How to Change Condenser Points in a Briggs & Stratton

Written by chris baylor
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How to Change Condenser Points in a Briggs & Stratton
Briggs & Stratton builds small engines for lawnmowers, rototillers, pressure washers and more. (cutting grass image by katja kodba from

Briggs & Stratton is a small engine manufacturer whose engines commonly appear on lawn and garden equipment. Their engines come in a variety of sizes, configured with either horizontal or vertically-oriented crankshafts. While Briggs & Stratton engines built since 1982 are equipped with a solid-state ignition system, older models utilise a points and condenser to generate spark for the spark plug. If your older model engine has no spark, you may need to change condenser points.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Open-end wrenches
  • Flywheel holder
  • Briggs & Stratton Clutch tool
  • Briggs & Stratton Flywheel puller
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Feeler gauge set

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  1. 1

    Disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug by pulling on the black rubber boot covering the tip of the spark plug.

  2. 2

    Loosen and remove the three bolts that hold the starter shroud onto the engine with an open-end wrench. Set the starter shroud aside.

  3. 3

    Insert a flywheel holder into the fins of the flywheel, wrapping around the right side of the flywheel. Hold the flywheel holder with your right hand, and place a Briggs & Stratton clutch removal tool over the clutch with your left. Turn the clutch counterclockwise and remove it from the crankshaft. Set the clutch and the two tools aside.

  4. 4

    Position a Briggs & Stratton flywheel puller over the crankshaft, and tighten the bolts into the corresponding holes in the flywheel.

  5. 5

    Turn each of the nuts above the flywheel puller clockwise one full turn at a time until the flywheel pops loose. Lift the flywheel off of the crankshaft, and remove the flywheel puller from the flywheel.

  6. 6

    Inspect the flywheel key, and replace with a new key if the old one is damaged.

  7. 7

    Loosen the two screws that hold the cap over the points and condenser, and remove the cap.

  8. 8

    Rotate the crankshaft with your hand until the gap between the points and condenser are separated at their widest distance.

  9. 9

    Loosen the screw that holds the points assembly in place, and pull the assembly off of the engine. Disconnect the wire connecting the points to the engine by pulling on the spade connector at the end of the wire. Install the new points in the same manner that you removed the old set.

  10. 10

    Loosen the clamp screw that holds the condenser into the ignition housing, and remove the condenser. Slip the new condenser underneath the clamp, and tighten the screw to secure the condenser.

  11. 11

    Slip an 0.020-inch feeler gauge into the gap between the points and condenser. Loosen the screw that holds the points in place, and adjust the position so that the points are barely touching the feeler gauge, then tighten the screw. Slide the gauge in and out of the gap a few times to make sure that the gap is exactly 0.020-inch.

  12. 12

    Re-install the cap over the ignition housing, and tighten the two screws. Insert the flywheel key into the groove in the crankshaft, then position the flywheel over the key. Tighten the clutch onto the crankshaft.

  13. 13

    Reattach the starter housing onto the engine, and secure it with the three bolts.

  14. 14

    Remove the spark plug, and then attach it to the spark plug wire. Set the spark plug on top of the engine, keeping the electrode off of the body of the engine. Check to see that the kill switch is set to on (if the engine is equipped with a kill switch), then pull on the starter rope a few times. Watch the spark plug electrode while pulling on the rope, and you should see a good spark on the electrode of the spark plug.

  15. 15

    Re-install the spark plug into the cylinder, and attach the spark plug wire to the spark plug, then start the engine.

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