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Old gas: How bad is it and what to do with it?

XC92

Proven Member
1,190
216
Jul 22, 2020
Queens, New_York
I just removed nearly 2.5 gal of old gas from my '92 Talon TSi AWD. The engine hasn't been run in around 3 years, and the gas is 3-5 years old (some was added 3 years ago when last run, the rest had been there for 1-2 years). It smells kind of nasty, like varnish or paint thinner.

It's clear, in that there don't appear to be suspended solids, but is orange in color, like flat Fanta, maybe a shade darker. Once in a clear bottle, it appear to separate into a gooy-looking thicker, clearer and lighter layer around 1/4-1/2" thick on the bottom, and the darker and thinner orange stuff on top. I don't know if the color's due to a rusty tank or to some chemical reaction, or both. There's probably another gallon or two in there, but I've run out of bottles to store it in.

I removed it by disconnecting the high pressure line coming from the fuel filter from the fuel injector body routed with a tube to a bottle sitting on the ground, and activating the fuel pump using the test connector on the top of the firewall next to the battery. I covered the fuel line with a rag to minimize the chances that a spark would ignite it.

Here's what it looks like minutes after being pumped out:

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So, what do I do with it? Normally I'd take it to a local recycling center that accepts hazmats, but they're all closed till next year due to the pandemic. Gas stations and auto parts stores won't accept it. Local landscapers won't take it for use with their gas-powered devices. I have no safe place or way to store it. I'm obviously not going to dump it. So, what are my options?

I was thinking of pouring some into a couple of older cars we have. One has a full tank of regular gas, the other around 2/3 a tank of regular gas, perhaps mixed in with Techron, Dry-Gas or Heet. Am I going to damage their injectors or engines if I do this? What about the Talon? If I keep the remaining 1-2 (maybe 3) gallons of this crap in there and add 2-4 gallons, and add some additives, would that be ok?

Btw I can't safely burn it, not where I live. Too many trees and vegetation, especially this time of year with drying fallen leaves. I'm stumped.
 

XC92

Proven Member
1,190
216
Jul 22, 2020
Queens, New_York

Thanks, but like I wrote, there ARE no local recycling centers that are open right now, due to the pandemic. A gas station I just spoke to said they're having a hard time getting rid of old gas. So I need to find an alternative solution, either private companies that will take it (for a fee, no doubt), or putting a little of it at a time into our other cars and with a nearly full tank of gas and burning it off slowly. But I'm wondering if the latter is a good idea.
 

XC92

Proven Member
1,190
216
Jul 22, 2020
Queens, New_York
But how about putting a little at a time to a gas tank. Would that harm the engine or injectors?
 

1990TSIAWDTALON

Moderator
8,442
4,336
Nov 14, 2013
Independence, Kansas
Man that stuff looks pretty nasty. Why don't you mix a little with some good gas and take a look at what it does. Maybe put a little at a time in a lawn mower or other small engine with a full tank of gas????
 

DSSA

Supporting Vendor
498
239
Jul 26, 2002
Hatfield, Pennsylvania
The drain plug actually uses a crush washer, and is not pipe thread. I wouldn't put PTFE tape on it. Just tighten it to spec and it should be fine. If you want to be really careful, you can buy a new gasket (crush washer) for it, but we used to reuse them for years of weekly track trips back in the day without replacement. Part # MK601722 16mm diameter.

As for getting rid of the old gas, it's great for starting bon fires if you're on a rural area, or, if you have somewhere safe to leave it sit in an open-top bucket, it will probably evaporate in a day or two.
 

TK's9d2TSi

Supporting Member
5,523
2,614
Sep 11, 2017
Cincinnati, Ohio
The drain plug actually uses a crush washer, and is not pipe thread. I wouldn't put PTFE tape on it. Just tighten it to spec and it should be fine. If you want to be really careful, you can buy a new gasket (crush washer) for it, but we used to reuse them for years of weekly track trips back in the day without replacement. Part # MK601722 16mm diameter.

As for getting rid of the old gas, it's great for starting bon fires if you're on a rural area, or, if you have somewhere safe to leave it sit in an open-top bucket, it will probably evaporate in a day or two.

I thought it was a paper gasket. Guess I was wrong. I drained my tank earlier this year and just threw the plug back in, but it started leaking. Not much just a very light drip. Drained my tank a few weeks ago and added PTFE thread seal and it hasn’t leaked.
 

pauleyman

DSM Wiseman
7,176
2,095
Nov 19, 2011
oklahoma city, Oklahoma
The gas will burn for sure. I couldn't tell you about your gas tank but i can tell you the last dsm i had in this situation sat for 5 years. Not the best situation but i burned it all off.
 
