"It's Probably Something Minor"

I was reading a car ad on Craigslist recently, and in their description of the car, they noted that it will need to be towed. They said that the engine runs, but there is oil everywhere under the hood, and it “screams and clatters” when you start it up.

They then added, “It’s probably something minor”.

What is the funniest or most ridiculous “it’s probably something minor” you have experienced?

Runs rough shifts rough, probably needs a tuneup. Probably needs a new engine and trans!

Needs some engine work but ran when it was parked 10 years ago.

Like the old joke ‘lost dog, 3 legs, deaf, blind in one eye, answers to “Lucky”…’

One of my favorite ads for a '60 or so rust heap. Holes in every panel, chewed up interior. I guess I didn’t understand it was “A classic, 100% original!”

There’s a number of them but one of the funniest was a dealer I worked for running a sale one time advertising 500 dollars off any car that was driven in no matter the condition.
With a weekend shutdown planned and an urge to get to the lake on his mind, he sees a guy screech to a halt on the backlot in an old ho-hum 20 something year old Chevy 4 DR just before closing.

The dealer really had no interest in the old sled but figured he could flip it quick to someone he knew and being in a hurry to close and get of there he worked out a deal quickly while allowing a bit more in trade and off the Chevy owner goes in his new to him ride.

The boss discovers on Monday morning the reason the Chevy is stone dead is because it didn’t have a battery in it and was also missing the radiator, motor, and transmission. Some fishing around for info revealed the guy had a buddy shove him with another vehicle up to speed on a side street and release him a block from the lot.

Technically speaking, the prior Chevy owner did drive it in regardless of condition…

I saw an ad in the cheapies for a lawn mower yesterday that said runs good if you can get it started.

Yes, see it every day on CL; “Car was in minor accident, only bumper damage”, then it reads “salvage title” and mind you these are usually cars over 20 grand.

@Bing I have a mower kind of like that. Takes a dozen or so pulls on the cord before it will start, but it runs OK once it’s started. It would start easier if it had a primer button like most newer mowers.

Yeah I used to have one that before I’d even try to start it I’d take the plug out and squirt gas in the cylinder with an oil can. Usually it’d start right up then.

I’ve had a couple of mowers with Tecumseh engines that were always a bear to start. I got in the habit of giving them a shot of starting fluid before even trying.

I can see that a lawnmower thread might have potential here…

I’ve got an old Lawn Boy that requires probably forty or fifty pulls and several side to side tipping episodes plus leaving it sitting in the hot sun before it fires up in the Spring. Starts first or second pull every time thereafter. This year I was honestly thinking of giving up and getting an electric (after about the 35th pull) but I decided to go inside, have a beer, get the wife to reset my shoulder and think about things a little more. Sure enough when I returned to old yank and curse it fired up almost immediately and has run like a charm ever since. Probably a stuck float or something dried out in the carb over the winter I guess.

Misery loves company and I feel better now knowing others have problems getting small engines to fire up. I thought I was going to have a good season with my rototiller with a two stroke engine. In previous years, I really fought the engine to get it to start. This year, I filled the gas tank with 50:1 mix left from the end of the winter season that I mixed up for my snow blower. I filled the tank of the tiller and it started right up. I tilled up the garden plot and planted the corn.
Unfortunately, very little of the corn came up. I decided to replant the corn and plant some beans. This time, the tiller refused to start. I drained the fuel and put in a newly mixed batch, put in a new spark plug, tilted it back on its handles and finally managed to start it up. It then ran flawlessly and I got my corn and beans planted. However, when I went out to cultivate the garden last week, it didn’t want to start. I finally got it going by squirting some carburetor cleaner directly into the carburetor. It did pretty well for a while, and then the engine would race and then slow down and almost die. I assume it must have a carburetor problem.
I would like to find the problem rather than purchase a new tiller. I like the fact that this tiller is light and easy to maneuver. I guess one solution might be once I get it started to let it run continuously and just go out and put gas in it every couple of hours.

“small engine fire. New interior!”

