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Beating an old Garden Tiller back into life..

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posted on May, 29 2008 @ 01:15 PM
I made this little discovery yesterday when I went out to start my 15 year old 5hp B&S tiller. It had been running fine with the exception of a little smoke, but when I pulled the cord, it suddenly froze in place, and I just about broke my wrist. Note: Don't hold the starter cord handle too tight. You can really hurt yourself if something like this happens. My wife heard the pop of my wrist bones across the garden!

The problem: The piston rings had seized up, and would not allow the piston to travel freely against the cylinder wall.

The Fix: I removed the cylinder head and squirted some duralube around the piston, allowed it to soak in a few moments, then took the wooden handle of my hammer and gently tapped the piston all the way down. I then wiped down the cylinder walls to remove any grit or metal shavings, rubbed on a little more duralube with a clean rag for lubrication, then slowly pulled the cord to see if the piston moved freely.

Results: After replacing the cylinder head and cleaning the plug, I pulled the cord to see if it would start, and it did. I got the whole lot done without ant further issues. I doubt it's a permanent fix, and will probably need to be done again, but hey!, I got my ground tilled up, and didn't have to spend another for or five hundred dollars that I didn't have for a new tiller.

I really need a new tiller, but I plan to get every hour of work I can get out of this one first!

[edit on 5/29/08 by LLoyd45]

posted on Jun, 1 2008 @ 02:28 PM
Do you live in a somewhat damp climate?

Squirt a little oil into the spark plug hole when you store it away for the winter.

Turn the engine over to help spread the oil and leave the piston at TDC.
(Top Dead Center.)
Store it inside a garage or shed.
I see a lot of people leave them outside and along with engine problems rust and corrosion take their toll on other things.

You may find it cost effective to buy a replacement B&S engine from places like Northern Tool.

My friend did that with a fairly new and mistreated Craftsman Lawn Tractor that had the 18 HP twin cylinder engine go bad.
He ended up with a good running lawn tractor.
One thing to check on the twin cylinder engines is the twin coil setup.
If one side of the coil goes bad you'll end up running on one cylinder and not be able to get much done.

Barring that, you can save some money by watching the Sears ads around the end of summer, beginning of fall and catch a nice new tiller for not too much $$.

I'm liking my new one, but I miss my big ol Troy-Bilt I left behind when we moved....

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 12:09 AM
though i've little experience in the mechanics it'd take to do as you've done, i respect the resolve it takes to accomplish such, and think it embodies the survivalist mentality required to push on when things get tough- and we all know they will. hence- you've my moral support

[edit on 2-6-2008 by Ice_Man]

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 12:17 AM
reply to post by LLoyd45

You can pull the jug off that engine,hone the cylinder out and re-ring the thing for less than $20.It's a whole lot cheaper than a new tiller.If you have a NAPA store nearby they can get you the parts.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 07:18 AM
Thanks for all the advice and encouragement guys. So far, so good, with it continuing to run.

I'll probably do as you said Daddyroo45. It's over 15 years old and still does a good job barring this one problem. I have little faith in the new B&S engines, so I'll probably hone out the cylinder and re-ring it.

My Craftsman mower, less than 5 years old, is on it's second engine already! It put a rod right through the side of the block for no apparent reason. Naturally the warranty had just expired! I think the quality of B&S engines has gone down considerably in the last decade or so. It's sad, they used to be good motors.

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