Portable Power: Engines

Briggs & Stratton’s new Professional Series engine meets unique challenges of zero-turn mowers

Briggs & Stratton Corporation showcased its new Professional Series engine, which is designed to meet the unique challenges of zero-turn mowers by providing commercial-grade features that protect the engine from dirt and debris while ensuring exceptional performance and durability.


Briggs & Stratton’s new Professional Series engine“Zero-turns demand an engine designed to fend off the dust and debris that assault a rear-mount engine,” said Eric Loferski, product marketing manager for Briggs & Stratton. “Keeping the incoming air that reaches the engine clean was priority one for the Professional Series engine. Then, we added other commercial-grade features that make the engine more durable for long life and help make it easy to start under all working conditions.”

Briggs & Stratton’s patent-pending integrated Cyclonic Air Management System provides a five-step debris management process to keep grass, dust and debris out of the engine, extending engine life. The process provides maximum air cleaning and greater debris protection when compared to panel-style air filter systems. Under normal mowing conditions, the Cyclonic Air Management System works so efficiently, it extends the cyclonic air filter maintenance interval to 250 hours — about two to three times longer than panel-style air filters.

Here’s how it works:

Stage 1: A rotating screen in the Cyclonic Air Filter throws large pieces of debris away from the engine through centrifugal force. Particles that make it through the screen are chopped into fine particles.
Stage 2: A fan forces fine particles into a deflector under the blower housing, ejecting them down and away from the engine.
Stage 3: A series of baffles and an ejector further process the air before it reaches the air cleaner housing.
Stage 4: Air spinning in the air filter forces any particles to the outside of the housing where they are ejected through a duck bill-shaped valve.
Stage 5: The cyclonic action of the air in the air cleaner cover deflects any remaining particles away from the filter. Minute particles are then trapped by the filter, preventing them from entering the engine.

Engine protection continues with commercial-grade rubber lip seals around the double-barrel carburetor to prevent the possibility of debris entry. During annual maintenance, easy-access engine panels above the cylinders make it simple to remove any debris that may collect on the cooling fins during the mowing season.

Pushing a zero-turn mower to its maximum capacity also requires safeguarding the engine from heat that causes engine wear. The Professional Series engine has an innovative cylinder head with cooling arches that help the engine run cooler. Crankshaft journals and connecting rod bearings are super-polished to a mirror-like, round finish that further reduces friction and heat, and helps extend engine component life.

Added durability comes from the engine’s tough, commercial features, including the newly designed, ribbed cylinder block structure and commercial-grade sump gasket for superior oil sealing under the toughest mowing conditions.

Consistent starting under heavy loads and on cool, early-spring and late-fall days is another engine attribute. The Professional Series engine has a high-output starter and mechanical compression release that increases cranking speed to help make starting hassle free.

For more information, visit www.briggsandstratton.com.


Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power Vanguard single-cylinder engines give landscape pros more productivity

Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power introduced four Vanguard single-cylinder engines in 2010 with gross horsepower ratings ranging from 5.5 to 10. The new engines integrate many features designed to give landscape professionals and OEMs what they said they need most from their mowing equipment: elevated productivity and increased reliability with minimal downtime due to maintenance.

“Our approach to product development is to stay connected to the customer,” said Dan Roche, marketing manager with Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power. “Our work in the field helped define the design criteria for these new Vanguard engines. By listening to customers and working with OEMs, we have developed an engine series that will raise the standard of dependability in the toughest job site situations.”

During transport, engines are subjected to vibration, which can cause fuel to flow through the engine and into the oil. Fuel in the oil drastically reduces viscosity, resulting in more friction, increased wear and shorter engine life.

Vanguard engineers researched and created an integrated switch that simultaneously shuts off the ignition and the fuel. This patent-pending innovation, called the TransportGuard system, ensures that fuel stays where it belongs and helps eliminate fouled plugs, hydraulic lock, cylinder wash down and crankcase oil dilution caused by transportation. Ultimately, this saves landscape professionals money by decreasing downtime and repair costs.

