Antique Engines and Old Iron
[Home] - [HELP] - [Forums] - [Groups] - [Classified Ads] - [Subscribe] - [Books] - [Sponsors] -

Go Back   SmokStak > SmokStak® Antique Engine Community > Small Air Cooled Gasoline Engines
Forgot Password? Join Us!

Notices

Small Air Cooled Gasoline Engines Briggs & Stratton, Clinton, Lauson, Maytag, Nelson, Wisconsin and other small air cooled engines. Sub forums for mowers, scooters and powered eqipment.

Small Air Cooled Gasoline Engines

Has Engine Quality Improved?


this thread has 44 replies and has been viewed 4508 times

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-02-2011, 08:21:00 AM
Jim M. Jim M. is offline
Registered-II
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Manteno, Illinois
Posts: 364
Thanks: 1,029
Thanked 386 Times in 92 Posts
Default Has Engine Quality Improved?

Gentlemen,

Thanks a lot to all for answering my "Quality Question" post earlier. It seems that all the best made engines back in the 1950s were cast iron. Do they even make cast iron heavy duty engines today? A lot of you have worked on the newer engines also and have seen their internal construction. In your opinion, will todays best made engines still be running 60 years from now? I'm sorry if this question was ever asked before. I just had to ask. Jim
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-02-2011, 10:36:32 AM
dkirk dkirk is offline
Registered-II
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Fond du Lac, WI
Posts: 101
Thanks: 156
Thanked 68 Times in 31 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

Jim,

That's an excellent question. Technology has improved, and the small engines produced today are lighter and more fuel-efficient than the older L-head engines. Overhead valves are mostly responsible for this, including the reduction in exhaust emssions. Aluminum blocks are universally used nowadays, thus reducing weight. This is important on hand-held or walk-behind equipment and consumers like this. Aluminum blocks can be die-cast, thus keeping costs lower than an iron block, which must be sand or permanent-mold cast. Ignition systems have improved and breaker points eliminated. This has increased reliability. On the other hand, fixed-jet carburetors are a real pain in that no adjustability is provided. As the engine ages, usually carburetor tweaks are necessary but today, adjustments become very difficult to do.

Most modern-day walk-behind mower engines are designed for 250-300 hour life with proper maintenance. For the average person who never changes the oil, the engine will still go 75-100 hours and at this point, the lawnmower deck, wheels, etc. will be falling apart. This may take 10 or more years to get that many hours logged though, and the average customer is satisfied.

But, do the aluminum engines last as long as the earlier cast-iron versions - NO! Cast iron is stable, strong, and has excellent wear properties for the bore surface, relatively high fatigue strength and low coefficient of expansion. It's heat transfer properties are not as good as aluminum, but this can actually be advantageous in small air-cooled engines as the oil temperatures are lower than the aluminum equivalents. Cast iron cylinder sleeves in aluminum blocks work well for good durability and can be rebored (usually), but overall, this construction is no replacement for the properties of an all cast-iron block.

Good maintenance is the key to long engine life. I've seen Kohler K-series cast iron engines log over 6000 hours in well-maintained applications without being reconditioned - truly amazing! I don't believe any aluminum block engine made today would get close to that!
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to dkirk For This Post:
  #3  
Old 01-02-2011, 11:17:23 AM
Jim M. Jim M. is offline
Registered-II
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Manteno, Illinois
Posts: 364
Thanks: 1,029
Thanked 386 Times in 92 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

Thanks dKirk, you mean to say the oil in a cast iron block actually runs cooler than an aluminum block? How can that be? I thought aluminum radiates heat faster to the air than cast iron. Jim
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-02-2011, 01:18:39 PM
dkirk dkirk is offline
Registered-II
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Fond du Lac, WI
Posts: 101
Thanks: 156
Thanked 68 Times in 31 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

Jim,

It's a fact that the iron block engine will run cooler oil temperatures as compared to the aluminum equivalent. The iron block will run around 250-275 deg F oil temps at full load on a hot day. The aluminum block will be 300 + oil temp under the same conditions! Being that aluminum is the superior conductor, more heat is transferred from the cylinder into the oil sump, hence hotter oil. This is why oil oxidizes faster (turns black and gets more viscous) when run in aluminum block engines under high load conditions.

