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post #1 of 19 Old 05-21-2017, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Gravely Gremlins

Yesterday I went out to mow. As many of you know I have three connected properties that I do, a total of just under 2 acres of lawn. I got through just about half of it when the 16G started to surge, sputter, surge, sputter, cough, and quit.

Okay, I can tow it back and finish up with a different 16G. Which I proceed to do. My wife steered the dead tractor while I towed it. No drama. Done. I proceed to mowing. Twenty minutes in and the same exact issue as the first tractor.

Okay, this is weird. I go to the third 16G. It is stored in my neighbor's tractor garage. I open the door to find two flat tires. I try to start it. No love. Would not start. The really odd thing is the tractor started a few weeks ago after a long winter snooze. It popped right over on the second crank. The tires were fine.

Weird.

All three tractors got checked for spark. All three had it.

Today I removed the carb and fuel filter from one of them. I took the carb apart and cleaned it. It seemed like it was perfectly clean, but I used carb cleaner and blew out the jets and passages. I changed the fuel filter. I tested the fuel pump while it was all disconnected; checked out fine. Nice and strong.

After reassembly it started right up. I mowed the undone part of the lawn. It ran stronger. Even my wife said it sounded better that it had yesterday. I agree. But I am still not convinced the tractor is right. I will take a full mowing session to make me feel it is fixed.

Now to do the other two. We'll see if the same steps cure them, too.

By the way, the gas was new Sunoco 190. I buy 15 gallons at a time. It has been in my gas cans about a week and was used to top off two of the three tractors. The "older" gas that was in the tanks is less than two months old and had been treated with Sta-Bil.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Challenge Met


Gravely 16G (1998)
Gravely 16G (1994)
Gravely 16G (1991)
Gravely 48" Snowblower and Cab (for the 91 16G)
Gravely 816S (1976)
Gravely 38" Snowblower (for the 816S)
Gravely 812 (1975)(mine since 1982)(Rolled over in 2016)
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post #2 of 19 Old 05-21-2017, 02:52 PM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

Sounds like there may have been some water in the tank from condensation. Moving the tractors allowed it to get near the pickup where it was sucked up. You ought to see what happens on a Ford Farmmaster 871 when that happens with a Diesel engine. 15 MPH to zero instantly.

Current L/C count = 38.
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post #3 of 19 Old 05-21-2017, 03:26 PM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

Ethanol = bigger chance of condensation JOGO

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”- Henry Ford

1992 - 20G-Kohler Magnum Twin (KMT) M20 big Red
1981 - 8183-repowered w/97 M18S 'lil Red
1972 - 816-repowered w/92 M18S 'lil white
1987 - Pro-12 Mr. Lucky
1984 - 8122 to get a diffrnt K301 soon.
1982 - 8123 Fred's Tractor an adoptee
1974 - 812 which is donating.
1970 - 450 w/CCKA Old Yellow
1968? - 424 - shared toy w/Grandson
1974 - C10A - for sale
1961 Ford Industrial 4000 w/Bkhoe-FEL



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post #4 of 19 Old 05-21-2017, 03:45 PM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

Just because fresh gas doesn't mean it didn't have water. It could even be "off-spec" gas.

And condensation is hard to do in a fairly closed system that is flooded with 100% gasoline vapor...the gas would have to have had water in it to begin with to cause condensation.

And lastly, I have equipment stored over two years on the same gas, turn the key and it starts and runs fine, ethanol and all (I start it periodically to charge batteries). The gasoline is treated with Startron. I don't buy into the "ethanol is bad" because my experience with multiple pieces of OPE has never had a failure to start or run from a fuel issue. People that have issues with ethanol gasoline would have had issues with pure gasoline.

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post #5 of 19 Old 05-21-2017, 07:04 PM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

Whether or not anyone believes that ethanol is bad for vented tanks doesn't matter. The fact of the matter is ethanol is hygroscopic. As such, it sucks the moisture out of the air. It is so hygroscopic that making pure ethanol is a near impossibility.

Now if you happen to be lucky enough to avoid the issue of water in the gas, then great for you. For the rest of us, we have to do what it takes to keep our Gravelys running and if that means running ethanol free, so be it.

The evidence is overwhelming that ethanol is the culprit when it comes to long term storage of fuel in vented containers like the fuel tanks on all small engines. Now if you still do not believe after all of the evidence, then I propose an experiment to be done by no less than 6 volunteers in various locations around the country. If it is shown that the majority of containers contain water, then the question regarding ethanol and water can finally be put to rest without any further discussion or debate.

Sheldon. Please take a picture of the sticker at your favorite fuel pump. I want to know if it says "Contains (up to) 10% Ethanol" or "May contain up to 10% ethanol".

