How It Works: 2-Cycle Engine

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Small engine won't start, runs unevenly, or won't stay running? This video provides information on how an engine works and offers troubleshooting tips to assist you in diagnosing and repair.

Here is a list of the most commonly replaced parts associated with each engine symptom:

Small engine Won't Start: spark plug, carburetor, ignition coil, start switch
Engine stops after a few seconds: fuel cap, carburetor
Engine leaks gas: carburetor gasket, float bowl gasket, carburetor bowl gasket, fuel tank
Engine runs poorly: Carburetor, carburetor repair kit, spark plug, fuel filter


All of the information provided in this engine troubleshooting video is applicable to the following brands: Briggs & Stratton, Craftsman, Cub Cadet, Honda, Husqvarna, Kawasaki, Kohler, MTD
1Maintenance tips for your small engine
Maintenance tips for your small engine
From a string trimmer to a riding lawn mower and everything in between, proper maintenance of your small engines will maximize efficiency and extend the life of your outdoor power equipment.
2Consult the owner’s manual.
Consult the owner’s manual.
Maintenance procedures often vary significantly by model.
3Have a clean air filter in place.
Have a clean air filter in place.
The air filter has the important job of preventing dirt, dust and other debris from entering the carburetor and engine. It should be cleaned or changed every 25 hours of engine operation or once per mowing season. Pleated, paper air filters must be replaced. Foam air filters can be cleaned with hot water and a small amount of detergent and then left to air dry before being saturated with new engine oil and reinstalled.
4Check and change the oil regularly.
Check and change the oil regularly.
Every eight hours of use, check the condition and level of the oil. Fresh oil is golden or amber in color. As it ages, it will darken. Change the oil every 50 hours of use (generally once per season). Always use the oil recommended by the manufacturer for that model.
5Use a clean fuel filter.
Use a clean fuel filter.
Fuel filter replacement is recommended due to high risk of damage to if cleaned.
6Degrease.
Degrease.
Spray a degreaser on oil stains. Allow the degreaser to sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping with a clean cloth. Rinse with a hose.
7Clean the cooling fins.
Clean the cooling fins.
Periodically use a small bristle brush to remove debris from the cooling fins. In most cases, the blower housing will need to be removed to access all of the fins.
8Fuel cap
Fuel cap
Fuel caps have vent holes to allow air into the fuel tank. Check the fuel cap vent holes. Replace the fuel cap if there is blockage from buildup or debris in the vent holes. During the off season, cover or close the fuel cap vent. For greatest convenience, find a tune-up kit for your small engine.

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