Why is EFI a Good Choice for Debris Loaders?

Why is EFI a Good Choice for Debris Loaders?Carburetors may be simple, but they come with a lot of disadvantages. They need a lot of fuel, they’re temperamental, and they have problems with modern gasoline. That’s why Billy Goat chose to equip their DL37 debris loader with Vanguard’s Big Block EFI engine. If you’re looking for a high output debris loader, there are plenty of reasons why you should choose this fuel-injected model.

How Does it Work?

For the most part, Briggs & Stratton’s EFI system works like the one used in your car. In fact, it was co-developed with Delphi, one of the world’s largest automotive parts suppliers.

An electronic control unit (ECU) gets information from an engine speed sensor and a manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor. This tells the ECU exactly how fast the engine is running, and how much air is entering the engine.

A high-pressure fuel pump attached to the side of the engine pushes fuel into the injectors. The ECU activates the injectors to get the right amount of fuel to match the incoming air while maintaining engine RPM. During the exhaust cycle, an oxygen sensor tells the ECU how much fuel is being burned. This lets the computer make adjustments to keep the air/fuel ration balanced.

What are the Benefits of EFI?

For commercial lawn care businesses, fuel is the biggest operating cost next to labor. By delivering just the right amount of fuel at all times, EFI engines use about 25% less fuel than their carburetor-equipped counterparts. Using the onboard sensors, the ECU can lean out the fuel mixture under light loads without increasing engine temperatures, saving even more fuel on equipment that idles frequently, like a debris loader.

If you work in high altitudes, you don’t have to install a high altitude kit to get the engine to run. The ECU automatically trims fuel to match the incoming air.

Fuel injectors spray fuel to mix it with air, while carburetors depend on airflow to atomize and mix fuel into the air. In cold weather, this makes it much easier to start a fuel-injected engine.

By better matching the fuel mixture with operating conditions, an EFI engine can make more power. While peak horsepower is only a little higher, the torque curve is much wider than a carbureted engine. Since the ECU can react almost instantly to load changes, there’s also less throttle droop.

Precision fuel control also reduces exhaust emissions, so the engine meets the most stringent regulations.

The added electronics also make engine problems easier to diagnose. Basic error information can be displayed using blink codes. In diagnosis mode, the “check engine” light blinks a number of times to indicate the error. For major repairs, a shop technician can use a scanner to get error codes from the ECU or hook it up to a computer to get a full readout of engine information, including fuel pressure and RPM.

Why is EFI the Right Choice for a Debris Loader?

The Vanguard EFI Big Block was designed with large mowers in mind, but it’s perfect for use in Billy Goat’s DL37:

– Debris loaders are used infrequently, making stale fuel resistance a major plus.

EFI is better at burning stale fuel, which simplifies storage. Instead of draining the tank and running the engine until the carburetor is dry, this engine can be stored with fuel in the tank. Just add a fuel stabilizer, run the engine for 10-15 minutes, and top off the tank.

– Loaders see peak usage in the fall for leaf cleanup. An EFI engine is easier to start on cold autumn mornings.

The ECU automatically adjusts the fuel mixture, so there’s no choke to deal with. The engine always gets the exact amount of fuel it needs, making for easy starts whether the engine is warm or cold. This also takes the load off of the battery and starter, since it takes less cranking to get the engine going.

– Due to its size, a debris loader is one of the most demanding pieces of equipment that most landscapers will own. Better fuel economy can mean significant cost savings for the entire operation.

– Less throttle droop helps the engine recover as heavy clumps reach the impeller. This keeps performance consistent and prevents stalling.

If You Have a Billy Goat, We Have the Parts and Accessories You Need

Billy Goat Parts is a certified Briggs & Stratton Vanguard dealer. That means we can supply you with parts for your equipment as well as the engines that power them. Need something simple, like spark plugs or an air filter? We have a section for commonly needed parts. Looking for other components? Our search engine can show you diagrams and parts descriptions from the factory for your specific model, taking the guesswork out of ordering. Visit us at www.billygoatparts.com. We can have your order delivered to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

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Protecting Your Billy Goat from Rust

protecting your Billy Goat from rustIt’s one thing to have something break on your Billy Goat from wear and tear. It’s another to pull your machine out of storage and find you have frozen cables, sticky levers, and spark plugs that don’t want to leave their cylinders. How can you keep rust from damaging your equipment?

The Four Types of Rust and Their Causes

Not all rust is alike. Identifying the type of rust on your machine can tell you how it formed, and what you need to do to prevent it.

Red rust is a ferric oxide. It forms when iron is exposed to high levels of moisture and oxygen. Ferric oxide molecules are larger than iron, so it forms expanding layers on the surface of metal components. Eventually, these layers flake off, exposing more iron to oxygen. More rust is created, and more metal is lost. This makes it the most damaging type of rust.

Yellow rust is iron oxide-hydroxide. It forms when the iron is submerged, typically from water dripping into cracks and crevices on metal parts. This is common on poorly covered equipment and on cables surrounded by housings.

Brown rust is a type of iron oxide. This rust forms in spots on contaminated metal parts, usually in environments with high humidity. This type of rust is commonly found on unprotected bearings.

