Having Fun With Small IC Engines

Good Morning All
I. think we need a small engine topic that probably will not have a woodgas, or charcoal gas tie in.
But a place those of who do love our small IC engine can show what we are up to . . . having Fun.
Goren with his chainsaws.
J.O. once pictured up himself with an engine driven Para-Sailer.

I am now assembling a pole saw from set aside and worn out Stihl brand junk units:

Amazing how plug-and-play modular these modern Stihl machines are. They showed this clearly up through their 2011 products catalog. Then went on to preassembled dedicated use tools. Or buy into their more expensive Combo, lower shaft switch-out system.
The only thing new I will have bought was the chainsaw gearbox end.

Ha! Ha! Attending winter garage sales and schools class fund raisers I now need an old Stihl unit with the slip unto the shaft controls. Still looking.
But looking I found this:

My lawns mowing Grange buddy and I are working to come up with a leave-it-there mower to not have to haul our own rider mowers back and forth.
And I said I never have a another flathead engine again in my life.
It actually does start up. Clogged carb main jet so will not stay running.
Has front wheel power drive if can be restored to useable this will be the machine we will work on. If not. I have a push high-real wheel one that now needs an engine. I’ve done lots of these mower swaps. Re-drilling mountings holes spacings; and mounted height spacing as needed.
What sealed this flathead aquision for me is this one has electric starting with the starter and ring-geared flywheel. Should be adaptable over to someone’s engine generator unit that has been chargassed.

Winter cold. Winter rain. It brightens up my day hearing and making small working Internal Combustion engines run.
Fun. Fun. Fun.
Steve unruh


Well she convinced me AND the wife its what we need !
Awwwwww shucks they only sell the 4 stroke Honda engined ones over here and they are over a grand in Australia , plenty plenty cheapo chinkaneese ones from $250 up to around $400 Hmmmm probly only last a season or two at the most .
Looks like diggin by hand again next spring .



Kioritz makes very good engines, lot’s of power and solid built.

Tanaka is another good company (i don’t know if they still are in business?)
Those small engines are incredible trusty, and good power.

I got an old Tanaka brush cutter that was scrapped (only a fuel line), this one i built together with the other end of a pole sickle cutter, it became so long i can’t get it indoors, so lazy me let it just stay outside, un-covered, year around.
Always start on second pull, always.
Fantastic little engine. Well i can going on about this engines…enough


thanks steve for showing this video…i always have wondered how to realize the exact oil level…recently i was going in with a wire to feel where oil distributor finger is located… and if he touches oil …my honda engine on the mower is slightly sloped downwards by construction, opposite site of the starter…so the oil fill in hole is on the deepest point.
for filling oil i bring the motor in horizontal position…


Steve i have looked around for a decent small tiller before and to be honest apart from a few small Honda ones i missed out on all the rest are made in China that are on sale over here , unless i can find one that was brought over by someone emigrating here and now wants rid due to what ever reason that’s the only way i will find a decent make one , still i will keep on looking for a while longer and then if all else fails buy a cheapo China one and count the hours till it fails .


I had one of these before. I think it was made by Ryobi. I burned it up in my fire. I think I could easily make something similar with a cheap battery chainsaw fitted with a different sprocket on the saw and one on the shaft spinning the blades. I just don’t plant in ways that I need to till the soil even lightly anymore.


I have owned a small “Pony” troy built tiller since 1984. Engine crapped out years ago and then a small tree fell on the handles. Sort of a next step from these little tillers to the big ones. It was good for weeding between rows. I got to thinking about snow blowers. They just sit doing nothing for most of the year. Pull the augers off them and refab the bottom of the hopper so it was removable, replace the augers with tines and you have a powered tiller. I think.


I think the gearboxes are different and one of the most expensive parts. It would be easier to just move the engine, but those suckers are heavy. And by the time you do that, you are better off just getting an old lawn tractor and use a belt drive. The problem with that is lawn tractors don’t have enough clearance and light frames so you need larger tires which requires a larger frame. It is interesting how the different tractor products are spaced out pricewise so you get just a bit more usefulness for more money until you are 10-15k into it. :slight_smile:

The rear tine tillers are so much better then the front ones.


I think if i am going to buy one of the small units then it will have to be a used Honda at a much higher price than the brand new Chineese ones on line sales here , a friend has a much larger Honda one with electric start and powered drive i could buy off him cheap , but i am thinking at my time of life and living on a 35deg sloping garden it might be too much in years to come so might wait for a lightweight one to show up .


I owned and used a Mantis for several years, alongside a full size BCS rototiller. It is certainly lightweight and fits in tight spaces. For certain things it works OK. But I came to hate the durn thing… probably my own fault for expecting too much out of it.

