Gosh. There are more neutral and negative ratings than positive. I have an operating Mantis Tiller, it was given to me in the early 90s, it was used and had been used hard from the mid-late 80s. And I donít mean once a year, but at least once a week in hard clay, mud, rocks, and the orneriest tree roots ever. It has dug many a hole and has been walked backwards who knows how many miles. I know because I saw it in use and knew the individual before me and I know how it was used with me. Thus it is probably 35 years old with 20-25 yrs of frequent use. The tines are the original onesócotter pins replaced umpteen times because I lose them. Folks who say they have issues with the tines breaking and bending - it seems almost impossible but I reckon they could be using thinner metal. And sharpening doesnít seem to be needed. It just seems indestructible. It has been in the shop twice - needed a new pull cord and something - kicked back, and the bad gas issue. It just never had a issue until ...the gas changed to the 10% ethanol. I believe there are 3 problems with these tillers and most is due to people. 1) folks donít pay attention on how to mix gas and oil for 2 cycle engines, nor do they pay attention to the manufacturers recommended ratio of 2 cycle oil mix to gas. They can range quite a bit- donít assume. (see website below) Mantis now has 4 cycle models so you donít have to make a mix. 2) The newer higher % ethanol gas has been the ruination of many a mechanical engine. Folks, you absolutely must keep fresh gas in your equipment and use stabilizer if it sits for more than 30 days. And for winter storage run it empty and store with completely fresh gas and or gas/oil mix or figure on doing a frequent tuneups and being eternally aggravated. 20+ yrs ago, the most you had to worry about with lawnmowers, tillers, chainsaws, tractors, etc, was the gas varnished up but most times you put fresh gas in, let it sit for little bit to dissolve the deposits and it fired up and if not, a tuneup would take care of it but usually wasnít an issue unless it sat for a couple of years in a hot shed and the gas evaporated into a gummy varnished mess. But todayís gas has such a high amount of ethanol that it turns bad fast. Ethanol is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water from the atmosphere. Water and ethanol are corrosive, which is bad news for older tanks, fuel lines, and carburetors. Ethanol can also do nasty things to rubber seals. To me, when ethanol gas goes really bad, it smells like a vase of old flowers where the greenery has rotted....phew! And according to several engine repair folks I know, they caution if you believe the stabilizers that proclaim to keep gas fresh for 18-24 months -they will get to make lots of money off of you or have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you. The recommendation is to always use stabilizer and try to make sure the gas is completely changed out at least once a month - preferably every 2 weeks as they have seen gas go bad in a month depending on storage, and quality including the quality of the stabilizer. Make sure to always mix the stabilizer into an empty gas can at the right amount not into the fuel tank of your equipment. Then for your 2 cycle engine, use the amended fuel to mix up the 50:1 gas/oil mix or whatever ratio your manual calls for in a separate empty can appropriately labeled 2 cycle so you donít forget - it is easy to do so. If you are reading this, then you can contact the company or look up the manual to get the right amount. Donít use auto motor oil (too many additives), only use 2 cycle mix, donít guess when mixing, put the oil in first, then the gas and shake well at each use. Donít mix up more than you can use in 30 days w/o stabilizer, or 3 Months with stabilizer if you start with fresh gas and stabilizer. Here are other great tips and how much to use mix to gas depending on required ratio from Gold Eagle (2 cycle tips): [[email protected]]
Then there is one final issue with Mantis that has been around forever. You heard me say, my Mantis has never had an issue (until the gas changeover and I had to learn) but that isnít to say I can start it. I very seldom can start it - and had problems even when younger (me). However, neither my brother-in-law, nor the next door neighbor (both @ 6í) ever had an issue - pull the cord once or twice and away she went. Iím 4í11, the girl I got it from was taller probably 5í6+. Another friend who used it...also tall...no issue. It was just me. Sometimes, once it was started and running, I could restart it as long as it didnít sit for long but not always. We are convinced it is the angle I pull the rope. Now, my grandfather and great-uncle - both good height men who had started everything under the sun - had difficulty. But I noticed they had more issues with all mowers, etc. where in their 80s and before certainly didnít. I believe due to issues with shoulders and backs (as I also have) they also pulled the rope at a different angle. The difference was they could finally start itó I never could. I loved this tiller, still do but I have to have someone start it for me. Thus it now sits because I hate to ask someone to drive across town to do so.
