Small engine maintenance for women...By Michelle Richard

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Small engine maintenance for women...By Michelle Richard Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                        SELF RELIANCE

Small engine maintenance for women
         By Michelle Richards                   Today’s small engines are rugged             Small engines are of two types. Two
                                             little critters, and I’ve found that         stroke or four stroke. At this point, the

         ow many small engines do            because of that fact, most people            only reason this is important to you is
         you have on your homestead?         neglect them. Where they change the          the lubrication methods are different.
         I counted mine the other day        oil religiously in their automobile,         The two stroke requires you mix the
and came up with eight. These engines        they don’t on their lawnmower. They          oil with the gas. The four stroke is like
help me live a simple life out in the        take their car in for a tuneup, but don’t    your auto engine. There is a separate
boonies. They do jobs for me that            remember the tiller. This neglect is the     compartment for the oil and a separate
make my life easier and save me lots         main reason their engines fail, or do        fuel tank.
of energy, which is very important as I      not run for their rated life expectancy.        To identify them, two stroke engines
am disabled and over the hill in age.        Recently a friend brought me her tiller      are generally used on chainsaws,
  These tools make it possible to con-       and asked me to look it over to see if       weedwhackers, and other tools that
tinue to live the lifestyle I have chosen.   it could be repaired. My diagnosis? It       are used at many angles. Chainsaws
Seven of the eight engines are five          was a disaster. Why did it fail? It          are a great example of this. Think
horsepower, or under, and pump               failed because the air cleaner had           about all the various angles in which a
water, blow snow, generate electricity,      never been changed. This five hp             chain saw is required to run when cut-
till the garden, cut brush, cut fire -       Tecumseh engine literally ground its         ting down a tree. Upside down or 90
wood, and propel a small boat.               innards to death because of dirt that        degree angles aren’t uncommon. So
  All these engines must run, and do         got into the combustion chamber. On          having the oil mixed with the gas
the jobs they were designed to do, or        top of that, the oil in the crankcase had    keeps the engine lubricated no matter
my survival is in question. For those        never been changed. Just topped off          how it’s tilted or angled.
of you who also have small engines           when it was low. The oil lost its abili-        Four stroke engines are usually
around the homestead, who rely on            ty to lubricate, and was full of grit par-   found on tools such as lawnmowers
them as I do, this article is written to     ticles and dirt. That’s death to engines.    which stay horizontal most of the time
help you keep them maintained and to                                                      they are in service. Thus the oil stays
help you diagnose a problem if it does       Two types of engines                         in the bottom of the crankcase where
occur. There’s nothing more frustrat-                                                     slingers or other mechanical parts dis-
ing to me than to be out fishing and           I asked her why the engine was             tribute the oil to the areas of the
the engine won’t start or going to the       allowed to get in this condition and         engine that require it. Another easy
woodlot only to find the chainsaw            she replied that her husband was in          way to know is, generally, two stroke
starts, but runs roughly or sputters and     charge of engines and she had no             engines are on tools you must lift and
dies. Instead of getting your chores         working knowledge other than using           carry, i.e., chainsaws and weedwhack-
done, you end up driving into town to        the tiller in her garden. I gave her         ers. They have many fewer parts than
your local repair shop.                      some small tips on maintenance pro-          a four stroke engine so they are
                                             cedures and showed her the engine            lighter. Four stroke engines are on
                                             and why it failed. She apparently went       tillers and most lawnmowers.
                                             home and advised her husband that a             The oil is not only a lubricator, it
                                             $3 filter and a dollar in oil on a regular   also helps with heat transfer. Small
                                             basis would have saved their $750            engines run very hot and are generally
                                             tiller from the junkyard. About two          air cooled, so it’s imperative the oil is
                                             weeks later I saw her in the grocery         mixed in the proper proportions in the
                                             store and she proudly told me the            gasoline (two stroke engines), or kept
                                             chainsaw wouldn’t start the week             clean and up to the required level in
                                             before, and she fixed it herself.            the crankcase.
                                               So ladies, you can learn a camshaft
                                             from a crankshaft, and how to main-          Engine cooling vital
                                             tain your engines. It is not beyond
                                             your comprehension. So this is espe-          Inadequate cooling is the second
                                             cially written for you.                      most prevalent reason for engine fail-

