After this engine sat for awhile it wouldn’t restart. This is a 2 horsepower briggs and stratton engine. This engine is on a rototiller, but the problem would be the same with any other engine. The first thing to do is to decide if the problem is fuel or spark related. These are the first problems to check for. First check the obvious thing like adding fresh gas to the tank. Generally if the problem is fuel related the engine will at least sputter. Another way to test this is to remove the spark plug and squirt a small amount of gas in the cylinder, replace plug. If the engine starts but doesn’t stay running you have a carb or fuel issue. If it still does nothing you should remove the spark plug and lay it on the cylinder head. Then you probably have no spark and have an ignition problem.
If you have a lawnmower that is backfiring or pulling the pull start out of your hand, the flywheel key may be sheared. The key in a small engine mates the flywheel to the crankshaft in a certain spot. The flywheel can only fit one way or the timing will be incorrect. The flywheel key can be sheared if a heavy object was hit by the mower, such as a rock. With no key keeping the engine in the right place it will no longer run correctly.
Backup generators are very useful in the event of power loss. Purchasing a generator is the best way for large amounts of power. A home built generator can generate smaller amounts of power, enough for the freezer and a few lights. This is definitely a project for someone with mechanical background and maybe a little electrical know how. You could go the route of purchasing all the same components that a regular generator uses, but then the cost would no longer be effective. Also the speed regulation can be very tricky and require alot of tuning. A popular alternative is to use parts much more common, thus cheaper. Many of the parts can be purchased used for VERY cheap. A push lawnmower is a good mounting platform that already has an engine on it. Building a homemade generator will require some fabrication skills. A car alternator is used as the source for converting power into electricity. The mower blade will need to be removed. Then you will need to find a good flat spot to mount the alternator.
Small engines can be purchased for many self hobby types. Places like Northern Tool are great for small engines anywhere between one horsepower to 23 horsepower engines. These engines are purchased for many projects like water pumps, go carts, homemade generators, log splitters and various other projects. Pay attention to your project before purchasing an engine. Some projects require verticle shaft engines where others need horizontal shaft engines. The engine configuration generally will not interchange with the others. You will probably need accessories also to couple the engine to whatever drive system you use. Generally the same store, such as Northern Tools, will have sprockets, and drive shaft coupling parts to connect to whatever parts and components that need to be driven. If you plan to make a go cart briggs and stratton and tecumseh both have race cart series. It would make sense to use the same engine so that you have all the same aftermarket parts available to you. If you plan to build a generator make sure the engine has a good governing system to control the engine rpms. A generator engine should be run around 3600 rpms to keep the cycles at 60 hertz as regular ac power.
Recoil rope broke on your small engine? Here is a guide to repairing a lawnmower, chainsaw, outboard motor, snowmobile or weed eater recoil. The pull start assembly is usually easy to get to and will not take long to repair. Generally there are up to four screws that will need to be removed for the recoil assembly to come off. Once the housing is off you will see that the rope knot is probably still tied inside the inner housing. To make things easy try to pull the string through the hole of the recoil where it previously or still passes through. pull the rope and count how many times it turns. If you were lucky, that may be how many rotations you will need and won’t have to wind the new rope more turns. When the rope is tight see if you can stick a screwdriver all the way through the recoil slots so it won’t unwind. Slowly release the rope and make sure it won’t unwind. Carefully untie the recoil rope knot located close to center of the recoil and inline with the hole the rope passes through. When replacing the rope only use a rope made for recoils. A new general purpose recoil rope is literally only a few dollars.
Go carts can be complex racing carts or simple back yard projects. Many of the racing carts have pre built chassis that are design specific for racing. Most people will purchase a cart for racing instead of building one. There are three popular type of racing carts oval dirt carts, briggs and stratton and tecumseh type carts for pavement racing and shifter type pavement carts for faster road courses. Homebuilt carts are not so critical and can be built from steel tubing or even wood depending on the chassis required. The engine is usually a small four stroke engine such as used on a garden tractors or lawn mowers. If this type of an engine is used the transmission of power is usually a centrifugal clutch running to a sprocket on the drive axel. This limits the cart to be a one speed. Another option is to use a two stroke engine from a snowmobile or an off road bike. The high power and multi gear ratios of both vehicles make them both very fast drivetrains to use. You will want to use a very good brake set-up for one of these drivetrains. A cheap used snowmobile has everything except the chassis all integrated together and gives the cart far more power than it needs. The snowmobile transmission is variable and is fully automatic as it doesn’t need to be shifted. Shifter carts use the engine and transmission from an off road motorcycle. This requires the driver to shift but is also very effective and fast.
Chainsaws are generally reasonably easy to troubleshoot and repair. Most chainsaws use two stroke engines due to their simplicity, light weight and high power. Common problems with chainsaws are generally fuel related. Either a leak in the fuel supply hose or a clog in the fuel tank filter can cause a fuel supply problem. Chainsaws are usually stored with gas left in them. The diaphragm carburetors will have problems with the supply fuel needle sticking, diaphragms drying out or tearing and build up of old varnished gas, filling up the low and high speed fuel jets. The jets can usually be cleaned by using a small strand of wire and carefully passing it through the hole. The jets are soft metal so don’t force something hard through them such as a drill bit or you will damage them. Primer bulbs may also collapse, they will need to be replaced same as dried out gaskets or damaged diaphragms. Compression on a chainsaw should be around 120 psi. Many chainsaws call for large amounts of oil to be mixed with the gasoline. Such ratios ensure that the piston is not damaged due to the severe beatings that chainsaws will endure. The extra oil also helps to keep the piston lubricated when the chainsaw runs out of fuel.