I know folks with the electric and cordless versions and they arenít on the same level as the gas engine ones. It really depends on your soil. What I don't understand is why Mantis hasnít come out with an electric start for this tiller. It is crazy with the growing senior population and the less mechanically inclined younger generation to not have an electric start on the gas engine as other companies have done. They have come up with a 4 cycle- donít know anything about it though. But I think the genius behind this tiller is itís 2 cycle walk backwards platform. Donít ask me why tines going backwards makes sense- I donít know and I donít like this but it works and digs like a son of a gun, chopping through roots, rocks etc. Now that isnít to say, you wonít still spend a lot of time cutting it off, pulling the spark plug, and unwinding the roots from the shaft. It is easy to pull the cotter pin, remove the tine and just slide the tangled mess off but I keep losing the cotter pin. I was buying them 5 at a time. Finally painted them red nail polish to help find where I put them down - works for a while til it chips off. Also discovered 2 pairs of garden pants had pocket holes.
Anyway, these tillers use to be great, and I wouldnít understand why the new 2 cycle type ones wouldnít be the same today. Like I say I have heard the electric/battery arenít the same for tough situations and I donít know anything about the 4 cycle. Maybe they are having them made out of cheaper materials but honestly I couldnít see why - there isnít that much material in them. I wouldnít hesitate to buy a used one if it runs - donít ever believe the ďit just needs a tune upĒ. If that is the case have them get it tuned up, if it runs, pay for the tuneup and the purchase, probably needed it anyway. If it doesnít run or they refuse - there is your answer - look elsewhere. If super cheap like $25 or somewhere under $50 and you work on engines -you might take a chance. A tuneup use to be around $60 but everywhere is different.
The big point I want to make if you want to buy one - is find a local dealer and make sure you can start one (cold) unannounced. If you have trouble but can start your mower etc, try a couple of times to get the hang and if you still canít get start one then you have a decision. Do you have someone to start it for you, if so, buy it. If not, you may have to get the electric type but donít expect it to perform the same - in my opinion. Second, make sure you follow the manual to the letter on everything but especially on the proper mix/gas ratio. Use stabilizer in your gas prior to making up your mix. All your equipment will run better. And then always run the equipment pretty empty but donít leave it to sit empty for the winter or any extended period of time without stabilized fuel. For storage over the winter you will have best performance if you use fresh from the pump gas mixed with fresh 2 cycle engine oil mix and fresh bought stabilizer (it expires too) and fill the tank as full as you can so that oxygen canít get it and you wonít have condensation. Donít forget to start it back up to pull the fresh everything through the engine and run a couple minutes. In the spring, it should start right up. If not, pull some of the fuel out into an empty container, add fresh gas in the tank, slosh it around, let it sit for a couple of minutes and try again - should start fine. Note, anytime any gas engine will sit more than 3 months and certainly more than 6 months - it should be emptied out and have your shop blow everything out so there isnít a drop of fuel sitting in it.
I hope this will help some folks. And donít forget to check the link above from Gold Eagle. And buy a high quality stabilizer with a unexpired date. The longer the date is from purchase, the fresher it is. Keep in mind the expiration date is for unopened product maintained in cool, dry, dark location. Itís like ultra pasteurized milk with a long ďuse byĒ datesóonce opened all bets are off and you have 5-7 days +/- for best taste. Donít store stabilizer in your hot shed, I keep mine under the kitchen counter and buy the smallest bottles to mix with the smallest amount of gas I know I will use in 30 days or less. It might not be as convenient but neither is having to take equip to the shop or tear it down in your garage and it is certainly cheaper for prevention rather than repair.
We've been using our Mantis electric for well over the five-year warranty period. Every spring it kicks up the soil in our small raised vegetable garden, mixing it with peat moss and/or compost to a deep, fine tilth. We get quite bit of production from a small space this way.
The Mantis may not be so great for breaking new ground or heavy tasks or big areas, but for annual maintenance tilling of smaller areas it's great. Ditto the edging attachment Ė it handles our sidewalk and driveway like a champ.
Sumatra01 Washingtonville, NY (4 reviews) July 11, 2016
As with many other companies that advertise a lot like Mantis does, they make things look so nice, and then it's a disappointment when you actually use it.
The tiller is very underpowered unless you're using it in the softest sandy ground(which we don't have),
it sends even the smallest gravel and twigs flying,
it jerks and bounces around dangerously if you hit a rock or hardpan,
the tines are low-quality metal and bent easily by any stone you many come across,
and the pull-start is the most impossible out of any machine I've ever had or seen. I would not recommend their tillers to anyone.
Just want to say the TwoManBand's explanation to clean the carb jets FINALLY SOLVED my problem. I was at my wits end. I'd rebuilt the carb, replaced the fuel filter, lines, primer bulb and starter switch. The machine continued to bog when I pressed the throttle. Using Twomanband's instructions, I removed the carb jets, cleaned them and replaced them. MAGIC! It works again. I can't thank you enough!