Dave
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-02-2011, 06:51:43 PM
MoRo's Avatar
MoRo MoRo is offline
Subscriber
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Jamestown, North Dakota, USA
Posts: 3,409
Thanks: 3,040
Thanked 1,729 Times in 850 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

My equipment with aluminum block engines get oil changes at about half the recommended interval.
Since my snowblowers run in cold weather, I have to believe that there's more moisture condensing in the oil, so they get oil changes even MORE often.
Funny how oil that only had 20 hrs in a snowblower looks positively black when drained.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-02-2011, 09:23:37 PM
Larry Rarus
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoRo View Post
Since my snowblowers run in cold weather, I have to believe that there's more moisture condensing in the oil, so they get oil changes even MORE often.
Wow...what an interesting observation. I always thought that since the typical operating environment of a snowblower would always allow it to run cooler than say...a lawnmower...that the oil would last far longer. However, I never thought about your point about moisture getting into the oil from condensation due to temperature. I have to agree with your view and will modify my oil change schedule. Thanks.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-02-2011, 10:17:12 PM
Motormowers's Avatar
Motormowers Motormowers is offline
Subscriber
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Hamden, Connecticut, USA
Posts: 2,501
Thanks: 1,314
Thanked 1,253 Times in 653 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

I think a good reason also that the old engines lasted was that they ran at lower rpms and didnt have as much internal stress as todays high strung noise makers. I dont think modern engines will be around as long due to them not liking to come apart if they sat outside any number of years and got corroded, plus also the electronics in the ignitions dont like heat or many years under their belt compared to a conventional old school coil with points that just needs filing or replacing.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Motormowers For This Post:
  #8  
Old 01-02-2011, 10:49:30 PM
Farmboy1 Farmboy1 is offline
Registered-III
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Rankin, Illinois, U.S.A.
Posts: 461
Thanks: 188
Thanked 109 Times in 91 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

Todays engines are built with an auto-destruction into them after a few years you will have ign. problems then carb problems or vice versa then parts will begin to fail. Without people constantly needing new engines there would be no engine market, so to speak. It isnt like days past where things were built to last a lifetime, and on top of that owners didnt just throw them out when it would start, and strung there lives out as long as possible before buying a new engine. In that sense yesterday's engines were built better. This is not because of my preference to old iron it is simply facts that i believe to be truth.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Farmboy1 For This Post:
  #9  
Old 01-02-2011, 11:24:25 PM
MoRo's Avatar
MoRo MoRo is offline
Subscriber
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Jamestown, North Dakota, USA
Posts: 3,409
Thanks: 3,040
Thanked 1,729 Times in 850 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Rarus View Post
Wow...what an interesting observation. I always thought that since the typical operating environment of a snowblower would always allow it to run cooler than say...a lawnmower...that the oil would last far longer. However, I never thought about your point about moisture getting into the oil from condensation due to temperature. I have to agree with your view and will modify my oil change schedule. Thanks.
My reasoning came from observing frost in the upper end of the dipstick tube, sometimes freezing the stick cap down. I figure the engine must not get hot enough to evaporate the moisture out.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01-02-2011, 11:33:20 PM
John Newman, Jr.'s Avatar
John Newman, Jr. John Newman, Jr. is offline
Subscriber
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
Posts: 5,301
Thanks: 759
Thanked 3,243 Times in 1,657 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

Technology? - Yes.
Affordability? - Yes.
Consistancy? - Yes.
Reliability*? - Yes.
(* Within designed service life...)
Quality? - NO!