Black rust is another type of iron oxide. It forms on parts exposed to moisture, but not oxygen. This may show up beneath red rust, or on parts caked in dirt.

Manufacturing Strategies for Stopping Rust

The battle against rust starts at the factory.

If the oxygen can’t reach the metal, the metal can’t rust. Painting a metal part seals the surface. Chrome creates a hard layer on handles, but it’s expensive and doesn’t work well in all environments.

Stainless steel contains chromium, which bonds more readily with oxygen than iron does. The result is chromium oxide, which creates a protective layer. As long as there’s plenty of chromium left in the steel, the metal is rustproof. This makes it the best choice for control cables. However, stainless steel can’t handle high temperatures well, so it’s not used for engine components.

Lubricants don’t just reduce friction, they also block and absorb moisture. That’s why Billy Goat uses and recommends waterproof grease for their bearings and axles.

Preventing Rust on your Equipment

Stopping rust is easier than removing it. Here’s how you can keep your equipment rust-free during use and storage.

-Keep your equipment clean and dry
Lawn vacuums and debris loaders move dusty materials, so they need frequent cleaning. Never use a pressure washer on your equipment, and use only dry brushes and rags when cleaning the engine. Otherwise, you may contaminate grease and oil with water.

The core tines on your aerator should eject cores during use. If the tines are clogged with dirt after use, they may be worn out.

– Use touch-up paint
Briggs & Stratton and Honda Engines both offer small bottles of paint to cover up chips. If rust has already formed, remove it with a wire brush or apply a rust converting primer before applying the paint.

– Keep grease fresh
Dry grease shrinks and flakes away from bearings, exposing them to the elements. Contaminated grease can hold moisture against metal components. Adding new grease pushes out old grease and moisture.

– Apply oil to bare metal surfaces
Before you store your equipment, spray fogging oil over exposed metal. This oil leaves a protective film that blocks oxygen and moisture.

– Lubricate cables before storage
Water displacers like WD-40 do exactly that: they push water away from components. They don’t provide protection or lubrication. Instead, coat the cables in silicone lubricant or a non-detergent oil to create a protective barrier.

– Keep chains clean and oiled
Billy Goat walk-behind aerators use a partially exposed chain drive to the wheels. Use an aerosol chain cleaner and brush to remove oil and dirt, then apply a chain oil. Do not use chainsaw bar oil. This extra-tacky oil will make dirt cling to the chain, increasing wear.

– Seal the combustion chamber
When you’re ready to store your equipment, gently pull the starter handle until you feel resistance. This positions the valvetrain so that both the intake and exhaust valves are closed.

– Choose your storage location carefully
While storing equipment outdoors isn’t great, putting a tarp over it can be worse. This can trap moisture against metal components, promoting rust. If you can, keep your Billy Goat equipment in a shed or a carport.

Everything Thing You Need to Fix Your Billy Goat Straight from Your Browser

Billy Goat Parts is a certified dealer for Billy Goat and their partners including Briggs & Stratton, Subaru Power, and Honda Engines. That means you can get replacements for everything on your equipment from one place. Ordering is easy, too: just select your model and serial number, and our site will show you what will fit. There are even factory diagrams, so you can see exactly what you’re ordering. Visit us at www.billygoatparts.com. We ship across the United States and Canada.

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Creating a Lawn Care Schedule

Building a lawn from scratchSpring might be a few months away, but it’s still time to start thinking about your lawn. What problems did you have last year? Are there any landscaping projects you want to tackle? Are there things you need to improve to get the lawn you want? Here’s what you should be planning for in the year ahead.

The Main Components of Lawn Care

There are 5 main components of lawn care. Each one of these interacts with the others, influencing the growth and health of your lawn:

Watering – Grass needs water to thrive. Irrigation needs will vary depending on the grass varieties that make up your lawn. Watering must be balanced with rainfall to prevent the soil from turning into mud.

Fertilizing: To get the best results, soil samples should be sent in for testing two or three weeks ahead of time. From there, you can choose a fertilizer formula that can deliver what your grass needs. Have a Billy Goat overseeder? You can also use it to drop pelletized fertilizer.

Overseeding -After three or four years, grass matures and starts to thin out. Overseeding establishes new grass that fills in the gaps, creating a lush lawn.

Aerating and Dethatching – Compacted soil and thick thatch blocks water, sunlight, and oxygen. They can also lead to problems with insects, slow growth and weeds. If you need to do either frequently, it’s a sign that something else is wrong with your yard. Reducing foot and vehicle traffic can stop compaction, while better mulching and fertilizer practices reduce thatch.

Mowing – Grass needs to be short for seeds and fertilizer to reach the soil, and long to shade the soil in hot weather. Each cut should remove no more than 1/3 of the grass height. Otherwise, it will have problems recovering.

Here’s how you can break these tasks down into seasons.

Winter

Catch up on maintenance: Now is a great time to repair equipment, add accessories, and ready it for the growing season.

Remove brush: With plants either dead or in hibernation, this is the easiest time to do some brush cutting.

