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Craftsman Pressure Washer Problems: Engine & Motor Troubleshooting & Repair

Craftsman pressure washers greatly benefit both amateurs and professional power washers. These machines use either a gasoline engine or an electric motor to deliver a pressurized stream of water. If you own a pressure washer and experience problems with its performance, there’s a basic troubleshooting guide to help you tackle the issues for Craftsman pressure washers.

Craftsman Pressure Washer Problems: Engine Troubleshooting & Repair

If your Craftsman pressure washer engine doesn’t start or stalls, check the carburetor jets for blockages and inspect its air and fuel filters. Ensure that the tank vents are free and no vapor lock exists in the fuel lines. In the case of an electric pressure washer, the input voltage needs to be adequate, and the extension cable shouldn’t be faulty. If the motor gives a buzzing noise, check for a faulty capacitor, damaged pump, or a pressure buildup in the system.

Both electric and gas pressure washers are sold by Craftsman currently. This post will take you through the entire troubleshooting procedure for both these pressure washer types, and I will also discuss the steps to do these repairs by yourself.

Problems with the Craftsman Gas Pressure Washer Engine

A four-stroke petrol engine is used in gas pressure washers to drive the pump. The presence of the engine and the fuel system components raises the system’s overall complexity, thus increasing the maintenance requirements. This eventually makes these models more susceptible to problems.

Here are some of the common issues that can occur with your Craftsman pressure washer engine.

● 1. Craftsman Pressure Washer: Keeps Stopping and Starting

If your pressure washer frequently starts and stops, it might be due to a blocked carburetor jet or a vapor lock in the fuel lines. A faulty fuel filter might occasionally be the root of the issue.

Most engine troubles in pressure washers are caused by a malfunction in the carburetor or the filters. Due to stale fuel deposits, the carburetor jets are pretty likely to become clogged. As a result, the amount of gasoline entering the engine affects combustion, lowering the engine’s power output.

Besides the carburetor or filter blockage, a vapor lock is another common source of the problem. The constant buildup of fuel vapors within the fuel lines caused by a blockage in the fuel tank vents creates a vapor lock.

– Solution:

To fix the issue, you should thoroughly clean your carburetor’s jets using WD-40 or a carb-cleaner liquid. Ensure all flow passages have been cleaned thoroughly, including the bowl’s nut, which is a jet itself. Besides carb cleaning, you must inspect your fuel filter and replace it if required. I recommend you also clean the fuel tank’s vents from dirt to inhibit any vapor buildup that could induce a vapor lock.

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

If your engine doesn’t start, ensure the spark plug is in good working condition. If the problem persists, disassemble the carburetor and clean the ports using carburetor cleaner liquid.

Regular carbon buildup wears away spark plug electrodes, diminishing spark quality and making the engine startup difficult.

– Solution:

Examine the spark plug’s electrodes by removing the spark plug. Replace the plug if the electrodes look to be damaged. If the problems continue, consider inspecting the carburetor on your pressure washer. Remove the carburetor and thoroughly clean it to remove any leftover fuel. A carburetor repair kit containing a cleaning liquid to remove sticky residues can be used to aid with the repair.

● 3. Craftsman Pressure Washer: Engine Stops

If your engine begins to stall soon after starting, your air and fuel filters should be thoroughly checked and cleaned of debris. Check for vapor lock in the tank and ensure sure the carburetor is clean and properly adjusted.

The air and fuel filters keep foreign particles out of the carburetor. As a result, these filters become blocked with dirt regularly, altering the engine’s air-fuel combination and causing power loss.

– Solution:

To solve the issue, check these filters separately and clean/replace them as needed. If the problem is still there, inspect the gas tank for vapor lock and consider adjusting the carburetor screws.

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

If your engine is not producing sufficient power, check the water supply and ensure that the hoses are not kinked. Ensure that the air filter and carburetor jets are free of debris.

The air-fuel mixture may be too high if the engine isn’t creating adequate power. This indicates that the engine is receiving too much gas but not enough air to generate sufficient power after combustion. The problem might be caused by the carburetor, the filters, or both.

– Solution:

To guarantee enough air supply, inspect the air filter, which should not be clogged with dust. The carburetor’s L and H screws should be properly adjusted. These screws control the engine’s RPMs at both low and high speeds.

Additionally, ensure no air is trapped in the pump and that the hoses are not kinked, as this causes significant back pressure on the engine. As a result, it may not deliver enough power.

● 5. Craftsman Pressure Washer: Oil Leak

A defective seal is the most likely cause of oil leakage in your engine. In virtually all cases, replacing the seal would resolve the issue. In some cases, the oil may leak due to an overfilled oil reservoir.

You may buy an oil seal kit to help you replace seals as needed. These oil seals are found in the oil inlets. There are normally two inlets covered with caps on either side of the engine.

– Solution:

Remove the seal with a screwdriver and assess its condition. If it looks to be damaged, replace it. You should avoid overfilling your oil tank as a precaution since this might result in oil spilling from these inlets.

