The fate of my yard tools

Posted: February 25, 2012 in Life, Stupidity
Tags: , , ,

A short while back I wrote about the synchronized suicide of my lawnmower and weedwhacker. Today I got the call from the garden shop where I took them to be repaired, that they were done. Contained within the call was an apology for not calling last week when they were actually done, which I assumed had happened, but I was curious just how long it would take them to actually call me back, if ever, and I let them simmer. I’m a bastard that way.

The guy in the shop had kept the destroyed parts from both tools, especially the weedwhacker, which was brand new and only used a few hours, which he recognized. He was amazed at the degradation within. The weedwhacker’s fuel intake is a sort of reverse aquarium air stone, which acts as a crud filter. Normally they last for the life of the machine and then some; it’s a part that does not wear out. This one, however, was corroded beyond use. Then were various seals and diaphragms from both the weedwhacker and the lawnmower, which had obviously been melted and warped chemically.

“What did you use for fuel?” he asked, quite sure that I must have put something truly horrible in the machines.

I had bought, specifically for the purpose of fueling my lawn tools, a brand new 5-liter plastic jerrycan, and filled it with 95-octane “Super” gasoline from ANCAP (the general-purpose cheap stuff) and used the proper amount of ANCAP-provided ANCAP brand two-stroke oil for a 50:1 fuel to oil ratio which *should* work in any two-stroke engine no matter what. Notice I said, “should.” I bought this new jerrycan because the cap for the old one had crumbled and decomposed from contact with gasoline in a few months’ time. Yeah.

“Well, something is wrong, because that stuff melted the insides of your carburetors and I know this weedwhacker is brand new and there is no way you could have used it for more than a few days. Are you sure there was no water or other additives in there?”

“Absolutely. I bought it straight from the pump and only had it for a couple of days, and it spent the entire time in my garage, sealed. In fact, now that I see this happening with these tools, my chainsaw stopped working too, and I had just filled it up with the same fuel.”

“When you go home, empty all your tanks and destroy that fuel. They gave you something bad,” he said.

And so I followed his instructions and lo and behold my chainsaw started back up on the second pull and runs like a champ again. Thankfully it hasn’t suffered any noticeable damage. Yet.

Come to think of it, the outboard motor was running kind of crappy with that gas, too, so I drained it and filled it with new stuff, and it too now runs like a champ.

The end result is that either the fuel that ANCAP was pumping contained some kind of chemical cocktail filler to cheapen it, or the two-stroke oil they sold me was mislabeled or another cheap chemical cocktail. The ANCAP station in question is the one just east of Punta Shopping on Av Roosevelt. I will never fuel up there again, and I recommend others reading this avoid it as well.

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