Tuesday, June 4, 2013

King of the 2-Cycle Engine

Eureka! - Archimedes

In the previous post, I ranted on about trying to start a garden - taking apart the compost heap, digging dirt, digging out bricks (done mainly by That Man and The Boy), then digging some more, and then trying to get the little Mantis tiller running (FAIL).

That Man worked and worked on that tiller.  He drained the old gas from the tank (yes, there was 22-year-old gasoline in there, I'm embarrassed to admit), yanked on the cord a few hundred times, took the carburetor off, shot Gum Out into every crevice, cleaned the fuel filter, took the carburetor apart, put it back on, adjusted the idle and high screws, and frankly, spent most of the day fighting with the infernal machine.  He could get it to start (with starter fluid), but it just would not continue to run.  Stubborn.

We decided to give it a rest, put the tiller in the garage, and think about it for a while.

I did some research on the Web, and some people said it's basically a "disposable tiller" and that the best thing to do is to junk it and buy something better.  Oooooooooh, that just rubs me the wrong way!  When it was working, it was wonderful!  The tilling width is only about 8 inches wide, it weighs less than 20 pounds, and it did a great job of tilling, weeding, and digging holes.  Brand new, the tiller cost only about $150.00, and a new one now costs about $300.00. So, where's the break even point?  A carburetor rebuild kit costs about $12.00.  A pack of six air filters costs about $10.00.  A new fuel filter costs about $5.00.  Plus about $5.00 shipping.  I think $32.00 is getting off pretty easy!

So I ordered the parts from Mantis, and they should arrive this week.

In the meantime, I did my Santa Claus impression and hoe-hoe-hoed to break up the worst of the clods, spread the compost around and get everything relatively level.  FUN.

I bought some tomato plants and put them in the ground.

I bought some garden seeds.

I dusted my plants with Dipel.

Just biding my time, waiting for parts to be delivered.

Until TODAY.

That Man got a wild hair and decided to work on the Mantis some more.  He yanked the cord.  He choked it.  He yanked some more.  Over and over.  He rubbed a spot raw on a finger pulling the cord.  It started and ALMOST ran a little.  He played with the set screws on the carburetor.  He came in and asked me which screw was which.  I read to him from the manual.  He went back outside and messed around some more.  He fiddled and fiddled with those screws quite a bit, and finally, he pulled the cord, the tiller started, and IT DID NOT STOP!


He also works magic on my boat's outboard motor every year.  After it sits over the winter, it needs some encouragement to start, but once it starts, it goes.  Then I have to make sure to run it once a week so that it continues to cooperate.  It usually takes just one or two pulls to start.  Unless I neglect it a couple of weeks - but that's another story!

This year, however, he noticed gas leaking from the motor.  He popped off the cover and found gas dripping, but from where?  He poked and prodded and squinted and stared.  Finally, he narrowed it down and sent me off to buy some fuel line.  He replaced it (all one and a half inches of it!), I started the motor, and, voila!  No more leaks!

It took two and a half hours of concentrated troubleshooting to accomplish.  He's more stubborn than the machines!

Anyway, I've decided to crown him King of the 2-Cycle Engine.  Or Wizard. Or Wizard King!

Now, the only 2-cycle motor left is the chain saw.

Oh my!

P.S. - After writing this, the parts arrived later the same day - of course!

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