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Why Top Landscapers (Like Duluth Lawn Care) Trust AMSOIL

Lawn & Landscape magazine

Why Top Landscapers (Like Duluth Lawn Care) Trust AMSOIL

Landscape professionals provide the most demanding proving grounds for two-stoke equipment. Their string trimmers, backpack blowers, chainsaws and other equipment run continuously in hot, dirty and wet conditions. And their brutal schedules leave no time for breakdowns.

As the video shows, AMSOIL synthetic lubricants have earned the trust of landscape professionals like Duluth Lawn Care.

Small businesses with big challenges

Running a lawn and landscape business is tough. According to Lawn & Landscape magazine 2018 State Of The Industry Report, 72 percent of survey respondents said their location’s gross revenue in 2017 was less than $1 million.

The report listed the following challenges landscapers face to turning a profit:

  1. Quality labor shortage
  2. Fuel prices
  3. Low-ball competitors
  4. Personal stress
  5. High health insurance costs
  6. Abused equipment
  7. Expensive gourmet morning coffee and energy drinks

Large companies can have 5-10 zero-turn mowers at $15,000 a crack. They can also maintain eight or more string trimmers and backpack blowers, which can log 500-600 hours per year. That’s a lot of gas and oil.

Creating a profitable business in this environment demands maximum efficiency and cost control. Scheduling and executing jobs is critical and downtime due to unexpected equipment repairs can eat away at narrow margins.

AMSOIL delivers reserve protection

We focus on building protection into our synthetic lubricants that goes beyond the most demanding standards.

For example, AMSOIL SABER Professional Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil is guaranteed for any mix ratio up to 100:1. Using less oil compared to traditional 50:1 ratios lets professionals cut two-stroke oil costs considerably.

As noted in the video, Duluth Lawn Care mixes SABER Professional at the SABER Ratio™ of 80:1.

“The reason we mix it a little bit leaner that the manufacturer recommends is simply for the fact that we haven’t had issues mixing it at this rate,” said Duluth Lawn Care owner Matt Marciniak. “The cost savings is huge.”

Not only does SABER Professional reduce oil costs, it allows landscapers to use one mix ratio for all their equipment, eliminating confusion.

Equipment starts easier and runs better

Mixed at the SABER Ratio (either 80:1 or 100:1), SABER Professional is proven to fight power-robbing carbon deposits.

These images of Stihl string trimmer components from Duluth Lawn Care’s fleet offer visual proof. The exhaust port, piston and spark-arrestor screen are virtually free of power-robbing deposits following 1,200 hours of operation at 80:1.

By fighting power-robbing carbon, SABER Professional helps equipment start easier, run better and last longer. This adds up to big savings for small businesses fighting to preserve their margins.

Buy SABER Professional

SABER Professional extends equipment life

Since its inception, Duluth Lawn Care has trusted AMSOIL products to protect and extend equipment life. In this industry, landscapers commonly replace two-stroke equipment every two years. That hasn’t been the case with Duluth Lawn Care. Thanks to diligent maintenance and the excellent protection of SABER Professional, some of its two-stroke equipment is more than 10 years old an has accumulated 6,000-8,000 hours.

Duluth Lawn Care is a prime example of a lawn and landscape company that overcomes the top industry challenges. Not only has Duluth Lawn Care met these challenges, it has thrived for more than 13 years delivering quality service for its 4,500 customers. We’re proud to be a trusted partner of lawn and landscape professionals around North America.

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Ultra-low-sulfur diesel doesn’t provide sufficient lubricity

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel lacks Needed Lubricity

Mark Nyholm | TECHNICAL MANAGER, HEAVY DUTY AND MECHANICAL R&D

Fortunately, we have a simple solution.

It feels like forever ago, but it’s only been 13 years since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated reduced sulfur content in diesel fuel, in 2006. Boy, were people angry. They knew sulfur helped protect their fuel pump and injectors from failure. Change is scary, and the thought of replacing expensive components even more so.

Fast-forward to 2019, and I rarely hear anyone talking about this. But the problem is even more prevalent now than it was then. Modern diesels demand even more from the fuel pump and injectors than before, increasing the potential for failure. So, why aren’t people still up in arms? My hunch is they have accepted the new reality. Or, they just don’t know what they don’t know when they buy a new truck today.

