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    Curlyben's Avatar
    Curlyben Posts: 18,473, Reputation: 1857
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    #1

    Jul 8, 2008, 01:47 AM
    Frequently Asked Questions Answered by our Experts
    Please see below for information, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, from our Tools & Power Equipment Experts;

    ballengerb1 - Home Repair & Remodeling Expert
    KeepItSimpleStupid - Engineering & Electronics Expert
    MOWERMAN2468 - Lawn & Garden Expert

    Feel free to post on the board: Just click the "Ask About Tools & Power Equipment" button at the top of the page.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #2

    Jul 8, 2008, 02:01 AM
    1.0 Lawn Mower Blade removal

    Most blades are held by a single bolt with a beveled washer that keeps tension.

    Remove the spark plug wire so the mower can't start.

    Use a 6-pt socket with a fairly long ratchet or breaker bar to remove the bolt. This will prevent you from rounding the corners of the attaching bolt.

    If the blade has been removed regularly, holding the blade with a leather gloved hand and using the rachet with the other, works well. If, not, you will have to wedge something like a block of wood between the blade and the deck to prevent the engine from turning while unloosening the bolt.

    Clean up the threads using a wire brush and apply anti-seize compound on the threads works wonders for easier removal the next time.

    Take the blades off to sharpen and balance at least yearly
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #3

    Jul 8, 2008, 12:51 PM
    2. Preventative Maintenance – Fuel

    Octane

    Use the correct octane. 89 is the minimum I use.

    Forward - Fuel goes bad.

    It get’s gummy and sticky. There is not a place for gummy and sticky fuel in a small engine. There are small passages, fuel valves (diaphragm and float operated) and fuel cut solenoids to reduce emissions. Gummy fuel causes parts to stick. Your engine floods or it gets no fuel and it doesn’t start. As part of preventative maintenance, you have to put an end to that. Gasoline, a.k.a. Petrol isn’t a solvent to this goo. Carburetor cleaner is.

    Rust particles also play havoc with the fuel system. If you have a metal tank, look for rust. Rust is the intermittent when it comes to fuel problems. You never know where it is and it keeps changing locations.

    Water in the fuel tank is another potential problem. Keep it out. It can come from a partially filled fuel tank in the form of condensation. Keep your fuel with a tight cap.

    Near the end of the mowing season, when you fill the gas can up with gas add the required amount of Sta-Bil, a fuel additive when you get gas. This stuff will not make good fuel good, so you have to be pro-active.

    Your fuel will then stay fresh for use next year in your lawn mower or in your snow blower.

    Fuel – 2 Cycle engines

    It’s mixed with oil. Use the manufacturer’s recommended oil and proportions and add to an appropriate amount of gas. A 50:1 mix is typical. Here’s the fun part, watch out for units of measure which are typically gallons, imperial gallons and liters. So, don’t fill the container and add the oil. Watch what the pump dispenses.

    When you go to the pump, your container may not be quite empty, so add the amount of oil to the container and add the amount of fuel using the fuel gage on the pump. Mix well.

    Sta-Bil works for mixed 2 cycle gasoline and oil mixtures too.

    Shake the fuel mixture before using it. If it’s in a chain saw, invert it a few times too before using it.

    Fuel – Storage

    Don’t store it. That’s not a good answer. Fuel and fuel mixtures stored in containers or equipment for more than a few months need Sta-Bil. Store your fuel outside. Vapors stay close to the ground, they do not dissipate. Garage locations with gas water heaters not on pedestals may not be a good location.

    Store your 2-cycle fuel in a different looking container that your regular fuel to avoid mix-ups. Make sure your lawn caretaker knows that there is both 2-cycle and 4-cycle fuel in the shed.

    Fuel - Excess

    Drain and run the engine until all the fuel is out of the tank before putting the lawn mower away for 5 months. Do it for the roto-tiller, the chain saw and the lawn mower.

    I don’t drain my leaf blower, because I use it to “shovel” light snow. The tanks stay dry until the first use and are emptied when not expected to be used for an extended amount of time.

