Maintenance Schedule For Small Engines
Petrol engines are used in many mobile applications and vehicles in the construction sector and beyond. They are found in lawnmowers, landscaping equipment, water pumps, vibrating concrete pokers and compactors. They are efficient, hard-working and cheap to operate – so long as you choose a reliable brand. Small, portable generators also offer construction contractors a convenient source of emergency power where no electricity is available.
Petrol engines and generators are therefore important assets for businesses of any size. Regular services and using high quality spares will extend the working life of your kit, but eventually every engine will need replacement. Doing so is far cheaper than replacing the entire machine, and often means you can double the effective working life of your construction kit.
When looking for a replacement petrol engine for one of your machines, you can choose either:
- A specific engine for your application – such as the one designed by its manufacturer
- Or one of the many available standardised universal petrol engines, which can be installed in various types of equipment
Wherever possible, using a standard engine gives you greater options and often saves you money. We have written this e-book for anyone looking for a replacement petrol engine for small, portable equipment.
We anticipate this resource being of most use to construction SMEs and contractors, however trade wholesalers may also find it useful. We have also had engine enquiries from boat, go-kart and motorcycle operators, so if you have any questions about how to choose the right type of engine for your machine, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
There are dozens of petrol engine manufacturers on the market, of whom maybe five or six are considered market leaders. Each manufacturer has many different engines to choose from, at varying prices. How do you choose the right one?
Let’s start with a basic list of qualities that all petrol engines should have:
- Adaptability to a wide range of applications
- Fuel efficiency
- Readily available spare parts and service providers
- A flawless reputation for health and safety
- Competitive pricing
With this in mind, in the next section we will briefly examine the market leading brands and why we favour Loncin petrol engines.
Although Loncin are one of the world’s largest engine manufacturers, they are not as well-known as they should be. Other brands dominate the market in the UK, among them household names such as Honda and Kawasaki. The question of which brand provides the best value for money is important for small businesses.
To determine the value of a product you should:
1) First assess its lifetime cost, which includes not just the price but also the expense of maintenance, spare parts and fuel. This is why fuel-efficient engines are worth spending a bit more money on than other models - the savings soon add up.
2) Second, weighed against this cost is the benefit of the machine’s output. To what extent does the machine allow you to complete more jobs, improve productivity, save on manpower etc.
If you can quantify this in monetary terms, the difference (when costs are deducted) is the net value of your engine.
The five leading small engine manufacturers together corner a large share of the market. These are good machines and we recommend you look into each manufacturer in turn before making a final choice. Although the question to ask is: is their higher price worth it? In other words are these engines any more productive or reliable than other competitors – such as Loncin?
The world leader in small engines with power equipment, Honda engines are a byword for reliability, but also come with a high cost. General purpose engines start at around £300 and increase to over £2,000. Accredited Honda servicing and spare parts are also expensive. Honda dominates the small petrol engine market, with global sales worth more than $2.5 billion per year.
American manufacturer of lawnmower engines and small general-purpose engines. With a global turnover of approximately $1.7 billion per year, Briggs & Stratton are the second largest engine manufacturer after Honda. Small engines can be purchased from £170-£950 or more.
Generac are an industrial engine manufacturer noted for their fuel-efficient, low temperature engines. Generac power systems allegedly consume 25% less fuel than their leading competitors. They do manufacture some small engines but are better known for their portable generators. These are expensive, starting from around £3,800 for a 20 kW model.
Subaru are well respected for their construction water pumps and their reliable general-purpose engines. They supply a range of small specialised and standard engines ranging in power from 2.8 hp to 25 hp. In October 2017 Subaru ceased producing and supporting its small engines and generators, although there is still a thriving second-hand market in engines and spare parts.
Kawasaki are famous for their high quality motorcycle engines, although they are also market leaders for domestic lawnmowers. Their range of small petrol engines are impressive for their power and durability, although this comes with a high price. An engine for a small ATV may start at £875 new, or £180-£300 second-hand.
Where does Loncin fit into this picture? In terms of sales, Loncin lag behind the big five in the UK and America, although their market share is rapidly increasing. We will examine why in this section.
Loncin Holdings Ltd is the UK trading distributor of Longting Universal Power Ltd, an international engine and small vehicle manufacturer based in Chongqing, China. Known primarily for its small motorcycle engines, Loncin’s three major bases in China produce:
- 2.5 million motorcycles
- 150,000 all-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
- 3 million standard petrol engines every year
Working under the Loncin global brand, the company has established a reputation for quality, reliability and value for money that outstrips its more established competitors in Japan, Europe and the USA.
Its motorcycle engines are used under a partnership agreement by BMW, and Loncin standard engines provide power for millions of construction machines by all manufacturers in the UK.
Users are often surprised that these motors are not more widely used in construction, as the Loncin range are uniquely adapted to the needs of small power equipment.
Having worked with all the major brands of small petrol engine ourselves, we have found that Loncin products match their more expensive counterparts in every respect. A Loncin petrol engine is a powerful asset offering great value for money and a good ROI - all at a far lower price than their major competitors.
In fact, being based on Honda engines, many Loncin models offer superior performance, better fuel efficiency and greater power output – as the Loncin design engineers continually seek to upgrade the performance of previous models.
Businesses and individuals are normally more than happy to purchase kit from Japanese, German, Italian or Taiwanese manufacturers, but when Chinese producers are mentioned there is sometimes reluctance. Why is this, and is it sensible to purchase equipment made in China? In the case of Loncin our answer is a resounding yes.
