Question about Briggs & Stratton Heavy Machinery

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Briggs and Stratton fuel flow/vacuum fuel pump

I own a Briggs and Stratton 8 hp horizontal shaft IC engine on my Troybilt Tomahawk chipper shredder and have a fuel flow to the float bowl problem. The engine is difficult to start. I typically run the float bowl dry at the end of the season. If I don't, the float bowl is typically empty after a few months anyway. At the homeowner level, I have worked on small engines before and somewhat familiar with small engines. However, I have never owned an engine that had a vacuum operated fuel pump. I assume that Briggs uses one when part of the fuel tank (based on the engine configuration) is below the float bowl and needs the pump to maintain fuel in the pump. I don't know if this is the case; just an observation. So I figured if I fill the tank, fuel will flow by gravity to fill the bowl and the engine will start. Not the case. I disconnected the fuel line between the pump and float bowl, opened the shutoff valve between the tank and pump and there was no gravity flow to the float bowl. Flow only occurs when the recoil is pulled and only in small spurts. It seems that it takes maybe 20 to30 pulls on the recoil before the engine starts (ie: the bowl is full). Is this typical? Or should there be free gravity flow to the bowl through the pump when the tank is full? Or is the pump faulty and should provide enough fuel to fill the bowl in maybe 3 pulls? I don't want to run out for a new pump if that isn't the problem.


Posted by gpcharnie on

  • 4 more comments 
  • gpcharnie Feb 13, 2009

    The engine is an 8hp IP (Industrial Plus), Model 196432, Type 0121-01, Code 9409191B. Thanks for the question. I thought the problem was of a more general nature.

  • gpcharnie Feb 13, 2009


    I initially thought that the hard starting was due to a dirty carb. I sprayed cleaner in the orifices and blew them clear. I may not have gotten to all of them but if I didn't, a clean carb seems to be a secondary issue. The units starts fine from day to day. It is when I start with an empty float bowl. When I disconnect after the pump, there is no flow to fill the bowl unless I pull the recoil; and then it is only in small spurts. If I disconnect the fuel line before the pump, the flow is fine and there is no restriction of the fuel TO the pump. My hard starting is due to the float bowl only filling when I pull the recoil and it fills in spurts (which is typically 20 to 30 pulls). Is my float bowl filling properly which is that there is only flow to the bowl when the machine is rotating (either by recoil or when the engine is running) even with a filled fuel tank?

    Thanks again.

  • gpcharnie Feb 14, 2009


    The fuel pump is attached to the engine and not the carb. It isn't very large; maybe 1" x 1.5" x 5/8". I will check the vacuum line; that is a good recommendation and a cheap fix. I checked out the price of the pump and it is only about $18. It is a throwaway pump and cannot be repaired. In the meantime, I contacted a briggs dealer who I found on the net as "willing to provide friendly advice". I was told that the system operates as I described. He recommended that I not run the bowl dry at the end of the season as I sometimes do. This way the bowl will always have available fuel for immediate starting. I was afraid of that. But the pump may not be operating satisfactory since it takes 20 to 30 pulls on the recoil to fill the bowl; thus your recommendation on checking the fuel line is well taken. I may look into it further and just order a new pump to put it to rest in my mind.

    Thanks for your helpful advice. Well appreciated.

  • gpcharnie Mar 11, 2009

    I don't quite know what a 'hand squeeze primer bulb' is for this application. Could you explain? Upstream or (I assume) downstream of the fuel pump? I guess you realize that 'two or three squeezes' will have to fill the float bowl from empty which may be 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup of fuel. Unless, of course, I misunderstand what you are saying.

    It would be great if I could install a typical Tecumseh type primer bulb which primes the carb throat and let the engine kick to get the pump filling the float bowl. Maybe two or three of these would fill the float bowl and then allow the engine to start.

    I certainly appreciate anything else you may recommend.


    JERRY ABELL May 11, 2010

    hello me g,if you give me the model and type number i could give you a perfect answer,ok.

  • Keith marshall
    Keith marshall Sep 02, 2018

    If it is a vacuum pump there would be little gravity flow the pump diaphragm is bad or your tank is blocked somewhere



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A quick and simple fix is to place a hand squeeze primer bulb between the fule tank and the engine.
before attempting to start the engine. give it 2 or 3 squeezes to prime the float bowl. then start the engine like normal.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009

  • Anonymous Mar 12, 2009

    you can get the hand squeeze primer bulb at a local auto parts store... they are normally 2.5" around and just slightly longer than the palm of your hand is wide... get the one that fits your fuel tank supply hose, this is somewhat like a syphine(ms) primer ... it roughly looks like a center fattened hot dog....with hose connectors at each end.

    usually 3 to 4 squeezes max is enough to fill the carb bowl. I use one on a pump motor which is a 10 hr Briggs engine. and 3 squeezes works for me. my fuel tank is a 5 gal. army gas can sitting 2 feet from the motor in an even level with it... so once the engine is started and running the vaccuum from the pistons draw the fuel at an even draw....

    hopes that helps... when asking for that item at the auto parts... ask for a fuel primer squeeze bulb.(in line style)




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SOURCE: looking for manual for troy-Bilt super tomahawk wood chipper

I have the both the manual and parts catalog for Troy-Built 8hp Tomahawk, can send them to you for the cost of coping and postage if you haven't found them yet.
Ron Bowman, [email protected]

Posted on May 02, 2009


Anthony Browning

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SOURCE: I have a Troybilt tomahawk

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