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Campbell Pressure Washer Problems: Engine & Motor Troubleshooting & Repair

Campbell Hausfeld pressure washers are renowned for their value for money and are often used in domestic applications. Despite the durability, most homeowners using a pressure washer occasionally experience starting difficulties with their machine (be it gas or electric). Troubleshooting these problems can be challenging if you don’t know where to start.

Campbell Pressure Washer Problems: Engine/Motor Troubleshooting & Repair

If your Campbell gas-powered pressure washer doesn’t start, ensure that the air and fuel filters and carburetor jets are clean. Look for a vapor lock in the fuel lines and ensure the fuel tank vents are clean. If a Campbell electric pressure washer doesn’t turn on, check the voltage, the power supply, and the fuses. Look for a defective capacitor, a malfunctioning pump, or a pressure buildup in the system if the motor buzzes.

This blog post shall help you identify the actual cause of startup difficulties in a Campbell pressure washer. In the following sections, I will discuss some of the most common problems and their repair procedure.

Problems with the Campbell Gas Pressure Washer Engine

At the time of writing (2023), Campbell Hausfeld has stopped producing pressure washers. However, some of their gas-powered models are still widely used: the 2100, 2300, 3200, and 4200 PSI Campbell pressure washer models.

A four-stroke gas engine drives the pump of a Campbell gas pressure washer, with engine and fuel system components adding to the system’s complexity and maintenance requirements. As a result, gas-powered pressure washers tend to experience more issues that need attention than their electric-powered equivalents.

Common problems with Campbell pressure washer engines include the following:

● 1. Campbell Pressure Washer: Keeps Stopping and Starting

If your pressure washer starts and repeatedly stops, a clogged carburetor jet or a vapor lock in the fuel lines could be to blame. Sometimes, a debris-plugged fuel filter might produce a similar issue.

Most engine problems with pressure washers are due to old fuel deposits clogging carburetor jets. Therefore, the quantity of fuel that enters the engine hampers combustion, resulting in a decrease in engine power.

In addition to a clogged carburetor or filter, a vapor lock could cause the problem. Typically, a vapor lock is caused by an obstruction in the fuel tank vents, which leads to a continuous accumulation of gas vapors in the fuel lines and eventually disrupts the fuel delivery to the engine.

– How to Mend?

To resolve this issue, clean your carburetor’s jets with WD-40 or a carburetor-cleaning solution. Ensure that all flow channels, including the nut of the bowl, which is also a jet, have been cleaned thoroughly. In addition to cleaning the carburetor, you should examine and, if required, replace the fuel filter. Apart from this servicing, I recommend cleaning the fuel tank vents to prevent vapor buildup and vapor lock.

● 2. Campbell Pressure Washer: The Engine won’t run

Check that the spark plug is properly functioning if your engine does not start. If the issue continues, remove the carburetor and clean the ports with a liquid carburetor cleaner.

Carbon accumulation eats away spark plug electrodes over time, lowering spark quality and making it more challenging to start the engine.

– How to Repair?

To inspect the electrodes, it is necessary to remove the spark plug. You should replace the plug if the electrodes have been affected. If the issue persists, try cleaning the pressure washer’s carburetor. Remove the carburetor and thoroughly clean it to remove any fuel residue. I recommend purchasing a carburetor repair kit with a cleaning liquid to reduce sticky residues and spare parts.

● 3. Campbell Pressure Washer: Engine Stops

Examine and thoroughly clean the air and fuel filters if your engine fails to start after a short usage period. You should also check the fuel tank for vapor lock and ensure the carburetor is clean and properly adjusted.

Air and fuel filters secure the carburetor from contaminants. Hence, dirt accumulates in these filters, upsetting the air-fuel ratio and reducing the engine’s power. Examine these filters to identify the root cause of the problem, and clean or replace them if necessary. If the issue continues, check the fuel tank vents for a vapor lock and adjust the carburetor screws.

● 4. Campbell Pressure Washer: Engine not providing enough Power

Ensure that the water supply is adequate and that the hoses are not tangled if your pressure washer is not producing enough pressure. 

The air-fuel ratio may be too rich if the engine is not generating sufficient power. This means that the engine gets too much fuel and not enough air to produce adequate power after combustion. The fault might lie with the carburetor, filters, or even both.

– How to Repair?

Examine the air filter and clean it thoroughly to ensure optimum airflow. In addition, the L and H screws of the carburetor must be correctly adjusted, since they influence the engine’s low and high RPMs.

In addition, you should check that there is no air trapped in the pump and that the hoses are not twisted since this might result in the engine experiencing substantial back pressure. Therefore, the power output may decrease.

● 5. Campbell Pressure Washer: Oil Leak

A worn seal is the most common cause of engine oil leaks. Changing the seal would usually resolve the problem. Sometimes an overfilled oil tank might mimic an oil leak.

You may purchase an oil seal kit to ease the replacement of different kinds of seals. Generally, all oil inlets on your engine are equipped with oil seals and are positioned on either side of the engine.

– How to Repair?

Remove the seal with a screwdriver and check its condition. If it displays indications of wear, I recommend replacing it. As a general precaution, you should avoid overfilling your oil tank, as this might result in oil seeping out from these inlets.

