Disgusted with my Mantis tiller

mitchb2May 17, 2007

I've had a Mantis tiller since Spring of 2005. It's got a total use of about 3 hours.

This year, it won't run at all. I've taken good care of it, emptied the gas in the fall. Replaced the fuel filter, cleaned the air filter, made a fresh batch of fuel with the proper ratio.

It will idle, but as soon as I give it the throttle, it dies.

So let's see, $100 per hour of use. I could have paid someone to do it.

It's May 17th, and I've got nothing in the ground. Thanks, Mantis.

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kubotabx2200(Zone 5b NH)

Try changing the spark plug in case you may have fouled it. If you are getting air, compression and fuel the only other thing I can think of is spark. By empty the gas in the fall I assume you run the engine until it runs out of gas.

I've had my Troy-bilt mini tiller for 4 years now and it still starts every time using the original spark plug. It has the 2 stroke Tecumsah engine.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 2:46PM
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kubotabx2200(Zone 5b NH)

I would also play around with the choke settings and see if you can get the engine to rev at partial choke for instance. If it's like the Echo engine on my string trimmer that has the adjustable choke.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 3:02PM
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nevada_walrus(Boulder City)

Paid domeone to do the work, you're right. Question is if you weren't going to use it, why did you buy it?

Draining the fuel tank does not get the fuel out of the carb. No more hours on it then you have that fuel has had plenty of time to varnish up the innards of the carb.

In addition, once fuel has hit the diaphragms the clock is ticking. Unless the carb is taken apart and physically dried out, those diaphragms being exposed to modern fuel go bad in acouple of years. They get stiff. Echo even advises to go through the carb and replace the diaphragms once per year to properly maintain an emission era carb in proper running condition.

Folks you aren't going to use equipment shouldn't buy it and for sure shouldn't complain when their lack of maintaining and following procedure outlined in the owners manual causes them greif.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 9:30PM
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I agree w/ Nev Walrus. I warm up the engine on whatever OPE it is. Then drain the tank and start it up and run wot til it dies. Haven't had any trouble w/ 2 or 4 cycles for years doing it this way.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 10:22PM
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castoff(Z5 Ontario)


Man...you are so right. Mantis tillers are nothing but junk. Because I am such a philanthropist, I am going to help you out. I will give you fifty bucks for that old, used unit and pay for the shipping to boot if you wish to package it up and send it to me. Just email me and we will work out the details.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 10:38PM
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Mitch, I'll do you even better than Castoff; Send the Mantis to me, you pay the freight. That way you won't hafta handle those filthy $. It sounds like my Mantis and yours would make a pair. Mine won't idle.
BTW, I bet those handles on these things would give you lots of leverage to see just how far you can throw one. AND you could also see how high they'll bounce, too.
You have my sympathy. Don't let the experts above get to ya, either. Some of us just have a longer learning curve than others.
Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 11:01PM
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canguy(British Columbia)

Now kids, don't go fightin' over his POS. LOL

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 11:05PM
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Canguy, butt out! Why don'tcha go somewhere? Maybe Canada? LOL2

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 10:15AM
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kubotabx2200(Zone 5b NH)


Pay no attention to those swooping vultures.

did you run the mantis dry until it runs out of gas at the end of the season, like I asked originally? I kind of assumed you did that. But if you didn't -- that is probably where your problem lies.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 12:19PM
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Your little engine is running to lean,the main jet is plugged by old fuel,being a small engine (very small) the passages in the carb are very samll ,so it does not take much to plug them up.....the carb needs service or replacement ,whichever one is cheapest !see ya Jim

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 6:55PM
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Well, I would just prime it with carb cleaner. Probably not sucking up the fuel through the carb. due to carb. and tank being empty in storage, nothing wron with that you just got to have alittle basic knowledge. Again to get any engine running after prolong storage you have to have basic engine starting knowledge. Old post but these same old problems creap up every week.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 11:29AM
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If you want to avoid gas engine maintenance problems, you can always get the Electric Mantis.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 12:15PM
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If I put the equipment in storage, I empty the gas tank, invert the prime bulb and prime it empty as much as possible. Then I re-empty the tank( few drops from the prime bulb). Close the choke then pull start the engine, even if it don't start, the suction will pull most of the wet fuel out of the carb.....Then hope for the best!!!!

