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Starting A Temperamental Two-Cycle Engine

Two-Cycle engines can be temperamental and difficult. A lot of our yard appliances and other things around the house fall into this category and some these basics steps will help you troubleshoot the most common problems.

Having trouble starting a two-cycle leaf blower, string trimmer or chainsaw? Here’s what to do.Chainsaw







Spark Plug

Check for a spark

If you’ve primed the engine and pulled the cord but still get no sign of life, disconnect the spark plug boot from the plug and insert a paperclip. Hold the rubber boot and move the end of the clip about 1/8 in. from the engine while you pull the cord. Look for a spark to jump the gap. No spark? Take it to a pro.



Check the fuel system

If you have a spark, check the fuel system. Remove the spark plug and examine the tip. If the tip of the plug is wet, the engine is flooded, proving that it’s getting fuel. Dry out the engine and the spark plug. Then reinstall the plug and try starting the engine again.

Try starting fluid

If the engine isn’t flooded or it still won’t start, try starting fluid. Find the air intake and remove the air filter. Spray a one-second burst of starting fluid into the air intake. Reassemble the filter and try to start the engine. If it still won’t start, that means it’s not getting any fuel. It’s time to take the unit in for professional repair.

Avoid old gas

The major reason for balky engines is old fuel. If your gas is more than a few months old, it’s likely the cause of your starting problems. Get rid of it by taking it to your neighborhood recycling center. Refill your gas can with fresh gas and add a fuel stabilizer. If you’ve been running old fuel through the engine, you may have to take the machine in to remove the varnish from the carburetor.


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