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A complete guide to winterizing your 4-cycle power equipment engine
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« on: October 17, 2009, 22:00:26 »

A complete guide to winterizing your 4-cycle power equipment engine

For a brief guide, with no "how to" instructions visit the F.A.Q. guide "F.A.Q. What should I do to get my machine ready for the winter?".

Fall is here. It's time to winterize your power equipment.  This article is directed at 4-cycle equipment.  For information about how to winterize your 2-cycle power equipment, visit the "winterizing your 2-cycle power equipment" topic.  Examples of 2-cycle power equipment include chain saws and certain models of the following: trimmers, blowers, and hand held edgers.  

It is important to keep in mind that some of the newer hand-held power equipment are "4-stroke" but operate on 2-cycle fuel.  This means that though they operate as a 4-cycle (aka 4-stroke) they actually use 2-cycle fuel (fuel/oil mixture) and do not have any oil in the crankcase to change.  However, some of the mini 4-stroke engines do use regular 4-cycle fuel and do have oil in the crankcase.  Be sure you know which type you are servicing before attempting to do so.  This guide does not address 4-cycle handheld equipment!  It also doesn't address any 2-cycle engines and machines!

Whether you plan to do the work yourself or not, here are some basic things that you need to do to help your machine survive the winter without needing major work in the spring to correct.

Step 1: Servicing your fuel system
Today's ethanol fuels break down very quickly so this is the most important thing that you can do to help your engine survive the winter. If your machine is equipped with a fuel filter, replace it during Step 1.

There are 3 options:
Option 1.  Stabilize your fuel.

a.  Add fuel stabilizer to your fuel.  Since it is always a good idea to have a stabilizer mixed with all of your fuel so this should be the easiest of all.  Examples of fuel stabilizers are: Stabil¯, Opti-Mizer¯, etc.  
b.  After the fuel has been stabilized, run your engine long enough to permit the stabilized fuel to get through the entire fuel system (like through all the fuel lines and completely fill the carburetor).  

Option 2.  Drain the fuel.  

***This option is NOT recommended for equipment with the fuel tank lower than the engine since a fuel pump is used to bring the fuel to the carburetor and it may be difficult to prime the fuel system at the beginning of the next season if the fuel system is drained.***

NOTE: If using option 2, complete step 2 first (change oil)

a.  The first step to draining the fuel is to decide where you will be disconnecting your fuel line.  Usually the easiest place to disconnect the fuel line is by the carburetor.  
b.  Once you have decided where you will disconnect, clamp a fuel line clamp, locking pliers (aka vise-grips), or similar device on the fuel line on the tank side of the disconnect location (to prevent a fuel spill).  
c.  Once the fuel line has been clamped off, drain the fuel into a container.  Choose a container that permits you to either store it safely over the winter or pour it into another piece of equipment.  
*Tip! Remember, if you plan to store it over winter, be sure to stabilize it since it will deteriorate if you don't.*  
d. **Make sure to move the container with the drained fuel away from the engine.**  Reinstall the fuel line and remove the clamp.  
e.  Now start the engine and permit the engine to run until it runs out of fuel.  
f.  Once the engine has run out of gas, be sure to turn the ignition key to off¯ to prevent the battery from draining.
e.  You can now take the fuel that you drained from this machine and pour it into your vehicle, tractor, or other 4-cycle power equipment that will be used.  Optionally you can store your stabilized fuel trough the winter.

Option 3.  Turn off the  in-line fuel shut-off and run the engine until it is out of fuel (this is assuming your machine has an in-line fuel shut-off installed).  

NOTE: If using option 3, complete step 2 first.(change oil)

a.  The first step in this option is to stabilize the fuel as directed in option #1 above.  
b.  If you choose to fuel the equipment this fall, you may do so at this time.  
c.  Start and run your engine for at least 2-3 minutes, to permit the stabilized fuel to reach and fill the carburetor.  
d.  While the engine continues to run, turn the shut-off valve to the "off"¯ position.
e.  Permit the engine to run until it runs out of fuel.
f.  Once the engine has run out of gas, be sure to turn the ignition key to off¯ to prevent the battery from draining.

TIP!! It is important to remember the following if you plan to stabilize your fuel.
a)  Stabilize FRESH fuel.  Stabilizing fuel is just that: stabilizing it. When you stabilize fuel, you can not freshen it, you are only stabilizing it to prevent it from further breaking down.
b)  Stabilize all the fuel.  Make sure that all the fuel you have left is stabilized.
c)  Mix the fuel stabilizer into your fuel well.  Fuel that does not have stabilizer in it is NOT stabilized.

Step 2:  Disconnect battery cable
a.  Disconnect negative side battery cable from the battery.
b.  Ensure the cable does not touch the negative battery terminal. OR
c.  Optionally, remove the battery from the equipment and store it in a warm and dry place.

Parts list:
Fuel Stabilizer,

NOTE! This is not a "tune-up" guide!

This content is copyrighted by Superior Power Equipment Sales and Service and may not be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the author.

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