What a Wise Man Taught Me About Engines

ChicknPickn

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Was thinking of my grandad today. He's long gone. He was born in 1909, went to a one-room schoolhouse, and had to start working after 7th grade. He raised beef, pork, and chickens, and tobacco and corn mostly. He put five kids through college, two of whom turned out to be doctors.

I asked him once how all of his tractors, implements, and small engines started so easily and never seemed to need much work.

He said that, through the cold months, every few weeks, let your engines run until they're hot. Just do that. You won't need carb cleaner or starting fluid or any of that nonsense.

For many years, I forgot about that. Every spring brought a new battle to get the mowers, weed whacker, chain saw, or blower going. Some things went into the trash because I ran out of patience trying to start them.

Then I decided to do what grandad told me. Was doing it today, in fact. Many fewer issues. Almost none. I don't fear spring anymore.
 

mexicanyella

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We got a new Husqvarna zero-turn mower last April, with a Yamaha V-twin on it, which seems jetted pretty lean at idle. I’ve been trying to fire it up every few weeks (and I put Sta-Bil in the fuel) in hopes of not having gum issues with the low speed jets in the spring.

I’m finding that the choke and throttle moves have to be just right for it to start much below 30 degrees F.
 

ChicknPickn

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Sta-Bil is your friend.

my grandad was a gallego peasant who grew up with no electricity and had no formal education, learned three languages and taught me to hate the church and authority, lol.
Just for the record, I didn't buy into everything grandad had to say. Oh, no. Engines, yes.
 

imwjl

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Biting tongue..... I spent a lot of time in ops stuff, and recently retired from 15 years of our mostly volunteer run ski club that's really a private ski area with year round operations. I know old stuff from still having a Model A Ford in the family. My day job oversees infrastructure where we have a fleet, compressors and lots of machines.

Just prepare machines with age made appropriate instructions and modern supplies where you can. Running stuff periodically might work okay if you're retired or not fully employed. At the ski area and where I'm the infrastructure manager we let a lot of stuff sit for 1/2 the year and it works fine with fact-based vs "wives tales" prep and products.

None of that diminished the fond memories of how my grandfather and dad told me how to care for machines and some of it still holds true.

:)
 

Greg70

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Yep. You always want to let them get up to operating temperature. Combustion produces water as a byproduct. If you just start it for a minute or two and shut it off cold, the water produced will condense out in the combustion chamber and in the oil. You're actually better off not starting it if you're not going to let it warm up all the way.
 

ChicknPickn

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Biting tongue..... I spent a lot of time in ops stuff, and recently retired from 15 years of our mostly volunteer run ski club that's really a private ski area with year round operations. I know old stuff from still having a Model A Ford in the family. My day job oversees infrastructure where we have a fleet, compressors and lots of machines.

Just prepare machines with age made appropriate instructions and modern supplies where you can. Running stuff periodically might work okay if you're retired or not fully employed. At the ski area and where I'm the infrastructure manager we let a lot of stuff sit for 1/2 the year and it works fine with fact-based vs "wives tales" prep and products.

None of that diminished the fond memories of how my grandfather and dad told me how to care for machines and some of it still holds true.

:)
You nailed me on the retired part. How did you know??
 

trev333

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Both of my grand dads and one grandma were gone before my 4th grade at school...

my grand dad's never had time to tell me anything....I can hardly remember them.

my last grandma died when I was 18....

Grand parents have never figured much in my life... sadly..
 

imwjl

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my grandad was a gallego peasant who grew up with no electricity and had no formal education, learned three languages and taught me to hate the church and authority, lol.
My kind of grandpa. Mine and some other elders escaped the czar's army and/or Hitler, was able to get 1/2 his family to the US, the young ones went back as US soldiers, sailors or bomber pilots and they all taught us tremendous lessons. It was super cool to be raised by people who escaped with nothing, built much and died having lived the American Dream at 11 on the 1-10 scale.
 

schmee

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Was thinking of my grandad today. He's long gone. He was born in 1909, went to a one-room schoolhouse, and had to start working after 7th grade. He raised beef, pork, and chickens, and tobacco and corn mostly. He put five kids through college, two of whom turned out to be doctors.

I asked him once how all of his tractors, implements, and small engines started so easily and never seemed to need much work.

He said that, through the cold months, every few weeks, let your engines run until they're hot. Just do that. You won't need carb cleaner or starting fluid or any of that nonsense.

For many years, I forgot about that. Every spring brought a new battle to get the mowers, weed whacker, chain saw, or blower going. Some things went into the trash because I ran out of patience trying to start them.

Then I decided to do what grandad told me. Was doing it today, in fact. Many fewer issues. Almost none. I don't fear spring anymore.
Yep, and here's another tip from a Great Grandad! Buy non ethanol gas for your misc yard equipment. Especially 2 strokes, like chain saw, weed wackers etc. They will start right up in the spring even without ever running them.
My brand new generator wouldn't start the first time I needed it. It had run fine testing etc a few months before. I ended up having to take the carbureator apart on a brand new device.. Inside the aluminum bowl was pitted and corroded. The culprit? Ethanol. I've used non ethanol gas in everything since and it's amazing! Worth the extra cost!

BTW, my first car was a '30 Model A 5 window coupe. I bought it with the fenders and other items stuffed inside, no wiring intact. I had to assemble it, wire it etc. Learned a lot!
 

trev333

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One grand dad learned how to drive those new fangled motor lorries during ww1 in France. When he came back he bought an old army truck and started one of the first transport companies in the state...he probably knew a thing or two about starting cold engines...

I never knew that as a kid....

he then went on to be sitting on the board of the state's largest newspaper and was treasurer of the yacht club....

I never knew that as a kid either....
 

trev333

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My first real memory of being close to a car engine was during the 50's our car engine must have needed a head gasket, I'd say.. a 6 cylinder grey motor in an FJ.

My dad and my uncle must have put the head back on, tensioned it down and were adjusting the rockers with the engine running. I remember them sitting up on the guards one with the spanner/screwdriver and the other with feeler gauges getting the gaps right... it was noisy and smoky with all the tappets going up and down as the engine idled.

It was like two gladiators wrestling with an angry beast... kinda scary for a kid..

I learned then that you had to work on engines and stuff when you get a car....

Dad could do it... :)
 

stxrus

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No ethanol, Stabil, run the carb dry if possible, keep the oil fresh, clean spark plugs, and run weekly if possible
My routine on 2 stroke engines. Generators, chainsaw, weed eater, etc. You never know when you will need them and when you need them they need to run and do their job

Electronics need to be powered up to keep critical components happy and not dried up.
 




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