Today’s ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) provides significantly reduced lubricity – a critical property in controlling fuel-pump and injector wear. While diesel fuel has traditionally had high lubrication properties, the desulfurization process used to strip the diesel fuel of the sulfur content to meet ULSD requirements also strips the fuel of some of its organic compounds responsible for lubrication. The ASTM D975 diesel-fuel standard mandates a minimum lubricity level. However, the Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) wants the standard to provide for increased lubricity, but lost out on the control of the specification. While the EMA claims there’s a problem, it doesn’t carry enough clout to change the specification.

Since 2006, ULSD has accounted for nearly all diesel available in North America because the EPA mandated reduced sulfur to curb harmful emissions. ULSD now contains a maximum of just 15 ppm sulfur, compared to fuel that had up to 5,000 ppm sulfur prior to EPA regulations.

Waxes in diesel fuel lubricate the fuel pump and injectors, helping fight wear. Without them, the highly engineered components in modern diesels, particularly high-pressure common rail (HPCR) engines, can wear out and cost thousands in repairs. They can also develop deposits that interfere with an optimum spray pattern, reducing power and fuel economy. The editors of Diesel Power Magazine covered the problem of ULSD in the April and May 2019 issues. As reported, the Bosch* CP4.2 fuel pump that comes stock on 2011-2016 Duramax* engines has led to thousands of catastrophic failures. It’s culminated in class-action lawsuits in Texas and California against Bosch, GM*, Ford* and other vehicle manufacturers on behalf of individual diesel owners whose vehicles use that pump. When the CP4.2 fuel pump fails, it instantly contaminates the entire fuel system with metal particulates, costing $8,000 to $12,000 in repairs. The magazine reiterates what AMSOIL has been saying for years: “The way to be proactive in protecting a CP4.2 equipped diesel from an early demise is being diligent about using fuel additives that add lubricity with every fill-up.”

 

The CP4.2 pump is said to fail because of two reasons: 1) It’s designed with about 20 percent reduced flow volume than the previous generation pump, requiring it to work even harder. 2) ULSD isn’t providing enough lubricity.

Our testing of base fuels across the U.S. confirms the second point. ASTM D975 requires diesel fuel to limit the wear scar in lubricity testing to 520 microns. The EMA, meanwhile, sets its own, stricter requirement of 460 microns. As the chart shows, many of the fuels (blue bars) failed to limit wear to 520 microns. And none of them met the EMA’s 460-micron limit.

Fuel treated with AMSOIL Diesel All In-One (ADB) performed far better (red bars). It not only met the ASTM D975 standard, it also met the stricter EMA lubricity requirement. You can find the same technology in Diesel Injector Clean (ADF) and Diesel Injector Clean + Cetane Boost (ADS). Our diesel additives deliver a healthy boost in lubricity to help lubricate diesel fuel pumps and injectors. The extra lubrication helps prevent wear in fuel pumps and injectors. I strongly recommend that all diesel owners use AMSOIL diesel fuel additives with every tank of fuel.

We keep this in large supply in Sioux Falls – Both our Stan Houston’s location and the Tea Exit location (exit 73). Buy in the half gallons to save money.

Watch Scott Judnick Go Big – And Why We’re Into Snow

Watch Scott Judnick Go Big – And Why We’re Into Snow

Watch Scott Judnick Go Big – And Why We’re Into Snow

At AMSOIL, we like to do things big. And when it comes to the world of Snocross, Scott Judnick of Judnick Motorsports likes to do things just as big. Check out his story below.

It’s About the People

Twenty-two years ago, Scott Judnick took his sons racing. Within just a few years he was running a rig across the country to race. His two sons developed into professional riders complete with mechanics and trailers set-up for the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series. Find Judnick anywhere on the track or in the pits and you are sure to be greeted with a smile and a “How are ya?”

For Judnick, it’s all about the people within the racing community. Fielding the dreams of the three young racers on his team is just a bonus.

Overcoming Adversity

Judnick went into the 2018-19 Snocross season with notable riders expected to dominate the Pro, Pro Lite and Sport classes. The season started on a high note with Sport rider Carson Alread taking the checkers to open the season in Duluth, Minn.

Noticeably absent from the Friday night DOMINATOR race was Pro Lite rider Nick Lorenz. A re-aggravated knee injury forced Lorenz to take it easy opening weekend. After further observation, he underwent surgery that ended his season before it started. Making matters worse for the team, a scary landing during practice in Canterbury, Minn., left Alread sidelined for the remainder of the season, too.

But that didn’t stop Judnick from continuing to compete. He signed Canadian standout RJ Roy, along with Pro rider Corin Todd. Roy has proven he can hang with the big boys, landing just short of the podium multiple rounds.

