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Letter Re: Chainsaws and Long Term Gasoline Storage

Sir:
I get great satisfaction cutting firewood and “stockpiling” fuel for winter, and I always put Sta-Bil in my gas if I know I will not finish the gas can. But I know if my Stihl chainsaw won’t start it is the gas(premixed with 2 stroke oil) If my knuckles are bloody from trying to start it, I dump the gas, pull it a few times to get the fuel out of the line, refill with fresh gas and it will fire-up on the second pull. My saw doesn’t like gasoline that has lost the volatile gases. Post-TEOTWAWKI [1] I will be stuck with bow saws and axes to heat my house and all that 2 stroke oil I bought last month at your suggestion might as well be gun oil! Any diesel chainsaws out there?

I went to my Stihl dealer yesterday and asked about the ethanol chainsaws that you mentioned a while ago that are available in South America. He will look into ordering one for me. (But how will I get the unique parts if they wear/break?) I mainly wanted to know about gas/2stroke mix going bad quickly even with Sta-Bil added. The mechanic said that if you leave the oil/gas mix together too long before using it the 2 cycle oil dissolves too thoroughly in the gas and burns without lubricating, then scorching the cylinder! I guess I will start mixing only ‘just enough’ oil/gas mix. I am looking for a syringe to measure the oil to add to the gas also because I bought bulk package Stihl 2 stoke oil. I can’t be throwing away oil/gas mix that gets old, that would be poor stewardship of our resources. Its better to do our trouble shooting now rather than later. – Edventures

JWR Replies: The dearth of diesel chainsaws was mentioned in SurvivalBlog a few weeks ago [2]. I concluded that: “…there were a few diesel saws made decades ago, but they never caught on, since diesels are inherently heavier than gas engines of the same displacement, and they typically have lower RPM.”