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Briggs & Stratton Pressure Washer Problems: Engine / Motor Troubleshooting and Repair

A Briggs & Stratton pressure washer is a reliable piece of equipment if you’re looking for home cleaning. Despite that, some pressure washer users occasionally encounter issues with their devices that seem challenging to troubleshoot, such as loss of power, engine stalling, oil leaks, etc. Or if they have an electric pressure washer, they may have similar issues with its motor.

Briggs & Stratton Pressure Washer Problems: Engine Troubleshooting & Repair

Check the carburetor jets and the air and fuel filters if your Briggs & Stratton pressure washer engine doesn’t start or stalls. Check for vapor lock in the gasoline lines and that the tank vents are clean. For an electric pressure washer to work correctly, the input voltage must be within the ranges specified, and the power supply must be in good working order. If the motor buzzes, search for a faulty capacitor, pump, or pressure buildup in the system.

If you want to learn how to troubleshoot gas and electric pressure washers by Briggs & Stratton, this article should help you. I tried to describe the most seen engine or motor issues I have helped people with during my work.

Problems with the Briggs & Stratton Gas Pressure Washer Engine

A four-stroke gasoline engine powers the pump in gas pressure washers. Including engine and fuel system components adds to the system’s overall complexity, resulting in increased maintenance requirements. Therefore, these pressure washer variants are more liable to undergo problems that need troubleshooting.

Here are some typical Briggs & Stratton pressure washer engine issues:

● 1. Briggs & Stratton Pressure Washer: Keeps Stopping and Starting

If your pressure washer continuously starts and stops, it might be due to a blocked carburetor jet or a vapor lock in the fuel lines. A faulty fuel filter can sometimes be the cause of the problem.

Most engine issues in pressure washers are caused by carburetor or filter problems. As a result of stale fuel deposits, the carburetor jets are prone to becoming clogged. As a result, the amount of gasoline entering the engine affects combustion, resulting in a drop in the engine’s power output.

In addition to a clogged carburetor or filter, a vapor lock is another usual source of the issue. A blockage causes a vapor lock in the fuel tank vents, which creates a constant buildup of gasoline vapors within the fuel lines, ultimately affecting the fuel supply to the engine.

– Solution:

To fix the problem, use WD-40 or a carb-cleaning solution to clean the jets of your carburetor effectively. Ensure that all flow routes, including the bowl’s nut, and a jet in itself, have been thoroughly cleaned. Aside from cleaning the carburetor, you should inspect and replace the fuel filter if needed. I also recommend cleaning the fuel tank vents to avoid vapor collection, which might lead to a vapor lock.

● 2. Briggs & Stratton Pressure Washer: The Engine won’t run

If your engine doesn’t start, ensure the spark plug is in good working order. If the difficulties persist, disassemble the carburetor and clean the ports with a carburetor cleaner liquid.

Carbon buildup erodes spark plug electrodes over time, lowering spark quality and making engine starting more difficult.

– Solution:

To check the electrodes, remove the spark plug. Replace the plug if the electrodes appear to be damaged. If the problem remains, consider inspecting the carburetor on your pressure washer. Remove the carburetor and carefully clean it to eliminate any residual fuel. I recommend purchasing a carburetor repair kit containing a cleaning solution to remove sticky residues.

● 3. Briggs & Stratton Pressure Washer: Engine Stops

If your engine stops soon after starting, thoroughly examine and clean the air and fuel filters. Check for vapor lock in the tank and ensure that the carburetor is clean and adjusted correctly.

The air and fuel filters are responsible for preventing foreign particles from entering the carburetor. As a result, these filters become clogged with dirt regularly, causing changes in the engine’s air-fuel mixture and resulting in a power loss.

– Solution:

To address the issue, inspect these filters sequentially and clean/replace them as needed. Examine the gas tank for vapor lock and adjust the carburetor screws if the problem remains.

● 4. Briggs & Stratton Pressure Washer: Engine not providing enough Power

Check the water supply and ensure the hoses aren’t kinked if your engine isn’t producing adequate power. Check that the carburetor jets and the air filter are clean.

The air-fuel mixture may be too high if the engine isn’t producing sufficient power. This indicates that the engine receives too much gas but not enough air to generate enough power after combustion. The carburetor, filters, or both might be the source of the issue.

– Solution:

Examine the air filter, which should not be clogged with dust, to ensure enough air supply. Furthermore, the L and H screws on the carburetor must be set correctly, as the screws govern the engine’s RPMs at both low and high speeds.

Additionally, ensure that no air is trapped in the pump and that the hoses are not tangled, which causes considerable back pressure on the engine. Consequently, it could have a reduced power output.

● 5. Briggs & Stratton Pressure Washer: Oil Leak

A defective seal is the most common cause of oil leaks in your engine. In almost all cases, replacing the seal would solve the issue. In rare cases, the oil may also spill due to an overfilled oil tank.

You could purchase an oil seal kit to help replace seals for your type. Oil seals are commonly found in oil inlets. There are usually two inlets covered with caps on either side of the engine.