Clean up your lawn: Once the snow melts and the soil dries out, you’ll find your lawn covered in leaves, branches and other debris. Removing this debris now will uncover grass so it can grow.

Spring

Apply pre-emergent herbicides: These herbicides prevent weeds from sprouting, and they’re the only effective herbicide against crabgrass.

Aerate: Open up the soil to water, sunlight and oxygen. Correct compaction caused by foot traffic and vehicles over the winter.

Overseed warm-season grasses: Is your lawn looking patchy? Now is the time to lay down seed for warm grasses. Herbicides hinder new grass growth, so plan on at least a month between weed treatment and seeding.

Fertilize: Putting down fertilizer as the grass starts growing gives it a boost. This helps establish new grass and gives older plants the chance to store nutrients needed to weather peak summer temperatures.

Summer

Look for grubs: Grub worms show up in late May or early June. The presence of a few grubs is fine. However, if you start seeing lawn damage and can count more than 10 worms in a square foot of lawn, you need to apply an insecticide.

Remove weeds: Physically remove weeds or apply post-emergent herbicides to stop them from spreading across your lawn.

Mowing: Grass growth is at its fastest in the early summer. You may need to mow more than once a week to maintain grass height without cutting too much at one time. Once the summer heat hits, keep the grass as long as possible. This helps it hold in moisture and deflect heat away from the soil.

Watering: Most grass varieties need an inch of water per week to stay active in the summer. Go for infrequent, heavy watering to help the water reach deep in the soil. If the grass goes dormant, reduce watering to one inch of water per month. This keeps the grass from exiting dormancy too early.

Fall

Dethatch: Thatch is at its peak in the early fall. If the thatch layer is over ½ inch thick, it needs to be removed.

Aerate: Having compaction issues? Aerating breaks up the soil, so the root system can get the water and air it needs.

Overseed cool-season grasses: Planting these grasses extends your lawn’s growing season.

Fertilize: While spring fertilizer helps grass survive the summer, fall fertilizing helps grass gather the nutrients needed to survive the winter.

Remove leaves: Decaying leaves are acidic, and they prevent grass from getting sunlight. Collected leaves can be used as mulch.

Get Ready for Spring with Help from Billy Goat Parts

Need to get your equipment ready for the new year? Billygoatparts.com is a certified dealer for Billy Goat as well as their partners including Honda Engines, Vanguard, Briggs & Stratton, and Subaru Power. That means you can order everything you need to get your Billy Goat equipment running from one place. We can ship parts and accessories to any address in the United States and Canada.

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Billy Goat’s New NextGen Debris Loaders

Billy Goat's New NextGen Debris LoadersBilly Goat may be a leader in the debris loader market, but they’re not about to rest on their laurels. The company recently released 5 new “NextGen” models, adding new technology that makes them more durable and less prone to breakdowns. Like their predecessors, they still deliver excellent debris compaction, a choice of powerful industrial engines, and the flexibility of Billy Goat’s CustomFit mounting system.

What’s New?

The exhaust chute uses a new design, adding a 10 gauge steel square section with a reinforced backplate. This gives the chute a longer service light without adding extra weight, so it isn’t any harder to position than the previous tube chute. The end of the chute is still round, so it’s compatible with extension attachments.

Inside the impeller housing, you’ll find a new poly housing liner. This liner is just as durable as the quarter-inch steel liner used in earlier models. However, if it somehow breaks loose of its bolts, it won’t jam the impeller and bend the engine shaft. It mounts to the housing walls using bolts that are not countersunk. This means when it’s time to replace the liner, you won’t have to dig out debris to reach the bolt heads.

A lot of things haven’t changed with these new models. You still get Billy Goat’s plate steel Piranha Blade impeller. It has serrated edges that chop up leaves and debris, reducing their mass up to 12:1 to fit more into each load. They’re also compatible with Billy Goat’s CustomFit system. This accessory line makes it easy to mount loaders to your tailgate, stake body bed, hitch receiver or trailer. You also have the option of bolting these loaders directly to flat surfaces using their built-in skid mounts.

The NextGen line includes updated versions of the DL13 entry-level loader, DL14, and 18 contractor loaders, and DL 29 and 37 Contractor/Municipal loaders.

Next Gen DL1302H

This small unit is ideal for loading up small trucks. A 13 HP Honda GX Series engine drives a 14.25-inch impeller, generating up to 2,100 CFM of airflow.

Next Gen DL1402SE and DL1802

Aimed at the heard of the contractor and property manager market, both the DL14 and DL18 have a 16 inch impeller moving air at a rate of 3,700 CFM.

The DL14 comes with a 14 HP Subaru EX Series engine, while the DL18’s 18 HP Vanguard V-Twin adds extra grunt to handle heavy debris. The DL1402SE and DL1802VE come with electric starters, while the DL1802V uses a recoil starter.

DL2901VE and DL3701VE

Aimed at the commercial and municipal markets, these debris loaders offer maximum capacity for big jobs. Both units use a 20-inch impeller.

