Hagerty.com

Old gas 2 questions


#1

I have an old Healey that unfortunately I’ve been letting sit for too long. I didn’t drive it at all last summer and only a few times the summer of 2016, the gas currently in the tank is most likely 3 or more years old. My gut tells me to pump it out and put some fresh gas in before I try to start the car however I have heard that bad gas has a rancid smell and this gas just smells like gas, maybe not quite as strong an odor as I was expecting but certainly nothing even approaching rancid.
What do you think, try it anyway or replace it?
Question #2, assuming I pump it out, then what do I do with the old gas? The local solid waste authority has two days in the spring and fall they take stuff like this but as luck would have it I am scheduled to be out of town for the spring days. Are there other approved ways to get rid of old gas.
thanks in advance for your help,
Jay


#2

O K pump it all out and see if its got any dirt or slush in it which you can filter ou thru a fine cloth then mix about a quarter of it with 3 quarters new fuel you will end up with no waste and it will burn fine (done it a few times with never any trouble Cheers uwe)


#3

@250gto - Sad to hear your Healey has been sitting but good to hear you are getting it back up and going!

I would recommend draining or pumping the fuel from the tank and replacing with fresh before trying to start the car. I typically follow the process @uwedodge stated, but I run the new gas/old gas mix in my daily pickup. You certainly could run it in the classic, but I just don’t take the chance.


#4

@250gto When I bought my Alfa Romeo it had been sitting for who knows how long. I didn’t pump the old gas out, which was a mistake. I can’t remember if the fuel pump was also on the way out or the strain of all the particulate gunk killed it, but I had to replace the fuel pump. That didn’t actually fix the problem because my tank was still full of junk! I ended up having to remove the whole tank (I opted for repair instead of replacement). There were so many tiny particles in the fuel it looked like browned butter, or a really old unfiltered beer. Lots of time, money, and hassle. Way more hassle than spending an hour or so to get the fuel out.


#5

Thanks for all the advice folks.
I am here to report that the old car gods were truly smiling on me this time. I was all set to pump out the gas and was getting nothing, the end of the hose was barely damp! I’d jacked up the front of the car to force the fuel to the back and spent some time moving the hose around to try to get to the fuel I was sure was in there but no luck. I bounced the rear of the car to confirm there was fuel in there but heard no sloshing noises, could it have all evaporated? At this point I felt I had no choice so I put in 2 gals of fresh premium and turned the key and after a few lazy turns the fuel pump did it’s thing so pushed the starter button and after 1 lazy turn the battery said “no way”! I pull it out and the tester at Batteries Plus said it only had 140 cranking amps left even though it was fully charged. New battery in and it turns over pretty well but doesn’t sound excited to start and my can of starter fluid was so old it wouldn’t spray!
Sleep on it and run to parts store in the morning for a fresh can of starter fluid, do a very light sanding of the points, pull the plugs and turn the engine over until it shows 40 lbs of oil pressure, reinstall the plugs, a squirt of starter fluid in each carb and all four cylinders light right away!! I let it idle until it showed a little heat then shut if off and waited for the rain to stop. Once I got a break in the rain I took it on a 8 mile drive and all seems fine.
The fuel that was in it was normal 93 octane premium that I assume has ethanol in it that I may have added some Stabil to a year or two ago but shouldn’t I expect it will still leave behind some sludge or something else to worry about?


#6

It sounds like you may have lucked out -probably not much ethanol in the gas that was in the tank. If the tank has a drain plug, I’d suggest draining the tank into a very clean drain pan, then adding another fresh gallon or 2 to flush any crud out. If it looks okay, you can use a coffee filter to pour the drained gas back in to the tank - also a good idea to make sure you have a good quality gas filter between the tank and pump.