Managing Summer Weeds

Have trouble with weeds invading your lawn? While some strategies are risky while your grass is at peak growth, there are still ways you can deal with this problem. Here are some steps you can take now and in the future to get rid of weeds and keep them from coming back.

Weeds Don’t Grow if There’s No Space for Them

If you keep your grass healthy, it will outcompete weeds for space. However, even the healthiest grass thins out as it matures. Overseeding every three to four years kicks off new growth, filling these spaces.

Check the condition of your soil. A soil test will tell you which nutrients your soil lacks, as well as its pH. Heat stress makes it easy for nitrogen to burn your lawn, so it’s better to wait until the fall or spring to apply fertilizer.

Soil compaction encourages weed growth. Foot and vehicle traffic compress the soil, making it harder for roots to penetrate while removing space for the movement of water and air. Don’t drive on your lawn, and place stones or a walkway over areas you need to cross on foot. You can check compaction by pushing a screwdriver into the soil. If you can’t easily push it 6 inches into the ground, you need to aerate your lawn.

Excessive thatch also leads to weed growth. If the thatch layer is over ½ inch thick, it should be removed. Mulching your lawn increases microbe activity, which speeds up the breakdown of thatch.

Treating Your Lawn with Herbicides

Weed killers can be divided into two main categories. Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weeds from sprouting. Post-emergent herbicides kill weeds that are already growing. If you’re dealing with weeds now, you need post-emergent treatments. Take note of which weeds you have, so you can apply pre-emergent herbicides next spring.

Genetically, there isn’t much difference between grass and weeds, which means most herbicides kill both types of plants. To reduce the damage to your lawn, apply herbicides when the grass is at its strongest. Apply post-emergent products at least a month or two mowings after the grass starts germinating but before peak summer temperatures. These herbicides work best at temperatures below 85°F, and should only be applied directly to weeds. Pre-emergent herbicides should be applied after at least three mowings when ground temperatures are above 60°F. Always apply herbicides after aerating and dethatching. Disturbing the soil can bring weed seeds to the surface, allowing them to germinate.

Need Help with Your Lawn Care Equipment?

Whether you’re a lawn care professional or you take care of your own landscaping, Shank’s Lawn Equipment has everything you need for a beautiful lawn. We service and sell most major brands and types of outdoor equipment, including aerators, dethatchers, mowers, and trimmers. Our service department can keep your equipment running, and our massive parts warehouse has everything you need if you want to do the work yourself. Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA or online at www.shankslawn.com. We ship parts and accessories across the United States and Canada.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer Lawn Dormancy: What Causes it, and How Can You Prevent It?

Is your grass turning brown in the middle of summer? Even if you did everything right caring for your lawn, heat and a lack of rain can be too much for your grass. This forces these plants into dormancy. In this state, growth slows to a crawl, so the grass doesn’t overextend itself. Here’s how you can help your lawn get through this period, and some steps you can take to prevent it next year.

What is Dormancy?

Dormancy is a defense mechanism grasses use to survive weather that isn’t conducive to growth. The grass shuts down most of its processes and goes into hibernation. When this happens, it turns brown.

Grass spends much of its time during the growing season storing sugars to use during its winter dormancy period. However, grass also goes into dormancy in the summer if there isn’t sufficient moisture. In this state, the grass doesn’t have large food stores to depend on. On average, the lawn will survive for three to four weeks when daytime temperatures are in the 80s, and two to three weeks when temperatures are above 90.

How Do I Prevent Dormancy?

If you want to keep your lawn looking green through the summer, you need to keep it watered. The amount of water your grass needs varies depending on the variety. Use a rain gauge to measure how much water your lawn gets from nature, watering to keep up with your lawn’s needs. Infrequent, deep watering encourages root growth, which improves drought resistance.

The next time you overseed, consider adding a drought-resistant variety to your mix. Tall Fescue, Fine Fescue, and Kentucky Bluegrass are the most drought-resistant cool-season grasses. Buffalo Grass, Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine is the most drought-resistant warm-season grasses. If you live in a transitional area that supports both cool and warm-season types of grass, you need drought-resistant warm-season grass to keep your lawn green through the summer.

How Do I Help My Lawn Survive Summer Dormancy?

You still want to water your lawn, but not enough that it’s forced out of dormancy. If it has to shut down a second time during the summer, it may not survive. Applying a half-inch of water every three weeks should be enough to extend your turf grass’s life until it can return to normal.

