Small Engine Repair

25 Apr

Last weekend when we tried to mow the lawn, I went against all good judgement and used gas that I knew was most likely bad from sitting out all winter into the lawn tractor. And it was. It started running like crap instantly. So then I proceeded to drain the gas tank and the gas tanks of all our small power equipment into our largest gas can.

Getting rid of bad gas is a tricky proposal, as it turns out. Finally I asked our mechanic if he knew what to do with it, and he told me he could take the gas for me in his waste tank. They have a Safety Kleen contract to deal with waste fluids from oil changes and other mechanical work.

Anyway, once I had an empty gas can, I was able to fill up with new, 93 Octane gas. The leaf blower actually requires 91, but I figured the 93 would help everything run a little better if they had any residual bad gas in their fuel systems. So I took the 1.5 gallon can and put in Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer and Echo oil mix and mixed the fuel. I then put some fuel in the weed whacker and the leaf blower, pumped the primers, and luckily they both started pretty easily. I let them run for about 5 minutes and they both sound like they are ready to work!


I put a little pure gas in the lawn tractor, pushed it out of the garage, and tried to start it. Nothing. Didn’t make a sound when I turned the key. I had forgotten to plug in the Battery Tender, and I had tried to start the tractor a bunch of times when I had put the bad gas in, so after checking out a few things I got out the meter and saw that the battery was only reading 2.5 volts. It really should be 12 or 14, so i’m hoping when the battery charges up it will start.

My last task was to see if I could get the old Stihl chainsaw, that Corinne’s dad gave us, working. I have never gotten this chainsaw to start before. I pulled the spark plug, cleaned all the gunk of it, and tested it by grounding out the body of the plug on the metal of the motor and pulling the string. I saw a spark, so I knew that aspect of the fuel/air/spark equation was good. Next was the fuel, so I poured in some of the mixed fuel and brought the saw outside to try to start it. I put the saw on the ground and gave a few pulls. After the fifth or sixth pull it sounded a little close. Then I realized the throttle has a feature where it can be pinned a full throttle for starting, AND I realized I hadn’t turned on the choke. After I did that it started in about three pulls! I quickly released the throttle, revved it a few times, and it was able to hold a decent idle.


Unfortunately, now that I’ve got the engine issue sorted out, there is another issue I have to deal with. There is a nut that tightens down the bar (the thing that the chain rides on), and the cover and the stud has stripped out the aluminum casing of the saw. Due to this the bar is all loose and floppy and won’t stay in place. If it were even possible to use in this state it would be dangerous. I’m hoping the stripped out hole will be able to repaired by drilling out the hole to a bigger size and tapping it for a Heli-Coil insert. I’m going to hopefully find out if this will work by talking to the same mechanic who took the bad fuel off our hands.


One Response to “Small Engine Repair”


  1. Stihl Working « Titus Road - August 9, 2012

    […] chainsaw we have, which was donated to us by Corinne’s Dad, has been out of commission for some time […]

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