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Russellville, AL

Honey Do List: Idle thoughts

Finally...surely....maybe, spring weather is here. I know many of you are digging out the mowers, trimmers and tillers. If your equipment doesn’t start, run or idle properly, consider the following.

Many times equipment may start, but it runs rough or quickly dies. Air filters, spark plugs and bad fuel can all cause these types of problems, but this week let’s examine engine idling a little more closely.

Remember, machines are a lot like our bodies. They need air, food and blood flow in order to function. Air is taken in through the air filter, and a dirty air filter is like you trying to breathe in a sand storm. Be sure the airways are clear, but filtered.

Food comes to the engine in the form of fuel. The food we eat should be fresh, free from contaminants and prepared properly. Fuel should be fresh (less than 30 days old), free from water contamination and foreign material such as rust, and prepared properly, with proper oil mixes (2 cycle machines) and fuel additives. There are many fuel additives on the market. Just be sure that the one you use specifies protection from ethanol.

In a machine, blood flow is akin to oil circulation. Proper fill levels and clean oil filters assure that internal parts are lubricated to give you the longest life possible out of the machine. Check your owner’s manual for the correct weight and type of oil to use.

We are definitely seeing a lot of carburetor problems these days due to the quality of available fuel and the introduction of ethanol. Carburetor diaphragms and needle seats are all prone to damage, and this can cause the engine to either flood out or be starved for gas. It’s not a huge job to change these components or, in some cases, replace the carburetor.

Sometimes the carburetor may need to have the idle jets adjusted. Most new carbs must be adjusted by a licensed mechanic, due to new EPA regulations. If you attempt this job, you will probably find that you don’t have the proper tools to turn the screws that adjust the fuel flow.

If your equipment cranks and runs at all, it’s probably worth fixing. Consult a mechanic, and he’ll steer you in the right direction.

Remember, help is just around the corner at your local hardware store.

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