Sod Cutting Tips

Sod Cutting TipsIs it time to rebuild your turf? Do you want to transplant some of the grass on your lawn? Either way, you’ll need to cut away the sod. These tips will help you prepare your lawn, get a good cut from your Billy Goat sod cutter, and keep your sod alive until you’re ready to plant it.

Watering for a Better Cut

Like regular lawn watering, you should water soil before cutting so that it is moist, not muddy or dry. This helps the sod cutter blade slice through the soil, and helps the grass survive transplanting.

Apply 1-1.5 inches of water over the week before sod cutting. By the time you’re ready to cut the sod, the top two inches of soil should be moist. This is ideal for a good cut. Stop watering the day before cutting to let the soil fully absorb the water.

Mowing

Mow your lawn the day before you cut the soil. Cut the lawn to the lowest height that is safe for your lawn’s grass varieties. This makes it easier to see where you’re cutting and helps keep the weight of the sod sections down.

Marking Your Cut

Are you only taking out part of your lawn? Do you have a sprinkler system or other obstacles that you don’t want to hit with your sod cutter? Mark these area with spray chalk or grass striping paint. Chalk is easier to wash off than paint. This is good for dry climates, but a short storm or a dewy morning can fade or wash away the lines.

Preparing Your Sod Cutter

Sharpen the blade. Like a mower blade, your sod cutter blade should be as sharp as a butter knife. If the blade is cracked, bent or worn down, replace it. The bolts holding the blade to the machine are wear items, so they need to be replaced as well. Billy Goat includes this hardware with their replacement blades.

Check the tire pressure. If the pressure between the left and right tires is uneven, your sod cutter will want to pull in one direction. The correct pressure is printed on the sidewall of the tire.

Check the cables and belts. These parts stretch over time, especially during the initial break-in period. The drive system and blade clutch should engage and disengage easily.

Getting a Good Cut

The blade needs to be low enough to cut a 1/4-3/8 inch layer of soil underneath the ends of the roots. This protects the root system, while keeping the weight of each sod strip to a minimum. You will probably need to make a few short runs to find the right height. Never adjust the blade height while the cutter is in motion.

Overlap with each pass to avoid leaving narrow strips of uncut sod. The shorter these strips are, the easier they will be to move around. A standard 80 x 18 inch roll weighs between 35 and 45 lbs, depending on its moisture content.

To get a clean cut at the end of each strip, release the clutch and speed control levers and let the sod cutter come to a stop. Raise the blade to its maximum height, then engage both the clutch and speed control levers. This pulls the blade up through the soil, slicing off the end of the strip.

If you strike an object, stop the sod cutter immediately. Lift the blade to its maximum height and inspect it. Sod cutter blades are made of a brittle alloy to maintain their edge. This makes them more susceptible to cracking than mower blades.

Preserving Cut Sod

Lay your sod on a base of dampened burlap. As you lay down each section or roll, lightly water the surface. Stacking sod helps it retain moisture. Make sure you’re able to move your sod stack, or build it in an area where it can be stored until use. To give you an idea of just how heavy a sod pile can be, a standard 60 roll pallet weighs between 2,000-3,000 lbs. depending on moisture content. These rolls are usually stacked in 6 layers of 10.

Sod will store for anywhere between 12 hours and 5 days depending on the weather. At temperatures above 80 degrees F, the grass will try to grow. This leads to heat buildup in the pile that destroys the sod after a few hours. At lower temperatures in the spring and fall, the grass will remain dormant.

Everything You Need for Your Billy Goat

Whether you have a Hydro-Drive or a SC121H sod cutter, you can get the parts you need for it at Billy Goat Parts. We’re an authorized dealer for Billy Goat, Honda and Tuff-Torq, so we carry everything you need to repair your equipment. We make ordering parts easy by grouping together common replacement parts and by offering a search engine that can narrow results down to your model and serial number. Visit us at www.billygoatparts.com. We can ship your order to any address in the United States or Canada.

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Lawn Waste Management: Save the Environment and Your Wallet

Lawn Waste Management: Save the Environment and Your WalletYard waste is one of the most annoying things to deal with when it comes to lawn care. It costs a lot to dispose of, it takes nutrients from the soil, and it can be an environmental hazard. However, with good management practices, you can address all three of these issues, saving time and money.

Why is Yard Waste an Environmental Hazard?

Why is your local government on to homeowners to manage their lawn waste? It goes far beyond being neat and tidy. Unless the yard you’re working on is in the country, leaves and grass clippings that come off of a lawn will eventually make their way into drainage systems. From there, they enter waterways, adding organic material from dead plants and nutrients from fertilizer. Algae thrive on this material, causing blooms that block light and reduce the oxygen content in the water. This can kill fish and make water so toxic that recreational areas have to be closed off to protect people from being poisoned.

That waste is taking valuable nutrients with it, which means you need to do more work and use more fertilizer to compensate. Good management practices don’t just protect the environment, they make it easier to maintain your lawn.

