Briggs Carb Issue

exmarFebruary 27, 2011

I have a Huskee (TSC) Rear Tine Tiller, it's actually an MTD Model 450. Engine is a Briggs 121132/0144/031230. You've seen these at Lowe's, HD, Sears, etc. just the paint and decals change.

This tiller is the backbone of my gardening activity and works well, the issues are excessive hunting and needs to be at half choke to run. When in use it's run wide open so the hunting isn't an issue and being at half choke is sort of an "Oh well." Running at half choke is a fairly new development indicating a partially clogged port.

There are no adjustments on the carb (Thanks EPA!!!) and the "rebuild kit" seems to primarily consist of gaskets. The air filter is new.

I've disassembled the cowling and the governor is free to move, no binding or other issues, it just moves too much while the engine is running.

The problem is obviously in the jets in the carb and the Briggs solution is buy a new one. I haven't disassembled it yet as I'm not sure what good that would do. Dis-assembly and soaking in carb cleaner seems to be an option, however, I'm a little leery of dissembling something that was designed to be thrown away, and not repaired. The engine has always had good gas with SeaFoam and Stabil added and is run dry n the fall and oil put in the plug hole. Very easy to start, usually only one pull.

Has anyone else disassembled one of these "maintenance free" carbs for cleaning and had any success? I'm thinking of just giving it a very heavy dose of carb/fuel injector cleaner next time I use it in hopes that will do something.

A Sears Service Tech was here once working on my GT while still in warranty and noticed the tiller. He commented that he spends a lot of time adjusting valves on them. I asked if valve adjustment was an issue with this engine, and he commented, "Can't adjust the carb, so gotta adjust something. ??? Not sure if he was joking or if valve adjustment could be related to the carb issues I'm noticing.

Related question, when you go to the Briggs site to download the parts manual, after the "0144" in the engine type column you get a drop down menu which has B1, B3, B8 etc. Can't find any additional numbers on the engine??



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These engines want to hunt anyway, at least mine did. I would still try to clean it out. IMO this always problem after it sets over winter and gas evaporate and leave a scum, dirt, gum, or what ever you want to call it. My tiller was probably the same model as yours, I only had mine about 4 years and it may of had 4 hours on it if that. I went rasied beds gardening and got elect. mantis and sold my all my gas tillers.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 1:39PM
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These really clean up easy enough. the exception would be if the corrosion exists aplenty in the carb. You may be able even to get by with a quick clean rather than a remove and soak. Remove the bowl nut (1/2) and bowl. If you are careful and give the bowl a touch of a twist the o ring seal on top will saty in place and make life easier. Clean the bowl and bowl nut's 3 holes. Once you flush some fresh fuel through the line and inlet, reinstall the bowl and nut and give it whirl. You may have to go further, but most times that is all you need. It isn't uncommon to have a touch of water or old fuel deposit in the carb after storage.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 5:21PM
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I believe tomplum will probably get you going with the minimal cleaning of the bowl nut's 3 holes. Otherwise, a new experience for me was the needle's seat swelling due to the gasohol and starving the engine for fuel. Could this be related? I have not had time to relate it to the problem. A new seat got me going w/o the engine stopping as if it was out of fuel. The Tech that brought this to my attention, showed me that the float w/n not look level to the carb (held up-side-down if the seat was swollen). Good Luck! loger

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:22PM
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Tom, I'll give that a shot tomorrow.

Loger, people wonder why I call the stuff we buy at the pumps "mystery fuel?" :-)

Guess gasahol is here to stay, with the subsidies and things the Feds are doing, gotta protect the sacred cow (pun intended).

Thanks guys,


    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:59PM
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Yes, the seats can do that. It also came out several times in service schools this spring that E85 is a motor vehicle fuel and NOT approved for use in outdoor power equipment. Hense, a clean fuel system and a defective seat would not be warranty as would be in years past. I seem to have seen that there is some change now in their allowance to have E85 recently in the news. For now the best you can do is buy fuel with

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 9:08PM
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may not be so in your case, but i bought a b&s 8 hp chipper about a yr ago. it was little tough to start and did the hunting as you describe. i noticed when at full throttle w/ the air filter removed it was spitting gas out the intake. i suspected it was the intake valve not seating completely. fed it some marvel oil thru the intake while at full throttle for about 30 sec.,hunting stopped and it starts easy now.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 11:03AM
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OK, tackled the beast, found the bowl free of sediment and crap, what I expected due to running it dry, etc. The main jet seemed to be partially plugged, so I gently reamed it with a very fine gauge wire. Now I could see through it, before, not so well. Sprayed everything well with carb and choke cleaner. Also gave a few shots down the throat while the air cleaner was off. Reassembled, drug outside in the rain and it started right up. Smoked billowed, due to the carb cleaner then it settled down. Seems to have much more power at full throttle now, so that's a good thing.

Still hunts, and now only wants about quarter choke to idle. From what I can discern from the Briggs diagram, the idle jet is inaccessible. I'm suspecting that it's partially clogged.