– Solution:

Remove the seal with a screwdriver and evaluate its condition. If it shows signs of damage, replace it. You should avoid overfilling your oil tank as a precaution since this may result in oil seeping through these inlets.

● 6. Briggs & Stratton Pressure Washer: Water in Oil

When water enters the engine oil, it indicates a damaged oil seal. In this case, you should replace the seal according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The oil becomes milky when diluted with water. One probable reason is a faulty oil seal. Another less common reason is a worn-out engine piston. Over time, mechanical wear causes the metal to brush off from the pistons, increasing the space between the piston and the cylinder walls.

As a result, water entering the cylinder head through the inlet manifold may enter the crankcase and mix with the oil to form a milky suspension.

– Potential Solutions:

The seals/gaskets in your engine are most likely defective if it is less than 5 years old. As a result, you’ll need to replace your engine’s seal/head gasket. If your engine is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer and request this replacement. I would not recommend jeopardizing your warranty by replacing it yourself.

If the warranty has expired, you can hire a professional to perform this seal replacement for your engine.

In the case of a worn-out piston, contact the manufacturer to determine if the engine’s warranty is still in effect. However, if that is not the case, you may need a new engine in your pressure washer or possibly a new pressure washer.

Briggs & Stratton Electric Pressure Washer Problems

Electric pressure washers require less maintenance than gas-powered pressure washers. Because the usage of an electric motor minimizes the complexity of the machine. Furthermore, the possibility of malfunctions, as well as noise levels and emissions, is significantly reduced. As a result, these products have gained increased customer acceptance.

The following section of the blog post discusses issues specific to electric pressure washers. The most common motor-related problem with electric pressure washers is that the motor does not start or stop suddenly while in use. It may produce a buzzing noise occasionally without generating any power output.

● Briggs & Stratton Electric Pressure Washer not running

If an electric pressure washer does not start, check the fuse and ensure the electrical outlet is working. If it still does not start, the electric motor has likely failed.

If your pressure washer motor isn’t operating, check the following:

– Step 1: Look for Power Outlet Problems

Check the outlet first if your electric pressure washer isn’t working. Unplug the washer’s cord and use a voltage tester or other instruments to inspect the outlet. If it’s not working and you see a ‘reset’ button, push it. If the problem persists, examine the circuit breaker in the fuse box.

– Step 2: Examine the Fault Circuit Interrupter.

A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) may have been activated due to the voltage drop. After disconnecting the pressure washer plug, reset the GFCI. If it still activates when you connect your pressure washer when wet, let it dry before attempting to start it again. If the pressure washer does not stop after drying, proceed to the next step.

– Step 3: Check the Extension Cord

Remove the extension cable from your pressure washer and directly plug it into the power socket. Ensure that the plug is correctly placed into the power outlet. If it now works, the problem was with the extension cable.

– Step 4: Inspect the Fuse

If the power outlet is operational (with a bulb or other appliance), ensure that the fuse within the machine or the plug has not burned out. If you can’t find it, search for it in the manual. The fuse must be changed if it has blown out.

– Step 5: Inspect the power cord

If it still doesn’t start, the power cord of your pressure washer could be defective. The problem might be solved by replacing the power cable. Check with your pressure washer manufacturer to determine whether the warranty is valid. If not, you could change the cord by yourself or consult a professional.

– Step 6: Examine the Capacitor

A malfunctioning capacitor is usually to blame for a buzzing sound coming from your pressure washer’s motor. You may also change the capacitor yourself. But if this is not for you, ask a professional for help.

If the machine still won’t start, check the electric motor and replace it if it’s still under warranty.

● Briggs & Stratton Electric Pressure Washer Motor Stops

The most common reason for pressure washer motor failure is a power failure in the socket or a malfunctioning capacitor. A voltage drop in the socket may cause it to shut down in some cases.

The motor shuts off when the voltage falls below a certain level. To verify this, check the voltage level in the socket with a multimeter. The voltage requirements for pressure washers vary based on where you live. Voltages ranging from 140V to 240V are widely used to power pressure washers.

If the voltage is correct yet the washer would not start, the motor’s capacitor may need to be replaced. It is characterized by your motor buzzing and generating significantly less power. Replace the capacitor with an identical type and test the pressure washer motor again. Hopefully, it will restart now after the above procedure. If it still does not start, contact your pressure washer manufacturer to repair or replace the faulty electric motor.

● Briggs & Stratton Electric Pressure Washer Motor Makes a Buzzing Noise

A buzzing noise from your electric pressure washer motor indicates a faulty capacitor or an excessive pressure buildup in the system. A defective pump might also cause the problem.

  • Capacitor: The most common reason for motor buzzing is a defective capacitor. Due to this, inadequate charge storage occurs, which reduces the motor RPMs. Replace the capacitor and check to see if the problem has been fixed.
  • Low Voltage: If the input voltage is less than the operational range of the pressure washer, the motor may not function at the required RPMs and instead generate a buzzing noise.
  • Pressure Buildup: When the spray gun is not released, water pressure in the hoses builds up. As a result, back pressure is created on the pump and the motor, thus reducing its rotational speed. To release this pressure on the motor, press the spray gun and allow the water to escape.
  • Damaged pump: Poor maintenance can cause pressure washer pumps to malfunction. When that happens, the motor overheats due to insufficient pressure generated by the pump. Check that the pistons and plungers are properly oiled to ensure the pump works properly.

