Are 2-cycle engines or 4 cylce engines 'better'?

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Because I've been tempted to buy some of the new Honda 4 cylcle engine-powers garden equipment, and until recently the really small engines have always been 2 cycle. Or at least I think they have.
Dean
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Two stroke engines are lighter for the same power output. They are also usually noisier, shorter lived, use more fuel, and pollute more.
Choose the best compromise for the job.
KB
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Except for Old LAwnboys
They last forever.
They are magical..
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Wow, I definitely agree. The main workhorses for my son's lawnmowing business are two lawnboy mowers. He purchased one used Lawnboy 10 years ago and it is still a very reliable mower. The other is 6 years old, but functionally it is really about 40-50 years old when you factor in the number of times that it is used each week in its "commercial" mode.
On average, we'll spend about $100 total per year on parts for those 2 Lawnboys, which is comparable to the average homeowner spending about $8 or so on his mower each year. Not bad. If the damned wheels/tires didn't wear out so fast, we'd be even better off.
Gideon
Jeffrae wrote in message ...

Except for Old LAwnboys
They last forever.
They are magical..
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Except if you need parts. I was visiting a Lawnboy dealer today, and he said that now that Toro has bought them, and now that most places are banning 2 stroke lawnmowers, parts for old units will be virtually impossible to obtain, unless you're lucky and the dealer already has it in stock.
With Homelite, the situation is worse. John Deere has bought 'em. You can't get Homelite parts from Deere dealers, and the Homelite dealers can't (or soon won't be able to) get parts either.
Fortunately, the dealer had my homelite gaskets in stock.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Kyle Boatright wrote:

Many of the cheaper ones are shorter lived, but it is not really part of being 2 cycle. Remember when Saab had a life time warrantee on their 2 cycle automotive engines? It is a great way to lube the engine, but it can also be just part of a cheap way of building an engine.
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Joseph Meehan

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Joseph Meehan wrote:

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Dean,
I like both, but I've observed that it seems there are more homeowners having problems with small 4-cycle engines than with small 2-cycle engines. This is just my observation, plus it doesn't necessarily imply a defect of small 4-cycle engines. My guess is that most homeowners can remember to add the correct oil to the gasoline for a 2-cycle application when they refill the gasoline storage tank, but they have a greater tendency to forget to check oil levels and frequently replace oil in 4-cycle applications. The average homeowner easily forgets the oil in the crankcase, and his wife and his 13 year-old son are even worse. Just my guess.
I've got a couple of Ryobi 4-cycle small engines and I've been unhappy with both. Internet browsing indicates that I'm not alone - there seem to be universal problems with starting and smooth running. Like many small engines, these are "idiot-proofed" by having no engine adjustments other than idle control. They also have an electronic governor which causes the engine to intentionally miss at a level necessary to avoid exceeding engine red-line when you give it full throttle. I'm not certain if I trust those electronics.
Honda seems to have a good reputation for all small engines. You'll probably be happy with their products.
Good luck, Gideon
dean wrote in message
Because I've been tempted to buy some of the new Honda 4 cylcle engine-powers garden equipment, and until recently the really small engines have always been 2 cycle. Or at least I think they have.
Dean
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Use two cycle for equipment that needs to be tilted, such as: chain saw, trimmer, etc.
Use four cycle for tools that are always used level on wheels, like: lawn mower, edger, etc.
Thunder
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Keep in mind that 4-cycle engines which can be opperated in any orientation, including upside down, are now available for trimmers, etc.
======== Rolling Thunder wrote in message

Use two cycle for equipment that needs to be tilted, such as: chain saw, trimmer, etc.
Use four cycle for tools that are always used level on wheels, like: lawn mower, edger, etc.
Thunder
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This really depends on the type of equipment you want to buy. I have honda engines on my pressure washer, generator and snowblower (all 4 cycle). Craftman 4 cycle edger and 4 cycle backup lawnmower.
My 2 cycle equipement consists of my lawnboy, echo weed wacker, mccullen chainsaw and old backup snowblower.
The 2 cycle stuff is great with it being light weight and can really go in any direction without the motor not being lubricated.
The 4 cycle really has the power though anything and really sips fuel.
In terms of maintence, 2 cycle is easier. The 4 cycle you need to change the oil every year. But its rather easy to do anyway. Over the long haul, I really go like honda engines. They beat the heck out of briggs and tucemsen engine.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Well at least the commercial duty Honda engines. They now have consumer engines out that may be better than most others, they are not the equal to their commercial engines.
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Joseph Meehan

