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Ether in small gas engines

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-06-27          154892


Can ether be safely used in small gas engines? I'm really getting tired of pulling the starter for 20 minutes on my Honda engines until they start.

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Ether in small gas engines

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1539 Moravia, NY
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2008-06-27          154893


Ken I use it all the time. My old Techumsea always likes a sniff. ....

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Ether in small gas engines

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-06-27          154894


Thanks, Harvey. I've been having visions of the wife coming home and finding me dead next to the pressure washer. I'll give it a try. ....

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Ether in small gas engines

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2008-06-27          154896


Kwschumm,

A little squirt of ether in the air cleaner will do ya wonders. We use it all the time when powering up walk-behind snowblowers when it's 30 degrees below zero.

I've never used it during the summer months, but I don't foresee any problems. It doesn't take much....about a 1 second burst.

Joel ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2008-06-27          154898


KW; No your Mrs. won't find you dead by the power washer, the paramedics will peel you off the ceiling with a putty knife. Seriously I've did it too in a last dtich situation and gotten away with it in small doses. I once witnessed an old Ford, (carbureted) flooded to the hilt and 20 below. I was jumppering it and the guy with the Ford was as a last ditch deal DUMPING either down the carb as she cranked, KABAM!!!!, no carburetor, nobody hit with shrapnel, good lesson. Frank. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-06-27          154900


Frank, I was thinking that pulling the starter rope for 20 minutes would give me a heart attack :) I'll be sure to stand back and use only small amounts. ....

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Ether in small gas engines

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1539 Moravia, NY
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2008-06-28          154910


Frank I was thinking "Tim the tool man Taylor" as I read that. You are correct some common sense is always needed. ....

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Ether in small gas engines

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2008-06-29          154926


While using ether isn't a bad thing, to me, it's an indication that there is a problem that could be easily fixed such as a loose carb. connection/seal/gasket to the engine, clogged carb jet or bad needle, bad float, or even something simple like a fouled plug.

I bought a used concrete saw with a 13hp Honda that was always hard to start and ran kinda crappy until it really warmed up. For about three years it got harder and harder to start to the point where it wouldn't start at all. DOH! A bad plug. Now it starts right up. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-06-29          154931


I've got two GX270 Honda engines and they both have always been hard to start. New carbs, drained fuel, new plugs, new ignition modules, bypassed low oil shutdown, nothing helps. These things just don't start easy like my Briggs, Kohlers, Echos, Stihls and Huskies. ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2008-06-29          154936


Kwschumm,

I own a Jiffy brand Ice Auger. (It's used for drilling holes in the ice, so that a fella can go fishing during the winter months.)

It's been a few years since I last started the thing up. While cleaning out the basement the other day, I decided that it might be time to give that ice auger a little exercise.

My little water pump also has a two-stroke engine, and it just so happens that the fuel-to-oil ratio is the same for both motors (24:1). So, I dumped in about a cup of fresh fuel, primed it with the primer bulb, turned on the switch, pulled the cord......and she purrs like a kitten.

We let it run for about 10 minutes, dumped out the fuel, then let the engine run until it died. I removed the spark plug, poured a bit of two-stroke oil into the cylinder, ran the piston to top-dead-center, and then put the spark plug back in. I'm guessing it's good for another few years.

I have no idea what make motor is on that JIffy ice auger, but I do like it. By the way, that ice auger was purchased in 1987. It's 21 years old now. I've never had the motor apart, nor the carburetor.

Joel ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-06-30          154958


Ken, we have a whack of those little Hondas on various things, they all start and run like a champ, BUT, they like gas to start.

If yours doesn't have a primer, get one, if it does, don't be afraid to use it. Even just shut down and on a warm day they like the choke, full till it kicks, if it doesn't start, back the choke off to 1/2 and try again.

I've never been able to flood a Honda either, dripping wet they still start, a little dry, forget it.

