My department recentley had a problem with a brand new Honda portable pump. During a wildfire we could not get the unit started. Upon inpection of the equipment after the call the fuel line was packed with black sludge. We have learned that the higher ethanol levels in regular unleaded fuel may have caused this problem. We have switched all our portable fuel cans over to higher octane gasoline to use for all our portable equipment, because it has a lower level of ethanol. Has any other department run in to any problems like this.

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I've talked to a few small engines reps., they recommend using the fuel additive sea foam to the fuel. So far, we've had no problems after adding it!
We quit having issues with ethanol by adding Sea Foam in the fuel. It helps disperse the moisture which causes the buildup of corrosion and deterioration of rubber parts in these small engines.

New government standards next year will have an even higher percentage of alcohol in the gasoline. I suspect there will be a host of problems with not only small engines, but regular vehicle engines will start being trashed as well.
We used to use Marathon gas exclusively due to lower alcohol content.
Unfortunately its a common problem. We have opted for using a fuel stabilizer for all of the portable equipment. We are using Sea Form as the additive and has been working great for us. We have also been considering the higher octane racing fuel, I understand the storage life is alot longer without the problems, and it would pretty much be a trade off as far as the cost of the fuel and the additive currently being used by us. There are other additives availiable also, but the key is remembering to put the additive in the gas cans when you refill them.
We have had problems with all our small engine motors. We have started using seafoam and using a higher octane fuel. All small engines are run once a week for a few minutes to keep the fuel flowing in the carburetor. Our hurst pump just had to go back to honda to get a new carburetor and the honda dealer recomended that we use seafoam and higher octane gas.
Wow I can't believe nobody has picked up on this yet.... Have you noticed the check engine light on newer cars are a bigger concern now for bad 02 or catalytic converters lately? Well thanks to the newer ethanol mixtures, they are getting choked up much faster than the older days. Dealer reps carrying extra carbuerator parts???? Thats nuts. Running out the carbs is not the answer either, especially a 2 stroke that gets lubricated from the fuel... I got your solution.

Your problem is the same for alot of fire departments. Ethanol is how the gasoline companies are cutting the fuel to make more of the product and more $. There is a way to resolve the matter though. Some people will argue with me that it is a little pricey but just one trip a year to the maintenance shop for carb work will cover it (or) what is the price for a saw that wouldn't start and the guys are getting beat up inside?

There are now companies making pre-mix gas for small engines using straight "leaded" fuels. A huge difference in starting and performance issues. My department started using this stuff called 50Fuel. It comes in a small metal can, premixed at 50:1 and guaranteed shelf life after opening the product. The FDNY guys are known to use Cam 2 Racing Gasoline in their K-12's and they start with one pull.

The other option for the non-pre-mix small engines is buying straight leaded fuel in a can. I am a distributor for VP Fuels and we sell a product called SEF-94 in a 5 gallon metal can. Small Engine Fuel @ 94 octane made specifically for the small engine performance audience like the fire department.

If it starts the first time, and you can go to work without delay, the value of the product is priceless.
Yes we have experienced the same problem it apears that the cheaper ethanol gas it not good for small engines We are now only using premium gas in all our small engines . We all add a fuel stabalizer in our fuel tanks. We cant afford to take the chance that a critical piece of equipment wont start when we need to count on it the most
I've been having many more problems with my handheld equipment at my FT job (landscape management) than in previous years.

Empty the gas out of the tank or carb and can't even get fumes off it to ignite. Stuff is crap.

I've heard about the seafoam and I'll have to do some checking on the 50fuel, the problem for me would be I'd need some 55 gal drums of it.
We change out our gas every month. Use a piece of tape on the can and mark the date. If the gas is not used the ethanol will attract water. The only other way to solve this problem is to buy your fuel at a marina. Boat gas doesn't have the additives and will not cause these problems.

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