At some point, every angler is going to have to clean his fishing reels if he wants them to last. Like most fisherman, I have my favorite fishing equipment I use regularly, take care of after each use and put away nicely.
But I also have a collection of rod-and-reel combos I pull from the garage a few times per year when our whole crew takes to the boat, bridge or shoreline. You know, the gear that requires untangling almost every time it’s used. The gear I end up replacing when something breaks because it’s just easier to buy a new one. The gear I picked up at a local hardware store while out of town because the kids found a fishing spot during the trip.
This is the gear that gets dirty, corroded, worn and abused – and is in bad need of a cleaning. Here’s how I clean a fishing reel.
Step-by-step instructions for cleaning a fishing reel
Remove the line spool
When cleaning a fishing reel, start by removing the line spool. This prevents the line from unraveling and creating a bird’s nest on your workbench. It also prevents the line from accumulating the cleaning agent, grease or oil and leaving a trail in the water after your next cast.
Clean the reel body
Apply a thin coat of a good cleaner to the reel body. I use AMSOIL Metal Protector. Wipe down the reel body with a clean rag.
Next, disassemble the reel to expose the gears and see if greasing/gear lube is needed. Check with the reel manufacturer for lubricant recommendations. A good gear lubricant or NLGI #2 grease should do the trick. I use AMSOIL 100% Synthetic Firearm Lubricant and Protectant. Apply a little lubricant to the gears.
With the reel disassembled, I also like to apply a little AMSOIL Metal Protector to any pivot points or other components.
Reassemble the reel
Once everything is cleaned and lubricated, reassemble the reel and send it on its way for another weekend of fishing.
After cleaning our fishing reels, our crew had a successful weekend on the water. A couple people commented on how nicely the reels worked, we had no mechanical issues and, best of all, we caught our share of bluegills and crappies.
If your family is like mine, you love to fish. No matter how busy our schedules get with work, hockey, football and other activities, we always make time to get on the water. The last thing you want to do is waste that precious time messing around with a reel that doesn’t work.
Follow this process for cleaning a fishing reel at least once a year. It’s quick, simple and effective. If you get skunked, at least you won’t be able to blame your reel.
All of the above are popular products here in the Sioux Falls location. Find us at Exit 73 (Tea) at 47073 98th St – just behind Marlins!!
A lawnmower that won’t start, especially when taken from storage, is almost always due to one problem: bad gas.
Storing a lawnmower in the fall without adding gasoline stabilizer to the fuel tank can cause the fuel to break down and plug the fuel passages. If fixing that problem doesn’t help, there are a few other common maintenance practices to try, as we explain below.
Here’s what to do when your lawnmower won’t start
Replace the gas
Over time (like the six months your lawnmower sat in your garage over the winter), the lighter hydrocarbons in gas can evaporate. This process creates gums and varnish that dirty the carburetor, plug fuel passages and prevent gas from flowing into the combustion chamber.
The carburetor bowl below formed corrosion and deposits during storage, which can easily plug fuel passages and prevent the engine from starting.
Ethanol-containing gas can absorb water from the atmosphere, which can lead to phase separation, which occurs when ethanol and gas separate, much like oil and water. Ethanol that has absorbed enough moisture and has sat long enough can foul the fuel system and prevent the engine from starting.
No matter how many times you yank the starter cord and pollute the air with your advanced vocabulary, the lawnmower won’t start if it isn’t getting gas.
In extreme cases, evaporation of lighter hydrocarbons can change the gasoline’s composition enough to prevent it from igniting. The gas may be fueling the engine, but it doesn’t matter if it won’t ignite.
If you neglected to add gasoline stabilizer to the fuel prior to storage, empty the tank and replace with fresh gas. If the tank is nearly empty, simply topping off with fresh gas is often enough to get it started.
On some mowers, you can easily remove and empty the fuel tank. Sometimes that’s more trouble than it’s worth. In these cases, use a fluid extraction pump or even a turkey baster. (We keep them in the Sioux Falls location also)
Clean the carburetor
You’ve replaced the fuel, but your lawnmower still won’t start.
Next, try cleaning the carburetor. Remove the air filter and spray carburetor cleaner into the intake. Let it sit for several minutes to help loosen and dissolve varnish and gums.
On some carburetors, you can easily remove the float bowl. If equipped, first remove the small drain plug and drain the gas from the bowl. Remove the float bowl cover and spray the float and narrow fuel passages with carburetor cleaner.
This kind of “quick-and-dirty” carburetor cleaning is usually all it takes to get the gas flowing again and your lawnmower back to cutting grass.
If not, consider removing the carburetor from the engine, disassembling it and giving it a good cleaning. Be forewarned, however: taking apart a carburetor can lead to nothing but frustration for the uninitiated. Take pictures with your phone to aid in reassembly. Note the positions of any linkages or the settings of any mixture screws, if equipped.