The DL29’s 29 HP Vanguard V-Twin can spin the impeller fast enough to reach a peak of 4,400 CFM. Step up to the DL37, and you’ll get a 37 HP engine that helps the loader reach a peak output of 5,050 CFM. This engine comes equipped with electronic fuel injection, reducing fuel usage by up to 25% while making it easier to start in cold weather. Both models come standard with electric starters.

Accessories

Many of the accessories available for Billy Goats older loaders are compatible with this new lineup.

Need a little more reach for the exhaust chute? The flexible metallic hose kit uses a clear hose that makes it easy to find and remove clogs.

The chute extension uses the same square shape and thick wall construction as the new chutes. It adds 24 inches to the chute’s height on the DL29 and 37, and 15 5/8 inches of height on other models.

A rake holder can be added to the DL2901VE and DL3701VE to carry tools. These loaders are also compatible with the exhaust deflector, which makes it easier to aim debris into truck beds and trailers.

Billy Goat’s CustomFit system lets you choose the mounting system that works best with your truck and trailer setup. Small loaders can hang off of the tailgate using the hanger kit. The hitch receiver mount works with DL13, 14 and 18 loaders. A swing-away hitch can be added to either attachment, letting you move the loader out of the way for easy dumping. For stake beds, there’s a swing-away mount that bolts onto the truck bed. Prefer towing? These loaders can be mounted to the highway legal CustomFit trailer.

New or Old, Get the Parts You Need for Your Billy Goat at Billy Goat Parts

Billygoatparts.com is a certified dealer for Billy Goat as well as Honda Engines, Vanguard, and Subaru Power. That means you can get equipment parts, engine parts, and accessories from one place. We have sections for commonly needed items like impeller parts, or you can use our search engine to find parts for your specific model. We can ship your order to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

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Billy Goat’s 50th Anniversary: A Look Back

Billy Goat's 50th Anniversary: A Look BackIn 1969, two men opened a small factory to build a lawn vacuum. From there, this endeavor evolved into one of the top commercial equipment manufacturers, becoming a favorite with professional landscapers, municipal departments and rental companies. Here’s a look back at Billy Goat’s 50 years in the lawn care equipment business.

The Early Years: Entering a Burgeoning Specialty Market

The outdoor equipment industry was booming with innovation in the late 1960s. Companies were rolling out new devices that could speed up lawn care, creating the first versions of industry staples including ZTR mowers to string trimmers. Noticing this trend, Bill Coates and Mort Platt decided to get in on the action by opening a new division under Clipper Manufacturing. In 1969, Billy Goat started production of its first product, the KD-50 lawn vacuum.

This vacuum looks a lot like current models from its nozzle-mounted hose port and signature green paint. However, taking a closer look shows just how far lawn equipment technology has come in the past 50 years. This vacuum uses a 5 HP Briggs & Stratton L-head engine to spin a tiny impeller. It rolls on spoke wheels and uses all-metal construction. The result is something that was competitive in the 60s but is heavy, hard to roll and low on power compared to modern machines. It doesn’t even have a wear plate, limiting the machine’s service life.

In 1974, the business was relocated to Lee’s Summit, MO, just outside Kansas City. Using the new space, the company added walk-behind blowers to their offerings. 12 years later, the company introduced its first truck loader, giving the company a complete lineup of leaf and lawn debris tools.

The 90s and 2000s: From Debris Removal to Renovation

After success building debris tools, Billy Goat shifted from a being specialty manufacturer to one that could provide a wide range of tools needed by professionals. In 1992, they introduced the Grazor for pavement crack cleaning. The first Outback brushcutter came out in 1995, and the Renovation line started with power rakes in 1997. By 2004, the line included aerators, sod cutters, and overseeders, letting buyers choose Billy Goat for most of their turf equipment.

The Coates family bought out Mort Platt’s stake in 1993. Under their ownership, they expanded the plant and added Billy Goat University. Now a commonplace practice for manufacturers, this was one of the first manufacturer schools outside of the auto industry to offer product education to dealers, distributors, and customers.

The Modern Era: Acquisitions

In 2009, Billy Goat added more warehouse and manufacturing space. To expand their operations further, they started looking outside of the company.

Manufacturing specialist SourceOne tackled aerator turf damage issues by developing two unique solutions: cam-based reciprocating tines and swiveling tines stars. They sold equipment under the “PLUGR” brand for a while, but it wasn’t a good fit for a company that specialized in engineering consulting. Billy Goat stepped in, acquired PLUGR in 2014. By pairing the designs with Billy Goat’s own equipment expertise, the PLUGR became one of the most popular aerators on the market.

In 2015, Billy Goat was purchased by Briggs & Stratton. The acquisition is part of the manufacturer’s push beyond the homeowner market, alongside the launch of their Vanguard engine line and high output commercial generators. While Billy Goat remains mostly independent, they gained the financial and engineering backing of the second largest small engine manufacturer in the world. When Briggs bought Hurricane in 2018, they folded the company into Billy Goat’s operations. Their stand-on blowers are the perfect complement to Billy Goat’s advanced composite walk-behind models.

