Hi Dennis, my name is Jason.
Fuel is definitely not making it to the engine if you have to pump the bulb in order to keep it going.
This can be caused by a few things. The first and most common reason being a bad fuel pump. But before replacing it there are a couple of other things to check first.
The fuel pump is operated by crankcase pulses, if the engine has a blown piston it will not drive the fuel pump. This is actually very unlikely, but you would want to do a compression test first just to rule this out.
After that, if there is any kind of air leak in the system the fuel pump will draw air in through that leak instead of drawing fuel up from the tank. There are a couple of different ways to test for this by hooking up clear tubing and a vacuum gauge, but the easiest way is to simply prime the engine first. Then disconnect the fuel line from the pump. And then get a piece of scrap fuel line, and hook that up directly to the fuel pump, and then stick the other end right down into a gas can, and start the motor. If it now stays running, there is an air leak, and the pump is sucking air in. That filter cup will never stay complete full, when running, but if the o ring on that is leaking, the pump will suck air in instead of fuel up. If doing this makes no change, then the fuel pump is bad and needs to be changed out. Does that make sense?
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