Scag V-Ride II

Scag V-Ride II

Need the capability of a ZTR and maximum maneuverability without sacrificing deck size? Scag’s new V-Ride II updates their stander design for more comfort and better performance across the board. Available in deck size from 36 to 61 inches, there’s a model that’s perfect for your needs, whether you’re a homeowner or professional landscaper.

Deck

36-inch models come with an Advantage deck, while other models use a Velocity Plus deck. Despite the names, their designs are nearly identical. The blades are mounted on cast iron spindles with tapered roller bearings top and bottom to provide exceptional strength and durability. These spindles are topped with split steel pulleys that are formed from a single piece of metal, making them and lighter than cast or stamped pulleys, and the idler pulleys are protected by debris shields. The deck itself uses Scag’s tri-plate construction with a 0.485-inch thick steel top plate and replaceable side wear pads. Anti-scalp wheels are standard.

A front baffle chamber provides vacuum, pulling the grass straight up before cutting to get a near-stamped deck finish. Scag’s Hurricane Plus mulching system can be installed on these decks, adding high lift blades and baffles that enhance vacuum. Mowers with the Velocity Plus deck can be fitted with an operator-controlled discharge chute, letting the deck switch between mulching and side discharge by twisting a single handle. All models come with Scag’s Marbain blades, which have hardened steel and a tough outer coating for extended life.

The deck height on the V-Ride is adjusted using a handle next to the operator’s position. The deck can be raised or lowered to a height of 1 ½ to 4 ½ inches in clearly marked ¼ inch increments, and the handle has an auto lock to move the deck out of its transport position with thumb release.

The deck is engaged by an Ogura GT PTO clutch brake. It has an adjustable air gap to maintains grip as the clutch wears down, giving it a longer service life than a fixed clutch.

Operation

Massive 12 inch wide rear tires reduce scrubbing and make it easy to roll over curbs, while flat free front caster tires can withstand bumps when getting close to obstacles.

The operator stands on a textured steel plate mounted on a coil spring suspension. A new, larger pad protects operators of any height when leaning against the machine. Large, padded control levers reduce vibration transfer, while grips ahead and behind these levers provide several hand positions to reduce hand fatigue. Controls for the PTO, starter and parking brake are placed around these levers, while the fuel tank shut off and gauge are on top of the tank next to controls. The interlocked parking brake automatically disengages when the drive control levers are moved.

48” and larger models come with Scag’s Tiger Eye display that includes an hour meter and indicators for voltage, oil pressure, PTO engagement and other information. Scag offers a kit to add an air filter sensor, letting you know when it needs to be cleaned.

Models

Scag offers the V-Ride II in four deck sizes with a choice of 7 engines:

36” — 15 hp Kawasaki 541FS with recoil start or 19 hp 600FX with electric start
48” — 22hp Kawasaki 691FX
52” — 23 hp Kawasaki 730FX or 25hp Kohler EFI
61” — 25hp Kawasaki 801FX or 29hp Kohler EFI

The 36” models have a top speed of 8.5 mph, a fuel tank holds 6.75 gallons, and dual 10cc hydraulic pumps paired with 12 ci wheel motors. All other V-Ride II’s have a top speed of 10.5 mph, can carry 8 gallons of fuel, and use dual 12 cc hydraulic pumps with 14 ci wheel motors and deck fans to keep the drive system cool.

Which engine is right for you? The Kawasaki FS has a dual element air filter and single barrel carburetor, while the FX has a large canister air filter for less frequent maintenance and a twin barrel carburetor for increased power. Kohler’s EFI engines are easier to start, uses significantly less fuel and are less sensitive to fuel freshness.

Warranty

Kohler and Kawasaki both guarantee their engines for three years, while Scag covers the rest of the mower with a three-year warranty including a “no crack” guarantee on the deck.

When You think “Scag,” Think “Shank’s”

If you’re looking to buy a V-Ride II or need parts or service on your Scag, bring it to Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We’re a certified dealer for Scag, Kawasaki Engines, and Kohler Power so we can help you with everything on your stander mower. Our shop is at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile east of I-81 via Exit 10 to Marion.

We can also ship parts and accessories for Scag Power Equipment and their engines mowers to you no matter where you are in the U.S. or Canada. To order, visit our website, www.shankslawn.com.

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Kawasaki’s New FT730V-EFI

FT730V-EFI

Aimed at use in high-end residential and commercial lawn mowers, Kawasaki’s recently released FT730V-EFI introduces a new air filtration system and numerous upgrades to reduce maintenance and downtime. Designed for compatibility with their other 730-based engines, it shouldn’t be long before we see this new engine in ZTR, stand-on and wide walk-behind mowers.

