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Disclaimer: Any information contained on this page is to be considered and used as a guide only and in no way negates the original manufactures instructions.  If you wish to discuss this further with one of our qualified mechanics please do not hesitate to contact us...

Fuel

Fuel would have to be the biggest offender when it comes to servicing and repair work.                

Did you know fuel goes off?  With out getting too technical (which is probably a bit beyond all of us) fuel when stored for an extended period of time and this can sometimes be as little as a month will go stale, it looses the gasses which make it explode.                                           

How can we stop our fuel going off?  There is a solution, the easiest option is not to store fuel for extended periods, winter would be the worst time of year when we're not using our outdoor power equipment as often, that's why when spring comes around your lawn mower doesn't want to start.  You could even empty out the fuel of your machine and fuel container for winter and start a fresh with new fuel again in Spring.  Suppliers have also come to the ball game with Fuel Stabilizers, which is an additive to mix in with your fuel, once added to the fuel it can extend the shelf life of the fuel up to 24 months.  Bearing in mind that this will vary between suppliers and who and where you buy it from.                                                    

What about water in fuel?  This may seem hard to believe but water in fuel happens quite easily.  A half empty can of fuel stored in the shed will expand and contract with the weather and condensation (water) can build up inside the can, same goes for the fuel tank on your machine for that matter.  When you next fill your mower you now have water in the fuel tank of the machine too.  The carburetor on your machines are not designed to pass water through jets and as little as 1 drop of water will stop your machine from running.                                          

How can we stop water getting into our fuel? Try using a funnel, once again suppliers have thought this all through for us and have come up with funnels with filters in them that stop the transfer of water and debris into your machines.  The other option once again is not to store fuel for extended periods.

Two Stoke Fuel With any two stroke machine it is essential that you mix the fuel and oil together and do it accurately.  There are a few variables with various suppliers on what they suggest the best ratio is for their machine, this can vary from country to country depending upon the fuel emission levels and regulations of that particular area.  As a rule of thumb we use two main ratios when mixing fuel.

Why two different mixes? Easy, it depends on the quality of the oil you use in the mix if your using a high quality oil like Shindaiwa or Echo two stroke oil it's recommended you run the mix at a 50:1 ratio, some of the higher quality oils will also have built in fuel stabilizers and smoke reduction formulas etc, once again this will vary between suppliers.  If your using another brand of oil or one of lesser quality it's recommended you run the mix at a 25:1 ratio.

The ratios:

50:1 = 100ml of two stroke oil to 5 litres of unleaded petrol                    

25:1 = 200ml of two stroke oil to 5 litres of unleaded petrol

Four Stroke Fuel  Not much to it really straight unleaded petrol and once again keep an eye on the length of time your store it.

Servicing

For both two and four stroke machines as more of a preventative, it would be recommended to have the machine serviced once a year.  For a four stroke machine this is definitely an essential just like your car a four stoke machine has separate oil and separate fuel and the engine oil needs to be changed at lease once a year, for domestic use, for a contractor this would vary depending upon how many jobs a week they do but at least once a month (or every 20 hours of use).  At Thomson's we offer two types of service: 1. Lite/Annual Service, which as suggested above keeps you machine running well.  2. Full Service, usually gets done when you're having trouble starting your machine and includes cleaning and flushing the fuel system and stripping down and checking the carburetor. 

A couple of major Do's and Don'ts

Do run your two stroke machines at full power, a lot of people make the mistake of not running the machine at full speed as their afraid to hurt the machine.  Two stroke machines are designed to work hard and work best when their running a full power.  Problems will be caused with unspent fuel and carbon build up when the machine is not run at full power. 

Do mix your 2 stroke fuel mix correctly - don't guess it! It will save you $$$ in the long run.

Do give your 2 stroke fuel can a bit of a shake before refilling your machine as sometimes the oil can settle/separate from the fuel.

Don't lend your machine once again it will usually end up costing you $$$ in the long run.

Don't tip your four stroke the wrong way, YES there is a wrong and right way to tip your four stroke, the rule of thumb with four stroke machines is keep the spark plug in the air.  With most mowers this means remove the catcher and tip the machine up on it's bottom or flap if you need to look underneath it. WHY? a four stroke machine has a sump at the back of the engine and if we tip it the wrong way oil will run from the sump to the front of the engine and into places where it's not required like the air filter, cylinder head and or muffler.  This can mean an expensive repair/service to your machine.

A final thought...  As with most machines, cars etc, if you look after them they will in turn perform well and give you a few less headaches to deal with.  A few dollars spent on a annual service will save you $$$ and prolong the life of your out door power equipment.    

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