    Benefits

    Keep the fuel system clean and free from contaminants and you may not ever have to clean the fuel system and rebuild the carburetor. Besides, it’s not something to do in the middle of winter or when the grass is a foot high.
    MOWERMAN2468's Avatar
    MOWERMAN2468 Posts: 3,214, Reputation: 243
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    #4

    Jul 8, 2008, 08:02 PM
    Most engine problems are carb related. One thing to check is to remove the carb bowl and see if you see any moisture or debris. The moisture will look like little beads inside the fuel. If you have fuel contamination, clean the ENTIRE fuel system. This includes the fuel tank, fuel lines, and carb. Also, replace the fuel filter and add fresh fuel.
    MOWERMAN2468's Avatar
    MOWERMAN2468 Posts: 3,214, Reputation: 243
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    #5

    Jul 8, 2008, 08:05 PM
    Rewinding the string on a trimmer. Most trimmers hold about fifteen to eighteen feet of trimmer line. Remove the trimmer head, divide the line and leave one end about four to six inches longer. Begin winding the line in the direction of the arrow on the head being sure to keep the line going around straight and taut. Hook the two ends on the head, and guide the line through the holes. Tighten the head, and go to trimming.
    MOWERMAN2468's Avatar
    MOWERMAN2468 Posts: 3,214, Reputation: 243
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    #6

    Jul 8, 2008, 08:05 PM
    When the engine is backfiring and popping, it is usually a sheared flywheel key, or valves. And yes just because you have spark, does NOT mean that the flywheel key is Okay. The key can be sheared and you can have spark, but NOT at the Correct time.
    MOWERMAN2468's Avatar
    MOWERMAN2468 Posts: 3,214, Reputation: 243
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    #7

    Jul 8, 2008, 08:06 PM
    What is needed for all engines, fuel, air, compression, and spark.
    MOWERMAN2468's Avatar
    MOWERMAN2468 Posts: 3,214, Reputation: 243
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    #8

    Jul 8, 2008, 08:19 PM
    Weak battery? Maybe not. If your engine turns a little and stops, then goes on to try and start. Or if it turns a little and then stops and doesn't move. Your VALVES may need to be adjusted. Now some batterys do go bad of course, but a lot of shops will sell someone a battery when that is not the problem, but the newer battery may turn the engine over better and result in the engine starting. Valve adjustment on a twin cylinder takes about 30 to 45 minutes to remove the hood, and set both cylinder's valves.
    MOWERMAN2468's Avatar
    MOWERMAN2468 Posts: 3,214, Reputation: 243
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    #9

    Jul 11, 2008, 03:31 PM
    Pull rope replacement.
    DO NOT DISASSEMBLE THE HOUSING AND PULLEY, THE SPRING WILL COME OUT.
    Remove the blower housing. (top of engine)
    Remove all the old excessive rope.
    For mowers with the rope through an eyelet on the handlebars (most will be this way now),
    Take about seven to seven and one half feet of rope.
    Rewind the spring. To test, wind about one and a half turns and let go. If the pulley winds back by itself, you are winding the correct way.
    Tie a knot in one end near the end, burn the end and make it stick back to itself while still hot and let it "bond" to itself.
    Wind the spring again all the way and carefully allow it to back off about one to one and one half turns.
    Insert the rope through the pulley and out of the blower housing.
    Tie a knot about one and a half foot from the other end.
    Let go of the rope, it should retract back into the pulley.
    If rope don't go back in, you don't have it right, start over.
    If you done the spin back test, you will have it right though.
    Put the blower housing back onto the engine.
    Depress the bail handle if equipped.
    Pull the rope up and through the eyelet.
    Tie another knot around eyelet.
    Put handle back on.
    Untie from eyelet.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #10

    Jul 13, 2008, 02:40 PM
    Preventative Maintenence - Lawn Mower Blade Sharpening V 1.0

    A sharp blade makes a nice lawn. Sharpening the blade once per season seems to work well.

    Now that you got the blade off, what now? First take a look at it and see if it's symmetric. If the blade is bent or it has some major chunks out of it, replace it.