If you’re at all reluctant, visit the servicing dealer instead. Also consider replacing the carburetor altogether. It’s a fairly simple process on most smaller mowers and it’s often less expensive than taking it to the dealer.
Clean/replace the air filter
With the air filter removed, now’s the perfect time to clean it. Tap rigid filters on a workbench or the palm of your hand to dislodge grass clippings, leaves and other debris. Direct compressed air from the inside of the filter out to avoid lodging debris deeper into the media.
Use soap and water to wash foam filters. If it’s been a few years, simply replace the filter; they’re inexpensive and mark the only line of defense against wear-causing debris entering your engine and wearing the cylinder and piston rings.
Check the spark plug
A dirty or bad spark plug may also be to blame. Remove the plug and inspect condition. A spark plug in a properly running four-stroke engine should last for years and never appear oily or burned. If so, replace it.
Use a spark-plug tester to check for spark. If you don’t have one, clip the spark-plug boot onto the plug, hold the plug against the metal cylinder head and slowly pull the starter cord. You should see a strong, blue spark. It helps to test the plug in a darkened garage. Replace the plug if you don’t see a spark or it appears weak.
While you’re at it, check the spark-plug gap and set it to the factory specifications noted in the lawnmower owner’s manual.
If you know the plug is good, but you still don’t have spark, the coil likely has failed and requires replacement.
Did you hit a rock or other obstacle?
We’ve all killed a lawnmower engine after hitting a rock or big tree root.
If your lawnmower won’t start in this scenario, you probably sheared the flywheel key. It’s a tiny piece of metal that aligns the flywheel correctly to set the proper engine timing. Hitting an immovable obstacle can immediately stop the mower blade (and crankshaft) while the flywheel keeps spinning, shearing the key.
In this case, the engine timing is off and the mower won’t start until you pull the flywheel and replace the key. It’s an easy enough job IF you have a set of gear pullers lying around the garage. If not, rent a set from a parts store (or buy one…there’s never a bad reason to buy a new tool) or visit the dealer.
My lawnmower starts, but runs poorly
If you finally get the lawnmower started, but it runs like a three-legged dog, try cleaning the carburetor with AMSOIL Power Foam. It’s a potent cleaning agent designed to remove performance-robbing carbon, varnish and other gunk from carburetors and engines.
Add gasoline stabilizer to avoid most of these problems
Which sounds better? Completing all these steps each year when your lawnmower won’t start? Or pouring a little gasoline stabilizer into your fuel tank?
Simply using a good gasoline stabilizer can help avoid most of the problems with a lawnmower that won’t start. AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer, for example, keeps fuel fresh up to 12 months. It helps prevent the lighter hydrocarbons from evaporating to reduce gum and varnish and keep the fuel flowing. It also contains corrosion inhibitors for additional protection.
I have a five-gallon gas can in my garage from which I fuel two lawnmowers, two chainsaws, two snowblowers, a string trimmer, an ATV and the occasional brush fire. I treat the fuel with Gasoline Stabilizer every time I fill it so I never have to worry about the gas going bad and causing problems.
You can also use AMSOIL Quickshot. It’s designed primarily to clean carburetors and combustion chambers while addressing problems with ethanol. But it also provides short-term gasoline stabilization of up to six months.
It’s a back gelatinous substance that wreaks havoc in engines. And long before the engine’s demise, engine sludge can foul engine sensors and interfere with performance. Some mechanics call it the “black death.”
How does motor oil, which is fluid, become a semi-solid paste or gel inside an engine?
Here’s what we’ll cover:
How engine sludge forms
The effects of engine sludge
Synthetic oil helps prevent engine sludge
High-quality additives fight engine sludge
Severe service invites engine sludge
How engine sludge forms
Engine sludge is the result of a series of chemical reactions.
The lubricant degrades as it is exposed to oxygen and elevated temperatures. The higher the temperature, the more rapid the rate of degradation. In fact, every 18°F (10°C) increase in temperature doubles the rate of oxidation.
Many people still believe any oil is fine as long as you change it often but 95% of the brands out there do not address that inch of protection when you really need it!! We’ve all had issues where the engine is overheating or some situation where adequate lubrication isn’t available. AMSOIL offers 75% more protection when you need it and our diesel oils offer 6X more protection than required by industry testing.
The by-products of this reaction form highly reactive compounds that further degrade the lubricant. Their by-products react with other contaminants, forming organic acids and high-molecular-weight polymeric products. These products further react, forming the insoluble product known more commonly as sludge.
What begins as a thin film of lacquer or varnish deposits on hot or cold metal surfaces and bakes into an expensive mess.
The effects of engine sludge
Sludge can block the oil passages and oil-pump pick-up screen, resulting in oil starvation. Often, the negative effects are cumulative rather than sudden.