I have the Mantis, love it. I have the Honda engine, but the Echo engine is a tried and true engine, my hedge trimmer use the engine and I love it. I'll put in my third bet on the 3 hours old Mantis just to keep it for parts!!! I'll beat the other two!!! Sorry guys!!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 1:44PM
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I've had a mantis for probably 8years now and it's been nothing but a workhorse. I beat the heck out of the thing and it keeps going. I never emptied the gas or cleaned the carb from day one. I've found keeping the air filter clean is a must and decent spark plug. Other than that the thing has started and worked everytime I needed it. Even after it has sat for 4 months during the winter in a shed with gas in it. Good little machine for me.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 12:53PM
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I found the Mantis is best when doing dethatching. That is the main reason I bought it. All the other applications are just bonus for me. The lawn looked so nice after dethatching, not like the big machines that really beat up the lawn. If you have the Mantis already and you have a lawn, get the dethatcher.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 4:05PM
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This is my 5th year with my Mantis. I love it,I am sorry you don't.
I am going to dethatch this year but am not sure how to use the attachment.
Any suggestions by anyone who owns that attachment?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:07PM
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Goto mantis.com and watch the video's.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:58PM
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yungman, since you are responding to a thread started two years ago, you're more than a little late in bidding for this Mantis.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 12:08AM
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I kind of know that!! But it is a good little tiller.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 2:52AM
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Very simple, attach like the regular tine. Buy it and it comes natural to you!!! Only extra step is to slide the shield on which is very simple. You will love the dethatcher tines.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 12:50PM
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pinkgardener(z5 PA)

I love my mantis tiller; I've had it for over ten years. I also own the dethatcher attachment. Works great; I have a small lawn and there is no need to rent a big machine.
By the way, there are even more attachments for the Mantis. Did you see all of them in their virtual backyard?

Here is a link that might be useful: Mantis Tiller Virtual Backyard

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 2:10PM
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zootjs(zone 5 MA)

I love my Mantis. In fact, I bought it for $50 from someone who said it was a POS because he couldn't get it to start. One of the best small engine purchases I ever made.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 2:44PM
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Why don't I ever get that lucky!!?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 2:48PM
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Remove carb and remove both covers top and bottom notice
green deposits, this is the gunk that blocks passage ways
for fuel. Pry off limiter caps for air fuel adjusting screws
inject carb cleaner in to both holes- cleaner will flow from
carb throat and into top of carb where primer bulb is mounted
let sit for 1/2 hour, followed by injection of WD40 into all
ports/openings. Follow clean with compressed air from Radio Shack. Replace both adjusting screws, bottom out both -GENTLY- back out screws 1/2 turn for initial setting.
Replace both top and bottom covers and mount carb, check
hoses and filter.
Start engine and sit back SMILE.
This problem is no fault of Mantis, it is caused by current
gas formula. When putting unit into storage run machine until it is out of fuel,inject WD40 into gas fuel line and
let it sit until next use

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 12:49PM
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tinker 2010.

Dude.... you need to go and get a life.

Crawling through the archives of this forum just so you can drag long-dead threads out in a pathetic effort to show how clever you think you are, really impresses no one. In fact, it just PISSES the regulars on this forum off. The purpose of this forum is to deal with CURRENT problems that people have. All you are doing is polluting the first page with crap that has been dealt with ages ago. So, knock it off.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 6:17PM
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I think this thread needs a bump for the grump! LOL.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 10:06AM
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I don't mind at all, it is not like this forum is too busy!!!

THis is what we Chinese called "Frying old rice!!!" You take it out once a while and stir it up. Look at the Honda FG100 thread, it has been brought back once a month consistencely ever since I've here!!!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 12:57PM
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Wow. After nearly 20 years of using and abusing the little fellow at times, mine still purrs like a kitten and folks are simply amazed at what the little guy can do. I hope you reconsidered and didn't sell the old boy for the $50.00. If you can find a better tiller on the market, I'd sure like to see it. I've owned several over the years and the Mantis is the only one that didn't go to one of the kids. Take it to a service rep. and find out what is wrong. It's likely something very simple. Have a good holiday weekend.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 6:01PM
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Well, can't say I'm disgusted with mine...but, my fuel tank seemed to have developed a crack on the top as gas would trickle across the top while I was tilling. Also the primer bulb had tiny cracks. So, I replaced the tank and the primer bulb, but the bulb won't pull gas now. I replaced the hoses, the fuel filter, the air vent. No dice. I can press and press and press and no fuel comes. What'goin' on?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 6:46PM
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I have a Mantis Tiller that runs just fine like the day it was new. I have had it for 3 years now and I can say this to you.