    When you're done, you need to end up with a blade that's both sharp and balanced. Let's look at balancing first.

    Checking Blade Balance

    Materials Required

    A Vise and an object with a cylindrical part like a screwdriver –or-
    A huge nail and a board. By huge nail, I mean the ones you buy one at a time and are about 8” or longer.

    Arrange the round object such that it's level and when the blade is perpendicular to it, the round object can support the blade. Place the middle of the blade onto the nail and the blade should balance around the round object. Eyeballing works fairly well. 100% perfection isn't required.

    Sharpening Methods

    There is the old tried and true oil honing method where a sharpening stone and honing oil are used to put a fine edge on knives. We don't have to get this picky.

    There is the bench grinder with a fine stone. You can substitute an angle grinder and a vise if you like. This method tends to take off too much material and makes the blade hot. It will work, but it tends to turn the blade blue, which isn't good because the blade gets hardened and can shatter. Usually with the bench grinder method, water to cool the item isn't too far away. You may have to use this method if the edge is extremely dull.

    My favorite method is to use the Lawn Mower and Gardening Tool sharpening attachment #675 which uses an Aluminum oxide stone #932 for your Dremel tool. The blade thickness can't be more than 0.160”, or about 5/32 of an inch to use the jig.

    Mulching mower blades can be quite difficult to sharpen because the cutting edges are not straight, but the stone without the attachment works well. I haven't tried it with honing oil yet. Besides, you can get a second one for all your kitchen knives.

    You can always give up and bring the blade to your favorite lawn mower shop.

    Personal Protection Equipment
    Goggles when sharpening the blade to protect your eyes against stone shattering

    Recommended, but not essential, use gloves to protect your hand from the sharp edges on the blade.

    Put a nice edge on it and check the blade balance. If it tips, remove more material from the opposite side. If you do it at least yearly, it doesn't take very long and your lawn will be much happier.

    Comments via PM welcomed.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #11

    Jul 14, 2008, 08:24 PM
    Preventative maintainence - Oil
    Black Gold, Texas Tea and Expensive, V 1.0


    Don't neglect your power equipment.

    Types of Oil
    What Does Oil Do
    Check/Add Oil
    Change the Oil

    Types of Oil

    Cars TYPICALLY use Detergent oil. Power equipment TYPICALLY uses Non Detergent oil.

    The viscosity of oil determines whether it pours like maple syrup or pours like or water or somewhere in between. The lower the viscosity, the thinner the oil. Viscosity changes with temperature. The typical oil viscosity for 4 any 2 cycle engines is 30 W ND, or 30 weight non-detergent. Snow blowers, in particular may require a multi-viscosity oil.

    In 2 cycle engines, you typically mix the oil with the gas. In very rare instances, there is an oil reservoir of oil where oil is consumed and automatically mixed. The recommendation here, is to use the oil recommended by the manufacturer. Usually you purchase a small container and add to a gallon of gasoline at least in the US. The TYPICAL ratio is 50:1. See the Fuel FAQ for more information.

    In 4-cycle engines there is usually a sump filled with oil. Again, the recommendation is to use a 4-cycle engine oil designed for power equipment and follow the manufacturer's recommendation.

    What Does Oil Do?

    Oil lubricates and helps cool the engine. Without oil, you lawn mower would self-destruct; usually by throwing a rod, cracking a head, bending valves and all sorts of expensive things to repair.

    Inside the sump, there is a mechanical splasher (oil pump). This splasher, helps cool the oil and gets oil everywhere inside the engine. It helps seal the piston rings, and the rotating seals of the crankshaft and lubricates the lifters and the crankshaft/piston rotating joint.

    The more you operate the engine, the more contaminants form from the combustion process. They dilute the oil. Particulates from the internal engine parts, and byproducts of incomplete combustion act like sandpaper on the internal surfaces. Since there usually isn't an oil filter, we have to replace the oil regularly to avoid engine damage.

    Check/Add Oil

    I can't emphasize enough, that you have to check the oil every time. You may loose some or you may gain some. Did I say gain some? Yep, when this happens you probably have gasoline in the oil and that spells trouble.

