J and J Small Engine Blog

RSS Grab J&J Small Engine Clinic Blog Feed

How to Store Equipment Away for Long Term, Like Winter

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 13, 2011

As 2011 draws to a close many of our customers will be storing their STIHL products for the season. Fuel-related problems are among most common issues that STIHL customers have.

Now Let's Talk About Gasoline

The gasoline we buy at the pump is not the same as what we bought 10 years ago. Gasoline is a complex chemical soup that must meet standards set by the EPA regarding the pollution created when the fuel is used in an internal combustion engine. Nearly all the fuel sold today has at least 10% ethanol added. The primary use of gasoline today is for licensed vehicles used on public roads, like cars and trucks. Today the majority of these vehicles are fuel injected with a computerized engine management system that tunes and adjusts the engine to the fuel as the vehicle is being operated. The fuel companies blend this fuel to meet EPA standards for these vehicles.

Today's gasoline is even blended differently by region and at different times of the year to help with cold and hot starting in your car or truck. It is expected that gasoline delivered to a gas station will be sold and used within two or three weeks.

Most small engines manufactured today, for lawn and garden applications as well as small outboards and recreational vehicles, still use carburetors to mix the fuel with the air for the engine to run. The challenge for small engine manufacturers has been to build their products to operate properly on gasoline blends that keep changing. This has lead to such things as materials compatibility. Here is an example: take an engine that is a few years old and ran fine last season, but now will not start. When the unit is evaluated by a service technician at the dealership, they may find that the fuel line was found to be hard and brittle and had crumbled away, or it may have become soft and spongy and simply collapsed so no fuel can flow through it.

In some cases the carburetor itself may be damaged by the fuel, clogging jets or damaging rubber or polymer components that the fuel comes into contact with. They may swell or shrink, causing problems that prevent the machine from running correctly. It is easy to blame some of these problems on the ethanol that is mandated by the EPA to be added to most fuels, but there may be other additives in the fuel that could be a cause of these problems as well, especially in older machines.

Available Options

So what should you do to make sure your small engine will start when you want it to? There are some options available. They may require spending more money on fuel, or more time in preparing the machine for off-season storage, but the cost of not doing these things will be down time and a repair bill to correct the problems.

STIHL continues to make changes to the polymers and the carburetors used on current products to help prevent this sort of thing from happening. We do have some recommendations to help prevent starting problems for anyone with a small air cooled engine equipped with a carburetor, regardless of how old it is.

The most important thing you can do is buy name brand (89 or higher) octane fuel. The reason is that name brand fuel (Shell, EXXON, BP, CITGO, etc.) is blended more consistently and should be fresher and of a higher quality than fuel bought at a retailer with no brand on the pump.

Only buy enough fuel to last you a month at a time. The shelf life of today's gasoline is not as long as it was in years past. Fuel does "go bad" over time and will change color and eventually have a sour odor. This can happen much faster if the fuel container is open to the atmosphere, as in some older gas cans that do not seal out the air.

Some older gas cans have a little plastic vent that you would open to allow the fuel to pour out, and often it will break off and the oxygen in the air can get inside the gas can and start a process called "oxidation" that will rapidly degrade the fuel. Always use a clean fuel container and consider buying a new one that has a positive sealing dispensing cap and an automatic vent.

In high humidity areas, the ethanol additive in the gasoline will rapidly absorb moisture from the air and "phase separation" can occur. This will cause the water and ethanol to settle at the bottom of the container. When the can is tipped up to fill the tank, the water and ethanol will flow into your machine's fuel tank possibly causing a non-start condition. In a worst case scenario, this can actually ruin the carburetor or even cause internal damage to the engine.

Do not use a "winter"-blended gasoline you bought in January in June, as it may cause lean running, vapor lock, hard-starting and could also lead to internal engine damage.