Un-adjustable carburetors.
Plastic camshafts.
Building with a predetermined (short) lifespan.
This is not quality. This is making your product as cheaply as possible to maximize profit and insure that a replacement product will need to be purchased sooner rather than later.
Final insult - Make the product in China where there are no Union worker benefits, no OSHA to keep the workplace safe, No EPA to cause problems on what to do with leftover toxic manufacturing by-products.
__________________
John Newman, Jr.
Saint Louis, MO

I Can Probably Fix That
Reply With Quote
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to John Newman, Jr. For This Post:
  #11  
Old 01-03-2011, 09:33:14 PM
Lead Head
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

Under heavy use but good maintenance, you can expect a modern cast-iron lined "commercial" aluminum air-cooled engine to last around 2000 Hours. An old all-cast-iron engine under the same load and conditions isn't likely to last much longer honestly, and will usually require more oil changes without pressure-filtered lubrication that modern engines have.

The main problem with air cooled engines, is that they naturally run very hot. Cooling is even more critical on modern engines since they are packing much more power into physically smaller packages. If you're going to put a heavy load on a modern engine, it needs to be running at its governed speed and the fins need to be spotless to ensure proper cooling.

A liquid cooled engine, be it cast iron, or aluminum block with iron sleeves will typically last 1.5-3x as long as an equivalent air cooled engine under the same conditions.

The main problem with today's engines seems to be quality control. You have one engine that might go 2000 hours without an issue, then another that lets go before 50 hours.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-03-2011, 09:58:02 PM
Motormowers's Avatar
Motormowers Motormowers is offline
Subscriber
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Hamden, Connecticut, USA
Posts: 2,501
Thanks: 1,314
Thanked 1,253 Times in 653 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

One of our biggest accounts is Lowes. And they give us loads of lawn & garden stuff to service to get ready for resale for them. Im convinced that the new Briggs AND Chineese engines are both junk due to the amount of brand new equipment Ive worked on that was returned to Lowes as defective by the customer. In each case the engine looked like it ran only a few minutes and locked up solid or blew up and in each case they were FULL of fresh CLEAN oil.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-03-2011, 09:59:31 PM
Lead Head
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

But was the oil added after they blew up?
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01-04-2011, 08:34:20 AM
Motormowers's Avatar
Motormowers Motormowers is offline
Subscriber
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Hamden, Connecticut, USA
Posts: 2,501
Thanks: 1,314
Thanked 1,253 Times in 653 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

Thats a good question for the " Ive Got a Secret" panel
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01-04-2011, 09:57:45 AM
Old Horse Old Horse is offline
Registered-II
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 101
Thanks: 23
Thanked 24 Times in 23 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motormowers View Post
Thats a good question for the " Ive Got a Secret" panel
do you tear the engine down, and see if the engine was run on too little oil, or too much? the effects are pretty pronounced either way, and it shouldnt be too hard to tell if it was the engine company, or the consumer.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 01-04-2011, 10:30:58 AM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
In Memory Of
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Southwest Missouri
Posts: 5,348
Thanks: 166
Thanked 1,196 Times in 1,057 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

Leadhead,

You mention the "Pressure-Filtered Lubrication" of modern engine. You need to LOOK closely at some of the BRIGGS engines with oil filters/oil pumps. The ones I have been into DO NOT use the oil pump to pressurize ANY of the bearings in the engine. It's ONLY function is to pump oil through the oil filter to clean the oil. These engine still use the SAME oil slinger/governor gear as the L-head engines. At least with this system, you do not have the black layer of aluminum/oil in the crankcase base when you tear the engine down.

