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Q. Hope you can help. Seems like it would be something simple. I have borrowed a small, two-stroke engine woodchipper. It worked for a couple of hours (total, not consecutively) just fine then all of a sudden started backfiring like crazy. And continues to do so.

Extra info:
1) I put regular unleaded gas in it, like it instructs.
2) about 10 minutes before the massive backfire attack, a stick got VERY jammed; we took off the guard and manually pushed the blades backwards to free the stick. the chipper then seemed to have more power and enthusiasm compared to before the stick was jammed.
3) tried messing with the carburetor adjustment screw. it kept on backfiring.

Any ideas? Thanks!

A. Well, it's been a few thousand years since I worked on anything two-stroke, but I think I can help you.

One thing I do remember is this, a two-stroke engine will run backwards. By putting your hands in the blades and turning it backwards you could start the engine running and cause serious injury. Always pull the spark plug wire off and ground it anytime you need to get into something like this.

When you filled it with gas, did you add any oil to it? A two-stroke engine has no crankcase so you need to add oil to the fuel to lubricate the engine. No oil in the gas will cause serious problems like the backfiring you mentioned. Go to the parts store, get some two-stroke oil and mix it in the proportion indicated on the label. Hopefully the engine is not permanently damaged.

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