Getting Waste Back Into the Soil

The simplest way to keep nutrients in the soil is through mulching. By chopping up leaves and grass clippings, it’s easier for microorganisms to digest them. Better still, this boosts microorganism activity, which speeds up the breakdown of woody plant debris that makes up mulch.

Mulching alone isn’t always the solution for yard waste. If grass height or leaf buildup results in piles of debris laying on top of the lawn after mowing, it’s time to choose alternate disposal methods. That’s when it’s time to use a lawn vacuum. Clippings are cut down by the vacuum’s impeller and bagged automatically. Since yard waste is priced by the bag, this compaction reduces the total cost of disposal. However, the collected waste doesn’t have to be thrown out. Building a compost pile can digest waste on-site, saving money and turning that waste into something that can be returned to the lawn. Even natural herbicides found in plants like black walnut trees will break down after a few weeks, making the mulch safe to use.

If you decide to dispose of your lawn debris instead, it shouldn’t go into a landfill. Most areas have seasonal debris pickup, funneling this waste to large compost facilities. Debris will break down in a landfill, but since it’s covered, this happens through anaerobic (oxygen-free) digestion. The resulting methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and it’s extremely flammable. This makes it a hazard for waste management workers.

Composting: Not as Hard or Stinky as You Think

There’s one big difference between compost piles made of yard wastes and those made from garbage: smell. A pile made mostly of lawn debris won’t stink as it breaks down. Lawn clippings and leaves also have the advantage of containing a mix of “green” and “brown” materials. The combination of dry and moist materials is ideal for encouraging microbe growth.

The material you put in the pile needs to be in fine pieces. If you gathered lawn debris in a vacuum, or you picked them up with a truck loader, the impeller does this for you. This pile should be in the shade or covered by a tarp. Wet down the pile each time you add organic material. Stirring the pile every couple of weeks speeds up the breakdown process. Don’t be surprised if the pile is warm. When microbes are active, they can raise the center of the pile to temperatures as high as 140 degrees F.

After a couple of months, you should start to see what looks like dark soil. This is humus. This material can be used for top dressing on lawns or to boost the nutrients in your garden. It has a medium texture, so mixing it with clay soils improves drainage while mixing it with sandy soils improves structure.

Get the Most from Your Billy Goat Equipment

Billy Goat Parts is an authorized dealer for Billy Goat as well as their manufacturing partners, including Honda, Briggs & Stratton and Tuff Torq. That means we have the parts and accessories you need to keep your lawn vacuums, debris loaders, and vacuums running. Visit us at www.billygoatparts.com. We have sections for common replacement parts, and our search engine can find parts based on your model and serial number. We even have factory diagrams and descriptions built into our site, so you can be sure you’re ordering exactly what you need. We can ship your order to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

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Dethatching Tips

Billy Goat DethatcherEven if you regularly use a Billy Goat overseeder or power rake, dealing with thatch can be confusing. When do you need to use it? How do you dethatch without damaging your lawn? Why does your lawn have a thatch problem? These tips will help you with every step of thatch management, from prevention to lawn recovery.

Is Thatch Bad?

No, as long as you have the right amount. A thin layer of thatch acts as a cushion and an insulator, reducing ground compaction and the effects of extreme temperatures. However, if it’s more than a half inch thick, it can keep water, air and sunlight from reaching the soil. Thick thatch is also a breeding ground for insects and fungi.

Even if you have a normal amount of thatch, it can get in the way when overseeding and aerating. Typically, you will want to dethatch, aerate and seed in that order to get the best seed-to-soil contact when overseeding your lawn.

Why Do I Have Excessive Thatch?

Some varieties are more prone to thatch than others. Bermuda and Kentucky bluegrass are the worst offenders. Excess nitrogen from overfertilizing can boost growth to a point that your lawn can’t keep up with the increase in thatch.

Managing microorganisms and worm populations can help them break down thatch. Mulching grass helps keep microorganisms fed, so they can tackle thatch. Pesticides can damage both microorganisms and worm populations, reducing their effectiveness. Excess water can displace oxygen, making it harder to break down thatch.

How Do I Know I Have Too Much Thatch?

Mow your lawn to a normal height. If it looks brown, you’re probably seeing thatch, not grass.

If the lawn feels spongy when you walk on it, it’s probably because you’re walking on a thick thatch layer.

Cut a few plugs out of your soil. Look at the layers: the brown layer between the grass and the soil is thatch. If it’s over ½ inch thick, it needs to be removed.

When Should I Dethatch My Lawn?

Dethatching is hard on your grass, so it’s best to stick to times when it will be easiest for your lawn to recover. The best time for warm season grasses is late spring or early summer, and the best time for cool season grasses is late summer or early fall. These are also great times for overseeding, so you can tackle both tasks at the same time.

How Do I Prepare My Lawn for Dethatching?

