Small engine tips and tricks.

Discussion in 'Other Skills' started by Mikewood, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. Mikewood

    Mikewood Supporter Supporter

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    Let’s hear your tips and tricks for keeping little gas powered engines going. I have a little gas powered pressure washer that I use a few times a year. One trick is to either run it out of gas or turn the gas to off. And let the engine die after every use. That way it does not clog the carb with varnish. When I want to use it I fill it with gas, turn the fuel valve to on and pull it twice. Then flip the start switch to on and she fires off the first pull.
     
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  2. JohnP

    JohnP No more half measures Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Sea Foam in the gas. I argued with my BIL for years over it. He was a believer, I was a skeptic. On my riding Craftsman mower I got tired of having to run the tank empty in the fall and fiddle with it every spring and tried the stuff. Now I’m a believer. It’s a great gas stabilizer. Now I just park it in the fall, she fires up instantly in the spring and is ready for business. I put it in every can of mower gas. Great stuff.

    JohnP
     
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  3. Terasec

    Terasec Guide

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    I switched to electric yard tools have never been happier
     
  4. JohnP

    JohnP No more half measures Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I agree. I have an electric edge trimmer, string trimmer, leaf blower, and push mower left over from when I lived in town. The thing is, I now have about 2.5-3 acres to mow, which is a little hard to do with electrics, thus the 21HP riding Craftsman. I’m saving for a zero turn Bad Boy. Super cool mowers that make me drool.

    JohnP
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  5. TomC

    TomC Supporter Supporter

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    Use a fuel stabilizer.

    Store a metal fuel tank full, it prevents rust formation in the tank.

    Store a plastic fuel tank empty.
     
  6. rustystove2017

    rustystove2017 Guide

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    Ethanol free premix fuel- either the Husqvarna, Stihl or the TruSouth Truefuel 50:1....as I only use smaller amounts it works for me and it doesnt seem to smoke quite as much- the TruSouth (Red Can) is cheaper and it seems to work just as well as the others- the 93 octane is a plus and the no ethanol is the key IMO.
     
  7. Kona9

    Kona9 Supporter Supporter

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    There is a great debate whether or not to run the tank empty at the end of the season. Some will say the gaskets will shrink due to being dry if you run the tank dry. Some say that is BS.

    I’ve taken a small engine repair course and have worked on a few small engines. I also was active on a board discussing small engine repair. What I do is first always use Stabil in my gas and use mid grade or better. Lately I can get non-ethanol around here so I have been transitioning to that along with Stabil. I will also add a splash of Sea Foam in the tanks. All of my machines also have inline filters installed to keep the carbs clean of debris.

    For my machines that have a shut off valve, the last time I use them for the season I will shut off the valve and run it until it stops. Then it gets put away with whatever is left in the tank. If the machine doesn’t have a shut off then it will sit as is until the next season. I generally do not have any problem starting them the next season.

    If I come across a machine that has sat for a long time the fuel will be drained. It’s not worth the trouble trying to save it.
     
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  8. Mikewood

    Mikewood Supporter Supporter

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    I have also. The pressure washer is the last holdout. When it dies cobalt should have something like an 80v battery powered pressure wand that will be replacing it.
     
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  9. Kona9

    Kona9 Supporter Supporter

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    I addressed my fuel protocol above, now for oil. For my 4 cycle engines (mower, generator, pressure washer, snowblower) I will use synthetic oil as it doesn’t take much oil and these air cooled engines run hot. Also, on the snowblower the synthetic oil helps with starting when it is frigid out.

    2 strokes get usually synthetic oil or a blend. I mix 50:1 as that is what all my machines call for but tend to go slightly heavier on the oil. I’d rather err on the too much oil than too little. I’m talking *very* little more. Always shake your can before filling up the tank to make sure the oil is not sitting at the bottom.
     
  10. 66drifter

    66drifter Guide

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    at a family gathering last weekend one of the grandsons was telling us about some "tune up in a bottle" for small engines that he used on my Go-Devil equip'd flat boat

    ¿ why ? i asked

    it was runnin poorly ...

    his answer to both questions i then asked was NO :-(

    #1 did you use the gas i keep in the red jugs(ethynol free from the local farm store)

    #2 did you put Sta-Bil in the gas each time you filled the tank(located in several paces at the barn)

    he thought he was being polite by not using the fuel i keep on hand for all my small engines by buying regular "pump" gas

    according to an old ASME mechanic i used to associate with ethynol is mixed w/ 10% water prior to being mixed w/ the gasoline sold at the pumps now labeled "regular"

    his explanation was that it took the water to raise the compression for proper combustion

    it kinda makes sense when a substantial portion of our small engine issues are fuel related and that system cleaning is required to restore our little engines to service when they get wonky on us

    we've passed the initial issue w/ ethynol which was our rubber products(fuel lines and gaskets...) dissolved when they were exposed to it and the rubbery glup clogged the systems(learned this one the hard way back in the 80's)

    our fuel injected engines aren't AS succeptible to getting wonkified as the older carbureted ones

    the vast majority of "small engines" are still carbureted and therefore require better fuel practices

    WATER is our enemy(in this case)

    USE ETHYNOL FREE FUEL

    USE STA-BIL(or your choice of fuel stabilizer) IN EVERY TANK EVERY TIME

    works for me & sure saves this old man a few shekels along the way
     
  11. IAOutdoors

    IAOutdoors Supporter Supporter

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    I 2nd Sea Foam and dont use ethanol in small engines.
     