Growth doesn’t stop during dormancy, but it does slow significantly. Adjust your mowing accordingly, and make sure you’re using sharp blades. This reduces stress on the grass.

Since this problem is caused by drought, fertilizing won’t help. In fact, it’s more likely to burn your lawn.

Your Lawn Care Headquarters

From string trimmers to commercial mowers, if it’s lawn care, you can find it at Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We carry most major brands, and we’ve helped locals with their outdoor equipment since 1985. Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. Looking for parts or accessories? We ship across the United States and Canada. To order, visit www.shankslawn.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer Lawn Care Tips

Do you feel like your lawn isn’t looking its best? These tips will help you keep your grass green and thick this summer.

Keep Your Grass Tall

Taller grass blades support deeper root growth, which helps the grass reach the water. It also shades the ground, reducing evaporation and heat. Try to keep grass varieties near their height limit, and only mow up to 1/3 of the grass’s length at a time.

Know When to Mow

The best time to cut grass is in the evening. This lets the grass recover overnight when the ground is coolest, reducing plant stress and moisture loss.

It’s never a good idea to mow after it rains. Your mower can compact wet soil, and the conditions are perfect for spreading fungal diseases. Check the shape of the grass. If the blades are standing straight, they aren’t weighted down with water. At this point, it’s safe to mow.

Mulch Your Grass

If you bag your grass clippings, you’re taking nutrients away from your soil. Mulching your clippings lets your lawn reabsorb nutrients, and it supports microbe growth. A healthy microbe population digests thatch, so it doesn’t get too thick.

Make sure you’re using the correct blades for mulching. High lift blades blow clippings up into the mowing chamber, allowing them to be cut repeatedly until they’re small enough for mulching. Some mowers use blades that work for both mulching and bagging, but side discharge blades don’t deliver the lift required for multiple cuts.

Water Your Lawn

If you want to keep your lawn from going into hibernation, keep the soil moist down to a depth of 4-6 inches. Watering between 6 and 10 am keeps the water from evaporating before it’s absorbed into the soil. Watering less frequently encourages deep root growth, which helps your lawn resist droughts.

Keep Your Blade Sharp

A dull blade doesn’t cut grass. It rips it. This stresses the plant and opens up a place for infections to take hold. If your grass has jagged ends after you mow, your blades need to be sharpened.

Is Your Lawn Turning Brown? Let it.

When summer temperatures reach their peak, less rainfall and high temperatures keep grass from getting the nutrients it needs. This forces the grass into hibernation, which shuts down the plant’s functions to conserve energy. Don’t try to water your lawn to turn it green again. If the lawn goes into hibernation a second time, it may not survive.

Spot Treat Weeds

If weeds are showing up on your lawn, it’s too late to apply pre-emergent herbicides. Instead, stick to post-emergent treatments that you apply directly to weeds. This kills them off while doing minimal damage to the surrounding grass.

Take it Easy on Your lawn

Now is not the time to fertilize or treat widespread insect and weed infestations. Your lawn is stressed from the heat, making it more susceptible to burning and poisoning. Likewise, you should avoid aerating and dethatching your lawn, unless compaction and thatch are severe.

Need Help with Your Lawn Care Equipment?

Shank’s Lawn Equipment sells and services most major brands of lawn care equipment, covering both residential and commercial models. If you’re looking for new lawn care tools, or need repairs for your current equipment, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. Want to see our current inventory, or need something to fix your equipment? Visit www.shankslawn.com. We ship parts and accessories across the United States and Canada.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Avoiding Bad Mowing Habits that Damage Your Lawn

Most of us learned how to use a lawn mower when we were young, and we haven’t thought about how we do it since then. That means most of us aren’t doing everything we could to improve the health and appearance of our lawns. Here’s a list of the most common bad mowing habits, and what you can do to avoid them.

Mowing the Grass Too Short

It seems logical: the shorter the grass is, the less often you’ll need to cut it. However, cutting grass too short damages it, thinning out your lawn. This is particularly true of varieties that have grass crowns. Cutting into the crown can kill that clump of grass, leaving a bald spot behind.

Most turf grasses need to be between one and two inches in length, while some varieties, like Kentucky Bluegrass, can grow up to 3.5 inches high before cutting. The key to having healthy grass is to cut it before the weight of the leaves makes them bend down on themselves. When you mow, limit each cut to no more than 1/3 of the total blade length. 