Last edited:

Mech Addict

Supporting Member
715
268
Jun 9, 2019
Jackson, Wyoming
The color is from rust. Hopefully your tank interior is not as bad as mine was. I kept my waste gas in the garage, in almost the exact same juice bottle as you are, until I could take it in to our local disposal center. You must have more in a regular gas container, 2.5 gal. I wouldn't put it in any engine you wish to continue using. That is also a lot to burn safely if there is not a safe place to do it w/o combustibles around. You might check with local fire department. They start fires for training, though perhaps not with gas?? Worth a try. You might have to cast a wider net to find a place to accept it.

As far as the drain plug, when I ordered what was listed as the OEM part from Amayama, I got one that was more of a fiber material, sort of like a paper gasket but not quite, and it was a Mits-packaged part. Not a crush washer, though I have no doubt that those also exist and work fine too, per JNZ comment. Like oil drain plugs washer, I suppose. Mine hasn't leaked a drop since I put it in.
 

Mech Addict

Supporting Member
715
268
Jun 9, 2019
Jackson, Wyoming
MT199415 is the part I purchased. Just looked up the receipt. They do show the MK part as the "replacement", but sell both, so take your pick. But really, very hard to have anything shipped from JP, so buy the one that JNZ carries. The more difficult part is getting the plug out w/o having gas run all over the place, since it will start coming around the threads long before you get the plug out all the way. Not like the few drips of oil that come out during an oil change.
 

XC92

Proven Member
1,190
216
Jul 22, 2020
Queens, New_York
So, I ended up pouring 2 of these containers full of the nasty stuff into our other cars, a '92 Camry and a '10 Kia Rio. The Camry had nearly 2/3 full and the Rio had a full tank. I ran both engines and there was nothing noticeable. Later in the day I drove the Rio around 7-8 miles, no signs of bad gas. Perhaps the ill effects take a while to manifest themselves.

But I really had no choice. Not only isn't it safe to keep this stuff around in unapproved containers, but even if I had a big enough approved container I'd have nowhere to put it as I live in an apartment without outdoor storage and no way am I keeping something like that inside. I should have planned for this in advance. I actually looked into it a few months ago and same results, no local places to drop it off and no one knows what to do with the stuff.

Hopefully I didn't just trash 3 cars. There was still some left in the Talon, around a gallon. I bought 2 fresh gallons of 93 today and poured it in, and as soon as I can get the car on the street I'm going to top it off with more 93, to dilute it as much as possible, and not letting the tank get too below 2/3 full for the first few hundred miles. Plus Techron and maybe Seafoam.

Btw I finally turned on the engine today, after adding the 2 gallons. That was of course the point. I was done with most of "Phase 1" of this restoration and was ready to put the wheels back on and lower it to the ground. After a quick silent prayer (and squirting some Mystery Oil into the plug holes and turning over the engine manually a few times) I turned the key, and after a brief hesitation the engine turned over and roared to life.

Almost immediately white smoke came out of the exhaust like I've never seen on this car before. I wonder if that was the oil gas or something else, water perhaps coming out as vapor? It didn't smell too bad. There was no knock or poor idling, but the engine did sound a bit weak, compared to what I remember (it's been several years).

I also heard the most awful sound when I turned the steering wheel, like metal straining beyond its limit. At first I thought I botched the rack reinstallation, but then I realized that I forgot to replace all the fluid that drained out when I removed the rack. So I refilled and then bled it, and eventually the sound went away. For a second though I thought I'd have to redo everything.

I also tested the new clutch briefly. The car moved forward and in reverse, and that was good enough for me, for now. Between the smoke, its being late and my being tired, I called it a day. I also don't want to run the engine too much before topping off the tank.
 

XC92

Proven Member
1,190
216
Jul 22, 2020
Queens, New_York
MT199415 is the part I purchased. Just looked up the receipt. They do show the MK part as the "replacement", but sell both, so take your pick. But really, very hard to have anything shipped from JP, so buy the one that JNZ carries. The more difficult part is getting the plug out w/o having gas run all over the place, since it will start coming around the threads long before you get the plug out all the way. Not like the few drips of oil that come out during an oil change.

Given that my car is 28 years old and I didn't want to risk damaging the drain hole which would have been a nightmare, and that I couldn't siphon the gas before there appears to be an anti-siphon device in the fill tube, I ended up draining as much as I could from the high pressure hose feeding into the injectors from the filter, using the tank pump test connection on the firewall. It worked out pretty well, and I took precautions to avoid a spark fire. It filled a 52oz OJ bottle in around 10-15 seconds. No need to mess with the tank, if you're careful.
 

