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Correlation between slopes and......

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Scotts' Yard Care, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. Scotts' Yard Care

    Scotts' Yard Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    engine life. I often read of a big disparity in the engine service life between
    identical engine families. Have any of you ever had problems with oil starvation when operating commercial grade full pressure powerplants on hillsides? I'm blessed with almost completely flat lawns so this has never come up as a problem for me. Do the manufactures even publish a do not exceed angle?:confused:
  2. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,410

    Not yet in 13 years & we have some fairly steep slopes
  3. stevesmowing

    stevesmowing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 847

    If the engine has an oil pump it will last longer than just letting the oil splash around.
  4. The Captain

    The Captain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    The story I was told (may be factual) was that mowing with the spark plug on the up hill side or the muffler on the down hill side, would starve the piston rings of oil, scouring the cylinder walls. May have some truth with those older engines but I doubt the newer designs would allow this to happen. Can't say for sure but seems like our family mowers then were short lived at times. This comes from the dark ages, you know the sixtys and seventys.
  5. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    I remember reading my scag/kawi manuals and it actually states maximum operating angle. I believe it has to do with the oil reaching the pistons. If I recall (long time ago) it also gave some sort of time or something that you shouldn't operate longer than on a particular angle...

    Or maybe it was something about it you do run on an angle make sure ytou run the engine for a few minutes or so on level ground to properly lubricate everything.

    Above is not completely accurate but its something like that.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I highly suggest running a synthetic oil (full or blend) for exactly that reason.
    That, and should you or one of your workers forget to check it...
    Because all it takes is one time, one grade a little too steep, or the oil level a little too low...

    If you shop around (and you have to look and be patient), there are times when full synthetic goes on sale for Buy1/Get1 (so half price), and at a cost of ~$2.50 quart, there is no reason left not to run a far superior quality oil.
    Walmart has their own brand, 5 quart containers of full synth, sometimes for $12.50 / bottle.

    A friend of mine had two engines seize before he figured it out.
    All it took for me was one locked up engine, and I also never ran a conventional oil again.

    I heard that when the damage happens, the engine usually won't seize for several more days, to where you can be running on perfectly level ground when it craps out. At least that's when my engine seized, on a perfectly flat yard.
  7. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    Do a search on synthetic oils and what they have to be to be called synthetic and you will find out that the cheap "synthetics" really aren't synthetic at all.

    There is also a sticky in the mechanical forum about this.
  8. JS Landscaping

    JS Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    I had a Bobcat Walk behind motor fail due to this reason. It had the 15HP kholer on it. We have a few properties that are walk behind only on the hills. The one day my one employee came running up to me to a front of the property saying the motor had blew. This was on one of our flat accounts. Needless to say it seemed like the rod or crank failed, blowing a 4 inch hole right through the side of the block. 800.00 later for a new motor and we were back in business. We are very strict about maitenence too, oil and filter is changed weekly on saturday afternoons on all mowing equipment. Just one of those fluke things, maybe it was from operating on hillsides a lot of the time, or just a bad crank.

  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well, I'll chime in on this one.....

    I have locked up many a single cylinder engine on 21" mowers.
    All four cycle engines that locked up from oil starvation on slopes.
    The best oils did not help. However, none of these had pressure lubrication with an oil filter.

    This is why I have just lived with the 2 cycle Toro's and their shortcomings.

    On the other hand, I have used twin cylinder engines on very steep inclines without any issues. Seems to me it's the single cylinder engines that are most effected. Even the old opposed twin engines with no oil filter... lived forever.

    I think Kawasaki publishes a safe 'constant angle' of operation of 25 degrees.
  10. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    If you have a pressurized oil system that should make big strides into defeating gravity's attempt to create oil starvation.

    25% is pretty steep when you add the words "constant angle"

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