In reading your complaint you said that you mix up a new batch of gas and the Mantis Honda does not require oil in the gas.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 8:46PM
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Guess I have been the lucky one. My Mantis is 16 years old or more. Use it every year and did so today, In all the years I have had to replace the plug, starter rope , fuel lines and filter, clean the air filter, replace the primer bulb twice.
SO I AM NOT DISGUSTED with my Mantis It is just wore out.
But still done a remarkable job today just a little slower than normal.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 4:56PM
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"YOU NEVER MIX OIL WITH THE GAS " jerrywis depends on the model mantis? two stroke or four stroke or? mine don't take either!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 7:48PM
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Yeah reviving an Old Thread is not a Crime . Actually liked the Virtual Garden Site , Thanks Pinkgardener !
As for junk i would not consider the mantis junk for what it was designed to provide. As for hard starting not a Mantis issue rather poor owner maintenance .

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 8:33AM
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I just received a 2-stroke Mantis and I'm not very mechanicaly inclined. This unit looks like a new unit except the primer bulb is all cracked and it has a hole in it. After much pulling -the starter rope broke. Anyone interested in this machine can pick it up for $75.00. It looks like new-paint is not even wore off the tines. There is also an extra large tine that came with it--have no idea what it's for. I'm not disgusted with the machine, just not able to use it.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 6:01PM
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Wes, where are you located?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 11:11AM
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I live in Arizona and I ordered the parts for the tiller--starter rope, primer bulb and starter pully as the spring broke the plastic tab when the starter rope broke. Hopefully the machine will be in good shape. The model # is SV 4/B--guess that'll say what year it was made.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:09AM
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Well, I replaced the starter rope and the starter pully, replaced the primer bulb, got a carb rebuild kit. Darn thing started on the third pull, ran like a champ. Mixed the oil & gas 50-1. Showed it to my neighber and the machine became hard to start. Guess it's not for me, I,ve got a bad back, can't handle any type of that exersize.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 11:35AM
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    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 11:37AM
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Have mantis starts up fine, idiles fine but when I throttle it stalls out. My grandfather gave it to me. Any sugestions. I greatly appreciate it. NOT VERY GOOD AT THIS STUFF BUT I LOVE TO GARDEN

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 6:17PM
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Jerry , you do not mention which 2 or 4-stroke engine you have but for what I believe is fuel starvation it does not much matter . Get some concentrated fuel cleaner and ensure fresh fuel and adequate oil level for the 4-stroke . Add 2 ounces of cleaner within the fuel . Also ensure that fuel filter is not restricted , you should be able to blow through it . Also your low speed jet me be fouled which is why the unit hesitates or stall when you throttle it up . remove the jet and clean with tag wire and flush with aerosol fuel cleaner . Replace jet and gentle seat it and then back it out 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 turns until you can rev the unit without it hesitating once warmed up . Ethanol fuel stored in these units for more than 30 days will wreak havoc with fuel restrictions due to gumming and varnish . You should also pick up some stabil also and make small 1 gallon batchs of fuel only as required . Once you have the unit running pretty well inspect your plug , it should be medium brown . New plug every 2 yrs is normally required especially within 2-stroke engines . All the Best Bro !

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 5:31AM
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Every Fall, i walk away from my 2-cycle trimmer and blower used in Asphalt prep work. I do nothing to them...don't empty the fuel, etc. In the spring, they start right up.
I use PB Blaster 'small engine tune-up' mixed into each and every drop of fuel in all small engines, motorcycle and 4 strokes included. No problems...it acts as a fuel stabilizer, too.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 1:57PM
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Each year at the close of season, I idle dry all of my power equipment. I then fill each half full of gasoline treated with sea foam and idle each unit 15 minutes. The sea foam not only cleans the deposits out of the engine, but act as a fuel stabilizer and fuel system conditioner/lubricant. This helps eliminate the cracking of the fuel lines and carb system. Mix it no more than one half ounce of sea foam to one gallon of gas.