Another suggestion that you might consider is to add a fuel stabilizer, such as STABIL. Be sure whatever brand you buy does not have any alcohol in it. A fuel stabilizer will not fix old gasoline but it does help lock down the chemistry of fresh gasoline so if it does sit in your gas can for a month or two, it should still burn properly when you use it. But remember that adding a fuel stabilizer does not make your gasoline last forever, just longer than it would without a stabilizer added. Some two-cycle engine oils have stabilizers as part of their chemistry, which makes it convenient to have a stabilizer in the mix.

Use a dedicated two-cycle fuel can. If you have a two-stroke engine such as a chain saw, leaf blower, or trimmer, use a fuel can just for two-cycle mix, and label it clearly. We suggest using the best quality oil from the manufacturer of your particular machine, and put the oil in the can before you add the gasoline so that it mixes better and there is no chance of forgetting to add it later.

Another option is to buy pre-packaged fuel for your two-stroke equipment. STIHL markets MotoMix® which is a 92 octane fuel with synthetic oil already added at a 50:1 ratio, and there is no alcohol of any kind present. Additionally this fuel will remain stable and useable for up to two years after the seal on the container is broken as long as the cap remains tightly sealed. While this option is more expensive up front, the payoff will be no downtime or repair bills down the road. This may be a good idea for someone that uses their equipment only occasionally, like a homeowner, fire department, rescue squad or farmer.

Prepare it for long term storage. Finally, no matter what gasoline you use, the most important thing to do when a machine is going to sit for any length of time, say over three or four weeks, is to actually run it out of fuel. Carefully drain the fuel out of the tank if it is not near empty, and save that fuel or dispose of it properly. Now start the engine and let it run at idle until the engine runs out of gas and stops. Don't rev the machine, just let it idle. This will do more than anything else to help mitigate starting problems the next time the machine is put into service. There will always be a little gasoline left in the carburetor, so this is why it would be best if the gasoline had some stabilizer in it, or for a two-stroke, a product like MotoMix®.

Remember, selection of fuel and proper mixing is your responsibility. Use a name-branded fuel and two-cycle mix, and follow the information above. Your machine should be ready when you are. If you have questions, contact us by calling 774-987-9399 to speak with our experienced technicians.

Some FAQs on a New Chain Saw

Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 01, 2011

How do I know what size bar I have?
Your bar's cutting length, called “length”, is different from its overall length. The cutting length is the distance from the front of the saw to the tip of the farthest cutter rounded to the nearest inch.

Should I do anything with the new chain?
Yes. Taking these few simple steps prior to using it can extend the life of your new chain:

  1. If possible, soak the chain in oil to allow oil to penetrate all chain components.
  2. Never run any chain on an over-worn drive sprocket, especially a new chain. After every two chains, or sooner, the drive sprocket system should be replaced.
  3. Adjust chain
  4. Run new chain at half throttle for several minutes before doing any cutting; this allows oil to reach all parts of the bar and chain. Let sprocket, bar and chain warm up fully.
  5. Stop the motor, let the chain cool, then check and adjust tension.
  6. Keep the first several cuts light. Keep extra oil on the bar and chain during these first cuts, and do not apply heavy pressure. Check chain tension often during the first half hour of use.
How tight should I tension my chain?
For a sprocket nose bar, turn your saw's tension-adjustment screw until the bottoms of the lowest tie straps and cutters come up and contact the bottom of the bar rails, then turn your tension-adjustment screw an additional 1/4 turn. Also, on sprocket nose bars, the snap test should be performed. Grasp the chain along the bottom of the bar, pull down, and let go. The chain should snap back to its original position, solidly contacting the bottom of the bar rail.

For a solid-nose bar, turn your saw's tension-adjustment screw until the bottoms of the lowest tie straps and cutters come up and contact the bottom of the bar rails. Chain tension on a solid-nose bar should be adjusted looser than on sprocket nose bars. Regardless of your bar type, your chain should move freely around the bar.

How do I know when my chain is dull?
Keep in mind that a sharp chain will cut large-size chips. A chain that is dull or has abrasive damage will create sawdust. It's time to sharpen when you're having to push on the saw or the saw is no longer self-feeding.

