PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Share a survival experience with us and explain what you learned from it. You might help someone.

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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by Aeacus » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:39 pm

Went to my sister's house to replace a leaking hose spigot before it gets too damn cold. Get there and realized I was borrowing my dad's truck, left my keys at home so no key chain flashlight. Driving my dad's truck, didn't move my backpack over, so no worthwhile supplies in the truck. Wife left her keys with flahlight in her purse. Sister doesn't know where their flashlights are after the move, so I get a hand crank one to peer into the ceiling with. I also left the two wrenches I need on my kitchen side.

Then it turns out some numb nuts used flexible copper to hookup that spigot, so we bend it just trying to remove the spigot and a 30 minute job turns into a two hour one not including driving home to get all the stuff I forgot the first time and the hardware store for the fittings I now need.

I need to put together a cheap ghb/basic first aid bag for my dad's truck (he's a fraking doctor, he should have at least a couple bandaids and some gloves in there), remember to grab my EDC crap and backpack even if I'm just going ten minutes down the road.

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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by PistolPete » Tue May 21, 2013 11:52 am

We had some storms roll through that knocked out power in my area. When it came to providing lights I was all over it, even lent some out to neighbors (some who I'd never met before). I had my portable battery pack ready to go to charge up my phones and my wife's tablet. But this is the fail thread, isn't it?

I couldn't get my generator to start.

I spent hours and tried everything I knew to get it going and the bastard just won't run. It'll pop a few times if I spray starting fluid in the carb but won't run more than that. I had to throw in the towel and admit I failed as a prepared human.
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by Braxton » Tue May 21, 2013 12:38 pm

Stable Fuel.

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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by Stercutus » Tue May 21, 2013 7:03 pm

PistolPete wrote:We had some storms roll through that knocked out power in my area. When it came to providing lights I was all over it, even lent some out to neighbors (some who I'd never met before). I had my portable battery pack ready to go to charge up my phones and my wife's tablet. But this is the fail thread, isn't it?

I couldn't get my generator to start.

I spent hours and tried everything I knew to get it going and the bastard just won't run. It'll pop a few times if I spray starting fluid in the carb but won't run more than that. I had to throw in the towel and admit I failed as a prepared human.
I am going to take a SWAG and say that you did not drain the fuel line after the last time you ran it and the fuel sat in the line and carb bowl? I will follow that with another and also guess you are using gas with at least 10% ethanol?

Am I close?
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by PistolPete » Tue May 21, 2013 10:45 pm

Blacksmith wrote: I am going to take a SWAG and say that you did not drain the fuel line after the last time you ran it and the fuel sat in the line and carb bowl? I will follow that with another and also guess you are using gas with at least 10% ethanol?

Am I close?
Yep, most of the gas around here has 10-15% ethanol. I drained the tank and put in fresh fuel before I tried to start it, but I think the damage had already been done. I'll be taking the carb apart for cleaning this weekend. I know better, I just got lazy.
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by closingresponse » Fri May 24, 2013 9:02 am

PistolPete wrote:
Blacksmith wrote: I am going to take a SWAG and say that you did not drain the fuel line after the last time you ran it and the fuel sat in the line and carb bowl? I will follow that with another and also guess you are using gas with at least 10% ethanol?

Am I close?
Yep, most of the gas around here has 10-15% ethanol. I drained the tank and put in fresh fuel before I tried to start it, but I think the damage had already been done. I'll be taking the carb apart for cleaning this weekend. I know better, I just got lazy.
I've known since I was a kid to drain lines, carb bowls, etc of any gas if you arent going to use said engine for quite some time, or when winterizing.
My question is about the ethanol in the fuel. More ethanol = more/faster gumming?

Thanks!

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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by MPMalloy » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:06 am

Tagged for interest

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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by Stercutus » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:47 am

Higher ethanol content makes fuel more corrosive. Leaving it sit can cause your fuel lines to rot and rust metal componets faster than just gasoline.
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by crypto » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:26 am

Why are generator so problematic while my crappy 15 year old lawnmower always starts up fine with last-seasons gasoline on the 3rd or 4th pull?

