External Engine Inspection

This inspection can give clues to what problems might be found inside the engine when it is disassembled.

NOTE: It is good practice to drain oil at a location away from the workbench. Make sure to allow ample time for complete drainage.

Before cleaning or disassembling the engine, thoroughly inspect its external appearance and condition.

  • Check for buildup of dirt and debris on the crankcase, cooling fins, grass screen, and other external surfaces. Dirt or debris on these areas can cause overheating.
  • Check for obvious fuel and oil leaks and for damaged components. Excessive oil leakage can indicate a clogged or inoperative breather, worn or damaged seals or gaskets, or loose fasteners.
  • Check the air cleaner cover and base for damage or indications of improper fit and seal.
  • Check the air cleaner element. Look for holes, tears, cracked or damaged sealing surfaces, or other damage that could allow unfiltered air into the engine. A dirty or clogged element could indicate insufficient or improper maintenance.
  • Check the intake manifold throat for dirt, which would further indicate that the air cleaner is not functioning properly.
  • Make sure the oil level is within operating range on the dipstick. If it is above, sniff for gasoline odor.
  • Check the condition of the oil. Drain the oil into a container; it should flow freely. Check for metal chips and other foreign particles.