Ethanol Sucks - Some Helpful Hints to All You Real Men Out There

Just so you know, just because I haven't been posting everyday lately, that doesn't mean that I've been sitting around doing nothing.  
The used snowplow I just bought is coming along nicely.  Just a few more welds and it will be ready for paint.  I figured as long as I was rebuilding one plow, I might as well redo the one I already had, and good thing I did.  The quadrant was cracked through (like happens to ALL Western plows.  The one I just bought is cracked in the same place.) and the bolt hole for the lift chain was almost worn through.  About 1/8th inch of steel left.  I sure would have hated to have that break when I was going 60 mph down the highway.

Anyway, this is what I wanted to tell you about.  We had a storm last weekend, and a tree blew down.  Last night I thought I would quick get a chainsaw and cut it up.  Everything was going nicely until I misjudged the pressure on the fallen tree.  I was cutting from the bottom when I should have been cutting from the top.  Needless to say, the saw got pinched.  No big deal right?  Just get chainsaw #2, and cut it out, right?  Well I tried to start it, and nothing.  It would start when I squirted some fuel in the carb, but would not stay running.  No biggie, that's what chainsaw #3 is for.  I tried to start that, and the same thing.  Thank God for chainsaw #4, I only have thee others after that to fall back on.  Well chainsaw #4 started, and I was able to cut loose saw #1.  

Oh yeah, here's another tip, no, two tips for you.  If possible, rather than cutting up a tree and dragging the pieces to where you want to burn them, once you get the tree cut from the stump, just chain the tree up to your truck and drag the whole thing to where you want to burn it. That sure beats dragging 50 limbs, 100 feet or more.  Tip #2, instead of making a big pile of green brush and waiting weeks for it to dry, try this.  Start a fire with some good dry firewood.  After that's burning well, start throwing on the pieces of green wood you just cut from the tree.  You can get rid of an entire green tree this way, and you can control how big the fire is.  If it gets too big, stop adding brush until it burns down a little.  No more unsightly brush piles sitting on your property for weeks or months.

Getting back to the chainsaws, if you have a chainsaw or any other piece of equipment like a weed whacker, that will start on gas squirted in the carb, but will not stay running, there is an excellent chance that the problem is a bad fuel line.  I have been told that ethanol in gas is the cause of this.  The fuel line on one saw was cracked, and the fuel line on the other saw had turned so brittle that I could grind it to pieces between my fingers.  The ethanol not only damaged the fuel lines, but it has ruined the isolation mounts on the saw handle too.  Maybe I should buy premium gas with no ethanol for my 2 cycle stuff, but I just know that I wouldn't stick to it.  

Tomorrow, I go get some new fuel line and fix 'em both.  I miss talking to all you guys (and gals).  Don't forget me.  I'll be back regularly as soon as I can.  What's happened the past couple weeks?  Are liberals still stupid?  Does Obama still suck?  I feel like I've been cut off from the world.


  1. I can see ethanol making the fuel lines brittle (but generally, this doesn't happen if the saw is less than 12 years old) but the isolation mounts are more likely just oxidation.

    THis stuff:

    Works to keep the ethanol issues reduced. But I sincerely doubt that this issues with your fuel lines are anything besides old age.

    1. Thank you for the comment. So what you're saying is that my fuel lines are just like me. Alcohol is not the problem, it's just old age. You mention specifically 12 years old. Is that because 12 years ago, manufacturers started using fuel lines that aren't affected by ethanol? or is it because you can only expect fuel lines to last 12 years?

    2. About 12 years ago, they changed materials to reflect the changed gas mix. This helped the issue, but did not make them never become brittle.

      Really, though, anything over a few years old becomes brittle. This was so 20 years ago, and it is so now.

      We just blame it on the ethanol these days.

      There are several good additives which will prevent the issues in gaskets, the below commenter suggests "startron" which is another good product. These will prevent (but NOT stop) the embrittlement of plastics , but are primarily designed to prevent phase change and other issues with the ethanol in the fuel.

      Plastic gets brittle. Period.

    3. If fuel lines go bad no matter what, I wish they would make them easier to replace. I had to tear the whole saw apart just to get to them. My 1951 Mall chain saw has a metal fuel line. Nothing has gone wrong with that in over 60 years. Even saws made in the '70's are much easier to service than today's saws.

  2. I sell 2 cycle equipment to the lawn care industry. the past few years have seen an incredible increase in the fuel lines and rubber grommets in the fuel systems, not twelve years, but twelve months or lees will result in leaks, etc... the market has solutions for this, "startron" is wht I sell. good tips on the reduction in labor for tree removal. most of my customers work in town or suburbs and must cut and haul.
    I enjoy your blog but don't often comment, this is something that I am familiar with so I hope it helps.

    1. Is that Startron stuff something you have to add every time you mix two cycle gas or just use once in a while?