Spark Plugs 101
Spark plugs play a vital part in the overall engine operation. A spark plug provides ignition to ignite the fuel and air mixture. The correct spark plug and heat range allow precise engine performance. The operating temperature range is between 932 to 1472 degrees for spark plugs. In order to be self-cleaning, a minimum range for a spark plug should be 842 degrees. By design, the heat range of a spark plug is determined by the length of the porcelain insulator. Too low of operating temperature will cause carbon fouling, and concurrently too hot could eventually cause engine damage. It is always the best rule to read and understand your owner’s manual for the proper spark plug for the engine.
Oil: Petroleum vs. Synthetic
For years, we have used petroleum based lubricants with reasonable success. In automotive applications and at 3000-mile oil change intervals, conventional oils work fairly well. Times have changed. Engines of all types are asked to do more, perform better, and last longer with poor quality fuels and higher operating temperatures. With EPA mandates, engines have to put out far less emissions and one of the ways this is done is by leaning out the fuel mixture. The leaning out of the fuel mixture produces less emissions, but it also creates excessive heat. Dealing with heat is not a strong point of petroleum based oils and that is where synthetic lubricants come into play. Synthetic oils are engineered at the molecular level as compared to petroleum oils that are refined from crude oil. The molecules in petroleum based oils are random in size and shape. Imagine a group of ten people of different heights holding up a platform. Obviously the tall people would bear all of the weight as the shorter peoples hands would not touch the platform. Take the same platform held up by ten people of the exact same dimensions equally sharing the load, a great deal more weight could be held up. The same analogy can be used for oils. The molecules in synthetic oils are engineered exactly the same size so the strength of the oil film is over five times stronger than conventional oils and are not affected by heat. These oils thrive in extreme conditions. Another benefit of synthetic oils is in engine cold starting. The pour point or how easily an oil flows at a given temperature. In some areas of the country, synthetic oils are required due to the extreme cold temperatures.
Do yourself a favor, switch to synthetic. Your engine will love you for it.
Converting C.C.’s to Horsepower
How do I convert cubic centimeters to horsepower? There is no standard conversion of cc’s (cubic centimeters) to horsepower. The engine design–flathead engine, overhead cam, overhead valve, compression ratio, etc–will have much more effect on the power and torque of an engine then the cc’s. The reason that small engine manufacturers have stopped rating engines used on snow throwers and other smaller pieces of power equipment in terms of horsepower is that this rating was inaccurate and could be manipulated. But in reality a large group of overzealous corporate attorneys created a class action lawsuit to change, or should I say confuse the consumer. Sadly, the only ones who made out well were the money hungry individuals driving the engines of greed. For example, the maximum horsepower for an engine may be when the engine runs at 3600 rpm, but in a particular application, the engine would actually be set to run for maximum torque at 3000 rpm. The horsepower rating at 3600 rpm could be substantially different than the horsepower rating at 3000 rpm . In this case, whichever horsepower rating used (at 3600 rpm or at 3000 rpm) would be misleading and inaccurate as a comparison to other engines or as an estimation of how the machine would perform in a certain application.
Today’s consumers who purchase premium products from reputable manufacturers should trust the manufacturers to design engines to fit the model being designed.
Mower Blade Sharpening
A sharp mower blade will always cut your grass the best. Each season we have customers come in to purchase new blades and bring in their old blades. The majority inform us they didn’t like the way the grass looks after cutting. We are aware that because the blades are not easily viewed, they are ignored until the grass looks bad. We’ll normally recommend sharpening seasonally, but more often if what you cut is harder than grass. Lappan’s suggests owning two sets, one on the machine and the other sharpened and ready to install. As an owner of a mower, it’s up to you to know when to sharpen the mower blades and when to recycle them. You must remember, a mower blade is designed to lift the grass and cut at a high RPM. A new mower blade has curved lip, allowing the grass to stand up and be cut. If that lift is compromised or worn, it time to change.
Lappan’s offers a precision blade sharpening for only $7.00. Generally, during the season if we’re not too busy, we'll sharpen it while you wait, but generally, twenty four hours.
Lappan’s Monthly Giveaway: Watch For It
If you are like most American’s, receiving something free for a small effort is always enjoyable. In order to increase our email addresses with our monthly GreenViews newsletter, we are offering added incentives. GreenViews is Lappan’s email communication sent each month. The email newsletter informs our customer of equipment service specials, outdoor power sales, coupons and other family information most everyone enjoys receiving.