Problems with pressure washer

mster(NJ)October 16, 2005

I'm hoping you can help me with this problem, as I must be doing something wrong. I have now tried to start/run 3 different pressure washers and can get none to work. The first two were purchased at Home Depot. They were the Ex-Cell model with the Honda 13hp GX390 commercial engine and the General pump - 4gpm and 3700 psi. I couldn't get either one to start despite following the instructions to the letter. After about 20 pulls, if it did start, it would stall right away.

I then went to Lowe's and bought the equivalent model which also has the Honda GX390 engine, but a different pump. This one would start on the first or second pull, but would stall out after running for about 30 seconds. Then, it wouldn't start for a bit, but if I waited for a while, it would start again, but then stall when I would try to use the washer after about 30 seconds.

Any ideas about what the problem is, or recommendations?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rredogg(5/Chicago Area)


Sound to me like your not getting fuel to the engine. There should be three controls on the pressure washer.

1. on/off kill switch

2. choak which should be on until your engine starts and warms up. Then move it mid-range

3. gas which when starting and when engine running should be opened all the way. This control should be right next to the choak.

I'd check and see if you've got your gas (no. 3) opened and supplying the engine with fuel.

Good luck, rredogg

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 8:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the tips. I was thinking the same thing - I checked the kill switch and it was always on, and the gas valve was opened all the way. Checked the spark too, and it seems okay. When it seemed like it was going to stall, I would move the choke and that would keep it running for a little longer before it would stall out. I also loosened the small screw on the carb bowl, and fuel did come out. Any other thoughts? I do appreciate the thoughts, as I want to know if I'm missing something or if there are some bad engines out there.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 9:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rredogg(5/Chicago Area)


Did you check if you had enough gas in the tank for your machine? It could happen to the best of us.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 3:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
machiem(Z8 WA)

Are you using new, clean gas from a clean gas tank? It sounds like you have water or other crud in your gas.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 4:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If it does not have an "easy start" valve on it, are you holding the trigger open? You should always run water all the way through the pump,hose and nozzle (with the input pressure) before trying to start it. This fills all the parts so when it does start, and you close the trigger, it will go into bypass. If there is a bunch of air in the system, it will build pressure to slowly without the spike and not shift to bypass. This will often kill a cold engine.

You could also try backing the pressure all the way off to see if this is what happens.

Does the engine sound like it is running out of fuel, or getting heavily loaded and dying? If it is loading and dying, you could be in a dangerous lockup situation, which can blow apart things and hurt you.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 4:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
airbearma(z5 MA)

Booster is hitting it on the money. If the pressure washer pump is not filled with water and is not purged by using the wand first before running the engine then you could have problems. Some pressure washers may also have a kill built into them if you try to run them without hooking up water and purging the pump first.

When all else fails... RTFM as the manufacturer will give good advice on the proper way to start and run it.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 5:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the thoughts; while the gas I have isn't brand new, it works fine in the other gas engines I have - lawn mower, weed whacker, etc. I filled the tank before starting the engine.

I also checked the oil; the first two had some oil in them but not enough to bring it to the fill mark - I topped those off. The last one didn't have any oil at all, so I filled that one. I also checked the oil in the pump, but it was fine in all three cases.

Next step was to hook up the garden hose, then the pressure hose. I then turned on the water, and held the trigger on the gun until water with no air came out of the hose.

The manual says it does have an 'easy start'.

Next I would try to start it. Open the fuel valve. Make sure the on/off switch is set 'on'. Choke on full, throttle on full.

With the first two from Home Depot, after pulling the rope once or twice, I'd have to let the pressure off of the hose. Then continue pulling for two times, the release pressure again. At one point I had the wife hold the trigger open on the gun while I tried to start it.

With the one from Lowe's, it would typically start after 2-3 pulls if cold, and did seem to be easier to pull start. If the engine had run for the 30 seconds, it would be harder to re-start; I would have to manipulate the throttle and choke to get it to start. If I let it sit a bit, I could do the cold start; throttle full, and choke full.

Before I bought the pressure washer, I read on one of the sites that it's not good to keep it running without pulling the trigger, as the cold water serves to keep the pump cool.
So, once I got the Lowe's unit started, after say 10 to 20 seconds, I would pull the spray trigger. The engine seemed to run fine when I wasn't pulling the trigger. If I would pull the trigger, the engine would get loaded down, and stall out. If while still pulling the trigger on the gun, as the engine appeared to be ready to stall, I would manipulate the choke a bit, it would stay running a few seconds more before stalling.

