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Ethanol Quandary

Joe Friday

Registered
Greetings. I have just recently joined this forum. Wow, what a resource!

The question I have is in regard to a military 2A016 III engine. I have several 1.5KW mil generators that all have failed engines. Recently, I picked up a NOS 2A016 III engine, and would like to swap in onto one of my gen sets to get it up and running again. I seem to be suffering a bit from "analysis paralysis" with regard to running modern 10% ethanol gas.

I have searched the forum over the last couple of days, and have read several threads on swapping the standard cork float for a brass unit. That doesn't address the effect of the ethanol on the fuel pump diaphragm or other gaskets in the fuel system.

I have been doing some research regarding the availability of ethanol free gas locally. There are some reports that a station about 25 miles away may have ethanol free 91 octane gas, but the pump is not marked to confirm this.

I have seen videos of people using water to separate ethanol out of gas, but the results don't seem to be full proof.

I would like to be able to run this little engine. I have very fond memories of using these generators before the engines gave out. Along with the NOS engine, I got a second with a hole in the crank case that I might be able to use to resurrect one of my old original engines.

Just looking for what would be considered "best practice" to solve the ethanol issue with these engines.

Thanks!
 

Jeff S

Registered
Greetings. I have just recently joined this forum. Wow, what a resource!

The question I have is in regard to a military 2A016 III engine. I have several 1.5KW mil generators that all have failed engines. Recently, I picked up a NOS 2A016 III engine, and would like to swap in onto one of my gen sets to get it up and running again. I seem to be suffering a bit from "analysis paralysis" with regard to running modern 10% ethanol gas.

I have searched the forum over the last couple of days, and have read several threads on swapping the standard cork float for a brass unit. That doesn't address the effect of the ethanol on the fuel pump diaphragm or other gaskets in the fuel system.

I have been doing some research regarding the availability of ethanol free gas locally. There are some reports that a station about 25 miles away may have ethanol free 91 octane gas, but the pump is not marked to confirm this.

I have seen videos of people using water to separate ethanol out of gas, but the results don't seem to be full proof.

I would like to be able to run this little engine. I have very fond memories of using these generators before the engines gave out. Along with the NOS engine, I got a second with a hole in the crank case that I might be able to use to resurrect one of my old original engines.

Just looking for what would be considered "best practice" to solve the ethanol issue with these engines.

Thanks!
In my area of Pa we have a bunch of stations with ethanol free gas Exxon and sunoco come to mind but for sure everywhere they have it it's a separate pump so I would be weary if it isn't marked
 

Heins

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
01/02/2020
We have several air cooled engines we use on the farm and we use regular gas with 10% ethanol. We don't have any problem and we don't get the gas drained out of them when the aren't used for some time like we should. We find the 10% ethanol gas will keep the fuel system cleaned out.
 

Jeff S

Registered
I use a lot of regular gas with 10% ethanol I always mix sta-bil gas treatment with it. I have seen some weird stuff over the ethanol years. I've had some engines that have sat with no problems others have had the lines clog up with white goo. Was advised by some serious two cycle guys to only run high test as I have had more trouble with the two cycles so I guess my advice would be to stay with whatever is working for you I also add some marvel mystery oil to my old engines about every 3rd time I gas them up. I know a lot of old guys swear by it. Wait a sec I'm an old guy to🤪
 

Family Tradition

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
03/19/2020
I’ve went to a local small airport and bought a few gallons of 100 octane leaded gas. That stuff will last darn near forever. Lately I’ve been buying nonethanol from a local farmer who buys it in bulk.
 

