Engine storage thoughts

I fired up a few engines in fleet while the sun was shining today. I wanted to see how things would behave after a year of sitting with my most recent long term storage routine.

My spare mower is a iron cylinder liner Chinese GX clone. It has sat 2 years without running stored outside under a tarp. I oil the exterior with cloth covered in old motor oil ( including the underside ) and inside the engine was liberally coated with clean engine oil poured in from the carb side and pulled over until it coughed out the muffler. Fuel drained removed and the fuel system flushed with WD40.
Mower started first pull, smoked a little but ran fine.

Next I fired up my third spare generator ( I am very paranoid you know so I need a back up for the spare ) It was stored inside and wrapped in plastic. This time I used a commercial engine fog and the tag says I put 91 octane no ethanol gasoline with stabil in it. The battery had been connected since its last service in June 19 and it have been charged several times
Its started after 5 seconds of cranking, stumbled, stalled and went through a second cranking cycle before it settled down and picked up a 1300 watt load. I must have fogged the hell out of it because it took 15 minutes for the smoke to clear, it even attracted the neighbor 3 houses down to see what was going on.

Next I started LK Onan ( the second spare ). It was stored with a tea spoon of oil down the spark plug hole and the flywheel turned to ensure both valves were closed after a full service last spring and it had its carb and fuel system flushed with mixed commercially blended 2 cycle oil/fuel in a can but stored dry. It was stored completely covered by a plastic bag and taped up to prevent mice from getting in it ( mice seem to love Onan )
Its started after an especially long cranking cycle but that because I never primed the fuel pump and it produced the least amount of smoke

Next is the Honda. It had nothing done to it other than I park the flywheel to keep both valves closed and simply the carb drained. I expect it will start too, but the carbs always give me a bot of trouble unless I do something to prevent corrosion. There is some surface rust on the exhaust and dust on it from sitting uncovered. Log book says it had a service last in May 19

My primary lawn mower ( a 1970s lawnboy 2 stroke ) having had nothing done to it and still containing last summers gasoline needed 3 or 4 pulls to start and even though it was covered next to the spare it showed some rust and I think there was some moister in the ignition points because it was fussy until warmed up

Still to be looked at is the spare snowblower that has not had a service or any attention since spring 19 with old gas still in the tank. I don’t expect it to start at all. I do think I will find corrosion in the carb and maybe some rust on the exhaust valves.

This is not a scientific test, I just want to see if I gain anything from being more careful about things. I do know the excess storage oil burning off pissing off my neighbors. 2 cycle engines have a lot less issues after a winter of neglect it seems because the oil in the fuel seems to prevent a lot of rust and corrosion in the engines and fuel systems.
I think the spare snowblower is the best one to test next fall after its woodgas conversion and the following spring I will see how it fared without any care of maintenance done ( I am not going to snow blow on wood just run the engine up some hours and then do nothing too it for the winter ). My fuel was drawn from a drum I store gas in and have stored gas in for the past 3 years with draw downs and top ups as needed. My fuel smells and looks fine

This is really all I have to say. I am bored stuck in lock down on a rainy day looking for things to do.


I store 9 or 10 old walkbehind lawnmowers in a shed. Oldest ones are from the early 70s. I try to keep at least 2 or 3 in working condition every summer. In the fall I just shut down an roll them in, covered with grass clippings under the decks. Seems to prevent rust. In the spring the exhaust is a little smelly at first from old gasoline.
I’ve never changed oil in a Briggs. Just topped up a little.
Wheels fall off and knifes get outof balance running over limbs, rocks and stumps, but welding on a nut or something will usually do the trick.
I’m 53. I’ve never bought a lawnmower - only helped neighbours saving them a trip to the junk-yard.


In Canada the government has mandated they alcohol in the gasoline, this causes a lot of issues and its even worse with boats.

Most lawn mowers in climates like where we live never run more than 20-40 hours a year in residential use. So its very hard to wear them out unless you abuse them. People make jokes about Briggs and Stratton engines being so cheap its not worth changing the oil, and then one year they actually came out and said do not bother to change the oil just keep it full. BUT it is a tribute the design and of B&S that they were able to make an engine so cheap we could all afford to own power equipment.

