Mantis tillers are lightweight but powerful enough to turn compacted soil or sod. The compact tillers are available with two- or four-cycle engines that are usually easy to start and operate. Fuel and ignition problems are the most common reasons a Mantis tiller will not start.
In Storage Too Long
The fuel tank and carburetor of a Mantis tiller that has been in storage may require emptying and cleaning before the engine will start. Fuel that has been pumped for more than 30 days begins to degrade and lose its ability to fire a spark. Old fuel can clog the carburetor and deteriorate the gaskets. Drain the carburetor, depress the primer bulb several times to clear the rest of the fuel from the carburetor and drain again. Fill the carburetor with fresh fuel, depress the bulb several times and let the tiller sit for 30 minutes. Press the primer bulb again, and start the engine.
Clogged Fuel Lines or Dirty Spark Plug
If your Mantis tiller will not start, ensure that the On/Off switch is on. Inspect for clogged fuel lines and dirty fuel strainers, and clean or replace as needed. See that the spark plug is not dirty or damaged and that the ignition wire is not broken or disconnected from the spark plug. Replace the spark plug, and tighten or replace the wire. A defective ignition can also prevent a Mantis tiller from starting and requires replacement.
Problems With Fuel
Old fuel, water in the fuel, or the wrong fuel-to-oil ratio can make a Mantis tiller hard to start. Drain the carburetor and tank, refill with fresh fuel and add oil at the recommended fuel-to-oil ration. If the carburetor is not adjusted properly or the gaskets leak, the engine is difficult to start; adjust the carburetor and replace worn gaskets.
Melody Lee holds a degree in landscape design, is a Florida Master Gardener, and has more than 30 years of gardening experience. She currently works as a writer and copy editor. Her previous jobs include reporter, photographer and editor for a weekly newspaper.