Small Engine Detective

This is Part 2 of my adventures in fixing the Troy-Bilt™ roto-tiller, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Working on this machine has afforded me a great deal of trouble, due to its age.  The other wrinkle is that the company that originally made it, went out of business and sold off its assets to another company in 2001.  Presumably the old records went along with the assets, but finding the correct manuals and such is hit and miss, considering the age of our machine.  When attempting to look up model numbers, I often hit dead ends, since the name of this particular machine was/is it’s ‘number’, so it doesn’t fit in any of the search criteria on the present company’s website.  Too, it has an older type of engine, made by Tecumseh, and the identifying marks on the parts don’t match up with anything currently being referenced on websites, parts listings, schematics and the like.

Over the last several days I’ve discovered that the tiller has a horizontal shaft engine, which if you looked at it, you’d already know, but it just didn’t occur to me that’s what it was.  Horizontal, meaning the shaft that exits the engine and goes through the frame to the tines that turn.  Too, it’s a 4 stroke or 4 cycle engine, which somewhat narrows down the schematics I have to pore through to find the right parts.  Within the last day (major brain fart on my part!) I’ve been looking for the correct bolt for re-marrying the carburetor to the engine, and couldn’t find a reference to it anywhere.  It only just occurred to me to look at the wrench I used to loosen it in the first place.  Major DUH!  What was a mystery within minutes became a solved problem.  It’s a 7/16ths, 1 inch housing bolt.

This (Friday) morning I went ahead and popped the lid on the can of carburetor cleaner and let it start to do its magic.  Set my phone timer for 2 hours and let it go.  Upon opening up the can two hours later, I was pleasantly greeted with a very clean carburetor and parts.  After watching multiple videos, I’ve noticed that an O ring seems to be missing from the bowl on the bottom of the carb, but it fits very tightly against the lower section, and it wasn’t leaking before I started tearing it apart.  Having said that, I’m fairly certain that more than likely if I put the whole thing together, fill the tank with gas it will start to leak, since the gunk that was in the bowl and around it are now gone, so the cleanliness of it all will become its downfall.

Saturday afternoon after work I’ll be heading to the hardware store in search of replacement bolts for the carb, as well as some shop towels since I neglected to get them the other day at the auto parts store.  I don’t have enough rags here at the house I discovered, and cleaning the tiller has proven to be a very dirty job.  I sprayed the wheels with the penetrating oil, but the wheels are still very, very stuck.  I wasn’t holding out a lot of hope that the oil was going to work immediately, but hey, it was worth a try.

Baby steps.  I’m hoping to have it running by Memorial Day.  More to come!

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