Code:
                              Current Inventory
   24G (Onan 24hp)    24GLX - was 16G  (Onan 24hp)   8249 - was 8129 (Onan 24hp)
        818T (Onan 18hp B48)       8163T - was 8123 (Onan CCKA) 
                              8183T (Onan B48)
   5665 w/brakes        5665        5660        Pro-8         Pro-16 w/brakes

For Gravely Manuals and more visit http://GTCOA.com
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post #6 of 19 Old 05-21-2017, 07:31 PM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

I've been running ethanol fuel in OPE since it was introduced, have yet to have a single issue with anything...1960s gravely to 2015 Murray and anything in between. Probably 25 machines over the years, not one issue with fuel. I have two year old gas in my Tecumseh powered generator, I started it the other day without a hitch...it hasn't been started for over a year.

I don't care what the "scientific" explanation is, what matters is whether it happens in the real world. I fully understand it is hygroscopic, but again; in a more or less sealed gas tank with a 100% gasoline vapor, it's kind of hard for it to draw water from outside. Maybe if you left the gasoline sit in a open pan for a couple days it might do something, but then you would also have gasoline that has lost most of its volatiles and would be compromised anyway.

Do you know how they remove the alcohol from gasoline? Add water and let it settle, and I don't see any settlement in my closed containers?

Again, those that have issues with ethanol, would have issues with regular non-ethanol gas.

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post #7 of 19 Old 05-21-2017, 07:32 PM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

Further, I have the ability to read alcohol in fuel through the electronics.

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post #8 of 19 Old 05-22-2017, 12:36 PM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

I hate ethanol. My experience is pretty much the opposite of yours... I have had far too many occasions where a piece of equipment that has been sitting for a couple months simply won't start until I clean the carb, and put in fresh gas....... I am also not a fan of stabil...... I used it in my 2 cycle snow blower in spring for several years, and the following fall, when it was time to get it prepped for winter duty, it wouldn't start. At all. It would end up going into the shop before it would run properly again. So, one year, I didn't bother wasting the money on the Stabil..... I just filled the tank, and called it good. The following fall, the snow blower fired right up. I stopped using Stabil altogether after than, and a fair few of my problems went away.

I have also had issues of getting good gas, at the wrong time...... If you show up while the tanker is refilling tanks, all the crap that accumulates on the bottoms of the tanks gets stirred up, and ends up in your gas can. (this includes water getting emulsified rather well into the gas.) The problem persists for an hour or two after the tank (gas station) has been filled......

Of course, I have also had cases of good gas, clean carb, filter in the line, etc, and STILL having the carb screw up, and start causing issues...... Pull it, clean it, reinstall it, use the same gas, and no troubles again for the season.

Sometimes, I think grit just spontaneously occurs in the carb. That's about the only explanation I can come up with, the fits all the circumstances.
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post #9 of 19 Old 05-23-2017, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

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Originally Posted by HeyYou View Post
snip

Of course, I have also had cases of good gas, clean carb, filter in the line, etc, and STILL having the carb screw up, and start causing issues...... Pull it, clean it, reinstall it, use the same gas, and no troubles again for the season.

Sometimes, I think grit just spontaneously occurs in the carb. That's about the only explanation I can come up with, the fits all the circumstances.
Well, today I did the second tractor. Same actions as the first. Pull the carb and clean it. Check the fuel pump. Change the fuel filter. Button it all up and test it.

Both tractors are running like tops. Not a hint of sputter or power loss. Just smooth and strong. This afternoon I mowed two of my three properties. In the next day or so I will mow the last one. I also have to mow one additional as a favor to a neighbor who is traveling for the next six weeks.

Now here's the problem with all of this. I didn't find anything wrong. Both carbs were clean as a whistle. Both fuel pumps pumped. Both sparked strong. Both fuel filters, while changed, actually did not look fouled at all.

The only thing I did to fundamentally change things was adjust the carbs. Not a lot. I returned the mixture screws to the starting point. I left one right there and gave the other one an extra quarter turn out on the high speed screw.

That's it.

So why the significant improvement with these two tractors?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Challenge Met


Gravely 16G (1998)
Gravely 16G (1994)
Gravely 16G (1991)
Gravely 48" Snowblower and Cab (for the 91 16G)
Gravely 816S (1976)
Gravely 38" Snowblower (for the 816S)
Gravely 812 (1975)(mine since 1982)(Rolled over in 2016)
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post #10 of 19 Old 05-23-2017, 08:33 PM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

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Originally Posted by Mikey4 View Post
Well, today I did the second tractor. Same actions as the first. Pull the carb and clean it. Check the fuel pump. Change the fuel filter. Button it all up and test it.

