Here are 20 common problems with a Briggs and Stratton engine: starting issues, poor running, stalling, spark plug problems, fuel system issues, carburetor problems, overheating, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption, low power, smoke, engine knock, excessive vibrations, electrical issues, broken or worn-out parts, air filter problems, governor problems, valve problems, ignition problems, and fuel system contamination. Briggs and Stratton engines are known for their reliability and performance.

However, like any other engine, they can encounter problems from time to time. Whether it’s starting issues, poor running, or spark plug problems, it’s important to diagnose and address these issues promptly to ensure optimal engine performance. We will discuss 20 common problems that may occur with a Briggs and Stratton engine and provide insights into diagnosing and resolving them.

By understanding these potential issues, you can keep your engine running smoothly and extend its lifespan.

Common Reasons For Poor Running Engines

When it comes to poor running Briggs and Stratton engines, there are several common reasons that contribute to the problem. Stale fuel, dirt, and debris are the most potential causes for poor engine performance. It is important to regularly check and refill the fuel levels, ensuring that the fuel is fresh and free from contaminants. Additionally, the spark plug should be inspected and replaced if necessary, as it plays a crucial role in the ignition process. Understanding the role of the carburetor, valve, and compression levels is also essential. The carburetor controls the fuel-air mixture, while the valves allow for proper intake and exhaust. Moreover, maintaining the correct compression levels is crucial for optimal engine performance. By addressing these common issues, you can enhance the running of your Briggs and Stratton engine.

Disconnecting The Engine From Chassis

Disconnecting the engine from the chassis is an important process that should be carefully carried out. It involves several steps to ensure a proper disconnection. One important aspect to note is that disconnecting the engine from the chassis requires a thorough understanding of the process. It is crucial to follow the proper procedures to avoid any potential damage to the engine or the chassis. This includes removing the crankcase cover, inspecting the camshaft, setting valve clearances, and reinstalling the crankcase cover and valve covers. It is also essential to pay attention to important notes about B&S pushrods, gaskets, and other components. By following these steps and taking necessary precautions, you can successfully disconnect the engine from the chassis without any problems or complications.

Removing The Crankcase Cover

When it comes to removing the crankcase cover of a 20 HP Briggs and Stratton engine, it is important to follow detailed instructions for a successful removal. Here are some potential challenges you might encounter and tips to overcome them:

  • Tight Screws: Use the appropriate size of screwdriver or wrench to avoid stripping the screw heads.
  • Gasket Adhesion: Gently pry the crankcase cover using a plastic tool to avoid damaging the gasket.
  • Rust or Corrosion: Apply penetrating oil to help loosen any rust or corrosion before attempting to remove the crankcase cover.
  • Seized Parts: If the cover is stuck, tapping it gently with a rubber mallet can help break it loose.
  • Alignment: Take note of the position and orientation of the cover for easy reinstallation.

By following these guidelines, you can remove the crankcase cover of your Briggs and Stratton engine effectively and avoid any potential damage. Remember to be patient and cautious throughout the process to ensure a successful removal.

Inspecting And Installing The Camshaft

Inspecting and Installing the Camshaft

Inspecting the camshaft is an essential step in ensuring the proper functioning of your 20 Hp Briggs and Stratton engine. The camshaft plays a crucial role in controlling the opening and closing of the engine’s valves. Any damage or wear on the camshaft can result in poor engine performance and potential breakdowns.

When inspecting the camshaft, carefully examine it for any signs of wear, such as pitting, scoring, or excessive wear on the lobes. Additionally, check for any signs of damage or cracks. If you notice any issues, it is crucial to replace the camshaft to avoid further engine problems.

Once the inspection is complete and you have determined that the camshaft is in good condition, you can proceed with the installation process. Follow these step-by-step guidelines to ensure proper installation:

  1. Prepare the engine by removing any components that may obstruct access to the camshaft.
  2. Carefully align the camshaft with the engine’s crankshaft, taking care to ensure proper timing.
  3. Gently slide the camshaft into position, making sure it engages with the associated components.
  4. Secure the camshaft in place using the appropriate fasteners, following the manufacturer’s specifications.
  5. Reassemble any components that were removed earlier.
  6. Perform a final inspection to ensure the camshaft is properly installed and aligned.

By following these guidelines for inspecting and installing the camshaft, you can help prevent potential engine problems and ensure your 20 Hp Briggs and Stratton engine operates at its best.

Setting Valve Clearances

In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of valve clearances and provide detailed instructions on how to set them for your 20 Hp Briggs and Stratton engine. Understanding the significance of valve clearances is crucial as they play a vital role in the performance and longevity of the engine.

Valve clearances refer to the small gaps between the valves and the corresponding valve seats when the valves are closed. These clearances are necessary to ensure proper engine operation by allowing for expansion and contraction of the valve components due to heat.