I'd like to give Mantis a Super rating! Back in early 1986, I bought my father a mantis tiller for about $300. He had had a heart attack and couldn't use the old large tiller anymore-he was 74 yrs. at the time. Dad passed away in '96 and I inherited the tiller! About 11 years later, the Mantis also passed away. I called the company about purchacing another, but wondered if I could get one that was easier to start than the old one. I had trouble adjusting the choke and at age 58, my arm got tired from pulling the starter rope! The wonderful lady I spoke to told me I could get an electric one that was more powerful than the gas model! I could also send in the engine off the old one and I could save $75.00!! I don't think the price of the electric was much different from what I paid in '86!! So, I got out my husband's tool box and got busy and mailed the part and my check and am happily tilling away today. I kept the edger that came with the original and use that on the flower beds. The only thing I don't use is the "kick stand" that came with the new one. I never seem to put the thing down once I get started!!
I want to thank Mantis for such a great product. They really know how to run a wonderful company and are very friendly to their customers. If you want a powerful small tiller, don't think twice, buy a Mantis! You'll be happy you did.
I inherited my Mantis 7222m tiller several years ago. I use it in a small garden for about 1 hour total each year. This year I experienced a strange problem.
It started fine - ran for about 1/2 hour. When I stopped to move some trash, the engin died and failed to restart. The plug was fouled so i assumed a flooding problem.
I went through all the maintence and it still wouldnt fire. I checked the plug wire with a voltmeter and couldnt get any voltage. So I figured it was a bad coil.
The next day I went to the garage to get my spade to do some hand tilling an decided to give the mantis a crank.
Guess what it started on first pull!!!! and ran fine but was ideling fast. BTW, the first thing I did was disconnect the kill switch.Could a coil revive itself after 24 hours sleep?
The Mantis is a fine machine, but the Orion engine seems to have some maintence problems.
Any comments would be welcomed.
beaker99 Portville, NY (1 review) February 13, 2012
I had a problem after running my mantis for over an hour. When I shut it down, it would start and run no more then 10 seconds. Remembering this is a 2-cycle engine, the first place I looked was at the spark arrester screen located under the muffler. Sure enough, It was plugged solid. No light at all looking thru. I removed the screen and used a propane torch to burn must of the residue off, followed by a light wire brush cleaning. After I reassembled the screen and muffler, I started right up and worked well for the rest of the season. Any 2 cycle engine may have this problem Chainsaws are notorious for this, Often the screen is removed and not even replaced. It is a 'safety???' feature, and runs fine without it. Hope this hint helps somebody. Happy Gardening!!
2manband Camp Hill, PA (1 review) February 1, 2012
It seems that a lot of the problems people are having center around carb adjustments on the 2 stroke model. I've just finished some carb work to bring my used Mantis back to life and thought some of my experiences would be helpful to others.
The biggest cause of failure for small engines like this is fuel breakdown and clogging, and the most common place for this to occur is in the carb jets. I'm guessing that at least half of the problems reported here are entirely due to this phenomenon. Fortunately on the Mantis, this is a fairly simple maintenance item:
Find the carb jets, and remove the red and white limiter caps. Mine popped off with a little help from a flathead screwedriver. Under the limiter caps is the head of the jet, which will probably have a flathead screw head. On some of these Zama carbs, there is a knurled screw with no slot - these require a special tool which is available from a lot of places online.
No matter what tool is required, get the one that fits properly. Don't mess up the jets by using the wrong tool. Apply the tool to the jet, and run it all the way in, counting the rotations. Don't overtighten it, and when you determine the existing number of rotations, write them down. Then pull both the high and low jet all the way out. I'm not sure if they're different or not, but it would be best not to get them mixed up.
Now you have access to the jet hole. You're going to want to clean this - this is the source of the problem. I used some Carb and Choke cleaner (aerosol can with a straw) to dissolve the gunk and then blew them out with my own breath using a coffee stirrer. If you have an air compressor, that would probably be even better. You'll know you have them cleared if you squirt in another shot of carb cleaner and it dribbles through into air intake (behind the choke flap) If the air isn't enough to do the trick, you could try a thin wire. I'd start with a soft metal like copper, and only turn to steel if that didn't work. The carb body is aluminim (soft) and you don't want to scratch or nick the orifice with a hard (steel) wire. But if you need to do that as a last resort, it's still possible - just be careful.
With the holes cleared, reinstall the jets. Run them in all the way, and then back them out by the number of turns you counted before. If you don't remember, or if they were way off, start with both jets 1 and 1/2 full revolutions out - that should get you in the ballpark.
Since you've gone this far, you might as well replace the spark plug (check the gap first), air filter, etc.
Start the tiller - you may need a shot or 2 of starting fluid or carb cleaner at first if the fuel lines got air in them while you were working. If it will run a few seconds with starter fluid, it should suck the air through and start picking up fuel. You may have to do this several times depending on how much air was picked up.