Also, what is the mechanism by which ethanol makes gas more corrosive? It seems really inconceivable to me that people are still building engines that don't tolerate ethanol without incident, its been in widespread use in the US for well over a decade.
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by Redsky » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:29 am

Trying to use those thin ass mylar ballons for food storage. Uber fail.
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by ZombieGranny » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:31 am

Redsky wrote:Trying to use those thin ass mylar balloons for food storage. Uber fail.
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by closingresponse » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:38 pm

Blacksmith wrote:Higher ethanol content makes fuel more corrosive. Leaving it sit can cause your fuel lines to rot and rust metal componets faster than just gasoline.
Thanks for the answer to that!!

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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by Norwegian » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:12 am

crypto wrote:Why are generator so problematic while my crappy 15 year old lawnmower always starts up fine with last-seasons gasoline on the 3rd or 4th pull?
Been wondering about that too, our old lawnmower and snow-blower (both late 80's) start right up no matter what's in the tank. Fuel in the snow-blower can is 3 years old (nothing added to it, but likely just 5% ethanol) and still no issues, mower has had the same two drowned flies and the spider in the tank for years and just doesn't give a crap :? Both get no maintenance except an oil-change every few years.

Any reasons why generators are so picky? Or is it just the newer engines that are crap?

Edited for detail and clarity. And spelling.

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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by Stercutus » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:05 am

Major derail ahead....
crypto wrote:Why are generator so problematic while my crappy 15 year old lawnmower always starts up fine with last-seasons gasoline on the 3rd or 4th pull?

Also, what is the mechanism by which ethanol makes gas more corrosive? It seems really inconceivable to me that people are still building engines that don't tolerate ethanol without incident, its been in widespread use in the US for well over a decade.
To answer your first question your will require me to guess that when you shut your lawn mower off you are killing the fuel feed (probably a little lever with a rabbit on one end and a turtle on the other) and not some ignition system switch. This makes sure that the carb and fuel line is empty and the lawn mower will run another year. Lawn mowers have been designed like that for many years. A lot of generators have an ignition system (even pull start ones) so that when you throw the switch it kills the engine leaving fuel in the system. It will sit for a long period of time and rot the lines and and clog the bowl.

My (most) generators also have a fuel cut off valve. I actuate that when I won't be running it for a while and after a minute or two the gennie dies from fuel starvation, I then shut off the ignition switch and I am GTG till next time.

The answer to your third question is cost. A lot of small engines are made overseas and place that are not :clownshoes: enough to use ethanol. Making an engine that runs well without the line rotting away and jamming up your carb bowl requires more expense that people that make stuff as the lowest bidder simply are not going to do. Most motor vehicles are made durable enough to work with it but those little Chinese MC's that you see running around new for a couple of grand are not. Even Briggs and Stratton had to go through a rough period of figuring out what worked.

http://www.jsonline.com/business/45370577.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"A few years ago no one thought there would be problems with a 10% ethanol blend, and there were. Boaters got stuck with the tab for the repairs," Podlich added.

Boaters have reported damage to fuel-system parts from ethanol, including rubber hoses, gaskets and fiberglass fuel tanks.

The EPA regulates fuel additives, including ethanol. It has extended a public comment period on the 15% blend proposal until July 20.

The agency might authorize both 10% and 15% blends, although that could create confusion in the marketplace.

"People would put the wrong fuel in their tank, and their engine could be ruined," Fleming said.

Biofuel advocates say the small-engine industry could make products that run on higher blends of ethanol, and it would be better for the environment.
Compatibility costs more

"The concern is the cost of those engines," not the technology, said Josh Morby, executive director of Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance, which represents ethanol producers.

"Certainly we recognize that burning ethanol in engines is different than burning gasoline," Morby said.

The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit, doesn't favor a higher ethanol blend until tests have proved it's better for the environment.