If you’ve had to delay mowing for a while due to heavy rains, you may need to mow multiple times to get the grass down to its normal height. In this case, wait a couple of days between each mowing to give the grass time to recover.

Using the Same Pattern When You Mow

It’s easy to get into a routine, using the same pattern, starting point, and end point when you mow. However, this repetition means the wheels on your mower go over the same spots each time. This leads to matting, soil compression, and ruts, which damage the grass. Instead, try starting at different points, and change up your patterns. This spreads out the load from your mower, helping the grass recover and thrive.

Mowing with Dull Blades 

A dull mower blade doesn’t slice through grass, it rips off the ends. This makes the cut inconsistent, leaving a poor finish. The tears also make the grass more susceptible to infections. If the surface of your lawn looks uneven after mowing, or you notice the grass tips look jagged, you need to sharpen your mower blades.

If you live in an area with sandy soil, you’re well aware of how fast the sand picked up by your mower accelerates blade wear. If you’re getting tired of sharpening, consider upgrading to blades made specifically for this soil. Sandy soil blades have a hardened surface that resists scouring, cutting wear significantly.

Need Something for Your Mower?

Shank’s Lawn Equipment sells and services most major brands of lawn mowers, including Exmark, Scag, Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Woods, and Honda. We’re also an authorized service center for all major small engine brands, including Kawasaki, Kohler, Honda, Vanguard, and Briggs & Stratton, so we can repair your equipment. Visit us in person at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, or online at www.shankslawn.com. We ship parts and accessories across the U.S. or Canada.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fixing Ruts in Your Lawn

Are ruts showing up on your lawn, leaving areas bare? There are several issues that cause this problem, ranging from poor lawn care practices to dead vegetation. Here’s how you can address these problems, as well as what you can do to repair the ruts in your yard.

What Causes Ruts?

If you mow the same way every time, the wheels of your mower will compress the soil. Break up your routine by trying different mowing patterns. The same goes for foot traffic. If you’re walking over the same place over and over again, you will compress the soil. Have a dog in the backyard? Often, they like to run back and forth over the same spots, compressing the ground while tearing up the grass.

Avoid driving vehicles over your lawn. The weight compacts soil and the tires can rip out turf. Likewise, using the wrong tires on your equipment can cause ruts. Turf tires have large lugs and wide profiles that spread out the load, while garden tires have long, deep lugs that dig into bare soil. If you use garden tires on turf, they will tear up the grass, especially when making turns.

Wet soil compacts more easily than dry soil, compounding the problem. If you see blades of grass bent over from water, you can be sure the ground is too wet to mow.

Sometimes, it’s not your equipment causing the problem, it’s what’s underneath the soil. When organic matter breaks down, it can leave gaps in the soil, allowing the turf to collapse inward. This is usually caused by the decomposition of dead tree roots.

Repairing Ruts

The best time to repair ruts is when grass growth is at its peak. For warm-season grasses, this is late spring. For cool-season grasses, this is early fall.

Ruts that are less than four inches deep are caused by compacted soil and can be relieved by lifting the soil off of the ground. Using a spade, pry up the topsoil at a 45-degree angle. The lifted sod should stand about two inches above the surrounding ground. Over time, the soil will settle and flatten out, eliminating the rut.

Deeper ruts need to be filled in with dirt. Cut out the sod in the rut, and set it aside. Fill the hole with a mix of soil and either sand or compost. This encourages deep root growth, which helps anchor the new dirt into the ground. This fill dirt should be one to two inches above the surrounding topsoil. Put the sod you cut out earlier on top of the new dirt and overseed as needed.

Need Help with Your Lawn Care Equipment?

Shank’s Lawn Equipment carries a wide range of equipment brands, covering everything from residential walk-behind mowers to small tractors. Want to cut down on scalping and ruts? We carry anti-scalping wheels, turf tires, and other accessories for all the brands we carry. When you need help with your outdoor equipment, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, or see what we offer online at www.shankslawn.com. We ship parts and accessories across the USA and Canada.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Which BCS Tractor is Best for Lawn Care?

The BCS tractor is a compelling option for commercial and residential lawn care. Thanks to its attachment system, you can use one machine to cover several landscaping tasks. Which model is right for you? Here’s a breakdown of lawn care attachments and the tractor models you need to power them.

