B&S Engine Off-season Storage: drain gas tank or stabilize?

Well the trees are turning green and the snow's finally gone, so that means it's time to put the snowblower away. After I run it for a little while to warm it up and then change the oil, should I keep running it to drain the gas from the tank/carb, or should I keep gasoline in the tank and rely on gasoline stabilizer? (The gas in the tank already has STA-BIL in it.)
I figure that draining the gas completely will ensure no varnish/junk build up in the fuel system, but keeping fuel + stabilizer in the tank will prevent moisture in the fuel system/carburetor. Which is better?
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Personal opinion only, I don't think there's enough difference to make any difference. I usually do sort of a combo of the two with my Ariens snow blower. Letting the tank go low on gas (or siphon most of it out), I add a shot of Stabil to the tank, let it run for about ten minutes or so until it gets good and warm, then shut off the gas valve on the tank. The bowl empties & it stalls, then I drain the oil & refill it, pop the plug out, squirt some ND 30W into it, turn it over a few times with a cloth over the plug opening, put the plug back in, refill the oil, & consider the engine done. After that it's just a couple grease fittings, some WD40 on linkages, etc, oil on the movable metals, & store it. It takes about thirty extra seconds next spring to start it, but after coughing once or twice it springs to life and gives me yet another year's service. Bought it in 1979. Only part ever replaces is the throttle cable and the rubber-edged wheel inside that spins the drive wheels. I especially love being able to "start & go" in the spring that way. And it doesn't rust. Oh year, I replaced both belts a few years ago too - boy is that a b_tch of a job! But, it's a faithful ol' gal, still full of piss & vinegar.
If there's no gas shutoff (lawn tractors, etc.), I still do the same thing but I leave a little more gas in the tank, maybe an eighth to a quarter tank. Oh, and pull the starter cord just before storing it to be sure the valves close - set the choke full on; keeps moisture & spiders out of the mechanisms.
I guess it mostly depends on where you store it. If it's got a safe place to winter over, fine; but NEVER leave gas in anything that's near sparks or any source of heat! There you want to empty the tank completely.
HTH,
Pop
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Jim wrote:

If you already use the sta-bil I would leave it full, especially if it has a steel gas tank.
nate
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Run the engine long enough so that the Sta-Bil treated fuel reaches the carburetor, then shut 'er down. Doing it this way means much easier startup and much less chance of a dried/shrunken carb seal causing a leak next season.
On Thu, 21 Apr 2005, Jim wrote:

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I like Pop's suggestions above if you really want to go out for your little toys in the off-season. However, I am not too impressed with Stab-il. I feel it probably extends the inevitable break-down of gasoline ... but fuels are so unstable these days, I don't think it's any more effective than that.
I would add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of Marvel Mystery Oil to the combustion chamber through the spark plug hole instead of ND 30 weight motor oil.
Also, I think WD-40 is pretty crappy stuff. I prefer almost any other spray lubricant.
--- Bror Jace
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i prefer to keep my gas tank full and treated .with air in the tank you have water in the air that will condense. running it dry is probably better than not treating the fuel but you allways leave a little gas in there when you run it out.. lucas
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I add Stabil on the last usage and run the engine till the Stabil gets into the carb.
If its a plastic tank (lawn tractor), I then run the tank and the carb dry and I figure whatever gas is left in there has Stabil for protection.
If it's a metal tank (motorcycle) , I close the valve and let the carb run dry but keep the tank full.
What does Stabil do anyway, anybody know? The gas must still evaporate which is why I like to let the carb run dry.
Mark
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Mark wrote:

According to them:
STA-BIL is a blend of scientific additives all of which act together to prevent fuel from undergoing degradation and oxidation during prolonged storage. STA-BIL acts as a protective wrapper around fuel molecules so they cannot combine with oxygen or other molecules to form new "bad actor" molecules.
http://www.i4at.org/surv/sta-bil.htm
Google is your friend.
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I use Stabil year round for all my 4 cycle engines(and my old cars), a 5gal can will last me a while , so why not? I use Tanaka 2 cycle oil mix for all my 2 cycle stuff, it has stabilizer, is low ash content, I've left it in my chain saw for upwards of two years and it will fire right up. And the idea of leaving some fuel in tank/carb makes sense for keeping moisture out. JR
Jim wrote:

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On Fri, 22 Apr 2005, Mark wrote:

I used to follow this procedure. Had a hell of a time getting my (plastic-tank Tecumseh w/float carbs) engines going again the next season. Then I started leaving the systems wet/full, still with Sta-Bil, and got consistent one- or two-pull starts the next season.
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We just started a small engines course, and the instructor (with > 40 years experience - latest with jet engine research at the National Research Council) said that simply running the engine dry and storing it away is the worst _possible_ thing you can do. Hint: all the trace gasoline left behind varnishes up almost instantly and gunks up everything.
He hasn't quite yet detailed the best way to do it ;-)
All I know is that my stihl weed wacker seems to do just fine with a full fuel tank over the winter. Starts second pull.
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I've had good luck with Stabil also. My lawnmower can sit all winter and will start on the second pull. Snowblower sits all summer and cranks up easy also.
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