With the dog days of summer behind us and the mornings becoming bright and cooler, it’s a sure sign that fall is just around the corner. Along with the cooler days and evenings, very soon we will be able to enjoy the spectacular colour show of the fall season. With the fall and leaf season almost here, now is a great time to prepare your blower for the fall clean up task. As with all equipment, a little preventative maintenance goes a long way to ensuring a season of trouble-free running and, if you happen to need some repairs, now is a great time to get the machine to your local STIHL Dealer before the fall season press is on.
When you prepare your machine for fall clean up, ensure that the fuel system is emptied, the fuel filter is clean, the fuel line is flexible and without any type of damage to it. If you find either damage or compromise to the fuel lines or filter, they should be replaced before putting the machine to work.
Inspect all the controls. The choke and throttle system must engage and properly disengage. On/off switches and interlock or lockout controls must function as the manufacturer designed, or they should be repaired or replaced to ensure operator safety.
Inspect the air filtration. Before removing the air filter cover, close the choke valve as this will minimize the possibility of debris entering the engine while you perform maintenance on the system. Remove the air filter cover; carefully remove any debris you see before you remove the filter. Remove the air filter and inspect for any damage to the sealing surface or the element itself. Lightly brush any heavy debris from the element with a soft brush, hold the filter up to light and see if light passes through the filter if it’s a pleated paper type; if not replace it. Do not blow the filter off with compressed air as this practice can severely damage a filter and cause serious engine damage. Many STIHL blowers are designed with a compensating carburetor so, as the filter becomes soiled, the carburetor automatically adjusts the air/fuel ratio to ensure proper adjustment. If your blower loses power while running, change the air filter; or if your inspection reveals any damage to the filter, replace the filter immediately.
Remove the spark plug wire, remove the spark plug and inspect. The spark plug should be a tan colour. If it is heavily fouled or damaged in any way, replace the spark plug with a new one.
Good fuel handling practices remain the most important thing an operator can do to ensure that the machine starts easily and runs well during the fall clean up season. Always use a minimum Octane rated gasoline of 89 or higher. This is required as the machines today run much hotter than years ago and this increased heat can cause engine damage if the gasoline is not of high enough Octane rating. Use STIHL Premium mix oil available at your STIHL Dealer. The oil is packaged in convenient sizes so you can add one container of oil to a gasoline can, fill the can with proper fuel and mix it well, and you’re ready to go. No measuring and guessing. Always mix fuel in a proper certified gasoline can, never in the fuel tank of the machine. After mixing the fuel or re-fueling the machine, ensure that the fuel supply can is tightly sealed so the gasoline, which may contain Ethanol, cannot attract moisture from the atmosphere which is its natural tendency. This tendency of Ethanol in gasoline will cause significant frustration and expense to the owner of machines if this warning is not heeded. All STIHL equipment today uses a 50:1 gasoline/oil ratio or 10 litres of gasoline must contain 200 ml of STIHL Premium oil or STIHL HP Ultra oil. Only mix enough fuel to last for a few weeks, never more than 90 days maximum, and purchase fuel in the season that you intend to use it in because fuel blending changes through the year.
Inspect the blower discharge tubes to be certain they fit tight and are not worn and need to be replaced. A worn blower discharge tube can cause serious engine damage as it can change the load on the engine. If we have a dry fall, when you begin blowing leaves it can be quite dry and dusty. This condition can lead to a static electrical charge building up in the blower tubes; this can then discharge through to operator, giving the operator a shock similar to a static discharge shock you receive getting out of your automobile from time to time.
While operating the machine, ensure the grilles for the air intake of the blower and engine remain free and clear of leaves and debris. Allowing these grilles to cover over with leaves reduces the blower output performance, and can lead to engine over-heating issues and serious engine damage as well.
Taking a few simple steps before the season begins will help ensure that your machine will function without problem and allow you to complete your tasks more easily and quickly, so you can get back to watching the ball game.
Owner’s Manuals for your machine can be found on our website at www.stihl.ca under the ‘Products’ tab.