Aiming for contractors

Aiming for contractors

Briggs & Stratton wants to fill a need in the turf engine market.

September 13, 2013
Brian Horn
Supplier News

Briggs & Stratton engineers had you in mind when they designed their latest line of engines.

The company’s new line of Vanguard 810cc engines, available in 24 or 26 gross horsepower models, for commercial zero-turn mowers were designed specifically to withstand the most extreme conditions a landscaper will face. The company invited Lawn & Landscape to its Auburn, Ala., plant to get an up close look at the engines, learn how they are made and to speak with company executives about the product.

Dan Roche, marketing manager of commercial power, said company officials visited with contractors and service personnel at companies of all sizes and in all different parts of the country to find out what they wanted from an engine.

“What they told us was they are looking for an engine that won’t back down and has enough torque to get the job done every day,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of turbulent weather throughout the last couple of years. We’ve had contractors trying to catch up on the grass they haven’t been able to cut, so there’s a lot of thick heavy wet grass being cut."

The engine was designed with an improved debris chopper fan, which will provide up to 30-degree cooler engine temps, and a high-flow blower housing, which Roche says has a 30 percent larger intake surface area than the next-closest competitor.

In addition, contractors will feel less vibrating from this engine because it has a dynamically balanced crank shaft and fly wheel, which provides a smoother ride, Roche said.

“They are also going to be very satisfied with the amount of sound that’s coming out of the engine,” he said. “We’ve really controlled that as well."

The engines will not be produced on a mass assembly line. Instead certified Briggs & Stratton Master Service Technicians will build them at the all-new Vanguard Certified Production Center located in the company’s Auburn plant. While the MSTs will have to pay very special attention to detail, the project was also a massive undertaking from an engineering perspective.

"(It's) the biggest commercial engine effort Briggs and Stratton has put forward since the Big Block engines were introduced in 2005," said Steve Lavender, senior director of engineering – engines group.

The 810 is the only commercial engine to be built in America by Briggs & Stratton, and company officials expect it to be ready to go Jan. 1, 2014, although they couldn’t say which mower manufacturers would be using the engines. More details on that will be available at the GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Ky., Oct 24-26.

Other features include:

Cylinder access panels
For quick and easy maintenance
High-flow blower housing
More than 30 percent larger intake surface area than the next-closest competitor
2014-compliant static guard
Conforms to new ANSI B71.4 safety regulations and ensures proper cooling
Remote cyclonic air cleaner
Provides longer life in dusty conditions
New Vanguard head and seats
Gaseous engine valve seats and high-temp valves withstand all-day cutting head temperatures

Automotive S2N material pistons
With advanced pin-design and the top compression ring is plasma-coated for durability and oil control
Forged connecting rods
Large bearing surface and BIG BLOCK aluminum casting process for added density and strength
Fire ring head gaskets
Motorsports design maintains seal of higher combustion pressures

Forged crankshaft
Dynamically balanced for smooth operation, forged for superior tensile strength and longer service life.

Heavy-duty cylinder and sump
Structural and machining improvements to maximize surface precision and durability

Mag Bearing
Larger mag journal and crankpin share bearing load over a larger surface area Viton seals control surface debris and maintain oil film
Cast aluminum valve covers
Tight radial clamp load for better seal

Solenoid shift starter
For quick starts under high inertia load