How often and what type of lubrication should I use in my chain saw?
Keep your saw's chain-oiling system filled with clean bar-and-chain oil. Never put used oil or old motor oil in your saw or on your chain. Be sure your chain, bar, and sprocket are always receiving oil from the saw during operation. Fill your oil reservoir each time you fill your gas tank.

if you have any other questions concerning your new chain saw or any other small gas engine, please contact J and J Small Engine Clinic.


Get e-mail notifications of new blog posts! Enter email address below.


Delivered by FeedBurner

Recent Posts


Tags

yard tools, MA yard tool service, MA small engine service, North Attleboro, MA lawn mower engine problems, MA snowblower needs a tune-up buying a generator snow blower maintenance and repairs lawnmowers, North Attleboro standing vs sitting mowers, MA common small engine problems standby generators, MA leaf blowers, north attleboro Massachusetts Generac generators, North Attleboro, MA small gas engine repair, North Attleboro, MA wet/dry vacuum black friday power equipment, North Attleboro, MA outdoor power equipment repair and maintenance, North Attleboro snowblower won't start generators engine overheating small engine parts power tools, north attleboro E10 gasoline, North Attleboro Father's day power tools, MA leaf blower won't stay running, MA storing the snow blower generac generator, MA electric mowers, MA STIHL drills Attleboro two cycle engines, MA locally owned power tool dealer, north attleboro small engine repair servcies north attleboro ma air filters Torro zero turn lawn mower choke outdoor power equipment repair questions, North Attleboro, MA blower sprayer, MA damage to outdoor power equipment power tool service, MA wet dry vac Local small engine repair, MA rototillers, North Attleboro lawn mower won't start, MA trimmer, North Attleboro economical snow blowers, MA, RI leaf blower service, MA small engine service department, North Attleboro power tool maintenance, MA Generac generators, MA pole pruner Stihl Dealer lawn mowers care, MA small engine repair air filter service north attleboro small engine repair STIHL trimmers gas stabilizer, North Attleboro, MA lawn mower maintenance, ma snowblower care of power tools, North Attleboro spring lawn mower maintenance, North Attleboro outdoor power equipment repair specialist, North Attleboro, MA gas leaf blowers, North Attleboro snow blowers, MA, RI outdoor power equipment repair, North Attleboro, MA outdoor power equipment repair, North Attleboro new snowblower standing vs sitting lawn mowers, MA small engine tune-up, MA backpack blower, MA engine oil generators, North Attleboro putting your lawn mower away for winter storage mulching lawn mowers, North Attleboro backpack blowers outdoor power tools father's day gifts, MA string trimming, MA flywheel, MA preparing lawn mower batteries for winter storage, North Attleboro, MA small engine parts, North Attleboro, MA Small Engine lawn tools, North Attleboro single stage snow blowers, North Attleboro, MA snow blower storage pursh zero turn mowers trenchers Toro Stihl Wrigth North Attleboro MA schedule lawn mower maintenance, North Attleboro bar and chain Recycler series power lawn mowers lawn mowers, MA power tool repair, MA sharpen mower blades, MA maintenance of power tools power tools sales, MA shop vac, MA generator repairs, MA new snowblowers, North Attleboro, MA drought lawn care, MA snowblowers 2 stage snow blowers outdoor equipment power tools not working, MA STIHL power tools lawn mowers Local small engine repair lawn care equipment, MA snowblower maintenance, North Attleboro ethanol-free gas, North Attleboro, MA lawn mower, MA vacuum hedge trimmers snow blower maintenance, North Attleboro, MA wet vacuum power tools, Attleboro right fuel for power equipment small engine oil two stage snow blowers stand by generators, MA portable generators, North Attleboro, MA snow blower maintenance lightweight portable generators, MA shop vacuum, MA leaf blowers, North Attleboro, MA mower tune up, MA generators, MA smoking engine, MA lawn mower tune up lawn mower tune up, MA Wright lawn mowers battery operated electric lawn mowers, MA power tools service, MA parts, MA outdoor power equipment, North