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Thread: small engine frustrations

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,834

    small engine frustrations

    I have an old Sthil FS80, heavy duty trimmer/brush cutter. It is about 40 years old but was completely rebuilt by Sthil about 15 years ago. It has served me well but has received no more than what I would call moderate use. I hadn't used it in several years but it worked perfectly last time. I did remember to drain the fuel when I put it away. Well.....recently it was needed for a Honey Do project. I was not able to get it started. Used fresh fuel and carefully measure Sthil oil. Nuttin'
    Tried many times to start, even using ether in intake. Still nothing. The spark plug looked OK but, just for the 'H' of it, I bought a new one from the local Sthil dealer. About $3.00.
    Put it in and the trimmer roared to life on the first pull.
    Not going to guess why it worked last time but all I know is it works now and I saved an expensive bench charge at the Sthil fix-it shop. Color me happy.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Southeast Pa
    Posts
    2,019
    You are right those small engines can often be very frustrating!..
    I have a year old trimmer that has worked firs pull. a week or so ago it gave me fits. Then after priming with propane it started. Worked fine the rest of the day and worked great yesterday..

    Garry

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Posts
    12,264
    Frank i can relate to your story 100%. Have a weedwacker which last year i refurbished somewhat. It needed a new fuel bubble the plastic housing that one presses to prime the fuel. Well take it out the garage this year and what do you know the bubble that i was sold last year is hard and brittle and cracked. So much for it being a replacement part. But $5 later i had one from the HD that would fit and back in business.

    Lawnmower also tried your trimmers stunt, thought it was stale gas after nearly pulling my arm off to get it to start. Then i remembered i had some quick start in a can and took plug out quick squirt of that into the cyclinder and boom roared to life and no problem from there on.

    Both have been serving me well for 12 years now. Although lawnmower got an oil change, air filter change and spark plug change last year, felt like spoiling it.
    cheers

  4. #4
    I am far from a small engine guru, but my 'no start, but it started last week' procedure is:

    1) Pull the spark plug, it's generally wet w/ fuel
    2) Check/clean the air filter (if applicable)
    3) Check oil level (if applicable)
    4) Turn the motor over 4-5 times w/ plug out to blow out the cylinder
    4) Let sit 5-10 minutes w/ plug out to dry out
    5) Swap in a different plug. Not necessarily a new plug. I have 2-3 plugs for each motor and I just swap a different, dry/clean, one in, then put the wet/dirty one on the shelf for later.
    6) Success!


    I guess you could say my maintenance is lacking.....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,448
    My Stihl chainsaw is in the shop (after I forgot to drain the gas last fall). The newer carburetors apparently use rubber flappers or something rather than the old fashioned (durable) needle valves, so in storage, the gas rots the guts. The lesson to me is that draining gas and running it dry after each use is not merely a suggestion but a requirement.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Posts
    4,702
    Yep they sure can be Fussy! Really frustrating to not know what the heck was wrong either (spark plug looks good, gap ok.. new plug works! Hmmm!).

    Our yard at the current house is pretty small so I just use a reel mower, sharpen and adjust the blades once a year and its good to go. Edging is handled with a yard sale sickle that I sharpened up and peened the edge (goes surprisingly fast and easy if its sharp enough, about as fast as the old weed wacker and I can skip the - why ain't it running right - hassle as well which mostly makes up for the time difference). The main downsides to the reel mower is that it doesn't work well if the grass is either long or wet. The long gives me motivation to actually cut it every week which only takes maybe 15-20 minutes and the wet means I shouldn't get started to early in the day

    Speaking of which I need to take the chainsaw in for a tuneup...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,467
    I have a Homelite blower that fouls the plug about twice a year and have to replace them, so just started keeping extra plugs on hand. I'll usually try to clean up the gap with some sandpaper and re-gap it first, which usually works, but replace it otherwise. Not had a bit of problem with the fuel or primer bulb, just the plug.
    Darren

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Posts
    10,606
    Starting fluid is my best friend
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Posts
    5,323
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Plesums View Post
    My Stihl chainsaw is in the shop (after I forgot to drain the gas last fall). The newer carburetors apparently use rubber flappers or something rather than the old fashioned (durable) needle valves, so in storage, the gas rots the guts. The lesson to me is that draining gas and running it dry after each use is not merely a suggestion but a requirement.
    Funny, My Stihl chainsaw is the most fuel-temperamental tool I own. The string trimmer, backpack blower, handheld blower, and tiller all pretty much always start on the first or second pull, even with month+ old fuel in them, but that chainsaw requires FRESH gas mix every time. Just last week, after it sitting for less than a month, I flooded it out with the old gas. Had to remove the carb (after draining the tank, of course) and the spark plug, then flow low pressure (about 10psi) air through it, and then reassemble and put fresh gas in it. Started on the first pull, then.

    I finally broke down and bought a liter of the Stihl pre-mixed fuel for $7.95. Stihl says it's good for two years after opening. We'll see...

    BTW, I use Stabil in the fuel for pretty much everything except my car and truck. Other than the chainsaw, I've never (yet) had a fuel problem in any machine - two or four cycle.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,834
    My Stihl chainsaw is the most fuel-temperamental tool I own
    I own three Sthil tools. A chainsaw, a grass trimmer and the aforementioned heavy duty trimmer. The chainsaw and grass trimmer absolutely will not run at all if I use any oil other than Sthil. I don't mind it is about the same price as others and the small bottles are premeasured for one gallon. And I use only non-ethanol gasoline in all my small engines. Only one dealer left in the area that sells it. If they close not sure what I'll do.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

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