Landscape & Irrigation

January/February 2016

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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Page 20 of 35 Landscape and Irrigation January/February 2016 21 FILTER, RINSE, REPEAT An engine needs clean air to efficiently burn fuel and maximize horsepower. Unfortunately, small engines are almost always running in environments where dirt, debris and dust accumulate, making proper filtration key to avoiding diminished performance and costly maintenance. The standard for most engine manufacturers is a disposable fil- ter that needs replacement every three months or after 50 hours of use. At about $17 per filter, that's a minimum of $69 per year for filter maintenance. To avoid the extra cost, owners often delay replacing the filter, and by the time they get around to it, the dam- age is already done. Some manufacturers eliminate this cost by incorporating stan- dard reusable filters. Reusable filters can be washed with soap and water and withstand numerous cleanings without deteriorating. If properly maintained, the filters will last the entire life of the engine, eliminating the added cost of filter replacements. Reusable air filters are also a win for the environment because they mean less waste in the landfill. OVERALL CONSTRUCTION Today, engines are more powerful and durable than ever. Although manufacturers are constantly looking for innovative ways to imple- ment new technology, some have found that sticking to the same design and materials for the past 30 years is a safe bet, relying on the history of performance. But those older designs can lack technologi- cal innovations that extend life and enhance performance. Engines that have fewer moving parts generally require less main- tenance than more complex engines. While it may not sound like a lot, the difference between six moving parts and 12 can have a huge impact on maintenance costs and downtime. ALL THINGS CONSIDERED Other components to consider when seeking the lowest total cost of ownership are the crankshaft and timing chain, because they are key factors in engine durability and overall quality. Crankshaft bearings minimize friction between the rotating crankshaft and stationary engine block. The rolling mechanism of a dual ball bearing provides a smoother motion than the sliding mechanism of a conventional journal bearing. Low friction results in enhanced mechanical efficiency, minimal wear and increased du- rability to extend the life of the engine. An engine simply cannot work without proper timing. A case- hardened steel timing chain will save on cost and reduce downtime. Case-hardened steel retains its core softness to absorb stresses and has a hard, protective surface for increased resistance of residual compression. This provides the engine with precise timing and max- imum strength for reduced wear and minimal maintenance cost. A PROTECTED INVESTMENT Know which engine parts are likely to encounter the most damage, and look for ways to minimize that risk. For example, the engine re- coil is one of the top five replacement parts because it takes the brunt of each engine start-up. Because of its location, it also gets hit by other tools and equipment while in use or when being transported in the back of a truck. Most manufacturers use metal recoils, which dent or break and need replacement about once per year. At about $90 each, that's $270 of added expense in just three years. Some engine designs incorporate heavy-duty, impact-resistant composite resin recoils instead of metal alternatives. Resin recoils withstand harsh environments and virtually eliminate maintenance or replacement because they are 50 percent stronger than metal re- coils. Because the purchase price is very similar, the resin recoil is almost guaranteed to save money. Aside from recoil damage, another major engine problem is a dirty carburetor. Even tiny particles of debris can clog carburetor jets, starving the engine of gas. Some manufacturers offer a solution to this problem by placing as many as three filters on an engine to catch any dirt that might come into contact with the fuel. And clean fuel, of course, means a clean, fuel-efficient carburetor with no challenging starts or failures. ADDED ASSURANCE Warranties in the engine industry vary. For years, the industry standard was a single-year warranty on the engine. But as designs evolved, the new standard became a three-year warranty. Today, some companies boast a maintenance-free product and virtually no warranty claims so they are able to offer a five-year warranty on the engine. The additional two years of coverage gives the consumer peace of mind regarding potential costs of parts and labor. Submitting a warranty claim should be easy. Look for manufac- turers that minimize complicated paperwork and allow consumers to submit claims online. Some manufacturers even cover repair shop rates within their warranties. But the warranty is only as good as the company standing behind it. A manufacturer that honors borderline claims if fault is ever in question can save the customer time and frustration. THE CHOICE With so many features, designs and differences in engines, it's hard to know which one will give the lowest total cost of ownership. But with a product that should ideally last several thousand hours, know that a lower initial price tag doesn't necessarily equal the best value. Whoever said that an investment in knowledge pays the best in- terest certainly understood the value of a little research. Investing in a dependable, long-lasting product is where time and money are best spent. Just give it a year — or five. Because when it comes to peace of mind, consumers can't afford to jeopardize that investment. David Frank, vice president of sales & marketing, Subaru Industrial Power Products. Subaru Industrial Power Products is a subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., Tokyo. Fuji Heavy Industries is a diversified global manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, aircraft, industrial engines and equipment. Subaru Industrial Power Products is responsible for sales and support of Subaru industrial engines and power products in North America. For more information: Subaru Industrial Power Products, 905 Telser Road, Lake Zurich, IL 60047; 847-540-7300; sales@;; Facebook; Google+; You- Tube; and LinkedIn. ENGINES LI

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