This is, for me, was and is an extremely difficult book to review and to judge. When you read this review please keep in mind that it is being written by a person who has absolutely no mechanical aptitude, cannot tell the difference between a sparkplug and a fuel pump (okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one), and has never "fix" or worked on a gasoline engine in his life. Well I currently have a yard tractor, three regular mowers, a large garden tiller, three weed eaters, a leaf blower, a smaller tiller and a chain saw. I can start them and I can use them. My problem comes in when they refuse to start or refuse to do the job I paid them to do. In addition to the list here, I have a barn brimming with mowers and such that have all given up the ghost. I spend a fortune each year keeping this machinery going.
My wife decided that I needed another hobby and stongly suggested I learn to fix things that are driven by gasoline engines. So with her encouragement, my quest has begun. I have made some progress, I will admit to that, but I can still be classified as clueless. I will also state right here that I have not yet given up!
Enter this book. I admit right here that I checked it out of the library and did not buy it and thank goodness I did not! Remember, I am a mechanical idiot. To be quite frank this book was way, way over my head right from page one. Chapter one is entitled "Basics." The first few sentences under the first subject "Four-cycle engines," reads "Figure 1-1 illustrates the internal components that make up a four-cycle engine. The example shown has a horizontal crankshaft, side valves, and splash lubrication."
Folks, even with a picture I have no clue as to what a four-cycle engine is, or what a crankshaft is, or what a side valve is, and I have absolutely no idea what a splash lubrication is! I am not even sure if this is a part or if it is a method or a function of some other part. See where I am going with this? Well let me tell you, it gets worse. Within a few pages we get in to displacement, Power, Torque and RPM. And it gets even worse, page after page. Choke, Choke Butterfly, Choke Link Clips, Pulsa-Jet malfunctions, Kill Switch, Condenser, Needle Valve, Welch Plugs...For someone like me, this is like trying to read the tech manual for the Star Ship Enterprise written in the Vulcan language.
Now you would think that at this point I would slap a one star review on this book, post it and stomp off in a complete huff. Well I cannot do that. I actually took this book to three other individuals. The first was my neighbor who helps me from time to time keep my motors running. He is no "Pro" just a good old boy who works under a shade tree. I showed him the book and he was as impressed as heck and decided right on the spot to buy one. I then took it to two different highly skilled professional...hey they have made a fortune from me over the years fixing my stuff, and I showed them the book. Both thought it was absolutely delightful. The understood ever word they read and one even stated that it was the best book on the subject he had ever seen. Now both of these professionals did point out to me that they felt it was way and by far over my head and that I should probably stick to their services for a bit longer.
This work covers the basics, troubleshooting, ignition systems, fuel systems, rewind starters, electrical systems and engine mechanical issues. I did not understand one word of what the book was trying to tell me.
Now I did bother to read a great deal of this book and read it with chunks of mowers in front of me and I did seek the advice and judgments of people I know for a fact know what they are doing. I have come to the conclusion that if you have some mechanical ability, have some previous basic knowledge of the subject and are comfortable in this area of mechanics, then you will probably find this book to be extremely useful. The author (I researched this too) is quite competent and a master mechanic. On the other hand, if you are a complete neophyte, and do not know a hammer from a screwdriver, then you probably should look elsewhere and slowly work your way up to this book. I cannot in good faith recommend it to the rank beginner with no mechanical aptitude or skill.
I am going to give this book a benefit of a doubt and give it five stars because I truly feel it is a good book; just not the book that meets my needs at this stage of the game. Bottom line is that I simply cannot bad mouth what is obviously a good book simply because I am a mechanical klutz. I plan to find something more basic and keep on supporting my local economy. Hey, the guys at the repair shop need to feed their families too.