Lawn Mower Repair in Simpler Times
I think a lot about how many things have changed since I was a kid tearing apart all types of small engines and trying to get them back together again. Seems to me things were a lot simpler back then. I guess when you have limited choices, or no choices at all, things can be pretty simple.
Here is an example of how I used to buy fuel line when I was a kid. I bought a lot of stuff at Wigmans Hardware and another place in Eight Mile but I cannot remember the name of that store just now. So, I would ride my motorcycle to the store and go in and tell the clerk I needed say, two feet of fuel line. The clerk would measure off the desired length, cut it with his pocket knife and hand it to me. Then I would get sticker shock paying 10 cents or 12 cents per foot!
Later, in my teens, I think things were still pretty simple. I was into drag racing then. AN fittings and braided fuel lines were what we all used on our cars. Every once in a while someone would show up at the track with exotic fuels and a car with the appropriate fuel system.
Lawn Mower Repair Today
Wow. What a difference today. I find I really have to examine what I’m buying today. I purchased some blue fuel line that cost me well over a dollar a foot and it was so stiff it was impossible to route as it should be on a weed eater. Another purchase of 1/4″ fuel line proved to be vacuum line and not gasoline resistant. I won’t even go into the story about the guy that assured me the heater hose he had in hand was indeed fuel line.
Why have I had such terrible luck purchasing fuel line? I really don’t know for sure but, placing blame on no one, I do know some sales clerks do not really know about the products they are selling, and, evidently – some purchasing agents do not know what they are buying.
Big Daddy is An Old Fuddy-Duddy
Okay, I’ll say it up front, “I’m an old fuddy-duddy.” I know what I like. I like what I like and that’s just the way it’s going to be. So….. I am now ordering my fuel line in bulk. Small quantities to be sure but still not in a plastic vault that I have to cut open to get at the stuff. I’m in heaven. I can order twenty-five feet, fifty feet and even 100 foot rolls.
By the way:
A fuddy-duddy is a person who is fussy while old-fashioned, traditionalist, conformist, or conservative, sometimes almost to the point of eccentricity or geekiness. It is a slang term, mildly derogatory but sometimes affectionate too and can be used to describe someone with a zealous focus on order.
Fuel and Fuel Line Problems Today
Most small engine repair shops are seeing a lot of fuel-line-related issues since the introduction of ethanol into America’s pump gas. Because of ethanol’s effects on rubber, plastic and metals, we are spending a lot more time fixing fuel delivery systems than in the old days of unadulterated gasoline and pump carburetors.
Shops today are faced with the fact that there are now many types of fuel line that are necessary to make a proper, safe and durable repair. My nostalgic view of the engine shop with the rolls of neoprene fuel line and steel tubing that used to hang on the wall are now only a small part of fuel lines needed to perform these repairs. You could tell the real pros back then -they had the ends of their hanging inventory of fuel line taped over to keep the wasps from clogging the ends up with mud and larvae.
New sizes, new materials, new attachment fittings and new manufacturer’s O.E. recommendations have caused many shops to expand their inventories of fuel line products to make needed repairs. I’m pretty sure all this new stuff has a lot to do with there being fewer and fewer shops and mechanics too! Speaking of new sizes, I now use the metric system daily – especially when ordering parts.
Here are a few of the fuel lines I will be using in the future:
Neoprene Fuel Line
Standard neoprene fuel hose for fuel, PCV and EEC systems.
Neoprene is a petroleum-resistant nitrile tube with a covering that resists weathering, ozone and heat and can be used for ethanol-laced fuels and diesel fuel. It should not be used on coolant systems, oil systems or fuel-injection systems. Positive crankcase ventilation involves recycling gases through a valve (called, appropriately, the PCV valve) to the intake manifold, where they’re pumped back into the cylinders for another shot at combustion. The EEC system is a method of controlling emissions by collecting fuel vapours from the fuel tank and carburetor fuel bowl vents, and directing them into an engine intake manifold.
Nylon Fuel Line
Hard, black nylon tubing for fuel-feed lines to the gas tank sending unit/fuel pump modules. Gas-resistant nylon tubing uses barbed fittings that are inserted into the tubing, and the connection is then heated to shrink the tubing around the fitting.
Tygon Fuel Line
Most small engines, lawnmower, ATVs, motorcycle use a gas-resistant vinyl tubing called Tygon. It is usually clear or transparent yellow in color. Be aware that tygon fuel line can be confused with clear vinyl tubing Tygon is expensive, but it will outlast the vinyl and does not turn brown and brittle like the vinyl tubing you see rotting on yard tool engines. My wholesale price for 3/16 Tygon is just under $2.00 per foot when ordered in 50 foot increments.
What Not To Use
Standard rubber vacuum or heater hose should never be used in fuel applications. The hose will deteriorate from the inside out and can plug fuel filters and carburetors with rubber debris, long before it springs an external leak.