J and J Small Engine Blog

RSS Grab J&J Small Engine Clinic Blog Feed

Power Tool Maintenance and Service

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 15, 2013

It is frustrating when you begin a project only to find that your power tools are not working. The best way to avoid this is to have your regularly scheduled maintenance on your power tools.

Many people with power tools are do-it-youselfers. So many power tool owners attempt to maintain or “fix” their tools on their own. But small engines are a different animal. Too many times we see people spend money on new tools because they can’t fix it themselves.

If you have a tool or piece of equipment with a small engine which is not running properly (or not running at all), seek professional assistance. Sometimes a problem is bigger than you can handle, but easy enough to be fixed more economically than buying a new tool.

So if you're trying to resolve an issue with your power tools, lawnmower, or snow blower, contact J&J Small Engine Clinic for small engine parts, service and regular maintenance.

Make Sure Your Portable Generator Is Ready When You Need It

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, December 27, 2012

After every powerful winter storm that kills power for any measurable amount of time, the predictable flood of portable generator repair jobs arrive us here at J&J Small Engine Clinic.  Will your generator be there to provide emergency heat and light for you and your family? There is one way to find out.  Go outside and start it up. 

Small engines need to be exercised periodically to ensure readiness. Old fuel needs to be burned.  So make periodic "maintenance runs" of you portable generator.  Run the small engine for at least 30 minutes and be sure to hang an electrical load on the circuit to verify both the engine and the electrical power production services are fully operational. 

If you use your portable generator solely for emergency services, then it should be your standard practice mix in a fuel stabilizer with your gasoline.  Seldom used engines storing untreated fuel is a recipe for failure.  

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.

For Heavy Snows Consider a Two-stage Snow Blower

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In the market for a snow blower? If you have a single-stage gas model, your memories of last winter’s victory over your best efforts might still linger. But even you’ve merely had your fill of shoveling, there’s good news: For the same money as some of the better single-stage models, a two-stage model’s addition of an impeller behind the usual auger gives it more heft in lifting and throwing snow. Even a compact 2 stage snow blower , with widths up to 24 inches, can give you the edge in the coming months. What doesn’t help, however, is that that two-stage models are heavier and take up more space in a garage or shed.

We’ve added further detail on the models in our Snow Blower Ratings to allow better comparisons. Here, in the meantime, is a primer on how a two-stage gas model differs from a single-stage in actual use.

Performance. Particularly with the widest two-stage models, snow removal is quicker—important if you’re in a hurry. The largest models throw snow the farthest, which keeps you from blowing the same snow twice in your driveway. And they offer the most muscle against the dense pile that municipal snowplows leave where your driveway meets the street.

Maneuverability. Two stage snow blowers can be twice as heavy as single-stage, but that doesn’t mean they’re twice as hard to move. Multiple speeds mean the snow blower can do all the work of getting the unit where you want it, and you can set the speed according to how easy or challenging the snow is. (The denser the snow, the slower the recommended speed.) And if your driveway slopes, the driven wheels can keep you safe. How? For my own hilly driveway on a busy street, I set a slow speed but keep my hand off the drive lever.

Other features. The beefier two-stage snow blower have freewheel steering, noted in our Ratings, which disengages either or both the drive wheels for easy, sharp turning. The higher price of the larger models also gets you single-hand controls, which frees up a hand for careful chute aim—important for driveways situated near the neighbors’. As with winter viruses, after all, generosity is not necessarily a virtue.

Extend the Life of your Power Tools

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 21, 2011

J & J Small Engine Clinic is your best source for quality small engine parts in and around North Attleboro. Do you need to tune up your STIHL, Wright, Toro or Generac power tools?

Small engines and power tools need proper tune ups and maintenance seasonally in order to keep them running properly and efficiently.

Are you a Do-it-yourselfer? We have small engine parts like air filters, spark plugs, mufflers, and carburetor kits. We stock small engine pistons, rings, gasket sets, valves and connecting rods if your small engine needs more extensive parts or repair. If you need a new starter rope, recoil or electric starter we can help you with that.

Regular tune ups and proper maintenance prior to storage is important to the life of your small engines and power tools.

Contact J & J Small Engine Clinic for small engine parts with fast and friendly service.

Small Engine Oil Basics

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, September 29, 2011

Proper small engine maintenance of your equipment with gas engines should begin with you checking the oil every time before you start the engine.
Many people wonder how often they should change the oil in a small engine. You should definitely see what it says in the owner’s manual. However a good rule of thumb is to change it every 20-30 hours of use.

The next question we often hear is: what kind of oil should I use in my small engine? Well, again you should refer to the owner’s manual. The manufacturer will recommend a certain rating. Brand doesn’t necessarily matter as long as it is a recognizable one.

Some manufacturers will recommend a specific viscosity oil, while others will recommend that you use a multi-viscosity type. A generic approach would be to use a 30 WT for warmer seasons and for winter or cold temperature operation, 10W30 should be fine.

Contact J & J Small Engine Clinic to schedule your small engine service.

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

Delivered by FeedBurner

Recent Posts


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