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Hi and Happy New Year to all. A friend was given and old log splitter that did not run. He said that it had sat for ten years with no use. He took it to a local dealer with a good repair shop to see if they could make it run. After two weeks, he called them and they said that the engine was shot and needed replaced. I told him to bring it to me and I would take a look at it. To the dealers credit they did not charge him since they made no repairs and if he decided on a new engine, let them know. Well the engine is 1980 5 HP Briggs and all it needed was some TLC. The intake valve was froze open. So, did I the following and that puppy runs sweet and solid. Freed and polished the valve stem, cleaned the carb.and gas tank, replaced rotted muffler. Had no spark at this point, so took flywheel off and set the points gap as well as the coil gap. Also found that the flywheel key had a small twist so it was replaced. Put back together and it started on the second pull. Cleaned the gas cap vent, adjusted the carb. and it runs GREAT. Other then the key, three gaskets and a new muffler, no parts were needed. I just love to keep the old stuff working and feel bad that we have become such a throw away world. Take care, Time
 

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Ive recommended replacement for 5hp's with that much wrong, or less...


The 5hp is an obsolete engine, alot of the parts are no longer available and the ones that are, are getting very expensive.

From a shops standpoint, to free up a valve, you have time in removing the head, removing the muffler, removing the carb, removing the breather vent..removing the valves...cleaning them, potentially replacing the guide or guides....

You do that kind of work and dont know if the carb or tank are even any good, and often one or both are shot.

So a mechanic has to be paid for his time..lets say he spends an hour and a half getting the valves right, cleaning it all up, and lets assume the tank and carb just need a blow out. Thats about 85 in billable labor, and lets say $5 in fluids, and $35 in parts, best case. So we are at about 125.00...A new Briggs engine is like 225.00 and has a warranty, uses less fuel, is quieter, parts are available and plentiful.

Real world scenario is a Troy Bilt Tiller im working on right now in my shop. 1986 Troy Bilt Pony, 5hp briggs, guy said it ran 8 months ago.

no compression, I pulled the head and the intake valve was stuck hard. I pulled the carb/tank...muffler..one bolt snapped, so now Ive got to drill that out and tap it. I got the valve out, and its pitted all to ****, guide was not pretty. Going to need a new 25 dollar valve, a 15 dollar muffler. The tank was clean but the carb bowl was full of rust and rusted out, and the carb itself was rotten, couldnt even make the plastic choke lever move without snapping it off.

So Im out an hours work, and its going to be over $200 to fix this otherwise pristine engine, Ive already told him he needs a new engine...quoted a price, and he tells me he will come get it, he doesnt want to put over $75 in it and "he knows someone else" that will fix it for alot less, I told him to have at it.

So I mean...A shop, knowing the poor track record of "not running" 5hp briggs engines, we almost always suggest replacement. These things usually only stick intake valves when they sit with no air filter on and get rain in them...and that means water in the crankcase, carb, tank bowl, and intake valve...
 

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yeah the small engine places by me resemble car repair places in their rates 5 years ago the one shop posted a shop rate of $59/HOUR; now thats not the shop I frequent but Im guessing that today he's probably closer to $70... yikes.
charge the guy 2 hours and who knows how much in parts or 1/2 an hour to bolt an engine on and $220 for that new engine? Doin it yourself you dont pay yourself labor, right?
 

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Red, you forgot to add two things: 1) the guarantee ... you just 'fixed it' last week, and it doesn't run any more and 2) the other things you could be doing with that shop time which might be more profitable than putzing with an grunge encrusted old rusty bucket of bolts that may or may not reward you by working ...
I agree with Time that we throw away too much, and disdain repairs that could be easily made, but a professional cannot afford to take the time for repair in too many cases. May be we need a part-time semi-pro work force to pay for the Geritol... Yes, I qualify.
tom
 

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yeah the small engine places by me resemble car repair places in their rates 5 years ago the one shop posted a shop rate of $59/HOUR; now thats not the shop I frequent but Im guessing that today he's probably closer to $70... yikes.
charge the guy 2 hours and who knows how much in parts or 1/2 an hour to bolt an engine on and $220 for that new engine? Doin it yourself you dont pay yourself labor, right?
Most people would love to DIY an engine swap but there is most always a pulley or bolt that wont come off and special ingenuity is required to get them off.

But most shops work out special pricing if you buy an engine from them, for install.

But a 1200 dollar Vtwin from me, and ill put it on, set it up, and check it out, for 55 dollars, and that may or may not sound fair but the 4 bolt holes have to be tapped for the bolts, the old engine has to be removed, which includes removing the PTO, drive pulley, exhaust, cables...leaning it all up, putting on the new 100lb engine, and putting it all back on...It takes about an hour.

Buy it somewhere else, and Im not touching it for under 85 dollars...I dont know if its the right engine, and Ive been bit once before on that deal.

And yeah, you fix an old worn out crust bucket of an engine...you might break even on the time and parts...but when the valve sticks, or it starts gulping oil a week later and the customer starts griping about it...say goodbye to your profit.

Im not saying I dont fix old stuff...alot of the stuff I fix is quite old...but Tecumseh flatheads, HH, H, HS, old Briggs flatheads...The parts are sparse and expensive, the equipment and engine are at least 12 years old, and these were mostly aluminum bore engines...so shops REALLY have to tead lightly because our profit margin can disappear in a hurry.
 

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Yeah, you tuned up my snowblower 4 months ago it's been sitting on my lawn since. I tried to start it for the first time this morning in our 2 feet of snow 3 min. before i have to be at work. What's wrong! It's still broke.

Raise your hand if you've heard that before...