Many engines with variable valve timing (VVT) use oil-pressure-operated mechanical devices to change valve timing, duration and lift. Sludge can plug the solenoid screen or oil gallies and impact the operation of VVT mechanisms, eventually leading to a costly repair bill. Sludge reduces efficiency and increases time and money spent on maintenance.
Who doesn’t want a cooler engine? Sludge, even the early stages prevents the engine from dispersing heat efficiently. Why would you risk a Group III “synthetic” which does leave deposits adding to or resulting into an engine which struggles to exhaust heat.
Synthetic oil helps prevent engine sludge
Fortunately, sludge and varnish deposits are something oil manufacturers can control. Using thermally stable synthetic base oils reduces the rate of degradation (oxidation). (Yes – and that is “Real 100%” Synthetics – not the ones they currently call “Fully”..
Anti-oxidant additives help reduce the rate of degradation as well. One of the most widely used is zinc dithiophosphate. Not only is it an excellent oxidation inhibitor, it is an outstanding anti-wear additive as well.
High-quality additives fight engine sludge
We can further address many of the issues occurring after the initial oxidation stage.
Additives, such as detergents and dispersants, are commonly part of motor oil formulation. They help promote the suspension of contaminants within the oil and keep them from agglomerating.
Detergents, which are also alkaline in nature, assist in neutralizing acids generated in the sludge-building process. Anti-oxidant, dispersant and detergent additives are consumed during use.
To achieve maximum life expectancy, use an oil with high concentrations of anti-oxidant, dispersant and detergent additives.
Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil was subjected to the Sequence VG test to measure its ability to prevent sludge. Signature Series produced an oil pick-up tube screen virtually free from sludge. Our unique combination of detergents and high-quality base oils control oxidation and sludge to keep engines clean and efficient.
Equipment operating conditions also influence the likelihood of sludge or varnish issues.
Stop-and-go driving, frequent/long-term idling and operation in excessively hot or cold weather can increase the likelihood of sludge and varnish, especially if using more volatile conventional oils. If sludge has already formed, you can use an engine flush to clean sludge from your engine.
Interestingly, most auto manufacturers note in their owner’s manual that operation under any of the above conditions is considered severe service and requires more frequent oil changes.
From a mechanical standpoint, things like adding too much oil to the oil sump, antifreeze contamination, excessive soot loading, excessive oil foaming, poor engine-combustion efficiency, excessive blow-by and emission-control-system issues can all lead to the formation of sludge and varnish.
By practicing good maintenance and using properly formulated, premium synthetic lubricants, like AMSOIL synthetic motor oil, your vehicle won’t succumb to the “black death.”
Taking it a step further which many of our customers do – to make sure your vehicle is always running in peak condition one thing is to have your oil analyzed. I do it not so much to see how the oil is doing but to measure what may be going on in the engine to deplete detergents or to test for any out of typical wear levels, fuel in the crankcase, and to see if the viscosity is still on par. Oil analysis kits are easy to use especially when you have the dipstick extraction pump.
*vs. AMSOIL OE Motor Oil **Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 in the ASTM D6593 engine test for oil screen plugging as required by the API SN PLUS specification.
Hunter and Jett Lawrence have had quite the journey to American motocross.
After following the path of other successful Aussie riders like Chad Reed and Andrew McFarlane, they traveled to Europe to transition their careers to a larger scale, eventually landing on the AMSOIL/Honda and GEICO/Honda teams for the 2019 season. With his Supercross season delayed by a broken collarbone, Hunter Lawrence decided to get some laps in at the AMSOIL West Coast Open Swap Moto Race Series. With little brother Jett tagging along, the two went bar-to-bar this past Sunday on the main track. Meanwhile, over on the amateur track, the Pee Wees were ripping it up, with an all-out battle to the finish line.
Swap Moto Race Series
AMSOIL is the presenting sponsor of the Swap Moto Race Series. Formerly knowns as Transworld Motocross Race Series, the Swap Moto Race Series runs a unique two-track format, which shortens the race day for riders in its 60-plus classes. The series also boasts free transponders and low entry fees. Consisting of three separate “mini series” (West Coast Open, Terra Firma, Fall Classic), the entire series runs from January through December. Racers travel to some of the most notable tracks in Southern California. Check out a series schedule here.
Check out last weekend’s track setup at Milestone MX Park below.
This past weekend we took a trip out to California to check out the third round of the AMSOIL West Coast Open at Milestone MX. We caught up with the Lawrence brothers, checked out some racing on both tracks and learned a little more about what the series has to offer. Head on over to our Instagram to check out our highlights from our visit.
