Mantis Tiller Won’t Start? A Complete Guide To Start Your Old Mantis Tiller

People who love farming and enjoy gardening know the struggle of keeping their soil soft and loose. There are many hand equipment which lets you carry out the seeding activity, but you’d definitely agree that Mantis tillers are one of the best.

Tillers are good for seeding and growing crops since they help in getting out the hard and compact soil. You can easily start removing weeds more quickly and efficiently with a Tiller.

However, some people face issues while trying to operate and work-up their Mantis Tillers, especially an old one. The most common issues include fuel and ignition problems. Today, we are here to help you figure out why your Mantis Tiller won’t start and what are some things you can try to start it up. Read on to find out the best strategies.

1. Work Up The Stored Mantis Tiller

If you’re trying to operate an old Mantis tiller, then the first thing to do is to clean it up properly. The fuel tank and carburetor needs to get emptied and cleaned before starting the engine. You should realize that the fuel thats been pumped for more than 30 days would slowly lose its ability to ignite. And this eventually clogs the carburetor and deteriorates the gaskets.

So drain the carburetor and depress the primer bulb multiple times to drain the fuel completely. Then fill the carburetor with fresh fuel and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Now press the primer bulb and check if the engine starts.

2. Replace The Carburetor, Wire and Spark Plug

If you’re facing difficulty in starting your old Mantis tiller, there is a high chance that some of the parts need replacement. You should check for clogged fuel lines, clogged carburetor and dirty spark plug. Sometimes there can also be an issue with the ignition wire. Look out for dirty fuel strainers and clean them if required or replace them altogether.

And if you’re using the Mantis tiller after a long time, it’s also possible that the carburetor is clogged. If you leave fuel in the tank over winters, then it’ll evaporate and clog on the carburetor. Make sure you clean the carburetor with a cleaner and if it doesn’t help then replace it.

Inspect if the spark plug is dirty or damaged and if the ignition wire connected to the spark plug is broken or disconnected. If there’s heavy carbon build-up at the electrode or the insulator is cracked, then you should replace the spark plug. You can also use a spark plug tester to determine if the spark plug is defective or damaged. Further make sure to tighten the ignition wire and replace if required. 

3. Check The Fuel

As mentioned above, old fuel can create an issue while starting the Mantis Tiller. But other problems like water in the fuel or wrong fuel-to-oil ratio can result in difficulties as well. You should definitely drain the carburetor and re-fuel the machine with fresh fuel.

But also make sure you add oil in the correct proportion of recommended fuel-to-oil ratio. And check if the carburetor is adjusted properly and the gaskets are not work-out, this can also make the engine difficult to start.

4. Install A New Fuel Cap

Another common solution includes replacing the fuel cap of the Mantis tiller. You’d know that when fuel is consumed it results in the pressure of the gas tank to rise. And to relive this pressure, the fuel cap uses a small vent to allow the air to enter the gas tank. If this fuel cap vent is clogged, this won’t allow the air to enter resulting in the pressure in the fuel tank to rise.

When this pressure rises more than the pressure in the engine, the engine will not start. So make sure that the fuel cap is not clogged and there’s enough ventilation. You can check it by loosening the fuel cap a little and see if the engine runs smoothly. And if it does, then the fuel cap is clogged and you need to replace it.

5. Inspect The Switch

Yes, this doesn’t sound like something you’d consider but it’s possible that the On/Off switch of the Mantis tiller might be defective. If you find it difficult to turn the switch or if it works intermittently, then you should replace it.

You can also use a multi-meter to test the continuity of the switch. It’s understandable that the switch should have a closed contact when it’s “Off” and an open contact when it’s switched “On”.

6. Examine The Flywheel Key

The flywheel key is identical to a small metal piece which fits into the crankshaft and engages with the flywheel. And if the tiller had stopped working suddenly, then it’s likely that the flywheel key has sheared in half.

It breaks in half to prevent the engine from getting damaged. To examine if the flywheel key is broken, remove the flywheel from the main engine and check for any damage. If the key is worn out, broken or bent out then replace it.

7. Check The Recoil Starter

The recoil starter assembly connects with the crankshaft to turn over the engine. And if it is defective, the engine wouldn’t start. You should remove the starter assembly and inspect if it’s working correctly

When the starter rope is pulled it results in the pulley tabs and cam to grab the hub of the engine to start it. When these ropes are released, the tabs should retract and ropes should reconnect back to the pulley. If the process doesn’t work correctly, then it’s time to replace the recoil starter assembly.


These were some easy DIY tips to help you start your old Mantis tiller. And if you still can’t figure out what’s wrong with your Mantis tiller and why your engine wouldn’t work, then you should contact a professional.

Because it’s important to figure out the trouble and find a solution before ‘muscling up’ the Mantis tiller. Lastly, have a great tilling experience.