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Gravely 2-wheeler
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I ran my '80 8122 for the first time since buying it last autumn. (It needed repairs and maintenance.) It is my first and only running Kohler powered tractor. It has a Kohler K301 with a stock mechanical fuel pump. I run non-ethanol premium with Sea Foam. Should I run the carb dry to stop it, like I do on all my gravity fed machines, or should I just turn off the key and then turn off the gas as a precaution?
 

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My K301 likes to be idled for awhile before shutting down, otherwise it backfires very faithfully. "Gravity fed" tank, although the tank's outlet is lower than the carb IIRC, with mechanical pulse pump mounted on the engine.

Someone's signature on this forum (don't recall who) says "it's a Kohler. It's supposed to backfire." Don't know if that a K series or not, but it holds true for mine if I don't idle it down. Been that way since brand new in '86.
 

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I have found backfires can blow the crankshaft seals out and destroy mufflers. No full throttle shut downs here with the Kohler K or M's. Always at idle.
 

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I dont do anything special with my k301 powered 5665 2 wheeler except shut the fuel off at the tank, mainly because I dont use the machine a lot.

I think running the system dry and letting it sit for an extended period can invite fuel pump issues in my experience with a k181t.

With ethanol gas it's going to evaporate in the fuel line anyway.



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I dont do anything special with my k301 powered 5665 2 wheeler except shut the fuel off at the tank, mainly because I dont use the machine a lot.

I think running the system dry and letting it sit for an extended period can invite fuel pump issues in my experience with a k181t.

With ethanol gas it's going to evaporate in the fuel line anyway.



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Yep, and when the ethanol fuel evaporates, it leaves a sticky gum behind that clogs and sticks everything in the fuel system. The worst thing you can do to a small engine is run ethanol fuel in it and then let it sit.

The original poster is running non-ethanol fuel, so he has choices. If you guys think he should not run it dry he probably will be ok to let it sit full, though I would turn the fuel supply off.
 

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Once again I will share my experience.

In 1996 I purchased a brand new GRAVELY 16G with a Kohler M18 twin.

My 1995 production 16G has a plastic top feed siphon fuel tank and no fuel shut off, so I have never run it dry to stop or store it.

I ALWAYS let it come to a smooth idle before shutting it down, it will BACKFIRE otherwise.

For 23 years now the tractor has been run only on BP/AMOCO premium or SUNOCO premium fuel.

The tractor has seen a total of about 800 hours of service and is used to cut grass and plow/blow snow.

Here in the Mid Atlantic some winters have little snow, the tractor may sit for months.

I have replaced as few fuel pumps, and about 3 years ago I replaced the carb, but I have only had one performance "event" that I could attribute to bad fuel.

It starts every time with no issues, it runs fine. Several years ago I pulled the heads and decarboned them, the cylinder walls were like new. Before doing that I did have some rough running at mid throttle, I also started adding Marvel Mystery Oil to the fuel. Roughness went away.

I change the oil every spring and fall regardless of hours, I use only SAE30 oil, as my indoor storage means no really cold startups even in winter.

Ethanol or not, the quality of fuel additives makes a difference, better brands have better additives, junk that comes up the pipeline and sold at Wawa has who knows what for additives. BP and SUNOCO do not use the pipeline and put in all the additives at the refinery. Better quality control, better additives. Premium generally has less Ethanol.

In my hot rod days it was considered a death spell to a carburetor to run it dry and let it sit. Of course these machines were not designed to just "sit", they were designed to run. Even 10 minutes of occasional run time will prevent lots of problems.

But I only have the one tractor, not a museum fleet that sits idle.

OK, now I'm off to cut the lawn......

Sheldon
 

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I don't know of it's true, but I have heard that premium fuel may not have ethanol in it.


I think that virtually all premium does have ethanol in it. It’s required by law. I can smell the difference in ethanol free and 10% ethanol fuel. There is a website and an app, PureGas.org, (or something like that) that lists stations with ethanol free fuel. It’s allowed to be sold to the general public for boats, motorcycles, and lawn equipment, (with the exception of California) since sitting for long periods of time, allows phase separation to occur, and the subsequent fouling of the carbs.
 

