Selecting the Right Detergent for Your Pressure Washer

Cleaning Buildings with a Pressure Washer Billy Goat

How can you get your Billy Goat power washer to clean effectively? By using the right cleaning chemicals. Which chemicals work best? That depends on what you’re cleaning and where. Here’s what you need to know to find the right soap or detergent for the job.

What Not to Use in Your Pressure Washer

CAT and AR pumps are not designed to handle strong acids and bases including muriatic acid and bleach.

Only use cleaning agents formulated specifically for pressure washers. Other cleaners may be too thick to be drawn through the detergent system, they may foam excessively, or they may be ineffective when applied under pressure.

How Do Cleaning Chemicals Work?

Soaps and detergents are molecules that have one end that attaches to dirt and another that attaches to water. When applied, they latch onto dirt, creating a structure called a “micelle.” The water-bonding ends are facing out from this micelle, allowing the dirt to be removed by being rinsed off.

What’s the Difference Between a Soap and a Detergent?

A soap is a natural product made by reacting fats and oils with a salt. Soaps are always biodegradable, but they can react with calcium in hard water. This creates calcium carbonate, which can leave a film on the surface being cleaned.

Detergents are purely chemical derived and can be formulated for specific types of dirt or to work with different surfaces. Due to their chemical makeup, they don’t react with hard water. These chemicals may or may not be biodegradable.

Most cleaning chemicals designed for pressure washers use some combination of soap and detergent.

What Else Goes into a Cleaner?

Along with soaps and detergents, other chemicals are added to improve performance:

— Vinegar is good for cleaning flat surfaces and acts as a chemical polish for brass and bronze.
— Ammonia cleans glass and stainless steel.
— Citric acid removes stains from concrete and wood.
— Surfactants and other chemicals let the detergent stick to the surface being cleaned so it can react with the dirt.

Do I Need a Specialty Cleaner?

If it’s available, it will do the job better. The active ingredients will bond better with the type of dirt being removed, while other ingredients help the cleaning chemicals reach the dirt, whether it’s on a slick surface or embedded in a porous material.

Should I Get a Residential or Professional Formula?

The main difference between residential and professional chemicals are how they’re packaged. Residential formulas are pre-diluted so they can be used directly by the pressure washer. Professional formulas are full strength and need to be mixed with water to get the right cleaning power and flow to work with the pressure washer.

All residential chemicals should be safe for plants and pets, but some professional chemicals may not
When in doubt, check the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and the product label.

Does it Need to Be Biodegradable?

Storm drains connect directly to waterways, so many cities and towns have laws restricting the use of non-biodegradable cleaning chemicals when they can reach these drains. Even if you aren’t required to use them, biodegradable cleaners are always a good choice for the environment.

Getting Better Performance from Your Detergent

If you aren’t using the low-pressure soap tip and the detergent inlet hose isn’t fully submerged in the detergent, your pressure washer will only spray water. Check these areas when your pressure washer doesn’t seem to be applying any detergent.

Pre-clean the surface you’re working on. By blasting away thick surface accumulation, you’ll let the detergent reach the stains directly.

Check the label for any mention of a dwell time. Most cleaning chemicals work best if they’re allowed to soak in for a few minutes.

Applying soap from the bottom up will reduce streaking.

Get the Parts You Need for Your Pressure Washer

Billygoatparts.com doesn’t sell cleaning chemicals, but we do have everything you need to maintain and repair your Billy Goat pressure washer. We’re a certified dealer for Billy Goat as well as the manufacturers they work with to build their pumps including AR, CAT, Honda and Briggs & Stratton. Our search engine can show you parts that fit your specific model as well as factory diagrams and descriptions so you can see exactly what you’re ordering. We ship across the U.S. and Canada.

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Maintaining the Briggs & Stratton 675 Series

Briggs & Stratton 675 Series

The Briggs & Stratton 675 Series bridges the gap between the company’s consumer-focused engines and their Vanguard professional line. Over the years, Billy Goat has offered this engine on several of their smaller models including the KV600SP and MV601SPE lawn vacuums. Here’s what you need to know to keep this engine running reliably.

Maintenance Schedule

First 5 hours of operation: Change the oil.
Each day or every 8 hours: Check the oil, and clean the air intake, controls and muffler.
Every 25 hours or annually: Clean the air filter.
Every 50 hours or annually: Change the oil and clean the exhaust.
Annually: Replace the spark plug, air filter, pre-cleaner and fuel filter (if equipped).

