should the fuel evaporate, leaves a nice protective oil coating on everything preventing any kind of oxidation (learned that little trick from a Kawasaki Concours (among others) carb guru). The oil also acts as an upper cylinder lube, which isnt necessary, but it does help if you like that sort of thing.
    Incidentally, I used to be a fan of Seafoam until I spoke to a few marine mechanics who said that it works ok, ,but Quickleen is much better.
    Its also cheaper overall to use.

    Also, you can run whatever octane you want. Your engine doesnt need anything more than 87, and wont work any better on anything higher. The only reason I see to run higher octane is that most non-ethanol fuels are higher than 87 octane.
    Last edited by IndianaJim; 10-31-2018 at 08:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndianaJim View Post
    Also, you can run whatever octane you want. Your engine doesnt need anything more than 87, and wont work any better on anything higher. The only reason I see to run higher octane is that most non-ethanol fuels are higher than 87 octane.
    I don't fully understand the chemistry, but ethanol is an octane booster. As octane goes up, the fuel can (not will) burn slower and more completely, allowing the ignition timing to be advanced and more power produced without knocking. When you get to 91/93 octane gas, you can't add enough ethanol to reach the octane spec without going beyond the E10 standard most modern engines rely on. I suspect blenders either add iso-octane to get the last few octane numbers out of the blend or skip the ethanol altogether and just use iso-octane. The latter is your ethanol free gasoline.

    Al

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