I apologize for being long winded, but wanted to give as much detail as possible. Based upon the effect manipulating the choke had, I thought it was a gas issue rather than anything else.

Thanks so much for your help! I've had many gas engines before, but never ran into a situation like this, and felt I was doing the right thing when I was getting a Honda engine.

I'll try to give a link to the specific model at Lowes:


    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 7:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Today I tried to start my pressure washer with the Honda GX390 and also had a starting problem. It would run for about 10 seconds and die. Lots of "oil" smoke. Oil was dripping from the muffler. Found that the crankcase had completely filled with gas. Forgot to shut the fuel off when I used it the last time. I was surprised that the crankcase was completely full of fuel. This was a new unit that was only used once.
Check the crankcase.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 5:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am also having a problem with my power washer. I thought it was with the nozzle, but I think it is narrowed down to the pump possibly. It has very little pressure when trying to use. I even removed the line from the exit fitting and the pressure was still not that great. Could something be wrong with the pump or clogged or obstructed in some way? I can't find the paperwork on it to look anything up for trouble shooting it! Any ideas?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 3:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The syphoning hose should be syphoning detergent from a bucket to the pump. It does not, instead it blows water out of the syphoning hose.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 12:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a Ryobi 3000psi pressure washer with a problem. Help?
Lot's of white, oil smelling smoke and then it dies.
Also oil looks watery with particles floating in it.
Don't know much about these things (bought used with no manual)
Has run before but has been stored in a very cold truck work box for approimately one month.
Anyone know what is wrong?
Thanks so much!!!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 10:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a Craftsman Pressure Washer.Model 580.768322. The engine bolts need to be replaced - P# B1735 (3)When I removed the engine from the pump assy I notice that they may be oil that should be in Pump assy.In addition 2 of the 3 holes in the base are slotted - Why? Multiple application? Can someone advise the amount and weight if any? I looked in the manual but it doesn't give me that information.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 8:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

pressure washer engine honda gx390. Gas in the crankcase. white smoke. won't start. can I drain crankcase and put more oil in and solve the problem or did I SCREW UP the engine for good? Thanks Artie

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 11:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

troybilt pressure washer mdl #020344 no pressure. good water supply. nozzle clean. pump turning. this machine is almost new.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 7:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My Troy-Bilt pressure washer Mode # 020240 2550psi has very little pressure now and also has water spewing out of the siphon hose instead of siphoning?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 5:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sounds like an o ring has gone missing or maybe something is blocking the connection.
What kind of connection are you using to connect the hose to the pressure washer.
Perhaps the pump is only half working and is pushing the water the wrong way
Are you sure the pump is still running ?
Is it an axial or triplex pump ? Should say on the instructions if you still have it.

You should read this to give you a little help

Here is a link that might be useful: how to use a pressure washer

This post was edited by Gav104 on Fri, May 31, 13 at 4:29

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 4:23AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
MTD 8HP SnowBlower
I have an MTD 8hp SnowBlower Mod # 317E640F352. The...
Jeffery Smith
New Ryobi S430 engine dies on full throttle
Just bought a new Ryobi straight shaft 4 Cycle S430...
1983 troy-bilt cultivator plus wheels
Read with great interest all the posts so far for the...
Disgusted with my Mantis tiller
I've had a Mantis tiller since Spring of 2005. It's...
Harbor Freight small utility tralier question
I just purchased this harbor freight trailer. I...
Sponsored Products
Crawford L-shaped Leather sectional - Midnight
Interior Define
Home Decorators Collection Chain Covers 30 in. Cord Cover Matte Black 30 in. L
$10.00 | Home Depot
27-Oz Checkerboard French Press
$18.99 | zulily
Necessories Compact Hearth - 4200046
$575.00 | Hayneedle
Juno Lighting Hardware Pro-Series 17 in. Black Jumper Cord JC3-17-BL
$12.97 | Home Depot
Burns Ottoman - Key Largo Pumice Beige
Joybird Furniture
Iona Stonecast Outdoor Table
$450.00 | Horchow
Bayer Advanced Fungus Control for Lawns (10-Pounds)
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™