Briggs & Stratton recommends cleaning the engine at least yearly so the fins can keep the engine cool, but you may need to clean it more frequently if you work in dusty conditions.

Exhaust

Exhaust components can remain hot up to a half hour after the engine has been used. Make sure these components have cooled completely before working on the engine.

The end of the exhaust will be covered by either a deflector or spark arrester. Remove this part and clean off any carbon buildup with a brush. A spark arrester can be fitted to any 675 Series to meet local fire codes.

Spark Plug

The electrode gap should be 0.20 inches (0.51 mm). When installing the plug, thread it in by hand, then torque it to 180 in-lbs.

Oil

The manufacturer recommends changing the oil while the engine is still warm. The engine oil can be drained by removing a plug on the base of the engine, or by tilting the engine and letting the oil pour through the dipstick tube. If you drain the oil from the dipstick tube on this engine, drain the fuel tank first. When you tip your equipment over, fuel in the tank can leak out.

Start by disconnecting the spark plug and removing the dipstick/filler cap.

If you’re draining the oil from the top of the engine, tilt your equipment on its back side with the dipstick tube facing down, letting the used oil flow into a catch can. If you want to drain the oil through the plug, it can be found toward the rear of the engine. The 675-Series holds 18-20 ounces of 10W40 motor oil.

Air Filter

The air filter cover is held closed by a slide lock on top which can be moved left or right to unlatch.

Depending on the version of the engine installed in your equipment, the air filter box will hold either a paper or foam filter element, and it may have a plastic pre-cleaner sandwiched between this element and the airbox cover. Here’s how you clean each part:

Pre-cleaner — Wash in water and a mild detergent and let it dry.

Foam element — Wash in water and a mild detergent. Once dry, soak the foam in clean engine oil and squeeze out any excess.

Paper element – Tap the element against a hard surface to loosen any collected dirt. Do not use pressurized air. This will force dirt into the pores, clogging the filter.

Fuel Filter

If your engine has a fuel filter, it will be fitted to the fuel line between the gas tank and the carburetor. Even if your engine doesn’t have a filter, it’s still a good idea to check the lines from time to time. If cracks are starting to appear, the fuel line should be replaced.

If your engine has a fuel shut off valve, make sure it’s closed. If it doesn’t, drain the fuel tank.

Squeeze the clamps on the sides of the fuel filter to slide them down the fuel line. Pull the lines off of the fuel filter and slide the new filter onto these hoses. Move the clamps back onto the fuel lines over the filter ends.

Engine Cleaning

Use a brush to sweep off dirt accumulation. Never use water directly to clean the engine. Spray from a pressure washer or garden hose can force water inside, contaminating the oil or saturating the intake, leading to engine damage.

Get Everything You Need for Your Billy Goat

Billygoatparts.com isn’t just a dealer for Billy Goat, we’re also a certified dealer for their manufacturing partners including Briggs & Stratton and Honda, so we’re able to offer replacements for every part on your equipment. We have factory parts diagrams and descriptions for all of these brands built into our search engine, making it easy to find the part you need, and we can ship your order to any address in the United States or Canada.

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Building a Lawn from Scratch

Building a lawn from scratch

Sometimes, you need to start from scratch. Heavy construction and poor maintenance can destroy your lawn, making it easier to replace it with new sod instead of trying to rehabilitate the soil. Here’s what it takes to establish a new lawn with sod from cutting out the old turf to getting the new grass to take root.

Preparing for the Job

Before you start slicing up your lawn, there are a few things you need to do to prepare:

— Get a soil test. This will let you fertilize the underlying soil to give your new grass a fresh start. Expect the test results to take at least two weeks to arrive.

— Order the sod. You should get about 5% more than what you’ll need to cover the yard. Make sure it’s delivered within 24 hours of being cut. It needs to be installed the same day.

— Contact your utility companies to locate and mark underground pipes and lines. If you have a lawn irrigation system, it will also need to be marked.

— Find a place that will take your turf. Most garden centers and soil yards will accept old sod.

Remove Old Sod

A motorized sod cutter like Billy Goat’s SC121H or SC181H will make quick work of large areas, while shovels and garden can remove soil in places cutter can’t reach. Don’t forget that the 181 can use both 18 and 12-inch blades: switching to a narrow blade can get the cutter into more areas, saving a lot of back-breaking work.

The blade of the sod cutter should be just low enough to remove the grass, roots and all. Cut a couple feet and lift up the sod. If you see bare soil underneath, the blade is the right height.

Cut sod should roll, but loose soil can come out in chunks. Have a cart or wheelbarrow handy to pick up the sod as you work. Do not till the old turf into the soil. This makes it harder to grade the soil and will encourage weed and fungus growth.

