Small engines are engines that you find on snow blowers, lawn mowers, weed whips, leaf blowers and many other pieces of lawn equipment. They can be a real pain in a homeowners side when trouble rises. Here are some of the issues that you may have with your small engine and what the causes may be:
Improper starting technique. In other words, you may have a kill switch left on, the gas line valve may be turned off, or there may be a process needed to start your engine. Check your owners manual to see what they recommend.
Gas does not last like it used to. Gas only lasts a few months tops before it starts to go bad. If left without any stabilizer it will gum up your engine and not allow it to start. Bad gas will also cause your engine to run roughly or cause it to die after the engine is started.
Dirty air filter
A filter that is clogged with debris will not allow air flow through causing the engine to run poorly. If the filter is clogged badly enough you probably won’t get the engine started. Make sure your filter is clean and free of debris.
Gas does not last like it used to. Gas only lasts a few months tops before it starts to go bad. If left without any stabilizer in it it will gum up your engine and not allow it to start. Bad gas will also cause your engine to run roughly or cause it to die after the engine is started.
Dirty fuel filter
If dirt or other debris gets into your gas it should be caught by the fuel filter before it enters the engine. However if enough debris is trapped in the filter it will not allow gas to flow freely enough for your engine to run smoothly if at all.
Water In The Gas
Condensation can occur in a gas tank causing water to get into the gas. If water is present in the gas it will run rough or will not start. The remedy is to add a fuel additive to the gas such as Seafoam. Seafoam will take water out of the gas as well as stabilize the gas from going bad.
If your primer bulb has a hole in it, has hardened, or is failing in general it can make it difficult to get an engine started. Small engines need to have the primer bulb force gas into the engine for the engine to fire.
Broken Gas Lines
Gas lines can get brittle and crack over time. Make sure your lines aren’t brittle and leaking gas.
Carburetor is plugged
The carburetor can become plugged with debris or can become “varnished” with gas due to old dirty gas being used. Occasionally a carburetor kit is needed to replace parts in your existing carburetor. If you have old gas in the engine this is the most likely culprit as to why the engine won’t start.
Weak or No Spark
This is usually due to the spark plug. If a spark plug is old or if it is dirty the engine will have a difficult time starting or running. If you are going to replace the spark plug make sure that you replace it with the proper plug.
Exhaust is Plugged
If the exhaust screen or port is plugged or it has been choked off with carbon deposits the engine will have a hard time starting or will run rough. You may need to clean off the screen with a stiff wire brush or scrape out the deposits of the port with a knife or screwdriver. Make sure not to damage the piston or piston rings when cleaning the port.
Compression is what occurs when the pistons travel in the cylinder bore forcing the air and fuel mixture into the top of the combustion chamber for firing. If you have low compression it means that you have worn compression rings, a damaged piston, damaged rings or a damaged cylinder bore. This is something that most novices are not going to be able to find out on their own.
Flywheel or Flywheel key
If the flywheel is damaged it can cause the timing to be off. If either are damaged they will need to be replaced.
Obviously if your starter rope is stuck or broken it’s going to be difficult to start your machine. Recoils can brake or get frozen and will have to be recoiled or sometimes replaced.
Basic Starting Technique for 2-Cycle Engine
1. Make sure that you have FRESH FUEL in a CLEAN gas tank. Even if you have just purchased brand new gas from a station, if you put it into a dirty old gas can it will cause issues in your engine. This is problem number one when it comes to carburetor problems. Carburetor problems are the number one issue we see when repairing engines.
2. Press the primer bulb (if equipped). If your engine doesn’t have a primer bulb skip this step.
3. Put the choke in the choke position.
4. Make sure that the on/off switch (if equipped) is turned to on.
5. Open the throttle just slightly to allow the engine to “breath”
6. Pull the starter rope or turn the key (if equipped) until the engine starts.
7. Turn off the choke
8. Repeat if necessary
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