Despite these acquisitions, in-house development remains an important part of the company. Models continue to be updated with new technologies like composite construction and laser sintering. In 2019, Billy Goat introduced the first dedicated self-propelled post-hole auger on the market. Today, Billy Goat is the first or second most popular option in every equipment segment they’re involved in.

When You Need Parts for Your Billy Goat, Come to Us

Billygoatparts.com is more than an online retailer. We’re an authorized dealer for Billy Goat and their manufacturing partners, including Briggs & Stratton and Honda Engines. That means you can trust that you’ll always receive genuine OEM parts. For easy ordering, our site has sections for commonly needed parts, like aerator tines and air filters. Need something more specific? Our search engine has built-in factory parts diagrams and descriptions, so you can see exactly what you’re ordering. We also have online parts manuals for older models dating back to Billy Goat’s first vacuums. We ship across the United States and Canada.

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Using Your Billy Goat Equipment in Cold Weather

using your equipment in cold weatherWinter is here, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your Billy Goat equipment away. Brushcutters, debris loaders, and vacuums can be used to finish projects before the spring rush. However, you may run into some problems if you try to use them the same way you do in the summer. Here’s what you need to know to keep your equipment working in low temperatures.

Fuel

Fresh fuel is important all year, but it has added importance when temperatures dip. Winter gasoline blends are more volatile, which means they evaporate more easily at low temperatures. This makes it easier to start the engine. Instead of treating fuel with a stabilizer and buying it every two or three months, try to limit fuel purchases to a month’s supply or less. This guarantees you’ll have fresh, easy-to-ignite fuel for your engine.

Oil

When operating in low temperatures, your Billy Goat’s engine may need a thinner oil to get adequate lubrication. Each engine manufacturer has their own recommendations for their products:

– Honda recommends 5W-30 or 10W30 for cold weather use. Single weight oils like SAE 30 are only approved for use above 50°F.

– Subaru Power recommends 10W-30 for temperatures as low as 10°F, and 5W-30 for use below 32°F.

– Briggs & Stratton recently revised their oil recommendations for their own engines, as well as those in their commercial Vanguard line. They recommend synthetic 5W30 or 10W30 for all temperatures, conventional 10W30 for use as low as 32°F, and 5W30 conventional oil for temperature below 40°F. Vanguard 15W50 synthetic can be used at temperatures as low as 20°F.

Using Electric Starters

On one hand, thick oil and low temperatures make it harder to start an engine. On the other hand, battery output decreases as temperatures drop. At 14°F, a lead-acid battery can only produce half of its rated cranking amps. This can make it difficult or impossible to get the engine to start on electric power.

If you only plan on using your equipment occasionally, keep the battery indoors. If you use it frequently, consider using a battery warming blanket. By keeping the cells warm, the battery will have a higher output.

Constant cranking will burn out the starter motor. After cranking the starter for 5 seconds, wait 10 seconds before trying again.

If the electric starter won’t work, or the battery is weak, you can always start the engine by hand. Billy Goat’s electric start models, including their brush mowers, debris loaders and leaf blowers, all have backup recoil starters. To start the engine, pull the recoil starter gently until you feel resistance. Give the handle a hard pull to kick over the engine.

Warming Up

Carburetors use a choke to restrict airflow. This makes the air/fuel ratio richer by adding less air, which helps the engine warm up. Once the engine is warm, the added fuel reduces power. Opening the choke returns the air/fuel mixture back to normal, so your machine is ready to work.

You may barely notice this happening on automatic choke engines in the summer, while manual chokes can be opened after running for a few seconds. In the winter, these warm up times can last several minutes. On manual choke engines, gradually open the choke as the engine warms up. The engine should run smoothly with an open choke before you use your equipment. On engines with fuel injectors or an automatic choke, the equipment should run smoothly under load. If the engine bogs down when you engage the transmission or other components, it needs more time to warm up.

Protecting Yourself from Cold

Weather exposure can take a serious toll on your body. Choosing the right clothing and taking frequent breaks will help you stay alert and reduce the chances of getting frostbite.

– Wear warm layers and maintain complete skin coverage to reduce skin exposure. Balance out layers, keeping yourself warm without sweating.

– Loose clothing can get caught in moving parts on your equipment. You’re better off wearing a balaclava to protect your head instead of a hat and scarf.

– If spilled gasoline lands on a hot engine, it can start a fire. When you need to refuel, take a break. This gives time for the engine to cool and gives time for you to warm up.

– Don’t forget to factor in wind. When checking the weather, pay attention to wind chill. Anything below -15°F will cause frostbite within a half hour. If you’re using a riding debris loader, you’re adding an additional 5-10 MPH to the total wind speed.

We’re Always Here to Help You With Your Equipment

No matter what you own, if it’s Billy Goat, you can get parts for it from www.billygoatparts.com. We’re a certified dealer for Billy Goat and their manufacturing partners including Honda Engines, Subaru Power and Briggs & Stratton. That means you can get replacement parts for anything on your equipment as well as OEM accessories. We ship across the United States and Canada.

