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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16 November/December 2017 Landscape and Irrigation ENGINES AND EQUIPMENT BY TOM BILLIGEN W interizing carbureted engines is a quick and simple process done year after year to avoid the nuisance of a gummed-up carburetor in the spring. However, as electronic fuel injection (EFI) gains traction in a number of market segments, including commercial turf and construction, each year more equipment owners find themselves winterizing EFI engines for the first time. While the process is similar, understanding the importance of this annual routine as it pertains to EFI can help owners better realize the reliability, performance and fuel savings possible with EFI. Stale fuel resistance Comparing apples to apples — similar horsepower models from the same engine family — EFI and carbureted engines typically use the same fuel, oil and air filters. While it's important to keep up with these service intervals, the most important item to address ahead of seasonal storage is the fuel system. Engines with EFI are actually less susceptible to stale fuel damage compared to carbureted engines, because the fuel has significantly less exposure to air while equipment sits in storage. Not only are EFI engines less susceptible to fuel degradation, they are also more capable of burning degraded gasoline. By atomizing fuel through a high- pressure injector, EFI systems create an air-fuel mixture much closer to a vapor state compared to the mixture created by a carburetor. This increases the likelihood that low-volatility fuel will ignite. As a general rule, however, both EFI and carbureted engines should be treated with a fuel stabilizer if equipment will sit for 30 days or longer. Doing so prevents fuel from becoming stale and developing a gummy residue or harmful varnish inside the engine. Stabilize for storage Since fuel stabilizers are chemically formulated to slow the harmful effects that oxygen and moisture have on fuel, properly treated fuel can remain useable for as long as three years. Stabilizers work by changing the chemical composition of the fuel to make it resistant to oxidation, corrosion and other forces that degrade fuel and damage the engine. To accomplish this, stabilizers contain antioxidants, corrosion inhibitors and chemicals that absorb moisture and keep water molecules suspended in the fuel. Without stabilizers, fuel and water separate, leaving the engine susceptible to corrosion. The antioxidants EFI and End-of-Season Service Understanding the importance of winterizing EFI engines prevent fuel from gumming by introducing free electrons that slow the process of fuel oxidation, decreasing the potential for residue buildup and clogging that can damage the fuel system. The old saying, "if a little is good, a lot is better" does not apply to fuel stabilizers. Since fuel stabilizers are heavier than gasoline, adding too much will thicken the fuel. For both EFI and carbureted engines, always be sure to follow label instructions and choose a product covered by the engine's warranty. Additionally, be sure to run the engine for a short period of time after adding a fuel stabilizer to ensure that the treated fuel makes its way through the entire system, contacting all surfaces that encounter fuel. Importance of stabilizers While the process of treating an engine with fuel stabilizer is the same whether it has a carburetor or EFI, the consequences of skipping this simple procedure are not. Owners using ZTR mowers or other equipment late in the year should be extra cautious of seasonal fuel blends. ALL PHOTOS PROVIDED BY BRIGGS & STRATTON

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