Grading

Till the soil to a depth 4-6 inches, adding fertilizer and nutrients according to the results of the soil test. Adding some organic matter can help with water absorption and give the microbe population a boost, leading to healthier grass. If you have an overseeder, you can use it to drop granular fertilizer on the soil.

Use rakes to flatten soil. Now is a good time to backfill low areas with soil to get an even surface.

Use a rake to comb out rocks, clods and other debris. Aim for a uniform height about an inch below surrounding concrete and edging. Once the new sod is down, the lawn should be even with these features.

Water the soil, getting it moist but not muddy. The soil will need to sit exposed for one to two days before installing the sod.

Laying the Sod

Seams should be offset by at least a foot and a half to keep the sod from peeling up. To cut sod, use a carpet knife to cut from the soil side up into the grass. This will leave a flat edge.

Start by place a perimeter layer around buildings, curbs, sidewalks, and driveways. Fill in the yard, running sod across slopes. If the lawn is flat, lay down sod in the longest lengths possible. Butt seams together, pushing them tightly to remove any gap. You may need to lift and fold the ends in together.

Work toward the middle of the lawn, using small pieces for the center. The fewer seams you have near the edge of the lawn, the less likely the sod will dry out.

Once the yard is covered, fill in gaps with soil and use a lawn roller to push the underside of the sod against the underlying dirt.

Connecting the Sod to the Soil

Stop all lawn traffic for three weeks, including kids and pets. If possible, avoid any foot or vehicle traffic for 6 weeks to give the sod the best chance to take hold.

Give the lawn short, frequent watering to get roots started, transitioning to longer, heavier watering to encourage deep root growth. The top three to four inches of soil should remain moist over the next month or so.

Wait at least a month before mowing the yard. At this point, the grass should be at least three inches tall. Using a walk-behind mower will be easier on the sod.

Everything You Need for Your Billy Goat Turf Equipment in One Place

Billygoatparts.com is a certified dealer for Billy Goat and their manufacturing partners, so we’re able to ship anything you need for your equipment to any address in the U.S. or Canada. Our site has factory diagrams and descriptions built in, letting you find exactly what you need for your specific model.

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How and When to Replace Aerator Tines

Billy-Goat-Aerator

The tines on your Billy Goat aerator cut into the soil to relieve compaction, so their condition determines how effectively you can aerate. How do you know when it’s time to replace the tines, and how do you do it?

When Should I Replace a Tine?

Tines are made from alloys that are self-scouring, so they always have a sharp edge. However, impacts with rocks can roll the edge inward, widening the area that makes contact with the soil. Hard impacts can bend the tine, so it can’t punch through turf effectively. Either way, the tine will be less effective. If you avoid these problems, metal wear will eventually decrease the tine length. As a general rule, tines should be replaced if they’re one inch shorter than they were when new.

For the best performance, check the condition of the tines before you put your aerator to work. To increase the life of your tines, clean them after every use.

Replacing a Single Tine on AE400 Series and AET Towable Aerators

Chock the wheels before working any towable aerator.

1. Raise the tines to the transport position.
2. Loosen the outermost nut and carriage bolt followed by the innermost nut and carriage bolt. Do not remove these parts.
3. Use a flathead screwdriver or small pry bar to push apart the tine plates.
4. Slide the tine out of the reel.
5. Slide in the new tine and tighten the innermost carriage bolt.
6. Tighten down the outermost carriage bolt.

Replacing Multiple Tines on AE400 Series and AET Towable Aerators

1. Support the tine reel and remove the two pairs of bolts and nuts holding the tine reel bearings. Remove the four bolts and nuts, two on each side, holding the tine reel bearings in place.
2. Lift the reel up and move it to the side to separate it from the drive chain.
3. Remove the cotter pin and nut at the end of the tine reel shaft.
4. Remove the tine rows and spacers to access and replace the worn tines, keeping track of the order the spacers go on the tine reel.
5. Reassemble the tine reel in the order it was assembled.
6. Tighten the nut that holds the tines and spacers on the shaft, torquing it to 100 lb-ft. Try to move the tine rows by hand to make sure they’re fixed in place.
7. Slide the tine reel back into the aerator, fitting the drive chain over the cog.
8. Reinstall the bolts and nuts that hold in the tine reel bearings.

Replacing Tines on the AE1300 Series

On this model, Billy Goat recommends replacing tines in pairs to keep the arms balanced.