Avoid fertilizing your lawn for at least 6 weeks before dethatching. Apply pre-emergent herbicides after dethatching. Otherwise, you’ll end up removing most of the lawn chemicals with the thatch.

Dethatch when the lawn is damp, but not wet. If the soil is muddy, your power rake will pull up grass and roots along with the thatch.

Before dethatching, mow to the shortest height that is healthy for your lawn’s grass varieties. Bag the clippings to keep the grass out of the way of the power rake’s tines. You should never cut off more than 1/3 of the grass’s height at a time, so you may need to mow a few times beforehand. Space these mows out at least a couple days from each other to let the grass recover.
Mark sprinklers, surface wires and other hazards on your lawn, so you won’t hit them with your power rake’s tines.

How Do I Get the Best Results When I Remove Thatch from My Lawn?

Use the maximum height for your power rake until you’re comfortable with how it works. Even with the perfect height, you may need to go over some areas several times to remove all of the thatch. Billy Goat overseeders can dethatch with their blades, but you shouldn’t try to seed and thatch at the same time.

Use your mower to cut up the thatch. If you’re worried about weeds, bag the clippings to keep the seeds off of your lawn.

Your lawn is going to look terrible afterward. This is normal. Continue with your overseeding plan, or let the grass recover for a few days before you start mowing again.

Water and fertilize your lawn to help it recover. Avoid weed-n-feed fertilizers that can hamper grass growth.

Is Your Power Rake Ready for Fall Lawn Care?

Billy Goat Parts is an authorized dealer for Billy Goat, which means we have the OEM parts and accessories you need for your power rake or overseeder.  We have sections for commonly ordered parts, like engine maintenance items. You can also use our search engine to find replacements for everything on your equipment. It can narrow down search results down to your model and serial number, and show you factory diagrams and descriptions. That way you can be sure you’re ordering exactly what you need. Best of all, we can ship your order to any address in the United States or Canada. Visit us at www.billygoatparts.com.

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Brushcutting Tips

Billy Goat BrushcutterIs it time to clear out the back 40? Do you need to get an unkempt lawn back to a reasonable height? Billy Goat’s Outback brushcutters have the power to slice through saplings and brush, making overgrown plots usable again. Like any piece of equipment, a little know-how goes a long way toward using it effectively and safely. These tips will help you get the most from your brushcutter.

What’s the Difference Between a Pivoting or Fixed Deck?

A pivoting deck works better on uneven ground. The rails on the side of the machine rub against the soil, pushing the deck left and right to keep the blade parallel with the ground. This delivers a more even cut. Both the BC26 and BC2601HHC have decks that can pivot up to 12 degrees in either direction, and return to neutral automatically.

The BC26 Fixed Deck has a rigid-mounted deck that doesn’t swivel. This keeps it from snagging on holes and hill edges when cutting thick vegetation. The finish will be less even than a pivoting deck cutter, but it works better on difficult terrain.

Protecting Yourself and Those Around Yourself

An Outback brushcutter can best be described as a lawn mower on steroids. It has more power and uses a thicker blade to cut through thick growth. That means the dangers you can expect from a standard lawn mower are amplified. Solid objects are thrown further when they strike the blade, and it’s easier for these objects to hide in tall grass.

People and pets should be well away from the area you’re working.

Billy Goat recommends wearing eye protection, non-slip shoes and thick pants when using an Outback brushcutter. OSHA requires a hard hat for professional brushcutters, and it’s not a bad idea for residential users.

Don’t cut on muddy ground. Between steep slopes and the high effort required to move your cutter, you’re setting yourself up for an accident. Wait until the soil is dry.

Check the area for rocks, toys, bottles and anything else that could be launched by the cutting blade. You should also look out for fence wire and cables that can wrap around the blade spindle. See a hazard that you can’t remove? Mark it with a flag or some fluorescent tape.

When you need to cut on a slope, go side to side. Pointing the brushcutter straight up or down makes it more likely that it will roll away or toward you.

Have a clog? Shut off the engine and let the blade come to a complete stop. Before you reach into the deck to remove the clog, disconnect the spark plug. That way, if you push the blade, the engine won’t kick over and fire up.

Getting a Good Cut

To get the best finish, overlap your passes by half the deck’s width. This limits the amount of growth the blade has to cut, while giving it a second pass to remove any surviving brush. Unlike a mower deck, your Outback’s deck doesn’t generate vacuum to pull grass and weeds toward the blade. If you seem to be leaving a lot of uncut grass, slow down. You need to give the blade more time to cut. On models with a manual transmission, expect to spend most of your cutting time in first or second gear.

Taking Care of Your Brushcutter’s Blade

Taking care of a brushcutter blade is a lot like taking care of a mower blade. This blade needs a flat cutting edge that is as sharp as a butter knife to be effective. While you may not care about getting a good cut finish with your brushcutter, a sharp blade does a better job of cutting vegetation.