That said I prefer my D series lawn-boy although it is very environmentally unfriendly, and I have to hand it to the Chinese clone makers they are the first and only companies that could build a cheaper engine than B&S ( sadly the company has gone bankrupt ) and they actually make a better engine that B&S now. I am going to go out on a limb and say I think the Chinese clone of the GVX series engines are superior to the actual Honda Clone fighter the GC series.

For many years Honda did not want to get in a knife fight with with B&S over who could build the cheapest engine that was good enough. Its a fight both companies have lost to Chinese clone builders.

My lawnmower is a Lawn-boy D series made at the Peterborough plant by OMC. I have been cutting grass with some incarnation of parts since 1982 with this when it began life as an Eaton’s Viking brand mower. I have worn out and repaired it for decades with parts I used to find at the street corners. Since no new units in this engine family have been manufactured since 1979 its getting hard for me to keep on fixing this. Its not rings or bearings that are the problem its just trying to keep a carburetor is one decent working piece now ( the shafts are worn out ) Cork floats are no longer available ( and damaged by ethanol ) and I can’t buy a new set of points. Ignition coils 50 years old that are not cracked and grounded are hard to get and I will have to probably retire old smokey at some point in the next decade.

The Chinese mower may be replaced with something electric…
Not because its not good but rather because batteries are lighter and cheaper every year.


Well here is my easy-way trick to change oil on walk-behinds four strokes.
Wait until you ran it completely out of gasoline. Then warmed.
Tip the mower up sideways and pour drain out the fill hole.

Store gasoline-in-carb wet . . .
Store gasoline-in-carb dry . . .
Just depends on the carburetor. Some dry become leakers and needle stuck open if left dry, next spring when refueled wet.
Others become float sank heavy if left wet. Then restart not. Spark plug wetted, gounded out.

Ethanol fuel is always bad for long term storage. Worth it to buy a sealed can of the commercial super gasoline just for the wet in-engine storage.

And store with a fresh oil change. It is still buffered non-corrosive. Run this new oil enough to clean and coat the rings in their piston grooves.
Used oil becomes acids corrosive.
Why the just topping up was, and is; complete bullshit advice.
They DID not do that on their iron bore industrial engine series.

And Wallace look to the electronic replace points retrofit kits.
Always work long term stored for years and years until one year from engine heat soaks they don’t.
Happy with a conversion . . . buy a spare ahead.
“Two is one. And one is none.”
The factory no-point electronic ignition and your spare is that whole 'nother free engine w/wheels curbside harvested. Even a completely trashed engine will usual have a good unitized coil-pac.

Like JO; my engined equipment get stored in an enclosed wooden shed. These do not sweat drip inside.
The PLATSIC gasoline cans stored in an open shed . Any can that no longer in the sun pressurized and then next night suck in I trash as no longer air tight.
You build up air condensing moisture in can, breathing in and out many times over the course of six months.

Just my experiences
Steve Unruh

Like a K series Kohler the D series lawn-boy uses a mechanical timing retarder to make it easier to start. The flywheel also has an extra magnet to work with the retarder. So if you try and retrofit an electronic replacement for the points you end up with something that tries to start on the advanced timing set of magnets…
The engine barks and kicks back ripping the cord out of your hand.

Ya like this stuff pure Alkylate

I have some nice little 25 gallon ( 115 litre ) steel drums I intended to make a smoker from, one of them ended up for fuel and I made the smoker out of a wooden whiskey barrel ( better to smoke with anyways ). These ones say Total on them and I think they were full of hydraulic oil or something. The nice thing about a small drum is you can roll it around yourself and if need be I could pick it up and load it myself on a stand. I made a nice fuel pick up with a vent to screw in in place of a bung and I can connect an engine as well as vent outside through a second hose or run a return line back to the drum and run the contents through a water trap and filter if required…
I think small steel drums are the way to go if you want to sit on some gasoline for an extended period. WAY back when we used to buy drums of white gas for the hunt camp like this, one drum would fuel all the lighting and cooking needs for a season and you had a nice little drum at the end ( if you chose not to get the deposit on it )

Fuel burn on the LK is about 1/2 gallon an hour convert to Imperial gallons and that gives me about 60h. Not frugal on gas… but enough time to start processing wood into charcoal for the Mk1. Once you go a few days without hydro you start to think about how you will get by the next time it happens and if that next time never seems to come then your wondering if everything work as anticipated.
On another forum I noticed some guys watch out the windows with glee waiting to see if the lights will go out so they can fire up antique lighting sets they restore and talk about like they are children ( not me I am not quite that far down the rabbit hole ). Nope year after year when the lights go out they seem to come back on before I need to start to worry about stuff and I hope it stays that way.


