Old gas put into gas tank of Lawn Tractor

mkramer777
mkramer777 used Ask the Experts™
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I have an Ariens Lawn tractor and my daughter put in dirty old gas into the tank and ran it for a bit.    Then it stopped and  I can't get it started anymore. I dumped the gas out and put in new gas and it won't start.  Tries to start but does not.    What do I need to try and get it going?  Another terrible thought is that it wasn't gasoline.   It did not have much of a smell, maybe because it was so old.  When I looked in the tank before I dumped it the gas looked pretty brown, but that could have been because this was old and dirty.
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AlexSenior Infrastructure Analyst

Commented:
Petrol has a use by date, if it's 6 months old it turns to Jelly and clogs the injectors.

You now have to either strip down the engine to clean the injectors. You'll struggle to start it. You could try the brute forcing of the gunk out of the injectors but it's slim.
Senior Infrastructure Analyst
Commented:
if it was brown, there is every chance it was diesel, however the likelihood of that is also slim since you don't get diesel mowers. They tend to be 2 stroke petrol engines. So you have to add the 2 stroke oil.

Author

Commented:
Does diesel have a different smell than regular gasoline?
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Author

Commented:
This was a farm so it could have been diesel.  The guy who lived here before me (and left the gas jug) had many machines.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
It also could have had water in it.

Your only recourse is to clean the fuel lines and carburetor.   Then put in a new spark plug, fresh gas and start it.
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Yep. Make sure it was the correct type of fuel for the engine.

Next, pour some of the fuel through a metal strainer + look for sediment.

If the only problem is viscous material, not gravel or hard sediment, likely you can have someone tear down the engine + just clean it.

If gravel/sediment got run through the engine, likely cost more to fix the engine than replace it with a used engine.
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
>> It did not have much of a smell, maybe because it was so old.  

Old gas smells like gas.  Likely had a lot of water in it.  Before tearing into a lot of parts, change the gas filter and spark plug.

Diesel smells different than gas.  Sorry but I'm not sure how to explain the difference here.
Robert RComputer Service Technician

Commented:
Try removing the sparkplug and cranking the engine a few times may help some of the contaimnants from the engine. Then replace the spark plug and restart the engine
If the machine has a carburettor, remove it and clean it thoroughly with an aerosol fuel system cleaner, paying particular attention to the jets and passages and not just the float valve and bowl. Also, remove the fuel tank and lines and clean them thoroughly as well. The engine is most unlikely to have been damaged, as from what you say it just ran until the crud got to it, at which point it simply stopped.
If it's fuel injected (really? A lawn mower?) then pretty much the same applies, except that it may take a short time to purge the injectors of the mystery liquid.

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