Tecumseh H30 won't start, need help...

Hello All,

I need some help and advice from the masters on this page. While I am not a novice when it comes to small engines, this is the most in depth I have gone working on one.

Here is what's up: I got this 70s ARCO E-Z Rider from my mother in law 13-ish years ago. It is a H30 -35176J - The story I was told is that is has always been hard to start and get going. I finally decided to mess with it as a COVID Isolation project, but am having trouble getting it to start.

-- I have changed: points, condenser, coil, plug -(all by the book to spec)
-- I have pulled the Head, cleaned, replaced with a new gasket, torqued to spec. (valves look good, has compression)
-- Rebuild the carb with a carb kit
-- New gaskets on both sides of the carb and exhaust, new gasket in the valve breather assembly
-- I have timed it as close to .065 BTDC (book specs) as I can - I am using feeler gauges and a continuity tester (volt/ohm meter)
-- The key in the flywheel is not sheared or appear defective
-- Inside the fly wheel is clean, coil steel pack is clean

When I try to start, with main jet and Idle jet set to "factory settings", I can get it to Hick-up and gurgle like it WANTS to start, but I can not get any sort of actual slight running. I have tried starting fluid and that does not do anything either. No backfires, no BLACK smoke, but a little wispy white WHITE smoke, look like it is from the valve breather opening?

I have spark (checking by grounding plug to head) - I am getting a little smoke when it does try to start, so I am assuming I am getting fuel in.

My assumption is that it is either 1) My timing is not accurate enough to get it to fire. 2) My carb is shot and just too worn out. 3) There is a bigger issue, maybe in the crank case?

Any help, advice or guidance would be much appreciated. I am almost ready to take it in and have someone else work on it, but what's the fun in that? I

Thank you,


When you "rebuilt the carb" did you remove the welch plugs and probe/clean the tiny orifices behind them?
Yes, I removed and replaced the welch plugs, cleaning the passageways with a small wire, they all appeared clear. I also replaced needle assembly & seat- set float to level with the bowel gasket flange (when inverted from running/mounted orientation), new bowel gasket. New idle needle, o ring, washer. New main jet assemble that was provided in the kit.

Is the fuel fresh? Sounds like what happens when its trying to run on water. other than that id say its more likely a spark issue because it should kick on starting fluid. Points cam lobe installed the right way? I cant remember if it can go backwards
Is the fuel fresh? Sounds like what happens when its trying to run on water. other than that id say its more likely a spark issue because it should kick on starting fluid. Points cam lobe installed the right way? I cant remember if it can go backwards
Thank you for the input! Yes, the fuel is new, I am using "tru-fuel" as it is ethanol free. I have ordered an aftermarket carb, I didn't know if maybe it was sucking air through the carb? waiting for it to come in. I have opened the crank case since my last post, and the cam shaft and crank shaft seem to be alined correctly (the marks on the gears are lined up). I did look at the cam shaft lobes that raise the valves, some wear but when I had the head off it looked like they were both opening the same amount. I believe I have the points cam lobe in the correct way, with the side that says "top" facing out.

With you confirming that it should kick on starter fluid, I am inclined to remove the head again and try to re-time it. I am assuming I should re-set the points as well while I am in there just to make sure they are as close as I can get them to the correct gap? I think my time BTDC is just not close enough, but I know the points gap can affect that too.
I cant comment too much on setting up the points its been so long since iv put in new parts usually just clean the old ones. But yeah it wont hurt to double check everything. Id try a different plug then condenser. Maybe go back to the old coil too. I doubt it would not make it run but did you check the valve clearance?
Ignition timing is adjustable on these old Tecumsehs, and yours may be off. The points should open at 0.065" BTDC, that's what I would check.


New Member
I'm not sure if it's possibly just something with these that to me, it seems like they just wanna screw with ya. Been helping a buddy get an old Don Prudhomme go-kart going that hasn't run in about 20 years from what I've been told. Long story short and to hopefully help you get it fired up... While I can't offer you much of a magic trick, I can hopefully give an idea which I used to get this one going. There's simply no way I would have got it fired up otherwise because there is no way I would have pulled it enough times to equal the number of rotations it took.
Take off your pull cord cover, set it off to the side. Get your corded drill unless you've got a decent cordless with a couple of good batteries and you guessed it. Socket to fit the nut, your drill and an adapter then let er rip.
Now, this one I've got has sat at the very least 20+ years. The key on mine was sheared so I know it skipped timing. When parked it was left with plenty of gas so you can guess what the carb looked like. I did not replace the spark plug, or the coil, or anything else besides The carburetor and keyway and No I did not even attempt to re-time it. I simply sanded the rust off the coil, wire brushed the spark plug, got a keyway, and new (imo junk) carb off of
Amazon then slapped it all together. Like you, I had fire had fuel so it should have ran but the pull count with no result was getting ridiculous but it wasn't much time at all once I put the drill to it that she fired up. I did need to use the drill a couple more times in order to get it adjusted well enough that there wasn't much effort needed to start so once I got to that point I put the pull cord back on and she starts first pull every time now. So with all that you've done I'm gonna guess you'll have it running in no time. Now only if I could find a linkage diagram for the throttle and governor.
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