AMSOIL Products Keep Sleds Running Strong

Race sleds operate in extreme conditions. Judnick relies on AMSOIL DOMINATOR Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil to keep his race sleds running in those extreme conditions.

“Our engines are tuned to run on the very edge and placed under extreme demands in extreme weather conditions,” said Judnick. “We’ve been using DOMINATOR since its inception and it has never let us down.”

DOMINATOR® Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil

Buy DOMINATOR Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil

Not to be forgotten, the chaincases on these sleds also need attention. Judnick uses AMSOIL Synthetic Chaincase & Gear Oil to protect his sleds’ chaincases.

“The chain and sprockets on our race sleds take a beating from the harsh landings and constant changes in snow and track conditions. With just routine maintenance, AMSOIL Synthetic Chaincase & Gear Oil prevents us from having parts failures in these areas,” said Judnick.

chain case oil

Buy AMSOIL Synthetic Chaincase & Gear Oil

Another team favorite? Mudslinger. It provides a protective, non-stick layer of armor against the accumulation of snow.

Mudslinger®

Buy AMSOIL Mudslinger

Will Judnick go big this weekend? Be sure to watch his team live in action this weekend at the Seneca Allegany Snocross National in Salamanca, N.Y.

7 Tips to Add Life to your ATV or UTV

CV Boot protecting joint on ATV

ATV/UTV Maintenance: 7 Tips to Maximize Your Machine’s Life

ATVs and UTVs aren’t cheap. And neither should be your approach to maintenance if you want your machine to deliver peak performance and last for years.

Fortunately, ATV and UTV maintenance boils down to a handful of relatively simple practices any do-it-yourselfer with basic tools can accomplish.

Here are our top 7 ATV/UTV maintenance tips.

Check/change the oil

Let’s dispense with the obvious: Check your motor oil frequently and change it according to the recommendations in the owner’s manual.

Changing the oil and filter is especially important in ATVs and UTVs used for hard work or aggressive riding.

The added stress we heap on our machines increases heat. And heat causes oils formulated for standard service to lose viscosity (become thinner). Thinner oil than what your engine is designed to use can fail to develop an oil film of adequate thickness or strength to protect against wear.

Extreme heat also invites sludge and performance-robbing deposits. Sludge can clog oil passages and starve the engine of oil, while deposits can cause power loss due to sticking piston rings.

Changing oil is the best defense against engine wear and power loss. Be sure to upgrade to a good synthetic oil, too.

10W-40 Synthetic ATV/UTV Engine Oil

Shop AMSOIL Synthetic ATV/UTV Oil

Synthetics don’t contain the impurities inherent to conventional lubricants, meaning they deliver better performance and last longer. Their naturally tough base oils resist extreme heat and maintain a strong protective film better than conventional products.

And don’t balk at the higher price, either.

Think of synthetic oil as just another performance upgrade for your machine. You don’t think twice about spending a few hundred dollars on a snowplow or beefier winch. The few extra dollars spent on better oil is nothing by comparison – and it’ll help your machine perform better and last longer.

Change the differential fluid

It’s the same story inside the front and rear differentials.

The extra weight and stress of hard work and performance riding concentrate intense pressure on gears. The lubricant coats the gear teeth during operation, guarding against metal-to-metal contact and wear. The added stress, combined with high heat, can break the fluid film and literally squeeze the lubricant from between the gears, leading to wear.

Change differential fluid according to the recommendations in the owner’s manual. And, like motor oil, upgrade to a good synthetic. It’ll provide improved film strength despite intense pressures to protect gears and bearings in the toughest conditions, helping your machine last for years.

Anyone who’s changed differential fluid knows it can be a hassle: tough-to-reach fill holes, bloody knuckles and gear lube spilled everywhere.

The AMSOIL easy-pack reduces mess, hassle and frustration when changing gear lube. It makes ATV/UTV maintenance much easier, as the video shows.

This is a popular product here in Sioux Falls – Both at the Tea Exit and Stan Houston’s.

Shop AMSOIL Synthetic ATV/UTV Transmission & Differential Fluid

Traditionally, enthusiasts use a gear-lube pump in these scenarios. But that’s one more tool to buy. Plus, much of the gear lube is wasted inside the pump and it makes a mess during storage.

Its flexible design allows you to access fill holes in tight spaces and around obstacles that prevent use of the rigid conical bottles common to the gear-lube market.

Check/change air filter

An engine needs three things to run: fuel, spark and air. Most of us forget about air since we don’t have to pay for it.

But a dirty or clogged air filter can choke off airflow and reduce performance or cause the engine to quit completely.

