Safety: Dealing With Noise
- Earplugs are a must.
- Goggles are a must for any equipment that generates dust or sparks.
- NEVER run power equipment indoors without hearing protection!
Safety: Other Considerations
- Goggles are a must with any equipment that generates dust or sparks.
- Gloves are highly recommended with all handheld power equipment, because they help to mitigate the effects of vibration (Industrial White Knuckle Syndrome, a permanent lifelong disorder).
What Equipment Do I Buy?
- First question: How much money does it make you?
- Most OPE manufacturers offer two or more "grades" of equipment.
- For high-intensity applications, commercial equipment will hold up better, is more ergonomic, and usually offers features that improve productivity.
- For capital planning purposes, handheld power equipment has a useful economic lifespan of 1,000 engine hours or 10 years, whichever comes first.
- EPA compliance labels are not lifespan information
Performance Considerations: Trimmers
- 20–25cc for turf use
- 30cc and up for farm use
- Bump-feed head
- Solid, straight shaft for farm use
Performance Considerations: Chainsaws
- 25–40cc for pruning and home use
- 45–65cc for general farm use
- 10–16" bar for pruning and home use
- 1–24" bar for general farm use
- Laminated vs. solid bars
- Most chainsaws are originally equipped with "low-kickback" chain.
- Not all chain is low-kickback.
- Full-Complement, Skip, 0.5 Skip.
- Chisel for softwood and clean conditions.
- Semi-chisel for hardwood and dirty conditions.
- Note: Most of us are working in suboptimal conditions.
- Note: If you are new to hand-sharpening, avoid Chisel chains.
- Use 87 Octane motor fuel, as with an automobile.
- Higher-octane fuels have lower volatility and make starting harder.
- Power equipment engines do not have a high enough compression ratio to benefit from high-octane fuel.
- Must be stored in sealed containers!
- Put the spout back.
- If cans are equipped with vents, close them.
What About Ethanol?
- Properly handled, ethanol causes no problems in modern power equipment.
- Most problems with ethanol relate to its hydrophilic properties.
- Many problems blamed on ethanol are caused by emissions-compliant carburetors- this is a problem in itself, but cannot be worked around by using ethanol-free fuels.
What Ratio Should I Mix Fuel At?
- 50:1 by default.
- Use oil rated for air-cooled engines.
- DO NOT use boat engine oil.
- Other mixtures can be used if the carburetor is re-tuned.
- Engines manufactured prior to 1980 may run slightly better with the recommended 25:1 or 16:1 mix, but will perform satisfactorily with 50:1.
Remember: Keep containers sealed!
Remove the spark plug wire.
- Remove blade with wrench and hammer.
- A wood block may be used to lock crankshaft.
- Use a bench grinder or angle grinder.
- 45–60 degree angle.
- Remove the spark plug wire and secure it out of the way!
- Check rakers first, because the file often hits the cutter edge.
- 0.010 gap between raker top and cutter tip.
- When sharpening cutters, hold file at 30 degrees to bar.
- Good file handles have markings for file angle.
- Remove old fuel.
- Discover problems that are easier to fox now than later.
- Start engine, drain fuel, then close choke when engine begins to die.
- Must be performed at least once a year regardless of what season the engine is actually used in.
- Follow other maintenance procedures at this time:
- Spark plug?
- Air cleaner?
- Gearbox lubricants?
- Question 0: Is it worth it?
- Question 2: Can I get parts?
- Most dealers will tell you the parts are no longer available.
- Most equipment made after 1990 has a great aftermarket.
- The internet your friend.
- Practice on old junk first.
- Most carburetors are Walbro WA- or WT-series:
- Gasket and diaphragm kit: K10-WAT
- Full rebuild kit: K20-WAT
- NAPA P/N 7-07149
- Or, ZAMA C3 series:
- Full rebuild kit (includes gaskets & diaphragms): RB-31
- NAPA P/N 7-070058
- Use Zama or Walbro SERVICE (not owner's) manual for detailed instructions:
- Make sure driven components will not hit anything.
- Crank IDLE screw all the way IN.
- Turn "L" screw (closer to engine) OUT until engine sputters.
- Turn "L" screw IN until RPM is maximized.
- Hold throttle open.
- Turn "H" screw (farther from engine) OUT until engine begins to die.
- Turn "H" screw IN until engine begins to miss.
- Turn "H" screw IN an extra 1/8 turn.
- Turn IDLE screw OUT until driven components stop.
- Turn IDLE screw OUT an extra 1/4 turn.
- Slide carburetors (no throttle shaft) cannot be adjusted.
- Some modern butterfly carburetors are not adjustable—check for presence of screw threads on needle base.