Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Troubleshoot a Mantis Tiller

Mantis tillers have few operating problems. Learn to handle some basic maintenance details, and keep your Mantis tiller running smoothly. By performing simple cleaning and engine maintenance tasks, you can prolong the life of the tiller. Before you work on a tiller, always unplug an electric tiller, and have the kill switch in the “OFF” position on gasoline powered models.

Electric Mantis Tiller

Keep debris and mud cleared away from tines. Clogs can prevent the tines from turning properly, creating drag on the motor. Set the tines to rotate in the correct direction according to your task. The tine points should face forward for deep tilling, and backward for shallow weeding.

Keep the electrical cord clear of the area where you are working. Use a cord reel at the edge of the garden to make the cord maneuverable without getting in the way. Inspect the cord regularly for wear. Never operate the electric tiller in the rain or in wet conditions.

Clean dust and dirt from the motor cover. Use a small brush for dusting.

Gasoline Mantis Tillers

Keep the air filter clean. Remove the air filter cover with a screwdriver, and use a small brush to brush off dust and dirt. The air filter is white, and it resembles a piece of felt. When the dust no longer brushes away, or if the filter is otherwise dirty or bent, replace it with a new filter. If you operate your tiller in a dusty environment, it can quickly become dirty.

Clean the muffler screen. Remove the red cover using screwdrivers. Then remove the exhaust guide and gasket under it. The screen is under the gasket. Remove the screen, and clean it with carburetor cleaner and a non-metal brush. You should be able to see through a clean screen. Replace the cleaned screen, gasket, guide, and cover. Use a new gasket if the old one is worn or damaged.

Set the tines to till in the correct direction. The points of the tines should point forward for deep digging and tilling. The points should face backward if you want to do shallow weeding or cultivating.

Keep the tines clean. Remove weeds and debris from the tine area.

Check the grease in the worm gear housing annually. Remove the four screws that hold the cover plate in place, and remove the cover plate. The grease should be almost level with the top of the housing. If not, add lithium #0 to fill it to the proper level. Replace the cover and screws.

Check the fuel filter. Occasionally the fuel filter may become clogged. If you have trouble starting the tiller, or if the carburetor does not adjust properly, replace the fuel filter.

Reseat the tiller on the flange. After a few seasons of use, or if you have used your two-cycle tiller with accessories such as the hedge trimmer, the tines may not turn correctly. Check the flange where the engine or electric motor connects to the tines. If it is not seated correctly, you will see a gap. Loosen the flange bolt, realign the hex-head on the drive shaft with the clutch drum under it, and replace the flange. Tighten the flange bolt. You can immediately see if the engine or motor is reseated properly, because there will be no gap between the parts.

Garden Guides