The Fourth Year                                                                                                              323
A Backwoods Home Anthology

ure. First, keep the engine clean. It’s a   require different ratios in the mix. You   $50. Using gasoline within 30 days, as
simple procedure. After using the           will find the ratio mix in your manual     you can see, is very cost effective.
engine in the garden or mowing the          that came with the engine, or many
lawn, let it idle under no load for a       times it’s printed right on the gas/oil    Benefits of simple care
few minutes to let it cool down for a       tank cap.
while before you turn it off. This is         There are two firm rules on this. Use      This article has been very simplistic
very important. As I said before, these     only two stroke engine oil in two          in nature and gives you very basic
critters run very hot, especially if        stroke engines. Do not use car engine      information on small engines. If fol-
they’ve just tilled heavy soil or           oil like SAE 10W-30W, or the like.         lowed, it will save you lots of down-
cut high grass. Letting them cool           Two stroke engines burn oil and are        time and lots of expense. On one
down to normal operating tempera-           designed to do this, and require the       hand, I appreciate people who don’t
tures before turning them off will          proper oil in the gasoline. Mix the        maintain their equipment, as it is a
allow the metals to cool down slowly.       gasoline and oil thoroughly, and I         means of income to me. But on the
It will add many hours to the life          mean thoroughly. One great method is       other hand, I hate waste. As an ad for
expectancy of your engine.                  to take your gas and oil can to the gas    oil filters says on TV: “You can pay
  After turning it off, let it cool and     station and make the mix right there at    me now, or you can pay me later.”
then clean all the dirt, twigs, and grass   the pump. Fill the gas can about 1/3       You can do simple maintenance like
off the cooling fins and the engine         full and then add the proper amount of     cooling slowly, changing oil, proper
block. These engines “cool them-            oil, then fill the container. The gaso-    fuel mixing, changing air filters, all
selves” by radiating heat into the sur-     line pumping quite rapidly out of the      for little or no cost.
rounding air. If they’re covered with       nozzle mixes the oil and gas together        Why pay me, or another technician,
matted grass clippings, dirt and oil,       quite well. Later when you go to fill      lots of money for a valve job, carbure-
they can’t cool.                            your tiller or generator, shake the gas    tor rebuild, or engine overhaul that’s
  Second, never remove the engine           can vigorously before filling the tank.    needed because of neglect? Today’s
shrouds. They aren’t put there for            The oil must be in very small parti-     small engines are rated for approxi-
looks. They are designed to channel         cles and suspended evenly in the mix,      mately 1000 hours of life expectancy
air around your engine to help it cool.     so the engine gets lubricated evenly. If   before complete rebuilding or replace-
I can’t tell you how many people take       the oil is not mixed thoroughly, the       ment is necessary. That doesn’t sound
these sheet metal shrouds off the           engine starves for lubrication, and the    like a lot, does it? But figure how
engine because grass clippings get          spark plug gets big “globs” of oil         you use your lawnmower. Two hours
caught in them, and think they are          stuck on it so it can’t fire. You’ll       a week for a six-month season
helping their engine to cool.               spend wasted time taking out the plug,     would be about average, or 48 hours a
  Think of the system on your small         cleaning and drying it to keep your        year. At this rate your engine could
engine like the air conditioning ducts      engine running.                            last 20 years.
or heat ducts from your furnace or air        Gasoline is also important. Head for       Simple home maintenance coupled
conditioning system. The ducts pro-         your manual for types of gasoline and      with a couple of trips to a small
vide passageways to move hot or cold        octane rating your engine requires.        engine technician for tune-ups and
air where it’s needed. The engine has       Some older engines require leaded          inspection over that 20-year life can
the same kind of system. The flywheel       gasoline. Most of the newer engines        save you lots of money and your
acts as a fan and forces air into the       run on leaded or unleaded.                 engine will roar to life and do its job
shrouded area around the engine, thus         Once gasoline is on hand, use it.        consistently.
carrying off the heat as the cooler air     Don’t buy 10 gallons of gasoline and         If you have no manual for your
races by. By removing the shroud or         use five gallons per year to mow your      engine, either go to a small engine
not repairing dents to it, you are          lawn for two years. Gasoline allowed       sales shop and request one or write the
defeating the cooling system.               to sit gets stale and gummy. This          engine manufacturer directly. If you
                                            gummy stuff sticks especially to car-      have an old engine, when writing the
Fuel mix                                    buretor parts and air passages which       manufacturer, tell them the informa-
                                            eventually will restrict air flow, thus    tion that’s on the engine specification
  Now let’s get to fuel and fuel mix.       changing the air-gasoline mixture          plate. If you can find no plate, tell the
As we learned earlier, the two stroke       that’s required for good engine opera-     manufacturer what machinery the
requires you mix oil with the gas. This     tion. This simple precaution will save     engine powers and the approximate
really can be confusing, especially if      you a lot of downtime and lots of          age. This will help them get an appro-
you have three or four engines that         money. A replacement carburetor or a       priate manual to you. ∆
                                            carburetor rebuild will cost you $25 to

324                                                                                                   The Fourth Year