The outrageous price I charged you 4 months ago should cover the trip to your house to tell you you're an idiot for leaving it out when i told you that's why it got fouled up. Or for driving over to your house to turn the gas valve on, cause i can't charge you $40 for turning your gas valve on and then sleep at night or expect to get your business again. I have to make it up with legit work. Not to mention, insurance and all the overhead with a small business.

What about the wife complaining i'm always in the shop working and I should ask for more money..I can't put a dollar amount on that abuse..lol

Happy New Year!
 

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Ben's Lawn Mower Repair
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Yeah, you tuned up my snowblower 4 months ago it's been sitting on my lawn since. I tried to start it for the first time this morning in our 2 feet of snow 3 min. before i have to be at work. What's wrong! It's still broke.

Raise your hand if you've heard that before...

The outrageous price I charged you 4 months ago should cover the trip to your house to tell you you're an idiot for leaving it out when i told you that's why it got fouled up. Or for driving over to your house to turn the gas valve on, cause i can't charge you $40 for turning your gas valve on and then sleep at night or expect to get your business again. I have to make it up with legit work. Not to mention, insurance and all the overhead with a small business.

What about the wife complaining i'm always in the shop working and I should ask for more money..I can't put a dollar amount on that abuse..lol

Happy New Year!
+1000!!!! hahahahhaha
 

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Sometimes it's necessary to fix the flathead engine when a particular piece of equipment is built around it. A certain vintage of Blue Bird power rake fits that requirement. The machine was redesigned to use the Intek or Honda GX engine. I also had a customer once who had a Billy Goat parking lot vacuum with a 195XXX Briggs that was shot beyond repair. A short block was NLA. There was no way an Intek would fit, and the shaft height was too high. Time for a new machine.
 

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Yep every so often...you just got to bite the bullet on an old machine and replace it.

Pony Tillers with the Auxillary PTO shaft are a Pain in the anus...

Yerf Dawg Gokarts had a special Tecumseh engine with a 4" crankshaft...no other engine will work.
 

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One of my favorites it the gas powered air compressors with the 5 HP Briggs where the kickdown is made onto the engine throttle plate. If the engine is dead, you cannot replace it with anything else as there is no way to hook up the kick down.

Joe
 

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Old Stonebreaker
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I wish people would learn #1- It's not good for any OPE to sit out in the weather, #2 If it's going to sit for longer than a month, start it up and let it run at 1/2 throttle for 15 min once a month. If you don't want to start it during the off season then give it a dose of seafoam, stabil or whatever floats your stick and a good dose of Marvel oil in the intake just before shutting it down for the final time. These two things would save so much heartache, misery and hard feelings for both owners and mechanics.
Mike
 

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I have made up flyers explaining the gas situation and how the ethanol affects it. I hand these flyers to every customer and even keep a couple bottles of treatment in my truck to sell them on the spot if they want it. I think 1 out of 10 people buy it from me.

Back to
The first post proves my point exactly:

"To the dealers credit they did not charge him since they made no repairs."

but they did spent time on it, so who paid for the tech and all the overhead while they assessed if the engine was good. Thats why when we have a legit issue we have to charge money to fix it. To cover all the odds and ends..like looking at this guys engine for free to make him happy so he might return for a real repair.

This person still has a good taste in their mouth about this dealer cause he did something for FREE bottom line. he'll come back.
Unfortunately the next person that has a real repair will have to pay for the this guys engine analysis.

See how it works!
If the dealer had charged for his time the first post would have read. "yeah and they charged us for time and they didn't even fix it. just told us it was bad and charged us $50. i'll never go back there!

Just giving you the reality as a shop owner, as many of you are. And maybe the ones who aren't might understand better.

Go get some pricing on liability insurance of a small engine business per month and get back to me.

He thinks he'll make money off his family, friends, and neighbors..hahahaha
Those are the poeple I can't charge. I'll send them over to him.
 

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I was in my hardware store a few weeks ago, and a guy was picking up his handheld blower from the attached but separate repair shop. The mechanic wasn't there, so it was the owner of the store that he was dealing with. The guy had brought it in to have the pull cord fixed, and said that it worked perfectly except for that. Granted one of my kids, the oldest is 6, could probably change out that pull cord even without the proper tools, he had brought it to the shop to have it done. So they had bought the part and taken the time to put it on, and amazingly it wouldn't start. The guy was livid that they were charging him anything since it still didn't work and he just didn't understand. The owner had agreed to split it with him by the time I had walked out, and it was unclear if the guy was going to just leave it there and not claim it. It was like something out of a movie, they just went back and forth "What did you bring it in for?", "To have the pull cord replaced.", "What did we do?", "You replaced the pull cord. but... but...."
 

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yup, I could write stories like that till my fingers hurt. There's endless scenario's we small engine business's get screwed over on.

Bottom line, the "sheep"(which is what i call the human race) reject what they don't understand.
 

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Jack of All Trades
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I always give the customer a price to fix it, repower it, and what a whole new machine would cost and let THEM decide if it's worth THEIR money to fix. If they decide not to fix it, 9 times out of 10 it winds up in our boneyard. if it's worth it to me I set it aside to fix it when things get slow, keep it if i need it, or resale if I don't. Problem is, we havent had any slow times nearly 2 years.
 

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Go get some pricing on liability insurance of a small engine business per month and get back to me.

When I had my rental business, the insurance which included workmens comp, health insurance for two people, liability, property insurance, and the insurance for 4 trucks was $1000 per week.
 

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When people bring me something that needs a rope, I require $20 fee up front. Because most of the time, the rope broke because the engine is seized, or has no compression, or the carb is bad...and people pitch a fit when they are expected to pay for a broken piece of equipment.

Idont need 50 things in my scrap trailer with new ropes...
 
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