In tight dry clay soils it would never bite very well. If it doesn’t bite, it bounces around like mad. My thought was to use it for inter-row cultivation. This is very dangerous to established plants due to no steering - you are just hoping it goes straight where you wanted… Honestly trying to control the motion it was more effort than just using a wheel hoe. The two sides would also leave a ridge between untilled, meaning multiple passes to get all the ground worked. Useless for breaking ground of course, even short-mowed grass defeats it. But if you have plenty of time, and you make about 50 passes, it will eventually work up a usable seedbed. Maybe I’m exaggerating. I was much happier with a real tractor rototiller… at many times the price, of course.

The best use for the Mantis that I found is in perfect sandy loam soil, already worked and planted, it does fine there. But that’s where I don’t really need a tiller at all… I much prefer a wheel hoe.

Just my experiences. Maybe I was doing it wrong.


We sell and rent a couple tillers. One is a BCS and the other is a Stihl MM56 similar to the mantis and it has the sharp pick tines used mostly in raised garden or prepping a seed bed in loose ground.
A few years ago a customer who is a burly fella in his 60’s rented the MM56 to do his wife’s garden, Ken must be left handed and he doesn’t know what happened exactly but his leg got caught between the tines and the guard and ran up his leg headed for the more sensitive parts before he got it stopped.
He sent me the this text while he was at the hospital getting stitches. :grinning:


My experience too. It is totally worthless in clay. Sounds like you need some soil building too. :slight_smile:


I can’t remember Steve but I did try to hold the tiller in order to try to duplicate it(not running of course) and wasn’t able to understand how it happened.
The Mantis is a great machine and quite light,still see lots around.


one man post hole digger SteveU. Kind of an unwanted thrill if you get the auger into a tree root or wedged into an rock.



it possibly looks like he was pulling it back and fell awkwardly and pulled the equipment back with him. or he dropped it while getting it out of the vehicle.


Sabre appears to be a oil for a brand like stihl or poulan oil.

Saber is made by Amsoil, and available from the Amsoil website.
They also make 5 other 2 cycle oils designed for 2-stroke powersports vehicles. snowmobiles, marine, etc.


I had to look up the 4 mix Stihl. If I already knew about it, I didn’t remember. Anyway a suggested benefit was increased torque. My opinion has always been that torque is more important than HP in anything other than a formula one race car. But, in a chainsaw or string trimmer it seems Rpm’s rule, and you can get more rpm’s out of a two stroke. As far as pollution goes. I live in an area where many people heat with wood. Maybe in mid-October you hear enough saws to faintly remind you of a hive of bees. I don’t think that is adding much to damage our air quality. Consider that every jet that comes to the Air port here on a route from the west, may pick up a big boost from a tail wind and arrive with more fuel that it can land with. Dumps it over Lake MIchigan. How many hours and how many saws would it take to equal just one of those procedures. Stupidity pisses me off.


My electric is 2.5kw, They claim 45cc gas chainsaw which is in the ms250 range. And it is about right ballpark based on other saws I have used. The greenworks commercial 65cc equivalent is 600 bucks with a 4ah battery and charger (half hour charge time), but the 65cc MS391 is 680-750 from googleads. They are in the ballpark. If you want to talk about time and money, you also have to include the cost of gas, and 2-cycle oil. The 4ah battery is 330w or here roughly a nickel to refuel. plus it is push button start, so there is no time or energy wasted trying to start it or waiting for it to warmup a minute.

It really depends more on how you use it as to what saves more time and money. It is no longer isn’t a one-size fits all answer. Once you get into applications that require a 661 I will give you that one, but you are into some serious logging.


An MS 250 is a mid-range use saw at best. Matching up to the MSE250 C-Q plug-in electric at best.
Get into the real heavy duty use Pro saws MS260/MS261 at the low end and you will get blow away with the actual works done. And yes. These are expensive gas saws for reasons.The built in longer bars and chains pulling abilities. The hundreds and hundreds of hours of daily hard use durability built in.
Real work begins at the 3.0hp/4.0kW saws. That would be also the MS362’s, older 440’s 460’s, modern MS462’s.
Look at what this working oils testing guys services and uses.
Nobody, and I do mean nobody, drags out and uses a big heavy 661 except for old butt cuts.
Talk about some thing you really know and quit talking set up extremes.
This ain’t a showboating topic.
Or an my electric beats your consumer grade gas saw topic.
The DOW already has electrics saws topics to spout on.
Steve Unruh


I think you misunderstood what I wrote.

My MS361c didn’t get hundreds of hours of use before needing hundreds of dollars in repair. In fact that is the second piece of shit stihl equipment I have had issues with, I will not be buying stihl again. It is shitty engineering. period.

My smaller reliable poulan has a burned up clutch. It is why I tried the electric to see if it was just some “greenie” BS or not. If it didn’t work, amazon would take it back after 30 days after I beat the hell out of it getting the work that needed to get done.

My battery saw is the ms250 range. There is no question, it doesn’t perform as well as the 361 when it actually ran, but that was always questionable.

The greenworks commercial saw in the 65cc range for 600 bucks. It is in the ms391 range which is your ‘midrange’ commercial saws.

It depends on your workflow on what is actually cheaper, 10c a recharge vs 1 dollar for a 22oz tank. It just isn’t cut n dry anymore.

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