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Barrette's Small Engines Inc. - SmallEngines.ca FAQ's

I recently tipped my my unit for cleaning or maintenance and now my engine won't turn over?
CAUTION:  Before performing maintenance on any unit, always disconnect and ground the spark plug wire.

If a four cycle engine and has been tipped over or overfilled with oil, it is likely that oil has run through the engine and into the cylinder. This may result in a condition known as "hydraulic lock". Hydraulic lock will prevent the engine piston from moving normally.

To correct this, remove the spark plug and place an absorbent rag over the spark plug hole. Make sure to place the cloth away from any moving mechanism. * If an engine with multiple cylinders, remove all of the spark plugs and place an absorbent rag over each spark plug hole.

Fuel is not necessary for this procedure, do not prime or choke the engine. Turn the engine over using the normal starting procedure. This should expel the oil out of the cylinder, through the spark plug hole and into the rag.

NOTE:  If the engine still seems locked up with the spark plug removed and the spark plug hole open, then the problem is NOT hydraulic lock and the engine will need further inspection by an experienced service person.

Repeat this process until oil is no longer coming through the spark plug hole. Replace the rag as needed. Remove oily rag(s) and clean any oil around this area. Then clean the spark plug(s) with carburetor cleaner and re-install the spark plug(s). Inspect the air filter. If it has been contaminated or fully saturated with oil, replace it as instructed by the engine manual.

Start the unit using the normal start procedure. The engine may exhaust heavy smoke until any remaining oil burns out of the cylinder. If an excess smoke is produced over an extended period, replacement of the spark plug may be required.






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