Many times I’ve been asked to fix gas agent powered machines, both 2-stroke and 4-stroke, including a benumbed mower that was congenital in the 40’s. Typically, addition acquires such a apparatus from addition who doesn’t appetite it anymore, either because it doesn’t assignment right, or aloof apparent doesn’t work. The new buyer afresh tries to get the apparatus “running” – which usually consists of aggravating to alpha the engine, acquisitive to thereby actuate if the apparatus is account “fixing.” I’m actuality to acquaint you, that’s absolutely the WRONG way to go about it, and explain why.
An agent is a admirable allotment of machinery, amid them my favorite, the archetypal Briggs & Stratton 4-stroke architecture of the aftermost 70 years. I’ve alike formed on several that are about that old and still active absolutely well, as able-bodied as dozens of backward models. They are able-bodied advised and congenital like a tank, about abundant casting adamant based and absolute solid, and fabricated to accord abounding years of account if cared for properly. Added avant-garde baby engines are variations of those designs, of advance – lighter and added complicated, to be sure; but earlier B&S 4-strokers were fabricated to last, simple, and apparently could run always if not abused, IMHO. (Nothing adjoin added brands, I aloof adopt B&S)
So why is aggravating to actuate if an agent will run the amiss footfall to booty back attractive to use an old machine? Because that’s the absolute affair that can abort it! I can’t bethink how abounding times addition has brought me a alternation saw, a cord trimmer, a mower, or a tractor that they approved to put gas into and attempted to alpha – and got absolutely nowhere. Or fabricated them worse. Or worse yet, broke a altogether acceptable agent to the point area it bare to be rebuilt, or alike (sigh!) junked.
Okay, so how SHOULD you access such a machine? My booty is appealing straightforward; 1st: (and best important!) CLEAN IT and attending it over anxiously – for cracks or accessible problems that would be a deal-breaker. Didn’t acquisition any? Good, afresh do this 2nd: get make/model/serial cardinal and any added advice off it, and the apparatus it runs, annihilation that you can acquisition (write it down, booty pictures, accomplish records!), and 3rd: go do your homework. Balloon gas and/or oil at this date – it’s too aboriginal in the action to anticipate about them yet. You charge to aboriginal apperceive what you have, how to account it, and the appropriate accomplish to booty afore you can try to run it!
This latest addition of abundance is archetypal – I went online to actuate the absolute MAKER of the “Hechinger” branded mower (Hechinger is a above building/garden accumulation alternation actuality in the East that went beneath 20 or so years ago, IIRC), which accepted it’s an MTD (and the year it was built, via the consecutive number), and afresh I went attractive to see if any genitalia are still accessible (some are, best – apparently not). Abounding apparatus manufacturers accept appealing acceptable websites, area you can acquisition out all you charge to know, and alike download buyer manuals (or alike the coveted Shop or Repair Manuals!), genitalia diagrams, and genitalia lists. (I bought a CD already that covers genitalia and aliment for all Homelite alternation saw models for the aftermost 30 years on eBay – accessible back I own 2 and accept addition one in for cutting and tuneup!)
I was able to acquisition aggregate I charge except the exact owners chiral for my tractor, but was additionally able to appear up with manuals for others in the aforementioned alternation which are aing abundant that I can use them for my refurbish purposes. Be persistent, LOOK anxiously at the actual you find, accomplish abiding it shows what you absolutely have, alike if it has a altered archetypal cardinal – abounding machines didn’t change abundant amid archetypal years, for example. Google is your best acquaintance here; don’t balloon to try fractional archetypal numbers if you can’t acquisition the exact one you have.
Then, I went afterwards the agent advice – afterwards all, if I can’t appropriately set up that agent the mower won’t be any acceptable at all. Tracking bottomward B&S engines is a arbiter archetype of acceptable record-keeping by a company; you can acquisition about EVERY exact agent that B&S fabricated by archetypal and consecutive number, additional get the diagrams, lists and manuals that go with it, and locate aboriginal or backup genitalia from them or one of their countless of retail affiliates. With basal effort, I acquired aliment info, starting and operating info, ammunition and oil requirements, exploded genitalia drawings, etc., and all for free.
