Bear Cat Chipper Overview

thumbDo you need a commercial quality chipper? Do you want something that’s towable, easy to use, and easy to maintain? ECHO Bear Cat makes a range of high quality devices that will fit your needs, whether you want to clean up a small acreage or you need something that can be used for commercial tree service.

CH4400 4 Inch Chipper

The smallest model in Bear Cat’s lineup, the CH4400 is ideal for someone who owns a small acreage or needs an easy-to-use device for rentals.

A 404cc Subaru EX series engine spins a 49 lb. disc equipped with a pair of oversized heat-treated chipping blades. Linked together by a heavy duty double-banded belt for maximum power transfer, the motor can spin the rotor at speeds up to 3,000 rpm.

The disc is cantilever-mounted, which helps prevent material wrapping when chipping stringy, sappy, or wet wood. A four-sided adjustable anvil ensures reliable cutting performance no matter the type of wood being chopped. Continue reading

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How Are Troy-Bilt High Lift Blades and Mulching Blades Different?

037049947362What mower blades are the best to use in your Troy-Bilt mower? It depends on the type of mowing you need to do. There are several names used for mower blades depending on their purpose, but when it comes down to it, there are only two designs you should consider for the best performance.

Standard Blades

A standard blade is designed to cut grass cleanly and push the clippings into a grass collection system or out of a chute to be deposited on the ground. To do this, the blades are angled in such a way that clippings are flung almost horizontally after being cut, sending them directly at the chute or bag opening.

Mulching Blades

To make mulch, the grass is trimmed, then the resulting clipping is cut several more times by the blades. Older mulching systems used a pair of blades in a cross pattern to cut the clippings at least twice before they hit the ground. Modern mulching blades use a curved surface that flings the clippings upward. Clippings cycle through the mowing chamber, bouncing up into the deck and falling back down into the blades several times. At some point, the clippings become small enough that they can pass between the blades and fall to the ground. Continue reading

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Replacing the Drive Belt of Your Snowblower

It’s that time of year again: winter’s on its way, and that means getting your snowblower ready to clear the pavement. While you’re checking the engine and blades, it’s a good time to inspect and perhaps replace the drive belt. After all, if it breaks, your snowblower won’t work, and there’s no worse time to get a new belt than in the middle of a snow storm.

This guide will walk you through the basics. To get full instructions on how to replace the belt on your snowblower, check the included owner’s manual. Continue reading

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Is Your Snowblower Ready for this Season?

101647When will the first snow fall come? Who knows? Whether you’ll see the first flakes tomorrow or a month from now, it’s best to get your snowblower ready to work ahead of time. Here’s what you should check to be sure you’re prepared for the season.


If you performed proper end-of-season maintenance, the fuel tank and carburetor on your snowblower should be empty. If they aren’t, you should empty them and add fresh fuel before trying to start the engine. Continue reading

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How to Prep Your Lawn Equipment for Winter

Winter means taking a break from lawn care, but those months of storage can really take a toll on your equipment. These tips will help you get everything ready for the off-season so you’ll have a trouble-free start to the spring.


Modern fuel doesn’t stay fresh for long, even when a fuel stabilizer has been added. Ethanol-containing fuels will separate and gather moisture, while non-ethanol gas will degrade and lacquer the tank and fuel lines.

Unless you’ll be using it to power a snow thrower this season, use up any gas you have in storage. If it hasn’t been mixed with two-stroke oil, it’s fine to use in your car. As for the equipment, empty the tank and carburetor before putting it into storage. The tank can usually be emptied by disconnecting the fuel line and letting the gas flow into a suitable container. Some carburetors will have a bolt on the bottom of the float bowl that allow them to be emptied. If there isn’t one, add some fuel stabilizer to the tank and run the engine for a few minutes to ensure there’s only treated fuel left inside the float bowl.

Once everything has been emptied, start the motor and let it run until it’s completely out of fuel.

Engine Preparation

On a two-stroke engine, if you run it out of fuel, the remaining oil residue will keep the engine lubricated for next year. Inspect the spark plug and replace if necessary.

On four-stroke engines, remove the spark plug and put a couple drops of oil inside the hole the plug threads into. Pull the starter a couple times to circulate the oil around the inside of the cylinder. This will keep the engine spinning freely when you take it out of storage. Most plugs should be replaced yearly, so screw in a new plug and reattach the plug lead.

Change the oil and give the air filter a thorough cleaning. Paper filters can simply be tapped to remove dust, but foam filters usually need to be washed, dried, and soaked with clean oil. Check your engine owner’s manual for more information.

Cleaning and Preparing Surfaces

Every surface should be cleaned and dried before storing. Never aim high-pressure water near the engine, as this can force water into the oil sump or combustion chamber, damaging internal components.

Exposed metal should be protected with a light coating of oil. Penetrating oil or a water displacer like WD-40 is perfect for this. Spray silicone lubricant is the best choice for keeping pivot points and cables from stiffening over the winter.

