Frequently Asked Questions (Things you need to know to help maintain your equipment!)

Changing the oil.
This is the most important thing you can do to make your engine live for a long period. Change your engine oil with a good grade of SAE 30w HD oil. For Honda and Kohler engines, use only 10w-30 HD.

Change your oil every 50 hours or once every two years which ever comes first. Do not overfill. This will cause the engine to smoke or blow oil out of the muffler and into the air filter. On engines with dipsticks, fill to the top line of the crosshatch mark only - no higher.

On engines without dipsticks, fill to the top of the filler hole. On horizontal engines without dipsticks, fill until oil comes out of the filler hole as a light trickle.

Cleaning or replacing the air filter.
This is also a very important part of engine maintenance schedule. Clean the foam filters with hot soapy water or petrol. Re-oil and squeeze out excess oil from foam filter. Paper filters must be replaced, they cannot be cleaned. Extremely dirty filters have dirt caked in the paper pleats. Pre-cleaners must be washed like foam filters. Do not oil pre-cleaners that say DO NOT OIL. Air filters must be cleaned/replaced every 25 hours or once every year, possibly more often under dusty conditions.

Changing spark plugs.
As cheap as some spark plugs are (in cost) it's a good idea to just replace them once a year, instead of trying to clean them and reuse them as most plugs are not able to be cleaned anymore. This is sometimes the culprit on engines that are hard to start or engines that will not start at all.

Sharpening and balancing blades.
A dull blade will put more load on an engine than a sharp blade, because the engine has to re-cut the grass more often. An out of balance blade obviously makes things vibrate badly causing bolts and nuts to loosen, this puts extra load on the engine, and wears parts out prematurely.

Removal of debris from under cooling fins.
Your car won't cool down running it without water, right? So what makes you think a small engine can cool if the fins are packed full of grass, debris and leaves, etc? Remove the shroud yearly or more often under dirty conditions to remove leaves and dirt from the engine.

Removing or stabilizing of fuel before storing engine.
Doing this will prevent unwanted maintenance in the spring growth time. When fuel is untreated, it will start to go off, (eg. lose its octane rating and will turn into a gel after 15 to 60 days). When the fuel turns into a gel, it clogs up the jet in the carburettor, making it impossible to start the engine reducing the fuel flow.

To remove the fuel from the tank (on walk behind mowers) place a pan or suitable container under the fuel line where it connects to the tank. Remove the spring clamp and pull off the hose. Let fuel run out completely into pan and dispose of properly. Start engine and run it until it dies on its own.

Source info: http://www.small-engines.com/srvtips.html

Chainsaws
  • Always use fresh mixed fuel
  • Check chain is sharp & bar is straight and dressed square before use
  • Safety chaps/ helmet, glasses, earmuffs are essential PPE.
  • Clean air filter regularly to promote long life and performance of saw and plug
  • Stick with well known brands of chains to ensure long life of chain
  • Never force a blunt chain as damage to bar may occur
  • Always drain fuel & start engine to run carb out of fuel if storing chainsaw for more than 2 months

Lawn Mowers
  • 4 Stroke motors need oil changes every 50 hours or two yearly
  • Check blades are secure & sharp
  • Replace blades before they are worn
  • Never tip a 4 stroke mower on to its side or forward as oil will fill air filter & muffler, this being an unnecessary repair.

Ride on Mowers
  • Service regularly
  • Check belt
  • Don't use your ride-on like a tractor
  • Buy the correct mower for your property- get your agent to come out to and view property to ensure you purchase the most suitable machine.
  • Buy machines you can get parts for.

Brush Cutters
  • Only use the correct nylon diameter for your machine- if the nylon is too big it causes extensive damage to the engine and clutch of unit.
  • Safety chaps/ glasses/ earmuffs are essential
  • 25/1 mixture of fuel (25 parts petrol + 1 part oil) or Stihl brand 33/1.

Fuel Mix Ratios
  • 50:1 = 20ml oil / 1 litre fuel
  • 33:1 = 30ml oil / 1 litre fuel
  • 25:1 = 40ml oil / 1 litre fuel

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