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Question DetailsAsked on 12/30/2017

B&S 8hp log splitter engine starts on second pull runs about 30 seconds then dies new carb yesterday.

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2 Answers

Voted Best Answer

There are so many possible causes for that sort of initial run then die situation - including both chokling out and starving out.

If you actually mean 30 seconds, not just 3-5, I would say first check for plugged air cleaner, because that large a HP engine would not normally run more than maybe 5 seconds on a primer charge, or if the intake in the fuel tank or fuel filter is blocked - though those are all common causes.

Water in the fuel filter//fuell bowl is a common cause too - the gas floats to the top so provides enough fuel to start and run for a bit, but then as fresh gas from the tank comes in the water gets into the fuel system and kills the engine, then when it dies rapidly settles back into the bowl/filter so can do that again and again with repetitive starts.

And of course, if you are using a manual choke setting to start it, then maybe you are choking it out, or it is starving for fuel because you are not leaving it on full or half choke long enough.

If you can manually adjust the choke (even if automatic, by reaching in and moving the linkage) see if you can get it to keep running by fiddling with the choke setting - if you can keep it running with partial choke then you have an air leak into the system or leaking gaskeet or such maybe.

One other cause for this - blocked air holes in the fuel tank cap, so it is building up a vacuum in the tank as the engine pulls fuel from it, eventually starving it for fuel. B&S engines tend to have awfully small air vents in the fuel caps - I open them up on my equipment as soon as I buy it, though of course that increases the risk of water in the fuel if the equipment ever sits out in the rain or snow.

Other, but harder to solve causes, could be a malfunctioning automatic choke or governor.

Since it starts OK and runs for 30 seconds, while an electronic ignition problem is always possible, I would initially at least assume the piston compression/head gasket, plug, and ignition are probably OK.

One other pretty rare cause, but I have had happen on older equipment, is a muffler plugged with rust and soot, so while it starts up OK, as it runs it pressures up and backpressures the engine into stalling out. But I would expect that in maybe 3-5 seconds of run time, not 30 seconds, but I guess maybe with a partial blockage ... Temporarily removing it, assuming that will not cause the exhaust to burn something on the splitter (and watch out for dry grass or such which could catch fire from sparks) would eliminate that cause.

One other thing that just about drove me crazy on a chipper once - as it ran, the throttle crept closed due to the vibration, all the way to the shutoff position. Check the throttle, choke, and safety shutoffs to be sure they are not creeping closed as it runs.

Otherwise, I guess a trip to a Lawn Mover and Power Tool repair place (your Search the List category) is in order.

Here is a link to another similar question with several answers, also about a largish B&S engine -

Answered 2 years ago by LCD


I am leaning toward plugged vent in the gas cap. After it dies I restart in about 15 seconds and starts on first pull (all with the manual choke in the off position). This is a 25 year old log splitter with the original gas cap -- it use to spirt fuel out the cap when tank is full but it didn't do that today. Thanks for the reply

Answered 2 years ago by Dalton


If that does not do it, then of course there are the old standbys -

1) pull plug right after it dies - if wet and smells of gas then is choking out (choke issues or pluged air filter) or plug/plug wire is dying. Check that plug is not oiled up and is gapped correctly too - sometimes a cold or oiled up plug or one with a cracked insulator will fire when cold but then break down and short out when hot. Also, if it backfires or puts out a puff of smoke when you restart it, most likely choking out (too much fuel relative to the air).

If dry and no gas smell in cylinder or exhaust, then more likely to be fuel starvation.

2) Sometimes an old plug or loose plug wire connection (especially the old ring-type plug wire connection as opposed to the boot type) will start losing contact when it heats up after firing a hundred times or so - check for snug wire connection. Ditto for possible bad plug - to eliminate that as a possible problem source you could always put a new plug in - if that does not solve it, then you have a spare plug.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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