New Reader Questions

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Here are the latest couple of reader questions:

Vern writes:

I use synthetic oil in my semi-retired cars and change once a year. I live in northern MN and wonder if changing when the Summer/Fall dust season is over would be my best bet to have the dust season be at the end of the cycle.

My Answer:

I generally change my semi-retired car’s oil in spring, chiefly because it sees even less use during the winter months – which  I am assuming is probably the case in your case. On the other hand, there is a case to be made for changing it in the fall – so that the crankcase is full of fresh oil during the off-season. I do exactly this with my outdoor power equipment. 

Either way, I think we’re ok. Changing the oil/filter once a year with a high-quality synthetic ought to do the trick. As far s dust, I wouldn’t worry about it unless you haven’t changed the air filter or are running around without one! 

Eric (another Eric) writes:

Trump continues to assault the German auto industry. What is up with that?

My Answer:

Indeed. 

Also, expected. Trump has been explicit about his determination to “protect” the domestic car companies from foreign competition. Perhaps even to the extent of using the regulatory apparat to cripple it. 

We are low this month (see here). 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. eric, outdoor equipment is something I take this tack based on my climate. I clean the air system, drain the fuel system and make sure the tank is clean and then refill with fresh fuel containing one of the fuel stabilizers. I fill it to the top and attempt to do so with cold fuel so there is the least amount of air possible in the system at the end of the year when it’s gong to be sitting all winter.

    Our winters vary wildly in temp and humidity. With that in mind I leave the dirty oil and it’s generally not very dirty. No more oil than a 20 HP engine holds and no more than a filter costs I sometimes change oil near the end of the season although the Kohler I now run on the mower doesn’t seem to have much of anything in it no matter how many hours use and I consider the Amsoil filter a much superior filter to others I can buy but I haven’t looked at a filter assessment for years now so Amsoil may have some serious competition filter-wise.

    Anyway, I’m thinking the wild temp fluctuations along with wild humidity levels are probably much worse during the winter so that’s the dirty oil or semi-dirty oil I’ll leave in the machine. Once it’s needed in the spring I do a half hour or so of mowing at what is normally a light load and change oil and filter. Since my air cleaner is already clean I just check it for rat and mouse problems that could have possibly occurred. I don’t think the sorry little turds can get to this system which gives me peace of mind. I also leave the hood up and since cats can get to it, I don’t worry too much about eaten parts.

    Most of the time the fuel still looks and smells(my true test) fine and here I don’t always do the same thing but now I’ve found how to easily drain the tank I will drain that winter fuel left from that hour of mowing back into a fuel can and administer it to one of the big vehicles that never notices it. I’ll do that with 2 cycle too if I have large amounts left in the boat. I have never been able to tell throwing 20 gallons of 2 cycle at 100-1 ratio(Amsoil)makes any difference in anything I’ve put it in. With the shitty fuel full of alcohol I figure the few ounces of 2 cycle oil is probably a boon for the valves and pistons in a big pickup engine. I’ve even added a gallon or so to a full tank of diesel and never noticed any increased temperature or running. I’ve tried all kinds of fuel doping on diesels and have found pure diesel with no bio crap is the best I’ve found.