To set valve clearances, you will need to follow a step-by-step process that involves removing the valve covers, using a feeler gauge to measure the clearance, adjusting the clearance if necessary, and reinstalling the valve covers. It is important to refer to your engine’s specific manual for the correct clearances and adjustment procedures.

By setting the valve clearances correctly, you can improve engine performance, reduce noise, and prevent valve damage. Regularly checking and adjusting valve clearances is recommended as part of your engine maintenance routine.

20 Hp Briggs And Stratton Engine Problems: Troubleshooting Tips


Reinstalling The Crankcase Cover

When reinstalling the crankcase cover on a 20 Hp Briggs and Stratton engine, it is important to follow a step-by-step guide to ensure proper installation. Firstly, clean the mating surfaces of the crankcase cover and the engine block to remove any dirt or debris. Apply a thin layer of oil or sealant to form a tight seal.

Next, carefully align the cover with the mounting holes on the engine block and press it firmly in place. Use a torque wrench to tighten the bolts in a crisscross pattern to prevent warping or damage to the cover. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended torque specifications for your specific engine model.

Lastly, double-check the installation to ensure it is secure and there are no gaps or leaks. Properly reinstalled crankcase cover ensures the engine’s internal components are protected, preventing debris from entering and causing damage. So, take the time to reinstall it correctly to avoid any potential problems.

Note About Gaskets And Valve Covers

The gaskets in your Briggs and Stratton engine play a crucial role in maintaining a proper seal and preventing leaks. They are designed to create a barrier between different engine components, ensuring that fluids, such as oil and coolant, do not mix together. Gaskets also help to maintain the compression within the engine by sealing off the combustion chambers. When reinstalling valve covers, it is essential to follow the proper procedure to ensure a secure seal. Start by cleaning the valve covers and the mating surfaces on the engine. Inspect the gaskets for any signs of damage or wear and replace them if necessary. Apply a thin layer of **gasket sealer** to both sides of the gasket before installing the valve covers. Distribute the bolts evenly while tightening them to the specified torque to avoid warping the covers and causing leaks. It is also crucial to note any torque sequencing specified by the manufacturer. By taking the necessary steps to reinstall valve covers properly, you can avoid potential problems like oil leaks and ensure the optimal performance of your Briggs and Stratton engine.

Reinstalling The Engine On The Chassis

When reinstalling the engine on the chassis, there are several tips to ensure a successful reinstallation:

1. Clean and prep the chassis: Before reinstalling the engine, clean the chassis thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated. This will provide a clean surface for the engine to be mounted.

2. Align the engine properly: Make sure the engine is properly aligned with the mounting holes on the chassis. This will ensure a secure fit and prevent any movement or vibrations while the engine is running.

3. Use the correct hardware: Use the appropriate bolts and screws to secure the engine to the chassis. Make sure to tighten them properly to avoid any loose connections or vibrations.

4. Connect all the necessary components: Reconnect any hoses, cables, or wiring that were disconnected during the removal process. Double-check all connections to ensure everything is properly connected.

5. Check for leaks: Once the engine is reinstalled, check for any leaks. Inspect all hoses, gaskets, and seals to ensure a tight seal and prevent any oil or fuel leaks.

6. Test the engine: After the reinstallation, start the engine and run it for a few minutes to ensure it is running smoothly. Listen for any unusual noises or vibrations and address them promptly.

Starting The Engine

Step-by-step instructions for starting the engine:

  • Ensure the fuel tank is filled with fresh gasoline.
  • Check that the ignition switch is in the “on” position.
  • Set the choke lever to the appropriate setting depending on the temperature.
  • Turn the engine throttle to the “start” position.
  • Hold down the primer bulb and press it 3 to 4 times to prime the engine.
  • Place one foot on the footrest and firmly grip the handlebars.
  • Pull the starter cord in a slow and steady motion until you feel resistance.
  • Gently and quickly pull the starter cord to start the engine.

Troubleshooting tips for potential starting issues:

  • Check the spark plug to ensure it is clean and functioning properly.
  • Clean or replace the air filter if it is dirty or clogged.
  • Inspect the fuel line for any blockages or leaks.
  • Verify that the throttle cable is properly adjusted.
  • If the engine still does not start, consult the owner’s manual or contact a professional for further assistance.

Common Carburetor Problems And Solutions

Carburetor problems are a common issue that can affect the performance of Briggs and Stratton engines. It is important to be able to identify these problems in order to troubleshoot and find solutions. Some common issues that may indicate a carburetor problem include poor engine performance, difficulty starting the engine, engine stalling, and black smoke coming from the exhaust. These problems can be caused by a variety of issues such as clogged jets, improper fuel mixture, or a faulty needle valve.

To diagnose and solve common carburetor problems, start by cleaning the carburetor thoroughly to remove any debris or residue. Check the jets, needle valve, and float for proper operation and make any necessary adjustments or replacements. It is also important to ensure that the air filter is clean and the fuel is fresh. Regular maintenance and proper storage of the engine can help prevent carburetor problems.

