Ask the Mechanic

Polesaw Primer Predicament

Polesaw primer bulb (Steve Thompson)

PROBLEM: The polesaw won't run right or not at all. Hint: The primer bulb is leaking.

STEVE'S SOLUTION: The primer bulb on a small engine does the same thing as the transfer pump on a big diesel tractor. It simply draws and pushes fuel into the carburetor for easier starting. This makes for quicker starting than some older machines that forced the carburetor to bring fuel from the tank to the carburetor. The primer bulb is mounted different ways. It can be held in place with a small plate with screws, or it may have a retainer ring to secure it. But, it must completely seal, or the engine will not run. Made of a flexible material, it can get hard in time and crack. If the primer bulb is leaking, you need to replace it.


-- Write Steve Thompson at Ask The Mechanic, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email, and be sure to include your phone number.