You may have to start it with the throttle on, or some choke, or whatever, but once you get it running you can fine tune the jets.
Start with the high jet. Find a way to safely run the engine at high rpm's, and give it full throttle. Move the high jet in and out until the engine achieves max RPM's, which should also mean that it's running very smoothly and not missing.
With that done, return the engine to idle. A good idle is a combination of idle speed screw and low mix screw. Start with the idle speed, and let it out until the engine idles without turning the tine shaft. Or if it won't idle, increase the speed by running the screw in until it idles without dying.
Now check the throttle response - how well does the machine move off idle and accelerate. If it does well, you're done. If it hesitates, or bogs down, or stalls while you're doing this, adjust the low mix screw (probably by letting it out) until you get a good response. Letting the mix jet out usually increases the idle speed, so you may need to let the idle speed out some to compensate.
If the engine starts well and responds well but is smokey at idle, or fouls spark plugs quickly (black, tarry deposits on the plug), the low mix is probably too rich, and you'll want to run the low jet in a bit.
If the engine runs well but overheats or stops working after a while, the high mix is probably too lean (this will also cause tan or white fine-crystaline deposits on the plug) You can coorect this by letting the high jet out a bit.
When you're satisfied with the adjustments, pop the limiter caps back on the jet screws and you're good to go.
Understand that all of these adjustments affect the others somewhat, so make them one at a time so you'll know how to go back if something makes it run worse instead of better. Also, these adjustments are fairly sensitive. A quarter turn to half a turn usually does the trick.
You can avoid this exercise for the most part by using fresh gas and running the machine dry when you won't be using it for a while.
It sounds like a lot, but once you do it the fist time, it will become very easy. You'll also find that the majority of small 2 stroke engines work in much the same way, and are prone to exactly the same problems. You can use this procedure to tune many of them.
I have had my Mantis 2-cycle tiller since 2007. I have had it in for repairs once. This year I went to start it and could not. I e-mail Mantis and got the standard reply. LOL
I called my repair shop and they agreed with Mantis that it sounded like cylinder varnish and wanted me to bring it it for repairs.
I started from scratch. I bought a gal. of new gasoline, fresh 50:1 oil and filled the Mantis. I could not get it to start. I finally got it to try and run, then flashed the choke several times while throttling the machine. Day one I could only get it going once for five minutes then nothing. Day two I was able to get it to run twice for five minutes each. Of course a lot of flashing the choke. Today I flashed twice and nothing. Closed the choke and it started and ran. I tilled 100 sq. ft. did a cool down run and shut it off.
I was determined that I could get it running myself and not have to take it in for repairs that cost $$$$. Shows that Mantis may sell their tillers but they don't always know how to get them running except repairs and more $$$.
Still all in all I love my Mantis. I bought it after trying to use a Troybilt pony. Mantis does a much better job.
Mostly I have loved my little Mantis, which I have had for 3 seasons, but have two significant complaints. First, the air filter nut came off and it is apparently a nonstandard size wing nut. Not finding one like it at any supply shop. Refuse to pay big bucks for one.
Second, and more important: there is/was a fault in the handle design. The kill switch is located so that if your tiller bounces even a little, your hand shuts off the tiller! Also, the handles want to flex too much, and pop loose the handle separator. Perhaps the newer models have fixed this.
I love the lightweight nature of this tiller, and it generally starts well. Had some trouble with it last year--had to have it worked on by a mechanic. But I, a person with moderate arthritis, can still use it pretty well except for the problems above.
I have had a non-Mantis little tiller in the past, from Sears, and it was a waste of money.
I have the 2 cycle tiller and for the first 3 years no complaints on starting or running .But now in the 4th year I was tilling my garden and it was working like usual but then it started bogging down so I clean the air filter and still bogs down. I took the filter off completely and still bogging down. It will run wide open when off the ground but touch soil and down it goes, no power. sounds like a chain saw with the chain stuck!
I took off the muffler and the screen was clear, checked the grease no problem there! The gas I was using was fresh and some of the same gas that was being used before, infact I put 2 other tanks full of gas prior to this thing bogging down!
whats up??? The plug is fine but I changed it out any way!
Bought a 2 stroke Mantis Tiller Jan 2009 and have used it 4 times (about 3 hours overall) with no trouble. Today I hit a foot long piece of duct tape which stopped the tynes dead. I cleared it with no great effort but now the tynes won't turn at all and I'm stumped. I bought the thing for it's simplicity and durability and I seem to have been wrong on both these points. It'll probably sit in the shed till I die or we move.
