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Which Small-Engine Oil Would You Choose?

small engine cleanliness

Which Small-Engine Oil Would You Choose?

Spring marks the time to store your snowblower and prepare your lawnmower, pressure washer, generator and other equipment for another season.

Make sure to change oil before storing equipment. Used oil contains acidic byproducts that can damage the engine if allowed to sit for months.

If you neglected to change oil in your lawnmower or other equipment prior to fall storage, now is a great time to do that.

Use a high-quality small-engine oil, not simply an inexpensive automotive oil

While easy to assume small equals simple when it comes to engines, the opposite is often true.

Compared to liquid-cooled automotive engines, air-cooled small engines run hotter; operate under constant load; generate more contaminants (with many not using a filter); and are exposed to mud, dirt and rain. Plus, they’re often overlooked when it comes to maintenance.

Most small-engine oils, however, are just re-labeled automotive oils, which are formulated with fuel economy in mind, not engine durability.

AMSOIL Synthetic Small-Engine Oil, in contrast, isn’t merely a re-labeled automotive oil – it’s designed specifically for the unique demands of small engines. It contains a heavy dose of zinc anti-wear additives to protect against wear for maximum power and engine life. It also contains potent detergency additives to fight harmful deposits.

Look at the bottom image of the valve-guide area in a Honda* 5-hp engine tested in the AMSOIL mechanical lab. A competitor’s oil resulted in heavy deposits that caused the valve to stick. In fact, the technician who tore down the engine couldn’t remove the valve due to excessive deposits. Had this engine been in the field, it would have been a matter of time before it failed, leading to a costly repair or replacement. AMSOIL 10W-30 Synthetic Small-Engine Oil, in contrast, minimized deposits and kept the engine running strong.

Small Engine 10W-40 is another product.

This season, make sure your fleet of small-engine-powered equipment is protected – choose AMSOIL.

“Easier starts in cold weather and the ultimate in protection at any temperature. Zero wear on my small engines and most are over 10 yrs old.”

Bobby
Savannah, Ga.

BUY NOW

*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use. All products advertised here are developed by AMSOIL for use in the applications shown.

How to Fight Ethanol Problems in Small Engines

Phase separation

How to Fight Ethanol Problems in Small Engines

 

In 2005, Congress instituted a new renewable fuel standard that you didn’t get to vote on. In response, refiners made a wholesale switch, removing methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and blending fuel with ethanol. Ethanol helps reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, well in special engines made for ethanol only – but you’re not suppose to know that..  (even though you end up using more fuel to make up for the losses). Derived from corn (Round-up ready which destroys our health), ethanol supports U.S. agriculture (as long as they don’t ask questions and buy the seed they are forced to) and helps support energy independence. (as if allowing private railways wouldn’t but competing with AMTRAK is against the law currently).

Ethanol, however, can cause a number of problems, particularly in small engines. These problems center on the two following issues:

1) Dissolving plastics and creating deposits

Ethanol is an excellent solvent and drying agent that dissolves old gum and varnish deposits from the gas tank and fuel lines. However, it can also dissolve plastic and create deposits. Honda states that the dissolved material can clog filters or pass through and leave deposits on fuel injectors, fuel pumps, fuel-pressure regulators, carburetor jets, intake tracts, valves and valve guides.

Small-engine manufacturer ECHO agrees, stating in its warranty that these deposits can lead to poor engine performance; loss of power; overheating; fuel vapor lock; improper clutch engagement caused by increased engine idle speeds, which allows cutting attachments to turn while the unit is idling; and premature deterioration of fuel lines, gaskets, carburetors and other engine components.

2) Ethanol and water don’t mix

Small engine manufactures have spent considerable time studying the relationship between ethanol and water.

The white flaky deposits in this carburetor are attributed to ethanol.

ECHO warns that ethanol will absorb a small amount of moisture and stay in suspension within the gasoline for a while. However, the ethanol will only absorb up to ¾ of an ounce of water in a gallon of gas before it reaches its saturation point. Once the ethanol has absorbed enough moisture to reach its saturation point, phase separation occurs. Phase separation means the ethanol and absorbed water drop to the bottom of the fuel container since it is heavier than the gas and oil, leaving the gasoline and oil mix to float on top of the tank. Most operators never notice water in the can when they refuel their equipment. The end result is often a carburetor ruined with rust and corrosion. These expensive repairs can cost more than $75 and are not typically covered by warranty.

Stihl stresses that the layer of gasoline left floating on top has a lower octane level than the original ethanol-gasoline blend, which can result in unstable engine operation, power loss and major engine failures.

Ethanol’s affinity for water explains why so many ethanol-related problems surface in the marine industry. In fact, some marina personnel say up to 65 percent of their service orders are attributable to fuel-system problems.

Combating ethanol problems

Although some fuel additives on the market claim to reverse the effects of phase separation, there’s no way to reintegrate gasoline and ethanol once they’ve separated. Instead, it’s best to prevent it.

One solution is to use non-oxygenated, ethanol-free gas in your small engines. It costs a little more, but it eliminates problems
associated with ethanol. Another solution is to treat every tank of fuel and container of gas with AMSOIL Quickshot. It helps keep water molecules dispersed in the fuel to prevent phase separation. It also cleans varnish, gums and insoluble debris while stabilizing fuel during short-term storage.

Quickshot was tested in fuel containing 10 percent ethanol. Controlled plugging of injectors showed a 70 percent flow improvement, while oxidation stability improved 44 percent over untreated fuel.

Regardless whether you’re pro- or anti-ethanol, we can all agree on the importance of taking care of our small engines.