Having stored and maintained two 50's model vehicles, I have seen what old gasoline can do to a motor. Even worse is the damage caused from a run dry fuel system. You could try the sea foam at the start up of the season to see if that will help with the running issue. Unfortunately the issue you are having is with the air mixture and the motor if flooding basically. The only fix I can come up with, without actually seeing the tiller is replace the carb.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 5:33AM
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In 2002 my husband had a stroke, but he still wanted to have a garden. He knew he was unable to operate a large tiller, so we ordered the 2 cycle tiller. It has worked great for us. The only thing that we replaced is a set of tines. When we store it for the winter we will run it until all the fuel is gone and stops running. When we get out in the spring we put fresh fuel in the tank and prime it and it will start running. We are pleased with our tiller.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 1:34PM
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Nancy : Thanks for taking time to share you and your Husbands enjoyment of gardening . The little Mantis Tillers are more than adequate for your intention when maintained well . Just a word to the wise . Use the best oil you can afford and use Stabil or Sea-Foam or any other
Quality Fuel conditioner . I have just been introduced to Star*tron which is new to me but has a tremendous track record for preventing fuel problems within small engines , especially when Ethanol fuel is used . I always use this form of product mixed properly within the fuel 2 or 4-stroke and then run the unit dry . Any residual mix ensures no carb circuit fouling . This policy has proven itself for over 30 + yrs . All the Best to your Husband Happy Gardening !

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 8:30AM
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It seems that everyone is having problems with their fuel powered mantis. I have an electric one and it is great. No fuel to mix. No start problems. Just plug it in and go. It's the BEST!!!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 9:56AM
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I have Mantis tiller (2005) with Honda Engine (GX25, 4 Strokes).
This year it does not start. Pull Grip does not pull and Tine does not rotate, which indicates jammed engine or gearbox.

Any diagnosis or help from experienced owners?
Service department at Mantis is not helpful.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 9:54AM
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I ordered the MANTIS in April 2011 for my personal use, I'm a retired lady, 5'2". It's bran new,assembled,4cycle honda motor, BUT too much power for me to handle. I only tried it out for less than twenty min.washed the tines and set it in the garage.Because I ordered it through a dealer, I could not return it. I AM VERY HURT OVER THIS FOR I'M ON A FIXED INCOME. I WILL GLADLY PAY SHIPPING IF SOME ONE NEEDS A NEW 4 CYCLE(don't have to mix gas and oil)MANTIS. PLEASE E-MAIL ME jbarnett123@charter.net or call 423-538-6481 Price
$300.00 Igave $350.00 THANKS

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 4:09PM
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I haven't seen this problem on this forum but I hope someone can help. My five year old 2 cycle Mantis Tiller with less than five hours of time on it, all of which were edging, stopped working properly tonight after about 10 minutes of tilling. The engine still runs but the tines don't turn. I checked the manual and it said to examine the motor mount position which was OK. The manual says something about a drum clutch but it doesn't say what to do about it. Any ideas???

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 9:40PM
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OK, guys, my turn. Bought a Mantis 2 cycle three years ago. I loved it. Just what I needed for my 12' x 12' garden and planting beds. I used fuel stabilizer and ran the engine dry every Fall. Two seasons...no problems. This Spring, it would not start. My right shoulder ached for two days! Well, on May 5 I took it to an authorized repair shop, and they charged $98 to soak and flush out the carb install a rebuild kit, change the plug and air filter and remount and set RPMs. They said I should use Briggs and Stratton fuel stabilizer and that Sta-Bil is no good. I've been using Sta-Bil for decades.

I must add that I have 40 years experience using and caring for small power equipment. I still use a trimmer and blower, both Homelite products, (made in USA) that I bought over 25 years ago, and both start every time.

I tilled my little plot with the repaired Mantis, which worked fine. Just last week, I started to re-till in prep for planting. The Manris lasted until I had done 3/4s of the plot and it then started losing power and then would not restart.

Fine P.O.S! Do NOT buy a Mantis!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 11:07AM
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for the work the shop did you got a fair bill. I borrowed my folks' 2 stroke Mantis this weekend. Been sitting all winter with a 1/2 tank of fuel in the tank. I pumped the primer bulb 8 times, set the choke, and it started right up. I have no trouble doing the same with all my `2 stroke OPE. I mix a rich 32:1 and run all of them on it. I also add a cap full of MMO to each tank. All my 4 strokes have a shut off. I run the carb dry after each use. I used 5 different pieces of OPE this weekend. Each started easily and ran well. I spent my weekend doing yard work , not coaxing balky engines to life. :)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 8:43PM
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I sold my Mantis-may buy an electric

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 12:09PM
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I have read several of the postings on what to do with my mantis and they have helped, But,,,, I have a 2 cycle echo and it wouldn't start so I put a new carb kit in it had a lot of trouble just to get it to start afterwards I cleaned it as the post have said to do so now I can start it but it will not stay running unless the choke is completely pulled out, my limiting tips are destroyed and I just bottom it out and open it up to the suggested opening,I feel like I have done everything but take it to a professional. I wonder if there is a rubber part at the bottom of the low side can anyone help me out on this because i think if there is, that rubber part is causing the problem. can someone help me out

