Batteries not included…

So….with spring finally here, and my tomato, eggplant, cucumber and pepper plants growing by the day, I decided to pull out the Craftsman rototiller out to get “the farm” ready.  I filled up the gas tank, changed out the oil, and gave the pull cord a hardy pull.

…and nothing.  A couple more pulls….nothing.

..oh, what’s this?  *drip* *drip* *drip*

*sniff*  Yeah, totally gasoline dripping out of the tiller.  So I open up the part of the engine where the dripping is coming from to see gas spilling out of the carburetor (??maybe??)  

At this point I’d like to point out that my father was a mechanic.  Not really, he was a small business owner/entrepreneur that had 20 years of mechanic knowledge under his belt, much more accurate.   When I was young, he would want to show me how to tune up a car (back before they were all electronically controlled and CPU monitored), change the oil, fix the timing, or just tinker around under the hood.  I on the other hand kept wanting to find out why I kept going to castles that didn’t have the princess in them.  

“Another castle?  Then why the hell did I stomp on countless mushrooms and turtles to get here?  Why haven’t they invented GPS yet???”  

So while I was busy guiding Mario, Link and Samus to victory (not really, I never beat any of those games), I could have been learning how to fix a 2-stroke engine or troubleshoot a leaky carburetor.  So the irony was not lost on me as I was staring at a metal thingy that was dripping gasoline.  The gasoline was the only thing I was sure about, because that’s the primary thing I used to ignite the holes in the ground that I had dug in my parents yard as a child (boys, eh?).  So gas was dripping out, and I triumphantly managed to find the gas shutoff valve!  

“Hooray!  I didn’t lose all that gas that I had just put in the tank!” (it’s the little victories in life that matter)

So what’s someone like me to do when faced with a problem I don’t know?  Google to the rescue!!!  Unfortunately Google didn’t help me too much.  So I dug back into the tiller and just started doing what anyone without any knowledge in mechanics does.  

I started unscrewing things. >.<

Now, I did put the screw back where they were after a panel had been removed, so I wouldn’t lose them, and I was actually smart enough to take pictures of the before and after, so I wouldn’t forget how to put it back together (or have “spare parts” left over).  What I discovered was that the carburetor seal was dry rotted.  I haven’t been living under a rock for the last 30 years, so I do know what dry rotted rubber looks like.  So, with the new found knowledge that my seal was bad, I decided to order new seals, and air filters while I was at it, since they looked pretty old too.

Well, they finally arrived today!  I was so excited to finally get my tiller working.  I installed the new seal after spending the last week  researching how tillers work and the mechanical workings inside them.  

The good news? It started.  The bad?  It stopped pretty soon thereafter.  It’s still leaking fuel out, so I *think* it’s a “float valve” issue, but it could just as well be a widget is jumping around inside my engine making the gasoline gods angry.  So now I have to spend tomorrow trying to learn what I can about engines from Google….oh, and I have a 2-stoke Mantis tiller (completely different, but the same that at least it doesn’t have a computer controlling it) that isn’t working that I’m trying to fix too.  I’ve narrowed that down to a fuel line….or spark plug…or air filter….or flywheel.  

YAY!  Farming is fun, and I haven’t even dug into the ground yet.  I could do it by hand, but 800 square feet of land isn’t easy to do by hand with a broken back.  OH…That’s a post for another time….

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    800 could be worse. If you got a handful of friends and give them lunch you can double-dig the whole thing by hand in one day.


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