As a part of our sponsorship with the series, AMSOIL will be offering contingency at the end of each of the three mini series. Gift certificates will be awarded for eligible classes for first through fifth place in the following amounts:
$200.00 and a Preferred Racer Membership
$150.00 and a Preferred Racer Membership
$75.00 and a Preferred Racer Membership
$50.00 and a Preferred Racer Membership
$50.00 and a Preferred Racer Membership
At the end of the day after about 40 classes had finished their motos, the Lawrence brothers went one/two (Hunter, Jett) in the 250F class. The brothers had some competition in the Pro Open (125-450) class, with Hunter finishing in second and Jett in third.
As a young farm kid, before I could operate the tractors, I had to pick rocks and sticks in the fields. I sometimes unearthed boulders that would have broken the blades on the tiller immediately.
I remember thinking, “This can’t be the most efficient way to prepare a farm field – there has to be an easier way.”
One day, I went home and asked, “Don’t they make a Bobcat attachment for this?” My parents replied, “Well, yeah, but then what would you do? Sit at home inside and play video games?”
These days, I’m always looking for the best way to accomplish any task at hand. And, 20 years later, I’m still fascinated by what you can do with skid steer attachments. The process improvements are sensational.
Here is my list of the coolest skid steer attachments
Disclaimer: the following list is for the common person. The added value these attachments provide will differ depending on your line of work (construction, landscaping, farming, etc.).
1. Essential skid steer attachments
Bucket – I’m starting the list with the most affordable and practical attachment, which to me makes it the coolest. With a bucket attachment, I like to say I have access to the best wheelbarrow in the world. I have redone a handful of driveways with solely a skid steer and a bucket attachment. Everyone can use a skid steer bucket in their life. Well, not if you live in a skyscraper apartment.
Forks – These are most often used to move pallets of material or maybe 275-gallon totes of AMSOIL products. Forks are perfect for businesses that don’t quite need a forklift for everyday use. They’re practical for stacking lumber and building materials to be set in a garage.
Be sure to put blocks underneath so you can fit your forks underneath the next time you want to move something. Another reason forks are great? They’re affordable.
2. Brush Hog
Brush cutters are ideal for the initial pass when clearing land and mowing overgrown areas. As a kid (and adult), I used the brush hog to clear my ATV and dirt bike trails since the six-foot swath it cut was the perfect width.
Word to the wise: be careful with your speed and the size of brush. Thick brush can do harm to a brush cutter, requiring a lot of maintenance.
While a tiller attachment isn’t a necessity, it can save you a ton of time and sweat equity. If you’re just tilling a little backyard garden, use a gas rototiller – it’s much more cost effective than renting a skid steer attachment. For large areas or when landscaping, you can’t beat a skid steer with a tiller attachment. Tillers are purpose-built for pulverizing the toughest soil, saving time and money.
Augers are used to drill holes for fencing, footings, trees and more. There are different drive systems for different types of soils. Augers can usually dig down about six feet, but you can buy extensions if need be.
Pro tip: using the hydraulics, give the auger a good shake after it’s pulled from the ground to avoid spraying dirt all over the place (and people) when you fire it up again.
This one makes the list because of the time savings it offers. There are a variety of trencher options on the market. Before renting or buying, it’s important to know the depth and width of the trench you’re digging. Forty-two inch trencher attachments work well, especially for utility lines, irrigation systems and drain pipes. If you often need a trencher, there may be a better piece of equipment out there for you, like a narrow excavator bucket.
6. Landscape rake
Landscape rakes are used for cutting out soil and gathering sticks and rocks with ease. CAT’s landscape rakes pulverize, aerate and level the soil while collecting rocks and debris in a hopper. There are a few variations in landscaping rakes from the major manufacturers.
There are a few different kinds of sweepers available, including…
Pick-up brooms (utility brooms)
Utility brooms are a personal favorite. They collect dirt, rocks and other debris into a hopper to be dumped in a place of your choosing. Optional dust-control kits help prevent the amount of airborne dust nearby.
My only complaint? They’re a little too big for cleaning the garage.
The following honorable mentions didn’t quite make the main list due to the narrowness of the application or cost effectiveness. But they’re still worth considering for some people.
Bale spear – An absolute necessity on the farm. We used these for round bails the most. Stacking them on a trailer three high takes precision, which this affordable attachment easily provides.
Dozer blade – While practical for small soil movement and leveling, you can usually get by with a bucket.
Grapple buckets – Ever wish your hands were huge, powerful and felt no pain? You were probably wishing for a grapple bucket. This attachment is prefect for grabbing heavy, oddly shaped objects. They’re most often found in the demo, construction and trash-management industries.
Mulcher – Although mulcher attachments are a cool concept, they’re expensive. Mulchers are used on land that hasn’t been touched in a long time. They help reduce manual labor.
I can’t complain about picking rocks all summer in those fields; it shaped who I am. When I have kids, my rock-picking stories might be like my parents’ stories of “walking to school, in the freezing cold, uphill both ways.”