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Clearing Brush in the Winter

BC2600 Hydro Series BrushcuttersWinter temperatures put plants into hibernation, which makes this the perfect time to use your Billy Goat brushcutter to tackle major land clearing projects. With the foliage gone, thick growth is easy to cut through, and there’s less chance of plant and soil damage. However, the cold also brings its own issues. These tips will help you make winter land clearing easier while managing problems associated with winter weather.

Why Should I Cut Brush in Winter?

Growth conditions are perfect for cutting. Annual plants have died off, while perennials are in hibernation. This makes it harder to damage the plants you want to keep. You also don’t have to deal with foliage as you slice through branches, and you won’t spread the seeds of undesirable plants.

There’s less precipitation in winter, which means areas that are usually muddy will be solid. This also reduces runoff, so there’s less soil disturbance. Taking care of land clearing now will make it easier to do finish mowing and planting next spring.

Like any project, there are bound to be some surprises that will interfere with your schedule. Doing brush clearing and landscaping projects gives you some extra time to work out issues before the spring rush. Since the plants aren’t growing, you have time to remove obstacles uncovered by brushcutting, including rocks and tree stumps. The landscaping industry in its off-season now, making it easier to schedule work you can’t do yourself, like tree removal.

Ideally, brush should be turned into compost or mulch to return nutrients to the soil. However, if you must burn, winter is usually the lowest risk time to do it. Cold temperatures and a lack of foliage makes plants harder to ignite.

Preparing Your Outback Brushcutter for Winter Use

Fresh fuel is more important now than ever, as fuel formulations change to ignite easily in cold weather. Try to use new fuel as frequently as possible in your machine to make starting easier.

Using the correct oil reduces engine wear and makes your Outback brushcutter easier to start. Honda recommends using 5W-30 or 10W-30 in the GX series when temperatures dip below 50°F.

Always check your brushcutter’s tire pressure before use. Fluctuating winter temperatures can cause tire pressure to drop, making the machine harder to move. Low air pressure can also cause the tire to roll off of the rim.

It may take two or three minutes to warm up the engine in colder temperatures. Open the choke slowly, pausing to let the idle smooth out. Don’t use your brushcutter until the engine will idle with the choke open.

Planning and Preparing For Your Brush Clearing Project

Undergrowth can hide all kinds of dangerous trash and obstacles including hidden rocks, bottles, chain and fence wire. Inspect the area and remove obstacles that may damage your machine or turn into projectiles.

You won’t be able to use your Outback on snowy ground, and you might not want to use it immediately after, either. Runoff can make the ground muddy, making it easy to slip while you’re cutting.

Working outside increases your exposure to the elements. Choose tight-fitting clothing that adds insulation and completely covers your skin. Add or subtract layers to keep yourself warm without sweating. Sweat will limit the effectiveness of insulating layers and can turn cold, making it hard for your body to maintain its temperature. As always, you should wear non-slip boots, eye protection and ear protection when using your brushcuttter.

Limit land clearing to daylight hours. The less you can see, the more likely it is that you’ll hit an obstacle, damaging your machine and possibly hurting yourself.

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

While most lawn care shops shut down for the winter, www.billygoatparts.com is always open. We’re a certified dealer, offering OEM parts and accessories for everything from the brand, new or old. Check out our parts sections to get common replacement parts, or use our search engine to see everything we offer for your model. We can ship your order to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

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Winter Checklist: Getting Your Billy Goat Ready for Storage

Is it time to put up your Billy Goat equipment for the winter? Taking a few steps now will prevent problems with rust, stale fuel, dead batteries and more. Here’s everything you need to do to make sure your equipment is ready to use next spring, whether you have a small pavement crack cleaner or the biggest stand on blower.

Cleaning

Start by cutting away any grass wrapped around axles and output shafts. These can cause binding and will wear down rotating surfaces.

Never use a pressure washer on your equipment, and never use water on the engine. This can force water inside the engine where it will contaminate the oil. When cleaning the engine, use a rag, a stiff brush or compressed air to remove any dirt buildup. Now might be a good time to remove the shroud from the engine and to a thorough wipe down of the cooling fins. The rest of your equipment can be cleaned with soap and water.

Does your engine have a spark arrestor? Remove carbon buildup by scrubbing it down with a wire brush. On Honda engines, you will need to remove the muffler cover to reach the spark arrestor. On Subaru and Briggs and Stratton engines, you only need to remove the screws holding the arrestor inside the tailpipe.

Fuel

If you leave fuel in your Billy Goat’s engine, it’s going to break down, even if it was treated with a stabilizer. Draining the fuel system now will save you the headache of cleaning it out next spring.

Honda GX series engines have a removable float bowl on the base of the carburetor. To drain the fuel system, shut off the fuel valve and unscrew the bowl. Place a container beneath the carburetor and open the fuel valve. Be sure to clean the bowl and refit the O-ring before installing it on the carburetor.

For all other engines, disconnect the fuel line to the carburetor and let the gas flow into a suitable container. Reconnect the line.

Once the fuel tank and lines are empty, start the engine. Let it run until it stalls to remove any remaining gas inside the carburetor or injectors.

Oil

Combustion can leave acids in motor oil. Changing the oil now before storage will prevent these acids from damaging your engine. Oil weight recommendations for winter temperatures can be ignored as long as you don’t start the engine while in storage.