Vortical Air Filtration

The big news for this engine is a new type of air filtration system that Kawasaki says can be used up to 50 hours before cleaning. It uses centrifugal flow to separate out heavy dust, grass, and other debris out of the air stream before it reaches the filter medium. Similar systems are already in use on a lot of small engines, but Kawasaki’s Vortical design can channel this material through a duckbill-shaped debris ejection valve instead of letting it get caked on the inside of the housing. Not only does this mean longer maintenance intervals, it keeps working at peak performance longer, resulting in a cleaner engine. The Vortical Air Filtration system also uses the filter and case as part of the centrifugal system, so there’s no separate pre-filter chamber that increases the overall size of the engine.

The air path for the cooling system has also been redesigned to work with this new air box. Overall, airflow has been improved across the cooling fins, and the wash-out ports have been relocated to the underside of the air filter cover. This provides direct access to the heads for fast cleaning while shielding the engine from dust when in operation.

EFI: More than Just Fuel Economy

In recent years, manufacturers have been switching from carburetors to fuel injectors to keep up with emissions regulations and reduce operating costs through improved fuel economy and reduced maintenance. While that’s reason enough to consider an EFI engine, Kawasaki’s system has another trick up its sleeve: an integrated e-governor. This device manages engine speed to meet current load requirements, keeping performance consistent when driving onto slopes or into thick grass, maintaining mower and blade speed for a higher quality finish. This all but eliminates the need for repeated passes so jobs can be completed faster.

The EFI system is an open loop design that doesn’t use an oxygen sensor, but otherwise, it resembles something you’d find in a new car. It uses multi-port injection, using an injector for each fuel runner to supply the cylinders individually. These injectors are supplied by a returnless fuel system that modulates fuel pressure to deliver the exact amount of gas needed, reducing the number of system components. The system’s ECU is in a sealed container to protect it from weather, vibration, and dirt. Head temperature sensors let the ECU keep fuel mixture and engine speed in check to prevent overheating and reduce oil consumption. It can also enrich the fuel mixture automatically, eliminating the need for a choke while making it easy to start in any weather. Repairs are easier thanks to an on-board diagnostic system that lets dealers plug a tablet or computer into the ECU for quick troubleshooting.

All this new technology is packaged in a way to give the FT the same size and shape as the previous carbureted versions, making it easy for manufacturers to switch from an FS or FX engine. The 730 block the FT is based on has been around for 10 years, so OEMs and dealers are already familiar with these engines, making the switch relatively painless.

Getting Parts and Service for the Kawasaki FT730V-EFI

Whether your Kawasaki engine is new or old, Shank’s Lawn Equipment can help you keep it running. We’re a certified dealer for Kawasaki Engines and many of the manufacturers who use their powerplants including Wright, Dixon, and Scag. If you need parts or service, visit our shop, located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile East of I-81 via Exit 10. We also ship OEM parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Briggs & Stratton Vanguard Big Block

Briggs & Stratton Vanguard Big Block

If you’ve been in the market for a big piece of outdoor equipment, and in particular a new mower, you’ve probably come across Briggs & Stratton’s Vanguard Big Block. While the name sounds like a throwback to classic muscle cars, this state-of-the-art engine has become a major player in the top end of the market. What sets it apart?

What is the Big Block?

This is a series of industrial V-twin engines producing anywhere from 28-37 hp. They’re designed specifically for use in lawn mowers but have found their way into other high power demand equipment.

What’s “big” for an engine used in outdoor equipment? In this case, it’s 896-993 cc. This puts these engines in a class at the very top of the gas market, often offered alongside small diesel engines. These sizes were chosen by Vanguard specifically for the torque demands of large ZTR mowers and lawn tractors.

Vanguard vs Briggs & Stratton

The Big Block is a Briggs & Stratton motor, but it’s also a Vanguard. What’s the difference? Realizing that they needed to have marketing, development and dealer training in place to support commercial customers, Briggs & Stratton created the Commercial Power division in the early 2000s. From there, they partnered with Daihatsu and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to bring state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies to small engines while using the residential division’s development labs to improve usability. That includes access to the Engine Application Center (EAC) which works with equipment manufacturers to integrate the engine into the design process instead of simply designing the equipment and attaching the engine. This saves a lot of time and troubleshooting for the manufacturer and ensures the engine will work perfectly wherever it’s used.