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  12. plumberoy

    plumberoy Supporter Supporter

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    Seafoam and ethanol free 92 octane gasoline
     
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  13. Manzi1

    Manzi1 Tracker

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  14. reppans

    reppans Scout

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    + another for Seafoam as stabilizer (all my small engine fuel is always stabilized)...I've had problems with Stabil (past expiry). I also shut the fuel off (if I have that option) and run the float bowls dry after every use. Four strokes, I change oil before winter storage. I LT store with gas tank topped up.
     
  15. WRHC TopGun

    WRHC TopGun Supporter Supporter

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    Cool idea for a thread.

    I agree with the comments by so many about using ethanol free fuel and fuel stabilizer. That's all I run now. With my 2 cycle equipment, I try to use fresh made mix or the pre-mixed like TruFuel or Moto mix. Tractor Supply by me has the best price and they have a 10% off coupon right now.

    In addition to keeping Sta-bil, Sea Foam and Heet on hand, I also keep carb cleaner and starting fluid for ornery machine start up at the beginning of the season. I keep ample ethanol free gas in plastic cans in a dedicated fuel shed. The plastic cans are up on wooden shelves to keep them from contacting the concrete floor. I've heard that it helps to keep water from getting in the fuel. Maybe a urban myth but its easy insurance.

    I highly suggest YouTube as tutorial for simple troubleshooting and repair. It's been invaluable for me. Finally, if anyone has a Mantis tiller that is giving you fits, a carb replacement is cheap and super easy to do and will likely make the machine run like a top, avoiding the hassle and frustration of trying to tune that tiny carb when it gets gunked up. I got my carb kit on Amazon and it took about 10 minutes tops to replace.
     
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  16. Kona9

    Kona9 Supporter Supporter

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    I enjoy using and working on small engines almost as much as I like knives! I hate seeing them mistreated. I have family members that struggle with various small engines and as much as I advise and help them they keep having issues because they ignore most of the advice stated here.

    Things like despite me mentioning a million times, continuing to use a fuel cap on the boat fuel tank that is cracked and then complaining the engine never starts or when it does it has little power. Things like that drive me crazy but it’s not my stuff. It doesn’t matter if you use ethanol free with Stabil when you let rain water into the tank.
     
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  17. Terasec

    Terasec Guide

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    Electric is not suited for all jobs,
    but for small and average jobs around the house they are just fine with little to no maintenance
    I have 1/2 acre lot average lawn front and back
    electric mower works fine
    its a weekend home so not there all the time to work on small engines,
    before switching I was spending many weekend working on small engines,
    now spend less time working on small engines more time enjoying myself
    chainsaw I have both gas and electric, electric I use around the house, gas I use for occasional larger jobs and for when have to do some clearing on my land upstate where electric wont cut it
     
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  18. Zunga

    Zunga Supporter Supporter

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    I got a call from a buddy the other day. A 2 stroke outboard that had run and now wouldn't. I was told the string wouldn't pull. After some googling I told him to pull the plug and put it back. Something called hydro lock. Taking the plug out released pressure that held the piston from moving. My buddy not only learned a little about his motor. But he headed for the store for a boat tool kit, which he didn't have at the time.
    Cheers Jim
     
  19. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Dumped my gas string trimmer and blower and switched over to Husqvarna battery powered tools, have been happy with the performance and battery life compared to the gas versions that I had over the last few years. 20 minutes to get the gas string trimmer running every time I used it was driving me crazy.
     
  20. L0NER

    L0NER -Gone Exploring- Supporter

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    I rent everything but the weed trimmer and chain saw. I owned it all many times over. Seems some things you own people just like to borrow. Never could figure out how to keep my wood splitter home. Same with my car trailer!! Sure enough when I would get something back I had to work on it before I could use it. Finally got fed up and sold most of my equipment. Just rent now and I have found it has freed up time in my life. Not working on them and not needing a place to store things I use once or twice a year is nice.
     
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  21. chickasaw_hunter

    chickasaw_hunter Scout

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    I've got a lot of small engines that run things, I'd like all electric, but you gotta have electric and some places I don't have that, and I have a couple of acres to maintain. This year when I got my Troy-Bilt riding mower out it wouldn't turn over. I am in the non-ethanol camp with stabil. I usually put things away for the winter with a full tank and the carb run dry and the fuel valve off. That has worked for several years just great. Back to the Troy-Bilt this year I found the gas tank was empty and the fuel valve was open. I know I put it away just like I do all my other small engines. The TB didn't come with a fuel valve so I'd put one on it so I could run the carb dry. To make is story a little shorter I'll skip the 40 mile round trip to town to get a new battery (didn't need one). The bottom line was it seems my grandson trying to do a good thing did a mowing at the end of the year and didn't shut the fuel valve off when he put it away. The engine wouldn't turn over cuz the gas had leaked into the cylinder and then on into the crankcase. Seems my TB will not compress liquid gasoline so the engine wouldn't turn over. The fix ended up being pulling the spark plug and cranking the engine over and blowing out the crud that was on top of the piston. Then an oil change. After that it cranked right up and I mowed the lawn albeit with a lot smoke. I've done another oil change and a new spark plug and all seems right with the mower/engine. I think I will remember to shut off that fuel valve going forward. I am a firm beliver in running the carb dry and shutting off the fuel valve and using good gas.
     

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