Mini Tiller Repair

We will soon have some posts on an upcoming cylinder head replacement for the ’63 Comet.  Before we were able to post on that, however, we ended up with a mini-adventure over a Homelite mini tiller.  I had purchased this about 3-4 years ago, and I suppose it cost me somewhere around $150 at the time.  Well, Lorie planted some cherry trees at the farm this year (the beginning of our orchard!) and when it was time to till around the newly planted bushes, we thought the mini tiller might do the job the best.  We had used it successfully to help us weed gardens in the past.  The cord, however, was busted off inside the tiller and I was reminded that last year, Micah had gone to start it once and the cord ripped.  So, we took it back home to work on it.

We quickly realized, however, that this tiller was not designed like larger tillers or lawn mowers we have used and worked on in the past.  To get at the pulley, we were going to have to tear the entire thing apart (well, very close to it).  Here’s Micah beginning the tear down:

By the time we had it all apart, it looked something like this:

The most difficult part was when we had everything apart with the exception of the clutch.  The clutch must be removed in order to take off the red shroud holding the pulley.  To do that, we had to prevent the engine from cycling (and the piston moving).  Otherwise, the clutch merely spins around, which it does when the tiller is running.  So, we took a shoelace from one of Micah’s shoes that he had just worn out, folded it in half, removed the spark plug, and fed the shoe string into the cylinder.  That allowed us to use a channel lock pliers to remove the clutch.  Here, we have restrung the pulley:

And finally, here’s Micah tightening the final bolts:

It seems to me, from this design, that Homelite didn’t make these to be repaired.  The intention is for someone to use it for a few years, maybe several, and toss it to buy a new one.  That’s not our SOP in this house, however, so we bought string at Home Depot and got to work.  The tiller starts and runs fine now.  Mission accomplished.  Stay tuned for our next post.  I picked up a 1980 cylinder head over the winter and some go fast parts and it’s being machined at Dakota Engine.