The Vanguard Big Block is a collaborative effort between Briggs & Stratton and Daihatsu: Vanguard designed the engine and a lot of the parts are made in the U.S. Final assembly takes place at a Daihatsu plant in Japan using the same tooling and machining the company has developed for their commercial vehicles. The end result is a motor designed from the ground up for the needs of lawn care professionals with the build quality of an automobile engine.

Engine Construction

The inside of these engines looks a lot more like something that would power a car than a lawnmower: cast iron cylinders are paired with lightweight pistons and rings to ensure durability and reduce noise and vibration. These spin a crankshaft that is dynamically balanced at the factory to reduce vibration, lowering internal stresses and making the mower more comfortable to operate.

Cooling and Lubrication

While most engines in this class are liquid-cooled, the Big Block is air and oil-cooled. This makes maintenance less complicated and helps reduce weight. The oiling system is fully pressurized, drawing oil from a sump and pumping it through galleries around the entire engine from the heads to the crankshaft. The pickup point is mounted low in the center of the sump to get the system pressurized quickly after the start and prevent starvation at severe angles of operation. This oil is kept clean by an automotive-style spin-on filter.

These engines also have what Vanguard calls “Advanced Debris Management.” Everything from the grille over the flywheel to the metal plates surrounding the cylinders has been designed and tested to allow cooling while reducing dust contact. This helps keep engine temperatures down and efficiency up while reducing the need for cleaning. These components have also been tuned to reduce resonance to make the engine quieter.

EFI

Vanguard has been rolling out electronic fuel injection versions of the Big Block in the past couple years with outputs ranging from 33 to 37 hp. This is a closed loop system developed by Delphi with an oxygen sensor in the exhaust, letting the ECU track how fuel is burning and adjust the mixture accordingly. Not only is this good for the environment, it can cut operating costs significantly by increasing fuel efficiency by up to 25% over a carburetor-equipped engine. This makes these motors a compelling alternative to more expensive types of diesel.

Fuel injection systems are also far less temperamental when it comes to fuel freshness and content: straight gas with or without ethanol can be used in most situations, while the fuel can be treated when the engine is stored instead of draining the entire fuel system.

Parts and Service

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is a Vanguard dealer, and we sell a wide range of mowers and other equipment that use the Big Block. To see if this engine is a good fit for your needs or you need to have your motor serviced, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile East of I-81 via Exit 10.

Not in the area? We ship OEM parts across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Preparing Edges and Cracks with Help from Little Wonder

Preparing Edges and Cracks with Help from Little Wonder

Sometimes, it’s the smallest jobs that can be the most difficult and time-consuming. With Little Wonder edgers and crack cleaners, you can get sharp edge on landscape features and clean soil and other debris from pavement cracks to give landscaping a quality finish with minimal effort. It doesn’t just make your work look more professional, it can lead to serious savings on labor costs.

BedShaper

This edger is designed to get a clean transition between turf and tilled soil, making it perfect for outlining ground cover, flower beds, and gardens.

This tool is designed first and foremost to handle the curves used in these landscape features. It has a hydrostatic drive with variable speed control in forward and reverse and places the blade is in line with the wheel, making it easy to guide. The drive axle has a differential, allowing different wheel speeds for easy turns with minimal scrubbing, and it has a zero radius turning during transport to get the blade lined up for the next cut. Thanks to a powerful Honda GXV390 engine, this machine can cut up to 100 feet per minute, even when turning.

The notched blade’s concave shape cuts at an angle to help blend in cuts for an even finish. It can be set in one of 7 positions to get a cut ranging from ½ to 4 ¼ inches. Little Wonder’s BladeFloat system lets the blade glide over obstructions and still cut through the soil, keeping the cut even on the surface with minimal stops. The blade is driven by a belt drive that is fully enclosed and has a spring-loaded idler pulley to eliminate the need for adjustments.

Pro Crack Cleaner and Pro Edger

At their core, the Pro Edge and Pro Crack Cleaner are the same machine, just set up for different purposes. In fact, they’re so similar that Little Wonder has kits to convert the Pro Edge into a concrete cleaner and the Pro Crack Cleaner into an edger.

Both models have a dual belt drive for less slippage and better power transfer. These belts are protected from debris by a full-length shield. Whether it’s fitted with a brush or a blade, the head height has four inches of adjustment.

These tools are supported by four wheels, eliminating the need for a curb wheel. Every wheel is mounted on steel hubs with ball bearings and full axles for durability and smooth rolling. When working on uneven surfaces, the front wheel height can be adjusted for stability. The operator is protected by a mud flap that extends below the main shield and a set of anti-vibration grips that quell bumps and engine movement.