● 6. Campbell Pressure Washer: Water in Oil

The presence of water in the engine oil indicates that an oil seal is faulty. In this situation, you should replace the seal per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

When water is mixed with oil, the result is a milky mixture. A worn oil seal is one likely cause. Another less probable cause is a piston that has experienced significant fatigue. Due to mechanical wear, piston metal chips off with time, increasing the distance between the piston and the cylinder walls.

Consequently, water from the intake manifold that reaches the cylinder head may enter the crankcase and combine with the oil to form a milky suspension.

– Possible Solutions:

The seals and gaskets of your engine are prone to get damaged. Therefore, it is required to replace the seal/head gasket on the engine. If your engine is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer and request replacements. I would not suggest replacing your seals/gaskets by yourself and voiding your warranty.

If the warranty on your engine has expired, a professional can repair the seals. Check with the manufacturer to verify whether the engine is still under warranty if the piston has worn out. If this is not the case, the engine of your pressure washer will stop working after a certain time , and you may need to buy a new pressure washer.

Campbell Electric Pressure Washer Problems

The electric pressure washers by Campbell are generally suited for light-duty applications that are primarily domestic. Although discontinued, the models produced were the 1550, 1800, 1825, and 1900 PSI models.

Gas-powered pressure washers are more challenging to maintain than their electric counterparts. As opposed to a gasoline engine, an electric motor simplifies the operation of a pressure washer. Consequently, failure risk, noise, and pollutants are significantly minimized. This has boosted the demand for these pressure washers.

The next section of the blog article discusses specifics concerning Campbell electric pressure washers. The most typical issue with electric pressure washer motors is that they do not start or stop operation abruptly. Occasionally, the motor may emit a buzzing sound without delivering any power.

● Campbell Electric Pressure Washer not running

Check the fuse and ensure the electrical socket is functional if an electric pressure washer does not start. If the machine continues to be inoperable, the electric motor may be defective.

Check the following if your pressure washer’s motor is not operating:

– Step 1: Inspect the electrical outlet

Check the electrical outlet first if your electric pressure washer isn’t operating. Remove the washer’s cable and use a voltage tester to examine the outlet. Press the reset button if the pressure washer continues to fail. If the issue persists, check the fuse box’s circuit breaker.

– Step 2: Examine the Fault Circuit Interrupter

A voltage drop might have engaged the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Reset the GFCI after unplugging the pressure washer. If your pressure washer is damp and turns on when reconnected, allow it to dry before reconnecting. If, after drying, the pressure washer does not start, move on to the next step.

– Step 3: Examine the Extension Cable

Remove the extension cord from your pressure washer and immediately connect it to an electrical outlet. Ensure the plug is correctly inserted into the socket. If it now works, the extension cable was likely the cause of the issue.

– Step 4: Inspect the Fuse

Check the machine’s fuse or the socket’s fuse if the electrical outlet is operational (with a bulb or other device plugged in). If you cannot locate the fuse, see the owner’s handbook. Replace the blown fuse to restore motor functionality.

– Step 5: Examine the electric cable

If the pressure washer continues to be inoperable, the power cable may be faulty. This problem might be remedied by changing the power cable. However, you must first determine if the warranty on your pressure washer is still valid. You may either replace the cable on your own or ask a professional for help if you cannot.

– Step 6: Examine the Capacitor

The motor of a pressure washer with a defective capacitor often emits a buzzing sound. If this is the issue, you may replace the capacitor. If you lack the skills for this, you should look for some professional assistance. If the pressure washer’s motor does not start after attempting the procedures mentioned above, we may infer that the motor has failed and must be fixed or replaced by the manufacturer.

● Campbell Electric Pressure Washer Motor Stops

The most common causes of a pressure washer motor stopping are a faulty socket or capacitor. A voltage drop in the main plug might sometimes cause the machine to shut down.

When the voltage drops below a certain threshold, the motor shuts off. To confirm this, measure the voltage of the socket using a multimeter. Depending on your region, the voltage requirements for pressure washers vary. Pressure washers are generally powered by voltages ranging from 140V to 240V.

If the voltage is adequate, but the washer would not start, it may be necessary to replace the capacitor. It is characterized by a motor that produces much less power and buzzes. After replacing the capacitor, the pressure washer should be restarted. Contact the manufacturer if your pressure washer will not start to have the faulty electric motor repaired or replaced.

● Campbell Electric Pressure Washer Motor Makes a Buzzing Noise

A buzzing sound from the electric pressure washer’s motor suggests a damaged capacitor or a significant pressure buildup in the system. There may also be a problem with the pump.

  • Capacitor: A defective capacitor is the most common cause of motor humming. Insufficient charge storage causes a reduction in motor RPMs. Replace the capacitor to see whether the buzzing stops.
  • Low Voltage: If the input voltage is below the functioning range of the pressure washer, the motor may not operate at the right RPMs and buzz.
  • Pressure Buildup: When the spray cannon is not in use, the water pressure in the hoses builds up. This causes substantial back pressure on the pump and motor, decreasing rotational speed. To relieve the engine’s pressure, hit the release button on the spray gun.
  • Damaged pump: If pressure washer pumps are not properly maintained, they are liable to fail, resulting in engine overheating due to inadequate pump pressure. Be careful to lubricate your pump to ensure its endurance and lifespan routinely.

Campbell 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

● Campbell 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.

● Campbell 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.