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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 05-13-2007
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Water in Gasoline

I've got appox. 30 gallons of gas with a little water in it stored in a 55-gallon drum. Any ideas on the best way to filter the water out and salvage the fuel? TIA
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Water sinks to the bottom. Dont siphon the gas out thru your lungs. I believe meths absorbs the water,however I suspect it is better to leave it there. The other point is that the octane rating will have declined with time. Depending how long, you will need to boost it with higher grade or discard it or use it as a part mix in your car.
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install a valve in the small bung and position the drum so that the valve is the lowest part of the drum. Let things settle down and then open the valve to let the water off. If the gas has been stored for a while I would give it a good sniff test and then a sticky test. If it smells "not right" or if you get a sticky feel between your fingers then don't use it. The cost of repairs will far exceed the $90 value at the pump today.
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The simplest way is to just pump out all the contents and run it through a baja filter, which you can get at most chandleries, like West Marine, which will separate the water and gasoline. Be aware that if this is gasoline that had ethanol used as an octane booster, its octane level is probably down to about 82...and not suitable for use in most engines without using some sort of canned octane booster.
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I would argue the point with you sailingdog, of which is simpler. Just draining the water off the bottom or pushing it through a filter that you have to go buy. I would agree with your ethanol/heet advice. When you add that to watery fuel, you force the water to combine with the gas. Water will contain contaminents in suspension but separate from the gas, until you put alcohol in. Then its just one big mess of hazerdous waste.
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Bear in mind that gasoline is a witches' brew of about 60 fractions and additives designed for a working life of 60-90 days. There's stuff like heptane and butane that just boils out as it sits there. So, if your gasoline is older than that?

Pump, pour, etc the gasoline off the top and when it gts near the contamination at the bottom, transfer it to another taller thinner container and let it decant again, then repeat from the top. When you get down to "that's enough" the rest can usually be dumped at any gasoline station in the waste fuel/oil.

I'd use the salvaged gasoline (with octane booster) mixed into new fuel--not straight. Mixed 1:10 or 1:4 it should burn just fine, anything stronger than that I'd only burn it in a 2-stroke.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
Bear in mind that gasoline is a witches' brew of about 60 fractions and additives designed for a working life of 60-90 days. There's stuff like heptane and butane that just boils out as it sits there. So, if your gasoline is older than that?
Yeah, the gas was pumped in November. I wasn't thinking about that. Guess I should find a way to get rid of it. Thanks for all the tips, guys.
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"Guess I should find a way to get rid of it."
No treally a problem, gas stations usually will take it in their oil dump for free. But--honest--if you pull the gasoline off the top, the water is all on a separate layer in the bottom, and mixing old gas into new gas isn't a problem. A couple of gallons into each tank, think of it as five dollar discount coupons.
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Originally Posted by hellosailor
"Guess I should find a way to get rid of it."
No treally a problem, gas stations usually will take it in their oil dump for free. But--honest--if you pull the gasoline off the top, the water is all on a separate layer in the bottom, and mixing old gas into new gas isn't a problem. A couple of gallons into each tank, think of it as five dollar discount coupons.
I read online today that reconditioning old gas means a 5:1 ratio, new to old. That would give me with 180 gallons and really no way to store that much! I suppose I could do it incrementally, but to be honest, that sounds like a PITA. Plus, my engine mechanic is saying 6 or 7 months is too old. Unless someone in the Bay Area wants to come pick it up (it's in a 55-gallon poly drum) I'm gonna find waste facility or something that will take it.
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Ok, I'll bet your grandma has older gas in her 1978 olds than November 06. Your gas is usable unless it is starting to turn to varnish or if someone has used alcohol/heet in it. Drain the water off and use it in your lawn mower and your car. Don't throw it away.
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