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Gravely plow fuel

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by mysteryman, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. mysteryman

    mysteryman Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    I have a 35-year-old Gravely two-wheel tractor with a plow blade used for snow clearing. Both the Gravely and Kohler engine literature states not to use GASAHOL. I assume that the '+10% ethanol' gasoline that is available to me should not be used. What do I do?? Is there an action or additive that I could use to combat the negative effects of the ethanol additive? I don't want to ruin the engine, but I may not have a choice. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    gravely tractor

    Assuming it is a gravity fed fuel system:

    1. If the motor does not have a fuel shut off valve you should buy two of them to replace the tubing between the fuel tank and the carburator and have enough fuel tubing to drain the tank from the bottom

    a. Plumb the second shut off valve between the tank and the first one if you installed it-this allows you to drain all the fuel that is remaining in the tank back in the fuel can using a longer piece of fuel tubing.

    2. Use high octane fuel only.
    a. add a little seafoam to each tankfull prior to filling
    the tank.

    b. Prior to shutting the engine off shut the fuel valve off feeding fuel to the carburateor, then close the choke and restart the engine to burn up the fuel in the carburator.

    c. Drain the fuel from the tank back into the gas can.

    3. The gasahol will rot the metal fuel tank and any metal lines as well as the older rubber in the carburator.

    If it is possible purchase a new plastic replacement tank.

  3. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    There are some gas stations that sell "recreational fuel" that does not contain ethanol. Try that.

    Failing that, run your tank dry after every use, do not store fuel in the tank. Then shut the valve off and start the old gravely up and run it until the carb is dry. I recommend Stabil in the fuel when you are running the plow, it will help keep the gas remaining in the carb from going bad. You should always check your fuel lines every year anyway, a cracked line could allow a leak to start a fire on a hot engine block. Will it rot your tank? Scientific studies are mixed on that, it does seem to accellerate damage in fiberglass made boat tanks if the tanks are really old. But remember, any water has a corrosive effect on steel gas tanks. If it worries you get a good fabrication shop to make you a new aluminum tank for it. That may cost a few bucks but it will last another 30 years. Of course, if the seams of the original tank start to leak there is always "JB Weld" that will plug it and get you through the storm.

    My first plow was a Gravely, in 1966,, rope start, L model, 4 speeds forward, and 4 in reverse. To pull start that one cylinder long stroke motor took all of my strength, but once it got started it was an animal. Loads of torque due to the long stroke on that piston. If I got it stuck it took three guys to pull it out. That is when I discovered snow chains. I wish I had that Gravely now. If you take care of it, change the oil regularly it will be an heirloom for your grandkids. They will laugh at it because it is the wrong color, can't pick it up yourself to put in the back of their camry, and you can't get parts for it at Home Depot. But in low range it will pull your car up the front steps of your house if you want to. A number of DOT agencies use them to push stuck cars out of toll booths. Even the old ones are still running at the Maryland toll booths at the tunnel entrance.
  4. Dissociative

    Dissociative 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,066

    can we get some pics?
  5. poncho62

    poncho62 Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    My Ford garden tractor, same age, has the same engine....I have never had a problem just using unleaded regular...even in winter

    Xmas 09 075 (Medium).jpg
  6. mnglocker

    mnglocker Senior Member
    Messages: 923

    Gasahol is a methanlol/gasoline blend that was a predicesor to Ethanol/gasoline blends we've had for the last 15+ years. Put some fresh fuel line on it, drain the tank and carb at the end of the season, run non-oxy fuel if you can find it and don't sweat it. BFD.
  7. Tim2734

    Tim2734 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    We've always ran regular pump gas in them. Never had any issues.
  8. Evanbrendel

    Evanbrendel Senior Member
    Messages: 181

    around here you can get premium with no ethanol.
  9. mysteryman

    mysteryman Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    Thanks for the advice, gentlemen, it appears that I should be concerned with the reaction to metal and some rubber parts. Is SEAFOAM similar to STABIL? I am not familiar with seafoam. When the few of you mention using UNLEADED REGULAR and REGULAR in your machines, I assume that you are referring to 'straight gasoline', not a blend, correct?
    DISSOCIATIVE, I will try to get some photos posted, but it may take me a while.
    Thanks again for all of the replies to my post.
  10. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow blower et. al.

    As you are in NY like me regular leaded gas is unavailable, Sea Foam is a carbon buster and fuel system cleaner and preservative clear in color packaged in a white can and it is available at both NAPA and tractor supply co.

    I am unsure if you can even buy gasoline without any ethanol in new york due to the governents desire to burn corn etc.

    You wany a high octane fuel as you are dealing with a 4 cycle one lung bandit engine.

    FYI if you can ask a propane dealer about converting your engine to propane or buying a propane ready engine you will have no fuel problems it would save you a lot of grief.
    You have to remember to shut the gas off everytime to be safe and the engine will not carbon up as bonus.

    The engine will be slightly noisier while running and will be cleaner burning with a very low amount of exhaust fumes.

    leon :nod::waving::drinkup::sleeping:
  11. mysteryman

    mysteryman Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    Thanks again, LEON, your replies are very informative. One thing I learned about while asking around is the existence of a product called STAR TRON by The Star Brite Company. If is an enzyme that treats gasoline and also micro-atomizes water and other unwanted substances int he gasoline. It addresses the separation of ethanol from gasoline. Here is a link:

    http://www.starbrite.com/whatsnew/STAR BRITE ethanol p3072D2.pdf

    here is another:


    and another:


    I am going to try it until I hear something negative about it. It's supposed to be available at WalMart.
  12. mysteryman

    mysteryman Junior Member
    Messages: 27

  13. BlownL67

    BlownL67 Junior Member
    Messages: 14


    I know I'm a little late posting here, but I own 12 Gravely's with various attachments out here in MA. You are safe to run anything you like out the gas pump, no addtivies needed. Personally, I just fill my 5 jerry can with Sunoco 93 after I'm done filling my truck. Gravely's are very forgiving machines and are very difficult to kill, even if neglected.

    Hope this helps! - Mark
  14. AbsoluteH&L

    AbsoluteH&L Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    Yeah I was thinking the same thing. Just put gas in it and run it. The gasahol you are referring to is something of the past, and shouldn't be confused with ethanol. Although yes some precautions do need to be made at the end of the season.
  15. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    12 Gravelys, any old "L" models with the slope hood rope start version?
  16. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    Ethanol doesn't "rot" metal fuel tanks and lines.
  17. eman5oh

    eman5oh Member
    Messages: 33

    I don't think you have to worry about the Ethanol rotting or rusting your gas tank. MAny cars and trucks on the road today use steel gas tanks and line so I would not worry about it.
  18. mysteryman

    mysteryman Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    Sorry it took so long to post this photo.