I have recently received a used 7222 Model 401702 tiller. It was stored with gas in the tank so, as apparently is typical from reading these posts, it won't start without some overhauling. Also it's missing the wire that goes to the start/stop switch. I will fix these things. It would be much easier with a real service manual which apparently Mantis does not make available (I did download the users manual from mantis.com). The lack of a service manual coupled with chronic failure to start is the reason for the negative rating. I emailed Mantis regarding the service manual and will update the rating if there's a reply.
Alfaduetto Greeneville, TN (1 review) June 10, 2010
Just repaired my neighbors Mantis tiller a 7222m, 2 cycle model. I think this is typical of most negative experiences I've read here. Fuel was left in during storage. as with any engine, gummed everything up. Cleaned the carb, changed the dissolved gummy fuel line filter and primer bulb, fired right up, idled, and revved as advertised. tilled my garden and it performed flawlessly. Finest garden tool I've ever seen.
Observation, when you store anything more than a month, ESPECIALLY 2 STOKES, drain the gas tank and run until the engine dies. Modern gas is worse than ever on lawn and garden equipment. Ethanol is a demon, it absorbs moisture making carbonic acid and eating everything aluminum and rubber. the gas part turns to varnish and plugs every little fuel metering orifice. Gasohol cannot be stored more than a month, never use old gas especially last years gas. Plastic gas cans and old antifreeze jugs are not gas resistant and add gummy nightmares to the mix as well. Metal cans for 2 stroke fuel will make your life so much easier. Be kind to your 2 stroke and it will be your friend. Bidding on an EBAY Mantis now, love the little diggers.
I have an electric Mantis . I have used it for the last 6 years and I absolutely love it. It always starts, being electric. It tills well. It can take some abuse and continues to work It is the best tools purchase I have made (other than my high quality pruners)
When the Mantis tiller is working its awesome, but my negative experience with starting it and keeping it running is similar to many on this post. I have never had problems with other 2-cycle engines. My $100 Sears trimmer uses the same gas (different oil mixture) and starts every time on the second pull (after choke). The Mantis is like a helicopter....plan to spend 2hrs maintaining it for every 1 hr you use it. Its not for a gardener, its for someone who enjoys tinkering with engines.
This spring will start the 21st year that I've used my Mantis Tiller for garden prep and lawn care. I can't imagine a more useful tiller, and I really like the dethatcher attachment. I've lent my tiller to friends, convinced others to buy one, and I've done a fair amount of charity tilling for neighbors. The reactions are almost universal: first, folks can't believe that such a little tool can do so much; then, as soon as they see it perform, they can't believe how wrong they were. I really think that using the Mantis Tiller is more fun than work. It doesn't always start on the first or second pull; but, it always starts. And, it always performs!
manuretea Medina, OH (Zone 5b) (10 reviews) October 18, 2008
Thirteen years ago I purchased the 2-cycle Mantis. It was a workhorse. My neighbor borrowed it while I was at work and an elderly dying neighbor borrowed it from her and tuned it to his liking. It never was the same. Last year I purchased a 4 cycle Honda engine Mantis. I've used it three hours tops. It runs about 30 seconds and cuts out. The two local sales stores won't touch it. It should be warranty work. I have called Mantis several times and they won't help either because I didn't purchase it from their factory store. The least they could do is provide a service manual so I can trouble shoot. Huge waste of $450.
medinac Bensenville, IL (Zone 5a) (1 review) September 2, 2008
I had to decide between neutral and negative and decided on negative. Not that everything about the Mantis is negative, because it is a great little lightweight machine that performs well for small home gardening jobs. We have a Mantis 2 stroke. I have always been able to do my own tilling with it without my husband's help and actually enjoy using it. Even my 13 yr. old son could use it. It performed great for about 2 seasons, with me starting it myself. After that I had to have my husband start it because I just couldn't get it going. It got progressively worse to the point it just wouldn't start no matter the adjustments etc. made. We finally took it to a Mantis authorized repair shop. It worked the season after the repair and now it's the same old thing again. My husband does everything the manual says to do as far as mixing the gas and maintenance. We're not spending the money for another repair. I debated buying the Mantis 4 stroke with the Honda engine but I'm a little nervous about buying another Mantis. So, we've decided to just buy a new Honda FG110 4 stroke locally direct from Honda who can do their own repairs if needed (hopefully none will be necessary)! No more mixing gas, horay! And, it's only 5 more pounds so I should be able to start and use it myself.
I've owned a Mantis 2-cycle tiller since 1998. Since new, I've used Opti-2 synthetic oil with stabilizer in the fuel. Some years I've drained the tank; others I haven't. Regardless, it starts every year with about three pulls of the cord, whether the fuel's new or has been stored for eight or nine months. This year, the tiller started and idled as smoothly as ever, and I tilled the garden area with last fall's fuel. Two weeks later, I tried tilling a new area and the tiller stalled as soon as I tried to increase the fuel. Ten years' service with no maintenance is pretty good.