A Note About Model Names

The higher the number used in your BCS tractor’s model name, the bigger and more capable it is, with one exception: the 660. This hydrostatic drive tractor uses a 16 HP Vanguard V-Twin. This makes it the most powerful tractor in the lineup. The 660 requires a two-bolt 750 bushing to use all the attachments on this list. For other tractors, we’ve noted the accessories you’ll need to connect attachments.

Sickle Bar Mowers

For single-action bars, the 710 and 718 only support 30 and 40-inch bars. You need a 732 or larger tractor for 45-inch bars, and an 852 or larger tractor for 53-inch bars.

The 710 and 781 don’t support dual action bars. You need an 852 or larger tractor for a 71-inch bar. These rules apply to mowing attachments with and without fingers.

Bar transmissions support all bar lengths that use the same action. That way, you can switch between bar lengths based on the job, balancing mowing speed against available space.

Flail Mowers

You can use a 24-inch mower with a 732, but BCS recommends upgrading to 5 x 10-inch wheels for this application. Other bar sizes require at least an 852 tractor.

Brush Mowers

The 21-inch mower works with all models, as long as they have 5 x 10-inch or larger wheels. The 710 and 718 don’t support larger mowers. The 620 doesn’t support mowers wider than 26 inches.

Combo Mower

This attachment works with 732 and larger mowers with 5 x 10 inch or larger wheels.

Lawn Mowers

22-inch mowers work with 620 to 732 tractor models. 38-inch mowers work with 852 and larger tractors with a PTO extension.

Dethatcher

This attachment works with 732 and larger attachments.

Mowing Sulky

This attachment works with all tractors except the 710 and 781.

Chipper/Shredder

This attachment works with all tractors except the 710 and 781. You’ll need a 750 bushing to use this attachment with the 750 tractors.

Log Splitter

This works with 718 and larger tractors. It requires a power cradle kit and a curved coupler. The 718, 732, 852, and 853 need a short coupler, while other models need a long coupler. You’ll also need a 750 bushing to use this attachment with the 750 tractors.

We’re Your BCS Headquarters

Are you looking to buy one of these versatile tractors? Do you want to add attachments? Shank’s Lawn Equipment always has BCS equipment and parts in stock. We’re also an authorized dealer for Vanguard, Honda, and Kohler, so we can service everything on your tractor. Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA to see our tractors and attachments, or check out what we have in stock at www.shankslawn.com. We also ship parts and accessories across the United States and Canada.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Exmark Commercial 21 S-Series: A Walk-Behind Mower for the Lawn Care Professional

Riding and stander commercial mowers can’t get in every space, and most walk-behind mowers aren’t built for commercial duty. Fortunately, there’s a solution: the Exmark S-Series. This commercial walk behind is built to the same standards as their riding mowers. That means you get high-quality components that withstand heavy use combined with features that deliver superior cut quality.

Deck

The S-Series’ 21-inch deck is 5 inches deep and is made from ¼-inch thick die-cast aluminum. This height provides plenty of space in the mowing chamber to hold clippings as they’re chopped down to size for mulching. The high lift blade works for both mulching and bagging, The bag has a 2.5-bushel bag capacity, and its top design lets you check the fill level while you’re mowing.

The left and right wheels are connected, so there’s one height adjuster at the front of the mower, and a second at the rear. Cutting height can be set from 1 to 4.5 inches in half-inch increments.

Power is provided by a Kawasaki FJ180V. This single-cylinder, 179cc engine might be small, but it has all the features you expect in a commercial engine. This includes a cast-iron cylinder liner, dual-element air filter, and automatic compression release for easy starting.

Drive System

The S-Series rides on four 9 x 2.4-inch semi-pneumatic tires. These tires have enough flex and contact area to minimize scrubbing, and they don’t need to be aired up. The wheels use sealed bearings, so there are no grease points on this mower.

The back wheels are driven by a CVT. Speed is infinitely adjustable, with a top speed of 4.2 MPH. Turning this mower is no problem. Despite its size, it weighs just 112 lbs. That’s more than a residential mower but far less than most commercial walk-behind equipment.

Accessories

You can’t get turf rollers or lights on this mower like you can on larger mowers. However, Exmark does offer a few worthwhile upgrades. The deck wear kit adds shielding around the deck, much like you’ll find on a riding mower’s constructed deck. There’s also an engine guard that deflects objects at the front of the mower. That way, you can safely slide the front of the mower deck under bushes and other obstacles.

