Can't believe I fixed it

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Last year, I bought one of those wheeled string-trimmer things that looks kind of like a lawn mower, but has the really heavy string where the mower blade would be. Sears Craftsman, Briggs and Stratton engine. After getting quite a bit of use, it sat for a while. Then it wouldn't start. It had usually taken one or two pulls to start, very reliable. Now, nothing. So, I put more gas in it, no dice. Now I'm thinking carburetor trouble. I have never had good luck with carbs. My feeling has been that they are inhabited by evil spirits, and I can't find the proper incantations. Cars have been fuel injected for quite a while, so I figured I didn't have to worry about it. Of course this one is plastic. I figured out how to get the float bowl off, and found that the float was moving freely, and that there was fuel in the bowl. Now what. I noticed a plastic deal in the middle of the bottom of the carb that looked like it might come out. After some judicious prying, a plastic thingy that looked like three towers came out. I discovered that there was a little brass insert that I couldn't blow through (gotta love the taste of gasoline). I showed it to my DW and asked her if she could think of anything small enough to stab into it, and sure enough, she suggested a sewing needle. Eureka. Surprisingly, I was able to re-assemble everything on the first try, and now it starts on the first pull again.
 
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Garbage bag wire ties are good for cleaning carbs if you don't have anything else like a set of cutting torch tip cleaners. When I can't find the torch tip cleaners, which is often, I get a garbage bag wire tie, strip the paper/plastic from it and go to work. The wire is the right diameter and very flexible so I don't worry about it breaking off in an orifice.
 
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I was vacationing once on this island where there was no industry, no hardware store, but a dump. Inspired by the overgrown hay in the 100 square feet of non-rocky property I lugged home a lawnmower that only ran if you pressed the primer button. It came full of gas and oil even! Dismantled the carb with a crescent wrench I found, stripped the paper off a bread tie, shoved that through the carb, reassembled, and it started right up. I mowed. drive
 
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I can rebuild a racing carb,Holley or carter. I don't have any luck with small engine ones. Spent most of Friday morning messing with my chainsaw. Finally took it to a shop about 3pm.
 
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Many small engine carbs are as cheap as $12 to $15. Just replace it, instead of taking it to the shop. Very easy, works perfect every time.
 
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If it worked, good, but I dont think a sewing needle is a very good choice because they have a taper. Common recommendation is a nylon bristle.Also fine copper electrical wire strand. In extremis I use a pressure jet of detergent-in+water from a hypodermic syringe, (after boiling) and in extreme extremis I poke it with the needle at the same time. You need a fine needle, like from an insulin syringe, for the last resort.
 
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Carb Jet. Meters fuel into the carb. On older motorcycles it was a thing to get a "jet kit" to bump up the fuel delivery for more power or to make the bike run cooler. I like to screw with people sometimes and I'll ask if their bike (that had EFI) has a performance jet kit. You'd be surprised how many people say yes because it sounds like something cool to have.
 
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Once met an old man at a flea market, he had a trailer full of weed eaters and saws and the like for sale. I asked him how he got all of them and how he fixed them. He said he added a quarter cup of sea foam in the tank first and some gas. I had a weed eater that came from my Dad's shed. He passed away like 12 years ago. it had sat all that time. Son added 2 stroke gas and tried to start it with no luck. I went over to it and added the sea foam. It started on the third pull and ran fine again Used it all afternoon on leaves. I'm a believer.
 
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Great story. Congrats on the successful repair. Too many good how-to videos not to at least give it a shot. That said, I really enjoy doing a carb rebuild on a Briggs or Tecumseh. On 2 cycles, it’s just too cheap and easy to buy a new carb and swap it out. Tiny parts and passages can mean big headaches.
 
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Originally Posted By: boraticus
Garbage bag wire ties are good for cleaning carbs if you don't have anything else like a set of cutting torch tip cleaners. The wire is the right diameter and very flexible so I don't worry about it breaking off in an orifice.
Keep old broken guitar strings around for the same purpose! thumbsup
 
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Originally Posted By: Linctex
Originally Posted By: boraticus
Garbage bag wire ties are good for cleaning carbs if you don't have anything else like a set of cutting torch tip cleaners. The wire is the right diameter and very flexible so I don't worry about it breaking off in an orifice.
Keep old broken guitar strings around for the same purpose! thumbsup
The best I can do is play a radio, so I don't have any guitar strings laying around. Good idea though. I'll have to find some of my old rocker friends from the 60's who may still play a bit of guitar and ask them to save the thin strings for me. What I find ironic is we're having this discussion regarding the best wires to use to clean a carb, but according to "experts" it's the last thing we're supposed to do to clean a carb? The only sensible reason I can think of for not using a wire is that you won't be able to clean the carb and will need to take it into a shop so an expert can clean it, likely using a piece of wire. wink
 
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Quote:
The only sensible reason I can think of for not using a wire is that you won't be able to clean the carb and will need to take it into a shop so an expert can clean it, likely using a piece of wire. wink
But that would be the factory's officially endorsed wire. laugh
 

Stelth

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Originally Posted By: vwmaniaman
Once met an old man at a flea market, he had a trailer full of weed eaters and saws and the like for sale. I asked him how he got all of them and how he fixed them. He said he added a quarter cup of sea foam in the tank first and some gas. I had a weed eater that came from my Dad's shed. He passed away like 12 years ago. it had sat all that time. Son added 2 stroke gas and tried to start it with no luck. I went over to it and added the sea foam. It started on the third pull and ran fine again Used it all afternoon on leaves. I'm a believer.
I'm going to keep this in mind. I have some other OPE that hasn't been run in a while. Thanks.
 
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Originally Posted By: Stelth
Originally Posted By: vwmaniaman
Once met an old man at a flea market, he had a trailer full of weed eaters and saws and the like for sale. I asked him how he got all of them and how he fixed them. He said he added a quarter cup of sea foam in the tank first and some gas. I had a weed eater that came from my Dad's shed. He passed away like 12 years ago. it had sat all that time. Son added 2 stroke gas and tried to start it with no luck. I went over to it and added the sea foam. It started on the third pull and ran fine again Used it all afternoon on leaves. I'm a believer.
I'm going to keep this in mind. I have some other OPE that hasn't been run in a while. Thanks.
Let us know how that works out for you! Keep that piece of wire and an air compressor nearby. If there's solids in the carb, you're going to need it.
 
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May 2, 2007
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Nebraska
Grab your wire brush. Clamp onto one of the wires with Vise Grips and pull it out. VERY good for poking out the smallest passages. When it wears out (or gets too many bends in it), there are many, many more waiting to take up where the first one left off. I keep one clamped in a set of hemostats.
 
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