The Pro Edger cuts into soil along the edge of pavement using a 10-inch steel blade. This blade is surrounded by a cast iron guard to deflect debris. Little Wonder offers this model with either a Briggs & Stratton Intek 550 or Honda GX120 engine fitted with an extra large gas tank. It can edge up to 90 feet per minute.

The Pro Crack Cleaner is only available with the Honda GX120. It uses a 9-inch diameter twisted wire wheel brush to pull debris out of pavement cracks. It’s perfect for cleaning up concrete and preparing it for sealing.

Warranty

Little Wonder guarantees the BedShaper, Pro Edger and Pro Crack Cleaner for one year of use, while the blade on the BedShaper has a lifetime guarantee against chipping, breaking, bending and delaminating.

Briggs & Stratton guarantees the Intek engine for two years of residential use or one year of commercial use, while Honda guarantees their engines for three years for all users.

Get the Tools You Need for Fast Lawn Cleanup

Do you need a BedShaper, Pro Crack Cleaner or Pro Edger to help you get lawn care tasks done faster? Do you need parts or service for your Little Wonder equipment? Shank’s Lawn Equipment is a certified dealer for Little Wonder, Honda and Briggs & Stratton so we can help you get the equipment you need and keep it running. We’re located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile East of I-81 via Exit 10 to Marion.

Not in the area? We ship OEM parts across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit our website, www.shankslawn.com.

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Hurricane Power X3 and Z3 Blowers

Hurricane Power X3 and Z3 Blowers

When Rick Weihl was a professional landscaper, he was constantly frustrated by the amount of time, labor, and equipment he needed to dedicate to debris cleanup, which lead him to start Hurricane. Since 2008, the company has been building compact stander blowers, greatly increasing the speed of debris removal on parking lots and other large areas. The X3 and Z3 might not be any more powerful than some walk-behinds on the market, but their clever design helps them clear areas far faster without backtracking.

Built Using Quality Components

Hurricane may be a small company, but they’ve chosen to go with proven components that can be relied on. These blowers are powered by Briggs & Stratton’s Vanguard V-Twins. The engine is sandwiched between the impeller and controls in a way that still provides access to service points including the oil filter and spark plugs.

Motivation is provided by a pair of Hydro-Gear IZT transaxles. These professional units come with built-in fans and hydraulic fluid filters for years of reliable service. These pumps can be accessed for fluid and filter changes by removing a single access panel.

A Unique Multi-Chute Air System

The housing has three chutes mounted on the left, right and center of the blower. The operator can switch air from side to side, blowing debris in one direction with each pass instead of having to backtrack to position the single nozzle found on other blowers.

The side nozzles are fixed, but they have dual deflectors inside to direct the air forward and back to get the right angle for the job. This makes the Hurricane suitable for work in fields and near buildings. When it’s time to move between work areas, all three chutes can be closed. All of these functions are controlled using a single joystick.

Logical Control and Transport

The quad control handle may be patented, but its basic design should be familiar to anyone who has used a Wright Stander mower. There are two grab handles on top of the controls surrounding the control levers for the hydrostatic motors. This lets the operator grab either handle and squeeze the lever instead of having to awkwardly push a lever away from the handle when turning or reversing. All the controls including chute opening, throttle and choke are within easy reach of these handles. A high-mounted LED work light is included for working at night.

These blowers have an automatic parking brake, letting the operator step off to pick up branches without shutting off the engine. A low center of gravity and torsion-bar mounted front wheels keep the blower stable on hills and helps it climb curbs.

When it’s time to move to a different job site, the blower can be strapped to a trailer using large built-in tie downs on the front and rear. Fueling is infrequent thanks to a massive 10-gallon tank.

Models

Hurricane makes two versions of their stander blower: the X3 and the Z3.

The X3 has a top speed of 9 mph and its blower can move 6,500 CFM at up to165 mph. At full speed, the engine is operating at just 3,200 RPM. A Donaldson air cleaner is fitted to the engine to help handle the dust raised by the blower. This model measures just 42 x 60 inches.

The Z3 has a top speed of 11 mph and its blower can move 8,500 CFM at up to 165 mph. The engine operates at 2,600 RPM to reduce noise. It’s slightly larger than the X3 at 44 x 65 inches.

For All of Your Hurricane Needs, Visit Shank’s

If you’re looking to buy a Hurricane blower or need to have yours fixed, stop by Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We’re a certified dealer for Hurricane, Hydro-Gear and Briggs & Stratton so we can provide you with parts and service for everything on your blower. Our shop is located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile East of I-81 via Exit 10 to Marion.

Need parts for your Hurricane? Visit www.shankslawn.com. We ship across the U.S. and Canada.