Always balance the blade before putting it back on your machine. You can use a regular mower blade balancer, or just hang the blade from a nail. You know the blade is balanced if it sits parallel to the ground. If it doesn’t, file a little off of the side pointing to the ground.

Major impacts can crack or dent the blade, making it unusable. If you want to keep working, have a spare blade on hand that you can swap out if this happens.

Get Everything You Need for Your Outback Brushcutter

Billy Goat Parts is an authorized dealer for Billy Goat, as well as Honda, Briggs & Stratton and Tuff-Torq. That means we carry everything you need to keep your Outback working, from replacement blades to major components. Our site lets you browse commonly ordered items, or find specific parts using our advanced search engine. We even have built-in factory parts 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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Which Engine Should You Get With Your Billy Goat Equipment?

Which Engine Should You Get With Your Billy Goat Equipment?Billy Goat offers a wide range of options across their equipment range, including the choice of different powerplants for some models. What’s the difference between these engines? Here’s a rundown of the motors Billy Goat uses, and what you can expect from them.

Briggs & Stratton

These residential engines are built primarily for ease of use, and they’re lighter than the commercial engines. This makes them a great choice for specialty equipment that you won’t use very often, like overseeders and sod cutters. After all, an engine designed for years of use in a walk-behind lawnmower should have no trouble with seasonal landscaping jobs.

Briggs commercial engines are more prosumer than professional, but they’re still backed by a two year warranty for commercial use. If you buy one for home use, the company covers the engine for three years.

Honda

The CR550HC uses a GC Series engine. Like Briggs & Stratton’s engines, the GC is aimed at residential users. The overhead cam design keeps the engine cool in extreme temperatures, while a clever timing chain design draws oil from the crankcase to keep the top end lubricated.

If you buy any other Honda-powered Billy Goat, you’ll get a GX Series engine. With the first models introduced over a decade ago, the GX has proven to be unfailingly reliable, while offering good overall performance and fuel economy. If you’re a professional landscaper, there’s a good chance you already own at least one piece of equipment powered by this engine.

Both engines benefit from Honda’s focus on quality and usability. With less noise and vibration than other engines, they’re easier on operators who use this equipment day after day.

Vanguard V-Twins

Briggs & Stratton’s Vanguard division builds engines for commercial use. While their V-Twins don’t dominate the market like Honda’s GX, they’re still a popular choice for large ZTR mowers. Vanguard’s advanced debris management makes them perfect for dirty jobs, which is why Billy Goat uses them in their biggest truck loaders and blowers. This debris system includes a multi-stage air cleaner with a centrifugal pre-filter to keep the inside of the engine clean.

E-Start models have an electric starter with a recoil backup. Automatic compression release comes standard on all V-Twins, making them easy to turn over manually if you have a dead battery.

Billy Goat uses the Vanguard EFI to power the DL37 debris loader. Fuel injection reduces emissions, fuel consumption and throttle droop while improving power across the RPM range. It also makes the engine less sensitive to stale fuel. Low operating costs let buyers quickly recoup the increased purchase cost.

Vanguard Single Cylinder

Due to lackluster performance, Vanguard’s smaller engines barely made a dent in a market dominated by Honda and Subaru. The company aims to change that with their new line of single-cylinder engines. Designed and built in-house, they share most of the technology that has made their V-Twins best sellers in their market segment.

This isn’t simply a beefed-up Briggs & Stratton: it’s an all new design targeted specifically at Honda. It’s even designed to be a drop in replacement for “other” engines, sharing enough of its dimensions and control placement with the GX Series that it can be used in place of a Honda with no modification. This makes it a great choice for repowering old equipment.

The key advantage of this engine is low maintenance. Major maintenance is recommended every 200 hours instead of the industry standard 100 hours. A cyclonic air box comes standard, removing most dirt before it reaches the filter. As a result, filter changes are only required every 600 hours.

Billy Goat currently offers their 6.5 HP model in the OS552 overseeder, PL1801 PLUGR aerator, and F601V walk-behind blowers.

Subaru

Subaru shut down their Industrial Power Products division at the end of 2017, but it took a while before the stock of new engines was depleted. Billy Goat still lists some Subaru-powered models on their site, although they’re out of production. There is still plenty of used equipment on the market powered by these engines.

A new company, Industrial Power Products of America, Inc, now handles warranties and parts distribution for these engines. That means you can still get Subaru’s industry-leading 5-year warranty. You can also get parts for these engines from former Subaru dealers, including us.

We Have the Parts for Your Billy Goat Engine

Billy Goat Parts isn’t just a Billy Goat dealer: we’re also an authorized dealer for Honda, Subaru, Briggs & Stratton and Vanguard. That means you can get everything you need for your equipment by visiting www.billygoatparts.com. Finding parts is easy, thanks to our popular parts sections, and our search engine that can find parts based on your engine’s model and serial number. We even have built-in diagrams and factory descriptions, so you know exactly what you’re ordering. We can ship your order to any address in the United States or Canada.