Now, I've readjusted the carburetor according to the instructions, changed the fuel & oil filters and cleaned the muffler screen. The same fuel runs great in the chainsaw, and the Mantis still starts and idles beautifully, so I don't believe it's the fuel, but I changed that for fresh anyway. Same thing: it won't take gas without gagging and stalling - acts like the fuel filter's clogged.
So, I bought a carburetor rebuild kit from the Mantis folks - they were helpful and the parts arrived UPS in the US in a timely manner. But, Mantis offers no instructions on rebuilding the carburetor, and I found this forum while searching for rebuild information online. I'm not a mechanical dunce, but I've never rebuilt a carburetor before, and I'd feel a lot more confident with some guidance. Does anyone know where to find an in-depth maintenance manual for this great little engine?
Overall, my experience with the Mantis is just wonderful. It replaced an 8-hp Troy-Bilt Horse that I used to beat myself half to death with every year, and the Mantis is a joy to use. I get far more work done with it with far less physical effort than I had to put in with the Troy - and with far less fuel. Troy's picture of "one-hand tilling" is something I never experienced. It actually threw me over the handlebars once. Give me a Mantis any day, even one that's misbehaving.
I have found the solution for the difficult starting and running of the Mantis tiller.
1. Use new gas with a high quality oil, I use John Deere brand.
2. Follow the manual instructions on adjusting the carb. I did this and now my machine runs just fine. Still a little hard to start, but it runs. That's all, simple. I do follow the storage instructions, and I also run the engine out of gas so there is none left in the carb.
I bought the Mantis tiller last year and have used it a lot. I love the little thing and call it "Mighty Mouse". The only problem I have is starting it, because I just can't seem to get the pull action right. If I have my husband start it first and let it run a bit, it's pretty easy for the rest of the day. I am in training to get better at starting it!! It's a great little machine with the heart of a giant. I have to remind myself not to try to use it for really huge tilling jobs... for those I hire someone with an industrial size machine!
I have run numerous 2 cycle engines for years from 3 cylinder 2 cycle SAABS, to Lawn Boy mowers chain saws and small trimmers and a Mantis tiller with a dethatcher.
Most of the people with hard starting problems don't say what kind of 2 cycle oil they are using or if their using the 50:1 mix ratio. This could be most of their problem. Some oils can do funny things to floats and passage ways in carbs when the gas evaporates out. Carbon based oils will leave waxes if allowed to stay in the carb with out gas. Even though Mantis says to drain the tank and push the bulb, I do not believe all the oil gets out and once the gas evaporates only the oil is left with it's waxes which harden up.
People that have trouble with spring starting may try Amsoil synthetic 2 cycle oil. Mantis says almost nothing about their oil as to whats in it or who actually makes it. Dealers have told me it's really Echo oil, it may be or not. In fact they don't even put the mix ratios on the little bottle. I don't believe it's a gas problem. I have an old 1978 mtd snowblower I leave gas in all year around and has never had a cleaner or even been apart. Always starts 2nd pull the next winter.
I haven't had any starting problems or running problems with my 2 cycle Mantis and just love the way it dethatches. On April 8th, 2008, HUBS added the following:
Just an additional comment. Over the years I have left my gas and oil mixture in my tanks and engines and they have always started. I have not had one failure this way. On an old lawn mower I had with a Briggs engine I drained the gas one year and after winter it wouldn't start. The trouble was the valve stuck to the valve seat in the carb and couldn't move. After that I always left gas in the tank and carb and have not had any spring start up problems since.
I bought a mantis two stroke tiller just a month ago. After I bought it I read all the feedback on this site and was kinda bummed out as there was alot of negative feedback. My own wife laughed at me when it got here. She said it looked puny and said I wasted my money. Well she was wrong, it was money well spent. My soil is a DG type soil that is a bear to dig in, compacts pretty hard. At first it took me awhile to figure how to dig with it as it bounced alot. Well you just gotta slow the speed down, it will even loosen and move hand sized rocks outta your way. I double dug my veggie beds with it. So if your thinking about this tiller my advice is get it, do the routine maintenance, use fresh gas, and take your time learning the best way to run it and smile all the way to harvest. Thanks for a great product you now have a loyal customer.
hlgable Spartanburg, SC (1 review) November 18, 2007
A REAL GARDENING TIP:
If you want your tiller to start year after year (as well as other gas-powered lawn equipment, be sure to use a gas-preservative. I use it in all my equipment YEARLONG and everything starts, no matter how long it sits and even if the gas has evaporated from the tank.
