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Kat and Kevin Yares
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And the Tiller goes Clank
First it started to growl, the power went, it clanked hard and then the magic smoke was released on the side of the engine from bits of connecting rod splitting the aluminum case.
What to do? Well rebuild the thing of course.
The Tiller is an older model Troy Bilt with an 8hp Briggs & Stratton engine. Heavy duty in all respects and never failed to start on the second pull with the choke on the first.
Parts to search for and parts to find. After an extensive back and forth over the Net, I found a great site that allows you to model type search then pick your parts from exploded views of darn near any type of small engine made.
Be sure to check out the website partsnationwide.com
They are very fast on shipping and have a great service department. The best thing I like about this site is the exploded parts inventory . Just look for it and add it to the shopping cart.
If we find a site that we use and have good results with we will always feature them on either the links page or add them to our articles. Unless we use them you won't see them here.
I highly recommend that before you break down any small engine pickup the manual first. You will be surprised as to what you can find from the manufacturer. The repair book will have little hints and not to mention all the measurements that you will need to replace parts.
Breaking down the engine was quick in relation to removing it from the tiller unit itself. This model of Troy Bilt had a large frame surrounding the engine for attaching a push blade. Also the lever for engaging the belt was a bit tricky for removal. But once the unit was left on the guide bars it was nothing to carry over to the bench.
I strongly suggest that you completely break down the engine before hitting the parts site so you can order all the parts at once. You never know until you actually see what is wrong until you can see it.
In this case the connecting rod had severely spun on the crankshaft, not the first time from closer inspection. I found the case had been poorly welded from the first repair. My solution for resealing the case was my old standby of J.B. Weld Quick. I allowed a full 24 hours of cure time before the reassembly. To me this is the best epoxy on the market. Just follow the instructions and let the cure time extend from what they recommend, especially when in contact with gas or oil.
The crankshaft had a heavy deposit of aluminum from the spun rod. But a little work on it from emery cloth and 320 grit sandpaper took off the material. Just do it a little at a time. If there are no big gouges on the rod mating surface you're okay. I have done this with other engines and no problem.
Once every thing was cleaned up I thoroughly cleaned and re-oiled every surface. Actually I allowed a couple of days after the replacement parts came for the oil to rework into the steel parts.
When reassembling that engine be sure to pay strict attention to the timing marks on the crankshaft in relation to the cam gear. Also when placing the side gasket on the engine housing use a little Blue Silicone for engines to stick the gasket to the mating surface. This will help with any little imperfects in the seal.
One other thing to watch for as in the head reassembly, is the bolt placement. Most engines will have at least one, if not more, bolts that are longer than the rest. Be sure you have identified this bolthole placement. You do not want to crack or strip that thread.
Of course this not a step by step rebuild they have manuals for that, I just want to share some hints on the rebuild if this is your first time. Virginity is such a wonderful thing on rebuilds, makes you wish you could have lost it sooner.
I hope this will help to build your confidence to rework other mechanical things around your place and in the process save some bucks to boot.
For Rural and City Living