Thursday, June 24, 2010

Log saws

Old machinery really amazes me,back in the early part of the 1900s gas engines were all the rage and in most cases were billed as labor saving devices but in the case of the log saw,I'm not convinced that that really was the case.I think the log saws were used mainly to section a tree after it was felled but a few of them were built with a blade that turned so that,I'm guessing anyway,they could be used to cut a tree.If you've ever seen one run they will cut a tree,there's no doubt about that but the time a labor needed to get it to the tree and set up to cut makes me wonder if it was worth it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wisconsin engines

One of the reasons that I prefer vintage Bolens tractors over some of the other brands is there use of Wisconsin engines,they used engines from just about every small engine company but they had quite a few of there earlier models that used Wisconsins.Now if you ask people that have been around engines for a while about Wisconsin engines,you'll get a lot of different opinions,everything from love 'em to hate 'em.Wisconsin has been building engines since around 1909 or 1910,they started out building 4 cylinder engines that were used in cars,trucks and tractors.Stutz,Kissel,McFarlan,Brockway and FWD were a few of the companies that used Wisconsin engines.The Stutz/Wisconsin combination cars were front runners in the early years at the Indianapolis 500 and the early Stutz Bearcats used Wisconsin engines starting in 1914.In the 1930s they started building small engines and came out with the V type 4 cylinder that is still used on a lot of agricultural and industrial applications.The engines that they built from the 1930s into the 1970s were big hunks of iron,most weighed 100lbs or more,one of those sitting on a tractor frame does a pretty good job keeping the front wheels on the ground.Bolens was one of only a few companies that used Wisconsin engines and if you find one today,unless it's been sitting outside unprotected,it probably doesn't have much wear in it.I've heard of a few that sounded like they were used hard enough to show wear,were rebuilt and are ready for another 40 or 50 years.

gasoline and small engines

Wow,it's been a while since I've added anything substantial here,I guess my minds already in summer mode!I've read a lot of information in the past year or so about gasoline,it seems to be a big issue for people running older engines and even some new engines.I've heard claims of vapor locking,I've seen a few mowers with rubber pieces in the carb that were turned into a gooey mush or eaten away completely and I've also seen quite a few mowers in the past couple years that the only thing wrong with them was bad gas.When I attended Briggs & Stratton service schools back 20yrs ago they were telling us then that gasoline was only good for about 30 days,after that it started to deteriorate pretty quickly,they recommended using fuel stabilizer and I've used it pretty much since then,especially on my 2 stroke engines because they do sit for extended periods at times.The oil companies do mix gas differently for different parts of the country depending on climate and population,bigger cities where pollution is an issue get a different blend than rural areas so this may not be as big an issue in some areas as others.So the next question is what to do about it?First off don't buy anymore fuel than you can use in 30 days time,if you do have fuel that's getting close or a little over,put it in your car and use it up that way and keep fresh gas for your mowers and other small engines.If for some reason the engine will be sitting for an extended period,use fuel stabilizer,I usually start adding fuel stabilizer for the last month or so that I'll be mowing for a season,that way it's completely through the system and I don't have any issues with starting come spring.One other thing that I've mostly read about is to use an once of Marvel Mystery oil per gallon of gas,I've never tried Marvel but I have used Klotz 2cycle oil with good results.It does lower the octane just a little but you can run mid grade or high test to if your worried about that,for the few extra cents of the cost of gas the benefits of upper cylinder lubrication and a little extra lubrication for the valves is well worth it.In these days of high cost service a little extra maintenance goes along way.