Sunday, January 25, 2015

Katie Tuttle

Katie Tuttle, GCI


Rev it up


With engine companies improving their products, it’s time to take a look and decide what’s best for your equipment.

December 11, 2014

Many engine companies have new or upgraded engines in their lineups. More importantly, these companies have the landscape contractor in mind. Read on and find out what the manufacturers have in store for you and your equipment.

Briggs & Stratton

Briggs & Stratton has updated its Vanguard 810 line with the Vanguard 810cc EFI. The EFI system the company chose is a closed-looped system, which means it’s monitoring the exhaust to try to optimize what’s happening on the intake side.

“A lot of people don’t understand that if engines are working really hard, the engine needs a certain amount of fuel to get that work done,” says Dan Roche, marketing manager for Briggs & Stratton. “What a fuel injection system does is it pulls back on the fuel use when the system is not being taxed.”

The 810 was introduced specifically with commercial turf contractors in mind. Roche says there is a lot of variety in the commercial turf marketplace and most machines are between 24 and 28 horsepower, something the company didn’t offer previously. Roche says the 810 was made for zero-turn mowers, because not many other pieces of equipment run full throttle all day long.

“The way that those guys use that equipment, they’re using a lot of fuel,” Roche says. “We are trying to solve or improve that situation for them that uses up to 25 percent less fuel on their commercial lawn cutting equipment.”


Kawasaki has revealed the Kawasaki Electronic Fuel Injection System, available on the new FS730V engine. The engine is designed to provide constant torque to allow for cutting large acreage, and with its instant power-to-load response, operators will be able to maintain the desired blade tip speed to cut grass one time without needing to repeat passes.

Kawasaki engines are tested in accordance with SAE J1995 and certified by SAE International. The FS730V features Kawasaki’s v-valve technology and hemispherical heads and pistons.

It has an ECU-controlled automatic cold start, which eliminates the chance that the engine will choke, and an ECU-controlled ignition coil timing process, which retards spark during start-up and then advances the spark at full throttle for maximum power.

The engine has head temperature monitoring, which helps prevent it from over-heating.


For the 2015 season, Kohler has brought out the Command PRO EFI 824cc engine. The Command PRO has a closed-loop electronic fuel injection system that is Kohler-designed and has a sensor in the muffler to continually analyze the air/fuel mixture.

If the mixture strays from the ideal level, the sensor triggers the amount of fuel injected into the system.

“The 824cc was really a project to satisfy what we saw as a growing need in the commercial turf market for both more power as well as lower cost of operation,” says Eric Hudak, marketing manager, Gas Engines Americas for Kohler.

“With deck sizes continuing to get larger and ground speeds continuing to go up, the demand for high power has continued to climb, so we needed to do an engine that could satisfy that.”

All Command PRO EFI engines are supported by diagnostic software which is used to look at performance data.

The software provides important information, such as a log of operating conditions, total hours, oil temperatures and load parameters.

The Command PRO also features two spark plugs per cylinder head. These enhance combustion to maximize engine torque and fuel efficiency. Other features include a commercial high-density air cleaner and engineered baffles and cylinder heads.

“It’s all about getting a high degree of productivity and a very low cost of operation,” Hudak says.

The Command PRO is available in four models, which offer between 27 and 33 horsepower. Kohler is also introducing two propane models, which have 27 and 29 horsepower.


For 2015, Subaru has made updates to its big block engines, the 35-horsepower EH90 and 40-horsepower EH99, by adding heat sensor technology to prevent the engine from running at high temperatures or without lubrication and thus prolonging the engine’s life.

The sensor monitors the engine’s temperature, and if it gets too high, an alarm warns the operator. Another sensor warns the operator of low oil pressure.

“These sensors allow the user to stop, check the engine and make adjustments to prevent damage to the engine,” says David Frank, vice president of sales and marketing for Subaru Industrial Power Products.

The engines will also feature a pressurized lubrication system that allows the overhead valve engine to use an automotive-grade spin-on oil filter.

The filter removes dirt and carbon solids, thus extending the time between oil changes. The engines also come with Subaru’s optional Donaldson canister-style air cleaner.

Subaru decided to make the updates with the sensors because the company wanted to offer a viable alternative to diesel engines.

“Diesel units have nearly doubled in price because of compliance requirements,” Frank says. “We believe offering our customers quality, reliable equipment is more important than anything.”

Frank says contractors will like the changes because they’re nothing drastic. “Consistent quality without constant changes is what keeps (customers) coming back.”

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