Attleboro, MA STIHL chain saw care of lawn mowers, North Attleboro handheld leaf blowers small engine repairs, MA standing lawn mowers, MA generator repair and maintenance, North Attleboro, MA power hand tools, MA Stihl order small engine parts electric leaf blowers, North Attleboro small gas engines small engine service department, MA compact two-stage blower small engines, North Attleboro mower blades, MA where to buy ethanol free gasoline, MA problems with lawn equipment, MA gas powered tools, MA toro snow blowers E10 gas, North Attleboro edging, MA lawn mowers, North Attleboro snowblower maintenance power tools for women, MA power tools, North Attleboro, MA spark plugs lawn and garden power tools, North Attleboro small engine service gas for small engines, MA outdoor power equipment repair and maintenance, North Attleboro, MA power tool engine parts new power equipment, MA sprocket nose bar power tools for Father's day gifts, MA filters small engine maintenance, MA E10 gas small engine parts, MA wet-dry vacuum gasoline with more than 10% ethanol small engine maintenance small machines power tool service STIHL backpack blowers new power tools, North Attleboro snow blowers, MA sales and service of small engine equipment cordless drill, MA small air cooled engine fuel containers zero emission lawn mowers, MA chain saw snow blower repair, North Attleboro preparing your lawnmower, ma two-stage snow blowers power tool repair and maintenance, North Attleboro prepare lawn mower for winter storage ethanol free fuel, MA Torro lawn mowers, MA lawnmower service, North Attleboro power tool parts, MA power tools parts, MA backpack blower sprayer, MA torro lawn mowers benefits of standing mowers, MA over seeders, North Attleboro power lawn mowers STIHL blower sprayer, MA push mower, MA prepare snowblower for storage, North Attleboro Attleboro, MA Kipor generators, MA recycler lawn mowers, MA portable generators snowblower safety STIHL extended reach hedge trimmers fuel stabilizers electric snow blowers, MA, RI leaf blower parts, MA leaf blower repair, North Attleboro, MA leaf blowers STIHL leaf blowers prune trees air filter seasonal snow blower maintenance, North Attleboro, MA carburetor kits gas powered snowblowers, North Attleboro gift ideas, North Attleboro, MA small engine repairs single stage snowblower, North Attleboro yard care equipment, MA small snow blowers, MA, RI small engine problems commercial generators ethanol free gas, North Attleboro, MA lawn mower blades, North Attleboro, MA electric lawn mowers STIHL leaf blowers, north attleboro STIHL chain saws power outages electric snow blowers power tool sales and service, north attleboro string trimmers, MA power tool repair, north attleboro generator service Generac portable generators, North Attleboro, MA new snowblower, MA power tools parts and service, MA power equipement repair power tool maintenance standing mowers, MA generators, North Attleboro, MA electric power tools, MA leaf blowers for clearing snow STIHL wet dry vac battery-powered yard equipment new and power tools, North Attleboro regular maintenance, MA chainsaws generator, MA smoking small engine power equipment regular maintenance leaf blower service gas for snow blowers, North Attleboro, MA tighten the chain power tool storage power tools maintenance, MA two cycle engine repairs, MA lawn mower engine parts, MA generac generator snowblowers, North Attleboro green lawn mowers portable generators, North Attleboro ethanol-free gas toro lawn mowers, MA preparing a small engine for winter storage, North Attleboro, MA cordless electric lawn mowers, MA electric drill power tool service, north attleboro chain saw FAQs right fuel for power tools lawnmowers, MA shop-vac generator service, MA gasoline outdoor power equipment sales portable generator small engine repair north attleboro ma snowblower tune-up basic power tools, Attleboro buy and power tools, North Attleboro gas snow blowers snowblower maintenance, North Attleboro, MA lawn equipment engine problems, MA hedge trimmer, North Attleboro small engine repair sales services north attleboro standing lawn mowers snowblower maintenance and repairs fall cleanup lawn mower batteries, North Attleboro, MA fall maintenance on lawn mowers, North Attleboro