The higher blend may worsen air pollution, said Craig Cox, the group's Midwest vice president, at the news conference.

"Growth Energy is lobbying for an industry that cannot survive on its own, even after lavish taxpayer-funded subsidies," Cox said. "We really should be focused mostly on improving the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks. That is a much more effective and rapid way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels."

Ethanol producers say there's no evidence that the fuel additive can damage small engines. But mechanics say it can rust engines, because ethanol attracts water, and it can cause other problems, said Masood Akhtar, president of CleanTech Partners, a Middleton energy consulting firm.

Your second question is a matter of huge debate between engine makers and oil companies. These things were not in debate before they started adding ethanol to gas, only after.

Ethanol alcohol is an excellent SOLVENT - Ethanol will dissolve plastic, rubber, certain types of fiberglass and even aluminum. Ethanol can dissolve and disintegrate just about anything that has accumulated in a motor engine. Ethanol will dissolve resins that create a black sludge that coats and travels through the engine, causing engine stalling and complications, including clogged fuel filters, carburetor jets and injectors. Ethanol alcohol is a drying agent and can disintegrate and dissolve certain parts. Ethanol will dry-out and cause cracking and damage to non-alcohol resistant parts, especially rubber and plastic parts and components. Many engine hoses of older engines are not resistant to alcohol.

All alcohols attract and combine with water. Petroleum and most other oil-based compounds are not soluble in water.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Japan getting all sciency about aluminum corrosives and the effect on engines:

http://www.jim.or.jp/journal/e/pdf3/50/06/1433.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Section 3.2 has found that when a little of AlCl was added to Et-OH solvent, the pH drastically decreased and the {delta} significantly increased
[low PH is high acid for those wondering]

Boat engines are especially vulnerable because ethanol absorbs water and then send that water through the fuel system. Petroleum based stuff does not absorb water.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q= ... 4034,d.eWU" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This debate has been raging for a few years. Most of the debate centered around us burning up food to take us to Mickey D's to buy a Big Mac but the real debate has been who should have to pay for the damage to millions of engines, the engine makers having to absorb new costs to change processes and materials, etc. The debate is still going on. As usual the oil companies are winning.

I live near a river and a number of places advertise "ethanol free" gas. It costs about the same so I run it in all my small engines.

On my diesel car if I put B20 in the tank it voids the factory warranty as stated in the owners manual. Biodiesel is to petroleum diesel fuel what ethanol (E85) is to gasoline: a substitute fuel made from biomass that is a corrosive drying agent. That said I know people who have put it in their car and trucks and it runs fine. The effects are mostly long term. Since Bio has less energy per gallon it will make the vehicle sluggish and get much worse mileage in the short term since the car is not tuned to run on it. So why anyone would want to do that is a mystery to me.
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by Norwegian » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:41 pm

Blacksmith wrote:Major derail ahead....
crypto wrote:Why are generator so problematic while my crappy 15 year old lawnmower always starts up fine with last-seasons gasoline on the 3rd or 4th pull?

Also, what is the mechanism by which ethanol makes gas more corrosive? It seems really inconceivable to me that people are still building engines that don't tolerate ethanol without incident, its been in widespread use in the US for well over a decade.
To answer your first question your will require me to guess that when you shut your lawn mower off you are killing the fuel feed (probably a little lever with a rabbit on one end and a turtle on the other) and not some ignition system switch. This makes sure that the carb and fuel line is empty and the lawn mower will run another year. Lawn mowers have been designed like that for many years. A lot of generators have an ignition system (even pull start ones) so that when you throw the switch it kills the engine leaving fuel in the system. It will sit for a long period of time and rot the lines and and clog the bowl.
Our lawnmower has that, but it's a throttle lever and cannot shut the fuel of enough for it to stop. It has a lever you have to hold in while running that cut's ignition when you let go. Snowblower has an ignition key, it does have a separate fuel cutoff valve that we have never used. I'll have to take them apart some day to see what's going on, this is making me curious :P

