We made mention of the First Ever 4-Stroke Saw earlier this year at the World of Concrete and since then it has been a hot topic of conversation for many user of these types of saws. Well a handful of the Makita EK7651H ($1199, Ohio Power tool) have landed at select dealers around the country and are already getting some field use. We’ve got some good things to report, some bad and nothing ugly so far!
Good News to Report!
The first thing we found when introducing this saw to folks was that folks would try to flood the engine in a variety of different ways from choking it too many times or flipping the saw upside down. In any cases the saw worked fine and do a terrific job of cutting sideways and in any direction, as you would expect. The saw also started right up even when flooded it could start within 3 pulls. The pull string also is significantly easier to pull than just about and engine we’ve ever tried to start, apparently we can thank the automatic decompression valve for that.
The saw also has a tremendous amount of power that remains very consistent under load, we were happy to hear the reviews on cutting performance we all very good. The saw is also significantly quieter than any 2-stroke engine although still plenty loud. Long term the outlook is positive with proper maintenance these 4-Stroke saws should outlast the 2-stroke saw no problem. Nationwide some folks are planning ahead and working to replace all the 2-stroke motors they can from rising concerns about the EPA, CARB & OSHA regulations. This saw looks like a very viable solution to some of those concerns.
Not All Roses…
The price is a bit on the high side as the older heavily produced 2-stroke engines have become cheaper and cheaper, newer technology as you might expect will be higher. The size of the units is also a little larger, about the same as the larger cc 16” saws, which was cause for immediate object in some cases.
The other question and possibly biggest concern we heard from the larger tool crib managers was how to track usage. To maintain properly these saws need to have the oil replaced every 50 hours of use (20 the first time). If the saw was out on a job for 2 weeks how would they know how many hours it had? With a 2 stroke it doesn’t really matter, at least not for the engine lubrication stand point. This of course isn’t a problem without a solution because these folks manage lots of other 4-stroke equipment, some which they add hour counters to track or a number of different options but it will certainly change the process if you are not the one directly using it.
Looking into Our Crystal Ball
Right… If we had one of those we’d be on a beach sippin a Mahi Tahi. We will certainly track the performance of these first units very closely and if after several months we are seeing problems will report back. Out of the gate they are all doing very well. If you have any questions about any type of concrete saws & cutting tools or specific applications give the pros at Ohio Power Tool a call 800-242-4424.