● 6. Craftsman Pressure Washer: Water in Oil

The oil seal is compromised if water enters the engine oil. In this case, you should replace the seal as recommended by the manufacturer.

When water is added to oil, it becomes milky. One probable cause is a broken oil seal. Another less common reason is a worn-out engine piston. Over time, mechanical wear causes metal to chip off pistons, increasing the space between the piston and the cylinder walls.

As a result, water entering the piston through the inlet manifold may enter the crankcase and mix with oil, forming a milky suspension.

– Possible Solutions:

If your engine is less than 5 years old, the problem is most likely with the seals/gaskets. 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 ask for this replacement. I would not recommend endangering your warranty by changing it yourself.

Check with the manufacturer to verify if the engine’s warranty is still valid in the case of a worn-out piston. If not, your pressure washer’s engine may need to be changed.

Craftsman Electric Pressure Washer Problems

Electric pressure washers require lesser maintenance compared to their gas-powered equivalents. Because of reduced system complexity with the addition of an electric motor, the likelihood of faults is reduced, as are noise levels and emissions. As a result, these devices have become rather popular in the market.

This blog post discusses the issues related to the starting procedure of electric pressure washers. The most common motor-related problem in electric pressure washers could be the motor not starting or stopping abruptly while in use. Sometimes, it might make a humming noise without delivering any power output.

● Craftsman Electric Pressure Washer not running

If an electric pressure washer does not start, check the fuse and ensure the electrical outlet is functional. If it still does not start, the electric motor may have failed.

If your pressure washer isn’t working, examine the following:

– Step 1: Look for Power Outlet Issues

If your electric pressure washer is not working, you should first check your outlet. Unplug the pressure washer and use a voltage tester or other equipment to examine the outlet. If it’s not working and you see a ‘reset’ button, push it. Check the circuit breaker in the fuse box if this doesn’t work.

– Step 2: Examine the Fault Circuit Interrupter.

A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) may have been activated due to the voltage drop. Remove the pressure washer plug and reset the GFCI. If it still activates when you attach your pressure washer when it is wet, wait for it to dry before trying again. If the pressure washer continues to stop after drying, there is a problem.

– Step 3: Examine the Extension Cord

Remove the extension cord from your pressure washer and try directly plugging it in. Make that the plug is correctly placed into the power outlet. If it now works, the problem was with the extension cable.

– Step 4: Check the Fuse

If the power outlet works properly (with a bulb or other appliance), ensure that the fuse within the machine or installed at the plug of its cord hasn’t burnt out. If you can’t find it, look in the handbook. If the fuse has blown, you must replace it.

– Step 5: Inspect the power cord

If it still doesn’t start, your power cord may be damaged. The problem might be rectified by replacing the power cable. Contact your pressure washer manufacturer to see whether the warranty is still valid. If not, you should think about adjusting the chord yourself.

– Step 6: Examine the Capacitor

A malfunctioning capacitor is usually to blame for a buzzing sound coming from your pressure washer’s engine. If you have the necessary skills, you may replace the capacitor. If not, get a professional to do it for you.

If the machine still doesn’t start, have the electric motor inspected and replaced if it’s still under warranty.

● Craftsman Electric Pressure Washer Motor Stops

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

The motor automatically shuts off when the voltage goes below a particular level. Check the voltage level in the socket with a multimeter. The voltage required for pressure washers varies based on where you live. Pressure washers may typically function at voltage levels ranging from 140V to 240V.

If the voltage level is correct, but the washer does not start, the motor’s capacitor may need to be replaced. Typically, it is characterized by your motor buzzing and not producing any power. Change the capacitor to an equivalent one and inspect the pressure washer motor again. Hopefully, it will restart now. If it still won’t start, the faulty electric motor needs to be repaired/replaced by the manufacturer.

● Craftsman Electric Pressure Washer Motor Makes a Buzzing Noise

If your electric pressure washer motor makes a buzzing noise, it indicates a faulty capacitor or too much pressure buildup in the system. A damaged pump could also be the cause of the problem.

  • Capacitor: The most common issue behind the motor making a buzzing noise could be a faulty capacitor. Due to insufficient charge storage, the motor RPMs get affected. You should replace the capacitor and see if it is fixed.
  • Low Voltage: If the supply voltage is lower than the operating range of the pressure washer, then the motor might not run at its designated RPMs and instead give off a buzzing noise.
  • Pressure Buildup: Sometimes, water pressure builds up in the hoses when the spray gun is not released. This exerts a back pressure on the pump and, in turn, the motor, which affects its rotational speed. Press the spray gun to release this pressure and see if the motor works.
  • Damaged pump: Pressure washer pumps can get damaged due to inadequate maintenance. In that case, the motor gets overheated as the pump fails to build enough pressure. Ensure you properly lubricate the pump’s pistons and plungers to ensure that it works. If not, consider replacing it.

Craftsman 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

● Craftsman 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.

● Craftsman 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.