Life Expectancy Of Briggs And Stratton Engines

Life Expectancy of Briggs and Stratton Engines

Briggs and Stratton engines are known for their durability and longevity, but their lifespan can be influenced by various factors. Here are some important factors that can affect the lifespan of Briggs and Stratton engines:

  • Regular maintenance: Routine maintenance, such as changing the oil, spark plugs, and air filters, can significantly extend the life of the engine.
  • Operating conditions: The conditions in which the engine operates, such as temperature, humidity, and workload, can affect its lifespan.
  • Usage patterns: Engines that are used frequently and consistently may have a shorter lifespan compared to those that are used intermittently.
  • Quality of fuel: Using clean, high-quality fuel without any contaminants can help prevent damage to the engine.
  • Proper storage: Engines that are properly stored, especially during winter months, are less likely to experience issues.
  • Manufacturer’s recommendations: Following the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance and operation can ensure that the engine lasts longer.

By considering these factors and taking appropriate care of your Briggs and Stratton engine, you can maximize its lifespan and avoid common problems that may arise.

Troubleshooting Tips For Briggs And Stratton Engines

When it comes to troubleshooting Briggs and Stratton engines, there are a few common problems that can occur. One important step is to check the fuel levels and ensure that there is enough fuel for the engine to run smoothly. Another aspect to consider is the spark plug, which plays a crucial role in igniting the fuel and air mixture in the engine. If the spark plug is dirty or worn out, it may need to be replaced. Additionally, the carburetor should be inspected for any clogs or blockages that may be affecting the engine’s performance. Another potential issue could be with the valves, which may need adjustment or replacement if they are not functioning properly. Lastly, checking the compression levels of the engine is essential, as low compression can lead to poor engine performance. By addressing these common problems, you can ensure that your Briggs and Stratton engine runs smoothly and efficiently.

Spark And Starting Issues

Explaining potential reasons for spark-related starting issues

  • Stale fuel, dirt, and debris are the most common cause of outdoor power equipment not starting or running properly. Troubleshooting small engine problems
  • Determine why your small engine won’t start by checking fuel levels, spark plug, carburetor, valve & compression levels, and more. Stale, untreated gas begins to break down after about a month. Check your oil level and appearance every time you use your engine while it is cold. Briggs & Stratton
  • If your Briggs & Stratton engine has a spark but won’t run, then it is most likely a problem with the gas or air intake in the engine. The spark on the spark plug ignites the gas in the piston, but if the air filter is clogged or the gas can’t flow, then the engine won’t start. Briggs & Stratton Engine: It Has Spark, but Won’t Start

Tips for diagnosing and resolving spark and starting problems

  • Check the spark plug for signs of wear or damage and ensure it is properly connected.
  • Clean or replace the air filter to ensure proper air flow.
  • Inspect the carburetor for any clogs or debris and clean as necessary.
  • Check the fuel lines and make sure they are clear and free of any blockages.
  • Verify that the ignition system is functioning properly and providing a strong spark.
  • Ensure the engine has the correct fuel and oil mixture for optimal performance.

Frequently Asked Questions For 20 Hp Briggs And Stratton Engine Problems

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Briggs And Stratton Engine?

A Briggs and Stratton engine can last for many years with proper maintenance. It has a life expectancy of several thousand hours of use. Regular oil changes, air filter replacements, and general maintenance can help extend its lifespan.

What Is The Most Common Reason Why A Briggs & Stratton Small Engine Wont Run Correctly?

The most common reason a Briggs & Stratton small engine won’t run correctly is due to stale fuel, dirt, and debris. These can cause problems with starting and running the engine properly. Make sure to troubleshoot these issues to ensure proper functioning.

How Do You Troubleshoot A Briggs And Stratton Engine?

To troubleshoot a Briggs and Stratton engine: 1. Check fuel levels and replace stale fuel if necessary. 2. Inspect and clean the spark plug. 3. Clean or replace the carburetor if the engine is not starting. 4. Check the air filter and replace if clogged.

5. Ensure proper oil levels. If the engine has spark but won’t start, check for clogged air filter or fuel flow issues.

Why Does My Briggs And Stratton Engine Have A Spark But Wont Start?

If your Briggs and Stratton engine has a spark but won’t start, it is likely due to a problem with the gas or air intake. Check if the air filter is clogged or if the gas is not flowing properly.

These issues can prevent the spark plug from igniting the gas in the piston, preventing the engine from starting.


With proper maintenance and timely troubleshooting, many common problems with 20 Hp Briggs and Stratton engines can be resolved. Regularly checking fuel levels, spark plugs, carburetors, and valve and compression levels can help prevent starting and running issues. It’s crucial to use fresh fuel and keep the air filter clean to ensure proper combustion.

Additionally, staying on top of oil levels and regularly cleaning the carburetor can help keep your engine running smoothly. By following these tips, you can extend the lifespan of your Briggs and Stratton engine and avoid costly repairs.

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