    I figure starting the year with new oil, filter, air cleaner is a win/win for anything cause it’s gonna get honked on in the heat. Mowing in west Tx. is a mighty nasty job so I raise the hood and blow the dust and grass off underhood and especially the gas tank. Some might think this is overkill but I use a fresh paint filter simply as a CYA when fueling. I can put this same filter in a ziploc and it’s clean again for the next fill up. I ALWAYS let the engine cool down before refueling not only for safety reasons but it lets the engine cool but the oil is still warm when you crank back up again. Oh, and no matter how often I put fuel in a container, and even if it’s a galvanized can(my fav), I never drain that can without that paint filter since there’s always a chance of crud in the bottom and not necessarily generated in your can. Opening anything in west Tx. can gain some dirt and grass just from the blowing wind. My current mower needs a funnel for fueling if you don’t have a flexible spout and my professional galvanized fuel tanks have no flexible spouts, a good thing since I detest the dirt catching flexible spouts. The paint filter at least doubles the size of the hole you need to hit and not get gas on the outside of the tank, this doubles the advantage of that filter. And when I need a funnel, I have all my funnels wrapped up in old clothes, t shirts are best and they’ll cover a filter twice inside and out. But I don’t just remove the funnel and assume it’s still clean. I inspect it inside and out and anything I see is quickly blown off with some disc brake cleaner. Oh, I always buy a fuel filter double the size of the original in-line fuel filter since my mower has a fuel pump. Over the season of buying gasoline I sometimes pour some out of my gas can into a clean, clear jar(glass)and let it sit for a few hours. Now and again you’ll see a bit of this and that and sometimes some evidence of water….and this is from fuel you just bought. Probably you don’t want to be seen doing this but in west Tx. nobody messes with you if you spill a bit of fuel so I’ll put a very small amount of fuel in a can, swish it around and shake it and then pour it out on clean concrete just to make sure nothing untowards is going on in the tank. I also don’t put the fuel nozzle in my tanks and hold them right up above to observe the gas going in and filling up, You can probably live through holding that fuel hose for six gallons. I sometimes need to buy quite a bit of fuel and I have a couple plastic 6 gallon Jerry cans. Once clean inside, they are good about staying clean and when empty are easy to inspect for debris. I use these tanks first and only if I’m going to not have fuel around very long. The only good fuel storage container for long periods is a galvanized fuel can. Last year I was moving some stuff and came across a 6 gallon galvanized fuel can I thought somebody had “borrowed”. It was full of gas and stabilizer and smelled like it was brand new and it had to be 3 years old. I poured a bit out into a clear jar, perfect, so along with that smell, I added it to 20 gallons of fuel in the pickup. I used two of the galvanized cans to haul diesel last year. After using the diesel I looked into the cans and poured the tiny amount in it out and it was clean and fine. I have no problem simply filling that diesel can up with gasoline since a negligible amount of diesel in 6 gallons of gasoline is neither here nor there. I realize this is a little wordy but I may have touched on some points others might not consider. I used to cringe back in the old day when people would pull out the old push spout for cans and jamb it into a new quart, dirt and all. I never used one myself. I opened cans with a church key(two overlapping holes on one side and just a small hole on the opposite. I poured it through a clean funnel and then set it in there and allowed the thoroughly cleaned can to drain.

    For what it’s worth, I never had fuel problems in anything(except in the 60’s and 70’s when it was half water….and BTW, if those 350 diesels GM made had had water separators on the fuel their reputation would have been different….the problem being diesel had plenty water in it and it just won’t compress) and I’ve been in heaven for at least 20 years with the oil holes on engines larger than an oil bottle so upside down and draining is a matter of doing something else for 5 minutes, esp. with synthetic oil. Pull that bottle out and you can wait forever for a drop to fall. As an aside, if that hard wind is blowing dirt and grass when I can’t avoid changing oil I throw a clean cloth over that bottle while it’s draining. Some people can identify with this type of wind/dirt problem and it’s not anything for others to consider. To paraphrase Jack NIcholson in The Departed ” Act accordingly”. One other thing, this isn’t such a big deal on small engines for the most part but for large engines, I often pull the plug and let it drain till the next day. If I drain one that long I drain the filter for a good while and then clean the filter housing really well, fill the filter and put it on for that overnight drain. I just don’t want crap blowing up into the filter housing. Don’t be stingy spraying the filter base with some cleaner like disc brake cleaner or similar and allowing it to drip dry.

    No doubt you think of me as being a clean freak but you can never been TOO clean.

  2. eric, outdoor equipment is something I take this tack based on my climate. I clean the air system, drain the fuel system and make sure the tank is clean and then refill with fresh fuel containing one of the fuel stabilizers. I fill it to the top and attempt to do so with cold fuel so there is the least amount of air possible in the system at the end of the year when it’s gong to be sitting all winter.

    Our winters vary wildly in temp and humidity. With that in mind I leave the dirty oil and it’s generally not very dirty. No more oil than a 20 HP engine holds and no more than a filter costs I sometimes change oil near the end of the season although the Kohler I now run on the mower doesn’t seem to have much of anything in it no matter how many hours use and I consider the Amsoil filter a much superior filter to others I can buy but I haven’t looked at a filter assessment for years now so Amsoil may have some serious competition filter-wise.

    Anyway, I’m thinking the wild temp fluctuations along with wild humidity levels are probably much worse during the winter so that’s the dirty oil or semi-dirty oil I’ll leave in the machine. Once it’s needed in the spring I do a half hour or so of mowing at what is normally a light load and change oil and filter. Since my air cleaner is already clean I just check it for rat and mouse problems that could have possibly occurred. I don’t think the sorry little turds can get to this system which gives me peace of mind. I also leave the hood up and since cats can get to it, I don’t worry too much about eaten parts.

    Most of the time the fuel still looks and smells(my true test) fine and here I don’t always do the same thing but now I’ve found how to easily drain the tank I will drain that winter fuel left from that hour of mowing back into a fuel can and administer it to one of the big vehicles that never notices it. I’ll do that with 2 cycle too if I have large amounts left in the boat. I have never been able to tell throwing 20 gallons of 2 cycle at 100-1 ratio(Amsoil)makes any difference in anything I’ve put it in. With the shitty fuel full of alcohol I figure the few ounces of 2 cycle oil is probably a boon for the valves and pistons in a big pickup engine. I’ve even added a gallon or so to a full tank of diesel and never noticed any increased temperature or running. I’ve tried all kinds of fuel doping on diesels and have found pure diesel with no bio crap is the best I’ve found.

