Tiller: Engine leaking oil or gas

Oil leaks from a tiller engine can be caused by a leaking head gasket, sump gasket or oil drain plug. A loose or cracked fuel line can leak gas. A failed seal on the carburetor can also leak gas.

If the engine leaks oil, check the head gasket and replace that gasket if it leaks oil. Check the sump gasket if oil is leaking from the bottom of the engine and replace the sump gasket if it leaks. Tighten or replace the oil drain plug if it's leaking.

If the engine leaks gas, move the tiller to a well-ventilated area and check the fuel line. Reconnect the fuel line if it's loose and replace the fuel line if it's cracked. If the fuel line is okay, check the carburetor. Rebuild the carburetor with new seals and gaskets if the carburetor leaks gas. Sometimes, it's easier to replace the carburetor than to rebuild it.


These repairs may help solve your tiller problem

Replace the tiller carburetor

Replace the tiller carburetor

Over time, varnish from stale gasoline builds up in the carburetor, decreasing the amount of air/fuel mixture reaching the engine. Replace the 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.

Clean and rebuild the tiller carburetor

Clean and rebuild the tiller carburetor

Rebuild kits are available for most carburetors. The kit contains the essential components such as jets, pins, seals and gaskets to overhaul the carburetor. You can sometimes fix a fuel supply problem by disassembling and cleaning a carburetor. Use the rebuild kit to rebuild the carburetor after cleaning it.

Symptoms common to all tillers

Choose a symptom to see related tiller repairs.

Main causes: leaky engine head gasket, damaged sump gasket, damaged oil drain plug seal, loose or cracked fuel line, leaky carburetor seal
Main causes: broken shaft clevis pins, transmission failure
Main causes: worn or broken drive belts, bad transmission, clutch cable problems
Main causes: clutch cable problems, faulty transmission
Main causes: dirty carburetor, engine needs tune up, stale gas
Main causes: carburetor failure, bad gasoline, dirty spark plug, broken recoil starter
Main causes: damaged tines, broken clevis pins, worn drive belt, faulty transmission, clutch cable problems, improper depth-stake setting

Repair guides common to all tillers

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

May 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a tiller recoil starter

The recoil starter spins the engine 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

Articles and videos common to all tillers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your tiller.

December 28, 2018

Find the right carburetor assembly for a Craftsman snowblower, tiller or log splitter

By Sears PartsDirect staff

This chart will help you find the right carburetor for your Craftsman snowblower, tiller or log splitter.

November 1, 2016

A guide to garden tillers

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Rear tine tiller or front tine tiller, what to know to help in choosing the correct one for your needs.

November 1, 2015

Tiller common questions

By Sears PartsDirect staff

These frequently asked questions might help you figure out what's wrong with your garden tiller.