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

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

Archive