I've had my Mantis Tiller 5 years. It did OK the first year as I tilled all of our flower beds and the edger did OK, too. After being stored during the winter - per instructions - it wouldn't start the following Spring. I was finally able to get it to go, but it would constantly die out. So I tilled and tilled and noticed that it took twice as long the second year as the first. I firmly believe what a fellow garden club member told me and that was that the engines used, even though made by Briggs & Stratton, are too small. There is no good reason to rebuild the carburetor every year and the engine every three to four. There are better things to do with your time especially after forking out $400 bucks for a machine that is supposed to be trouble free. I had a similar problem with a small gas Craftsman gas edger I bought. That was rebuilt after six months under warranty. That was the first piece of c r a p to get dumped. With the Mantis, I drained the gas and personally dropped IT into the garbage truck last Monday. My son bought a small Honda tiller four years ago. It has started year after year after being stored in his garage WITHOUT using Sta-Bil. I used it this year after cussing out the Mantis. The customer service people are OK, but all they offer is what is in the manual - verbatum. They're there because they have to be. Out of warranty? Oh well.
pfgrill Banglamung, Thailand (2 reviews) September 14, 2007
I just ordered parts for the Mantis tiller. I went to the Mantis UK website and the different models were listed. Picked my model and parts diagrams and parts checklist made ordering the parts easy. They were a pleasure to deal with.
We've had our Mantis tiller for 10 years. I'll bet in all of that time, we've been able to actually use it 6 times--and 3 of those were cursing at trying to start it. Now the compression is about 33 psi. Customer Service says it is supposed to be 120 psi. With such little use, how can the engine be worn out?
I've had the carb rebuilt before a few times. I read on another forum that the carb manufacturer recommends an annual rebuild. If I get get a good used engine off eBay, I might keep it, else I will junk it and buy another brand.
Overall, I'm disappointed. We really didn't get the use of the tiller, especially when it was only ever used a few times in the Spring. When the company moves to offering its product with a Honda engine in order to stay competitive, that's a consideration.
My wife is the primary user of our Mantis tiller and she loves it. The issue I have, since I am the one doing repairs and mantainance on it, is the problem with obtaining parts.
I have part numbers from the manual but:
1. Mantis doesn't have any way to order the parts on the web
2. Their search engine doesn't even respond when you enter "parts" so even having p/n is of no value.
3. Even when you send email with the part information as a request for pricing they don't answer.
It appears that they are only interested in selling new units and once you have made the purchase there is no such thing as Customer Support.
Joe_Mama Clarendon Hills, IL (1 review) August 29, 2006
The Mantis tiller is a simple, durable mini-cultivator. There are many similar machines on the market; Mantis has an edge over some of them with various aspects of its design, but they're all generally the same. You couldn't ask for a simpler, easier-to-maintain machine. If you think you need a degree in mechanical engineering to perform routine maintenance on a simple, tiny, two-stroke engine, then you shouldn't own a tiller, or any gas-powered equipment, for that matter. If you can't follow simple pictorial instructions and bolt a handle on a piece of equipment without installing it upside-down, stay inside and watch golf on TV. I've run my Mantis for years, torn it down and rebuilt it, and continue to use it almost every weekend- all without the benefit of manuals, advice, or a mechanical engineering degree. I'd be embarassed to post some of the comments I've seen if I were so inept I couldn't repair or operate what amounts to perhaps the simplest gas-powered device on the market. Mantis makes a good product that requires nothing more than common sense and basic tools to maintain. As in most cases, the biggest flaws in the product are incompetent, inept users.
lafko06 Brimfield, MA (Zone 5a) (27 reviews) June 8, 2006
I am giving a neutral because I have owned and operated my Mantis tiller for 3 years. It works exceptionally well, however, I did not look for any other produce before purchasing the mantis. My initial reason for getting this product was that it "weighs less than ten pounds." However, after my purchase, I found that at Home Depot, they had similiar weighted tillers for a lesser cost. If I could go back in time, I would not get the Mantis, I'd go to Home Depot where I have always had great success.
I have owned my Mantis Tiller for 9 years. I have worked this little machine to death. I use it to maintain a 60 x 40 garden & also use it to edge all of my planting beds, sidewalks, driveway & brick paver walkways. This tiller goes until I can't take anymore. If one does their own basic maintenance- such as spark plugs, grease, shot of carb cleaner now & again. It will run trouble free. With the type of carberator system that this tiller has, the oil & gas mix must be fresh & properly mixed. I use a 50-1 mix, keep the air filter clean & have no problems in starting or running, I find it very easy to adjust the carberator by turning the adjustment screws. I believe most of the problems that people have are fuel mixture related, as my Mantis never fails to answer the call.