Best of luck. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2008-06-30          154961


Much as I am a staunch AMERICAN built fellow, and I know my little Deere is powered by a rice burner, etc.. Anyhow all the local grain elevators have gone to Honda powered grain augers they pull from farm to farm to clean grain bins. I don't know of an elevator owner that you could PAY to put a Briggs back on an auger. The Honda's just plain START. Frank. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-06-30          154964


After owning these two Honda's you couldn't pay me to buy another. They flat out don't start. Drained the tank and fuel bowl and replaced with fresh fuel, replaced the plugs, new carburetors, neither of the damn things start until I'm near dead from pulling the starter. I gave up and took one of them to a small engine shop. They cleaned everything out, changed the plug and said nothing was wrong. It was warm when I picked it up and it started right up. Sure enough, a few days later the damn thing wouldn't start cold.

Honda small engines, I hate 'em. I'm sort of looking for an ATV and I can tell you it won't be a Honda.

Murf, you can get primer bulbs for these things? ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-06-30          154966


Ken, trust me, if there's a problem with those engines, you have the only two I've ever heard of!

You can get a primer bulb for anything that has a fuel line, both inline and button styles. Any place that sells marine supplies will have replacement inline ones for 1/4" ID hose.

It sure sounds like you're not giving them enough gas, like I said, they REALLY like to start with lots of choke and/or gas. I don't think I've ever had to pull one more than 3 times ever to get it started.

In fact I'm in the midst of making a modern reproduction of a classic wooden boat, it will be powered with a Honda engine buried down below the decks.

Best of luck. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-06-30          154967


I had a JD lawn mower with a Briggs engine for seven years. That thing started up first or second pull every time. I never drained the fuel at the end of the season and never used Stabil or any other fuel conditioner. The dang thing always started. Good money says that the Honda's should do at least as well with fresh fuel and carbs that were drained at the end of the season but with these engines that money would be poorly spent.

If they start with ether I'll live with them, if not they will be sold to a Honda lover and replaced with something else. ....

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Ether in small gas engines

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2644 NorthWest NJ
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2008-06-30          154972


I have a Honda Pressure washer and a Honda 33 Ton Log splitter, both start up great. The only time I have a problem is through my own operator error. Like me forgetting to put the ignition switch on :( or having the fuel shut off lever in the wrong position.

On the pressure washer I have to have the water line attached and on with me pulling the trigger on the washer gun to relieve the resistance in the pump.

Like Murf said of all the engine manufacturers Honda engines have the best starting reputation. Of course that does not help when you are having problems with two you happen to have. Sorry you are having a tough go if it.

Dennis
....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-06-30          154975


Thanks, Dennis. The reason I bought the Hondas was because of their great reputation. Like you, mine are on a log splitter and pressure washer. These are both Honda GX270s, what models are yours?

I keep thinking I'm an idiot for not being able to start these. I keep getting out the manuals and following the step by step instructions. Yes, on the PW I have to have water connected, turned on and the trigger pulled to relieve pressure and preserve the pump. I've had a couple of D'OH moments by forgetting to turn the fuel flow on or ignition switch but then at least I know it's my fault. I put a checklist on the garage wall - Ignition, fuel flow, choke, throttle set to 1/3 open.

I even disconnected the low oil alerts thinking they are faulty. No go there.

When all the Honda ducks are lined up and they still don't quack I want to kick the Honda duck crap right out of 'em. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-06-30          154976


Ken, just an idea, but I noticed that you mention turning off the fuel.

Do you by chance turn off the fuel and run the engine dry every time you use the engine? If so, that could be part of the problem, I had a small engine (Honda) dealer (we buy a LOT from them) that the ONLY time you should shut off the fuel and allow the engine to run dry is in the fall as part of an over-winter storage regimen. For normal use, just shut off the ignition, and then close the fuel. In fact I doubt we even shut off the fuel most times.

The explanation given was that running the engine dry will create a vacuum/air lock in the carb and it will be a bear to start following that.

Just for giggles, try turning on the gas a few minutes (or longer) before you plan on starting the engine to be sure that the carb is full of gas before you start yanking on the rope.

You should also, at all costs, avoid using methanol blended gasolines in any small engines, doing so is just asking (loudly) for trouble, both in starting, and in the (shortened) life of the engine.