Hello Kitty Onan AJ

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Well Wallace between you and my nagging wife I was shamed into dragging out the only used ~20 hours a year 17 year old garden rototiller.

Opps! Dry gas tank? I was sure that I’d topped up filled it last October for storage.
But then I DID loan it out to a neighbor, who used it last . . .

Anyhow half filled the tank with new this season non-ethanol gasoline.
Started right up on the 2nd pull. Ran until the carb center fuel well was used up. Died. No fuel.
Whacked the carb body “gently”. Then re-started after many pulls alternating full-choke/ off-choke.
Bit 'o blue oil smoke for 20 seconds and then clear exhaust and steady running.

Best guess is I DID NOT top fill it up. The carb leaked out it’s bowl fuel from the center nut bowl washer. The needle valve was stuck up closed. The float swung down.
This year storing I’ll actually use the in-line fuel shut off valve and intentional run the carb out dry. Then that needle will be for sure open.
The running vibrations, man. Versus sitting quiet.

No: I do not spark plug remove and oil the cylinder. That caused too many carbon shorted out plugs on the out of storage starting up.

Single cylinder I suppose a fellow could spark plug pull and engine rotate to have the piston up and both valves closed . . . .
but a lifetime of getting multi-cylinder’s back up running kinnda’ makes that seem obsessive, anal to me.

Ha! Wife is at least half happy now. Half the garden first pass done then I stopped and did the season oil change. Then too late before dinner to finish.
T-o-m-a-r-r-o-w. Tomorrow. Opps. Rain today.
Steve Unruh


Did you watch the Project Farms video comparing Ethanol to non-ethanol? That was interesting. Especially where he dumped water into the ethanol and it bonded to the water and could be drained out the bottom. I spend over a dollar a gallon extra here to get non-ethanol gas and it is required by the manufacturer in my Troy Built snow blower and I don’t remember if it is in the log splitter but it definitely makes a difference in my chainsaws.

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methylene chloride
OMG its evil stuff but I spray it in combustion chambers install the plug and let them sit one hour before restarting the engine.
I am not sure you can even buy this anymore.

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Glad to know we have some project farm enthusias in the crowd love his content! :+1:

Here in Washington you can still get chemdip it’s works fantastic for the garage guy doing his own work. I prefer the giant industrial carousel steam cleaner for cleaning parts myself but sadly I don’t work in a shop that has one anymore :roll_eyes: back to the solvent tank and lots of eg…elbow grease

Unless this has been reformulated for your market it still contains methylene chloride.
Its truely Satan’s saliva, concentrated evil in a can, but man does it ever clean heads and pistons ( and removes paint too ).

I have a can that I only use to do one thing…
I spray it in spark plug holes on engines ( Usually flat heads with a tendency to run on or ping ) let them sit an hour ( no more it will eat aluminum if left too long ) and fire them up. Most carbon will break up and burn off after that treatment.


Of you go way back to a few posts Koen has made of some high hour clones run exclusively on woodgas you will be amazed how clean they are. I think ( but cannot prove ) that DOW will clean an engine based on the way propane seems to dislodge carbon from diesels and gas engines.


I have not found ethanol gasoline, 10 percent here, to be a problem. I started my beater Suzuki 250cc quad two days ago in the standard manner.

  1. Go find quad, it is outside, wherever I parked it last year when the cold settled in, no stabilizer, whatever gas was in it when parked.
  2. Dump a swig of gas in the air box and pull over about two or three times to start it.
    This has been my habit for 40 years with tractors snowmobiles and other motorized vehicles. I have had a couple of problems over the years with water intrusion because a muffler cover blew off and once had bad gas from a cracked lid, other than that everything has been ok. The tractors mostly sit with empty fuel tanks but everything else always has some in them