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How to Fix a Mantis Tiller That Won't Start

Mantis tillers are reliable little workhorse tillers. As with any power garden implement, you may experience an occasional problem starting your tiller. Follow a few simple steps to check the possible causes, and your Mantis tiller should be up and running quickly.

Electric Mantis Tiller

Make sure the cord is plugged in securely, both at the tiller end and the source end. Check that the kill switch is in the “ON” position. If the tiller still does not start, unplug it before checking further.

Check the tines for obstructions. Clear away tangled weeds, sticks, stones or caked mud. Remove the tines and clear away debris if necessary. Replace the tines.

Check the circuit breaker on the tiller. If the button has popped out, push it back in. If the button does not stay in, wait about 30 seconds and try again.

Check the circuit breaker at the power source, in your home or on the generator. Plug in the tiller cord, turn the switch to “ON” and start the tiller.

Gasoline Mantis Tiller

Fill the gas tank. Make sure the kill switch is in the “ON” position. If the switch was on and it did not start, the engine may be flooded.

Check the oil level in the sump chamber of a four-cycle Honda engine, if that is your tiller model. Fill it to the proper level, which the lowest thread line inside the opening of the sump. Use 10W/30 oil. 10W/40 or 20/W40 may be substituted if necessary.

Two-cycle models do not have an oil sump, because the oil is mixed with the gasoline.

Check the spark plug. Remove the spark plug cap, and remove the spark plug with a 3/4-inch spark plug wrench. If the end of the spark plug is wet, the engine may be flooded. Use a clean dry rag or a paper towel and dry the end of the spark plug. Leave the plug out, and pull the starter cord. Repeat pulling several times. Replace the spark plug, tighten it with the wrench, and replace the cap.

Turn the switch “OFF”. Pull the choke button all the way out. Pull the cord three or four times, and the engine should sputter. Push the choke button in and pull the cord. After a few pulls, the engine should start and run.

Check the fuel line if the end of the spark plug is dry when you check it. The fuel line runs from the bottom of the fuel tank to the carburetor. Open the tank so there is no pressure. Remove the end of the fuel line from the carburetor end. It should drip very slowly from the fuel line. Clean up any dripped fuel with a rag.

If there is no drip, visually check along the line for kinks. Any bent or pinched place will restrict the fuel flow. The fuel line is flexible, so if you see a kink, simply unbend it. Fuel should drip slowly from the disconnected end. Reconnect the line to the carburetor and wipe up spilled fuel. Turn the switch to “ON” and start as you normally would.

Check for fuel that runs freely from the fuel line. This can cause flooding. The fuel filter may be disconnected if fuel runs quickly through the line when the line is disconnected from the carburetor. The filter is inside the fuel tank on the other end of the fuel line. Reattach the filter, replace the fuel line at the carburetor end and wipe up spilled fuel. Turn the switch “ON” and start the engine as usual. (page 8, two-cycle manual)

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