? on mower storage and start in spring.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Skeelow, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. Skeelow

    Skeelow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    I'm parttime and have about 7 accounts I do.

    I got a Quick 36 Samurai last November and was only able to put 3 hours on it before storing it for winter. I cleaned the deck, filled the tank and put in a fuel stabilizer. The manual said I needed to dissconect the spark plug wire. I never did this. Does it matter?
    Do I need to change the oil before I start in april with only 3 hours of use on it? Anything I need to do before I start it up in the spring with the hours I have on it.
    My first commercial mower and want to take care of it. Thanks.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Here's what I would do around middle of march or so:

    - Disconnect the spark plug wire, and replace the spark plug, gap to ~.030
    > That eliminates the guesswork, I do this, too.
    >> See if you can get the Autolite double platinum, IF your Wb uses Champion RJ-12YC, then the Autolite Platinum Pro should be APP5224.
    - Run the engine at idle until it is HOT (about 15-20 minutes), then shut it off and change the oil and filter immediately (careful, it's HOT heh).
    > On that note, I highly recommend using a synthetic oil (full or blend).
    - Remove and replace the air filter, and make sure to get several pre cleaners.
    > Oil the precleaners lightly with either cheap but clean motor oil or wd-40.
    - Remove, and balance and sharpen the blades, coat each lightly with oil to prevent rust, then reinstall.
    - Get a grease gun and some grease, and lube all the grease fittings (usually a good dozen or more of these).
    - Get a tire gauge, then check all the air pressures on the tires, and adjust as needed.
    - Get an inline fuel filter, shut off the fuel petcock, and replace the fuel filter.
    > I do this myself, once / year, in the spring: Again eliminates guesswork, and assures trouble free operation.
    - Visually inspect all the belts, clips, springs, fuel lines, etc, etc...
    > Just go over the entire machine, see what could use fixing: If it looks about to break, maybe fix it now OR at least get the part and put it in your truck so you have it with you the day when it does crap out.
    - Run it, and test it for a little bit, just make sure it's gtg.

    The day before you go out cutting, fill it with 93 octane premium, and make it a name brand fuel such as BP or Texaco, Shell, something along the lines of expensive gas. Doing so will help revitalize what staleness the present fuel may have acquired. You can, after running that through, switch back to regular, thou I myself always run 93 octane name brand fuel.

    I think that's it, that about give your Wb a nice little overhaul :)
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    The spark plug thing is a safety suggestion that is written by all manufacturers to cover any liability which may fall on them. They suggest you disconnect the spark plug before doing work on the mower, before changing blades, and probably before storing. Personally, I know of no one who does this. I know I never do, even for servicing...unless I am going to need to turn the mower over for something without having it start. As far as the oil change, we do ours every spring, and some people do theirs in the fall. I prefer th spring, that way I KNOW I have a fresh oil running in it without any condensation. I don't know what engine you have on that, or what the engines recommended break-in period's oil change is set for (number of hours), but if you change it in the spring, it certainly wont hurt. Oil is cheap. Change it, then change it again after 8 hours since it is still breaking in. When you start it up, let it run for awhile - and make sure you just let it run at LOW rpm's. Let it warm up well and and then drain your oil. If it has a filter, get a new filter as well. Make sure ALL of your grease zerks are greased up as well.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I forgot to mention...

    Get a small tube of die-electric grease, and after you install the spark plug, dab a little bit of this stuff on the tip of the plug, then plug the wire onto it.
    You don't need a big tube, a little goes a long way...
    I usually keep what's left over from the little plastic pack that comes with new automotive spark plug wires (all hi-perf ones do, anyway), and use that.
    Do this to all of your spark plugs from now on. :)

    btw, read the manual for the gap, it could be .035...
  5. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    Small engine equipment, trimmers, blowers, edger, 21" mowers, chainsaw, ect. is to drain all the gas out and start them up and let them run til they die then remove spark plug and ad a teaspoon of oil to the cylinder and replace the spark plug. Leave the sparkplug wire off and crank the engine over to coat the cylinder with oil, replace wire and store for winter. Next spring just fill with premix and they will fire up without a problem. You can use this process for any size engine but on bigger mowers like Zs and larger tractors I just run staybil in the tank and run them for awhile then I remove batteries and give them a full charge and store them inside. I change oil in all mowers before mowing starts in late March.
  6. wildncrazyguy

    wildncrazyguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    Question regarding 93 or Premium gas in a mower. You've not seen any issues with that? I have been using the 89 mid grade for as long as I can remember. Never any issues either, but I'm considering switching to 93 because I've heard it helps the 2 strokes, trimmer, blowers, chainsaws, etc. I just want to buy one gas and for as much as my homeowner needs are, buying premium gas for my needs is not a piggy bank breaker.

    My real concern is as I was looking into doing this most everything I read said either 1. Premium gas is waste of money for small engines, or 2. Check your owners manual and run what is recommended. So, I did check my owners manual on my Toro push and and I also have a Murray rider and the Murray says specifically, DO NOT use premium gas. Use fresh regular gas. So, is it two cans of gas for me or what's your take on the manual's DO NOT... ?

    The Murray is like 10 years old or so, but has been taken care of and runs like the day I got it. Christmas present from the parents so I had no say so. If it were me, it would have been a John Deere but, can't look a gift horse in the mouth. :)
  7. Breezmeister

    Breezmeister LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from South Jersey
    Messages: 1,796

    :clapping: I'm glade to see that you read the manual :clapping: Keep that up and you will spend alot less time seeing small engine mechanics for the little things :cry:
  8. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    They say not to run premium because an engine actually produces more power on 87 provided its not a high compression engine and dentonation occurs. Stihl suggests running premium/mid grade because it allows the engine to run cooler...less bang in premium fuel.
  9. ATL Lawn

    ATL Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 318

    i change oil every 40 hr work week on actively used mowers.

    lesser used equipment, monthly.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    It's more of a thing to do with carbureted engines, I find they benefit from premium in more ways than one.
    Technically EFI's would also, but it all depends how the EFI is tuned, carbureted is a definite benefit:
    - Cleaner injection system (almost no gumming up of the carb jets and intake, with BP it actually cleans that black sooty crap), longer lasting filters and plugs, cleaner burn, easier to start, I find the pull cord used to start the recoils lasts longer as well, a lot longer, and my arm gets less sore.
    In short, it runs better longer.

    It's a bit of a trade, you pay for it at the pump or later, either way you pay but I enjoy doing less maintenance.
    Can't tell you what to do on the Murray, I run premium in everything but the truck (it's an efi calls for 87).

    Now if it's an EFI then you have to run what it says, re-tuning it just isn't in the cards for most of us.

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