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I think that virtually all premium does have ethanol in it. It’s required by law. I can smell the difference in ethanol free and 10% ethanol fuel. There is a website and an app, PureGas.org, (or something like that) that lists stations with ethanol free fuel. It’s allowed to be sold to the general public for boats, motorcycles, and lawn equipment, (with the exception of California) since sitting for long periods of time, allows phase separation to occur, and the subsequent fouling of the carbs.
From what I understand, it varies by brand and contains less ethanol in most cases, more like 5-8% rather than 10%.

And my experience suggests that better quality proprietary additives offset the ethanol problems considerably.

I never winterize my tractor because it plows snow, but sometimes very little snow. It starts right up every time, sometimes after sitting for a month or more in winter.

Sheldon
 

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I think that virtually all premium does have ethanol in it. It’s required by law. I can smell the difference in ethanol free and 10% ethanol fuel. There is a website and an app, PureGas.org, (or something like that) that lists stations with ethanol free fuel. It’s allowed to be sold to the general public for boats, motorcycles, and lawn equipment, (with the exception of California) since sitting for long periods of time, allows phase separation to occur, and the subsequent fouling of the carbs.
Depends on where you are. It's my understanding different states have different rules, and certainly here in Canada getting premium fuel that at least is claimed to not have ethanol is readily available (well, at least here in Alberta).
 

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Should use fuel stabilizer like Sta Bil in it if it sits for any length of time and leave the bowl full and wet but you can turn the valve off after you shut it down to avoid any fuel leakage or oil dilution that can happen on older ones.
 

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Yep, depends where you are. In south central PA I can get mid grade fairly easily with no ethanol, but I don't really have a use for it. I only have one source of ethanol free premium, that goes in my dirt bikes. I can get ethanol free regular from the same place, that's what goes in my lawn equipment and street bike.
 

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Sorry to hijack the thread, but what is your source of ethanol-free gas in this part of PA? I am in Carlisle, and have not found a very convenient source yet.

Thanks,

Jim
 

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I think that virtually all premium does have ethanol in it. It’s required by law. I can smell the difference in ethanol free and 10% ethanol fuel. There is a website and an app, PureGas.org, (or something like that) that lists stations with ethanol free fuel. It’s allowed to be sold to the general public for boats, motorcycles, and lawn equipment, (with the exception of California) since sitting for long periods of time, allows phase separation to occur, and the subsequent fouling of the carbs.
It absolutely depends on the area. None of the stations around here have any pure gas. The premium still has 10% ethanol.
 

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It absolutely depends on the area. None of the stations around here have any pure gas. The premium still has 10% ethanol.
Keep looking. I guess if you are religious with the additives they can mitigate the damage, but there is no substitute for non-ethanol fuel.

I can't count how many carbs and fuel tanks I have had to clean out/throw away because of the ethanol fuel. I consider it Kryptonite to any engine that sits for a long period of time.

Never have figured out why the fuel companies just don't go ahead and add something like the Stabil in the fuel at the refinery.
 

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Yep, and when the ethanol fuel evaporates, it leaves a sticky gum behind that clogs and sticks everything in the fuel system. The worst thing you can do to a small engine is run ethanol fuel in it and then let it sit.



The original poster is running non-ethanol fuel, so he has choices. If you guys think he should not run it dry he probably will be ok to let it sit full, though I would turn the fuel supply off.
A lot of the classic car guys actually like this aspect of modern gasoline, claiming they actually have less carburetor problems with the evaporation. I think where you run into trouble is in humid climates where the ethanol can pull moisture from the air.

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A lot of the classic car guys actually like this aspect of modern gasoline, claiming they actually have less carburetor problems with the evaporation. I think where you run into trouble is in humid climates where the ethanol can pull moisture from the air.

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99% of the time when I go to start a vehicle that has been sitting and gone dry with ethanol fuel in it, I have to pound on the top of the carb with a screwdriver handle to unstick the float needle, or fill the carb bowl manually with fuel and then as the engine is running, squeeze the fuel supply line shut, let it build some pressure and then let it go to try and knock the float needle loose. They always get glued in tight with the lousy fuel.

I think I have mentioned this before, I have found out if you can get a engine running, big or small, and pour some of that sea foam stuff in the fuel, it will eventually over time cut that stuff out.

I have had small engines that I got running, but would only run with the choke 1/2 to 3/4 on. Of course it is running but has little power to do anything. I have put that sea foam in the fuel and after running for a little awhile you can open the choke farther, and after running about 20 minutes you can usually open the choke wide open.
 
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