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I have an ariens with a 3.5 tecumseh on it, it's a tempramental old thing, I cleaned the carb and got it running pretty well by adjusting the carb. as i was cleaning up afterward i discovered the bracket that goes between the carb and block laying on the floor, the next night i took it apart and put the bracket on and as i was trying to start it it was backfiring and wouldn't run. I have no clue from here, any help would be appreciated. thanks.
 

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My guess is you just have to readjust the carb. I think that spacer affects the fuel/air mixture. Start and 1.5 turns out for the bottom screw and 1 turn out for the side screw. Were the gaskets still good and did you have a gasket on each side of the spacer? I have heard bad gaskets causing air leaks can cause poor/lean running.
 

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kaboom! shryp nailed it,
make sure you count the turns if the screw is lightly seated like this - or / | \
how ever its seated, fine tune in 1/4- 1/8 of a turn increments
 
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