Tip & How-To about Electrical Supplies

How To Store A Small Engine

Properly storing a small engine is critical for its longevity as well as its readiness the next time that you need it.

For short term storage, about a month or so, storage is easy.

1) Add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel, and run the engine long enough so that the treated fuel is drawn into the carburetor.

2) Change the oil (and filter if equipped) after the engine has cooled a bit, but still very warm. Replace with recommended oil viscosity for current temperatures.

3) It would be a great idea to change the air filter, whether it needs it or not. The next time that you need to use the equipment, you won't have to scramble to find another air filter.

4) Slowly pull the starter rope until you feel the compression stroke, then stop. This closes the valves, and help keeps moist air out of the cylinder.

5) When the engine is cool, tie plastic bags around the air filter housing, as well as around the muffler. This will help keep insects from setting up house inside.

Long term storage, beyond a month, is very different. It is assumed that the equipment isn't going to be used for the rest of or until next season.

1) Mix up a small amount of fuel (quart or so if possible) with a fuel treatment.

2) Empty the fuel tank of whatever remaining fuel is left. Since there will still be a small amount left in the carburetor, now add a bit of treated fuel to the tank. Run the engine until it dies from lack of fuel. A very small amount will remain in the carburetor bowl, but with the treatment, it will be alright. You can remove the bowl to drain, or use a bowl drain if equipped.

3) Change the oil and filter (if equipped) after the engine has cooled, but is still very warm. Use the oil viscosity for temperatures that will be experienced the next time the engine is run. You wouldn't want to put a summer weight of oil into a machine that is going to be used next winter. Change the air filter as well.

4) After oil has been added, disable the ignition (off switch, or remove wire from plug) and pull the rope a few times to get a coating of fresh oil on the inside of the engine.

5) Remove the spark plugs, and pour in a tablespoon or so of fresh engine oil into the cylinder. Not too much though. You just want enough oil in the cylinder to coat the bore while you slowly pull the starter rope to rotate the engine a few times.

6) Replace spark plugs, and pull on the starter rope until you feel the compression cycle, and stop pulling. This closes the valves, and will help keep moisture out of the cylinder.

7) When the engine is cool, tie plastic bags around the air filter housing, and the muffler as well. This will keep insects out.

8) Remove the battery, if it has one, and place it in a location that would be comfortable for you. Don't leave it sitting out in the shed when it is freezing, or do you want it baking in the sun during the summer. Once a month, put the battery onto a small trickle charger to top off its charge, and extend its life.

Removing from storage.

If the engine was prepared for short term storage, then you just need to remove the bags, add fresh fuel (preferably treated), and check the oil. Pull the starter rope slowly through the compression stroke, then start as you normally would.

If the engine has been prepared for long term storage, you will need to obtain replacement spark plugs, but don't change them yet. Remove the bags from the air filter and muffler, reinstall the battery. Check your oil level, and make sure if it is the correct viscosity for the temperatures. Add fresh fuel to the tank, and start the engine.

Because it was stored with oil in the cylinders, it is going to smoke for a few minutes as the oil is burned off. When the engine is good and hot, and the exhaust is clear, turn the engine off. Let it cool down, and change the spark plugs. The plugs that are being pulled out will have carbon deposits on them from the oil being burnt. Use a new set of plugs.

Please consult your user manual before changing the spark plug. Some head castings, particular aluminum alloys, are easily damaged if the metal is warm. Other head castings, such as cast iron and steel alloys, are more immune, but check the manual just to make sure. Besides, you have to find out what gap is appropriate for your engine.

After the plugs are installed, continue to use the engine as you normally would.

A note on stopping the engine on the compression stroke. Many small engines are equipped with automatic compression release mechanism that makes it easier to start. This will make it harder to find the compression stroke, just do the best that you can. Engines with a manual compression release won't have to worry about finding the compression stroke. As long as you don't press the lever, you will know when you come to it.

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1 Answer

What type/grade of oil are you supposed to use in Florida for the Karcher gasoline powered 3200PSI


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I use synthetic oil in all my small engines, but it's not necessary.
Check your oil before each use and drain the gas out and run the carb dry of gasoline before any long term storage.
Getting the gas out of the engine when it's stored will save you having future problems.

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The present study investigates how working memory and fluid intelligence are related in
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