In addition to solving oil dilution issues, engineers designed each component and integrated technology to efficiently work together to raise durability and reliability standards. A high-mounted canister-style air cleaner has 22-percent more filter area than competitor units. An all-metal fuel tank reduces emissions, saves fuel, and is mounted directly to the engine block. And heat-treated PTO bearing races ensure long-lasting equipment performance.

For more information on these or any other engines in the Vanguard commercial line from Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power, visit www.vanguardengines.com.


Honda Engines highlights latest GX and iGX models

Honda Engines showcased its latest engines, including four new models in its large GX Series and two new models in its iGX Series.


 Honda GX340 engineThe large GX Series combines increased power and versatility with greater fuel economy in the same envelope. The new GX240, GX270, GX340 and GX390 models are overhead valve (OHV) horizontal-shaft engines that offer users durable power for a wide range of demanding commercial, construction and rental applications. They feature a host of technologies and design elements that allow for improved power output. The new GX models produce 6 percent more power than previous models, making them among the most powerful engines in each of their respective categories. This additional power is achieved via an advanced combustion chamber design, the implementation of Digital Capacitive Discharge Ignition (CDI) with variable ignition timing, and an increased compression ratio. Along with improved power, the new GX Series provides a significant reduction in noise and vibration, which is vital to end users of both commercial and residential engine applications. Noise has been reduced up to 5 decibels, making the new GX models among the quietest engines available in its class. A new reed-style breather valve and a new muffler design also contribute to the engine’s quiet operation, while a new light weight piston allows an optimized overbalance ratio for less operating vibration. Although fuel efficiency is a key attribute of all Honda engines, fuel consumption in the new GX family of engines has been significantly improved. The new large GX engines increase fuel efficiency by 12 percent. The new GX engines will also meet the 2011 EPA exhaust emission regulations without the use of a catalyst.

In addition to the new GX Series engines, Honda also expanded its iGX Series with all-new iGX340 and iGX390 engines. The iGX Series offers further enhancements to the GX Series, incorporating an electronic self-tuning regulator (STR) governor. Similar to GX engines, iGX engines are also OHV horizontal-shaft engines, yet provide additional advanced technologies for more complex applications.

For more information, visit www.honda.com.


Kawasaki announces 3-year commercial-use engine warranty

Kawasaki’s Engines and Power Products Division, Grand Rapids, Mich., announced a 50-percent increase in the length of its commercial warranty coverage for almost all of its engine categories, effective with unit sales beginning Nov. 1, 2010.


 Kawasaki FH Series engineThe company has increased the warranty on its FD, FE, FH, FH KAI, FJ, FJ KAI, FS and FX Series engines from two to three years, matching the coverage offered to its residential/consumer users. The new warranty program covers engines comprised of liquid-cooled and air-cooled V-Twins and air-cooled single-cylinder units.

“This move truly separates our brand from almost all others that are in the same competitive arena,” said Rodger Howe, Kawasaki’s director of operations.

“Our dealers will be able to more aggressively position the brand in a sales environment that is increasingly crowded,” added Howe.

These engines are primarily used in professional applications, including zero-turn riding mowers, lawn and garden tractors, wide-area walk-behind mowers, commercial riding mowers, and industrial and construction equipment, as well as selected prosumer and walk-behind mower applications. Some are also used in utility vehicles, golf carts, generators and pumps.

According to Howe, the increased warranty coverage will provide significant opportunities for dealers to increase sales of Kawasaki products.

Kawasaki has featured a strong warranty for several years, highlighted by its three-year consumer coverage for these engines.

“Now,” said Howe, “professionals who haven’t yet tried Kawasaki powerplants will see that our confidence in our engines’ durability is equal to our world-renowned engineering and performance reputation.”

For more information, visit www.kawpower.com.