Armed with all this new ability about my 8HP engine, I’ve already arrested it for above faults (it has none), afresh serviced, charged, and activated the 12V array for the electric starter, bankrupt the agent thoroughly, and started to cull the carb for service; afresh I’m activity to analysis for hidden accident like cracks or leaks (even admitting it agency removing allotment of the mower anatomy to get at it better), cesspool the old oil, bushing with able new oil, bureaucracy the electrical base with acceptable area and bound connections, account or alter the atom plug, apple-pie and pre-adjust the carb, apple-pie and re-oil the air clarify foam, booty affliction of all linkage, accomplish abiding aggregate is affective appropriately (and aural specs if I can analysis them), analysis for spark, watch carefully for oil leaks, accomplish abiding it spins advisedly after a bung in, change the ammunition filter, and afresh – ONLY THEN – add gas afore I about-face it over to see if it will alpha and run.
Now, you ability be thinking, I’m putting a lot of assignment into an agent BEFORE I alike apperceive if it’s account it, and afore award out if it will run, but assurance me; if you don’t, and you aloof try to blaze it up after prepping it first, you’ll aching it, spiral it up, accomplish it worse, or alike ruin it! I’ve apparent a agglomeration of busted up 2-strokes, for example, that guys got their easily on and aloof approved to bandy some mix in and alpha – some alike ran for a few abnormal (and one was appropriate out of the box!) afore they died, all because they didn’t booty the time to apprehend up on how to amusement their apparatus BEFORE starting it.
A cast new trimmer was brought to me that ran “just fine” for about 30 abnormal – back it died AND seized, because the new buyer had NO abstraction that he was declared to mix the gas and oil! I had to detach a BRAND NEW ENGINE to get it alive again, and it took all my adeptness to chargeless the agent after damaging it further. (Been active accomplished for several years now, acknowledge you…) And I’d adulation to accept a blade for every agent addition begin that had some “leftover” gas in, but the apparatus “won’t alpha no amount what I do”, or they dumped someone’s pre-mix in, alone to acquisition out it was too strong, or alike worse, not able enough, or they got it started and aloof HAD to aberration the acceleration screw, or approved to acclimatize the abandoned spiral after specs and it wouldn’t restart, or – well, you get the idea.
TIPS: READ and chase 2-stroke mix admonition EXACTLY for best results, all gas goes “bad” in a few months unless you use Stabil, additional gas with 10-20% booze can ruin some engines so analysis afore application it! Also, a lot of alternation saws booty a stronger mix like 40:1, while abate engines like trimmers may booty alone a 50:1 mix – you can’t bandy them, and you absolutely charge to apperceive what mix the apparatus calls for! Plus, best backyard mowers and a lot of baby engines CANNOT use automotive oils – a lot of them use straight, non-detergent SAE/30 oil – you charge to apperceive which is which. Also, there are means to acquaint if you accept a acceptable atom after testers, means to apperceive if your atom timing is off, bargain clean kits for best carburetors that aren’t adamantine to do yourself, and recommended settings for abandoned screws and such that will advice get your agent active continued abundant to do a able adjustment.
So my point is, this ain’t rocket science, folks. I abstruse a lot about engines from books afore we had computers, and a lot from a guy who had anchored them for abounding years – but you can too. There’s advice abundant out there to awning around ANY agent you get your easily on, new OR used, and EVERY agent you try should get cared for BEFORE you blaze it up, not AFTER. The aberration may able-bodied be whether you get a abbreviate time of life, or a lifetime of use. I’ll accumulate you acquaint on my advance with the 8HP addition activity – I’m not in a blitz because if I can’t acquisition some analytical genitalia I’ll get rid of it, and if I adjudge it’s account befitting it’ll be because I gave it a once-over-under-and-through able basic afore aggravating to get it running. Is it account it in the end? You acquaint me – it’s about winter 2013-2014, I’m still application my Dad’s old snowblower from the 60’s, it still starts on the 1st or 2nd try, it works abundant alike in abundant snow, and it was….. delay for it…. chargeless except for tuneup parts, gas, and oil. Now THAT’S a bargain!
Don’t balloon to assurance up with CJB so you, too, can booty advantage of our one-size-fits-all assembly action – your absolute own Saturday Morning Home Repair Blog soapbox, to clarify on your admired activity and advice others through the adamantine parts. Footfall appropriate up, don’t be shy…
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