1. Remove the 3/8 inch bolt that passes through the tine arm assembly.
2. Pull out the worn tines.
3. Inspect the bolt. If it’s damaged, replace it with a Grade 8 bolt with the same thread pitch.
4. Place a washer on the tine holder and the new tine on the bolt. Install these parts on the tine arm with the open side of the tine facing the back of the aerator. Once the bolt is through the tine arm, repeat the process, sliding on another tine and tine holder.
5. Once everything is in place, install the washer and lock nut. Over-tightening the nut can bend the tine holders.

Get the Parts You Need to Keep Your Equipment Running

Billygoatparts.com has everything you need for your aerator including tines, small parts, and major components, and we can ship those parts to any address in the US or Canada. Our search engine can find parts based on your aerator’s model and serial number, and it can show you where each part fits on your machine using factory diagrams. Need engine parts? We’re also a certified dealer for Honda, Subaru and Briggs & Stratton so we can provide you with replacements for everything on your Billy Goat equipment.

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Aerating Pasture

Billy Goat Tow Behind Aerator

Aerating is a normal part of lawn care, but its use isn’t as clear for pastures. Mature grass, varying vehicle traffic and an emphasis on yields over appearance change the rate of compaction and the best strategies to deal with it. How do you know when your pasture should be aerated, and what problems can be mistaken for compacted soil?

Do I Need to Aerate?

In most cases, probably not. Lawns need frequent aeration because they’re often subject to heavy foot and vehicle traffic. Couple this with grass that has shallow roots and new growth from overseeding, and it doesn’t take much surface compaction to cause issues.

Pasture can also experience compaction from heavy vehicle traffic and cattle trampling. This creates a hardpan at the surface of the soil. However, long-established pasture grasses will have root systems that extend past this area and will be mostly unaffected. Compaction resistance varies between grass varieties, but Bahiagrass stands out for being nearly impervious to surface compaction. Remember that unlike a lawn, these grasses may have had decades to establish root systems. Aerating any pasture will cause a brief increase in growth by redistributing soil nutrients, but total yields may be lower than normal if compaction wasn’t an issue.

How can you tell if you have compacted soil? Results from penetrometers can vary significantly based on soil moisture, so it’s better to look for signs that the roots aren’t penetrating the soil and for soil conditions that can lead to compaction, particularly heavy clay soil.

Do I Have Clay Soil?

Unlike climate, soil makeup varies widely across the country. While you may be able to find your land on a soil map, you can be sure of your soil’s makeup by testing it directly.

The simplest test is to simply dig up some dry soil, wet it, and squeeze it in your hand. Lift up one end of the soil ball. If it stays together, it’s clay soil. If it crumbles, it’s sandy soil.

To get more information on soil composition, get a quart-size mason jar and add a half cup of dry soil and a tablespoon of salt. Add water until the jar is about two-thirds full, screw on the lid, and shake it for a minute or two. Let the jar sit overnight.

The soil should separate into three distinct layers: the bottom is sand, the middle is silt, and the top is clay. By measuring each layer, you can estimate the proportion of clay in your soil. If over half of the soil is clay, you have heavy clay soil.

Why does the soil settle this way? It has to do with weight: sand has the largest particles, while clay has the smallest. The smaller the particle size, the easier it is for the soil to collapse on itself, leading to compaction and drainage problems.

Problems that are Mistaken for Compaction

If your pasture has sandy soil, poor drainage is usually the result of two causes:

Dry summer weather can lead to soil aggregation. The soil is still permeable, but it’s hard because it’s dry. This problem should go away with rain or irrigation.

Thatch buildup can keep water from reaching the soil, causing the same issues as compacted soil. In extreme cases, roots can grow into the thatch, making the grass weaker and more susceptible to problems with hardpan.

Tips for Aerating

Using a towable AET Series trailer is a lot like using a walk-behind aerator: the ground needs to be moist for the best performance, and it takes two passes in opposing directions to get maximum relief.

If you have a folding model, no additional weight is needed if the wings are folded up. If the wings are folded down, add cinder blocks or sandbags to the top of the aerator to help push down the tines. Modular units come with jugs that should be loaded on top of the aerator and filled with water before use.

Have a unit with swiveling tines? Keep the tine stars locked once the trailer is lined up for a pass, then unlock the tines when it’s time to turn. If the tines are fixed, lift them out of the ground before turning. Otherwise, the tines will tear through the soil as they’re forced to spin faster than they need to match the ground speed.