@bscar2 That’s not a very small engine fire if the interior needed to be replaced…

If anybody here owns a Sears 4-cycle lawnmower, this info may be helpful for you one day if you lawn mower won’t start: There is a gadget that screws into the carburator fuel bowl of these Sears lawn mowers that tends to plug up. It’s very easy to fix. You don’t even have to remove the carb, the air filter, or anything complicated. Locate the fuel bowl under the carb, you know, where the float is located, look on the underside of that, and you’ll see a sort of bolt that screws in. Remove it. You have to look very very carefully, that bolt has a very tiny hole it it that plugs up; the hole is so small as to be almost invisible. If you can’t see the hole, clean that bolt-like-gadget in gasoline, and get a magnifying glass. Look again. Eventually you’ll find the mystery hole. To clean out the hole once I find it, I use a pressurized spray solvent, usually Berryman’s B12 ChemTool. This has worked like a champ for me on two separate Sears lawn mowers that worked for years, then one day wouldn’t start.

After I discovered this, now I use a funnel designed for Coleman gasoline stoves, w/a fine screen sieve, when filling the gas tank, and I’ve never had the problem recur in my Sears lawnmower.

I seen a car on craigslist that disclosed that it had a flood damage title, however the flipper stated that there was no possible way that the car was under water and the insurance company totaled it with flood damage because they are nervous about liability… i mean really…

This was after extensive flooding in southern indiana.

We had a Lawnboy 2 cycle mower (original design with magnesium deck) from 1986 till 2008 and it performed faithfully. However, my wife found it hard to start and we switched to a battery machine. I sold it with all the attachments for $50 after 22 years of reliable service. This machine had no choke but had a primer button, which my wife never seemed to get the hang of.

A salesman who sold us an old Volvo wagon (that should have been junked) told me that a bad u-joint,was the bad tires picking up vibration from the road.That car was total junk,but the Wife wanted a wagon(I dont buy junk now )
@ Docnick ,a 2 cycle Lawnboy was the best mower ,I ever had-Kevin

A little tip for B&S engines, don’t pull so hard. I found out quite by accident that a slow to medium speed pull on the cord and they start right up. A hard pull and they won’t start for squat. As for Tecumseh, the only way I know to get them to start is to remove the engine and replace it with a B&S or Kohler.

Triedaq, love my Mantis, but after 15 years, it wouldn’t start up this year. Thinking of getting one with the 4 cycle Honda engine, but at $499, ouch. Wonder if Norther Tool carries the little Honda engine.

@keith-- my tiller is an Earthquake and is probably 7 years old. I have always have had starting difficulties. Sometimes it starts as it should and other times it really gives me fits. When I was growing up, we had a 2 stroke LawnBoy mower that was made in 1955. It always started reliably. The owner’s manual contained complete instructions on how to tear down and reassemble the engine. I was doing a lot of mowing at the time. At the end of the season, I would take it apart, rough up the cylinder wall with crocus paper to break the glaze, clean out all the carbon, install new rings, new points and condenser, new needle and seat in the caruburetor, replace the spark plug and sharpen the blade. It was ready to go for another season. I have a snow blower with a 2 stroke engine that starts reliably. I’ve been drooling over a TroyBuilt rototiller with a 4 stroke engine that is lightweight. If the price drops at my local farm store, I may just buy it. It also comes with an optional electric start which is beginning to appeal to me.
I have two mowers. The smaller mower, an 18" has a Tecumseh engine and it always has started easily. It is 25 years old, but I just use it as a backup. It is a little small for the place we now live. My other mower is a 22 inch with a Briggs and Stratton engine. It is 21 years old and has a B&S engine. I did install a new short block on this mower about 10 years ago as it was burning oil. It’s again using oil and I am debating whether to replace the short block or buy a new mower. Both my mowers have cast aluminum decks so there is no rust-out. Apparently, nobody makes an aluminum deck mower these days. Except for the engine, there isn’t much to wear out on an aluminum deck push type rotary mower.