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OS900 Overseeder Speed Cable Replacement

OS900 Overseeder Speed Cable ReplacementAre you having trouble engaging the drive system on your Billy Goat OS900 or OS901 overseeder? Does the cable still have slack with the adjuster all the way out? Your machine is probably due for a new cable. While replacement is a complicated process, it can be done with common hand tools. Here’s what you need to know to get the job done.

Tools and Parts You Will Need:

Impact driver or drill – an impact driver is recommended
5/32 inch hex (Allen) wrench
7/16 inch socket – a magnetic socket is recommended
½ inch wrench
Pliers
Hydraulic jack
Jack Stands
Wood blocks
Long flat head screwdriver
Two cable ties
5/16 inch bolt
Silicone or lithium spray lubricant – Water displacers like WD-40 do not offer long term protection.

Removing the Old Cable

1. Place the blocks ahead of the front wheels. Lift up the rear of the overseeder and place the jack stands under the handle tubes, directly below the transaxle. You may find it handy to use the jack to lift and lower the back of the machine for better access during this repair.

2. There is a small hole next to the sticker for the transaxle release lever. Insert a 5/16 inch bolt into this hole. You may need to hammer the bolt in to get it to set. This bolt keeps the seed cable box from moving.

3. Using the ½ inch wrench, remove the four lock nuts on the speed cable bracket. This bracket is on the base of the overseeder.

4. Remove the bearing and screw cap connected to the right handle speed cable. These parts are on the underside of the deck next to the left handle tube. Hold the cap in place using the hex wrench while unscrewing the nut on the top side of the deck using an impact driver or drill.

5. Remove the spring extension on the speed control bracket. With the bearing removed, this spring is not under tension. It should come off by hand with little effort, but it may be easier to use the screwdriver to pull the spring off of the hooks.

6. Cut the cable ties that hold the speed cable in place on the deck and the handle.

7. Use the screwdriver to pull the rubber grommet out of the deck. On the inside of this hole, find the plastic tabs holding the cable into the deck. Push these tabs in with the pliers, then slide out the cable.

8. On the handle side, close the lever to expose the inner speed cable. Bend the cable down and pull the ferrule out of the lever. The old cable should now be free from the overseeder.

Installing the New Cable

1. Slide the ferrule on the new cable into the handle. Slide the adjuster into the metal tube in front of the handle.

2. Run the new cable along the same path as the old cable, down the left side of the overseeder. The plastic tabs on the cable housing should snap into place when you push them into the deck. Push the rubber grommet into the deck to seal the hole.

3. Attach the cable to the bearing and nut removed earlier. Install these parts.

4. Reattach the extension spring and the speed cable bracket.

5. Remove the 5/16 inch bolt you pushed into the deck during Step 2 of cable removal.

6. Lubricate the speed control system as needed. Spray grease or silicone through the large hole next to the transaxle release sticker to lubricate the bearing.

7. Adjust the cable tension. Screw in the adjuster nut to increase tension on the speed cable. The drive system should be fully engaged with the drive lever open, and engage cleanly when the lever is closed. There should be a little slack in the cable with the drive lever open.

Since this cable is new, the nut should be near the end of the barrel adjuster to minimize cable housing length. Double-check the drive-side cable connection and plastic tab insert if the cable requires significant adjustment, or if it wants to bind.

Get the Parts You Need for Your Billy Goat Equipment

When you need anything Billy Goat, visit www.billygoatparts.com. Billy Goat Parts is an authorized dealer for Billy Goat, Tuff Torq, Subaru and Honda, which means we have replacements for everything on your machine. Looking for accessories? We carry those, too. You can check our popular parts sections for common replacement parts, or use our search engine to find parts specific to your model. Our site even has factory diagrams and descriptions built in, so you can see exactly what you’re ordering. We can ship your order to any address in the United States or Canada.

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Tips for Using an Outback Brushcutter

Tips for Using an Outback BrushcutterIs it time to get your lawn back under control? Do you need to clear land around a country lot, or take back an overgrown lawn? With a Billy Goat Outback Brushcutter, you can cut down tall grass and saplings almost as easily as you can cut a suburban lawn with a walk-behind mower. These tips will help you get the most out of your brushcutter, from choosing when to cut to solving common problems you may have with your machine.

When Should I Use my Brushcutter?

No matter which season you choose, you need to make sure the ground is dry. Mud poses a serious safety risk, making it easy to slide and fall while you’re wrestling your machine through the brush. Do you need to arrange for yard waste disposal? Are you going to have a tree service come in after you’ve cleared out the ground near the trees? When you arrange for these services, have some leeway in your schedule to work around the rain.