miltruck

Registered
Ethanol gas (10% or more) is the bane of all small engines w/ carburetor's. This is especially so with the little military engines (1.5, 3, 6 hp). In general, the ethanol attracts moisture from the air over time and this causes corrosion in the fuel system, mostly anything made of steel and zinc. On engines designed before ethanol was forced down our throats the soft parts in the fuel system may or may not have been designed to resist the effects of the ethanol and they melt, swell, or just disappear. This is the major problem with the little military engines; the float is made of a foam that swells in the presence of ethanol.
Here's what I do:
1) All small two strokes get racing or av-gas mixed to the proper ratios. No problems at all even after setting for 6 months through the winter.
2) All small four strokes get fresh pump gas mixed with either a small amount of two stroke oil (100 to 1 or higher) or Marvel Mystery oil at their recommended ratios plus a dose of gas stabilizer to help with separation of the ethanol in the tank or bowel.
3) When possible, I run each unit out of gas (in the float bowel) when done by shutting off the fuel valve and letting it idle until it dies. This is very important with the little military engines to prevent the floats from swelling and sticking open.
4) Use only fresh gas!!! The new formulations of gas are only good for at best 30-45 days when stored in small quantities with exposure to air. I use a sealed military type gas can (NATO style) and keep it out of direct sunlight. If the gas is over 45-60 days old, throw it into you old truck or car and get new. In an older Ram truck I have (1987) that has a Thermoquard carb, I have to refill the fuel bowel if it sits for more than a week without running. If you don't, it requires way too much cranking to pump fresh fuel up to the carb. If you fill the bowel through the vent, it fires right off.

In our area there are no stations carrying non-ethanol gas. One station in the Hudson, NH area has Cam 2 race gas but it is $9.00+ per gallon. Have not tried to get av-gas recently, but most airports have restricted sales to non-aviation users.
I know it is a little burdensome, but using my method has eliminated 90% of the fuel issues with my small stuff.
 

ramsay

Registered
Hi all: We can buy non ethanol gas here in Louisiana so that is all I would ever think about using in ANY small engine... I also add stabil and Marvel Mystery Oil as well and have had NO problems with any of my small engines.. Best thing to do is stay away from ethanol for anything other than automobiles and trucks designed for it......Hopefully, we will end this ethanol era or rather "error" eventually.....Mike in Louisiana .....https://www.pure-gas.org/
 

FM6hpTG

Registered
Hi all: We can buy non ethanol gas here in Louisiana so that is all I would ever think about using in ANY small engine... I also add stabil and Marvel Mystery Oil as well and have had NO problems with any of my small engines.. Best thing to do is stay away from ethanol for anything other than automobiles and trucks designed for it......Hopefully, we will end this ethanol era or rather "error" eventually.....Mike in Louisiana .....https://www.pure-gas.org/
You might want to check pure-gas.org. It is a self reporting site listing stations that have ethanol free gas by state and city. Definitely call the station before making the drive to make sure they still carry it. In my area it is 91 octane, ethanol free and is marked as such.
 

Turbo

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/12/2019
Miltruck hit the nail on the head. I have been a mechanic for over 20 years and have worked on lots of small engines and gas tractors. My experience has taught me that ETHANOL GAS WILL DESTROY ZINC CARBURETORS!!! People that don't have problems usually live in places with low humidity like Texas or Arizona. But here in Minnesota, in July, with 70 dew points, ethanol gas turns into water gas in a couple days. Zinc carburetors will not be rebuildable after 6 months of exposure. I found out by accident that a small amount of tcw3 2 stroke oil helps to stabilize this fuel. I had some mixed up and after a year it still smelled good and ran my saw just fine. 10 years ago I started adding it to all my small engine fuel and have had no problems since. I has to be tcw3 oil and not the newer synthetic.
 