 

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Shindaiwa Hedge Trimmers

Shindaiwa Hedge Trimmers

For most homeowners, a hedge trimmer is just a time saver that takes less effort than manual pruning. For professionals, the right trimmer can save hours of work on large landscaping jobs while reducing fatigue caused by extended periods of stretching and reaching overhead to shape bushes and trees. Shindaiwa understands the needs of these users, which is why their line of hedge trimmers come in a variety of sizes and features to best fit real-world working conditions.

The Shindaiwa Difference

Shindaiwa’s trimmers are built for all-day use, which is why they use aluminum components, vibration dampeners and lightweight two-stroke engines to deliver enough power to go through thick branches without being tiring to use. Even maintenance is simple thanks to their YOUCAN maintenance kits that have everything needed for common jobs including tune-ups and fuel system replacements.

Instead of offering a few models with differing engine sizes, the company offers models that provide a choice of bar size, shaft length and the option of a debris sweeper.

Standard Hedge Trimmers

All of Shindaiwa’s standard trimmers use a professional quality 21.2 cc two-stroke engine designed and built in-house. Like all of their engines, this powerplant meets CARB emissions requirements, so it’s legal to use in California and Quebec. The exhaust exit faces forward, keeping gases away from the operator.

This lightweight engine powers an aluminum blade bar, keeping the weight for these units in the 10-12 lb. range. Add in a spring-based anti-vibration system, and you have a trimmer that is comfortable enough for long-term use. The rear handle rotates 180 degrees, making it easy to switch between horizontal and vertical cuts.

The most basic model, DH232, is equipped with a 22.8-inch bar, while the DH235 has a bar that’s 28 inches long.

The HT232 and HT235 come with a debris sweeper mounted over the bar that catches branches as they’re trimmed, making for faster, easier cleanup. These models also have front and rear rubber over-mold handles reduce vibrations and hand stress. The HT232 is fitted with a 28-inch bar, while the HT235 uses a 37.6-inch bar.

Articulated Shaft Hedge Trimmers

Not all trimming can be reached from ground level. Shindaiwa’s articulated shaft trimmers have an adjustable angle gear case to position the blade for the right balance between reach and height. All models come with a 21-inch bar, and they weigh between 13 and 14 lbs.

The AH242 is powered by a 23.9cc engine and comes with a gear case that has 150 degrees of articulation with settings for 11 positions. Overall length is 94 inches. If you need a shorter reach, the AHS242 uses a smaller shaft for a total length of 66.5 inches. The articulation on this model is limited to 135 degrees in 10 positions. Need more power? The AH262 and AHS262 come with a 25.4 cc engine but are otherwise identical to their 242 counterparts.

Warranty

Shindaiwa guarantees these hedge trimmers and their engines for two years of commercial use and 5 years of consumer use.

Getting Parts and Service for Shindaiwa Equipment

If you’re outfitting your crew or need repairs to your current equipment, visit Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We’re not just a certified dealer, we have over three decades of experience helping homeowners and professionals with their outdoor equipment. We’re located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s just off Route 11, one mile east of I-81 from Exit 10/Marion.

We can also ship parts and accessories for anything Shindaiwa to any address in the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Propane Conversions Coming to Vanguard Engines

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Briggs & Stratton is partnering with Propane Power Systems to bring propane conversion kits to several of their Vanguard, Commercial Series and Professional Series engines. While alternative fuel systems have long been available for outdoor equipment, these new kits offer a way for owners to switch fuels while retaining emissions certifications and factory warranties.

A Cooperative Effort to Bring Propane to Lawn Care Professionals

While Propane Power Systems has offered conversion kits in the past, this new effort is being done in cooperation with Briggs & Stratton to ensure factory original quality is maintained with the switch to a different fuel source. These conversions are also EPA and CARB certified, keeping machinery legal no matter where they’re used.

To get dealers up to speed with the installation and service of these kits, Briggs and PPS are working with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC.) This training program is still in its early stages so it may be a while before you’ll be able to drop off your equipment at your local dealer for conversion. As for servicing, PERC’s recently established Propane Equipment Dealer Point program has over 500 listings for outdoor equipment dealers who can repair propane-powered engines.

Why Convert to Propane?

Propane is mostly known for low operating costs, and in this case, PPE says operators can expect to spend about 30% less on a propane engine than they would on a conventional gasoline-based system. However, that’s not the only benefit to using this fuel:

— Burning propane releases 15% fewer greenhouse gases and 40% less carbon monoxide.

— Cylinders are filled using a closed loop system, greatly reducing the chance of spills and fuel theft.

