We were pleased to receive two questions at The Garage recently, and both concern gasoline additives.
Greg is fortunate enough to have a 1966 Chevy Impala convertible, and is wondering about the gas for winter storage. Greg says “I park it with about a quarter tank of gas. Before parking it, I dump some Sea Foam in it and drive a little so it gets to the carb.”
The Sea Foam is a great idea, as it will “stabilize” the fuel. That means it will help the ethanol in the gasoline STAY mixed in the gas and not separate.
I have HEARD that ethanol fuel does not store well after about three months. I KNOW the shop that rebuilt the engine of my chain saw blamed the burned piston on too-old ethanol blend fuel. I had started the saw after it sat all winter with the same gas in the tank.
I now use non-oxygenated premium gasoline (no ethanol added) in all my small-engine stuff, and I fill the tank of my 1947 Street Rod with non-oxy premium as well … before winter storage. I also like to start the old car every week or two during the winter, and I keep a BATTERY MAINTAINER connected to keep the battery charged, but not over-charged.
The Minnesota Street Rod Association has a list of stations where you can buy non-oxygenated gasoline.
Ed drives a 1997 Chevy Blazer, with only 87,000 miles, and says the 4.3 liter V6 misses when the vehicle is stopped at a red light. Ed says “A friend of mine stated that I should add a quart of transmission fluid to my next tank of gas. What does automatic transmission do to solve this problem?”
Adding ATF to the gas tank is something I remember from the 1960s. Automatic transmissions were becoming more common, and drivers learned that ATF was a “highly detergent” light oil, so the thinking was that it would — mixed in the gasoline — clean the inside of the engine.
While I doubt ATF-in-the-gas did a lot of good back in the day, it probably didn’t do any harm. I would certainly NOT put ATF in the gas tank of a modern computer-controlled fuel-injected engine. It could mess up fuel injectors and O-2 sensors, and probably would not be good for the catalytic converter.
Ed should add a bottle of fuel injector cleaner to a full tank of gas, perhaps once a month. A mechanic told me this stuff actually works, and it isn’t very expensive. Fuel injectors have very small openings, and when deposits build over the years, the injectors may not be able to deliver the right amount of fuel to the engine.
I have a 1993 Dodge Dakota (190,000 miles) that used to miss when idling. I used fuel injector cleaner, AND I took off the air cleaner & sprayed the inside of the throttle body with throttle body cleaner.
It is best to use this stuff outside, and makes sure all of it has evaporated before you reinstall the air cleaner and drive the vehicle.
This picture shows how well the throttle body of my old Dakota “cleaned up.” This truck now idles much better, so we are hoping Ed will have similar results with his Blazer.