The Yellow Farmhouse Garden

June 4, 2014

Restoring a vintage Mantis tiller

Filed under: Equipment — bob @ 2:41 pm

My big project this week is restoring a vintage 1983 Mantis tiller. I picked it up at an estate auction for what I hope turns out to be a reasonable price. This is the kind of job I like to do during the winter when things are quiet in the garden but sometimes the timing doesn’t always work out.

Even though I was able to inspect this old piece of power equipment before I bought it, you never know for sure if it is worth taking a chance on. The pressure of an auction adds another dimension to the decision making process.

I’ve had a fair amount of experience repairing small engine equipment so, even though this tiller didn’t run at the time I bought it, I still was pretty confident I could bring it back from the brink of death.

It looked pretty rough on the outside. There was oil-soaked dirt caked all over the engine. The tines were wrapped almost completely in tough grass and weed stems. The handles and other metal components were beginning to rust.

On other hand, all the parts were there and the controls worked smoothly. The engine turned over and felt like it had the right amount of compression. All those positive things out weighed the negatives.

The first thing I did when I got it home was cut away all the tangled debris from the tines. Then cleaned the dirt and oil off of the the rest of the machine.

I took the cover off of the gearbox and it’s inner workings looked in great shape.┬áThe spark plug was pretty old and needed to be changed.

This Mantis has a two-stroke engine. The exhaust ports on two-strokes are prone to plugging up with carbon deposits. Fortunately there were not a whole lot of deposits to contend with.

A rough running or hard to start two-stroke engine can be caused by carbon build up on the exhaust port. Remove the muffler to expose the exhaust port.

A rough running or hard to start two-stroke engine can be caused by carbon build up on the exhaust port. Remove the muffler to expose the exhaust port for inspection.

No fuel was getting to the engine which indicated a carburetor problem. I had to weigh the pros and cons about rebuilding the carburetor compared to buying a new one. Since I didn’t know the history of the machine I ended up getting a new carburetor.

I’ve been lucky so far that all of the parts I needed are still available, that’s not always the case with these older machines.

In the next day or so I should have everything put back together and ready to go.

Bob

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

 

Powered by WordPress