    Since seals are not perfect, your power equipment usually consumes a small amount of oil. If you have blue smoke, the engine is burning oil and it's not supposed to do that.

    How to check the oil

    There seem to be two ways to check the oil. Ideally you would want to do it when the engine is cold.
    • Dipstick. This seems the most straitforward, but it is also problematic when adding oil. The level should go to the upper mark on the dipstick. Remove the dipstick, wipe off, insert, remove, check and re-insert. You don't have to do all of this if the mower has been sitting for a long time. Just remove the dip stick, check and re-insert.
    • No Dipstick. The oil filler plug usually has two cylindrical protrusions on it or it had a flat knob external appearance. When you remove the plug, you will see a slot, similar to what you might see when checking battery water in your car. The oil level should be at the top of the slot. This plug usually has an O-ring or some type of gasket on it.
    Adding oil

    Always add a little at a time, wait a few minutes, and check again. Replace the cap or oil fill plug. New oil is sometimes hard to see on the dipstick. The reason to wait is to allow the oil to flow off the sides of the fill tube and dipstick.

    Change the oil

    How often? About every 30 hours of operation or whatever the manufacturer recommends.

    Suggested materials for an oil change

    Tarp
    Adjustible wrench or open end wrench
    Oil
    Teflon Tape
    Oil pan
    Paper towels
    Vinyl gloves
    A used oil container – for recycling
    A kneeling pad
    A plastic bag to dispose of waste

    This is a good time to consider sharpening the blade, replacing the plug and air filter, and cleaning the deck.

    While your collecting the materials, run the lawnmower until it's warm. Warm oil flows better and removes some of the contaminants off the internal parts of the engine.

    The steps below are primarily for a vertical shaft push mower.

    I like getting a tarp and placing it on the lawn for this process. It makes for easy cleanup, and you don't get any oil on the driveway or the lawn.

    Turn the engine off and disable starting by removing the spark plug wire. Push the mower onto the tarp and tip the vertical shaft mower over. Clean the area around the plug thoroughly.

    The drain plug on a vertical shaft engine is usually a square nutted pipe plug somewhere on the bottom. Loosen the plug. For stubborn plugs, you can use two adjustable wrenches. Used one placed on the plug and another to turn the wrench.

    The drain plug for a horizontal shaft engine is usually at the base. There may be two, but you only need to open one of them.

    Remove the blade if you intend to sharpen it.

    Remove the drain plug and with gloved hands position the mower on top of the drain pan and let it drain. The oil will be hot. Go sharpen the blade while it drains.

    After all the oil has drained out, clean the threads of the pipe plug and put some Teflon tape on it. Insert it back into the hole and tighten about 1 turn past finger tight.

    This is a real good time to scrape the grass off the deck then take somewhere else and clean and wash the mower bottom and top with a garden hose and some soap and water. Put the blade back on.

    You can take it back to the tarp and use the Adding Oil and How to Check the Oil procedures above to add fresh oil.

    Clean up your mess and dispose of the waste oil per government regulations.

    Aside: I typically do the oil change, the blade sharpening, plug change, air filter change and cleaning of the deck in the beginning of the season. The procedure usually occurs at the second cut of the season. It would be best performed at the end of the season.

    PM's welcomed for comments and criticisms.
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
    Home Repair & Remodeling Expert
     
    #12

    Aug 7, 2008, 04:18 PM
    Sink drains smell bad and/or getting slow?
    Try this receipe to get the drain clean of clogs and hair, makes it smell good too. Mix 1/2 cup of table salt with 1/2 cup baking soda and dump into the drain followed by a cup of white vinegar. Watch the foaming and burping, flush next day with a big bucket of very hot water.
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
    Home Repair & Remodeling Expert
     
    #13

    Aug 7, 2008, 04:21 PM
    Toilets gurgle and bubble when you drain your tub or washing machine?

    Toilets will act like a vent stack and burp air if your vent stack to the roof is plugged. Rod the stack from the roof with enough snake to reach roof to basement floor plus 20'. When you finish rodding run a garden hose full blast down the stack for a few minutes.

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