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Actually my snowblower is the only one that uses a residental grade motor (gc160) its a honda hs520as.
The generator and power washer use the gx160 engines. (I also have a gx110 and gx120 sitting there too for future use)
The gx commercial engines are tuff to kill. They should last the regular home owner years if properly taken care of.
Tom
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You cant even GIVE me a 2 cycle engine for FREE. I have hated every one of them that I have ever owned, and I end up fixing the damn things more than using them. I am referring to the small ones like chainsaws, weed whackers, etc. I threw all of them in the trash and bought electric ones. If you want to spend half your weekend pulling the damn strings on the tool, get a 2 cycle, but you'll also be spending up to half the cost of a new tool each year to get the damn thing fixed about 5 times each year. No 2 cycle tool will ever be allowed on my property again.
Seeing what everyone said on here about Lawn Boy 2 cycle mowers, I also tend to disagree. I bought one at a garage sale.. It worked for awhile, but like the chainsaws, it needed to be pulled and pulled and pulled to get it to start. I drained the gas in fall. The next spring I pulled that cord for hours, added carb cleaner, changed the plug and air filter and yanked on that cord for a few more hours. By that time, I went and got my trusty over 20 year old 4 cycle 3.5HP Briggs engine mower that is so worn I have to add oil everytime I mow because it smokes like crazy. I had not used it in about 2 years, and forgot to drain the gas. I gave the string one pull and it was running. The Lawn Boy went in the trash, I bought another newer 4 cycle mower, and still got that old junker that always starts, just in case I need a spare.

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Some personal ramblings about 2 cycle vs. 4 cycle tools: I have a 2 cycle leaf blower, weed whacker & snow blower; 4 cycle mower, power washer and generator. The 2 cycle engines are somewhat harder to start, however, the 4 cycle power washer w/3.5HP B&S is the worst at starting. It says easy "easy start design." Right! I almost always have to use starting fluid on this one when the engine is real cold. One problem I've noticed is the priming bulb. They usually say to press 3 times max! Well, if engine has the gas tank under the carb, I press it many, many times until I hear and feel the gas moving (leaf blower, weed whacker, power washer). If the gas tank is above the carb, 2 or 3 presses is fine. Also, I have noticed that every engine want to be started in its own way, i.e. chock position, throttle, etc. I have also noticed on the 2 cycle engines, ambient temperature seems to play a big part. I have to adjust the air/gas mixture when the weather is really hot. The one real objection that I have with 2 cycle engines is that I come in the house after using the tool and I smell like gas and oil. This doesn't seem to happen with the 4 cycle tools. Some of that might be that the leaf blower and whacker are much closer to your body than say a mower. But it also occurs when using the 2 cycle snow blower which obviously is pushed like a lawn mower.
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Betcha didn't know that EMD (GM locomotive) diesel engines are 2-stroke. Besides whole series of Detroit Diesels. Back when, it was their way of upping power/weight.
Same reason for consumer 2-strokes: power/weight. In addition to not having to keep crankcase down to avoid creating smokescreen.
You'd do best to invest in quality tool, that works for you. With engine type choice only influenced by quality and whether it requires you to keep more types of fuel mix on hand. (Kids running 2-stroke on pure gas are a problem, too.)
HTH, John
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Years ago, I learned that two stroke engines have more HP per pound of engine weight. Cause the piston fires on every stroke. Four cycles have an exhaust stroke, which means that the cylinder fires every second time. I believe the spark plug sparks every time the cylinder comes up. But, during the exhaust stroke, the spark is wasted.
Many or most of the lawn mowers I've worked on (almost all four stroke) the oil has been low.
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Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

That can be true, but not always. I believe it was more likely years ago. Today there is a lot more work being done of four cycle engines because the two cycles are so dirty and production will likely be shut down in the future for pollution control issues. They are just too hard to clean up.

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Joseph Meehan

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Just bought a 4 cycle Troy-Bilt string trimmer and I am happy with it so far. Here are some things I have found. It weighs about 1 pound more than the 2 cycle model (as stated in brochure). The 4 cyc units cost about $60 more than similar 2 cycle models. The 4 seems to vibrate a bit more, but not too bad. It seems quieter than the 2, but I still wear ear plugs. After using the 4, my hair & cloths don't smell like burnt oil gas mix. My owners manual states that a valve clearance adjustment must be done every so often. 10 hrs 1st time - 25 hours after that. Same for oil changes.
I went to the 4 because I was tired of having to mix oil/gas. I have 3 different things with 2 cyc engines, and all 3 required different mix ratio.
Kevin
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Yeah, 2 cycles suck bigtime! I've read that 2-cycle motors are banned in certain areas in California - makes sense to me, they have twice the exhaust stoke of 4-cycle so there is definitely an air pollution issue here. Also noisier than 4-cycle. I bought the 4-cycle Troy-bilt weedeater, too. Yes, it is heavier but I worked with 2 cycle weedeates for too many years, sick of the fumes, noise, grease, I'd never go back now. I can't think of any reason why you'd want to have a 2 cycle motor when 4 cycles are getting more common for lawn work now.

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