The best season to cut is winter. Annuals are dead, and perennials are in hibernation. This decreases damage to plants that you may want to keep after cutting. There’s no foliage to cut through, and there aren’t any germinating plants that will spread seeds when disturbed. However, there’s nothing stopping you from clearing at any time of year. Cutting in the spring or summer lets you start landscaping and hardscaping projects almost immediately after land clearing.

Plan on shorter workdays than you might have for other landscaping projects. Good visibility is critical if you want to avoid obstacles and get full coverage. Avoid overcast days, and stick to peak sunlight hours.

Safety

An Outback brushcutter may have a steel blade like a mower, but it behaves more like a giant string trimmer. That means you should take the same safety precautions you’d use for a trimmer.

Before you cut, check the area for possible projectiles, including rocks, toys, and glass bottles. Chains and fence wire won’t fly, but they can wrap around your brushcutter’s spindle.

Wear non-slip boots to keep your footing, eye protection to protect yourself from flying debris, and hearing protection to block out the noise from the engine and the blade. Vibration-reducing gloves will keep your hands from going numb during use.

Preparing Your Outback

Check the tire pressure: The recommended pressure for your Outback’s tires is written on the sidewall.

Check the oil: Make sure you’re using the right weight of oil for the current temperatures. 5W-30 may be recommended for near-freezing temperatures, but it will burn off quickly when used in the summer.

Check the air filter: Brush cutting raises dust and debris, which can clog your engine’s air filter long before the recommended cleaning interval. Wipe out the air box, and clean or replace the filter elements as needed.

Check the blade: It should have a flat surface that has the sharpness of a butter knife. Sharpen or replace the blade as needed. The blade nut is made from metal that stretches over the driveshaft threads, so it won’t shake loose from vibrations. Always use a new nut when fitting an old or new blade.

Addressing Common Problems

Getting a poor cut with your machine? Check your deck for clogs. Make sure the choke is open once the engine is warm, and open the throttle. Make sure the blade is straight and sharp, and remove any grass wrapped around the blade spindle.

Is the clutch slipping or squealing? This can happen if the clutch gets wet. If the clutch is dry, adjust the cable tension. Over time, the clutch cable can stretch, keeping it from fully engaging the clutch. The cable spring should stretch ¼ to 3/8 of an inch when closed. Putting more tension on the spring can keep the blade brake from engaging.

Do you have a self-propelled model, and the transaxle isn’t working correctly? Like the clutch cable, the drive cable can stretch and may need adjustment. The cable should have a little slack when the bail is open to disengage the drive system. If that doesn’t work, check the drive belt. It also stretches over time and may be due for a replacement.

Keep Your Brushcutter Working with Quality Parts from Billy Goat Parts

Billy Goat Parts is a certified dealer for Billy Goat and their equipment partners, including Honda Engines and Briggs & Stratton. We carry replacements for everything on your Outback, from major components to small hardware. Our site has sections for common replacement parts, like mowing blades, along with an advanced search engine that finds parts for your specific model and serial number. We even have parts diagrams integrated into our system, 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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The AE 400: Frustration Free Aerating

The AE 400: Frustration Free AeratingDrum aerators are a pain to use, but you might not need all the features of Billy Goat’s reciprocating aerators. That’s where the AE 400 Aerator comes in. It uses tine stars to cut into soil, delivering the same compaction relief as a drum aerator. However, its low weight design, wheel positioning and easy tine disengagement make it easier to use and care for.

A Different Approach to Aerating

The AE 400 may look like a drum aerator, but it uses tine stars like Billy Goat’s towable aerators. The tines are fixed to these stars, rolling across and cutting into the soil. A water tank mounted above the reel pushes the tines into the ground. When full, this tank weighs 50 lbs. Once the job is done, this tank can be emptied, making the machine easier to move around. Shifting the weight from the tines to the deck gives the AE 400 the softest tine action in the industry. It creates holes that relieve compaction and open soil up to air and water with minimal damage to the surrounding turf.

Like a drum aerator, the tines on this machine must be lifted out of the ground before making a turn. The Lift-n-Lock system makes this easier while requiring less strength than a drum aerator.
Using a lever on the handle tilts the rear axle down, lifting the tines out of the ground. Once the aerator is in position for the next pass, the operator hits a second lever with their knee to raise the axle and drop the tines back into the soil. Through this process, the operator never has to take their hands off of the controls.

The tines leave behind a 4.5 x 7-inch hole pattern, covering a 29-inch wide strip with each pass. Billy Goat equips the AE 400 with hollow tines from the factory, and they offer compatible solid steel spikes for core free aerating.

Easy to Move and Maintain

Despite the number of controls on this machine, it still has the Fold-n-Go handle system found on other Billy Goat aerators. Just pull up on the two metal loops holding the handle in place, and the top section can be folded forward for transport or storage. Unlike drum aerators, the drive wheels are mounted outboard. With no center wheel to deal with, the AE 400 is easy to roll up ramps and load onto trailers.