Kohler Engines makes many announcements

Kohler Engines made several announcements regarding its 2011 engine lineup, including the addition of three new models.

For starters, the Kohler, Wis.-based company announced that closed-loop electronic fuel injection (EFI) would be standard equipment on 12 Kohler Command PRO engines (horizontal and vertical PTO shaft), ranging from 19 to 29 hp. Kohler closed-loop EFI helps deliver significant fuel savings, improved performance and reduced emissions. An early innovator with EFI technology, Kohler first introduced EFI technology to the small-engine market in the mid-1990s and is the only manufacturer currently offering closed-loop EFI engines to the commercial turf and outdoor power equipment market. (Incidentally, Kohler also announced the availability of its second edition Kohler EFI Diagnostic Software and demonstrated it at the GIE+EXPO High-Performance Parts and Accessories Department.)

Kohler also introduced the 14-hp. member of its Kohler Command PRO single-cylinder, horizontal-shaft commercial utility engine family. With 7-, 9.5- and 14-hp. options, Kohler Command PRO single/horizontal engines outmuscle comparable engines designed for the commercial utility market and come standard with the industry’s largest-capacity fuel tanks to help facilitate extended run time. Also, all three engines feature as standard equipment Quad-Clean — the industry’s first all-in-one, four-stage cyclonic, heavy-duty air cleaning system — as well as cold-weather optimization in the turn of an air cleaner cover.

In addition, Kohler announced the availability of its Kohler Courage XT-6 Utility engine, putting a finishing touch on its Courage XT-Series, designed specifically for consumer walk-behind mower and utility OPE applications. The Kohler XT-6 Utility is a vertical-shaft, 3.75-net-hp. (149 cc) engine. Featuring six total models available with recoil and electric-start options, the entire Courage XT-Series makes for extremely capable and well-appointed walk-behind mower engines.

Kohler also introduced its latest Tier 4 Final-compliant diesel engine — the single-cylinder, 9.8-hp./7.3-kilowatt Kohler KD 420. Fitted with an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) unit and benefitting from tuning enhancements to fuel timing, fuel injector and injector pump systems, Kohler KD 420 meets EPA Tier 4 Final standards and expands Kohler Engines’ overall lineup of Tier 4 Final-compliant diesel engines to five models.

For more information, visit www.KohlerEngines.com.


Mitsubishi enters North American commercial OEM engine market

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) will enter the North American commercial OEM small-engine market with its lineup of Mitsubishi Meiki single-cylinder multi-purpose gasoline engines, according to Kazuyuki Kobayashi, general manager of MHI’s Meiki gasoline engine department.

“Mitsubishi Meiki gasoline OEM engines have been sold in North America, under private labels, to commercial OEM engine and finished product manufacturers for the past 20 years,” said Kobayashi. “We are now entering the commercial OEM gasoline engine market under our own Mitsubishi brand.”

Mitsubishi will enter the North American commercial OEM engine market with its Mitsubishi-branded GT Series (GT241, GT400, GT600, GT1000 and GT1300) 4-cycle engines, as well as its TLE Series (TLE24, TLE27, TLE33, TLE43 and TLE48) 2-cycle engines.

For additional information, visit www.mhi.co.jp.


Shindaiwa introduces engine technology


 Shindaiwa Hybrid 4 engineShindaiwa introduced its Hybrid 4 engine technology at GIE+EXPO 2010. The new engine technology combines the best elements of two-stroke engines — light weight, high power-to-weight ratios, minimal maintenance and all-position operation — with the best elements of four-stroke engines — precise ignition/exhaust timing and reduced emissions.

Hybrid 4 engines will be available in three engine sizes — 24.5 cc, 34 cc and 79.7 cc — on 18 Shindaiwa product families, including the trimmer, brushcutter, hedge trimmer, blower, multi-tool, edger and PowerBroom lines.

