Handy Tips For Replacing a Small Engine

Handy Tips For Replacing a Small Engine

Is your lawn mower or log splitter still in good condition, but the engine is on its way out, then don't replace your equipment, replace the engine! 

If you're guilty of leaving your lawn mower or log splitter out all year in the weather or gumming-up the engine with fuel, you're not alone. 

Here are some tips for replacing an old or damaged small engine on your power equipment. 

Locate Engine Information

If you are highly organized, you probably still have the owner's manual where you can find out the type of engine you have. If you don't, not to worry. Simply locate the model and type/spec code that is most often stamped right on the engine itself or on a sticker on the blower housing.
The correct model number of your engine will tell you the H.P of your engine, so you can match it up with the latest replacement engine options.  Model and spec numbers can also tell us specific variances of your engine, like shaft differences and charging systems
Tip: If you are replacing a 12hp engine, look at a new 12hp model and above that will fit on your equipment, don’t under power your equipment with a smaller H.P replacement engine
Determine Engine Type
To determine the type of engine you have to ask yourself, "Is this a 2-stroke or 4-stroke, horizontally or vertically-mounted engine?" The answer can be surprisingly simple. 
Lawn equipment like lawn mowers and ride on mowers, have a 4-stroke vertically-mounted engine. That is, the engine's drive shaft is vertically oriented and runs up and down. 
Larger "work equipment” like generators, log splitters, and tillers have 4-stroke engines that are horizontally oriented , which means the shaft runs parallel to the ground. 

Tip: An easy way to tell how the engine is oriented is to look at the pull cord and fan housing. If it's on top, it's a vertical engine and if it's on the side, it's a horizontal. Also, If you have to add oil into your fuel, it's a 2-stroke engine.
Weigh the Cost
If you are trying to save a 25-year-old piece of equipment or one that came with a 2-stroke engine, then you might save yourself a lot of hassle by dropping a few bucks to get a brand-new replacement. Yet, It doesn't make sense to replace larger, more expensive equipment like a riding lawn mower or large generator every time the engine quits either.
Engine failure can happen for a number of reasons, but the important thing to know is that you do not have to replace the entire piece of equipment just because the engine failed. You'll end-up saving yourself a ton of money in the long run just by swapping out the old engine with a new one. 

With the right information, you'll soon be on your way to replacing the engine rather than replacing the entire piece of equipment. It can be a fairly easy and straight-forward practice provided you have the right tools and know-how.
Common Engine Replacement Questions 

Q: They don't make my same model engine anymore. What do I do? 
A: If you can't get the same model engine that came on your equipment, there's probably a newer version available that will work just as well, sometimes better.  

Q: How do I upgrade to a larger engine?
A: Although possible, you will need to determine if the dimensions of the larger engine will allow you to fit it in, and if the larger engine has different specs like larger shafts etc, will you be able to make it work.

Q: Do I have to use the same brand replacement engine that came with my equipment?
A: Sometimes you do, but not always. A direct-replacement engine of the same make and model is recommended.  On the other hand, you can match the specifications with that of another brand or model engine provided with the correct model information from the old engine.

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