The Craftsman 2 Stroke Leaf Blower Will Not Start

Updated February 21, 2017

The Craftsman 2 stroke leaf blower operates with a small, single piston combustion engine. When the engine won't start, usually one of three things is missing: air, fuel or spark. To get the engine started again, isolate the missing component and find out which part in that section is malfunctioning.

Check Air

Air comes into the engine through the air filter and gets expelled out of the engine through the muffler. If the air is blocked on either end the engine won't start. Remove the air filter cover, pull out the pad and wash it in soapy water. Rinse it under cool water and let it dry before putting it back. If you can't clean the filter, replace it. Unscrew the muffler cover and take out the spark arrester screen. Wash it in the soapy water and scrub the area inside the muffler with a wire brush.

Check Fuel

Fuel leaves the tank and enters the carburettor, where it's mixed with air and sent off to the cylinder. All excess fuel will purge back into the tank. This circuit operates with the pulsing of the crankcase, so if anything is blocking the fuel, the crankcase and engine will shut down. Impurities in the fuel can block the fuel filter, choke the fuel lines and get stuck inside the carburettor. Clean the fuel tank, replace the fuel filter and fuel lines. Take the carburettor out, disassemble and clean it in a bath of gasoline overnight.

Check Spark

The spark plug sits on top of the cylinder and ignites fuel as it passes through. If the spark plug can't fire a high enough electrical charge the fuel won't combust and the engine won't start. Pull the spark plug from the cylinder and check the electrode gap for corrosion and carbon build up. Replace the spark plug and check the boot and wire for any damage; try starting the engine again. All other ignition problems need a professional mechanic due to the high voltages running through the ignition system.

Compression Related Issues

The final thing the 2 stroke leaf blower engine needs to continue running is compression. Compression creates the vacuum pressure inside the engine, which is necessary to keep the moving parts running. A loss in compression will force the entire engine into a permanent shutdown. These problems generally occur when air leaks into the engine from a broken seal on the piston, cylinder or crankcase. Compression problems will also need a professional mechanic to address.

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About the Author

Currently based in Minneapolis, Minn., Eric Blankenburg has been a freelance journalist since 2000. His articles have appeared in "Outside Missoula, Outside Bozeman," "Hello Chengdu" and online at and various other websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the University of Montana.