Tips for Specific Equipment

Mowers – Don’t forget to clean out the bottom of the deck. Clumps of grass can gather moisture that will rust out the metal. It’s also a good time to sharpen the blade.

String trimmers – Sharpen the line cutting blade on the trimmer’s shield and make sure the spool is properly wound.

Chainsaws – You might need to pull the chainsaw out later to clear debris after a major snow storm, so keep a can of long life gas on hand. It will have the right amount of oil for your chainsaw’s engine, and, if left unopened, it will stay fresh for when you need it. If fuel isn’t available for your chainsaw, keep a bottle of oil with fuel stabilizer on hand for mixing with fresh fuel. It’s also a good time to pick up an extra chain so you can be ready when a storm hits.

Snow throwers – Like chainsaws, you’ll end up using your snow thrower when a storm comes, and for parts of the country that could be at any time. Save yourself from breakdowns by stocking up on shear pins and belts ahead of time. Even though they’re used in winter, snow throwers should be cleaned and lubricated just like the rest of your equipment.


Once your small engine equipment has been prepared, it can be put into storage. Ideally, this should be in a covered area.

  • Don’t store your equipment near anything corrosive, like pool cleaners and fertilizers. Over time, this casual exposure can damage metal.
  • Don’t put a tarp over your equipment: this can capture moisture which will promote rust. Instead, use a breathable cover, preferably designed for that specific device.
  • Don’t store equipment near sparks or open flame, including furnaces, saws, and welders. Even with the engine drained, there’s still a chance that fumes from leftover fuel could ignite. Furnaces also produce¬†ozone, which will eat away at rubber parts including tires and fuel lines.

Getting Parts and Accessories for your Equipment

If you need a new spark plug or air filter to get your equipment ready for winter, or you’re looking to add something to your arsenal to make next spring easier, come by Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We’re a certified dealer for a wide range of lawn care equipment and small engine manufacturers, so we have the people and parts to help you get ready for the off season. Our shop is at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway, Chambersburg, PA. That’s off Route 11, or you can take Exit 10 Marion from Interstate 81.

Not in south central Pennsylvania? You can still order parts from us over the Internet. Visit us at

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Prepping Your Lawn For Winter

It’s the end of the growing season, and that means you can forget about lawn care for a few months. However, before you put your equipment in storage, there are a few things you may want to do to ensure a healthy lawn next spring.

Leaf Removal

Keeping your lawn leaf-free may be a lot of work, but it will reduce the number of bald spots that show up next year. Continue reading

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Troy-Bilt Bronco CRT Overview

Want a small tiller that isn’t small on power? The Bronco CRT uses Troy-Bilt’s Bolo tines to get the most effective ground cutting performance from its engine. That means faster, more even soil preparation to prepare soil on the first pass.

Power By Troy-Bilt

The Bronco CRT uses Troy-Bilt’s own 208cc OHV engine. The company designed it for top performance in walk-behind equipment, and it has proven its durability in a wide range of devices from chipper/shredders to snow blowers. Along with ample power, this motor can start on the first or second pull, and has a surprisingly low amount of vibration for a single cylinder. Continue reading

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Attaching the JRCO Blower Buggy

Need to cover a lot of ground with a blower to clean off turf, pavement and landscape features? Don’t want to spend loads of money on a blower attachment for your mower, or just don’t want to have to switch between a blower and a mower deck? The JRCO Model 601 Blower Buggy solves this problem by adding a platform to the front of your mower that can carry a commercial walk-behind blower while it’s in operation.

What is the Blower Buggy?

This device is a front-mounted carrier that holds a standard commercial walk-behind leaf blower. Since these blowers don’t have any safety devices like bails on the handle that have to be closed to keep the motor on, they can simply be mounted, started, and moved around by the mower. Continue reading

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Scag Patriot Zero-Turn Rider Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Want to get the most out of your Scag Patriot mower? This guide will walk you through maintenance tasks and help you solve common problems with your ZTR.

Maintenance Schedule

First 10 hours of use: Check hardware for tightness and belts for alignment. Check the hydraulic oil level.

Every 8 hours: Check engine oil level, safety interlock system and tire pressure, and inspect hydraulic hoses for leaks.

Every 20 hours: Change engine oil and filter. Continue reading

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Operating the Scag Patriot Zero-Turn Rider

The Patriot delivers the performance and durability you’d expect from Scag, but even the best equipment can be made better by knowing how to operate it properly. This guide will walk you through everything from starting the engine to cleaning the mower at the end of the work day.

Safety Interlock System

The Patriot uses a safety interlock system that prevents the engine from starting or running unless the deck PTO is disengaged, the steering levers are in neutral, and the operator is in the seat. If the motor won’t start, make sure all these conditions have been met before trying to repair the mower. Continue reading

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