Keep Your Equipment Working

Billygoatparts.com is a Billy Goat dealer, so we’re able to offer replacement parts for anything on their equipment from tines to major components. Our site can show you parts that fit your specific model along with factory parts diagrams and descriptions, making it easy to find exactly what you need. We ship across the US and Canada.

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Stopping Brown Grass

Stopping Brown GrassWhen trying to keep a well-manicured lawn, there’s nothing quite as frustrating as having brown grass. Unfortunately, this is merely a symptom that can be caused by anything from poor mowing practices to fungal infections. Here’s how you can find the root cause and fix it.

Dull Mower Blades

When a dull mower blade strikes the grass, it tears off the top instead of slicing it. This damages the grass and leaves it open to infection. If you see jagged edges on the tips of the grass, it’s time to sharpen your blades.

Scalping

If the mower is set too low, the blades will cut so much of grass that it will have a hard time recovering.
Low cutting will also slice into crowns, damaging the base of the plant and its connection to the root system.

Most turf grasses are healthiest if they’re kept to a length of 1.5-2 inches, while some varieties like tall fescue and St. Augustine need to be kept between 2-3 inches. When mowing, the grass will recover faster if you trim no more than 1/3 of the total height at one time.

Compacted Soil

If the soil is too hard for roots to penetrate, the grass won’t get the nutrients it needs. It’s common for pooling water on compacted soil to grow moss alongside brown grass. Compacted soil on slopes will let water slide off, causing erosion along the base of the hill that further damages the root system.

Thatch

If this surface layer of dead plant matter is over ½ inch thick, the amount of air and water that reaches the root system is reduced and those roots can grow up into the thatch.

Mulching grass will boost the growth of microorganisms, and in turn these tiny creates will eat the thatch, keeping it from getting too thick. Thicker growth will need to be removed with a dethatcher.

Dormancy

High heat and drought conditions will cause grass to go dormant, turning it brown but keeping it alive. If this happens, wait until temperatures drop before watering the grass. Trying to bring it out of hibernation too soon can leave the grass unprotected against heat. To prevent dormancy, keep the lawn watered and let the grass grow taller to act as a sunshade.

Fertilizer Burn

The nutrients in fertilizer come in the form of salts. Add too much, and these can suck the water out of plants, leaving them brown and dry. Burn can appear a day or two after fertilizing with standard fertilizers, or as long as two weeks later with slow release fertilizers.

To prevent burn, get a soil test so you can apply exactly what the plants need and nothing more. Slow-release formulas are less likely to cause burn than standard fertilizers.

To reverse the effects of burn, scoop up as much of the fertilizer as possible, and keep the soil moist to wash away excess nutrients.

Animal Waste

Dog urine, bird feces and anything else that comes out of the rear end of an animal is high in nitrogen, causing localized burn. You can reduce the effects from your pets by keeping them hydrated, having them pee in different parts of the yard and watering those areas to dilute the nitrogen.

Fungus

Brown spots not caused fertilizer burn are usually the result of mold. There are four types of mold that are common on lawns, each with its own symptoms:

  • Brown patch – Brown spots covering an area three to 16 feet in diameter
  • Take-all root rot – Brown-yellow spots with small black dots on the underside of grass blades
  • Dollar spot – Small brown spots under 6 inches in diameter
  • Snow mold – Grayish patches that show up in early spring

Managing soil compaction and thatch build-up will keep the soil from getting overly moist, preventing the spread of fungus.

Dead Sod

There’s not much you can do if your newly-laid sod dies off, but there are ways you can ensure its success. This starts by adding fertilizer to the soil before laying the sod. Once the sod is on the turf, water it daily for the first week to encourage shallow root growth, then slowly increase time between watering to encourage deeper root growth.

Avoid vehicle and foot traffic, and wait at least 48 hours between the last watering or rain before the first mow. If the ground is disturbed before the roots have worked their way into the soil, the sod can separate from the underlying soil.

Keep Your Equipment Ready to Manage Lawn Problems

If you own an aerator, sod cutter, dethatcher or anything else made by Billy Goat, you can get the parts and accessories you need from www.billygoatparts.com. We’re a certified dealer for Billy Goat as well as the engine and equipment manufacturers they work with, so we’re able to offer replacements for everything on your equipment. We ship to both the U.S. and Canada.

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Cleaning Swimming Pools with Your Pressure Washer

Maintaining Your Pressure Washer’s Pump

There’s more to pressure washing a swimming pool than spraying it down. Some surfaces can be damaged by the force of the water jet, and added complications arise from algae growth. These tips will help you use your Billy Goat pressure washer to get a clean, growth-free surface.

