Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Got the Auger Started for the First Time

After returning from the DVM yesterday, I went out and put gas in the Jeep, and filled my little two gallon gas can. I already had 11 ounces of oil and a half-ounce of StaBil "Marine 360" in the can, so it gave me two gallons of treated, 25:1 two-stroke 'premix'. My neighbor's snow blower is a two-stroke, and he just buys the little cans of premix. I looked at those, and all the ones I could find were 40:1 or 50:1, which is way too light on the oil for this engine. They make a HUGE deal about 25:1, stabilizer-treated fuel in the operating manual for this thing, so I got another gas can, a quart of Lucas semi-synthetic two-stoke oil, and a small bottle of StaBil, and dedicated them to the auger engine.

I put about half a tank of fuel in it, and pulled it over a few times to get fuel into the carb and priming bulb, then set the choke to "Start", turned on the ignition, and gave it the pumps on the bulb. I pulled it over a few times, and nothing. Checked everything again, and pulled it over some more. Still nothing. I fiddled with the throttle and choke, pulling it over with the choke set to "Run", and still nothing.

Well, between giving it a few more shots of gas with the primer bulb and fiddling with the choke, I flooded it. I could smell raw gas, so rather than get a can of Ether and risking a muffler explosion, I just put everything back. Tonight I vowed to "Get It Running or Take It Back", so I started by pulling the spark plug out and looking at it. It wasn't soaked, but it definitely looked wet, so I blew it off with some brake cleaner and checked the gap, which was OK. Making sure the ignition and choke were OFF, I pulled it over easy to clear the cylinder, and see how it felt. As expected, it pulled over very easy with plug out, and while I didn't see anything like liquid come blowing out of the plug hole when I cranked it (yep, I've seen that), I'm pretty sure I flooded it last night. So, I put the plug back in with a dab of anti-seize on the threads (NEVER put a steel spark plug into an aluminum head dry! Just don't do it!), checked everything again, flipped the switch ON, but left the choke OFF (hey, it's 80* here today!), and gave it a pull. It popped a bit, so I gave it another pull, and it came to life with a nice, smooth idle. I ran it for about 20 minutes at various throttle settings to break it in a bit, and then grabbed a handful of throttle.

This little thing SINGS! I haven't owned a two-stroke since my last Yamaha RD-400, and I'd forgotten how responsive they are.

So it runs OK, hardly vibrates at all, isn't really too loud (I'll still wear ear muffs, though), and doesn't appear to smoke very much, even at 25:1 oil mix.

I predict hole boring and post setting for this weekend!


  1. Yay! It works!!! That's a plus!

    1. Yeah, it's the most expen$ive item I've ever bought from Horror Fraught.

      I was ready to drain the fuel and take it back last night, but I thought I'd give it another try after cooling off.

  2. Ex wife liked new and shiny. I'm a cheap ranch kid. She did enjoy mowing the lawn and I didn't. Came home from a sales trip and she was angry; couldn't get the mower started. Pulled the plug, cleaned it, back in and started on the first pull. Then she got madder. Said she had two neighbors try to start it. For once I refrained from stating the obvious, one or three dumb shits, it don't make any difference.

    1. With knowing how well my generator starts in weather like this, I *should* have tried starting it WITHOUT the choke. BUT....I figured I'd follow the manual. Now I know better. Warm weather = NO CHOKE!

  3. Remember that your shoulders won't tell you to stop until past the point when you should have stopped.
    And this applies to pulling on the rope start as well as raising and lowering the post hole auger.
    Obvious name for the auger is well, Augie.

    After I had trouble starting the generator, I added electric start. That was a nice project, and I admit part of my motivation was to avoid further shoulder surgeries, and the other part was to prove the wisdom of the internet that said it couldn't be done wrong.

    Good job working your way through the won't start logic.

    I'm guessing that part 26a called the "safety pin" is a shear pin?

    1. I think there should be a comma between "done" and "wrong."
      My family thinks they are using double physiology when they say, "You probably can't fix this but..." The truth is that I like to fix things, I'm good at it, and I have no hesitation in saying, "Nope, I looked at it and it can't be fixed."

    2. My next door neighbor is going to help. He'd done this before, in this soil, and he suggested that we BOTH hang on to the auger when the hole is being bored.

      And I agree!

      I'm not 30 years old any longer, and I *know* it.

      Yes, that part would normally be called a 'Shear Pin', but it's in Chinglish, so things have different names.

    3. Talking of taking two people, a friend and I were doing post holes for a fence. The front post wast to go in 4 feet instead of two as it was to be supporting half of the 8 foot wide gate. We were using a two man auger just to make sure all went well. About three feet down the auger started spinning us around. The soil is that wonderful black clay in North Texas. We tried and tried to go below 3 feet but couldn't as the soil was very moist and sticky. Good luck on getting your post holes in. Got anything working on 40 yet drjim?

    4. My Dad and one of his friends had that happen when I was 6 or 7 years old and was watching them dig the holes for the fence my Dad wanted.

      One part of the yard had very thin topsoil, and after about 10" of black dirt, you hit blue clay.

      Which stopped the auger cold, and tossed both of them a few feet!

    5. BTW...still have the FT-1000 apart to fix the "Switch Unit B" pcb, so nothing on 40 right now.....

  4. Hi drjim I have an earthquake brand one of these,probably all similar. When starting cold mine wants a little throttle for the first start. A little awkward to reach across to give it throttle and pull at same time. Once warmed up it starts with just a pull. Keep the rpm up when boring,doesn't have a lot of low speed torque. My soil is rock and clay. Sometimes when you yank the cord the compression causes it to slip out of hand and it will slap you in the face,hold on to the cord! Put a welt on my face multiple times. I use mine to bore holes for new plants. Worked great for the post holes. Have fun with it,love mine.Allan

    1. Yep, the Predator brand is their "upgraded" Earthquake brand, per a comparison in their own flyer that came yesterday. It's got a bigger 52cc engine, and two more foot pounds of torque.

      And yeah, the snap back of the cord has nailed me more than a couple of times. The knuckles on my right hand are bashed up, too.

      We have "Colorado Brown Soil" here, a mixture of coarse sand, clay, small rocks and pebbles (NOT my dog Pebbles!), and it can be pretty 'stiff' if undisturbed, which this stuff is. NOBODY has done any digging in over 30 years where the new posts are going. We've had a pretty wet Spring, so I'm really hoping the stuff is a bit soft still.

      Using the auger to bore holes for plants is a "D'OH!" for me. I just ran in and told my wife, and she said BRAVO to you. Digging holes in the front for the flower beds we're slooowly putting in is a real PITA with this soil.

      We're going to bore the fence post holes slowly, and at a comfortable rate for us two almost 70 year old guys!


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