Given the extraordinary amount of pollution produced by small engines,
you'd think that cat converters would be more common by now. I believe
there's US legislation requiring serious reduction in pollution in new
machines by 2007, but I'm not sure. My research did turn up lobbying
efforts by Briggs and Straton to defeat such legislation in California
a few years back - way to lead us forward, B&S!
Anyway I've found a couple of links for companies who claim to be
working on aftermarket cat converters for small engines, but so far
nothing actually shipping. Anyone know of a company who's doing this
In a related question, a CBC TV news item a while back featured a guy
in the maritimes who's been custom-building these things for just this
purpose, and had them tested and proven effective by some Canuck gov
department, but he can't seem to get anyone interested in funding
manufacture. I'd love to have the guy's name.
I'm sure it will come. I [pollute more cutting my grass that my drive to
work each day.
Biggest problem I see is cost. Gone will be the $89 weed trimmer and $99
Auto industry fought it too, but turns out we have many side benefits.
Leaded gas is gone along with spark plugs that fouled in 10,000 miles or
less, and oil changes every 1000 miles.
Small engines are very dirty to start with. All those hydrocarbons
would kill the typical converter quickly. You need to start off with fairly
clean exhaust to start with and that means good temperature control, which
is very difficult to do with an air cooled engine (Which is why you no
longer see air cooled engines on automobiles.) and tight ignition timing and
fuel control (computer controlled fuel injection) So with the needed
equipment your next push lawn mower may cost a few thousand dollars.
Actually a lot of improvement can and has been made. Many are much less
dirty than they were 10 years ago, but you are right, more can be done.
However until people demand it, the industry will keep lobbying government
and it will not happen.
The biggest polluters are 2 stroke engines 30 times more than 4 stroke.
That will be and should be the first step , eliminating 2 stroke. Cat
converters probably will never be introduced due to cost but should be.
Yeah, I'm aware of that, which is why the only 2 stroke engine I've
ever owned, or ever hope to, is on my chainsaw. If there had been an
alternative when I bought it, I would have done so. I chose a Honda
weedwacker / bushcutter instead of a Husky or other brand for the
simple reason that it has a mini 4-stroke engine.
I've heard of more than one scheme to modify 2-strokes for order of
magnitude-like reductions in pollution while retaining their
advantages of simplicity and power/weight ratio. There's no question
that unless people express some interest, the manufacturers will never
get off their butts.
Hey manufacturers: I'M EXPRESSING SOME INTEREST.
Hey Briggs & Stratton: I've never bought a machine with one of your
engines, and in view of your anti-progressive stance, I've now
extended this to a lifetime ban.
Don't people understand that power-efficient machines are in their own
self-interest, even if they don't give a flying hoot about the
Will it take US$5 / gallon gas until they finally appreciate the basic
economics of choosing power efficient devices?
And you'd think that folks would pay a few more dollars for a
lawnmower or garden tractor that doesn't POISON THE OPERATOR quite so
<sigh> Apologies about the rant...
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