Need to regularly switch between bagging and mulching? The mulch plug slides in and out of the opening on the back of the deck. This lets you switch modes in a few seconds, instead of having to deal with the bolts that hold in the stock cover plate.

Warranty

Kawasaki covers the engine used in the S-Series with a 3-year commercial warranty. The rest of the mower is covered by Exmark for one year of commercial use.

We’re Your Lawn Mower Headquarters

Shank’s Lawn Equipment sells and services most major brands of lawn mowers, including Exmark, Scag, Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Woods, Honda, and more. We’re also an authorized service center for all major small engine brands, including Kawasaki, so we can repair your equipment. Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, or see which models we have in stock at www.shankslawn.com. Need parts or accessories for your mower? We can ship what you need to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Changing the Width of Your BCS Sickle Bar Attachment

When you get a sickle bar attachment for your BCS tractor, you aren’t stuck with the bar it came with. As long as your tractor and transmission are compatible, you can switch between bars with different lengths to fit the job at hand. That means you can use any single action bar with a single action transmission, and any dual action bar with any dual action transmission. Here’s how you swap these bars.

Tools Required

You’ll need these tools to replace the bar on your sickle bar transmission:

  • Torque wrench
  • Ratchet with an extension and a 22mm socket
  • 13 mm socket
  • 22 and 10 mm wrenches
  • A block to support the transmission

Removing the Bar

  1. Place the block under the transmission to support it.
  2. Loosen one of the bolts on the side of the blade coupler with the 22 mm wrench. Once loose, use this wrench to keep the bolt in place, while using the 10 mm wrench to loosen the adjusting pin inside the bolt. Turn the pin until you can separate the drive bushing from the coupler.
  3. Use the 22 mm socket and extension to remove the nuts and washers behind the bushing. These hold the transmission onto the bar. Lift the transmission off of the bar.

Installing a New Bar

  1. Remove the nuts and washers on the transmission mount studs. Slide the transmission onto these studs. You may need to open one of the adjusting pins to make space for the bushing.
  2. Put the washers and nuts back on the studs, and tighten the nuts. The dome of the washer should face up. If you aren’t sure which way to put them on, place the washers on a flat surface. If they don’t rock back and forth, the domes are facing up.
  3. Torque the nuts to 100 ft-lbs.
  4. Tighten the adjusting pin you loosened earlier. Once it makes contact with the drive bushing, loosen it by 1/8 of a turn. Hold the pin adjuster in place with the 10 mm wrench, and use the 22 mm wrench to tighten the locking nut.
  5. Fit the skid shoes to the bar. This is easier to do if you mount the transmission to the tractor. Place the block under the bar to raise it off of the ground. Use the 13 mm socket to bolt the skid shoes to the bar, then use it to set the skid angle. This angle controls the mowing height.

We’re Your BCS Headquarters

Whether you need parts for your two-wheeled tractor, or you want to pick up one of these versatile machines, visit Shank’s Lawn. We’re an authorized dealer for BCS, as well as Vanguard, Honda, and Kohler, so we can service everything on your tractor. Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA to see our tractors and attachments, or see what we have in stock at www.shankslawn.com. Not in the area? We ship parts and accessories across the United States and Canada.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to Deal with Engine Overheating

Overheating can quickly kill your engine, whether it’s air or liquid-cooled. However, while we may have a regular maintenance schedule for our car’s coolant system, the condition of the cooling systems used in our small equipment is often overlooked. What steps can you take to keep your engine from overheating and destroying itself?

A Dirty Engine is a Hot Engine

While motorcycles rely on passing air to stay cool, most small engines are fan-cooled. The flywheel has fan blades, which pull air through the front screen and pushes it around the cover and past the cooling fins on the cylinders. Dirt on the fins reduces heat transfer, and it can block airflow. Some V-twins have ports built into the cover, which let you blast compressed air through the housing to remove dirt. On other engines, you need to remove the cover and wipe off surfaces with a dry towel or brush. Never use water to clean your engine, as it may make its way inside, contaminating the oil.

Have a water-cooled engine? Check the radiator to see if the fins are clogged with dirt. If you have a Kohler Aegis engine, pick up their radiator cleaning kit. It has everything you need to clean the cooling fins without removing the radiator from your equipment.

Do You Have Enough Oil?

