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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Repairing Tecumseh carburators.


Some of you might be confused as to why I have tips on repairing an engine. Before I became a graphic designer, I repaired lawn mowers for a living, and still do on the side as a hobby. So.. for those of you who are interested in learning how to repair Tecumseh carburators, here goes nothin'
I made a post about this because Tecumseh engines all use the same somewhat inferior Carb design. The flaw is mostly user initiated. Unlike Briggs and Stratton engines which use a painfully simple diaphram for a carb, with no bowl and very few moving parts, Tecumseh engines use a delicate, more elaborate carb with a bowl and worst of all, a carb body with a permanently sealed check valve( ball bearing) that tends to get stuck. These carbs pose an almost reliable list of specific problem areas. Luckily, most can be fixed if you're patient and willing to spend about an hour or so repairing them.
The most common problem these carbs have is a tendency for the bowl to eventually be filled with gum deposits from old gas which sits in it all winter long. These deposits will clog the gas inlet located in the large brass bolt that holds the bowl onto the carb. You can see it pictured in the diagram. Notice that there is a small pinhole on the side. This almost always gets clogged up, and when it does, the engine will not start. You can perform this fix with the carb on the engine as long as you make sure to either drain the gas or make sure the gas line is pulled from the gas tank. I usually remove the tank entirely since they usally just clip on the side of the engine blower housing.
Another common problem is the butterfly valve will sometimes get stuck due to gum deposits as well. Manually twist the butterfly valve( located on top of the carb as seen in the picture with the spring) and make sure it moves easily. If not, then you're probably going to be better off removing the carb.
Most Tecumsehs have the carb held in place with 2 screws near the exhaust. Some of the newer ones are located so close to the muffler that you will have to remove the muffler too. Before you do this, drain the gas or remove the gas tank. Then CAREFULLY pull the carb off of the engine while making a mental note of how the linkage attached to the engine. Be careful NOT to stretch the governor spring. If you do, the engine will run erratically.
Once you have the carb off of the engine, find a clean place to work where you can take it apart and inspect all the parts. Remove the bowl and notice the brass float as pictured above. There is a little pin that holds it into place. Slide that out and gently lift the float out. The needle valve will come out at the same time, which is hung loosely from the float. Next remove the elbow piece that goes from the intake to the side of the carb body. Now that you have it all apart, do a number of simple tests. Gently shake the float. if you hear fluid sloshing around, then it has a leak. These floats are like 4 bucks, so get another one. I've also found that if you can spot the hole, you can solder it and it will work just fine. Next, clean the entire carb body with carb spray. I'd suggest wearing gloves because the spray is nasty stuff. Just watch it eat your gloves to see what I mean. With the body clean, hold the butterfly valve with a finger so it doesn't move and shake it. if you hear what sounds like a ball bearing rattling inside, then you're in good shape. if not, then that's a problem. One of the biggest problems people have with these mowers is that they will accelerate out of control. I've seen many tecumsehs that simply blew up. This is caused by a stuck check valve allowing too much fuel to be thrown into the engine. So you can do one of 2 things: Either get a new carb, or soak the old one for a few days in parts cleaner. You'll have to remove the rubber primer bulb, but I seem to almost always ruin them getting the things out, so while you're at it, order a bew primer bulb. The cleaner will eat anything made out of rubber or plastic, so make sure and remove the gaskets, rubber,etc.
So now that you've got it all cleaned out, put it all back together and see if she'll run. Sometimes they'll start on the first pull, and sometimes it takes all day to get it to run right. This last point being made brings up my last point, which is that if you have a choice between a briggs powered mower and one with a Tecumseh... go with the Briggs for god's sake or else you'll have to do all the stuff I mentioned above. I also wanted to mentioned that I borrowed a few pics of carbs from a few web sites, so thanks in advance. I meant to take my own but the batteries in my camera died, and I'm too lazy on Sundays to run to the store.

50 Comments:

At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, thanks for that explaination about tecumseh carbs, I HAD a foot of snow in the driveway, couldn't get the blower going, read your post, pulled the brass bolt in the float, blew it out, and away it went!

Thanks from Canada

 
At 7:02 PM, Blogger charlie said...

My tecumseh only runs when I push the primer button.Been apart 2 times,clean inside,cant figure out problem.Where can I buy a used,new carb.Charlie

 
At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought a new carb for $30 that you just install. It was a great deal for what I needed. Especially since I wasn't 100% sure how I got the old one off.

 
At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the words of wisdom. I'm from the old wind the rope around the briggs and stratton. Use to run them on my soap box derby car after the race. Much simpler-thats why I know you know your shit! You said the same exact thing. KISS! What about the capped brass screw? That also has a hole in it that could be plugged...

 
At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4 got to ask you-how do you put in the plastic pipe with the two o rings?
Thanx

 
At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although these carbs are a PITA, you have to admit, there is not much to them as far as buying a rebuild kit. I have never bought a carb part for a Tecumseh carb. Use the same bole O ring, and the same bowl bolt fiber seal and they always seem to work. It is just keeping them clean and otherwise very simple. I prefer Briggs myself, but I must say, I have bought several diaphrams for them. Take the good with the bad guys. Ups and downs both ways.

 
At 3:42 PM, Blogger Rick S. said...

My Craftsman snow blower would not run, I put in a new plug, but still nothing. I read your post on carburetor cleaning, followed your advise and "whamo"..she's running like a top! I can't thank you enough. You saved me a bunch of $$$.

 
At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Kevin said...

I have a 10hp on a generator that does not like to run when it is cold out, spits sputters backifires and dies. If you pull the breather hose from the crank to the carb it will run smooth. It draws to much condensation to run when it is cold out.

 
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At 8:06 AM, Anonymous tim said...

Like you said, clean out the hole in the carb bowl attachment bolt, re-insert , Started first Pull!! Thanks!

 
At 2:37 AM, Anonymous Cody said...

Such a great article which most of Tecumseh engines use a delicate, more elaborate carb with a bowl and worst of all, a carb body with a permanently sealed check valve( ball bearing) that tends to get stuck. It is an interesting post and informative one also.

 
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At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 63 and have played with both Briggs and techumseh. Like them both, both have pros and con's. If you live in snow country, be careful
Of the gas. IH you find a float that looks like it got crushed, it can be due to water in the gas freezes. Water expands when it freezes. Be careful of ethanol. It can play havoc with any small engine. I ruined 2 older Briggs engines in one day couple of years ago. If you can find ethanol free gas, use it. Some stations have it as premium. It's all I use. Ethanol is an alcohol. Alcohol is anhydrous. It will absorb water right out of the air. I take my carbs apart occasionally just to clean them. WD40 clean jets and ports pretty good. I use marvel mystery to soak parts if I need to. Add 1 oz of marvel in 10 gal gas. Amazing stuff and I love the smell. Hardy ever have any problems.

 
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