This aerator is designed to flip forward onto its front bumper, providing easy access to the underside for maintenance. The tine stars hold a total of 24 tines. Each tine is held on by a single bolt, making them easy to replace. Greasable pillow block bearings hold the tine reel in place, while an O-ring chain connects the reel to the engine. These heavy-duty parts extend the aerator’s service life.

Models

Billy Goat makes three versions of the AE 400, each with a different engine.

The AE 401 comes with a Briggs & Stratton 900 Series engine making 6.5 HP. This residential engine is a good choice if you only plan on using your aerator occasionally. Briggs guarantees the engine for 24 months of residential use, or three months of commercial use. This model weighs 242 lbs.

The AE 401H uses a 118 cc Honda GX120. While it only makes 4 HP, it’s a commercial-grade engine. That means longer lasting components, less noise and less vibration for serious work. The 401H weighs the same as the 401. Honda guarantees this engine for three years of residential or commercial use.

If you want reliability and power, consider the AE 402V. It comes with Vanguard’s new 203 cc engine, which makes 6.5 HP. This engine has features normally only seen on V-Twins, like a cyclonic air filter and an automatic fuel cutoff that keeps fuel from mixing with oil during transport. The AE 402V weighs 252 lbs. This engine is guaranteed for three years of residential or commercial use, plus one additional year once the engine is registered with Vanguard.

No matter which model you choose, Billy Goat will guarantees the rest of the AE 400 aerator for one year, aside from wear components.

Your Complete Source for Billy Goat Parts and Accessories

Billy Goat Parts is a certified dealer for Billy Goat, Briggs, Vanguard and Honda Engines. That means we carry everything you need for your Billy Goat equipment, as well as the engine that powers it. Check our popular parts sections for common maintenance items, or use our search engine to find parts for your specific model. We even have parts diagrams built into our search system, so you can see exactly what you’re ordering and where it fits on your machine. Visit us at www.billygoatparts.com. We ship across the United States and Canada.

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PL1800 and PL1801 PLUGR Aerators

PL1800 and PL1801 PLUGR AeratorsJust because you have a small yard doesn’t mean you have to compromise on performance. The PL1800 and PL1801 PLUGR aerators use Billy Goat’s reciprocating tine system, delivering top quality results without the difficulties of drum aerators. Their simple design is less likely to tear up turf, making these machines a great choice for homeowners and rental businesses.

Small Size Without the Compromises

These PLUGR aerators work a strip 18 inches wide, and can make cores up to 2.75 inches deep. The design places the engine directly over the tines, using its weight to help push through the soil. This eliminates the need for extra weights. As a result, the entire aerator weighs just 240 lbs. That’s about 100 lbs. less than a similarly sized aerator before adding weights or filling the drum with water.

Unlike drum aerators, the PLUGR doesn’t have to be lifted to make a turn. The reciprocating action keeps the tines moving in and out of the soil cleanly as you turn. Need to back up? You can still keep the tines engaged, increasing the hole density. By actively pushing tines into the soil, the machine doesn’t have to vibrate to get good penetration. You don’t just get better aeration with these machines. They also make those holes more efficiently with less noise and vibration.

The 1800 and 1801 don’t come equipped with hydrostatic drive. However, the action of the tines helps pull the aerator forward, taking some of the effort out of pushing this machine. Fingertip controls on the handle engage the tines and drive system. Once engaged, the aerator can be pushed and turned just like a walk-behind mower. With a total width of 24 inches, it has no trouble getting around heavily landscaped lawns. You can expect to cover 22,000 square feet, or about half an acre, per hour.

You have 5 choices when it comes to tines: 3/8 and 7/8 inch solid spike tines, 3/8 and 5/8 inch hollow core tines and wide Zoysia transfer hollow tines for transplanting grass.

Maintenance

The reciprocating tine system uses just four tines. They screw into arms connected to the camshaft, letting you replace them without taking the camshaft out of the aerator. Switching between tines only takes a few minutes.

The PL1800 and 1801 have a one-piece lift-off cover for easy maintenance. With this cover off, you have full access to the engine, belt drive and tine shaft. Getting the parts for maintenance is easy, too. Billy Goat offers complete service kits, including new core tines, a belt and grease for installation.

The aerator’s easy fold handle uses metal loops to hold the handle in place. When you’re done using the aerator, just slide these loops up, and fold the handle forward.

What’s New for the PL1801?

The PL1801 is an updated version of the 1800, but Billy Goat still sells both models. The two aerators are mostly identical, but the PL1801 has some upgrades that make it more reliable and easier to use:

– The wheels have better bearings, increasing their service life.

– The redesigned drive system uses a longer belt. This spreads out the load when de-clutching, increasing the belt’s service life.

– The handle attaches using isolation mounts. These absorb vibrations before they can reach the hands of the operator.

– On the back, you’ll find a sticker directing you to text a number to get a video tutorial. This makes it easy for rental customers to get up to speed on using this aerator.

