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Lawn Equipment Problems after Winter Storage, Part II

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 24, 2012

Last week in our blog we listed some common problems you may find with your lawn equipment after winter storage. Those were some of the problems you may encounter, but not all. Here are some other issues you may have when taking your small engines out of winter storage:

1. Engine knocks.
Potential causes:

  • Magneto does not supply current at the right time.
  • Carburetor is set too lean.
  • Engine is overheated.
  • There is carbon buildup in the combustion chamber.
  • Flywheel is loose.
  • Connecting rod is loose, possibly worn.
  • Cylinder is worn.
 2. Engine overheats.
Potential causes:
  • Magneto does not supply current at the right time.
  • Carburetor set too lean.
  • Air intake is are clogged.
  • Missing shroud or blower housing.
  • Too much load.
  • Not enough or too much oil.
  • Wrong type of oil.
  • Valve clearance is too small.
  • Too much carbon buildup in combustion chamber.
3. Engine backfires.
Potential causes:
  • Carburetor set too lean.
  • Magneto does not supply current at the right time.
  • Valves are sticking.

If your problems are not listed here, or you can’t fix your lawn equipment, contact J&J Small Engine Clinic, we can help.

Troubleshooting Lawn Equipment Engines After Winter Storage

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 17, 2012

It is almost time for spring, and many of you are checking out your lawn equipment, eager to use it once again.Unfortunately, many homeowners find that after winter storage, lawn care equipment has some engine problems. Here is a list of common problems and most of the possible causes.

1.  Engine won't start or is hard to start.

Possible causes:

  • Fuel tank is empty or shutoff valve is closed, or fuel line is clogged.
  • There is water in the fuel.
  • Carburetor is over choked.
  • Carburetor is adjusted wrong or needs service.
  • Ignition system or its wiring is defective or ignition switch is off.
  • Deadman or other cutoff switch is open or defective.
  • Spark plug is damaged.
  • Engine compression is poor.
  • Operator needs to read user manual.

2. Engine starts and dies after a few seconds.

Possible causes:

  • Fuel tank is empty or shutoff valve is closed, or fuel line is clogged.
  • Carburetor is over choked.
  • Carburetor is adjusted wrong or needs service.

  3. Engine idles roughly or surges.

Possible causes:

  • Carburetor is dirty.
  • Air leak in carburetor or intake manifold.
  • Carburetor is adjusted wrong or needs service.

  4. Engine vibrates a lot.

Possible causes:

  • Engine is not mounted securely.
  • Blade is unbalanced.
  • Crankshaft is bent.
  • Counterbalance shaft is not timed correctly.

  5. Engine doesn't have much power or lacks power after warm-up.

Possible causes:

  • Old gas, bad spark plug, very thick/dirty oil.
  • Choke is partially closed.
  • Carburetor needs adjustment or service.
  • Ignition not timed correctly.
  • Air filter is clogged.
  • Lack of engine lubrication.
  • Valves are not sealing properly.
  • Piston rings are not sealing properly.
  • Head loose or head gasket is blown or damaged.
  • Exhaust ports on a 2 stroke are blocked.

While this blog lists many problems, it is does not cover everything that can go wrong. We’ll talk about some more issues next week.  If your problems are not listed here, or you can’t fix your lawn equipment, contact J&J Small Engine Clinic, we can help.

Prep Your Lawnmower for Spring

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 03, 2012

The weather has been mild lately, so let’s talk about lawnmower maintenance and prepping your lawn mower for the spring.

It is almost time to prep your lawn mower for the spring season. What does that mean?

  • Be sure there is no grass stuck underneath the mower (deck) from last season.
  • Change the oil.
  • Change the air filter
  • Sharpen the blade.
  • Change the spark plugs.

The above are the basic maintenance items for prepping your lawnmower after winter storage for spring use.

At J&J Small Engine Clinic, the most common problem we see is when the lawn mower won’t start after winter storage. The most common reason for this is the owner did not drain the gas or run the gas out at the end of the season. Then months later the lawn mower won’t start. Moisture accumulates in the gas tank, the volatile compounds in the gas evaporate and leave tars and varnishes and water in the carburetor. Repairing the lawnmower carburetor is often more work than the typical homeowner can do on their own. 

To get your lawn mower ready for spring, contact J&J Small Engine Clinic. Small engine specialists do tune-ups on lawn mowers and yard equipment, as well as maintenance and complete rebuilds on all types of small engines.

Bob Villa Recommends Some Power Tools

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 03, 2012

Everyone has a hammer and a screw driver, but think of what you can do with power tools. Put a new tool in the hands of some people and they become giddy at the prospect of all the jobs they can now do. Power tools may be more expensive than a hammer, but when you own them, there is one less excuse to blow off a project. And, power tools they pay for themselves.

The very basic set of tools is perfect for installing shelves or a shower heads. But are there other tools, power tools, that would inspire someone to take on the bigger home projects.

Bob Villa says that what you need is a set of aspirational tools. These tools lean heavily on the power tools category.

Nevertheless,when you own the right power tools, you can take on projects that, had you paid a carpenter, would have cost much more than buying all of those power tools.

The first item on my list of new tools was an 18-volt cordless drill.  It is advisable to get one with a spare battery, so you don’t have to worry about losing power midway through a project.

A battery-powered circular saw is another good thing to have, “especially if you’re outside working on a fence or up on a roof, where you don’t want to drag a cord.”

A reciprocating saw, or Sawzall, is good for demolition and for cutting through walls. It’s the greatest tool in America, and, keep in mind, second only to chainsaws as the most dangerous.

The top tool recommendation is a multipiece drilling-and-driving set, which expands the utility of a cordless drill. For any job, no matter what you need to do, this tool has it.

A 80-piece drill-and-drive set includes nut-setters, roughly 20 drill bits and more than 50 screw-driving tips. For those with more specialized woodworking needs, Ryobi sells a 90-piece drill-and-drive set that includes tools for boring and circular cuts.

When you embark on home projects, you make a mess and need a way to clean up. The recommendation: a wet-dry vacuum or Shop-Vac. They suck up stuff that would destroy a typical vacuum and you don’t think of it as a tool but you get addicted to it.

Another tool that Mr. Vila suggests is an auger for unclogging toilets or drains. Plumbers charge such enormous amounts that when you buy a three-foot Ridgid toilet auger it pays for itself in the time it would take a plumber to walk from his truck to your front door.
Are you in the market to add some power tools to your workspace? Contact J&J Small Engine Clinic.

Original article - NYTimes

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