VanDervort Repair & Rebuild
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Engine Life:
One very important piece of information about the engine is the emission compliance tag. This tag will have an hour rating that states just how long the engine design has been tested and remains in compliance. The lowest rating I have seen is 50 hours. The highest rating I have seen is 250. When you look at the various units on display, the tag must be visible, but you won't see it on the box. As expected, in general, the higher the rating, the higher the price, but these factors that make this difference also relate to engine expected life and quality and none of this can be seen by looking at the engine. AS an example, given the same make leaf blower, with 2 models on the shelf, the 50 hour rated unit might be $80.00 while the 150 hour rated unit might be $110.00. For a $30 premium you can expect the engine to last 3 times as long, based on actual testing. And I have to add here, as elsewhere on our site, all 2 cycle mixed gas can be mixed the same ( except outboard ) at 32:1 ratio, instead of 50:1. 50 to 1 provides less life, less lubrication, less emissions, and death from wear happens sooner than it will if more oil is in the gas, but only the very old stuff needs 16:1, so 32:1 is a good compromise.

Engine Make:
All make engines have good and bad versions or models. Most have inexpensive and less quality models as well as top of the line models. First I say buy American for more than the obvious reasons, way to extensive to list. So the contrary to this is to be aware of what is not American. This can be very hard to know. Not all companies do things the same. For instance, Briggs and Stratton has to my knowledge always had their name prominently on the engine, except a few very unusual items out there. Kohler, is much the same. MTD has brought in low cost engines that they support for parts. Most Equipment buy the engine and have the engine company support the engine , while they support the equipment. This support split has been the norm for ever with only a few exceptions. B&S sold most engines in the world, and it came to a point they could no longer provide the needed quantity. Even today, their production is sold out way into the future. As a result, many new sources began to meet the demand. Early on these engines had learning curves, but are mostly corrected now. That said, B&S is one engine company that does have inexpensive and top of the line offerings, in fact, more models in one company than all other's combined that would be found in America. There service network is also the most extensive and best trained in the market nitch. That bodes well for them as one highly recommended. Kohler, for years has put quality to the highest level possible, but recent market supply and price pressures have forced them to sub contract much. The only close competitor in terms of quality, is Kawasaki, but service support and price is bad. Proprietary engines and market gaming costing owners higher pricing to make Equipment Makers happy at your expense is a major reason I do not recommend Kawasaki unless price is no object. Many other makes deserve a good word, but it is beyond a simple writeup. Instead, I close this topic with do your research and look and detect who made the engine, what country, maybe even get a parts breakdown which in itself provides a bit of insite on engine quality.

What Make Chassis or Equipment to buy?:

This is a wide open topic. There are some simple statements I will make, but no solid rules per any Make or Model. Ariens, as an example, to this date has always made a product durable, long lasting and functionly able and easy, an then what ever the price had to be, so be it. That said, it is hard to find them in any big box store because the "price point" is above the cheaper more competitive stuff out there that ends up in the big box store. The other more solid rule I will give is any line sold and serviced in the same building by a local service center is going to be more serviceable by that company while they remain tied to that product line, but however, these ties break! Opposite to this is big box stores that service nothing, may have an avenue to provide contracted service, and I have seen these contracts and know that service avenue not a wise choice most often. That said, there are less and less shops like mine out there that will fix all brands, and more shops like John Deere shops, that don't close, instead somebody else takes it over and the John Deere name remains visible and serviced and expensive. In it's class, I in such discussions have had to mention Sears in the past. Sears Outdoor Power Equipment in it's class was competitive in price and usually had a few improvements leveraged by it's high market contract volume. As a result, in it's class it was a recommendation. The Agways, the Tractor Supply's, the Lowe's, and such change brands frequently and push final support back on the source. This also keeps changing. Tractor Supply has Companies it owns that make great products, and abandons Companies that have products that have failed to meet high standards. They serve a markett that knows to look for and expect quality and have learned they must follw suit. Many of these equipment companies have fine attributes that compensate for some of the short comings. One such company is the admirable MTD. You can find there product in basically every big box store in America. They have a good parts concept, a good network and a good reliable product in it's class. I however caution that many engines are Chineese, but they do support them well. There are 2000 companies that are in there product class, who are simply smaller or more fragmented, or have been bought and sold so many times one never knows who it is today, and who supports today or tommorow. More than anything above, LOOK at what you are buying, look at the design, look at the parts and the quality, the simplicity, the ruggedness, and the ease of operation. Look at the owner's manual. Buy wise!