If you’ve decided to maintain your own Outdoor Power Equipment my guess is you’re a do it yourself type person and already own the basic tools you’ll need. You know, the essentials like screw drivers, hammer, wrenches, ratchet and socket sets. Assuming you already own those we’ll skip straight to specialized small engine repair tools.
This is our ultimate guide to small engine repair tools. It covers basic tools everyone maintaining there own equipment should have, advanced tools you’ll need if you’re rebuilding small engines and tools specific to repairing and maintaining chainsaws.
Lawn Mower Blade Balancer
An unbalanced blade will play havoc on your mower deck. It’ll destroy your spindles, trash your belts and could even damage the deck.
Lawn mower blade balancers range from about $3.00 to well over $200.00 depending on the model you choose. In my home shop I have the cheap aluminum blade balancer and at the business we have the magnetic blade balancer mounted on the wall. .
Lawn Mower Blade Sharpener, Grinder or file
As we’ve already mentioned here a sharp blade makes a happy lawn and a happy lawn is a beautiful lawn.
A flat hand file will set you back few dollars and is a great place to start.
Spark Plug Wrench
Chances are you socket set came with a spark plug socket. But if not you can pick up a dedicated wrench to remove your spark plug for less than $5.00.
Spark Plug Gap Gauge
If you change the spark plugs in your car chances are you already have one of these. If not, you’ll want to pick one up.
Spark Tester or Ignition Tester
So you’re mower won’t start. Is it a fuel issue or an electrical issue? Without a spark tester or ignition tester you’ll never know.
Small engines require accuracy. If your coil is too close to the flywheel you won’t get spark. If it’s too far away you won’t get spark.
To set them accurately you’ll need a feeler gauge.
When adjusting carburetor idle you’ll want to set it based on RPM’s. In order to do that you’ll need a tachometer.
Carburetor Pressure Tester
After installing a new carburetor kit you’ll need to test to make sure it holds pressure prior to reinstalling it on the machine. To test it you’ll need a carburetor pressure tester.
Bearings are made up of metal inside of metal. Metal rubbing on metal wears out the bearings. To keep the metal from rubbing you need a lubricant. Keeping your bearings lubricated will extend the life of bearings.
You can tilt your mower on it’s side to drain the oil or you can purchase an oil extractor. It sucks the oil right out of your engine so you don’t have to lay on the ground and pull the oil plug.
You know that funny little bend on the end of a lawn mower cable? That’s done with a z-bender.
Oil Filter Wrench
Some times oil filters can be a real booger to get off so an oil filter wrench can come in real handy.
Advanced Repair Tools:
If you’re planning to get deep into small engine/lawn mower repair you’re going to need some serious tools. Here are the other tools you should consider purchasing.
Lawn Mower Lifts
Lawn mowers are heavy and crawling underneath them can be dangerous. If you’re going to spend a lot of time working on mowers you might consider purchasing a lift. At our world headquarters we have 3 of them. One dedicated to push mowers and two for riding mowers.
Let me describe the situation.
You’re working on a mower and find you need to replace the belt.
Typically belts have the part number stamped on them but this one is so worn the number is unreadable.
You try looking up the mower parts diagrams to find the belt part number. But since this mower is from the middle ages no diagram is available.
What to do….
You pull out your belt measurer and measure the belt that was on the machine.
A small engine with low compression just want run. If it does run it has little to no power.
How do you know for sure if you have low compression? A compression tester.
Sometimes it’s necessary to remove the flywheel on a small engine. Without the proper tool, a flywheel holder, you’ll most like break the cooling fins on the flywheel. How do I know this?
Sometimes life teaches us lessons. A couple times I’ve gotten in a rush and didn’t want to run over to the toolbox to get a flywheel holder so I’ve tried to remove the flywheel without it. The end result is giving the customer a new flywheel at no charge because I broke the flywheel cooling fins.
You can get away without a flywheel holder occasionally but one day fate will catch you.
A flywheel holder is way cheaper than a new flywheel.
Valve Spring Compressor
Without a valve spring compressor you’ll be cursing like a sailor when installing valve springs. Compared to the doctors bills from high blood pressure a valve spring compressor is cheap.
Piston Ring Expander
In order to install new piston rings on the piston you have to expand the piston ring to slide it onto the piston. Piston rings are fragile little boogers and without a ring expander you’ll most like break the fragile little piston ring. I’ve done it so I know exactly what I’m talking about.
Piston Ring Compressor
Once you’ve put the new piston rings on the piston you’ll need to get the piston/ring assembly back into the cylinder. In order to do that you’ll need to compress the piston rings on the piston. Then it’s an easy matter to slide the piston assembly home.
Modern engines, especially newer overhead valve engines need the valve to be reset every couple years. To do that you need a valve grinder.
Snap Ring Pliers
If you’ve ever tried to install a snap ring without a pair of snap ring pliers you know these little gems are worth every penny.
Alchohol Test Kit
Is your gas bad? Does it have too much alcohol (aka ethanol)? We’ve already written a bunch about the dangers of ethanol so I won’t bore you by rehashing it.
If you chainsaw is equipment with the PowerSharp System you can sharpen the chain right on the saw.
If not, you can always use a hand file. Hand files do the job but are very time consuming. I keep a hand file in my chainsaw case for quick touch ups.
But if you’re going to sharpen a serious amount of chain you’ll want a dedicated chain sharpener.
If you’re building chainsaw chain or repairing chainsaw chain you’ll need a rivet spinner to put it back together.
Do you have a bad link in your chainsaw chain? To take your chain apart without damaging it you’ll need a chain breaker.
Chainsaw Bar Rail Dresser
Chainsaw bars can be expensive and when they don’t wear evenly you need to dress them. Not in a tux but with a bar rail dresser. If you bar isn’t too far gone it’ll square up the edge the chain rides on with the surface of the bar.
The Master Technician Kit
Briggs and Stratton Tool Kit
Briggs and Stratton has assembled a tool kit that will get you started in small engine repair. It included most of the tools you’ll need to get started rebuilding and repairing engines.
– 19061 Carburetor Jet Screwdriver, Small Jets
– 19062 Carburetor Jet Screwdriver, Large Jets
– 19063 Valve Spring Compressor
– 19069 Flywheel Puller – small, whole distance 1-5/8″
– 19070 Piston Ring Compressor (5 HP & below)
– 19165 Flywheel Puller – medium, whole distance 2″
– 19433 Flywheel Holder1
– 19203 Flywheel Puller – large, whole distance 2.13/16
– 19200 Tachometer (Treysit Sirometer)
– 19340 Piston Ring Expander
– 19442 Torqux Start Bits3 in handy pouch
– 19244 Starter Clutch Wrench
– 19258 Valve Lapper2 (includes 19266 & 19268)
– 19368 Tester – Ignition
– 93963 Valve Guide Lubricant
– 94150 Clover Valve Lapping Compound
– MS-8746 Tool Catalog
Well, that does it for our ultimate guide to small engine repair tools whether you’re a home DIYer or a serious small engine tech I’m sure their is something on this list you don’t have.
Questions? Contact us here.
Until Next Time.