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Get Your Power Tools Ready for Spring Yard Care

Joseph Coupal - Friday, April 05, 2013

It is finally spring and the snow is melting off our lawns, but it is not quite time to start planting flower beds and gardens. But right now is the perfect time to take stock in your power tools, and garden supplies. What do you have, what do you need and what needs maintenance or parts? Make sure your engines start, your tools are clean and sharpened, the wheelbarrow tires are filled with air and your gas tanks are full.

But, don’t forget, when you are buying fuel for gas-driven small engines that manufacturers recommend using ethanol free gas. If you must buy gas with ethanol, use gas with 10% or less ethanol two-cycle engines and other gas powered small engines.

Most gas is mixed with ethanol which makes gas corrosive. It can destroy the rubber gaskets and seals in small engines which is why we recommend ethanol free gasoline. When getting gas for small engines remember that Toro and Stihl do not recommend using fuel with more than 10% ethanol.

Small engine paper air filters should be replaced, but sponge filters can be washed with soap and water and then moistened by working in a few drops of motor oil.

Before filling the gas tank of your lawnmower and adding fresh oil, check the inner housing for buildup of caked-on dirt and grass clippings. Even a relatively thin coating can restrict the movement of air and grass clippings, making mulching lawn mowers less effective.

For more information on small engine parts and service, visit or contact J&J Small Engine Clinic.

Where to Find Ethanol Free Gas for Your Yard Equipment

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Outdoor power-equipment owners who maintain their gear aren't happy about ethanol. When ethanol is added to gas, as it is almost everywhere, it can result in the stiffening of rubber and plastic parts and the crusting up of carburetor parts that are supposed to move freely. Fortunately, there are a number of ethanol free products on the market that address this issue.

Fuel that's 10-percent ethanol, E10, is sold in most gas stations. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the sale of E15 (15-percent ethanol) gasoline for newer cars. There are questions about this, like if you inadvertently put E15 in lawn care equipment, there might be no recourse. No conclusive tests have shown it is safe to run small, non-road engines on E15. As a result, makers of outdoor gear and related engines will not honor the warranty of a product that fails due to the use of E15.

There is an ethanol-free fuel, Stihl's Motomix, that's sold by the quart at certain Stihl dealerships. Though $8 a quart the two-cycle gas/oil mix still seems a bargain compared to taking a string trimmer or leaf blower into the shop a few times a year.  Motomix is just one of your options, and the others cost less.

TruFuel, in three varieties, is sold at Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart and other retailers. The two-cycle 50:1 gas/oil mix costs $5.48 a quart at Home Depot and Lowe's, which also sells the 40:1 mixture online.

• At Sears, ethanol-free fuels in four-and two-cycle varieties are sold online and in stores. (Kmart also carries these products, all of which are made by TruSouth, maker of TruFuel.) The "pure" Craftsman gas costs $6.99 a quart, though you can lower that price to $5.81 a quart by buying a six-pack (the brand is Arnold, a division of outdoor-gear manufacturer MTD), sold by Wholesale Tools from the same website. Both the 50:1 two-cycle gas/oil mixture and the 40:1 two-cycle mixture cost $5.49 a quart.

VP Racing Fuels sells SEF (Small Engine Fuel) in all three varieties through distributors, relatively small retailers, and the company's website. Unlike the TruSouth product, which is 92-octane, SEF is 94. All three varieties are sold by the six-pack for $43.95, which comes out to about $7.33 per quart.

Compared to the cost of repairs, using these products in small power equipment makes good sense. But using them in your lawn mower or snow blower exclusively might cost so much per season that it may be cheaper to hire the job out.

If you don’t want to buy ethanol free gasoline online because of shipping costs, contact J&J Small Engine Clinic where we have it instock.

Consumer Reports

Regular Gas and Your Two-Cycle Engine

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 02, 2012

More and more, ethanol in gasoline ruines carburetors and degrades engines in gas power tools. As the EPA considers increasing the ethanol allowed in street gas from 10 to 15% this will get worse.

Small-engine mechanics are busier than ever.  Power tools that look brand new need repairs because the engines are worn out from the ethanol in gasoline.

Owners of power tools fuel those tools with a gasoline-ethanol blend. This is a result of  a federal mandate to convert to biofuels.

Using ethanol products in smaller engines like the two-cycle lawnmowers, chain saws and snow blowers is not a good idea.

A high percentage of the lawnmowers that small engine repair shops see have been damaged by ethanol.
But now, at J&J Small Engine Clinic in North Attleboro, Ethanol-free gas is available and distributed in cans for owners of small engines . Why should you use it?

The ethanol in gasoline eats up the insides of engines - the rubber gaskets and parts get damaged, and the metal parts rust.

As the ethanol breaks down the parts of the engines, the engines get stopped up as parts break down. As a result, the engine will no longer run.

In smaller engines, ethanol can create a chain reaction of events that end up clogging valves and rusting out small metal parts — including, crucially, carburetors.

The ethanol in gas attracts moisture, which causes a quicker deterioration of the fuel in the small engine. The alcohol dissipates the oil which is used for lubricating the engine. So on a two-cycle engine, the oil is being pushed away, so the engine is not being lubricated.

That creates a gummy residue that clogs filters and hoses.

Most gasoline is now mixed with up to 10% ethanol. This blended fuel is the only gasoline sold in many areas because of a federal mandate designed to boost the levels of renewable fuels at the pump.

J&J Small Engine Clinic, Inc, is one of the Few Shops to sell Ethanol free gasoline. Ethanol free gasoline will not go bad for at least two years, most gasoline purchase for your vehicle will start to go bad in 30 days. Contact us.

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