You may not realize just how often you use your leaf blower and its many benefits until it fails to start. Without a leaf blower, you may have to result to using a push broom or leaf rake. It will definitely make your task take longer and be a lot more work.
A Troy-Bilt leaf blower may not start when it isn’t getting sufficient air, fuel, and spark.
This could be due to bad fuel, plugged fuel filter, a clogged fuel line, a bad primer bulb, a dirty carburetor, plugged fuel tank vent, plugged air filter, plugged spark arrestor, a bad spark plug, or a faulty recoil starter.
Keep reading for more information on why your blower won’t start. It could be something as simple as the engine being flooded. Take all safety precautions before performing repairs including removing the spark plug wire.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
Reasons a Troy-Bilt Leaf Blower Won’t Start
- Plugged air filter
- Bad spark plug
- Plugged fuel filter
- Wrong oil mix in a 2-cycle engine
- Wrong engine oil in a 4-cycle engine
- Old fuel
- Bad primer bulb
- Blocked fuel line
- Plugged fuel tank vent
- Dirty carburetor
- Bad recoil starter
- Plugged spark arrestor
- Flooded engine
This is Why a Troy-Bilt Leaf Blower Won’t Start
If you haven’t replaced the maintenance items in a while, it’s good to begin by replacing them. These are the air filter, fuel filter, and spark plug.
1. Plugged Air Filter
One of the elements required to keep a Troy-Bilt leaf blower running at its best and prevent dirt from contaminating the engine is the air filter.
A leaf blower creates some pretty dusty conditions. This dust can plug the air filter creating an air restriction when enough air isn’t able to pass through the filter. This lack of air can keep your blower from starting.
An air filter is an essential item to run on your leaf blower. NEVER operate the blower without one. Doing so will cause dirt and debris to wear on the engine and cause permanent damage.
SOLUTION: Remove the air filter cover and the filter. Wipe out any remaining dirt from the air filter housing. Replace a dirty filter with a new air filter.
I recommend replacing your air filter annually. The maintenance doesn’t stop there. It’s important to check it periodically throughout the year to clean the filter and replace it when needed.
2. Bad Spark Plug
A damaged or dirty spark plug can keep your leaf blower from starting. A plug that is covered in oil and carbon; has a burnt electrode, or cracked porcelain needs to be replaced.
If you do get your mower to start, but it still runs sluggish, a dirty spark plug could be the problem. A dirty spark plug can cause it to misfire.
SOLUTION: You can attempt to clean a dirty spark plug with a wire brush and reuse it. I prefer to replace it because it is an inexpensive part and a primary item to keep your leaf blower running.
Make sure you are using the correct spark plug for your model leaf blower and that it is gapped correctly. The spark plug boot must also be securely attached.
A plug with an incorrect electrode gap or a wire that is loose can also cause your starting problem.
3. Plugged Fuel Filter
Just like the air filter is designed to keep dirt from entering the air intake, the fuel filter is designed to keep dirt from entering the fuel system.
This filter can become plugged when running dirty fuel or failing to replace the filter regularly. When the filter becomes clogged, the lack of fuel to the engine will prevent your Troy-Bilt blower from starting.
This is another maintenance item that should be changed at least once a year and more often if you find you have been running dirty fuel.
SOLUTION: Locate the fuel filter inside the fuel tank. Use a clean metal wire to hook the fuel line to pull the filter out of the tank. Remove the old filter holding the fuel line with one hand and pull the fuel filter from the line.
Be careful and don’t drop the fuel line inside the tank. Insert a new fuel filter into the line and slide the ring clip so it securely holds the filter end and the fuel line.
4. Incorrect Oil Mix in a 2-Cycle Blower
Using straight gas in a 2-cycle leaf blower will cause the engine to seize up and die once you run the fuel through the engine.
Straight gas doesn’t have the lubrication a 2-cycle requires from a gas and oil mix. Straight gas is a quick way to ruin a good leaf blower.
