What does running the motor without water damage?

3 months 2 weeks ago #1932 by Greg

I have a Troy-Bilt 020486 pressure washer (2.3 gpm, 2700 psi) with a Briggs & Stratton motor. Over the years I have run it without remembering to turn the water on (a habit I think I have finally kicked). It has not gotten very much total use. I haven't tried replacing the spark plug; could it be damaged excessively from running the motor without water pressure?

Once time it ran for 5 minutes without water. Starting last season, it usually wouldn't start without using starter fluid. Now, additionally, it won't keep running for more than a few seconds. The air filter is clean (never replaced). It is possible it ran for a while on low oil.

Is the damage most likely confined to the pump (i.e., only need a new pump)?

If not, what is likely to be damaged? I can't quite recall the original price at Lowe's, but I think it was in the neighborhood of $350. A self-installed replacement pump would be about $100. Not sure how much labor would be if I had someone else do it, but presumably it would bring the cost to fix it up to at least 50% the original cost of the whole unit.

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3 months 2 weeks ago #1938 by MTR-Admin

Thanks for the post Greg,

The engine and the pump are two separate entities, of course. The only way the pump can affect the engine is by putting to much of a drag on the engine so that it will not allow the engine to turn or rotate properly. This only happens when the pump is very worn or damaged causing it to mechanically bind or lock up. If the engine will run for a few seconds then it is probably a carburetor issue, it probably needs to be cleaned. There are very tiny passage ways or orifices in the carburetor that atomize the fuel for the engine to burn. When these become blocked the engine does not get the required fuel to run. The carburetor needs to be removed and disassembled and cleaned with carburetor cleaner and any damaged or worn gaskets and or seals replaced.

If the engine is running just fine and has been running, and you've ran the pressure washer without water running through the system, this can certainly damage the Pump; it needs water circulating through it or it can damage seals, gaskets and other components.

The first place to start is to turn the water on (after you get the engine running) and see if you get any water pressure through your trigger gun. If not, then the Pump may need to be replaced.

Hope this helps!

- MTR

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3 months 2 weeks ago #1958 by Greg

Thanks for the info!

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