Lubrication and Rust Prevention

Lubrication doesn’t just reduce wear and friction, it creates a physical barrier between your equipment and water. This keeps parts from rusting during storage.

Apply new grease to bearings after washing your equipment. Otherwise, you may end up washing away some of this lubricant. Billy Goat recommends NLGI #2 lithium grease. You can use general-purpose, marine and automotive greases that meet this specification.

Apply spray oil or silicone lubricant to the inside of cable liners. Spray the lubricant in one end of the liner until you see the lube drip out of the other end. Use a fogging oil or silicone lubricant to coat exposed metal parts of your equipment.

To keep the piston rings from seizing, engine manufacturers recommend applying motor oil to the cylinder walls. Remove the spark plug, then put a few drops of oil in the plug hole. Place a rag in front of the hole. Turn the engine over a couple times to circulate the oil. Any excess will be pushed out of the plug hole and onto the rag. Reinstall the plug.

If you have a pressure washer, fill it with antifreeze designed for your machine’s pump. This prevents freezing and keeps the seals lubricated.

Tires

Air up each tire to the maximum pressure indicated on the sidewall. This will help keep the tires from going flat and rolling off the wheel rims.

Battery

If you have an electric start debris loader or blower, disconnect the battery and clean the terminals. Connect the battery to a trickle charger to keep the cells from discharging and crystallizing.

Storage

From sod cutters to augers, your equipment needs to be stored in a covered area for protection. Never cover your equipment in a tarp. This will trap moisture, encouraging rust formation.

Even with an empty fuel system, there may be enough gas fumes coming off your equipment to start a fire. Keep your Billy Goat away from sources of sparks and open flame, including heaters and power tools.

Get Your Equipment Ready to Work Before You Need It

Now is the perfect time to do maintenance and repairs done on your Billy Goat equipment. No matter what you need, you can get it from www.billygoatparts.com. We’re not just a Billy Goat dealer, we’re also an authorized dealer for Honda Engines, Briggs & Stratton, Subaru Power, Tuff Torq, and Billy Goat’s other manufacturing partners. That means we carry the parts and accessories you need. We can ship your order to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

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Using Your Auger in Winter: Dealing with Frost Heaves, Frozen Ground and Ice

Winter can either be a great chance to catch up on fence maintenance or a frustrating time to make repairs depending on your location. Frost heaves can push structures out of the ground, and frozen soil can make digging difficult. Need a break? There’s always ice fishing. Whatever your plans, these tips will help you get the most out of your AGR1300H landscape auger this season.

How the Frost Line Affects Underground Construction

Soil is an insulator. That means if you dig a deep enough hole, you’ll find the soil is as warm as the area’s yearly average temperature, no matter the outside temperature. This limits the formation of ice to the “frost line.”

If you’ve had a cold snap and your fence posts or footings are popping out of the ground, it’s due to frost heaves. As the water in the soil freezes, it puts pressure on the holes, pushing up on anything inside them. This is compounded by “lenses,” small pockets of frost that form inside the soil. These force the soil upwards and can latch onto objects, increasing upward pressure from surrounding soil. While a frost heave may only move the soil by an inch over several days, the force it exerts can be tens of thousands of pounds per square inch. Once the ice melts, the object will settle in a slightly different place. This can make fences collapse and cause foundations to shift and crack. To stop this from happening, the object needs to be anchored below the frost line or have good surrounding drainage. This prevents lenses from forming underneath the object and lifting it up.

Unless you live in southern Florida or within sight of the Pacific Ocean, at least part of the ground can freeze during the winter. In the area near our shop, water can freeze anywhere from 30 to 40 inches deep. In parts of Canada and northern Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota, the frost line is over 100 inches deep. Soil conditions, construction and pavement can alter the frost depth locally.

Breaking Through Frozen Ground

Frozen soil is hard to cut through. Fortunately, the ground doesn’t just freeze down to the frost line when winter rolls around. If you time your work to coincide with a warm front, you can reduce the amount of frozen soil you have to break through. The National Weather Service’s frost depth reports will give you an idea of how deep you’ll have to dig before you hit soft soil.

How do you break through the frozen layer? Pushing on the auger bit can help, but not as much as some people claim. You probably won’t be able to put enough pressure on your Billy Goat post hole digger to cut through the ice. Even if you use a tractor or skid steer-mounted auger and support the entire vehicle’s weight on the bit, it will only dig a few inches before stalling.

If you’re cutting through frost, doesn’t it make sense to use an ice bit? Sure, it can cut through ice with ease, but it won’t be able to handle the soil. The bit can break easily when it strikes rocks, and there’s a chance it will break the receiver on your auger.

Your best option is brute force. A pickax works great for removing shallow layers of frozen soil, while you’ll want to use a jackhammer for thick frost layers. Once you’re past the ice, you can use your auger as you would during the summer. Remember that even frozen soil acts as an insulator. If you remove the frost and come back the next day to finish digging, the soil in the hole will be frozen. Instead of chipping away at ice and then drilling holes, concentrate on completing holes one at a time.

