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small aircooled engine restoration

Arlie Levy

restoring any small air cooled engine: because a lot of the small air cooled engines are not worth a lot of money I try to keep cheap and simple. First of all when I get a small briggs lauson or other engine I remove the sump. This lets me see the condition of the engine I clean the sump and inspect the connecting rod. This lets me know if I should continue. If the connecting rod is scored or lose. Then it is junk. If you have access to used parts or a doner engine then. go on and fix it. If you canget new parts they will cost more then the engine is worth. If the lower end of engine is good then I proceed to get spark if it don't have any. If lower end is good and it has spark I continue to see if it has compression. If it don't then there is probably a valve or stuck rings problem. If it has compression and then fuel is next. You have to look the fuel tank and fuel lines and clean everything out to get a good fuel supply. If you have all of this put some gas in it and see if it will run. If it runs then you can see if it runs good smokes knocks etc. If it runs good mission accomplished. I know some parts are available on this site or other vendors. However gaskets and parts cost a lot and soon exceed the value of the engine. I reuse a lot of the gaskets if they are not broken. Just use some #2 permatex on both sides and this works just fine for me. Head gaskets especially. If gaskets are not available I make them from material purchased from Napa or other automotive stores. Sometimes piston rings cost more then the engine so use caution. As soon as you get your engine running then it can be taken apart and cleaned and painted. I use mineral spirits to degrease and clean. I usually sand blest the shroud and other sheet metal parts. Primer for rusty iron works well and a hi temperature for the cyl head works well. To get spark on most engines you have to clean the points to like new condition. This requires removing the fly wheel which on the small briggs is a left hand thread. Use caution here. To get flywheel off use caution because you can break them or damage the crank shaft. Some flywheels require a special puller. However most can be remove by turning the flywheel nut flush with the end of the crank shaft. On the back side of fly wheel with a screwdriver or small pry bar use gentle pressure while whacking the end of crankshaft. They can be tough to get of sometimes but usually come off easy. other things that can cause problems condensers and vey rearly a coil. A lot of coil problems are mistaken for not cleaning the points good enough. Also if the flywheel key is bad or partially sheered the engine won't run. Sometimes the key groove is worn bad and won't let run. Just my version of getting the little buggers going. Good luck and happy restoring. any questions let me know. Arlie