Is it Safe to Clean My Pool with a Pressure Washer?

The pool needs to be made of material that’s strong enough to withstand the force of the water jet. Plaster, gray concrete, stained concrete and exposed aggregate concrete pools can be cleaned this way, but the surface of vinyl and fiberglass pools can be damaged by your pressure washer.

Preparing the Pool for Pressure Washing

There are a few things you need to do to your pool beforehand to get the best results. Start by draining the pool and letting the surface dry out. Any surface water will be in the way of the blast from the nozzle, reducing its cleaning power. Sweep up any leaves, twigs and other debris that have collected in the pool. Finally, cover all electrical components including pumps, heaters, lights and speakers to keep water from seeping into the wiring.

Cleaning

Start with straight water, working from the tops of the walls down to the floor of the pool. It may be easier to work in sections so you can keep track of what you’ve cleaned. In most cases, the 25 degree (green) tip has enough power to strip off dirt without damaging the surface, while the 15 degree (yellow) tip can be used for stubborn areas.

With the surface dirt removed, switch to a general purpose pressure washer detergent. Work from the bottom up to prevent streaks. Let the soap soak in for the dwell time specified on the label, typically 5 to 10 minutes.

Use a low pressure nozzle to rinse off the detergent, working from the top of the walls down to the floor, pushing the residue toward the drain.

Dealing with Algae

Algae isn’t just unsightly: it creates a slick surface that can cause accidents. Your pressure washer can peel off layers of growth, but even with thorough cleaning, the pool surface will remain stained. To get rid of these spots, switch to a detergent formulated specifically for algae removal.

To prevent algae growth, the surface of the pool needs to be cleaned with bleach. Never run bleach through your pressure washer’s soap system: this chemical can corrode metal components and destroy rubber seals. Instead, apply a mix of one part bleach to four parts water by hand to the surface of the pool. Be sure to scrub areas that have high levels of algae contamination. After 10 minutes, the bleach solution can be rinsed off using a light spray from your pressure washer. This process should kill off any remaining spores, no matter what type of algae was growing in your pool.

Get Everything You Need for Your Billy Goat Straight from Your Browser

www.billygoatparts.com is more than a parts warehouse: we’re a certified dealer for Billy Goat and their suppliers including CAT Pumps, AR, Honda and Briggs & Stratton. That means we can ship the OEM parts you need to maintain your pressure washer to any address in the U.S. or Canada. Finding the right part is easy, too: our site can show you parts diagrams and factory descriptions for your model so you can see exactly what you’re ordering.

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Finding the Right Oil for Your Billy Goat Equipment

Subaru

How do you know you’re using the right oil in your Billy Goat? With different lubricants needed for engines, gearboxes, chains and other parts of your equipment, it can get confusing. Here’s what you need to know about oil classifications and which products will work best to keep everything lubricated.

Motor Oil

Honda, Subaru, Vanguard and Briggs & Stratton recommend using gasoline motor oil in their engines. Oils tested by the American Petroleum Institute (API) have a service symbol, nicknamed the “donut,” on the back label. This lists all the information you need to find the right oil for your engine.

The top of the donut lists the service category. Oil for gasoline engines have categories starting with “S.” New standards surpass the requirements of old standards, so it’s safe to use a modern SN oil in an engine that requires an earlier API service category like SJ. The center lists the SAE oil weight. If there is one number, that’s the viscosity of the oil over a wide range of temperatures. “W” stands for “winter.” The number in front of the “W” is the viscosity at 32ºF, while the number after the “W” is the viscosity at 212ºF. For most engines, 10W30 is recommended for most temperature ratings, while 30 weight oil can be used in warm weather.

International oils are typically ILSAC-certified. Their classifications have more focus on fuel economy, so API adds “Energy Conserving” to the bottom of the donut if the oil also meets the equivalent ILSAC certification. These oils reduce friction, but on a level that’s only noticeable in a fleet of vehicles: choosing an Energy Conserving oil won’t noticeably reduce the amount of fuel your equipment uses.

Gear Oils

API grades most gear oils using “GL” service categories. The higher the classification, the more additives the oil has to withstand high pressure and temperatures. However, these additives can damage brass, copper and other materials used in differentials and transmissions. While there are special formulations that are safe for these metals, the easiest way to ensure the safety of your equipment is to use the exact category specified in the manual. GL-3 is the most common gear oil used in Billy Goat equipment.

Oil weight is rated the same as it is with engine oil. Some transmissions and differentials require non-detergent oil. Detergent additives help keep engines clean, but they can foam up in or leave a sticky film on gears, reducing lubrication. These oils will have “Non-Detergent” clearly printed on the label.

