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Old fuel but runs well enough

I finally worked out the details on the 96 Dodge Caravan which had been sitting for 3+ years, (previous thread "Dodge 3.3 liter V6 hasn’t run…March 29) but still have a question about old fuel. I was unable to get the fuel pump relay out of the socket without more force than I dared, and had no luck siphoning, so couldn’t empty the old fuel. With nothing to lose, I figured I’d try starting it with the old gas in the tank. I got lucky: it started fine and sounded more or less normal.

I now have about 20 miles on the car, tank is just under 1/4 and it sounds and runs well enough.

The question is: should I still find a way to get the tank emptied? Or is good enough to just fill the tank to dilute the three or four gallons of old gas? I’m thinking this is a good time for some injector cleaner, or Berrymans B-12 …not sure if that does the same thing, or if it’s superior in this particular situation. Does anyone have any ideas about how the old gas would influence an emission test?

If I don’t find other major problems with the car, I will eventually pull the tank and replace the fuel pump as a precaution, as ok4450 advised in the previous thread, plus trans service, brakes, alignment, etc. Mileage is about 151k.

I appreciate any advice, thanks very much!


Fill er 'up, add a bottle of cleaner (injector or carb, they’re both just solvents), and change the air in the tires. You’re good to go.

Oh, and on the way home could you pick up a lottery ticket for me?

could you pick up a lottery ticket for me?

Mountainbike - I take it you figure I’m taking a chance on this? Maybe so, but I made a profit of at least $500 when the engine started…paid just $200 for it. The body is straight, all glass is good, so even if it needed work, it was still a safe “investment”. Thanks so much for the confirmation on fuel (and on the air in tires…;=).


Taking a chance? Heck no. It sounded to me like you’re on a lucky streak. That’s why I wanted you to pick ,y ticket up for me.

Regarding old fuel, Roadtripper, you should be advising us.

I too have started up cars that have sat idle for too long and was pleased to prove that they ran just fine on 2-year-old gas. Gasoline in a sealed system doesn’t really deteriorate, and I cringe whenever I read posts from the fuel-stabilizer enthusiasts. But no need to go there.

My advice, FWIW, is to drive a bit more on your existing fuel to use it up. Then bring it up to a half tank with any TopTier gasoline (look it up). These brands earn their designation for their effective detergent qualities. They should do an adequate cleansing job on your fuel system. If your truck continues to run properly, you can forgo additional additives.

If you are concerned about taking your truck on the road in need of inspection, then go for inspection as soon as convenient. If you fail emissions, many states will provide you with a 30-day extension to obtain repairs. Check with your inspection station in advance.

Mountainbike…meet me in Reno, let’s see how we do! If this is a lucky streak, it’s just the first sign! :wink:

SteveF: thanks, good suggestions. I was actually thinking about the strategy you mentioned, running the tank down farther before I dilute. I found a list of “top tier” gasoline retailers, Chevron, Exxon, 76, Mobil, etc…is that what you mean? No problem, two of these are in shouting distance from here.

Regarding the inspection…I’m in California so the big concern is “will it smog”…if it won’t and isn’t worth fixing, that will change this project into parting it out. I’m hunching I’ll be ok…stay tuned. I know about the extensions to get repairs. Fortunately, I have a connection with a local smog shop so I can get a pre-test to see how it looks. That’s my first stop (after the car wash–yuck, this thing is a mess!). Actually, at this point, the vehicle is still officially on “non-op”, so I didn’t have to commit to the cost of registration until I have answers the key questions about smog, transmission, compression test; but I have a “move permit” to allow me to drive it briefly while I sort out the condition. Works out well.

So far though the trans feels fine, and it had a new torque converter at the local independent shop about 50k miles ago…at the very least I’ll have the shop drain, inspect, and replace filter. Not sure this car is really worth a trans rebuild job. It will definitely get new coolant and brake fluid. Oh, and fresh air in the tires thanks to Mountainbike.

Grateful for the feedback, thanks.

I’d fill up the tank immediately before you drive much more, to dilute the last of the old fuel and any contaminents that may lurk at the bottom of the tank.