The 2-cycle engine in a Troy-Bilt leaf blower requires a fuel mix consisting of gas and oil mixed at a ratio of 40:1. A 40:1 mix equals 40 parts gasoline to 1 part oil.
The exception to this is for a two-cycle engine made prior to 2003. These engines run best on a gas-to-oil mixture of 32:1. If you’re unsure what the age is, you can go ahead and use the 40:1 mixture.
When creating this mix, use unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 89 (mid-grade) and maximum ethanol content of 10%.
Add a 2-cycle premium oil that is ISO-L-EGD and JASO M345 FD certified. Mix it in an approved gas can before adding it to your leaf blower.
Troy-Bilt offers a 2-cycle oil packaged by MTD. if that is not available, you can use another compatible brand with the same mix ratio of 40:1
SOLUTION: Drain the fuel tank and fill it with the correct gas to oil mix. If you continue to have problems, have a small engine mechanic diagnose the problem and determine whether a cost-effective repair can be made.
2-Cycle Premixed Fuel
A great option to reduce fuel problems and extend engine life is using an ethanol-free fuel mix. This is an ethanol-free blend of oil and fuel that is ready to pour into your leaf blower’s fuel tank.
You won’t have to deal with the bad effects of ethanol as discussed in the fuel section. Also, it’s convenient to have fuel available on your shelf when you need it. Just make sure you’re buying this fuel from a reputable company.
2-Cycle Gas to Oil Mix for Troy-Bilt Blowers
|Mixture||1 Gallon||2 Gallon||2.5 Gallon|
|32:1||4.0 oz||8.0 oz||10.0 oz|
|40:1||3.2 oz||6.4 oz||8.0 oz|
5. Incorrect or Insufficient Engine Oil in a 4-Cycle Leaf Blower
First of all, don’t mix the oil and gas if you use a 4-cycle leaf blower. There are separate fill ports on a leaf blower with a 4-cycle engine.
One fill port for gas and one fill port for oil. NEVER use a 2-cycle oil in a 4-cycle blower. Good air-cooled engine oil works best.
SAE30 engine oil is required to keep the engine components lubricated. When the wrong type or not enough oil is used, friction can build in the engine and overheat causing your leaf blower not to start and possibly ruin the engine.
SOLUTION: If you find you have the wrong engine oil in your Troy-Bilt blower, drain it and fill it with SAE30 grade.
Note: When running your leaf blower in very cold or very hot temperatures, you may have to adjust the viscosity to your ambient temperature.
If you continue to have problems, have a small engine mechanic diagnose the problem and determine whether a cost-effective repair can be made.
6. Old Fuel
Fuel sitting in your leaf blower for extended periods can begin to break down quickly. When using straight gas, you should consume it within 30 days or add a fuel stabilizer if you don’t go through fuel this quickly.
Fuel additives sold today have different time periods for how long the fuel will be stabilized. It can last anywhere from 30 days to up to 2 years.
Don’t assume that just because you add a fuel additive it will keep the fuel stable for a long period. Follow the time frame provided by the fuel additive manufacturer.
Old fuel attracts moisture and can leave behind a gummy residue that restricts fuel flow to the engine. Always use unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 89 and a maximum ethanol content of 10% (E10).
Ethanol is not good for the small engine on your Troy-Bilt leaf blower so the lower the ethanol content the better.
Using gasoline with ethanol contents greater than 10% like E15, E30, and E85 fuels will damage the engine and most likely void manufacturer warranties.
From experience submitting warranty requests for carburetor damage from several manufacturers, it’s rare to get a manufacturer to cover a carburetor when the leaf blower was purchased over 90 days prior
This is because of the damage using the wrong fuel and incorrect storage procedures can cause. The warranty covers manufacture defects and not damage due to using the wrong gas or oil.
SOLUTION: Drain any old fuel remaining in your leaf blower and fill it with fresh fuel. This is an oil and fuel mix for a 2-cycle engine and unleaded gasoline for a 4-cycle engine.