Models

Billy Goat makes two versions of the PL1800 and PL1801. The only difference between these versions is their engines. Both the PL1800H and PL1801H are powered by a Honda GX 190, while the PL 1800 and PL1801V are powered by a Vanguard 205cc. Despite the different displacements, these engines make about the same amount of power.

Warranty

Both Honda and Vanguard guarantee their engines for three years of commercial use. Billy Goat guarantees the rest of the PL1800 and 1801 for one year of commercial use.

Keeping Your PLUGR Aerator Running

When you need parts and accessories for your Billy Goat, visit the experts at Billy Goat Parts. We’re a certified dealer for Billy Goat, Honda and Vanguard. That means we sell OEM replacement parts that cover your entire aerator. We also carry replacement tines in every shape and size to fit your lawn care needs. To make finding parts easy, we have sections for commonly needed parts, like air filters and belts. If you need something else, our search engine can show you factory diagrams and parts information specific to your machine. That way you know you’re buying exactly what you need. To order, visit www.billygoatparts.com. We can ship what you need to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

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Billy Goat AE1300H Aerator

Billy Goat AE1300H AeratorDrum aerators are cheap, but they have a lot of disadvantages. They’re heavy, hard to maintain, take a lot of time to use, and can do major damage if used improperly. Billy Goat’s AE1300H aerator solves these problems by using a reciprocating tine system. This makes it faster, lets it make more holes with each pass, and it can even turn without damaging soil. Commercial users can easily recoup costs in labor savings and reduced turf repairs, while the ruggedness and simplicity of this aerator makes it a great choice for rental companies.

Variable Aeration Density

Since the movement of the tines isn’t connected to the aerator speed, it’s possible to get the hole density you need in one pass. The slower you move, the more times the tines will penetrate the soil, leaving behind anywhere from 8 to 48 holes per square foot. That’s two to 10 times as many holes as drum aerator. If you need greater hole density for bare spots where you’re doing patch repair or preparing seed beds, just slow down in these areas to add more holes. Once you’re out of the area, you can speed up to return to your previous hole density. Billy Goat recommends these speeds for common lawn care tasks:

0.5 MPH: 48 holes sq ft, patching and seeding
2 MPH: 12 holes sq ft, high-density aeration
4 MPH: 8 holes sq ft, regular aeration

If that top speed seems a little fast, keep in mind that Billy Goat offers a chariot that hooks to the back of the AE1300. This lets you stand behind the aerator as it pulls you along.

The benefits don’t stop there. Billy Goat’s Flextech arms use a reciprocating motion to move pairs of tines in and out of soil. This action lets the tines dig up to three inches into the soil, about twice as deep as a comparable drum aerator.

The AE1300H has a top speed of 4.3 MPH. Since the wheels are in line with the tine mechanism, this aerator has the same width as a 26-inch drum aerator, but it covers 30 inches with each pass. Between the increased width and speed, this machine can aerate almost 60% faster than a comparable drum aerator. That’s without taking hole density into account. In real world use, you may see more significant time savings using this aerator.

Easier to Use

Drum aerators only work when they’re rolling straight forward. If you turn or back up with the tines against the ground, they’ll tear up the turf. The AE1300’s reciprocating system lets it aerate in reverse, and the tines won’t drag in turns, leaving behind clean holes. This doesn’t just mean this aerator is easier to use. It also gets into areas that are unreachable with regular aerators.

Hills are no problem, either. By using a long platform and massive 15-inch tires on the drive axle, this model has no trouble climbing slopes up to 20 degrees.

There are just 8 tines held on by four bolts. Inspecting, cleaning, and replacing tines takes a fraction of the time to do compared to other machines. If you need to spike aerate to avoid cores or improve drainage, Billy Goat offers solid steel tines for this model that can be swapped out in minutes.

This aerator uses a hydrostatic drive, giving the operator infinite speed control. By separating the drive system from the engine and tines, it also reduces the transfer of vibrations to the handles.

Engine

Billy Goat uses Honda’s GX 390 to power this machine. It’s not as groundbreaking as this aerator’s design, but it’s easy to see why Billy Goat chose it for this machine. The GX Series has a reputation for fuel efficiency, low noise, and unparalleled reliability.

Warranty

Honda guarantees the engine in the AE1300H for three years, whether it’s used for residential, commercial, or rental use. Billy Goat guarantees the rest of this aerator for one year, no matter how it’s used.

Get the Parts You Need Straight from Your Browser

From tines to spark plugs, Billy Goat Parts has everything you need to keep your Billy Goat equipment running. We’re an authorized dealer for Billy Goat and Honda Engines, so we carry everything you need for your machine. Our site makes ordering simple: we have common parts sections, and our search engine can show you parts diagrams and factory descriptions for your model. This makes it easy to match up what you’re ordering with what’s on your machine. Visit us at www.billygoatparts.com. We can ship your order to any address in the United States or Canada.

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