Here’s an analogy to illustrate: Go outside and run around your house. If you’re in decent shape, it shouldn’t be that difficult.

Now, run around your house while breathing through a straw. Restricting airflow into your lungs makes it much more difficult.

The same principle applies inside your engine. A dirty air filter restricts airflow and reduces engine performance. It also allows debris to enter the engine, which can lead to wear.

Check your owner’s manual for recommendations on how often to change the air filter. Check the filter periodically and change it if it’s excessively dirty.

Pro Tip: Ensure the air filter is firmly seated and correctly installed. If not, the engine will ingest dirt, which acts like sandpaper and scours the cylinders, rings and bearings.

Finally, consider using a pre-filter to extend filter life. A pre-filter is essentially a mesh bag that fastens over the air filter. It captures large contaminants and keeps them from lodging in the air filter, extending its life.

Stabilize the fuel

Gas can break down in as little as 30 days. When it does, varnish forms inside the carburetor, which clogs the tiny fuel passages. Eventually, varnish will prevent adequate fuel-flow and keep you machine from starting.

For best performance, add stabilizer to every tank of fuel. If you know you’re going to burn through a tank quickly, like during a day-long ride, you can skip the stabilizer. But many enthusiasts run on the same tank of fuel for months.

Personally, I use my ATV primarily for hauling firewood around my property, meaning it runs in fits and starts. It’s common to use the same tank of fuel for several months.

Stabilizer inhibits oxidization that occurs when fuel sits for long periods. It helps prevent varnish to keep the carburetor clean and the fuel flowing properly.

Pro Tip: Most gasoline contains ethanol, which can corrode carburetor components and damage rubber gaskets and fuel lines. For best performance use 91-octane, ethanol-free gas. If you use 87-octane gas that contains ethanol, treat it with a fuel additive designed to prevent ethanol problems, like AMSOIL Quickshot. – Also kept at Stan Houston’s on W. 121th ST in Sioux Falls.

Buy AMSOIL Quickshot

Wash periodically

True, your ATV or UTV is meant to get dirty. But it shouldn’t stay dirty.

Wash off mud and debris, especially after a particularly messy (i.e. fun) ride.

Caked mud and dirt traps moisture, which can hasten rust formation on metal components. It can also pack in around the engine or differentials, which reduces heat-transfer. This causes the temperature to increase, which speeds the rate at which the lubricant oxidizes, or breaks down.

Mud, leaves and other debris packed against the radiator can also cause the engine to run hotter, reducing efficiency.

Take a pressure washer to your machine if you can. Also, consider using an undercoat product that eases cleanup, such as AMSOIL Mudslinger. It provides a protective layer of armor against mud, dirt and snow, making cleanup with a low-pressure garden hose easy.

Pro Tip: After washing, run your machine so engine heat can dry any water that entered the exhaust or the areas around the spark plug boots and coil.

Mudslinger®

Buy AMSOIL Mudslinger

Also kept at Stan Houston’s on W. 12th St.

Check coolant level and condition

Here’s another easily overlooked ATV/UTV maintenance practice. It doesn’t help that the coolant reservoir is often buried where you can’t readily see it.

Check the coolant level in the radiator. Inspect fluid condition. If it contains sludge or slime, it’s time for a change. Putting it off can result in debris clogging the narrow coolant passages in the engine and preventing optimum cooling. This can lead to the engine overheating. Engine parts expand when they grow hot, which can result in scuffing and wear.

While you’re at it, check the coolant hoses for abrasions or wear. Replace them as needed before they break and leave you stranded.

Spray all rubber parts and things you need waterproofed with AMSOIL Silicone Spray. Kept at Stan Houston’s and our Tea Exit locations.

Inspect tires, CV boots, etc.

Finally, walk around your machine once a month or so and check the following:

  • Tire pressure and condition
  • CV boots for cuts or leaks
  • Brake line condition
  • Lights
  • Brake fluid level

This can help you spot any issues before they turn into expensive problems. It’s also a good idea to lubricate any pivot points and linkages with a good spray lubricant, like AMSOIL MP. Doing so is a simple way to ensure your machine operates as designed for the long haul.

All AMSOIL Products mentioned above and more located at Stan Houston’s – 3020 W 12th St, Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Lawnmower Won’t Start? Do this.

deposits and varnish in carburetor bowl

Lawnmower Won’t Start? Do this.

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.

Deposits and residue in carburetor bowl

Deposits and residue in carburetor bowl

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.

Power Foam®

Buy AMSOIL Power Foam

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.

Gasoline Stabilizer

Buy AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer

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.