Solutions to 2-Cycle Engine Problems

October 6, 2011

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Two-stroke engines (or two cycle engines) are commonly found in lower-power applications.

Some of the  machines equipped with a two-stroke engine include lawn mowers; garden equipment like chain saws, leaf blowers, trimmers, cut off saws, chain saws etc.; dirt bikes; mopeds;  jet skis and more.

These are some of the most common problems (and possible solutions) that owners of two-stroke engines need to be aware of:

Problem: Engine will not start because there is no fire to the spark plug.
Solution: Remove stop wire from ignition module, remove spark plug and pull engine over. If your spark plug is now showing signs of life, then you had a bad switch or a grounded wire. If there is still no fire, then you need to consider these possibilities: the points are bad, ignition module is defective or spark plug is faulty. Replace.

Spark Plug

Spark Plug

Problem: Engine will not start (or hesitates) because of a hard diaphragm in carburetor.
Solution: Old gas causes diaphragms to harden inside the carburetor, preventing the pumping action that allows fuel to move through the carburetor. Replace diaphragms and filter screens.



Problem: Engine will not start (or hesitates when starting) because of clogged fuel filter or clogged internal filter screen.
Solution: Replace both fuel filter and filter screen.

Fuel or Oil Filter

Fuel or Oil Filter

Problem: Engine will not start because of extremely low compression.
Solution: In order for a 2-cyle engine to run correctly, compression is essential. If your engine is unable to reach at least 150 PSI, then the piston and cylinder are gauged or scored. When the engine runs at wrong fuel-to-oil ratio, or is going too fast and too hot, it can cause scoring. If the piston and cylinder are scored, they need to be replaced.

Problem: Engine hesitates because carburetor set is slightly lean.
Solution: Open the high speed needle about 1/8 of a turn.

Problem: Engine runs faster than normal because of a leaking gasket. A leaking gasket at the cylinder base (or a carburetor mounting gasket) will cause the engine to run faster than normal by sucking air.
Solution: This is a serious concern that needs to be repaired promptly, preferably by a professional.

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