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Briggs Stratton Plastic Intake Manifold

By: Author John Cunningham. Published: 2019/05/26 at 9:36 am

This post is a follow on from the surging mower post where we replaced carburetor gaskets on the Briggs & Stratton classic engine (a common fault). If you missed it, you can check it out here “Lawn mower engine surging”.

This post covers the replacement of the Briggs & Stratton cross-over manifold pipe. The pipe is prone to cracking and is also a cause of surging, although not as common a cause of surging as the tank gasket which we covered in part one.

Surging symptoms include:

  • Surging
  • Misfiring
  • Running hot
  • No start
  • Cold start problems
  • Running rough

The Briggs classic 450/500/550 engines are fitted with a plastic intake manifold. It lives right above the cylinder head, and as you can imagine, it gets very hot. It’s not very common for them to fail, but when they do, it causes a vacuum leak (surging).

The manifold is basically a tube that carries the fuel/air mixture from the carburetor across the engine to the intake valve and can be replaced without much difficulty.

If you need video help, check out “Mower surging” in the repair video library. It walks you through the process step by step – removing the carburetor, armature, manifold, and refitting, including setting the armature air gap.

Fitting Intake Manifold Tips

Fitting the new manifold will mean removing the carburetor, engine cover, flywheel housing (pull cord assembly), and armature/coil. None of these components require special tools. However, a feeler gauge set would be useful.

A good socket set, pliers, and screwdrivers will do the job. When you’re fitting the armature/coil, you’ll need to maintain an air gap between the coil and flywheel, it’s simple and all covered in the guide below.

Often the gasket is really stuck firmly to the engine after you’ve removed the manifold; the Briggs manual will of course, tell you to remove it, but I don’t unless it’s damaged. Does that make me a bad mechanic?

Anyway, if you decide to remove the gasket, be sure to use a plastic scraper; otherwise, you’ll run the risk of scoring the face of the seat. You’ll also need to stuff a piece of clean rag into the cylinder head manifold port to prevent debris from dropping in on top of the valve.

You might find this page useful, “B&S surging repair tools and parts.” I have listed all the parts and tools you’ll need to complete the task of replacing the manifold.

Manifold pipe

Order – The manifold pipe has a few variations; remove your old one to match it against the new one before ordering. Check out the Amazon link below.

Amazon Intake Manifold

Crack – Damage is seen here in the wall of the intake manifold pipe. I have also seen the metal pull assembly come loose and wear through the top of the manifold pipe.

This damage will cause surging; the fix – replace the manifold pipe. Carburetor removed as per guide.

Cracked manifold pipe
Engine cover

Remove – To gain access to the manifold, we will remove the engine cover, blower & pull assembly, coil, and fuel tank.

Carburetor removal is shown here, or you can check out the video here.

Remove – Remove the bolt at the front and two at the rear on either side of the metal blower assembly cover.

Assembly pulls straight up; dipstick comes with it. No need to remove the cable attached to the front of the cover; place the assembly out of your way.

Blower housing
Coil removal

Remove – Remove the coil and governor flap by removing these two bolts. There is no need to remove the control wire attached; just set the whole unit to the side.

Clean – Blow away any dirt from the manifold. Remove both bolts from the intake manifold.

Ideally, the gasket should be replaced. However, they can be difficult to remove. In many cases, there’s no need to replace the gasket unless it is damaged.

Manifold pipe
new manifold

Fit New Manifold – Snug the new manifold into place; it’s plastic, so be careful not to overdo the tightening.

Refit Coil – The coils (also known as an armature) air gap will need to be set; a business card does the job.

Check out guide to fitting a coil which includes pictures, or see the video here.

Coil fitting

That’s it, you’re Golden!