5 hp rototiller engine question

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Feb 18, 2009
I've had this tiller for at least 10 years. Bought it from my aunt at her yard sale! It's an old Montgomery Wards tiller and has worked flawlessly until I tried cranking her up the other night for the season. Choking it I couldn't get it to fire or try to start. Removed the air cleaner and used some starting fluid and popped right off but would only run until the fluid was used up. Not getting gas. Sprayed more fluid and held my hand over the air cleaner and as long as I left it there she ran. I could feel the air pulling on the side of my hand so it was vacuuming which I'm assuming pulled gas from the tank. Once I got her going it would only run with the choke pulled halfway out. What might cause this? Just wouldn't run at all with the choke off. Tilled the garden with half choke.
Its either getting too much air or not enough fuel. So it could be an air leak, pulling in air after the carburator. Also unfiltered air too but I doubt you did any real damage. Or it could be a clogged jet in the carb not letting enough fuel to get pulled through. I've heard of guys testing for air leaks using a small propane torch, don't light it and put the nozzle where the suspected leak is and the rpm should rise. Obviously you have to be a bit careful doing this! Probably a better plan is clean the carb first and see what happens.
Sounds like it's not getting enough gas. Remove carb bowl and soak the main jet in carb cleaner. Then make sure all passages in the jet are clear. If that doesn't work you may have to remove the whole carb and soak it.
Look on the bottom of the carb bowl, it being that old there is probably a mix screw. Try turning it counterclockwise.
 Originally Posted By: Bill in Utah
Rebuild the carb. You have stuff in there (either gas that has gone bad or debris) Bill
The carb is probably due for a rebuild, and could have junk in it. You might want to give this a try, I did it this winter to help a neighbor get his snow blower going. Pinch the fuel line so gas doesn't empty out of the gas tank, small vice grip pliers work well. Now remove the fuel line going into the carb. Take carb cleaner and spray it through the small straw that comes taped to the can into the carb bowl. Let it soak for about an hour, and do it again. Reconnect things and give it a try. It's worked a few times for me over the years. HTH
Thanks for all the useful information. I used it again last evening but it did start this time without any problems. It will also stay running now with the choke off. But it will stall if the tiller's tines hit any resistance (rock or large clump of dirt). This shuts the engine off like you hit the kill switch! But if I run the choke open about halfway it runs perfect without even a hiccup. I think it is a Briggs & Stratton engine but not 100% sure. I'll try cleaning up the carb as suggested and let you know. Thanks again for the suggestions.
Before removing the carb you can also try Amsoil Power Foam 1st https://www.amsoil.com/storefront/apf.aspx?zo=1706992 It has always worked well for me. :2cents: For a small engine you won't need the whole can as the directions state, just use a liberal amount flooding the carb until it stops then let it soak for a while then restart the engine. It will remove any gunk in the carb! If that does not due the trick then yea you may have to pull the carb and go through it.
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