Oil doesn’t just lubricate, it transfers heat from the combustion chamber to the rest of the engine. This increases the effective surface area of the cooling system. Keep your engine oil topped up, instead of waiting for the low oil cutoff to kick in.

Check the owner’s manual for your engine for oil recommendations. Manufacturers recommend using a synthetic or heavier weight oil for high temperatures to prevent burn-off. For example, Kawasaki recommends going from 10W40 to 20W50 for use above 100°F, while Vanguard recommends their 15W50 synthetic oil for high-temperature operating conditions.

Is Your Engine Getting Enough Fuel?

If the engine’s air/fuel ratio is too lean, it will be down on power, or won’t run at all. However, even small changes can increase combustion temperatures. Leaking seals around carburetors add air to the mix, while clogged jets reduce the amount of fuel added. Modern gas degrades quickly, so you can bet you’ll have issues with deposits if you didn’t drain the fuel system before storage.

Getting the right ratio of oil to gas is critical for two-stroke engines. If the fuel mix has too much oil, the lean mixture can cause engine damage.

Need Parts for Your Small Engine?

Shank’s Lawn has everything you need, whether your equipment uses a Honda, Kohler, Kawasaki, Vanguard, or Briggs & Stratton engine. Not sure why your engine isn’t running right? Our service department can take care of it. Need to replace your old equipment? We carry a wide range of residential and commercial equipment from top brands, including Cub Cadet, Honda, Troy-Bilt, Wright, Woods, and more. Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA or see what we offer online at www.shankslawn.com. We ship parts and accessories across the United States and Canada.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Things to Try When Your Mower Won’t Start

You’ve used your mower all season, but when you go to mow this time, it just won’t start. Now what? Before you start shopping for new mowers, there are a few things you should try to get your mower running again.

Check the Oil

Most small engines sold today have a float in the crankcase connected to the ignition system. If the oil level gets too low, it cuts the ignition. This keeps a lack of lubrication from damaging the engine.

Make sure you’re reading the oil level correctly. If the dipstick pushes into the filler neck, it must be fully inserted to get an accurate reading. Dipsticks in Hondas must be read with the dipstick inserted but not threaded into the filler neck. For other engines, check the owner’s manual. Measurement methods aren’t consistent, even within engine families.

Oil burnoff is normal, especially at high temperatures. Check your owner’s manual for oil recommendations. Most manufacturers suggest using a heavier weight oil or a full synthetic oil for use above 90°F.

Fuel

Modern fuel goes stale quickly. Always use fuel that is less than 30 days old, or less than 90 days old if it was treated with a stabilizer. Fuel-injected engines are less sensitive to stale fuel, but manufacturers still recommend using fresh gas. If the engine was stored for a long time with fuel in it, you may need to take it apart and clean off the deposits in the carburetor, fuel line, and tank. 

When you tilt the engine, always keep the carburetor pointed up. Otherwise, you will flood the engine. If this happens, you need to turn the engine over a few times. This gets the excess gas out of the combustion chamber, so the engine can start.

Air

A clogged filter puts a strain on the engine and could throw off the air/fuel ratio. To loosen dirt on paper filters, tap them against a hard surface. Foam filters should be washed in soap and water. Wipe out the air box to remove any dirt buildup. If your engine has a vortex filter box, clean it thoroughly. These systems remove most of the dirt before it reaches the filter, so they get dirty quickly.

Some foam filters need to be oiled, while others don’t. Check your owner’s manual for instructions. Always use clean oil.

Spark

If you don’t have a good spark, the engine can’t ignite the fuel. Check the plug wires for damage, and make sure the connections are secure. Remove the spark plug and inspect the electrode. If the plug is fouled or damaged, replace it. Don’t try to sand off deposits: you could end up with grit inside the engine. Check the electrode gap, and make sure it’s within specifications.

Do you think you have a faulty coil? You can test it by removing the spark plug and plugging it into the plug wire. Hold the plug so that the electrode is against a metal part of the engine, then pull the starter. If the ignition system is working, you should see a spark between the electrodes.

Need Something for Your Mower?

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is an authorized service center for most engine brands, including Honda, Kawasaki, Kohler, Vanguard, and Briggs & Stratton. We also carry a wide range of residential and commercial mowers, including Exmark, Scag, and Cub Cadet. Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. If you need parts or accessories, order online at www.shankslawn.com. We ship across the United States and Canada.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment