Small engine problems and basic arrangements

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Today’s economy limits most consumers’ ability to replace large pieces of equipment, cars and furniture. To save money, consumers have to get smart, and sometimes creative. By identifying what problems are occurring that may be causing these things to not work properly, it is then an easy step to find less expensive solutions to make it work. Often times a simple repair or part replacement can make all the difference.

Specifically for car with engine trouble, the problem may seem beyond repair but if analyzed, a simple replacement kit or a repowered engine may be the best, low cost option available. Small engine cars- lawn mowers, golf carts, trucksters, motorcycles, snow mobiles – are secondary pieces of equipment that are expensive to replace.

When they seem to have engine trouble, replacing the entire vehicle is an expensive proposition. A replacement kit is typically the most cost effective alternative. But before going that route, it is important to identify exactly what is wrong with your current engine.Small engine problems typically fall into two basic categories, failure to start and a problem running after the engine has started.

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Failure to start

there are a number of reasons a small engine might not start properly:

O Fuel line problems: Check to see that the fuel tank is full, that the fuel is fresh, and that the shut-off valve is closed. The fuel line or inlet screen could also be blocked or the fuel tank cap could be clogged.

O Carburetor problems: The carburetor could be blocked or the engine could be flooded. There might be problems with the spark plug. Check the choke on the fuel bowl as well – it could be set too high.

O Ignition problems: The spark plug contacts could be dirty, the plug gap could be set incorrectly, the lead could be faulty, or the kill switch could be shorted. These all require basic replacement or repair and are a snap with a proper kit.

O Compression problems: Check the valves, pistons, cylinder, or connecting rods if you suspect a compression problem. These could be dirty, stripped, or otherwise damaged, and would prevent the engine from starting properly or at all.

Problems Running

Problems running properly can pose more danger to your vehicle than an engine that simply won’t’ start. If left unfixed, constant overheating or smoke emission can eventually ruin an engine and require a full-on replacement.

O Overheating engines: Lack of oil is one of the most common reasons for overheating. So is a dirty engine. Beyond that, there may be shrouds or cooling fans missing within the engine or the gasket could be leaking. The fuel mixture might be too lean, another carburetor problem. Cleaning or replacing the fuel tank vent and fuel tank screen can help reduce the chance of your engine overheating as well. These are all fixes that you can do yourself or with some simple repair kit that will cost far less than a new engine.

O Smoking: If the engine is emitting blue or white smoke then it is likely burning oil. If it is emitting black smoke it is a problem with the carburetor most likely. If it is neither the carburetor nor an oil leak, then it might be a clogged or dirty air filter.

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O Knocking engine: If your engine experiences knocking it may indicate an excess of carbon in the combustion chamber, which would require you to clean carbon from the piston and head. The flywheel might also be loose. A faulty spark plug lead could cause engine knocking. This can be easily repaired or replaced.

O Spark Plug Misses: This could be caused by any number of things, including a faulty spark plug, faulty breaker points, an incorrectly set carburetor, or a weak valve spring.

It may appear that your small engine problems are large and will require a brand new small engine. Very rarely is this the case thought. To save money, take note of what exact problems you are having with your engine, test the areas we have outlined above and talk to a small engine specialist about steps to take to get the engine in working order again. The steps may be as simple as basic cleaning or part replacement to a slightly more complex but much less expensive small engine repower kit. In today’s economy, none of us can afford to make unwarranted purchases like new engines if it is not necessary.

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