— Cylinders can be delivered to landscaping businesses and transported with equipment to be swapped out as they’re used. Taking care of a large facility or have more than 10 engines that run propane? A large tank and dispenser can be placed on site for refills. Either way, less time is needed to refuel equipment.

— Thanks to the closed fueling system and lack of additives, propane doesn’t need to be treated and replaced like gasoline.

For professional landscapers, the conversion can mean major decreases in overall operating costs while a lower environmental impact can be used to attract customers.

How the Conversion Works

The equipment owner contacts a dealer asking for the conversion. The dealer gets the engine and equipment information from the owner and sends it to PPS. PPS contacts Briggs & Stratton, informing them of the conversion for warranty and emissions records, then ships a conversion kit to the dealer.

Once the kit arrives, the dealer can convert the engine to run on propane. This includes new carburetors designed to deliver the correct amount of fuel for the application along with new fuel lines and mounting points for propane cylinders. PPS becomes the Manufacturer of Origin (MOR) when the engine is converted by a dealer, and the engine gets a new emissions label showing regulatory compliance. The owner gets a new manual and instructional video on how to operate and maintain their engine using this new fuel.

From then on, PPS warranties all the parts of the engine that come in contact with the fuel, while the rest of the engine is covered by Briggs & Stratton.

Which Engines Can Be Converted?

PPS is just starting to roll out these conversion kits. Currently, the following engines can be converted:

Single cylinder horizontal shaft 205cc
Small block V-twin horizontal shaft 570cc
Small block V-twin vertical shaft 570cc and 810 cc
Commercial Series V-twin vertical shaft 810cc
Professional Series V-twin vertical shaft 810cc

Conversion kits for these engines are coming soon:

Big block V-twin horizontal and vertical shaft 993cc
Small block V-twin horizontal and vertical shaft 479cc
Commercial Series V-Twin vertical shaft 656cc

Is My Mower a Candidate for Conversion?

It makes sense to do the conversion on a new or nearly new engine to get the most value from the conversion; PPS says the best results will come from installing kits on engines with under 200 hours on them. There also needs to be a place to mount one or two propane cylinders. On mowers, the installer can determine the best places for these tanks, whether they’ll need to be put on the sides of the mower or over the deck. Mounting a cylinder on other equipment may be more of a challenge.

While the upfront costs may be high, some of this can be deferred with incentives. The PERC Propane Conversion Program offers up to $500 per mower, and there may be other programs in your state to help cover the cost.

Where Can I Get Service and Parts?

Shank’s Lawn Equipment isn’t just a Briggs & Stratton dealer, we’re also a PERC Propane Equipment Dealer Point. If you need parts or service, come by our shop, located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s just off Route 11, one mile east of I-81 from Exit 10/Marion.

Need parts for your Briggs & Stratton engine? We ship across the US. and Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Getting Your Snowblower Ready for the Season

getting your snowblower reader

Winter is here, which means snow is on its way. Don’t wait for the first storm to get your snowblower out: pulling it out of storage now will give you a chance to fix any problems so you’ll be ready for the first winter storm.

Before You Begin

Before you move your snowblower out of storage, take a moment to inspect the area. If you notice a wet spot on the floor, it may be an indicator of leaking oil, fuel or transmission fluid. Matching the spot with the snowblower now will make it easier to find the leak.

Fuel

Before you add fuel, inspect the fuel lines for cracks and make sure they haven’t been pulled loose from their fittings.

Some manufacturers recommend storing the engine without fuel, while others recommend filling the tank with stabilized fuel. If the engine has a fuel valve, leave it open for a couple minutes after refilling the tank to fill the carburetor.

Snowstorms are unpredictable so your snowblower may go days or months between uses. Treating the fuel you use in your snowblower will ensure that the engine will be ready to start the next time you need to clear your driveway.

Oil

If you didn’t change the oil before storing, do so now. Oil can collect fuel and engine deposits, making it acidic enough to damage metal components over time.

If your model has a hydrostatic transmission, don’t forget to check the oil level. Instead of a dipstick, these transmissions usually use a sight glass located somewhere on the rear side of the snowblower.

Chute Controls

Move the chute controls and make sure the chute goes through the full range of movement. Stiff cables can be loosened by using some penetrating oil, but they’ll need to be lubricated with a regular lubricant afterward to provide long-term protection. If the cables seem to move freely, inspect the chute for dents and make sure the bolts are tight.

Grease Points

Check your owner’s manual for areas that need to be greased before use. Typically, zerk fittings can be found on the wheel bearings and auger shaft of larger snowblowers. Always clean the fitting before adding grease to prevent dirt from being pushed into the bearing.