G Willikers

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
05/01/2019
I started using non-ethanol gasoline in everything last year. Up here, we can get Shell V-Power. It is more money but better peace of mind. Right now, with gasoline down, It is just under $1 per litre. Still costly compared to regular in the mid-70 cents range. Just got a couple of cans to have on hand. I wonder? Should I add stabilizer to it too?
 

miltruck

Registered
Joe:
The little military engines are really great to play with, but they are a little finicky. The wrap and pray starting (on the 1.5 and 3 hp) is the worst thing ever, but if you can somehow come up with a way to prime the carb before you try starting them, usually if it is not too cold they will start in one pull. I have two of the gen sets w/ the 2A016 engines (a 24 volt DC and a 120/240 AC). On one there is no primer lever on the fuel pump and when I run it out of gas it takes forever to re-prime and fire. So I drilled a small hole in the brass elbow on the top of the intake casting on the filter side of the carb and threaded it for a small screw. Wrap the starter, give the primer hole a shot from a squirt bottle, set the choke and pull. 8 out of 10 times it will start. Don't forget to replace the screw in the primer hole. But always run the carbs dry so the float doesn't swell. When running the floats don't seem to bother but when they do swell, all you can do is disassemble the carb and let the float dry out naturally. The carbs are not available (Saturn is going out of the business) and the military didn't make the floats available as a separate part number.
 

K-Tron

Registered
Back around 2010 was the last time I willingly filled my vintage/antique engines with ethanol gasoline. Around that time I discovered a source of non-ethanol fuel about five hours round trip from home. After sourcing a quantity of non-ethanol gasoline I proceeded to empty all of the fuel tanks of every engine I owned (at the time, around fifty engines). I thought I was in the clear. Last year I discovered that I forgot to drain a full tank of fuel I had left in a Kohler K241 engine which only saw about 10 minutes of runtime since it was new. It took a pair of vise grips to remove the stuck fuel cap. As soon as I removed the cap, the entire area became full of a repulsive aroma. Shining a flashlight inside of the tank revealed a thick orange-ish, red-ish goo all over the insides of the tank. What was worse was that the ethanol eat through the steel shut off valve in the sediment bowl and damaged the fuel pump diaphragm and destroyed the float, float bowl and needle of the carburetor. I was so bummed out about this. It was without a doubt the nicest Kohler engine I had in my collection, and one simple mistake destroyed it. I washed out the tank as best that I could, but now it is strewn with holes and rust. Mind you this tank was pristine when I acquired the engine in NOS condition. It was a bad day for sure. I have since done my best to keep ethanol gas away from all of my equipment. With over three hundred engines I cannot afford the time it takes to rebuild the same carburetors over and over again. Since I never buy running engines, I usually do not pick up any carburetors that have ever seen ethanol gas either. Occasionally I see aluminum/die cast Carter and Tillotson carburetors that cannot be saved, and it is a reminder of how important it is to keep ethanol gasoline as far away from any vintage/antique engine as possible.

Chris
 

Ogrebeast64

Registered
I have an old IGA store a little over a mile from me here. They had a separate pump for Kerosene, but switched it over to 91 octane non ethanol gas. A little over #3 a gallon for it. Seeing as how the most of the engines I have, have non hardened valve seats, I also add Lead Substitute to it so I don't wreck the valve seats.
 

Joe Friday

Registered
Thanks to all who have taken the time to reply! From the responses, it seems there are ample reasons to keep ethanol gas away from these little engines. That takes the brass carb float off the table.

Has anyone tried separating the ethanol out by mixing water with the gas and letting it sit? The videos I have watched don't seem to recover all of the ethanol. It looks like on average they are recovering about 50% of the ethanol.

At the end of the day, it looks like I will be making the 50mile round trip to purchase ethanol free gas, once I call and verify that is what they are selling.

With regard to the 2A016 engines, I have had some experience with them in the past. One of the engines I have was locked up when I first got it many years ago. I was able to break it loose, and after cleaning the points, was able to get it started and used it for many hours. I have been collecting parts for them over the years, and have several new coils, sets of points, shielded aprk plug wires, and fuel pumps. I lost interest 20 tears or so ago when they developed problems, and have recently gotten interested in getting one or two of the gen sets running again.