Best of luck. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-06-30          154977


Murf, good thought but that's not it. I always have leave fuel in it and just use the fuel shutoff. Always use Stabil in the fuel, too, and bought fresh fuel just last week. It's E-10 ethanol, not methanol.

When it wouldn't start I disconnected the hose from the tank to the carb and drained the fuel from the tank. Then the hose was reconnected to the carb and I dropped the fuel bowl and let the carb drain. Then I put it all together, unscrewed the fuel bowl drain screw, poured in fresh fuel until it started draining out the screw hole (to be sure fuel was flowing to the carb), and then shut the drain screw. Tried to start it, no go. Went in, had lunch, came back out and it still wouldn't start. Squirted some fuel into the carburetor throat, pulled another dozen times, and gave up.

Then I came on here and started bitching. :)

I figure if it starts right up with ether it's a fuel problem. If not, it's an ignition problem. The ignition problem I can fix, but after replacing the carburetor and blowing the lines clear I'm not sure what I can do about the fuel system (such as it is). Maybe buy an aftermarket carburetor since the Honda ones are giving me trouble. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2008-06-30          154978


KW: You disconnected the low oil alert?

RUT-ROH-Raggy!

I did the same thing on a spanking new $2000 welder/ generator because it wouldn't start. The Low oil light kept flickering which is part of the on/off switch. I tore it apart and hot-wired it to get it to run. It ran awhile and quit. It only had a few hours on it and I checked the oil again and topped it off. Still wouldn't start. I took it back to Tractor Supply and got another one. Topped off the oil on the new one, ran it for about a few hours and same thing happened. I'm on a job and pissed. Really pissed.

Took it a servicing dealer and the first thing the manager asks is: "Did you check the oil".
"It's BRAND new! I just put oil it TWO hours ago!"
"Doesn't matter" he says, checking the oil.
"Yup it's down" He tops it off and it ran perfect.
Man, I felt like Kenny Thompson (KT from SC) at a prairie-oyster-eating contest! ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-06-30          154981


EW, checked the oil and it's at the full mark. But these
engines won't run if the low oil alert is giving false info.
Some googling told me to disconnect it as a test. Not sure
if that's right or not but that's what some guys do. When I bought my used log splitter the low oil wire was cut off at the block. Apparently a prior owner had the same problem and just said screw it. That engine runs fine when it's warm but has the same cold start problems.

I ordered a service manual from Helm to figure it out.
....

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joedepilot
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 5 murphy nc
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2008-07-01          154996


Old time mechanic told me to use wd-40 instead of ether. Easier on engine and lubes a little also. Works great. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-07-01          154997


I heard about the wd-40 trick and tried that last year. I wasn't sure how much to squirt down the throat so used a very short burst and it didn't help. Maybe it is an ignition problem or I didn't squirt enough into the carb?

Thanks for the reminder. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2008-07-01          154998


Ken, is it possible the same mechanic or shop has worked on both carbs and have the settings too lean to start them? I have a saw (realize you are not using mixed fuel) that first time ever giving problem surprised me rather recently. Then same again a week ago. Thought on it and realized I had changed the type of oil being used in the gas. kt ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-07-01          154999


It's entirely possible they are both set too lean but one of them has not been to the shop and the other gave me the same trouble before taking it in. When the service manual arrives I will rebuild the carburetor myself. I haven't found a carb rebuild kit for this engine (online anyway) and rebuild info seems hard to come by. There's probably not much to it other than a cleaning and float adjustment. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2008-07-01          155007


Ken, the same chain saw I mentioned above locked up a few years ago. Had to replace a lot of parts. Asked what caused it and the shop who did the work; who sold the saw and only ones who ever serviced it said, the fuel mixture was set too lean. Did not bother them at all the 3 or 400 repair bill. kt ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-07-04          155082


Got back to this today. It would start and run for a few seconds on ether but wouldn't stay running. Pulled the carburetor and dropped the float bowl. It all looked clean, orifices and jets seemed to be fine but I sprayed it all out with carb cleaner anyway. Put it back together, same problems starting. So I replaced the Honda carburetor with a Chinese made STENS carburetor. Two pulls and it started right up. I'll see how it starts cold tomorrow when I pressure wash the deck. ....

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