Briggs & Stratton Pressure Washer troubleshooting table:

The pressure washer is not producing high pressure
Hose with small diameter
Replace your hose with a 1″ (25mm) or 5/8″ (16mm) hose
Restricted water supply to the washer
Check for the kinks and leaks in the hose
Inadequate water supply
Ensure the water source is unobstructed and fully turned on
Clogged intake filter
Remove the filter and rinse it with warm water
Air in the pump
Ensure that the hose and fittings are airtight. Shut off the washer and squeeze the trigger until water flows steadily from the spray tip
The suction tube or detergent bottle is not connected properly
Install the suction tube and detergent bottle correctly
Detergent too thick
Dilute the thick detergent by adding water
Obstructed spray tip
Remove the debris with a needle
No pressure tip on the wand
Install a suitable pressure tip at the end of the wand
If your model has a belt, it can be loose.
Tighten or replace the belt.
Pulsing pressure washer (output pressure varies high and low)
Inadequate water supply
Ensure that the water source is fully on and check the hose for kinks and blockage
Obstructed spray tip
Remove the debris with a needle
Pump sucking air
Ensure that the hose and fittings are airtight. Shut off the washer and squeeze the trigger until water flows steadily from the spray tip
Clogged intake filter
Remove the filter and rinse it with warm water
Calcified hose, tip, or trigger
Clean the hose, pressure tip, or trigger with vinegar or a cleaner designed for this purpose
Noisy Pump
Air in the pump
Ensure that the hose and fittings are airtight. Shut off the washer and squeeze the trigger until water flows steadily from the spray tip
Clogged inlet filter
Remove the filter and rinse it with warm water
Pump leaking water
Damaged or worn water seals
Replace the seals with new ones or call a professional
Loose fittings
Ensure that all the fittings are tight
Erratic water pressure, changing up and down
Unloader valve
Check and clean the unloader valve. If in bad shape, replace it
No output pressure. Or the motor stops when using the trigger (electric models)
Unloader valve
Check and clean the unloader valve. If in bad shape, replace it

● Briggs & Stratton Gas Pressure Washer Engine troubleshooting table:

Leaks in the spray wand, spray tip, or extension
Damaged or broken O-rings or plastic insert
Replace the worn O-rings or call a professional
Pressure washer pump dripping oil
Worn or damaged oil seals
Inspect the oil seals and replace them if worn
No water from the washer outlet
The water supply is off
Turn the water supply ON
Kink in the hose or faucet not fully open
Remove any kinks and debris from the hose or water lines. Check and fully open the faucet.
The motor won’t start
Check the battery
Check if the battery is charged correctly. Charge or replace when in bad condition. Examine the battery terminals for a proper connection. Clean if needed.
Check the fuel filter
Clean the fuel filter if dirty. In that case, check the gas tank, as this is the most likely culprit.
Check the gas supply
Check the fuel level and add if needed. Ensure that the gas can flow to the carburetor. Remove any blockage.
Check the Air-filter
Clean the air filter. Replace it when it is in bad condition or it is a paper air filter.
Check the carburetor
Remove and clean the carburetor with some carb cleaner. It is also possible to clean it without removing it.
Fuel gap blocked
Check that the hole in the fuel cap is open. Clean if needed.
The engine is stalling, or starts and stops
Check the carburetor
Remove and clean the carburetor with some carb cleaner. It is also possible to clean it without removing it.
Air filter
Clean the air filter. Replace it when it is in bad condition or it is a paper air filter.
Check for bad gas
Suppose you have old gas, more than a few months old. It can turn bad. Drain and replace the gas. Next time add a fuel stabilizer.

● Briggs & Stratton Electric Pressure Washer Motor troubleshooting table:

The motor won’t start
The power switch is in the “OFF” or “0”  state
Turn the power switch “ON” or “1”
Cord not plugged
Plugin the power cord
Damaged, too long, or improper extension cord
Replace the existing cord with a 25′ (7.6m) 14 AWG cord or a 50′ (15m) 12 AWG cord
Inadequate power from the electrical outlet
Plug the cord into a different outlet
The pressure washer circuit breaker tripped
Please wait for the washer to cool down and restart it
The motor buzzes but fails to run
Loss in voltage due to the extension cord
Plug the unit directly into the outlet without an extension cord. If the problem isn’t solved, replace the extension cord
Low supply voltage
Ensure that only the pressure washer runs on that circuit at the time of use
Residual pressure in the system
Shut off the washer and squeeze the trigger to release pressure
Residual friction among the internal components
Cut the water supply and turn the machine ON for 2 to 3 seconds. Try it a couple of times or until the motor starts. Don’t let the machine run dry for more than 3 seconds.
Unit not used for long periods
I recommend calling a professional for help
Motor not working
Faulty Timer
Disconnect the leads from the timer. If your pressure washer doesn’t turn off after the time out, the timer is faulty, and you need to replace it.