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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by Jeriah » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:39 pm

huntingohio wrote:Now lets make it even worse, on top of the start of blood poisoning, I put the cut in my mouth, while i had a cold sore, so along with the leasions from blood poisoning I have whats call Herpetic whitlow on a spot on my palm.
I realize this probably wasn't very funny at the time, but since it's over a year past at this point, I hope you can, in hindsight, at least enjoy the honor of being one of the few men to ever successfully give herpes to Rosie Palmer.
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by procyon » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:01 pm

Haven't made it all the way through this thread yet.
The other nurses look at me funny while I sit here laughing at the computer.
Not that I am any better...

First one to come to mind is going off on a hunting trip with the kids.
(Nothing like screwing up in front of your family who will happily remind you of it for the rest of your life...)
Not at home on the farm, or our neighbors, but hours away on other property that we had access to.
Good day hunting. Got several critters we wanted.
Now, I tend to pack around small animals by whitling a point on a small stick, putting said stick through a hole in dead critter's foot, and then slipping the stick through a loop on my bibs. Done it for years. No problems.
Always a first time though.
Finished poking a hole in the last critter of the day's foot. Stick was kind of heavy from collected critters and the ground where I was at was very soupy so I stuck my knife in the tree beside me while I got the critters hung from the loop on my bibs.

I'm sure you can all see where this is headed.
Walk for another half hour back to where we had pitched camp so that I could set down to clean the critters for supper. But I can't find my knife. The only knife I had brought that day.
It was then that my children reminded me that I had left it stuck in the tree.

Sooooo, they had great fun while we walked back to where my knife was still stuck in the tree, and even more when we got home.
Was the first thing they told mom 'how much fun they had' or 'how many animals we got'? Oh no...
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by DarkAxel » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:40 pm

Blacksmith wrote:...

To answer your first question your will require me to guess that when you shut your lawn mower off you are killing the fuel feed (probably a little lever with a rabbit on one end and a turtle on the other) and not some ignition system switch. This makes sure that the carb and fuel line is empty and the lawn mower will run another year. Lawn mowers have been designed like that for many years. A lot of generators have an ignition system (even pull start ones) so that when you throw the switch it kills the engine leaving fuel in the system. It will sit for a long period of time and rot the lines and and clog the bowl.

My (most) generators also have a fuel cut off valve. I actuate that when I won't be running it for a while and after a minute or two the gennie dies from fuel starvation, I then shut off the ignition switch and I am GTG till next time.
Actually, most small engines I've run across (lawnmower, generator, etc.) kill the engine by shorting the ignition coil to the engine block so the spark plug doesn't fire, even on those models that shut off by turning the throttle to the "Stop" position (if you look at the linkage on the lower part of the control cable, you can see it pressing a wire to the engine body or a bracket grounded to the engine body when you have the lever at "Stop").

On topic.

I made a trip to town this afternoon to pick up a few things I'd forgotten last time I was there. Long story short, my lower radiator hose ruptured quite spectacularly. I had tools and a hose blowout kit already in the truck (that wasn't the fail), but I knew it was going to take me a little bit to fix it, so I called home to let them know what was happening. While I was fixing my truck, Mom decided to put the water on to boil for spaghetti so it would be ready for me when I got home.

When I got home, I noticed a little smoke coming out of the kitchen window. I went inside, and Mom was sitting on the couch Farmvilling, my brother was in his usual spot watching TV, and DarkAxel JR was playing games on his laptop in the living room. When I opened the kitchen door to put the groceries away, I was hit by a wall of smoke, and I saw that the entire top of the stove was on fire. I grabbed the fire extinguisher, pulled the pin, aimed the nozzle, and squeezed.

huff.. Yeah. There was no pressure in the extinguisher. I ended up putting the fire out by dumping a 50lb bag of salt on top of the range. Turns out that after Mom put the water on to boil, one of my cats knocked my grease-bucket over (A coffee can used to store bacon grease and such) and it rolled onto the stove top, melted, and ignited.