Add a fuel stabilizer like Sea Foam motor treatment to stabilize the fuel, clean the fuel system and reduce moisture in the fuel.
7. Bad Primer Bulb
A cracked primer bulb that won’t fill up with fuel won’t function correctly to get fuel to the carburetor for starting the leaf blower.
SOLUTION: Replace with a new primer bulb.
8. Fuel Line Blocked
Old fuel sitting in your leaf blower will develop gummy deposits that will clog the fuel line and restrict fuel flow. You may also get a kink in the fuel line that can prevent the engine from getting the fuel it requires to start.
SOLUTION: Replace a fuel line in the leaf blower when it is cracked, kinked or clogged.
9. Plugged Fuel Tank Vent
The fuel tank vent allows air into the tank. Without a vent, the fuel tank will create a vacuum that won’t allow fuel to flow through the leaf blower.
A good indication you may have a fuel tank vent problem is when your leaf blower runs for a few minutes and then shuts down and won’t start until you remove the fuel cap to allow air into the fuel tank.
It then runs sluggish and shuts down again after running for several minutes with the fuel cap in place.
SOLUTION: Replace the fuel cap so the air can flow into the fuel tank. The fuel tank vents through the fuel cap.
10. Dirty Carburetor
The carburetor regulates the amount of fuel that is mixed with air to create combustion in the cylinder. Old fuel will gum up and clog the carburetor so it no longer functions properly.
SOLUTION: If you are a little mechanical you should be able to handle cleaning your carburetor. Clean the carburetor by taking it apart and using carburetor cleaner to clean it.
If the carburetor does not function after being cleaned, you may need to rebuild it or replace it with a new carburetor.
11. Bad Recoil Starter
A Troy-Bilt leaf blower uses a recoil to start the engine. A bad pulley; loose or missing spring; or broken clips can keep your recoil from working.
SOLUTION: You can attempt to replace the spring and restring the recoil. If it does not work because other components in your recoil are damaged, such as the clips or the pulley, you are better off just replacing the recoil assembly.
12. Bad Spark Arrestor
You will find a spark arrestor in your leaf blower that can prevent it from starting. The spark arrestor is a small screen that can get plugged with soot.
SOLUTION: Disconnect the spark plug boot. Remove the engine cover and engine exhaust cover. Remove the spark arrestor and clean it with a wire brush to remove the soot.
If you are unable to clean it sufficiently or it is broken or has a hole in it, replace it with a new spark arrestor.
13. Flooded Leaf Blower
I have had customers bring their leaf blower to the repair shop because they can’t get it started. Many times it’s due to a flooded engine which isn’t too serious.
The engine can become flooded when the choke is in the closed position and the starter rope was pulled many times allowing too much gas into the carburetor.
It can also happen with the switch off and the starter rope being pulled multiple times or when the primer bulb is pushed too many times.
SOLUTION: Use the following procedure to “unflood” your leaf blower so the engine gets the correct fuel-to-air ratio required to start and run.
How to Fix a Flooded Engine on a Troy-Bilt Leaf Blower
- Turn the switch on to the run position.
- Move the choke lever to the run position.
- Press the throttle trigger while pulling the starter rope over and over. This can take anywhere between 5 and 15 pulls before it starts. Your leaf blower engine will sputter first. Continue to pull a few more times and it should start.
Still Experiencing Problems with Your Troy-Bilt Leaf Blower?
If you’ve gone through the list above and continue to have problems with your blower, check out my guide for troubleshooting and repairing Troy-Bilt blower problems.
Here I provide charts with causes and solutions to the top common problems that develop in a leaf blower. You will find links that explain the issue and solutions in more detail.
To reduce the problems developing the blower and extend its life, perform regular maintenance. This includes cleaning or replacing the air filter, replacing the fuel filter, replacing the sparking plug, and keeping it clean.