Light Oil

Light oil is recommended for lubricating wheels, chains, and cables. This category includes several types of lubricants:

General purpose lubricating oil
Non-wax chain lubricant
Non-detergent oil
Silicone spray lubricant
Electric motor oil

Water displacers and penetrating fluids including WD-40 and Liquid Wrench are not lubricants. They can be used to get parts moving again, but they need to be followed up with a light oil to keep the part moving freely.

Grease

Grease is oil emulsified with soap to create a lubricant that stays put wherever it’s applied. Grease standards are handled by yet another industry group, the National Lubricating Grease Institute, or “NLGI.” They have a grading system based on how thick the grease is: Grade 2, recommended by Billy Goat for lubricating bearings and pivot points, is the most common grade and has a consistency similar to peanut butter. Multipurpose lithium-based grease is recommended, but better performing greases like marine and automotive formulas can be used as long as they’re still Grade 2.

Pressure Washer Pump Oil

There isn’t a specific standard for pressure washer oil. Both AR and CAT make oils specifically for their pumps, providing long-lasting protection when exposed to moisture and high temperatures. In a pinch, SAE 20 non-detergent oil or ISO 68 oil can be used, but it will need to be changed more frequently. Your pump owner’s manual will list the recommended service intervals for both standard and pump-specific oil.

Get the Parts You Need for Your Billy Goat Equipment

Billygoatparts.com is a certified dealer for Billy Goat and their manufacturing partners, making us your one-stop shop for everything you need for your equipment including oil filters and other tune-up parts. Our search engine can find parts based on your model and serial number so you can be sure you’re ordering exactly what you need. We ship across the U.S. and Canada.

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Fuel and Your Billy Goat Equipment

lawn care clean up

Today, gasoline is formulated for modern automobile engines, and those engines have less and less in common with small engines. This is causing a range of problems in outdoor equipment including corrosion and varnishing that can keep the engine from running.

Fuel With Ethanol

Ethanol is a popular fuel additive because it’s knock resistant, giving fuel manufactures a way to increase octane ratings without using MTBE, a carcinogenic additive that’s banned in several states.

Ethanol contains dissolved oxygen, and it’s hygroscopic, so it absorbs water over time. This leads to acid formation that can cause corrosion. That’s not a problem in regularly used engines, but most small engines are only used seasonally, and some Billy Goat equipment including dethatchers and debris loaders only see use during a few weeks out of the year. If ethanol is left in the fuel tank, the corrosion can damage the carburetor and ruin the jets. This has lead owners to associating all fuel problems with ethanol, but simply switching to “pure gas” isn’t enough.

Fuels Without Ethanol

If you use fuel that doesn’t contain ethanol, you’ll avoid corrosion. Unfortunately, it sets up a whole new set of problems. Since ethanol is a solvent, it slows down the formation of gums and varnish. Standard gasoline doesn’t have anything in it that does the same job, it ages quickly, leaving a sticky mess that clogs the carburetor jets and fuel lines. In the end, the engine will have the same problems, but from a different source.

Avoiding Fuel Problems

Choosing between gas with or without ethanol doesn’t matter nearly as much as handling that fuel correctly. Always start with fresh gasoline. Untreated fuel can be used up to one month from purchase if stored correctly.

If you aren’t certain that the gas will be used within one month, mix it with a stabilizer as soon as you buy it. This will slow down degradation, but it won’t stop it. Honda and Subaru recommend draining stabilized fuel from the engine if it’s over three months old, while Briggs & Stratton says their engines can be stored with stabilized fuel for up to 24 months. If you’re adding stabilized fuel before storing your equipment, let your engine run 5-10 minutes to pull it through the fuel system. Unlike other manufacturers, Briggs & Stratton gives the same recommendations for their fuel-injected engines, including the Vanguard EFI used in the DL3700V loader.

Do what you can to reduce contact between fuel, air, and water. Keeping fuel cans and tanks full and sealed will prevent moisture from collecting inside the tank and reduces air contact, slowing oxidation.

Identifying and Dealing with Stale Fuel

All fuel should be used or drained before it goes stale. Before putting the equipment in storage, drain the fuel tank and run the engine to remove any gasoline left in the carburetor. If you have some gasoline you’re not sure about, pour a little into a clear glass and compare it with some fresh fuel. If the stored fuel is noticeably darker, it’s stale.

