Carburetor problems? Here’s the options…

Angry FaceThe Machine…she is sick

So your engine is sputtering and dogging out, huh? You’ve checked the filters, the fuel, the spark plug and the oil. She wants to start but she just won’t run.

Now, of course it could be a number of things (depending on the machine), but if I had to guess, it’s probably fuel related, which means it’s probably your carburetor. Sad as it may be, I’m not entirely surprised. Truth be told, that poor little carburetor really never stood a chance.

Why do I say that? I’m so glad you asked.

Even through normal wear and tear, every single part on that machine is going to go bad eventually. Stuff just breaks, maybe not soon… but some day.

But when you read a little about the effects that Ethanol rich fuel has on two and four cycle engines; even with routine maintenance; you’ll very quickly realize that those parts that come in direct contact with your fuel are under siege.

And, when you combine that with the endless succession of broken equipment that crosses my counter and the equally endless number of carburetor repair kits we install and sell…I’m going to put my money on the probability of carburetor problems.

So, let’s just assume for a second that I’m right and we know that it is the carburetor. Not to worry, you have options.

Option #1: Fix it

The first thing you considered is having it repaired because you still want to believe that they make stuff worth fixing. Good for you. Hold on to that.

Yes, you can always try fixing it. Having personal experience in that sort of thing will definitely help save money by doing the work yourself. At around $10-12, a rebuild kit is definitely the most cost effective first step. And if you have the know-how to install it, you’ll be done in twenty minutes tops.

That is assuming, of course that the kit will actually address the problem. Rebuild kits contain the most commonly replaced parts, and more often than not one kit will service more than one carburetor, so you’re going to end up with extra parts. That in itself can be confusing, but if there are other hidden issues inside the carburetor (clogged jets, corrosion around seals, moving components frozen) then you could be putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. Lots of “if’s” is what I’m saying here.

Beating a dead horse

Even with the new kit installed, it’s not going to make a bit of difference if you’re still pouring the same old Ethanol infused poison in the tank. If you walk away from this blog with nothing else…walk away with this. Too much ethanol is really bad for your engine. Plus, any existing corrosion or blockage to the carb will still be there and will only get worse in a very short period of time.

I think I can do it. I mean, how hard can it be?

Well, if you’ve never repaired a carburetor before, then this will either be a very interesting learning experience or a one way trip to the asylum.

So, before you turn your first screw, please be aware of the following: For some reason, tiny little pieces like to fly across rooms and they LOVE to fall on the ground and disappear forever.

Lose a welch plug or the float bowl spring or the needle or that tiny little rubber seat and its off to get another whole kit.  And by the way, if you don’t know what any of those things are that I just mentioned, then save yourself the effort and just go buy a new carburetor right now. You’ll thank me.

HAH! I DID IT!!

So, you managed to coax all those itty-bitty little parts into their itty-bitty little places. Well done my friend!

Not to jinx anything here, but when you go to fire up the old leaf blower, and  it still doesn’t work… remember to use your words and don’t throw tools. It frightens the cat and the neighbors.

Sure, you may have just spent four hours (including travel time), gas for two trips to the parts store, $28 for two kits (one and a half of which you installed) and it still won’t work, but that’s how we learn. Right?

Remember: Whether you think you can do it or you think you can’t do it…you’re right. Yeah, I kind of want to punch myself in the face for saying that too.

And we’re walking….

Option #2: Replace it

Want my opinion? If you’re still reading this then you do.

Cut to the chase and get a new carburetor. They’re making them pretty cost effective these days, and with recent advances in 3D printing, it’s only a matter of time before they’re all made of plastic and selling for the cost of a DVD anyway.

If you’re not sure which one to get (because were clear on the fact that they are not all the same, right?), pick up the old phone and give us a call here at Lawnmowerpros.com. All we need is the model and serial numbers and we’ll hook you up. Don’t have them? Give us a call anyway. We’ll put on our super-sleuth hats and see what we can dig up.

Ok. I have a new carburetor.

So, now the question is “Will you install it or will you hire someone to do it for you?”

Installation is not that tough. There are tons of do-it-yourself videos all over the net. Just keep in mind that installing this thing the wrong way may be the difference between your machine working and not working but it will not be the difference between the machine working or blowing up.

Carburetors can be kind of particular and putting on a new one is pretty much a pass or fail proposition, but it’s not going to destroy your machine so take it easy. Deep, cleansing breaths. Now give it a shot. You got this.

Yeah, I don’t know about this, man.

That’s cool. When you consider all the time, money and effort you put into installing the first rebuild kit, then installing the second one…then the three weeks of intensive psychotherapy to deal with the ugly stuff that re-surfaced when your blower wouldn’t start…and then buying a new carburetor; you might want to just go on down to the local repair shop and have that technician do it for you after all. You’ll have your machine  up and running in no time and he’ll appreciate it cuz’ he’s got five kids to feed.

Let’s recap.

Repair it – Good if you know it will take care of the problem and you know how to install it. Otherwise, it could possibly end up being an expensive experiment.

Replace it – There are no guarantees, but depending on which carburetor it is, it will probably end up costing less in time and money to just throw a new one on.

If you’ve never installed one, you can probably figure it out. And if you can’t, installing a carburetor is a quick, affordable procedure for a technician. They do it all day long. Plus, you have the peace of mind knowing that you probably won’t have any more problems with the carburetor for a while (provided you stay away from the Ethanol).

So there you have it. My two cents on saving a few cents.

Now, where’d that dang spring go??

-Bill
LawnMowerPros.com carries 1,000’s of carburetors and carburetor kits for top brands such as Echo, Honda, John Deere, MTD, Murray, Sears, Snapper, Toro and many more. Need to repair or replace your carburetor? Shop carburetors or shop carburetor kits.

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Bill Brown

Bill Brown

Bill is the head of content creation for the LawnMowerPros Blog and DIY section. He’s been in the Outdoor Power Equipment Industry for years and he’s still learning new things everyday. You can often find him creating featured articles, DIY guides, videos, graphics and much more.