Skid Shoes

Check the shoes for wear and make sure they’re even side-to-side by measuring the distance from the bottom of the shoe to the base of the auger housing. It’s a good idea to have an extra set on hand to replace worn shoes through the season.

Augers, Shear Pins, and Belts

Check the auger blades and shaft for damage. If your auger has rubber paddles, inspect them for cracking and shrinkage and replace them as needed.

Like the fuel lines, the belts can age during storage. A belt should be replaced if it’s too loose to be engaged by the idler pulley or it has visible cracking.

The belts and shear pins are designed to break if there’s a jam in the auger, cutting power and preventing damage to expensive components. You should always have some spares on hand so you can get your snowblower running again after one of these incidents.

Power Cord

If your snowblower comes with an AC electric starter, it will need to be plugged into an outlet using an outdoor-rated extension cord with a three prong plug. If the insulator is damaged or the cables are frayed, the extension cord should be replaced.

The First Start

Start the engine the same way you normally would. If the snowblower was put into storage correctly and you’ve done everything on this preparation list, it should fire up easily.

If the engine seems to stumble, let it run. There is probably some stale gas left inside the fuel system that needs to burn off. If you lubricated the cylinder before storage, it’s normal to see some black smoke in the exhaust as this oil is burned off.

If the engine doesn’t want to start and you know the carburetors are getting fuel and there’s plenty of oil in the crankcase, check the spark plug. If it’s fouled or the insulator is cracked, it will need to be replaced. Make sure the gap between the electrodes is within specifications.

Getting Parts for Your Snowblower

Find something wrong with your snowblower while you were getting it ready for the season? Need to pick up some extra shear pins and belts? Shank’s Lawn Equipment is a certified dealer for most major brands of snowblowers and small engines, making us your one-stop shop for parts and service. We’re located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s just off Route 11, one mile east of I-81 via Exit 10/Marion.

Don’t live nearby? We ship across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit www.shankslawn.com.

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Winter Yard Care

winter lawn care

Winter means an end to mowing, fertilizing and irrigation, but it doesn’t mean you can forget about lawn care. As temperatures drop, your lawn is susceptible to damage and mold, while your equipment can be damaged by improper storage. These tips will help you get through this season and be ready for spring.

Ground Contact and Turf Damage

Turf is fragile when it’s in hibernation, especially when it’s encased in ice, which makes the blades brittle. Keeping your driveway and sidewalk clear will encourage people and animals to stay off of the grass.

Never park a car or trailer on the grass in the winter. The weight of the tires will damage grass down to the root, creating bald spots come spring.

Snow Removal

Snow plows should only be used on wide, paved surfaces: if they go off the edge of the pavement, they’ll pull up the grass and soil, leaving bald areas. A snow blower’s auger will only damage the grass on the surface, but it’s still a good idea to mark off paved areas before the first snowfall so you can keep the turf intact.

Snow mold infections become more likely the longer the snow contacts the ground. Try to set the pitch of the chute to send snow as far out as possible when starting and keep it there. As you work across your driveway, the line of snow deposited by the chute will work inward instead of ending up in the same spot, helping it melt faster.

Reducing Frost Damage

Gradual temperature changes will give your plants time to go into hibernation, but temporary drops at the start of winter and beginning of spring can cause major damage. While there isn’t much you can do for grass, there are preventative measures that can be taken to protect bushes, flowers and other plants around your lawn.

The greatest threat to plants comes in the early spring when warmer temperatures can trigger the growth of new leaves and blossoms. These parts of the plant are soft, causing them to burst when frozen. Several hours of temperatures below 28°F can do serious damage, but this can be prevented by moving the plant indoors or covering it with a tarp, pot or mulch. Remember to uncover the plant after the danger has passed.

If temperatures stay below 25°F for several hours, any plant that hasn’t gone completely into hibernation or is coming out of it can be damaged by desiccation: it’s not the cold itself that is damaging, but the extremely dry air which sucks the moisture out of the plant. Watering the plants beforehand acts as a buffer for both water loss and cold.

Store Your Equipment Correctly

As you shift from fall to winter lawn care, you need to prepare your equipment for storage so it can be put back into service next spring with minimal effort. Full instructions should be found in the owner’s manual and engine manual that came with each piece of equipment, but there are some preventative steps that apply to everything from mowers to string trimmers.

All surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent moisture retention that can lead to rust. Bare metal surfaces should be coated with light oil while scratched areas on paint should be fixed with touch up paint. Some manufacturers also recommend lubricating the control cables.

