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If the engine stalls under load, the mixture may be too lean. There should be a mixture screw on the carburetor. Note its position, and turn it counter-clockwise 1/8 of a turn to see if there is any improvement in engine performance. Repeat this but don't exceed about a half turn.
The tank has a vent and this should be kept vertical under the cylinder cover in the small "pocket" in the cylinder cover.
Lack of power can be caused by a dirty air filter or blocked muffler screen.
If you can keep it running with the choke set, your engine is starving for fuel, your fuel filter, or carb is clogged. disconnect the fuel line to the carb and check for flow. Fuel cut would do just that, cut ALL fuel so choking would not matter.
The choke reduces the air flow into the carb. If you are having problems with the choke off, it means that not enough fuel is getting into the engine and it is running lean. When you choke it, the reduced air flow causes the mixture to be correct and it runs fine.
This sounds like a choke issue. Do you have a choke on that engine?
The purpose of a choke is to allow for a varying air:fuel ratio depending on how hot the engine is. A cool engine needs a more rich mixture of fuel to air. Once the engine warms up, it runs best with more air. The Choke is a mechanism that allows the operator to manually adjust this mixture. Generally, the choke is closed to start a cold engine, then is opened in 2 or 3 stages as the engine warms up. As the operator, as the engine starts to run smoothly, you would actuate the choke to the next notch, changing the fuel:air ratio so more air is mixed in with the fuel. It's probably best to give the engine a few minutes to warm up while you progress through the choke stages until it's fully open providing the best mixture for operation prior to beginning to clear the snow.
If you follow that process and the engine stalls when the choke is opened, then you need to clean your carburetor.
Sounds like the automatic choke is either binding or gone bad.
On a cold start, that's why the RPMs are bumped up for a few minutes...the choke is allowing the engine to warm up, before dropping the intake mix to normal "run" level.
However, should the choke remain closed once the engine is hot, the stalling will happen for lack of air.
The choke-control is mounted on top of the manifold, near the throttle cable-cam. Look for a small (about 3" wide X 2" deep) cone-shaped metal can with a linkage to the throttle cam.
With the engine off, spray the linkage at both ends with Liquid Wrtench and work the linkage in and out of the can a few times to check for smooth operation. You should feel slight back-pressure when you move the linkage toward the controller. With the linkage pushed in, spray and wipe the exposed surface inside the controller body.
Allow the cleaner to dry for a few minutes (it's just oil, I know...but if you used a spray, the propellants could be flammable) and start the truck. Allow it ti idle at least 5 minutes until the auto-choke pulls back on the throttle...then take a short ride around the block to see if that cured the stalling.
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