After I got the fire put out and aired out the kitchen, I checked the smoke detector. Dead battery.

Lessons learned:
1.) CHECK THE BATTERIES ON YOUR SMOKE DETECTORS REGULARLY AND OFTEN! I got out of the habit worrying about my work, my son, and such, and it almost cost me my house. The pain of shelling out good money to replace the stove should help this lesson stick.

2.) CHECK YOUR FIRE EXTINGUISHERS REGULARLY AND OFTEN! JR fessed up to messing around with the fire extinguisher after he got out of school, but if I had done my part that extinguisher would have been replaced. That extinguisher is getting replaced along with the stove tomorrow. I think I'm going to have to get another bag of salt as well.

3.) DON'T LEAVE THE STOVE UNATTENDED WHEN THE RANGE IS ON! This one wasn't so much my fail as Mom's (and believe me, she got an earful), but it deserves mention. At least check on stuff every now and then, especially if you have a house like mine (the kitchen can be completely isolated from the rest of the house so it doesn't heat everything up while you are cooking).
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by Towanda » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:09 am

The usual recommendation is to replace smoke detector batteries at the changes from standard to daylight saving time and back. Glad you didn't lose more than a stove.

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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by DarkAxel » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:34 am

Towanda wrote:The usual recommendation is to replace smoke detector batteries at the changes from standard to daylight saving time and back. Glad you didn't lose more than a stove.

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Yeah, I used to do that, but I fell out of the habit. Complacency is comfortable, and it's easy to fall into it when you are preoccupied with life. It's not an excuse, but an observation, and another lesson learned.
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by Whackpack7 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:43 pm

Holy bejesus there is a thread for this?! Where do I begin...

1) Spend decent time and some money each day working on preps. Reading, studying, learning. Sometimes spend a lot of money on something... Still drive right past gas station when I am almost on empty.

2) Really been focusing on stuff lately. Need to focus quite a bit more on food and water.

3) And of course... I buy a lot of stuff, and am decently familiar with it, but I really need to stop working so much to pay for it and actually go out and test it for real.

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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by CoTTer » Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:53 pm

Was laying in my bed the other night trying to sleep, while I lay there and had my thoughts run wild through my head (Bills and all that jazz) I heard a crashing sound come from my living room. I first thought it was the dog, but the dog was laying on my bed, so I instantly went with intruder. I go to def con one, grabbing my AR-15 and making my way to the hall way that leads to the stairs. When it finally gets to dark, I flip on my light on my rifle.....fucker won't turn on. Go back to the bedroom and replace AR with glock and a surefire, go and investigate....find out it was just my cat who knocked over a bowl on the counter.

Need to check batteries more often.
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by taipan821 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:48 am

I now try to follow the 5 Ps (planning prevents piss poor performance) after this little incident

got called up at 11pm one night to go out on a search at 4 the next day. i needed to provide my own food (as usual)
1. didn't have a bag packed and ready to go, spent an hour looking for all my gear
2. didn't have food ready to go, ended up just chucking some cans of tuna in.
3. only took 4L water for a search in summer

The result was a 13 hr day walking through thick bush in summer. i was thankful we took extra water as a precaution.

now I have a bag full of my search gear ready to go (lives in my car) and I have a cut down ration pack for food (i can eat it cold) as well as the capacity to carry 10L of water
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Re: PREP FAILURE: THE WALL OF SHAME

Post by derf26 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:52 am

This was more my dad's fail than my own. He's really not into preps, and his keychain just has his keys on. A few days ago, before he left for another country, I gave him one of my keychain flashlights so that he'd always have it on him. He calls us yesterday saying he got lost while walking in a park, finding his way out at night at 1:30 am, having walked for hours through complete darkness. He forgot the flashlight I gave him back in France and of course didn't have a compass, map, water, or anything else on him...

Worst thing is, I bet you that if I ask him a few weeks from now he still won't have an EDC flashlight :|
"Nobody panics when things go according to plan, even if the plan is horrifying."
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

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