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 9:43PM
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I have a Mantis 2-cycle tiller. When I try to pull the starting cord to start it, it locks up so I can't pull the cord out. What causes this? When I remove the spark plug, the cord pulls out easily.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 6:42PM
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I have owned 2 in the last 20 years the 1st lasted about 17 years of hard use ,the last one is about 3 years old and been about 1 sorry tiller. It has all ways been hard to start and the on off switch is just plain in the wrong place that being said they both are echco engines but i thing the sorry gas and the EPA is 99 percent of the trouble. If i had to do it again i would get the 4 cycle honda engine.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Clean the muffler exhaust/spark arrester screen, which is attached to the muffler by 3 screws. Remove the entire engine by loosening the flange screw that holds the motor to the base of the frame.
Remove the red plastic housing covering the muffler.
Remove the 3 screws holding the spark arrester assembly to the muffler.
Remove the spark arrester screen, clean with carb cleaner and a wire brush until all deposits are gone and you can see clearly through the screen.
Replace everything and happy tilling.
As this screen becomes clogged up, the engine can't exhaust or breathe, therefore it may idle if it starts at all, and it will not run full-throttle at all as the tines won't turn.
This fix solves all those problems.
I just fixed 2 Mantis tillers with this clogged screen, and they both run like scalded dogs now.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 8:12PM
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I have had a Mantis tiller for 6 years and it has been out of action for most of that time. This year I realised that the problem was probably blockage of the carburetor and bought a new one online and fitted it. The Mantis then ran okay for a month, but after leaving it for a month it will no longer start. The bulb fills and ejects normally, the filters are clean, and I have tried adjusting the jets, but no use. The plug appears to be dry so I assume the carb has already failed. I don't know which engine it has but I have an Echo chain saw which has never given any trouble. Any suggestions please before I throw it out.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 12:08PM
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Seasuka, replace the fuel line, Don't use aquarium tubing. Get the good stuff from a repair shop.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 5:48PM
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maxygolf(z7b SC)

I got my 2 cycle Mantis in 1999 for $200 and I still use it regularly. I never empty the gas or do recommended maintenance and it continues to run fine. It takes a few times to start but once it's running, it stays running and then starts immediately if I turn it off for a while. I put in gas additive to prevent gumming.
I replaced the gas primer pump that cracked and got new air filters and replaced the lost pins to hold the tines.
The pull starter rope just broke and I replaced it with rope I had. The spring from the starting puller popped out and I bent it trying to wind it so I am buying a new one.
I am sorry others have bad luck with theirs. I am grateful mine works this well, and am impressed with the strength of the tines.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 12:56AM
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I bought my Mantis about 12 years ago. This year I renewed the fuel system complete...fuel tank, fuel lines,carb..... for a cost of approx $100..
Runs like new.
It's a 2 stroke. with mixed oil/fuel...and that's where the majority of problems. are likely to occur. Go STRICTLY by the book, if you want trouble free operation. However, I am human, and left old fuel in tank and created work for myself.
Overall including maintenance it has cost me $33 a year....A BARGAIN.
If you want no maintenance... check out the electric model.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:50PM
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I have a question about a 4 cycle Mantis tller. I used it last summer and part of this year,however I needed to add oil so I put in 5/20 oil and the motor seized up!
Do I have any options?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 8:30PM
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My mantis was running great, I shut it off and now it will not start. I checked and it for some reason does not have spark. Could it be a bad coil ?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 3:39PM
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looking for help with a mantis tiller. It will crank and run when I squirt gas directly into carb but it quits as soon as the gas runs out. I replaced the fuel line and the bulb that picks up gas from the tank but when I pump bulb, no gas shows up in it. anyone have any suggestions?

    Bookmark   on Monday at 12:03PM
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Could be clogged fuel filter or bad fuel hose from tank to primer bulb.I have bought 4 mantis tillers in the last 20 years. the first one by far the best. 2nd one i bought for my father inlaw, 3rd for my daughter,4th for me to replace the 1st.the best thing you can do is use unethernol gas which we can get here pretty easy. the shop where i deal with said eternol gas is killing everything that has a small engine on it.

    Bookmark   on Monday at 12:29PM
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thanks jeeper. I replaced fuel line and when I did, I blew and sucked through it and the filter with no problem. I am planning to buy some carb cleaner today and let it soak overnight. I got the tiller from a neighbor who could not get it to crank. he only uses unethernol gas in all of his small engine tools.

    Bookmark   Yesterday at 6:28AM
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