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The mystery of the disappearing gas (1 Viewer)

Paul D G

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Hey all -

I'm a bit baffled by something, and you lot are a knowledgeable group so I put the question to you. Maybe someone has some thoughts.

To avoid an unnecessary wall of text, here are some factoids:

- Around Nov 15th I pulled the snow blower out of storage.
- It already had some gas (50:1 mix) in it, with fuel stabilizer.
- I was having trouble getting it started (as always, damn thing) so I poured in the rest of the 50:1 mix I had in a storage tank. Not a lot, but I figured a little fresher fuel would help.
- I got it started, and put it in the garage, ready for snow.
- No snow fell.
- We're about to get a storm here, 2 months later, so I thought I should fire up the blower because it's always easier to start after short periods of time.
- I could not get it started.
- I opened the tank and gave it a shake and heard no fuel sloshing around. I shook it vigorously.
- Hmmm.
- I took some paper towel and twisted it to a stiff probe and stuck it in the tank. It came out dry.
- Hmmm.
- I created a new gallon of 50:1 mix and poured a little in the tank. Juuuuust enough.
- Started right up.

It seems the gas in the tank from Nov disappeared, which seems really odd. The blower has a little edge inside the tank so you can't see the gas level apart from a little sliver on the side. There was a good amount of gas in the tank then, enough to be visible, and I still added more.

What's odd is the garage had a heavy smell of gas for a good week or two after I started it that first time. I wouldn't say it's unusual to smell a little gas because of the exhaust and the choke lever usual has some smelly residue, but for so long was a little strange. There is no stain under where it sat so it's not like it was dripping out. There is no smell of gas currently after starting it up.

Any thoughts on what happened here?

No, I don't think anyone stole it somehow. I keep two 2 gallon containers of gas just inside the garage door. If anyone wanted to steal gas they could have just grabbed those containers.
 

David Norman

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Oct 12, 2001
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Charlotte, NC
My first thought would be your cap is leaking or wasn't sealing properly -- hence the smell of gas for a while after, no leak underneath the unit, but enough to allow the gasoline evaporated out of the tank
 

Paul D G

Screenwriter
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Dec 25, 2001
Messages
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That's what I was thinking as well, that maybe the cap wasn't on tight enough, but I'm quite sure it was. Let's say it wasn't - would the gas evaporate that fast?
 

David Norman

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That's what I was thinking as well, that maybe the cap wasn't on tight enough, but I'm quite sure it was. Let's say it wasn't - would the gas evaporate that fast?

Not sure about that in a partially sealed container, but it's possible the stabilizer changes the Vapor Point which is already pretty low. In the summer in my area in a Garage at 100+ degree and in an open container -- yes and a lot faster than you'd think. Wintertime and only partial airflow -- ??

I guess you could try a trial -- fill a known amount of fuel and intentionally leave the cap off for 48 hrs?
 

Paul D G

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Dec 25, 2001
Messages
1,911
There's definitely a leak.

It started right up this morning, but pretty quickly started to sputter. I put more gas in it and for some reason it wouldn't start. I thought maybe I flooded it so I let it sit a couple hours. I just went back to it and the tank is empty. There's a puddle underneath it which I thought was snow but I wiped it up and it's gas.

So weird because it sat all summer with gas in the tank and just suddenly started leaking. Evaporation didn't make sense to me last night because surely the blower tank is a tigher seal than the gas cans in the garage.

I'll pick up a new one at the end of season sales. It's 15 years old and was free because I bought it on reward points (boo yah!). I've always wanted one with a little more power behind it. This one worked most of the time but there have been snowfalls where it struggled.

Thanks for the input!
 

Dennis Nicholls

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Older rubber hoses melt from the alcohol in modern gasoline mixes. I'm not sure if your blower is that old though. You probably need to change fuel hoses and carb parts. Still it's a 2 stroke with a manual choke lever... could be older than you remember.
 

Paul D G

Screenwriter
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Dec 25, 2001
Messages
1,911
Definitely not a problem with the hoses. They look great when I pulled one to drain the tank so I wouldn't lose any more gas. It's no older than 15 years, probably closer to 13. We lived in a warmer climate prior to that.

I used to run the machine dry but I see mixed comments on if this should be done or not. Some say you should, some say it's bad for the engine. Either way, the thing has always been a nightmare to start, kind of glad to dump it. Of course the year it decides to stop working is when we get a foot of snow dumped on us.
 

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