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It is possible that the fuel line is too close to the engine and the fuel flashes to vapor in the fuel line causing vapor lock. I recommend adjusting the fuel line if posible, and retry. Maybe replace that section of fuel line.
The other possibility is the ignition coil is going bad. You can check it by running the engine and when it stops, quickly remove the spark plug, caution hot. Put plug back into the wire and ground the spark plug and try to turn over the engine with the key start, if good spark, then the problem is likely the other,
I mentioned the fuel line first, because you said that you had been working with the carburetor, and the fuel line may be moved or a little shorter.
For a small gas engine than won't start, think FAST -- Fuel, Air, Spark, Timing. You've replaced the filters and spark plugs and squirted in some starter fluid, eliminating the simple common fuel, air, and spark problems -- but I because of the backfiring I think your problem is in the timing -- like a sticking valve. Probably more than you want to tackle at home, but might not be as expensive as an engine replacement. Take it to a good small engine mechanic -- best bet is a lawn equipment shop that has been around many years. Drive a little farther to get to one if necessary.
Do you have spark? There are two things to look for when any engine won't start....fuel & spark, Take your plug out and lean it up against the metal of engine...turn it over and see if you see a good blueish spark.
No spark? Could be the plug, safety switch, coil
Next squirt a little gas into spark plug hole, replace the plug...will it fire up? If so...start working your way back down the fuel system....carburetor, fuel lines, fuel filter and gas (is gas old or new? is there any water in it?)
The starter bendix is not engaging properly the bendix pushes the starter gear into the flywheel gear when the starter spools up, it may need minor lubrication.
It sounds like the engine is not getting fuel as it should, the main jet may be restricted from varnish if she stumbles under a load especially if the plug tips are white after running for 1/2 an hour.
Remove the float bowl and clean the jet, make sure the fuel is still good, gas that smells like a library is more like varnish and less like fuel.
Replace the spark-plug, check the quality of the fuel(gas that is mixed or was stored more then three months is stale and wont fire correctly) make sure the fuel and air filter not clogged. If there is no change then your problem may be more technical, a nest may be restricting the govenor or you missed something with the carb and there still is debre causing it to stall.