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This an old snowblower -- probably 15+ years old. It sometimes starts and sometimes doesn't. I believe that I'm not getting spark. It's either the switch (on/off) or ignition coil. I don't have a shop manual. Anyone have this issue? Any ideas? I may have to splurge for a shop manual -- I think I can get one for about $40. I figured I'd check with you guys first.

Thanks,
David
 

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The easiest thing to do is actually confirm your spark problem. If you have access to a spark tester that would be an easy way to check. They can be purchased for little money. If not then pull the plug and put the wire on the plug and ground it to the head and pull or bump elcect. start if equipped, make sure switch is ON and if no spark , try a different plug.
If still no spark you can defeat the on/off switch by un plugging the ground from the coil and retest if still no spark then you have a problem at the coil, If you do have spark then you have a switch problem.

You say it starts sometimes , before you do anything else I would spray some carb cleaner in the intake of the carb and try to start it , if it keeps trying to start you may have a fuel delivery problem.
Has the carb be cleaned or rebuilt? How old is the gas in it?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. I didn't know that unplugging the ground to the coil would defeat the switch -- that's good to know. The coil on this thing is kind of pain to get to. I'm waiting for warmer weather to tear into it. I have not cleaned the carb, but you can smell it when trying to start it. When it runs, it runs just fine. Intermittent issues are sometimes hard to solve.

David
 

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Just to be clear you are unplugging the ground from the coil to the switch not the actual ground for the coil. And so you know that when you do this you have to choke it to stall it or turn off fuel etc. to turn it off.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Okay, still not sure what's up. I just tried to start it with the cord pull with no luck but was able to fire it up with electric start. Why does this thing sometimes run and sometimes not? While it was running, I turned the switch off and then back on and the engine would re-fire every time I turned it back to 'run' -- so I don't think it's the switch. What was cause this to not start sometimes? I will get a spark tester and try that when I can't get it to run. I also don't think it's compression because when it runs, it runs like a scolded dog. Any suggestions? Thanks.
 

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I think you are still having either primer issues or carb issues. starting with electric is telling me that the faster spin is able to pull fuel because of multiple revolutions that you are not getting using the pull starter. I would pull and clean the carb an pay close attention to the the primer and hoses. As well all passages in the carb , or replace carb with a new one.

Now as well you could have a valve not seating properly and making the engine not be able to pull the correct vacuum in order to bring fuel into the cylinder. BUT, I believe this to be carb or primer related. IMO
 

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I'd rather clean the old Honda carb first . sounds like spark/coil is okay. do you have to choke it even a little to restart a warm engine?

my gut is saying you could get by with an inframe cleaning of the carb. you can take top plate off and remove 2 mounting bolts of carb and pull that carb cover off ( not sure the correct part name ) from there you can access almost every hole and take pilot jet off and clean that , spray up pick up tube, take sentiment cup off and spray cleaner in every hole and follow up with compressed air if you have it.

it's been my experience that this usually works in the majority of cases and does not take very long. first time maybe an hour but after awhile you can do this pretty quickly.
 

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Looks like the spark is there. My bet would be on the float valve sticking and flooding the carb; the electric start spins it enough to get ahead of the flooding.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sounds good guys. It's good to have a forum where you can pick someone else's brain. I don't consider myself a mechanic, but I do have mechanical knowledge and understanding.

I will clean the carb and see what happens. Once this engine warms up, it easily starts on the 1st pull of the starter. When it sits for awhile -- especially if it's cold, it's a crapshoot as to whether it will start -- even using the electric starter. Hopefully it's something simple like a clogged carb. Using gas mixed with Ethanol doesn't help, but I do add some SeaFoam to the gas.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks.
 

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This Honda carb check sheet pops up from time to time in the threads, here it is again. It may help.

If you open the image in a new tab, you'll get the largest size.

 

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Here is page 3-56 (Cleaning) from the big manual. It might be a little easier to relate to than the full color chart.

Someone help me out here; I think someone on this board has taken the pilot screw out (breaking the cap) and re-gluing it back on (Prime?). Can that be done? I've only cleaned pre-limiter cap versions. The cost of a new pilot screw is pretty high ($10.73 + shipping), so before breaking that cap off, beware.

Maybe clean everything else first and try it out?

There is a small hole in the carb venturi (pilot outlet, #3) that might clean the tip of the pilot screw if you shoot enough carb cleaner in that spot.

 

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I've removed the pilot screw on a similar Honda carb and broke nothing. I took a decent sized soldering iron and heated the cap, and the adhesive holding the cap on softened, and the cap pulled right off. Once that was done, there was a slotted head and it screwed right out.

I never bothered putting the cap back on since it serves no functional purpose other than EPA compliance. If I was a commercial shop, I may have done differently, and yes, the cap could have been reglued.
 

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I sure like that idea. Thank you for that.

I've removed the pilot screw on a similar Honda carb and broke nothing. I took a decent sized soldering iron and heated the cap, and the adhesive holding the cap on softened, and the cap pulled right off. Once that was done, there was a slotted head and it screwed right out.

I never bothered putting the cap back on since it serves no functional purpose other than EPA compliance. If I was a commercial shop, I may have done differently, and yes, the cap could have been reglued.
 

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I've removed the pilot screw on a similar Honda carb and broke nothing. I took a decent sized soldering iron and heated the cap, and the adhesive holding the cap on softened, and the cap pulled right off. Once that was done, there was a slotted head and it screwedright out.

I never bothered putting the cap back on since it serves no functional purpose other than EPA compliance. If I was a commercial shop, I may have done differently, and yes, the cap could have been reglued.
i am turning you in to EPA. they will probably give me a gold star
 

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i am turning you in to EPA. they will probably give me a gold star
The ironic thing is that the cap will go on in any position, so simply having it in place does nothing to ensure correct setting, it's just to frustrate the end user . . . I still have the cap (and know where it is) so if I hear them knocking . . . :grin:
 
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