China is a huge, growing economy with thousands of manufacturing businesses. They can’t all be lumped together and dismissed in bulk. We recommend assessing each business on a case-by-case basis. Some of the criticisms of Chinese manufacturers are no doubt justified, while others are completely groundless.
Chinese components are used extensively by Western manufacturers. Many large Western brands outsource their whole manufacturing arm to China, and merely put their products together at workshops in Europe or America. So Chinese brands should not be dismissed out of hand. Many Chinese manufacturers utilise quality and safety standards equal to their Western competitors.
Chinese equipment is sometimes cheaper than other kit because:
- China has a greater availability of land and raw materials
- Labour is cheaper in China
- Many Chinese businesses deliberately price their products cheaply – accepting lower margins – to make inroads into the global market. Established brands rely on their reputation to justify their inflated prices.
- A careful examination of Loncin’s established global reputation for quality, safety and reliability reveals a business that can be trusted.
Another criticism of buying Chinese is the difficulty of obtaining customer service from halfway around the world when based in the UK. However, when purchasing a Loncin petrol engine through Key Services, this is a non-issue. We provide a manufacturer’s warranty and full technical support on all the products we supply, giving you access to rapid, UK based assistance whenever you need it.
Loncin have a versatile range of small petrol engines for different purposes. At Key Services we have selected the seven most reliable models which pack the highest performance rating at the lowest price.
- Our Loncin range are durable, high performance horizontal engines with good fuel efficiency and low noise output. All models feature:
- Single cylinder, 4 stroke, OHV, air cooled engine
- Recoil start starting system (with electric start option)
- Transistor electric ignition system with inductive firing
- Semi-dry, oil bath and foam filter air cleaning systems
- Noise level below 70 decibels
- Compatibility with all standard engine mount shafts
The table below provides a comparative outline of the technical specs of each model:
Whether your kit is running for 35 hours each week or if it is barely used from month to month, every petrol engine benefits from regular maintenance and servicing. There are four main reasons for this:
Mechanical faults on petrol engines can be dangerous for both operators and bystanders if left unaddressed.
If serviced regularly a petrol engine should maintain high levels of performance throughout its working life. Engines lose efficiency because parts start to wear out through excessive use. If these are not swapped out then the engine’s performance is affected. It may start to use more fuel and overheat, or suddenly develop a major fault.
The lifetime value of an engine is based on its overall work capacity. Regular maintenance can at least double the life expectancy of an engine compared with those that are not serviced regularly. This reduces your daily operational cost and increases the return you can expect from your investment.
Construction jobs work to strict deadlines. An engine malfunctioning when you least expect it is about as bad as it gets. It could cost you hours or days in precious wasted time before you get the equipment fixed or replaced. The risk of such downtime can be minimised through a careful planned preventative maintenance (PPM) schedule.
All engines are slightly different, so the first place to go when determining your maintenance needs is the operator manual specific to the make and model of your engine. A common objection to servicing for small machinery is the added cost – with some businesses insisting that it is not worth the price of regularly sending the kit to a third party for maintenance.
Our advice is to be guided by the needs of your business, the maintenance skills you have in your team, and the risk of downtime should something go wrong. Professional maintenance from time to time is usually worth its weight in gold. However, there are plenty of things you can do yourself.
All engines will benefit from the following work at set intervals:
- Check engine oil levels
- Clean muffler and control area with a damp cloth to remove dust and grease
- Wipe clean the finger guard
- Clean the air filter
- Clean the pre-cleaner
- Conduct a visual inspection for loose, missing or damaged components
- Change engine oil
- Check spark arrester and muffler
- Conduct a visual inspection for loose, missing or damaged components
- Replace air filters
- Replace spark plugs
- Replace fuel filter
- Replace pre-cleaner
- Clean air cooling system
The Loncin engines supplied by Key Services are designed with high performance and health and safety compliance in mind. All machines are compliant with the following directives and standards:
- 89/336/EEC Electromagnetic Directive
- 91/368/EEC & 89/392/EEC Machinery Directive
- 2000/14/EC Noise Directive
- BS EN 292-1, BS EN 292-2, BS EN 294 Machinery Safety Regulations
Quality engineering does not guarantee safety, some factors depend on operator behaviour. We recommend adopting the following basic best practices:
- Consult your operating manual and safety instructions before use
- Ensure that the replacement petrol engines you use are fully compatible with your machinery
- Only install a replacement petrol engine if you are trained and competent to do so
- Operators should be trained in the responsible use of petrol engines in general, and your equipment in particular
- Do not attempt to operate the engine when tired, or under the influence of medication, alcohol or drugs
- Wear the appropriate protective gear, including hard hat, eye mask, steel capped shoes and ear defenders
- Never touch the engine directly while in operation
Key Services are a family run business with over 40 years’ experience supplying and maintaining construction equipment to the industry. Our established services and key partnerships with leading manufacturers enable us to offer you quality equipment and spare parts at competitive prices.
Aside from Loncin we purchase from a wide range of suppliers, which means we can always source a product to match your needs. We have an extensive range of products in stock to ensure fast, reliable service and delivery. We also collect from and deliver to any location within the UK.
With our extensive experience and highly trained team of engineers, we provide a cost effective maintenance and repair service. Our superior back-up service saves you delays, man hours and money over the lifetime of your equipment.
No job is too big or too small. Orders can be placed over the telephone, by fax, by email or through our website. Our experienced advisors are always happy to offer help and advice on the right engine for the job.
Call us on: 02467 559770
Fax us on: 02467 559558
Email us: email@example.com
Visit our website: www.keyservicesuk.co.uk
Unit 5 Challenge Close
Challenge Business Park