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How to Set the Points on a Briggs & Stratton Engine

Updated February 21, 2017

Briggs & Stratton is a manufacturer of small engines used in lawn and garden equipment such as lawnmowers, rototillers, snowblowers and more. Since 1982, Briggs & Stratton engines have used a solid-state ignition. Models built before 1982 employed a magneto, points and condenser system to generate spark for the spark plug. If you are using an older model Briggs & Stratton engine that has no spark, you might need to set the points.

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  1. Disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug by pulling on the black rubber boot covering the spark plug's tip.

  2. Remove the three bolts holding the starter shroud to the engine. Set aside the starter shroud.

  3. Place a flywheel holder into the fins of the flywheel. Hold the flywheel securely with one hand. Place a clutch removal tool over the clutch on the end of the crankshaft, and rotate the clutch counterclockwise to remove it. Pull the flywheel holder off of the fins.

  4. Attach a flywheel knock-off tool onto the tip of the crankshaft by tightening the knockout tool clockwise by hand onto the threads until it stops turning. Back the knockout tool from the flywheel slightly by turning it once counterclockwise.

  5. Smack the end of the knockout tool with a mallet or hammer. Hit the end of the knockout tool squarely and the flywheel should pop loose. Spin the knockout tool counterclockwise to remove it from the threaded crankshaft. Lift the flywheel and flywheel key off the crankshaft.

  6. Loosen the two screws that hold the points cover in place and lift off the cover.

  7. Rotate the crankshaft with your hand so that the points are separated at their widest point.

  8. Fold a small piece of fine sandpaper in half and slide back and forth between the separated points. After sanding for a few seconds, blow away any debris.

  9. Insert a .020 feeler gauge between the two points. If the gap is too narrow or wide, loosen the points' adjustment screw. Move the points so that they are lightly touching both sides of the feeler gauge and tighten the adjustment screw.

  10. Reattach the points cover. Replace the flywheel key in the crankshaft slot, then position the flywheel over the key on the crankshaft. Tighten the clutch onto the crankshaft, then replace the starter shroud. Reconnect the spark plug wire to the spark plug.

  11. Warning

    Always disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug to keep the engine from accidentally firing.

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Things You'll Need

  • Socket set
  • Flywheel holder
  • Clutch wrench
  • Flywheel knock-off tool
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Fine sandpaper
  • .020 Feeler gauge

About the Author

Chris Baylor

Chris Baylor has been writing about various topics, focusing primarily on woodworking, since 2006. You can see his work in publications such as "Consumer's Digest," where he wrote the 2009 Best Buys for Power Tools and the 2013 Best Buys for Pressure Washers.

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