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Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Tecumseh 6 HP vertical engine


I have a Tec 6 HP vertical L-Head engine with starting issues.
When I pull the rope, it's very hard to pull, kicks back a little, and puffs white smoke from the muffler.

It does have spark and seems to have fuel, but will not start even putting starting fluid through the carb or fuel in the plug hole.

I've checked the flywheel key and it's fine.
I found a few slightly loose head bolts.
One had oil all around it, the rest were clean.
Compression seemed low, around 40 PSI, but there is the compression relief to consider.

I'm thinking maybe a head gasket problem.

Thanks in advance,

Usually kick back is caused by a couple of problems.

1.  Flywheel key
2.  Loose blade bolt or bad blade adapter

As for the head bolts they should be torqued, probably to 200 inch pounds depending on you model number.  Compression is probably fine...we see several around that range run fine.

Repair manual link:

Did you check the blade and blade adapter?


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Eric A. Jones


Lawnmower Repair . Certified Master Service Technician from B&S. Have 23 years experience on B&S, Lawn Chief, Weed Eater, Echo, Peerless, Wheel Horse, Snapper, Atlas, MTD, McCulloch, Homelite and many other numerous brands. Specialize in electrical repair.


Born and raised in the midwest. Started tinkering with engines when I was about 14 on my Suzuki RM-80. I began lawn mower repair at a small hardware store. I knew absolutely nothing. I read lots of repair manuals and met an older fellow who taught me many lessons. I continued working on small engines through high school and paid my way through college working on mowers at the same hardware store. Decided to get away from the midwest and mower repair so I joined the Air Force. I repaired air traffic control electronic equipment and ended up in Hawaii where I got a part time job at Small Engine Clinic. I gained a lot of experience from the Small Engine Clinic and had a blast repairing small engines. I then took the Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician test and earned my MST. I then traveled to Wisconsin where I attended the factory update training seminar and received formal training. Continued working on mowers part time as I completed 20 years of military. Retired from the military on a Friday and continued in the lawn and garden industry the next Monday.

MAS Aerospace Operations BA Mathematics AAS Electronic Communications AAS Electronic Technology

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