Both tractors are running like tops. Not a hint of sputter or power loss. Just smooth and strong. This afternoon I mowed two of my three properties. In the next day or so I will mow the last one. I also have to mow one additional as a favor to a neighbor who is traveling for the next six weeks.

Now here's the problem with all of this. I didn't find anything wrong. Both carbs were clean as a whistle. Both fuel pumps pumped. Both sparked strong. Both fuel filters, while changed, actually did not look fouled at all.

The only thing I did to fundamentally change things was adjust the carbs. Not a lot. I returned the mixture screws to the starting point. I left one right there and gave the other one an extra quarter turn out on the high speed screw.

That's it.

So why the significant improvement with these two tractors?
If you had water, it would have settled to the bottom...you probably had most of it worked out and by cleaning the carbs, got gas back into the mix. If they both died the same way on the same gas, my guess is water.

We had a group of identical Ford e350 15 passenger vans on the field camp to complete my geology degree, there were six vans if I remember correctly. All the vans bought gas at the same time from the same no-name corner station (all but one) and everyone of them died on the road within 1/2 mile of each other (except the one that bought gas from the other station). It was water in the fuel system...took a couple of us gear heads to disconnect the fuel lines and purge the rest of the water out by toggling the ignition...buttoned everything up and the vans ran well enough to get us to the next camp. So I have seen water in fuel affect similar equipment in similar ways, and that's why I suspect the same in your case.

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post #11 of 19 Old 05-23-2017, 08:42 PM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

Like steved said - or atmospheric pressure?

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”- Henry Ford

1992 - 20G-Kohler Magnum Twin (KMT) M20 big Red
1981 - 8183-repowered w/97 M18S 'lil Red
1972 - 816-repowered w/92 M18S 'lil white
1987 - Pro-12 Mr. Lucky
1984 - 8122 to get a diffrnt K301 soon.
1982 - 8123 Fred's Tractor an adoptee
1974 - 812 which is donating.
1970 - 450 w/CCKA Old Yellow
1968? - 424 - shared toy w/Grandson
1974 - C10A - for sale
1961 Ford Industrial 4000 w/Bkhoe-FEL



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post #12 of 19 Old 05-24-2017, 09:13 AM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

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Originally Posted by Mikey4 View Post
Well, today I did the second tractor. Same actions as the first. Pull the carb and clean it. Check the fuel pump. Change the fuel filter. Button it all up and test it.

Both tractors are running like tops. Not a hint of sputter or power loss. Just smooth and strong. This afternoon I mowed two of my three properties. In the next day or so I will mow the last one. I also have to mow one additional as a favor to a neighbor who is traveling for the next six weeks.

Now here's the problem with all of this. I didn't find anything wrong. Both carbs were clean as a whistle. Both fuel pumps pumped. Both sparked strong. Both fuel filters, while changed, actually did not look fouled at all.

The only thing I did to fundamentally change things was adjust the carbs. Not a lot. I returned the mixture screws to the starting point. I left one right there and gave the other one an extra quarter turn out on the high speed screw.

That's it.

So why the significant improvement with these two tractors?
Sometimes I think it's just because they want some attention.......
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post #13 of 19 Old 05-24-2017, 01:23 PM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fla Don View Post
Sounds like there may have been some water in the tank from condensation. Moving the tractors allowed it to get near the pickup where it was sucked up. You ought to see what happens on a Ford Farmmaster 871 when that happens with a Diesel engine. 15 MPH to zero instantly.
You mean the Powermaster? Weren't these the Select-O-Speed machines? These allowed for on the fly shifting IIRC.

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post #14 of 19 Old 05-28-2017, 12:54 PM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

I try to use more treatment than what they call for especially at the end of the season. I also cut the gas off and run it till it quits to get gas out of the carb then pull the starter to top dead center to close the valves. Just me and my OCD ways....

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post #15 of 19 Old 05-28-2017, 01:32 PM
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Re: Gravely Gremlins

All the treatment in the world isn't going to solve the ethanol problem.

I do shut off the fuel and run it till is quits at the end of the season. Why? A carb is vented and as such the gas in the bowl will evaporate. As it evaporates, it is replenished with fuel from the tank. No sense in wasting gas.

Code:
                              Current Inventory
   24G (Onan 24hp)    24GLX - was 16G  (Onan 24hp)   8249 - was 8129 (Onan 24hp)
        818T (Onan 18hp B48)       8163T - was 8123 (Onan CCKA) 
                              8183T (Onan B48)
   5665 w/brakes        5665        5660        Pro-8         Pro-16 w/brakes

For Gravely Manuals and more visit http://GTCOA.com
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