Thanks once again for all of the thoughts and responses!
 

gdstew

Registered
"if you can somehow come up with a way to prime the carb"

I posted this on another thread but here it is again. We had trouble starting an engine so we took a Tecumseh primer assy that was vented ( they have both ) and hooked it to the bowl vent. If your vent is just a small hole, you might be able to drill and install a brass tube to put a small rubber hose to. When you put your finger over the rubber primer hole and push, you pressurize the bowl, forcing gas up the main nozzle.
 

Bill Sherlock

Subscriber
Age
75
Last Subscription Date
07/09/2019
I've been buying Premium non ethanol gas for my small air cooled engines for a lot of years now after learning my lesson about the ethanol crap. I usually buy it in a 5 gallon jerry can to which I add Briggs & Stratton "Fresh Start" before filling the jerry can. That way if I don't use up all the gas in an engine tank, I don't have to worry about it going stale for at least 2 years. 3 years if I add extra stabilizer. Haven't had a carburetor problem since and most engines start on the first or second pull of the starter rope, even after sitting over winter. As a side note, I found CLR was about the only thing that would dissolve the white corrosion found in carburetors as a result of using ethanol gas. Any carburetor cleaners that I tried didn't work as the corrosion isn't petroleum based. Either soak or spray the carburetor with the CLR and rinse with water then blow dry with compressed air. Once dry I usually followed up with a carb cleaner as had the carb apart anyway.
 

ramsay

Registered
Miltruck hit the nail on the head. I have been a mechanic for over 20 years and have worked on lots of small engines and gas tractors. My experience has taught me that ETHANOL GAS WILL DESTROY ZINC CARBURETORS!!! People that don't have problems usually live in places with low humidity like Texas or Arizona. But here in Minnesota, in July, with 70 dew points, ethanol gas turns into water gas in a couple days. Zinc carburetors will not be rebuildable after 6 months of exposure. I found out by accident that a small amount of tcw3 2 stroke oil helps to stabilize this fuel. I had some mixed up and after a year it still smelled good and ran my saw just fine. 10 years ago I started adding it to all my small engine fuel and have had no problems since. I has to be tcw3 oil and not the newer synthetic.
I can vouch for that.....Ten horse briggs on my wood splitter... Lent it to a friend for awhile and he used ethanol in it.....When I got it back, looked like brazing flux in the bottom of the carb.....Bottom line: His ethanol cost me 100 bucks for a new carburetor... No ethanol for me in small engines.. Mike in Louisiana
 

Heins

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
01/02/2020
Are there pumps that say "no ethanol"? I don't think I have ever seen one. The oil companies use ethanol to improve the octane in their gasoline.
 

gdstew

Registered
"Are there pumps that say "no ethanol"?

Yes, at the marinas and I'm seeing newer stations putting them in.

" The oil companies use ethanol to improve the octane in their gasoline"

The oil companies would rather sell their oil that they produce than buy ethanol from another supplier. The farmers grow too much corn so the government buys it, then sells it to the ethanol producers. The oil companies don't want it so the government kicks back money to them for using it. Nobody wants to buy gas with ethanol so the government requires the states to legislate their gas requirements, usually passed off as "clean air laws". States that didn't comply had their highway funds cut. Several states have filed law suits against the federal government, but only when enough states do, will we get rid of this garbage gas.
 

Heins

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
01/02/2020
The government doesn't sell corn to ethanol plants, farmers do. Oil companies have to use ethanol to blend with their gas because they can't use that nasty stuff "TBE" or whatever it was that caused cancer. Now that the price of crude oil has gone down a lot of ethanol plants are shutting down. When gas was high if it wasn't for ethanol the price of a gallon of gas would have been $1.00 higher. Ethanol plants have created a market for the farmers corn and has saved the taxpayer a lot of money. Watch next fall what the government will have to pay the farmer to subsidize the price of corn. The cities have to have cleaner air, we don't in the country

We don't have too many marinas in my part of the country, maybe that is why I haven't seen pumps that say "no ethanol".
 
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