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purchased used this spring. barely used. ran when I unloaded it. lost key, bought replacement keys. think i'm using correct one. with a multimeter what should I read with the key in or out? continuity across the terminals
 

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IMO
Check to see if you have spark at the plug first.
If there's spark you have a fuel problem.
Was there stabilizer in the fuel.
 

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purchased used this spring. barely used. ran when I unloaded it. lost key, bought replacement keys. think i'm using correct one. with a multimeter what should I read with the key in or out? continuity across the terminals
With the key out, you should read continuity between the terminals causes the ignition coil wire to be grounded, stopping the spark and killing the engine.

The key inserted breaks the contacts, thereby removing the path to ground from the coil and allowing the coil to send a spark to the plug.
 

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Be sure to put a string on your key this time too! ;>P IF it sat for awhile I would drop the bowl of the carb and drain the fuel out. Put fresh fuel back in and I bet you will be good unless there is a bunch of gunk in the bowl - in which case you will want to clean the carb first. BTW - that is the first thing I always do when I get a machine....... no point in trying anything until you know its clean in the carb and gas is good.
 

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Last time I needed starting fluid it was also a pain to get at as well. It was at the Canadian Tire store, and they were closed. :D
 
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