    I figure starting the year with new oil, filter, air cleaner is a win/win for anything cause it’s gonna get honked on in the heat. Mowing in west Tx. is a mighty nasty job so I raise the hood and blow the dust and grass off underhood and especially the gas tank. Some might think this is overkill but I use a fresh paint filter simply as a CYA when fueling. I can put this same filter in a ziploc and it’s clean again for the next fill up. I ALWAYS let the engine cool down before refueling not only for safety reasons but it lets the engine cool but the oil is still warm when you crank back up again. Oh, and no matter how often I put fuel in a container, and even if it’s a galvanized can(my fav), I never drain that can without that paint filter since there’s always a chance of crud in the bottom and not necessarily generated in your can. Opening anything in west Tx. can gain some dirt and grass just from the blowing wind. My current mower needs a funnel for fueling if you don’t have a flexible spout and my professional galvanized fuel tanks have no flexible spouts, a good thing since I detest the dirt catching flexible spouts. The paint filter at least doubles the size of the hole you need to hit and not get gas on the outside of the tank, this doubles the advantage of that filter. And when I need a funnel, I have all my funnels wrapped up in old clothes, t shirts are best and they’ll cover a filter twice inside and out. But I don’t just remove the funnel and assume it’s still clean. I inspect it inside and out and anything I see is quickly blown off with some disc brake cleaner. Oh, I always buy a fuel filter double the size of the original in-line fuel filter since my mower has a fuel pump. Over the season of buying gasoline I sometimes pour some out of my gas can into a clean, clear jar(glass)and let it sit for a few hours. Now and again you’ll see a bit of this and that and sometimes some evidence of water….and this is from fuel you just bought. Probably you don’t want to be seen doing this but in west Tx. nobody messes with you if you spill a bit of fuel so I’ll put a very small amount of fuel in a can, swish it around and shake it and then pour it out on clean concrete just to make sure nothing untowards is going on in the tank. I also don’t put the fuel nozzle in my tanks and hold them right up above to observed the gas going in and filling up, You can probably live through holding that fuel hose for six gallons. I sometimes need to buy quite a bit of fuel and I have a couple plastic 6 gallon Jerry tanks. Once clean inside, they are good about staying clean and when empty are easy to inspect for debris when empty. I use these tanks first and only if I’m going to not have fuel around very long. The only good fuel storage container for long periods is a galvanized fuel can. Last year I was moving some stuff and came across a 6 gallon galvanized fuel can I though somebody had “borrowed”. It was full of gas and stabilizer and smelled like it was brand new and it had to be 3 years old. I poured a bit out into a clear jar, perfect, so along with that smell, I added it to 20 gallons of fuel in the pickup. I used two of the galvanized cans to haul diesel last year. After using the diesel I looked into the cans and poured the tiny amount in it out and it was clean and fine. I have no problem simply filling that diesel can up with gasoline since a negligible amount of diesel in 6 gallons of gasoline is neither here nor there. I realize this is a little wordy but I may have touched on some points others might not consider. I used to cringe back in the old day when people would pull out the old push spout for cans and jamb it into a new quart, dirt and all. I never used one myself. I opened cans with a church key(two overlapping holes on one side and just a small hole on the opposite. I poured it through a clean funnel and then set it in there and allowed the thoroughly cleaned can to drain.

    For what it’s worth, I never had fuel problems in anything and I’ve been in heaven for at least 20 years with the oil hole on engines larger than an oil bottle so upside down and draining is a matter of doing something else for 5 minutes, esp. with synthetic oil. Pull that bottle out and you can wait forever for a drop to fall. As an aside, if that hard wind is blowing dirt and grass when I can’t avoid changing oil I throw a clean cloth over that bottle while it’s draining. Some people can identify with this type of wind/dirt problem and it’s not anything for others to consider. To paraphrase Jack NIcholson in The Departed ” Act accordingly”. One other thing, this isn’t such a big deal on small engine for the most part but for large engines, I often pull the plug and let it drain till the next day. If I drain one that long I drain the filter for a good while and then clean the filter housing really well, fill the filter and put it back on for that overnight drain. I just don’t want crap blowing up into the filter housing. Don’t be stingy spraying the filter base with some cleaner like disc brake cleaner or similar and allowing it to drip dry.

    No doubt you think of me as being a clean freak but you can never been TOO clean.

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