Kent
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 01-04-2011, 10:58:45 AM
Short Circuit Short Circuit is offline
Registered-II
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Clinton, Ohio USA
Posts: 37
Thanks: 8
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

After reading all the replies concerning the engine oil, I'll throw in my 1 cent (it's not worth 2 cents),

I use fully synthetic motor oil in all my lawn and garden engines. It is designed for higher temperature operation, that's why it is used in aircraft engines. It also does not smoke on old engines because it has a higher flash point than regular "out of the ground" motor oils. It also flows as well at cold temps as when it is at operating temp, allowing great upper cylinder lube at startup. It cranks over a little faster too.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 01-04-2011, 12:51:15 PM
TheEngineGal TheEngineGal is offline
Registered-III
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Baltimore, MD. USA
Posts: 335
Thanks: 48
Thanked 151 Times in 40 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

I do returns at Lowes all the time. I get a lot of weedwackers and stuff returned... once I asked a guy if he mixed the oil and the gas (A little 2 cycle oil comes with the equip.) and he was like "What are you talking about! grr!" Stupid stupid people. But the new stuff is mostly crap. When I had to move the tractors about, the Troy Built and the Bolens ran like crap. None of these will ever last as long as the stuff we like. ;] Show me an engine from now that will run in 60 years and I'll call you a liar. Heh! Nothing is built to last now because they want you to buy new ones! Even 50s cars and the like only had 2 speed trans because even though they knew that they could put more speeds for longer lasting engines, they did not because they wanted them to wear out!
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 01-04-2011, 04:21:48 PM
Lead Head
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

Quote:
Originally Posted by K D Redd View Post
Leadhead,

You mention the "Pressure-Filtered Lubrication" of modern engine. You need to LOOK closely at some of the BRIGGS engines with oil filters/oil pumps. The ones I have been into DO NOT use the oil pump to pressurize ANY of the bearings in the engine. It's ONLY function is to pump oil through the oil filter to clean the oil. These engine still use the SAME oil slinger/governor gear as the L-head engines. At least with this system, you do not have the black layer of aluminum/oil in the crankcase base when you tear the engine down.

Kent
I did notice from some videos Briggs had on their site that some of their engines had this oiling system. I believe it is mainly their lower end engines that use it. I can't imagine their TOTL stuff would use that.

As far as I know, all Kohler Command V-Twins and Kawasaki V-Twins use full pressure lubricated bearings. Could be wrong though.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 01-04-2011, 05:57:11 PM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
In Memory Of
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Southwest Missouri
Posts: 5,348
Thanks: 166
Thanked 1,196 Times in 1,057 Posts
Default Re: Has Engine Quality Improved?

I do not know about the Kawa. V-twin as I have not been into one. I have been into the Kohler V-twin and yes they have a true fully pressurized oiling system with filter. The Kohler M-18 and it's bigger cousins L-head flat twins also were pressurized/ oil filter systems. The KT 17 series II was also fully pressurized but some/most did not have oil filters. KT-17 plains were not fully pressurized. I have taken a KT-17 plain case and converted it to a fully pressurized KT-17 series II case BUT when I go done with it Kohler WOULD NOT recognise it.

Kent
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

F o r u m Jump

Similar Threads Chosen at Random
Thread Thread Starter F o r u m Replies Last Post
Economy improved model? Ihorse Antique Engine Photos 1 08-13-2009 04:54:11 PM
Economy (Improved Model) Ihorse Hit & Miss Gas Engine Discussion 1 08-13-2009 09:32:32 AM
Improved Greene Engine Catalog m_thompson Steam Stationary Engines, Traction Engines 0 04-11-2009 04:00:04 PM
The Homebrew Engine Improved (and I toot my whistle some, too!) Elden DuRand Hit & Miss Gas Engine Discussion 10 08-27-2008 12:18:04 PM
AJAX Improved Steam Engine ?? Paul Spence Antique Engine Archives 1 07-26-1999 07:49:49 AM


Use "Ctrl" mouse wheel to change screen size.
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:15:49 AM.

Smokstak and Enginads site search!


All use is subject to our TERMS OF SERVICE
SMOKSTAK® is a Registered Trade Mark - A Community of Antique Engine Enthusiasts
Copyright © 2000 - 2019 by Harry Matthews P.O. Box 5612 - Sarasota, FL 34277