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Thread: I hate small engines!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway

    I hate small engines!

    OK, so, long story short: The Derecho knocked out our power friday night. Saturday morning, I went down to start up the generator. I think the gas had sat in it too long. In any case, it didn't start. Took off the air cleaner: nothing. Put in a brand new spark plug, didn't help. Drained the bad gas, put in new. Still nothing. Added some degunker to the gas, let it sit. Nada.

    So I went to the autoparts store and got some Berryman. And some starter fluid. Came home, and tried the starter button. It ran a moment, and died. Encouraged, I started trying new things. Turns out as long as I spray starter fluid into the carburetor, it runs. That tells me it's getting air, and spark, and isn't seized up. But as soon as I stop spraying, it sputters and dies. If I let it sit for ten minutes, it starts, runs a few seconds, and dies. The carburetor has a drain screw, if I turn it, gas comes out, so I know gas is getting from the tank to at least the drain bowl on the carburetor.

    I'm completely stumped. Any ideas? I'd like to get it fixed before the next round of thunderstorms knock us out again...



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    I've had this happen on my small engines that sat too long with fuel in the carb. I've fixed it before by taking the carb apart and make sure it was degunked.

    But, it's easy to screw it up. One time I lost the needle valve seat and had to order a new one. Last time I just capitulated and took the chipper shredder in to the small engine dealer.

    This guys video shows it pretty well.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  3. #3
    I agree with aren't getting enough gas from the carberator to the cylinders. Most likely, the passages from the carberator to the intake manifold are gunked up.

    Once you get it running, running it for 5-10 minutes each month will help prevent that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Near Gassaway,West Virginia
    Check the fuel filter, sounds like it may be gunked up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    I agree with the above and thanks for reminding me to run the generator this coming week end been a few months.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Biggest problem with generators and anything with a small engine is sitting up unused for a long time with fuel in the carb, it turns to varnish and gets yucky. Seafoam in the gas usually cleans it up just fine. Next time shut off the fuel and run the carb dry and eliminate those problems. I have a small generator that is 10 years old and I can go out there right now open the fuel cutoff and it will start 1st or 2nd pull and purr like a kitten. Also put Stabil in the fresh fuel it lengthens the storage life drastically. Good luck.
    Making saw dust in SW Louisiana

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Spitting distance north of Detroit Michigan
    Sounds like the fuel pump/diaphragm...rebuild the carb scenario...they're actually pretty easy, most carb kits come with a basic manual type page to follow, worse part is, other than forgetting where things go or losing parts is the tight quarters getting the carb off & back on....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I'd probably say it is the carb, but you might also gauge the gap on the plug. Had similar problems for the past few times trying to run my blower for more than a few minutes. It would get warmed up and stop working. Finally cleaned and gauged the plug and it's been running fine since.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    You guys must get pretty bad gas, i have weed eater and lawnmower and leave them from Nov thru to May and pull them out and they start first time with gas being left in all that time. These units are 10 years old. Never touched a plug or anything on them and my sons have been the users so only lost parts they can fiddle with like bolts.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    The guy I just bought my new used JD tractor from, owns a small engine repair business, said that the ethanol in gas is the culprit. He told me to use the Stabil fuel stabilizer that comes in the blue, not red, bottle and that will take care of the starting problems and carb varnishing. The ethanol even corrodes the fuel lines.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

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