On some engines, the fuel system needs to be completely drained, while others need to be filled with fuel treated by a stabilizer. If the fuel isn’t being drained, the tank should be kept full to reduce the contact it has with air, reducing oxidation and aging. As long as it hasn’t been mixed with oil, drained fuel can be poured into your car’s fuel tank.

Batteries need to be charged periodically, either by running the equipment now and then or by hooking the battery up to a trickle charger.

Never put a tarp over your equipment: moisture can gather underneath, promoting rust. Instead, use either a purpose-built cover or keep your equipment inside. Even a drained tank may release some fuel vapors, so the equipment should be stored away from furnaces, power tools and other sources of ignition.

Getting Parts and Service for Your Equipment

Whether you need shear pins for your snowblower or found some damage when getting your lawn mower ready to store, you can get everything you need from Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We’re a certified dealer for most major brands of residential and commercial outdoor equipment as well as the engines that power them. Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s just off Route 11, or one mile east of I-81 via Exit 10/Marion.

Not in the area? We ship parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit www.shankslawn.com.

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Choosing the Right Backpack Blower

backpack blower

Which backpack leaf blower right for you? With models ranging from small residential units to commercial powerhouses, there’s a lot to consider from engines to features like remote throttles and interchangeable nozzles. Here’s what you should look for to find a blower to fit your needs.

Why Choose a Backpack Blower?

Backpack blowers fit between handheld and walk behind blowers and are available in a wide range of models. These can be separated into two major categories:

Residential models are designed for low weight and a low price. These are mainly intended to serve as an easy-to-use replacement for handheld blowers, taking the strain and vibration off of the operator’s hands and joints. The smallest of these blowers match the performance of the best handheld models.

Commercial models designed for maximum durability and performance. Since it’s easier for the operator to carry weight on their back, this design allows for much larger engines and impellers. Some models can be as much as 5 times more powerful than the best handheld models.

Measuring Power

Leaf blower performance is measured in air speed and volume. Higher speeds increase force, allowing the leaf blower to move heavier material like wet leaves. Volume increases the amount of material that can be moved, cutting the time it takes to clear large areas.

The narrower the nozzle and pipe are, the faster the air speed will be at the expense of volume. Some models come with more than one pipe or nozzle to let you get the right balance for the material you’re moving. For example, switching from a round pipe to a turbo pipe on most Shindaiwa blowers will increase speed by around 15% and decrease airflow by around 10%.

Noise

Leaf blowers have a reputation for being so noisy that some areas have ordinances specifically banning these devices from being used during certain hours. To combat this, there has been a major industry-wide effort in recent years to tame this noise, which means you’ll likely notice a huge difference if your new blower is replacing a model built a few years ago.

The decibel scale is logarithmic so a blower rated at 80 dB will be twice as loud as one rated at 70 dB. While most outdoor equipment is rated by the amount of sound at the operator’s position, measurements for leaf blowers are taken from 50 feet away as a way to show how much you’re likely to annoy your neighbors. At the operator’s position, the blower will still be loud enough at the operator’s position to require hearing protection.

Comfort

While the performance advantages of this design may be what draws most buyers, it’s the comfort features that really determines the usability for long hours of commercial use and simplicity for residential use.

The engine and impeller are carried using a pair of padded straps like you’d find on a backpack along with additional padding around the shoulders and back to help spread out the weight. Some models also include a waist strap, which keeps the blower from moving around when climbing slopes. Commercial models also include some form of venting around this padding to cut down on sweat, keeping the operator comfortable through a full workday.

A backpack blower should have an outer frame or large top handle. This makes the blower easier to pick up when putting it on, loading and unloading when moving between job sites and keeping the engine steady when starting.

While handheld blowers have the operator grip handles around the impeller, the nozzle position on a backpack blower is controlled by moving the outlet tube with a top-mounted grip. Better blowers will use a swiveling tube connected to the impeller housing along with a piece of flexible hose to connect the straight tube and nozzle. Taking the effort out of moving the pipe makes it much easier to target airflow on lawn debris.

Some high output models put the throttle on a separate hip-mounted handle. This lets you adjust the engine speed while keeping your aim steady so the leaves aren’t blown away from where you need them. Echo also offers cruise control on some of their professional models, letting the throttle be set and then released for reduced hand strain.

Finding the Right Blower and Servicing It

If you’re looking to add a backpack blower to your lawn care arsenal, visit the experts at Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We carry most major brands including Echo and Shindaiwa, and we’ve been selling and servicing outdoor equipment for over three decades, so we know what models will best fit your needs.

Need to fix your blower or other outdoor equipment? We carry parts for a wide range of brands. To order, visit our website, www.shankslawn.com. We ship across the U.S. and Canada.

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