Hybrid 4 products have lower emissions, better fuel economy, more torque than traditional two-stroke models, and a low tone sound. They also feature reduced starting effort with built-in decompression and offer longer engine life due to dual-stage air filtration. Benefits include:

Lower emissions: Compared to other gas-powered handheld equipment, Hybrid 4 engine-powered products have some of the lowest emissions levels in the industry. The emissions are cleaner in Hybrid 4 products, dramatically reducing the exhaust smell typically associated with traditional two-stroke products.

Unique low tone: The first thing users notice about the Hybrid 4 products is the sound, which is unlike traditional two-stroke products in terms of engine noise and level of tone. The Hybrid 4 engine is easier on the operator’s ear and the surrounding area. You can hear the difference at www.hybrid4engine.com.listen.asp.

Improved economy: In addition to an exceptional life expectancy, Hybrid 4 engines use 10- to 25-percent less fuel than equivalent two-stroke engines for even greater operational savings. Equipment powered by Hybrid 4 engines is easy to maintain and uses the same fuel mix as two-stroke engines. Unlike conventional four-stroke engines, there is no need to change oil and no oil level to constantly check and maintain.

Improved torque: Hybrid 4 products deliver higher torque to the lower end, for more power in tougher applications.

Improved starting technology: The built-in decompression on Hybrid 4 engines reduces the pressure within the cylinder, requiring less effort to pull the starter rope. And thanks to the fuel-born lubrication system, Hybrid 4 engines can be operated in any position — even upside-down — for extended intervals.

Improved durability and quality: Hybrid 4 engines use dual-stage air filtration for cleaner air passing into the engine, which increases engine life and reduces internal engine wear. Like all Shindaiwa products, Hybrid 4 engines are designed with close-tolerance engineering for long life and practical serviceability.

For more information on Shindaiwa, visit www.shindaiwa.com.


Subaru introduces vertical-shaft OHC engines

Subaru introduced chain-driven overhead cam (OHC) technology to the small, air-cooled, vertical-shaft engine market with the unveiling of its EA Series at GIE+EXPO 2010. Both the EA175V (174 cc) and EA190V (189 cc) are designed to be lightweight, yet durable and rugged enough for a variety of lawn and garden equipment. The EA190V is best suited for pressure washers, walk-behind string trimmers, aerators and lawn vacs, while the EA175V is ideal for use with walk-behind mowers.

By incorporating OHC technology, the EA Series engines offer easier starts, quieter operation and more power than similar-class engines. OHC technology combines with a highly efficient hemispherical combustion chamber to optimize engine performance by allowing the intake and exhaust valves to be positioned to offer lower resistance for the air/fuel mixture flow. This allows the engines to effectively utilize a high compression ratio, thus producing higher power and torque.

The modern OHC design of the EA Series engines enhances starting ease when compared with older overhead valve (OHV) engine designs. A larger recoil reel offers the operator greater pulling leverage and an automatic decompression system reduces the required pulling force by 30 to 40 percent. In conjunction with the optimized combustion chamber design, starts are fast and easy with no perceptible kickback — even in temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius.

OHC engines also have fewer moving parts, and, as a result, produce less mechanical noise than competitive technologies. In addition, the EA Series engines feature a low-tone muffler to further reduce noise levels. This combination makes the engines a full 3 dBA quieter in exhaust tone than other same-class engines.

Durable, high-quality materials and added features are included to extend engine life. Heavy-duty piston rings and a cast-iron cylinder liner reduce engine wear, while a patent-pending oil delivery system increases longevity. Cooling fins and air circulation have been engineered to optimize cooling capacity to effectively reduce heat and further enhance engine life. The EA Series offers both easy starts in cold weather and superior cooling to provide the ideal balance of features, and further position itself as an efficient and practical solution for multi-seasonal lawn and garden equipment. Both EA Series engines meet current California and EPA 2012 exhaust and evaporative emissions standards, and are backed by Subaru’s 3-year warranty.

For additional information, visit www.subarupower.com.

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