If you are considering a Mantis Garden Tiller that uses a two-stroke engine, please be prepared to go to school for mechanical engineering to perform the maintenance the Mantis requires to keep operating. This garden tool gives me bad dreams when I know I have to use it. If maintenance is performed to the letter, it may start up and run for you. It may NOT. The customer service people at Mantis only know how to tell you to take it to an authorized dealer, or send it back to Mantis and pay the freight. The two-stroke fuel and a finicky carburetor is the primary culprit to keeping it running. There are other issues, but the fuel and carburetor is the worst. Gasoline must be fresh ( I have never seen an expiration date on Gasoline) or it will gum up the carburetor and will not start. Don't even THINK about adjusting the carburetor as it takes an expert to do this. The owner's manual is very ambiguous about this. This tiller is the same as the Echo version for your information. If you can keep it running, it's a great garden tool. I gave up on mine and gave it to my Son-In-Law who is a mechanical engineer by profession and he also agreed ithat maintenance will cause you heart aches.
The Mantis tiller is one great garden tool if you are a mechanical engineer specializing in gas engines. The Mantis works well, when it runs. It is a maintenance nightmare to keep it operating. For one, it is extremely tempermental. You can't use gasoline older than a few weeks old ( how many gardeners keep gasoline in the shed for weeks & months? see what I mean) You have to "drain" the fuel tank after each use and completely "dry" out the carburetor if you don't use it for a few days. The fuel system clogs up if it sits for more than a week. Trying to read the owner's manual to keep up with routine maintenance ( the Mantis is ANYTHING but routine) requires a PHd in physics and mechanican engineering. On the plus side, IF you can keep the Mantis running, it's a great tool.
Toughest little machine i have ever seen, I have dug trenches, holes, tilled a garden. Its always earger to go. If I thought they were going to stop making them i would rush out and get an extra/ Scotty
As a dealer of Mantis Tillers I would recommend that users of these little workhorses use only fresh gas that has not been out of the pump for more than a month or so.
The fuel formulations that we are forced to use in the northeast derive their octane from ethers that evaporate quickly. I have the best luck with storage if they are run out of fuel. Do not store the tillers with fuel in the tank. This will assure that the carburetor and fuel filter are not gummed up when you are ready to use the tiller next time
Little beauty is four years old and still works like a charm. Each winter I leave it in the icy garage, and each spring it starts right up using last year's gas. It has never been serviced, and does everything it was advertised to do. It grinds through the worst clay as easily as through the sandiest loam.
When I bought it, the rep was friendly and knowledgeable, and it arrived quickly. And the company has never bothered me unless I initiate contact first.
Purchased tiller on line ,new in the box never used, but not from dealer. This is its second season used for our flower gardens and a (small) vegy garden. I thought it was the perfect m/c until it seized a connecting rod bearing this weekend. I have owned a power saws for the past 30 yrs. which were used every year to cut up our winter's wood and have never had a 2-cycle seize like this. I also own a homelite weed wacker which is a 2-cycle, and it is 8 yrs old and still runs strong, so mixing fuel is not an issue.The Mantis company will not sell me the parts I need for repair because I live in Canada. Referred to an Echo distributor who in turn referred me to a repair shop in my home town.Priced the part. (# A011000210) $290 can + tax. A new motor according to Mantis is $150 U.S. but they will not sell to Canada. I am now seeing a whole different picture reguarding the Mantis Tiller. Lots and lots of sales but no way to buy parts at a far and reasonable price. Infact I don't even know why they come with a parts list. So here I am looks like new but will not run. Maybe I will sell the good parts on E-bay and recoup some of my money. What are my other options so far ????
Back in early March I ordered an electric Mantis cultivator direct from the Mantis people. They said it was back ordered until the end of March due to a part the production department was waiting for. I received yesterday (4/10/06) a letter saying now it was still backorder and may by shipped April 27. I called Customer Service and they said their production line is still down - no part. I cancelled the order as I am afraid if I needed any replacement parts, the same story might ensue. Doesn't it seem strange to have your production line stopped for 2 months waiting for a part - where is it coming from? Mars? It just doesn't seem like a reliable company to me. I don't think this rates a negative review as I have not had the opportunity to use the product. But the Customer Service Dept. did not try to persuade me in any way not to cancel or nor did the gentleman try to convince me to switch over to their gas model. His attitude, although pleasant, was "fine - cancelled - have a nice day." There was no attempt to keep me as a customer. So I guess I'll check out other cultivators - maybe someone of them want my money. Too bad - I was looking forward to that little Mantis!
meade Mechanicsville, VA (1 review) March 12, 2006
my mantis when it starts works great but it has been a hard starter all its life...I'll bet I have spent $200 on service trips/bills to local repair shops...these two cycle engines seem to either run quite or some are hard starters all their life...my experience...I think I'll call Mantis tomorrow after having trouble with it bogging down today...