By Anna Davey
Will quieter engines be the way of the future for small engine manufacturers? Romain Pelletier of Honda suspects they will be. “I can see now some engine manufacturers making small engines with fuel injection,” he says. “I think we’re going to see more of that.”
By Anna Davey
|Alan Beavis, service manager for Marindustriel, inspects a dismantled engine that was subject to neglect and/or abuse. Regular inspections can save time and money in the long run.|
|Roman Pelletier of Honda Canada believes that we may soon see more manufacturers including fuel injection in their small engines.|
| J.P. Ouellette of Kubota Canada says that he wouldn’t be surprised if we begin to see ammonia emissions added to existing engine regulations.|
Will quieter engines be the way of the future for small engine manufacturers?
Romain Pelletier of Honda suspects they will be. “I can see now some engine manufacturers making small engines with fuel injection,” he says. “I think we’re going to see more of that.”
Pelletier recently shared his vision of the future of small engines with Canadian Rental Service magazine. He envisions a future where government regulations will ensure quieter engines, less tank evaporation and fewer emissions. “I’ve seen some studies on catalytic conversion for small engines, but I think more work needs to be done on that side, because of the heat they create.”
Pelletier isn’t the only one peering into his crystal ball and anticipating regulations the federal government may implement over the next few years. J.P. Ouellette of Kubota Canada speculates that small engines might actually increase in size as more add-ons to regulate emissions become required. He would not be surprised to see regulations on ammonia emissions in small engines, either.
Roger Hiscock at Marindustriel points out that the regulations introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency in California typically become the regulations introduced in Canada, and suggests looking south to anticipate changes we might see in Canada in the future.
The future may look bright, but what of the regulations operators need to know about today? After all, the government is ever-increasing the regulations on small engine emissions. Pelletier stresses the importance of using the manufacturer’s parts when replacing and repairing equipment. This way, he says, the operator can ensure their equipment is still in compliance with government regulations.
This is especially true in the case of hoses that have been treated for gas permeation. Pelletier, Ouellette and Hiscock all agree that manufacturers ensure their engines meet or exceed regulations at the time of production, which thankfully provides operators with less to worry about.
But what should operators do to ensure their small engines last long enough to see these potential changes come into effect? If there’s one thing the experts agree on, it’s the necessity of regular maintenance and repair With the right treatment and care, the life of a small engine can be extended significantly.
Following are expert tips on extending the life of your small engine:
Romain Pelletier, Honda Canada:
The most important thing is to perform regular oil changes. Purchasing an hour meter for your small engines will let you know exactly how many hours the machine has run, which will enable allowing you to perform timely oil changes.
The manufacturer provides all the information for the maintenance of the engine. Follow the maintenance schedule, especially for the air filter and oil changes. Have a schedule in the shop – either on paper or electronically – to track when maintenance has been performed.
Jeff Smith, Echo Power Equipment:
After the unit has been rented, the first thing you should do is inspect and clean it. Next, you should maintain and lubricate any of the components as needed. Finally you should repair – if possible – or replace any broken, damaged or worn parts. You want to ensure your equipment is safe, working properly and up to performance. It’s an investment on the original piece of equipment.
It’s important to protect the investment. You bought a piece of equipment to make money with it. If you keep the equipment in proper working order and repair it before damage can occur, it will prevent more damage in the future.
You want to have a safe product to give to the end user, and have pride in the equipment you’re renting. You want to know that the equipment is going to be reliable. That way, you’ll have a happy rental customer.
J.P. Ouellette, Kubota Canada
It’s necessary to perform regular, preventative maintenance. You cannot wait for equipment to break down. Give equipment a quick check when it is returned to the shop.
Roger Hiscock, Marindustriel
If an engine is experiencing hard starts, the valve clearance on the intake and exhaust valves should be checked and adjusted. A reduction in power is often an indication that the cylinder head and carburetor need to be inspected and cleaned. If the recoil rope hangs loose (if equipped) and doesn’t completely return, it could be a sign that water has intruded the engine. Additionally, a loss of power or a smoking engine may signal an internal engine problem.
In addition to a regular maintenance routine, some application circumstances require special care, such as high altitudes, heat and cold. Altitudes above 5,000 feet may cause engines to start hard and perform poorly. Operating an engine after the mercury has surpassed 100 F can also be problematic. Do not attempt to cool a hot engine with water, since the temperature difference will likely damage the engine.
Whether the off-season or other circumstances prevent operating your engine-powered equipment for more than 60 days, special steps need to be taken to protect the engine. Whether you’re preparing an engine for storage, adapting it to the weather or just keeping an eye out for warning signs, giving an engine the attention it deserves will go a long way toward keeping it out of trouble.