XC92

Proven Member
1,190
216
Jul 22, 2020
Queens, New_York
The color is from rust. Hopefully your tank interior is not as bad as mine was. I kept my waste gas in the garage, in almost the exact same juice bottle as you are, until I could take it in to our local disposal center. You must have more in a regular gas container, 2.5 gal. I wouldn't put it in any engine you wish to continue using. That is also a lot to burn safely if there is not a safe place to do it w/o combustibles around. You might check with local fire department. They start fires for training, though perhaps not with gas?? Worth a try. You might have to cast a wider net to find a place to accept it.

As far as the drain plug, when I ordered what was listed as the OEM part from Amayama, I got one that was more of a fiber material, sort of like a paper gasket but not quite, and it was a Mits-packaged part. Not a crush washer, though I have no doubt that those also exist and work fine too, per JNZ comment. Like oil drain plugs washer, I suppose. Mine hasn't leaked a drop since I put it in.

That's what I thought, rust. At some point I'm going to have to inspect, clean and coat the inside, but after all the work I've done I can wait on that. If I have to replace the injectors, so be it. But hopefully injector cleaner, good gas and lots of highway miles will keep them in good shape. I have still so many other things I still need to do on the car that are more important.
 

1990TSIAWDTALON

Moderator
8,442
4,336
Nov 14, 2013
Independence, Kansas
Your gonna be ok. Just keep driving the cars, it will cycle thru.
Did you save anything for a match, lighter, welding striker, etc to see if it would burn on its own? My moms old trucks gas WOULD NOT BURN OR LIGHT ON FIRE. It did however, come out yellowish in color and killed all the grass/weeds it touched to brown.
@Widgmaster , here is your chance to poke fun again ROFL
 

XC92

Proven Member
1,190
216
Jul 22, 2020
Queens, New_York
I'm tempted but am not in a position to try this where I am at present. Neighbors would NOT like this, trust me. One's especially nosy and would yell bloody murder because that's who they are. Unfortunately they have no plants to kill (they once tried to plant a tomato plant in the shade right next to a tree--you just can't cure stupid). Maybe I'll try to sneak in a capful when I've gotten rid of the rest. Inside every male is a bit of a pyro.
 

tstkl

Proven Member
3,873
60
Feb 10, 2005
SoCal, California
I put my old gas through a filter and straight into my lawn mower. Every couple of months or so I pull the feed tube out and clean it, but otherwise it's worked so far. I'm 4 gallons into 10 gallons I pulled out of a car that hadn't been driven in about 10 years or so.
 

We're on Boost

Proven Member
1,315
225
Aug 25, 2007
Seattle area, Washington
Inside every male is a bit of a pyro.
Yeah when I was a kid I would set my plastic model battle ships on fire in my coaster wagon filled with water, lawnmower gas poured into the model ship. Man what fun!

"Almost immediately white smoke came out of the exhaust like I've never seen on this car before."
I get a huge cloud of white smoke from my outboard motor every summer when I start it up for the first time. It is from the Mercury Marine Storage Seal which I use in the fall to winterize the engine, for storage. So anyway, I would think your white smoke is from the Mystery oil in the cylinders. It might take a few minutes to burn it all off.

" it appeared to separate into a gooy-looking thicker, clearer and lighter layer around 1/4-1/2" thick on the bottom"
That layer that separated on the bottom is probably from water that has combined with the ethanol fraction of your gasoline. Mixing it with fresh gas should help, something like Heet should help, and I've used K100 a few times just as a preventative when I've thought that my gas/ethanol in the tank was getting pretty old, but I doubt my gas ever looked as bad as that stuff you got there.
It's a shame you couldn't have shipped that stuff to Marty!
 

ThunderChild

Supporting VIP
3,762
1,121
Jan 5, 2012
Rathdrum, Idaho
I drove a 2010 crown vic I bought a couple years ago that hadn't run/been started for 6 years. Same gas, fired right up and ran fine. Put 91 non-e in it when I drove it home almost 200 miles, just to be safe, but drove it almost 20mi before that with no issue.

My point is, if the tank is sealed properly has can last a long while. It is better for the tanks to be full so rust cant start on fuel sending units or the tank itself. Stabil never hurts either.
 

XC92

Proven Member
1,190
216
Jul 22, 2020
Queens, New_York
Thanks all. Hopefully my crude solution (heh), forced on me by a lack of options (I forgot to also add that I have to get the car out of where it is this week so time was also a limiting factor), won't backfire on me--in this case possibly literally.

I'm filling the tank full this week once the car passes inspection. Then it's a short rest period (I've been working on the car almost nonstop for 4 months), and onto "Phase 2" of the restoration, which will include a tuneup, new timing belt & water pump, new struts, wheel bearings, etc.

Well, weather-depending. Some might have to wait till spring.
 
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