Cutting Through Ice

Is the AGR1300H overkill for ice fishing? Probably. However, it’s also a far faster, easier way to cut holes than standard ice augers. All you need is an ice bit. The Z link keeps the bit running true. This keeps the bit from making lips and uneven surfaces that fish can push against when you’re pulling up your line.

Once the bit goes through the ice, increase the auger speed and move the bit up and down. This will pull up slush and debris, giving you a clean hole to fish from.

Get the Parts and Accessories You Need for Your Billy Goat

When you need something for your Billy Goat, visit www.billygoatparts.com. We carry the full line of OEM parts and accessories for your equipment, including bits and adapters for the new AGR1300H landscaping auger. Our site has sections for commonly needed parts, including hardware, wheels and engine parts. Need something specific? Our search engine can show you factory diagrams and information specific to your model. We ship across the United States and Canada.

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Tips, Tricks and Answers to Common Questions for Repairing Your Billy Goat Equipment

lawn care clean upIf you’re here, you’re probably trying to figure out the best way to fix your Billy Goat equipment, whether you have a leaf blower, debris loader, sod cutter, power rake, aerator or brush cutter. In fact, there’s a good chance that the problem you’re trying to solve is common. Here’s how you can address these issues and make it easier to perform repairs.

What Tools Do I Need to Fix My Equipment?

Billy Goat uses SAE fasteners on their equipment, while engine and transmission manufacturers use either metric or a combination of metric and SAE fasteners. You can complete most repairs with a set of wrenches, sockets and a ratchet. A torque wrench is needed to tighten down some parts including impeller bolts, spark plugs, tines and brush cutter blades. In a few rare cases, you may need a jack and a set of woodblocks to lift the wheels or access the underside of your machine.

Can I Change the Oil Less Often if I Use Synthetic?

No. Even on engines with oil filters, there’s a limit to how much dirt the oil can absorb before it needs to be changed. However, synthetic oils do burn less, and they work over a wider temperature range.

Why is My Fuel System Clogged?

Stale fuel is the number one cause of starting issues in modern small engines. Ethanol gets a lot of the blame for fuel problems, but most owners don’t realize that all fuel formulas have changed. Modern “pure” gasoline ages quickly, leaving behind waxes and varnish that will clog your engine’s fuel system.

It really doesn’t matter if you use pure gasoline or E10 as long as it’s fresh. Fuel should be used within a month of purchase. If you add a stabilizer, it should be used within three months. If you’re having starting problems with stale fuel, drain it your engine’s fuel system and replaced it with fresh fuel. EFI engines are less sensitive to stale fuel, but Vanguard makes the same recommends for their fuel-injected engines.

If the fuel system becomes clogged, you can usually clear out the carburetor and fuel lines by spraying them with a carburetor cleaner.

How Do I Get My Aerator’s Tines to Last Longer?

Both core and spike tines are made of self-scouring metal. While impacts with rocks will blunt the edges, the tines will resharpen themselves after a few passes. However, bent tines still need to be replaced.

Always wash the tines after use. Keeping them clean will prevent rust. Dried-on dirt also makes it hard for soil to push through the tines, reducing performance and keeping the tines from sharpening themselves.

My Equipment’s Hydrostatic Transmission Hesitates. Is it Failing?

Hesitation is almost always caused by problems with the controls, not the transmission itself. Usually, it just takes a small adjustment to get everything working again.

Walk-behind models use a cable-operated system to engage the transmission. Over time, these cables can stretch, preventing you from opening the transmission valves fully when using the control levers. Check the handle and the base of the unit for a cable adjuster. Loosen the lock nut, then spin the adjuster in or out to adjust tension. If the cable stretches out too much, it must be replaced.

Stand-on leaf blowers have adjustable valves connected to the control levers. Check your owner’s manual or the article on Hurricane blower maintenance on this site for adjustment instructions.

How Do I Sharpen a Brush Cutter Blade?

Billy Goat uses flat blades on their Outback brush cutters. These are similar to lawnmower blades and should be treated the same way. Using a mill bastard file or a grinding wheel, take off metal at a 45-degree angle until you have a flat surface that’s as sharp as a butter knife. If there are cracks or bends in the blade, replace it.

After sharpening, the blade needs to be balanced. If you don’t have a blade balancer, hang the blade from a nail. If one side points down, file a little metal off of it. Recheck the balance and file more metal as necessary. Once the blade sits horizontally on the nail, it’s balanced.

Is There Any Way to Speed Up Drying after Washing a Vacuum Bag?

No. The bag must be air-dried to protect the fabric. Instead, consider picking up an extra bag for your lawn or hard surface vacuum. That way you can have one bag ready to use while the other one is drying.

Where Can I Get Quality Parts?

Billygoatparts.com is an authorized dealer for Billy Goat and every manufacturer they work with including Honda Engines, Briggs & Stratton, Vanguard, AR Pumps, CAT Pumps, and Tuff Torq. That means you can get all the parts and accessories you need for your Billy Goat from one place. Our site can show you parts listings and factory diagrams for your specific equipment, so you can be sure you’re ordering exactly what you need. We ship across the United States and Canada.

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