Landscape & Irrigation

November/December 2017

Landscape and Irrigation is read by decision makers throughout the landscape and irrigation markets — including contractors, landscape architects, professional grounds managers, and irrigation and water mgmt companies and reaches the entire spetrum.

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www.landscapeirrigation.com Landscape and Irrigation November/December 2017 17 During storage, the pump module containing the EFI system's high-pressure pump is submersed in fuel. This module has an air pathway for venting called the EVAP emissions vent port, or Evaporative Emission Control System. When the engine is running, the EVAP prevents fumes from entering the atmosphere. When the engine is off, the system lets these vapors escape and be replaced by outside air, allowing the fuel degradation process to begin. Because the module is not serviceable, if ruined, it has to be replaced, which could cost about $250. Injector spray tips, another component specific to EFI engines, remain damp with fuel after the engine is shut off. If given time to oxidize, this fuel can gum up and create a varnish over the tiny holes of the injector tips, altering the spray pattern or plugging them entirely. Similar to the pump module, the injector tips need to be replaced if compromised. The need to replace these fuel system components contrasts with the comparable components of a carburetor, which can be disassembled and cleaned. However, when properly treated with a fuel stabilizer, both EFI and carbureted engines can sit in storage through the offseason without risk of damage. Fuel better One of the most important things to be mindful of as the seasons change is the type of fuel going into the engine. Because refineries gear their products toward the automotive industry, the levels of chemical additives are increased and decreased seasonally to improve volatility in different conditions, making it important to only purchase enough fuel to last through a season. Winter blends are the most problematic for outdoor power equipment. These blends are formulated to be more volatile and improve starting and overall fuel combustion in cold weather. This also results in gasoline that has a shorter shelf life because the lighter ends of the blend — the more flammable portion intended to improve cold weather performance — evaporate quickly. This issue is most prevalent in late fall when many refineries switch to winter blends as equipment owners still operate ZTR mowers and other machines late into the year. If winter blend fuel is left untreated, it will quickly become unusable. Even leaving equipment with untreated winter blend fuel for a couple of weeks while waiting to complete a more comprehensive end-of-season check can be enough time for fuel to go stale. And if left until spring, operators can find themselves needing expensive repairs. Another fuel to be mindful of is ethanol-blended gasoline since ethanol attracts moisture at a higher rate than pure gasoline. This speeds up oxidation, corrosion and gumming of fuel. Avoiding ethanol blends when possible and only using fuel intended for that particular season will greatly decrease the risk of damage. Store wisely Finally, always store equipment in a cool, dry environment, as fuel degradation occurs at a drastically faster rate as temperatures rise. Whenever possible, avoid storing outdoor power equipment in locations susceptible to dramatic temperature swings. For example, leaving equipment where it's exposed to direct sunlight during the day and cool temperatures at night will cause the fuel to continually heat and cool, increasing evaporation and condensation within the engine. While adding fuel stabilizer may be easy enough, understanding the importance of winterizing EFI engines, the consequences of improper preparation, and the differences between EFI systems and carburetors can go a long way toward reducing repair costs in the spring and keep engines running smoothly, season after season. Tom Billigen is customer education training manager at Briggs & Stratton. An EFI engine's high-pressure fuel pump is located within the fuel pump module and is submersed in fuel during storage. Briggs & Stratton's 5-in-1 Advanced Formula Fuel Treatment & Stabilizer provides protection against stale fuel and ethanol-related issues during storage.

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