Most Honda engines have a drain plug on the base of the carburetor, while fuel systems on other engines can usually be drained by disconnecting the fuel line from the carburetor. It may be easier to use a siphon pump to drain the tank if the engine is mounted in a hard-to-reach area. Keep in mind that there will still be stale fuel in the fuel line and carburetor. Start the engine and let it run until it stalls to remove the last of this gasoline.

Stale gas can be safely added to your car’s fuel tank. It will be diluted by the fresh fuel already inside the tank, and the fuel injectors are less sensitive to stale fuel so it will burn safely.

All the Parts You Need are Just a Few Clicks Away

Whether you need to buy a new belt or rebuild a carburetor, you can get everything you need for your Billy Goat from www.billygoatparts.com. We’re not just a Billy Goat dealer, we’re a dealer for all of their manufacturing partners including Honda and Vanguard, so we carry the parts you need to fix the engines that power your equipment. Our search engine lets you match up part numbers with exploded diagrams so you can find anything from the small seals to major components. We ship to both the U.S. and Canada.

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The Science of Aerating

The Science of Aerating

What does aerating do? Is it really necessary? How does soil become compacted in the first place? Here’s what you need to know to understand why and when you should aerate your lawn.

Weight and Turf Wear

Whether it’s from foot traffic or vehicles, placing weight on turf has three negative effects:

1. Direct wear on the blades of grass through crushing and bruising

2. Damage to the root system through soil displacement

3. Compaction, which eliminates spaces and air channels in the surface soil

All three types of damage are inter-related. If the ground is compacted, the root system won’t be deep enough to recover from soil displacement. If the root system isn’t in good shape, it can’t support the top half of the plant to repair damage. Damage the blades, and the roots can’t get the fuel they need to grow into the soil.

Why Does Soil Compact?

In nature, soil is aerated by insects, worms and other organisms that burrow through the soil. That’s fine for wilderness areas, but human activity can out-pace this natural soil care.

For residential lawns, heavy foot traffic is a major contributor. Sometimes, it’s just part of having kids play in the yard, while other times it can be avoided by adding a walkway to keep people off of the grass.

Soft cleats do less damage than the metal cleats of the past, but more aggressive designs have led to increased soil displacement and compaction, especially on golf greens. This has lead to a sort of arms race with companies introducing more aggressive designs that improve performance, only to be banned when groundskeepers have to deal with increased lawn damage. Even with this problem, most turf damage on golf courses is caused by carts.

Compacted soil is good if you’re trying to make a sturdy support for footings and foundations, but the soil compactor will need to roll over the lawn to get into the work area. Add in trucks, backhoes and other heavy equipment going to and from the work site, and newly constructed areas can end up with hardpan extending to the surface of the soil. If you’re installing sod around new buildings, it’s imperative that the underlying dirt is aerated so that new roots can penetrate and grow into the soil.

The Effects of Compacted Soil

Compaction causes non-capillary spaces to disappear while capillary spaces increase, changing how water flows through the soil. In the summer, water will drain off quickly, leading to drought injuries. In the winter, the soil will hold water, keeping temperatures lower for longer. This extends dormancy in warm season grasses. Compacted surface soil also causes water to pool instead of flowing into the ground, causing direct damage to plants and promoting mold growth.

Wear tolerance is usually solved by overseeding with a resistant grass variety, but it’s also influenced by compaction. Without a good root system and support for the grass’ crowns or runners, the leaves take longer to recover from damage no matter how hearty the variety is.

Access to oxygen is needed for root growth and to support microorganisms that digest thatch and break down materials into plant-usable nutrients. When spaces inside the soil are removed, this oxygen diffusion decreases.

Some weeds thrive in compacted soil, including dandelions and nettles, pushing out turf grass. Aerating reduces the need for herbicides.

Core vs Liquid Aeration

A core or spike aerator only penetrates the first few inches of soil. This is where most compaction happens, and it’s the layer of soil that has the greatest effect on the health of grass root systems.

Liquid aeration uses chemicals to soak into the soil and break it up. This treatment can reach deeper than core aeration, but it’s not effective for surface compaction and can take several applications to be effective. Even if liquid aeration is needed, the lawn will usually need to be core aerated first to get the chemicals to penetrate the soil.

Keep Your Billy Goat Aerator In Action

These problems can be solved with a couple passes by your Billy Goat aerator, and with help from www.billygoatparts.com, you can be sure your equipment is ready to work. We’re a certified dealer for Billy Goat and their manufacturing partners. That means you can get parts for your aerator and its engine shipped to your door from one source no matter where you are in the U.S. or Canada.

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