Log Splitter: Engine won't start

A dirty carburetor, bad gasoline, failed spark plug or broken recoil starter can prevent the log splitter engine from starting.

Stale gas won't start the engine. If you left gas in the fuel tank for more than 6 months without adding fuel stabilizer, drain the tank and fill it with fresh gas. Add fuel stabilizer to gas to keep it fresh.

Bad gasoline can clog the carburetor, so clean and rebuild the carburetor if the engine doesn't start after replacing the gas in the fuel tank. Replace the carburetor if it's too clogged to clean.

A dirty spark plug won't ignite the fuel to start the engine. Complete a full tune-up that includes replacing the spark plug, air filter and oil.

If the recoil starter won't spin the engine when you pull the starter rope, then you'll likely need to replace the recoil starter.

log splitter

These repairs may help solve your log splitter problem

Replace the log splitter carburetor

Replace the log splitter carburetor

The log splitter's carburetor mixes air with fuel in the proper proportion to produce a combustible gas. That gas/air mixture is pulled into the cylinder, where the piston compresses it and the spark plug ignites it. Over time, varnish from stale gasoline builds up in the carburetor, decreasing the amount of air/fuel mixture reaching the engine. Replace the log splitter carburetor if it's severely clogged with varnish or if the orifices are clogged with debris and can't be cleared using carburetor cleaner and compressed air.

March 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a log splitter carburetor

If a log splitter runs rough or won't start, the carburetor may be clogged or the seals may be worn. This DIY repair guide explains how to replace the carburetor on a log splitter in just 30 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the log splitter recoil starter

Replace the log splitter recoil starter

The log splitter's recoil starter engages and starts the engine when the starter rope is pulled. If the pull rope doesn't retract, it's likely that the spring inside the recoil starter is broken. The recoil starter can also fail to engage the engine when the rope is pulled, and the engine won't start. Replace the recoil starter if the spring breaks or if the recoil starter doesn't engage the log splitter engine.

March 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a log splitter recoil starter

If you log splitter won't start because the recoil starter rope is stuck or won't retract, the starter spring or pulley might be broken. This DIY repair guide gives instructions on how to replace the recoil starter on a log splitter in 6 quick steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
Read more
Rebuild the log splitter carburetor

Rebuild the log splitter carburetor

Rebuild kits are available for most log splitter carburetors. The carburetor rebuild kit contains essential components such as jets, pins, seals and gaskets for overhauling the log splitter carburetor. You can sometimes fix a fuel supply problem by disassembling, cleaning and rebuilding the carburetor.

Tune up the log splitter engine

Tune up the log splitter engine

A tune-up restores the log splitter's engine to its peak operating condition. A tune-up includes changing the oil, cleaning the engine, replacing the air filter, checking the ignition system, inspecting the carburetor, adjusting the throttle and choke controls, and adjusting and lubricating all moving parts.

Symptoms common to all log splitters

Choose a symptom to see related log splitter repairs.

Main causes: broken pump coupler, clogged hydraulic fluid filter, bad hydraulic control valve, broken hydraulic pump, bad hydraulic cylinder
Main cause: worn hydraulic valve seals around the actuator rod
Main causes: leaky head gasket, damaged sump gasket, leaky oil drain plug, damaged fuel line, bad carburetor seals
Main causes: dirty carburetor, stale fuel, bad spark plug, broken recoil starter
Main cause: worn hydraulic cylinder seals
Main causes: dirty carburetor, bad spark plug, clogged air filter, stale fuel
Main cause: worn hydraulic pump seals

Repair guides common to all log splitters

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your log splitter.

March 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a log splitter carburetor

The carburetor mixes air and gas before the fuel mix goes to the engine. If the engine won't start and the spark plug is getting spark, the carburetor is likely the problem.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
March 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a log splitter recoil starter

The recoil starter spins the engine on the log splitter when you pull the starter rope, and the rope retracts when released. If the recoil starter assembly is broken, follow the steps in this repair guide to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
March 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a log splitter fuel line

The fuel line carries the fuel supply from the gas tank to the carburetor. If the fuel line is cracked and leaking, replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all log splitters

Use the advice and tips in these articles to get the most out of your log splitter.

November 1, 2015

How to maintain the hydraulic system in a log splitter

By Sears PartsDirect staff

See how to properly maintain the hydraulic system in your log splitter.

June 1, 2015

Log splitter common questions

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn more about your log splitter with these frequently asked questions.

June 1, 2015

How to change the hydraulic fluid in a log splitter

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how to change the hydraulic fluid in your log splitter.