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How to Start My Mantis Tiller

Starting a two-cycle Mantis tiller should be easy if the machine is properly maintained. Problems during starting usually have simple solutions. If following the correct starting procedure does not work, don't try to overpower the machine by simply trying to "muscle" it. Fixing the trouble is almost always easier than fighting it. The owner's manual includes detailed and understandable instructions for both starting and troubleshooting the Mantis tiller.

Starting Cold

Fill the tank with fresh gasoline and two cycle oil mixture. Do not use gas or gas/oil mix that has been stored overwinter since old fuel may jell or evaporate, changing the mix. The usual ratio is 50 parts gas to one part oil. Two-cycle oil is a special formulation for two cycle engines without a separate oil system. In stores the oil sells as two-cycle engine oil. Check the owner's manual for the precise ratio of gas to oil since mixture may vary with model. Replace the gas cap and tighten it firmly.

Locate the ignition switch and turn it on. Mantis ignitions are mounted on the control bars within each reach during operation and may be either toggle or rocker type switches.

Locate the choke button on the front of the carburetor housing on the right side of the engine and pull the plunger all the way out to the fully closed position.

Find the carburetor primer bulb on top of the carburetor itself and press the bulb with a fingertip. Press six times or until gas begins flowing through the clear fuel line below the bulb.

Grip the carrying handle with the left hand and steady the machine. Grip the starter cord with the right hand and pull with short fast strokes of only 1 foot or 1 1/2 feet in length. Pull only three or four times and release the starter cord when the motor sputters. The engine will only fire a few times and then die.

Open the choke completely by pressing the plunger all the way in against the carburetor housing. Crank with the starter cord again and the Mantis two-cycle tiller should run. Let the engine warm up two or three minutes before tilling.

Starting Hot

Turn the ignition switch on. The switch is on the handlebars and may be either a toggle switch or a rocker switch.

Find the choke button on the front of the carburetor housing on the right side of the engine. Push the choke plunger all the way in, to the open position.

Check for gas in the clear plastic fuel line by the primer bulb. Look at the line--the walls are transparent and if fuel is present it's easy to spot. If no gas is visible, pump the bulb until gas flows.

Pull the starter cord three or four times with short, fast strokes until the engine fires.


Keep a firm grip on the carrying handle during startup. In older models the tines will rotate after the engine fires, pulling the Mantis forward.


Don't over-tighten the fuel tank cap. A snug fit is all that's needed--too much torque ruins the seal and causes fuel leaks.

Don't squeeze the throttle trigger while starting the motor.

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