While apart, looked for a good place to put an inline fuel filter. I have two types in my stock. One is about the size of a golf ball with long barbs, the other is about the size of ...three fifty cent pieces together with short barbs. The way the fuel line runs, neither would work. If I get ambitious, I could reroute the line out the right side of the carb (viewed from the rear) and put whatever I want there. That's a big IF.... :-)

Mike, intriguing idea, I don't have any MMO in my barn, don't know why, have everything else. Going in town tomorrow and will pick some up.

So, in conclusion, I learned more about this "EPA blessed Carb" and based on the way it acts now, the main jet was partially plugged. Still wants to be choked to be happy. Guess I can live with that, when I'm doing heavy tilling. For the light stuff, have a Mantis and a 10 year old Sears 2cycle which I can't seem to kill.

Thanks for all the good input!!!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:06PM
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Ex: Usually the Brigg's is the least susceptible to poor carb performance . You have done pretty well everything other than extended Concentrated Fuel Circuit Cleaning . Find a small bottle and add at least 2-3 0unces of carb cleaner to your fuel . Let it sit approx 30 minutes then do your usual start up procedure . Once running let it warm up and try to increase the rpm range slowly until the cleaner slowly begins to break down most likely varnish or gumming from sour fuel . Usually 1/4 to 1/2 tank will resolve your partial feul circuit restriction issues . Let us know how you make out .

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:53PM
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ewalk, might as well keep fooling with this thing, we've had about 2 inches of rain last night and today so not going to be doing anything outside for awhile.

Where do I buy this wonderful stuff? Is that the garden variety STP or whatever Fuel Injector Cleaner, or a more specific item?

I don't think it's varnishing, probably a dust mote or something equally insignificant in the wrong place. Let's face it, this engine has no fuel filter and whatever gets in the tank, settles to the bottom, fuel take off is on the bottom, then gravity flow to the carb. Same thing could be said of the larger engines which have vacuum fuel pumps, but at least the dirt speck could settle in a low point on the fuel line.

How I miss the old carbs with adjustments, screw the idle in and then back out to a "starting" position warm it up and adjust. That would dislodge any little kritter and we didn't even know it.

Thanks for the idea!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 5:57PM
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OK, last post on this issue. Still didn't get the MMO, but will. Tried ewalk's suggestion with some STP fuel injector cleaner that I had around. Dumped about 3-4 ounces in 1/3 tank of gas. Started it, didn't want to idle, so ran it wide open for a while then started reducing speed, finally got it to idle. Idled initially with 1/3 choke and after about ten minutes it would idle with the choke fully open. It wasn't happy, but it idled so something was getting through the idle jet. Next time I'm out in the barn going to do it again and hopefully will clean out that jet.

Observations on this: Would like to point to one particular "fix" but can't do that. Think it was a combination of opening up the carb, spraying it down with carb cleaner, putting a fine wire through the main jet, adding the STP to the gas and running it. All in all, a "grooming" process rather than a straight forward fix.

I've decided that the hunting is due to Briggs putting the wrong strength spring on the governor. I've heard in this forum and others that this engine hunts.

One other thing I just noticed, the choke travels about 4" in a horizontal direction with two indentations or stops at 1/3, 2/3 choke respectively. That's kind of interesting as it indicated that Briggs thought that was needed? Most chokes free travel from open to close and you stop where you want.

Thanks for all your help!!


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 11:57AM
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IMO the choke indents are for colder operations where it would take longer for the engine to reach operating temps. on other applcations. Leaving gas in it or not it still would of probably plugged up if left set idle for months. I think you just need to run the SH%$ out of it. kept the cleaner additive in it. I now do 6 week start up on all my equipment that sets idle. It seems to help them from gumming up so bad.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:47PM
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Ex: Sorry did not see you note of reply . Any good Concentrated form of injector cleaner is fine . I use Keen-flow , which you probably won't have available South of the Border. The STP in White Bottle is good stuff. I would agree with RC that since you now do not require full choke to run that most of the residual gumming has been removed . Ethanol sure is a pain within small engine fuel circuits. Ensure fresh fuel and continue to run the Hell out of it . I'am fortunate that we don't have ethanol fuel additive up North here , yet . If at all possible use non ethanol for your small engines . If not get some StarTron Product . I just purchased some at our local Napa Dealer for my Diesel which had not been used for a few mths. It seems even better product than Stabil .

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 5:27AM
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ewalk, "if at all possible use non ethanol for your small engines." Wish it was that simple, every pump I've looked at has a sticker "may contain up to 10%..." Doesn't say it does, or doesn't, just covering their derrieres...:-)

Perhaps the premium, branded fuels like Mobil, etc. so distinguish, but being retired, I tend to buy where it's cheaper. Gas just hit $3.50 here today. I'm sure that's due to Mr. Ghadafi's nonsense. That hurts, but what will hurt more when after the pain and anguish of ousting him is over the US will jump in and send zillions of $$ to rebuild our long standing enemy..... We never learn....:-(

Putting soapbox away,

Thanks again for all the responses,

Be well,


    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 12:53PM
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Ex: Yeah , I hear you . Gas jumped up 10 cents overnight here also . Well just try to use small batchs and keep up with the fuel treatment additives. Since Ethanol appears to be here to stay . All the Best Bro !

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 8:34PM
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