gas lawn mowers two stage snow blowers, North Attleboro, MA chain saws, North Attleboro tax free weekend, MA power tool maintenance, North Attleboro small engine tools Toro lawn mowers, North Attleboro lawn mower maintenance, North Attleboro outdoor power equipment small engine repair, North Attleboro power tool parts and service, MA leaf blower won't start, MA leaking head gasket residential generators power tools won't start, MA lawn mower maintenance snow throwers TORO commercial lawn mowers STIHL hedge trimmers engine won't start EPA standards wet dry vac, MA leaf blower Toro lawn mowers new power tools, Ma service and maintenance or portable generators, North Attleboro, MA single-stage snowblower leaf blower maintenance, MA North Attleboro stocking stuffers power tools, MA portable generators, MA zero turn lawn mowers, MA powerwashers, North Attleboro blowers, north attleboro ethanol free gasoline, MA outdoor power equipment, North Attleboro two stage snowblowers, North Attleboro, MA new lawn mowers, North Attleboro back pack leaf blowers snow blowers, North Attleboro power tool repairs, MA Toro snowblowers zere turn mowers service power tools power tool repair snow blowers snow removal women and power tools, North Attleboro snow blowers, North Attleboro, MA snowblower shopping, North Attleboro aerators, North Attleboro power tools repair, MA two-stage snow blower two-stroke engines small engine tune up, MA holiday shopping cordless drill lawn equipment, MA sawzall, MA necessary power tools, Attleboro small engines, MA 2 stage snowblowers pressure washer battery powered lawn mowers sales and service of power tools lawn mower small engine sales repair service north attleboro ma small engine repair shops, MA new lawn equipment, MA edgers, MA electric hand held leaf blowers, North Attleboro yard equipment won't start, MA yard equipment, MA Generac portable generators, North Attleboro tips for preparing lawn mower for winter storage ethanol free gas, MA preventative maintenance zero turn lawn mower wet dry vacuum Torro lawn mower power tools maintenance and repair, North Attleboro lawn mower carburetor outdoor power equipment maintenance, North Attleboro lawn care, North Attleboro snowblowers require maintenance, North Attleboro, MA buying a snowblower, MA power tool engine parts, MA wheeled blowers, North Attleboro electric chain saw 2 stage snow blowers, North Attleboro, MA solid nose bar gas leaf blowers lawn mower service, MA snow blowers require maintenance, North Attleboro, MA engine parts, North Attleboro small engine service, MA beginner power tools, Attleboro STIHL auger hand power tools, MA gasoline chain saws wet-dry vac backpack leaf blowers 2 stage snowblower, North Attleboro fuel-related problems Gasoline-powered tools power equipment repair, North Attleboro, MA ethanol-free gasoline snowblowers, MA fuel for engines new power tools new lawn mower, MA STIHL backpack blower sprayer, MA small engine problems, MA pressure washer, North Attleboro power tools circular saw, MA chain saws, MA engine dies leaf blower repairs, MA snowblower repair, North Attleboro lawn mower storage leaf blowers, MA STIHL brushcutters lawn mower service power equipement repair and maintenance plug in lawn mowers parts and service for all small engines, North Attleboro lawn mower carburetor, ma causes of small engine problems annual maintenance, MA trimmers, MA small engines J&J Small Engine Clinic zero turn mower portable generator repairs, MA wood boring drill small engine repair, MA WRIGHT engines idles wrong power equipment retailer, North Attleboro trimmers and brushcutters electric lawn mowers, MA two-cycle engines Toro snow blowers, MA, RI snow blowers with electric start hand-held power tools lawn mower repairs, ma backpack sprayer, MA lawn care, MA hand-held gardening equipment single stage snowblowers, North Attleboro, MA chain saws ethanol free gas stationary generators, North Attleboro, MA magneto, MA wet vac mower blade needs sharpening, North Attleboro small engine parts and service, MA lawn mower blade sharpening, MA small engine equipment ethanol free gasoline tips for outdoor power equipment, North Attleboro string trimmers outdoor power equipment repair North Attleboro smoking small engine, MA

Archive