Troubleshooting common problems with two-stroke engines
Engine won’t idle properly. Adjust the carburetor. Most engine models have an adjustment screw on the left side of the carburetor. Turning the screw clockwise restricts fuel flow, while turning it counterclockwise increases fuel flow. Adjust the screw until the engine can idle on its own. Don't overadjust, because too much fuel could cause the engine to flood frequently, while too little fuel could overheat the engine.
Engine smokes constantly. Most two-cycle engines produce a little smoke upon startup, but if your engine continues to smoke as it runs, your gas-to-oil mixture could be wrong. Most two-cycle engines require either a 50:1 or 40:1 mix. Check your owner’s manual to see the specific mix for your engine. If it still smokes, there might be excessive carbon buildup on the piston or in the exhaust. Clean both areas with a proper engine cleaning solvent.
Engine is hard to start. There could be several causes, but the first place to check is the starting procedure. Most two-stroke engines have different procedures for cold and hot starts. The most common procedure for cold starts is to prime the engine, engage the choke, pull the starter cord to start the engine and immediately turn off the choke once the engine starts. Refer to your owner’s manual to see the specific starting procedure for your engine.
Engine won't reach max RPM. Systematically check for a clogged muffler, clogged intake, clogged or kinked fuel line, bad spark plug or poor fuel-to-gas ratio.
Parts to replace if your Tanaka engine won’t start
If your Tanaka engine won’t start, begin troubleshooting with these easy-to-replace parts.
Spark plug. Replace spark plugs every one to two years.
Air filter. An air filter that is clogged excessively will prevent your engine from starting. They are inexpensive and should be replaced every one to two years to help reduce the wear and tear on your engine.
Fuel filter. Fuel filters will clog over time and prevent your engine from starting. They are low cost and should be replaced every one to two years. As you change out your fuel filter, look at the fuel line itself to make sure it is still attached and doesn’t have any holes or kinks.
__ Carburetor kit__. A carburetor kit normally consists of a new gasket, a spring and a few other small components that are easy to replace. Refer to your engine model number when looking for carburetor parts.