Small Engine Troubleshooting Problems? Ask a Mechanic Now.
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If it will start and but dies off with-in seconds, it is the carb. You have a clogged jet that is not letting the carb pull its own fuel. Will need to remove the carb and clean internals. If this is a Briggs engine, and has the bolt on the bottom of the carb bowl with holes in it, this is your main jet for it, and can be repaired just by removing this bolt, cleaning through all the hoes on the bolt. use a bread tie or thin wire to run through the holes to ensure they are clear of debris.
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Do you know what type of engine you have?
is the carb mounted on top of the fuel tank. metal fuel tank? what does your air filter look like? FOAM? SQUARE SHAPE? COLOR?
does you engine look like this one in the pic?
Okay, what about this one .
4.0 hp engine can be briggs engine or a Tecumseh engine. I will send a video of cleaning a Tecumseh carb also if needed