Me and the Mantis

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by coventry49, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. coventry49

    coventry49 Well-Known Member

    Nov 28, 2003
    South Central Montana, foothills of the Beartooth
    I borrowed a Mantis mini tiller from a friend at work, so I could get my brand new garden space tilled and ready to go for the upcoming planting season. I was so excited, since I've heard so many good things :sing: about this little powerhouse of a tiller, and wanted to see for myself just what the little miracle machine could do for me.

    So yesterday morning I took the Mantis tiller out to the back yard, looked it over, and decided that it didn't look too difficult to use. It sure was light enough! Added some gas/oil mix, pumped the primer, set the choke to "open" and pulled the starter cord... And pulled the starter cord... And pulled the starter cord... And pulled the starter cord....... Nothing.

    I primed it some more and played with the choke. And pulled the starter cord... And pulled the starter cord... Still nothing.

    I pulled off the air intake cover, wiped down the little doodads under it, checked the fuel lines. And pulled the starter cord... And pulled the starter cord... STILL nothing. :bash:

    My back was now aching, so I put the blasted thing down and went inside to go online to find out more about how to start the Mantis. :help:

    I went to, a wonderful gardening resource and set of forums, where I proceeded to read post after post of how people LOVED their Mantis tillers, except for the fact that the gas-powered ones can be nearly impossible to start. No real answers there, except that many of these Mantis users had traded the gas powered ones for the electric tillers, and loved them without exception.

    So in desperation, I went to eBay and bought me one. Just like that. I had to get my garden done properly this year, no matter what I went through to do it. But the newly purchased tiller would not arrive until next week, at the earliest. :Bawling:

    I took a couple of Advils, and let my back loosen up for a few hours, leaving that evil machine glistening in the sun, beside the garden. It lay there mocking me every time I stepped outside. It called me by name. I called it names. :grump:

    Finally, the Advil started to kick in, and I got brave. Slowly, I sidled up to the beast, gazing down at its fiery red body, its sinuous long handle bars, and the grim black hand grips, accented by the throttle...and what was that? A little red switch just above the hand grip...Why hadn't I noticed it before???

    In a moment of inspiration, I flipped that nefarious switch, pumped the primer button, set the choke, and pulled the starter cord....and pulled the started cord....What was that!? A little rumble of life? Again, I pulled that cord with renewed vigor, and again a little rumble. Two more times on the cord and that stubborn machine finally grumbled into action! :dance:

    The next half hour that little machine really proved its worth on my virgin-ground garden. I got one 4 x 30 bed pretty well completed and started on the next bed. But my back started to complain again, so (just loving this wonderful little workhorse :angel: ) I decided well enough for one afternoon.

    It is with great hopes that I can coax it to life again today after work, so I can continue on my garden space. I hope to have everything done by tomorrow evening, if it doesn't rain by then.

    Even so, I still have the electric one that I bought coming in this weekend. I'm sure I will still find a use for it.... :rolleyes:

    A true story from Barb in Montana :p
  2. swamp man

    swamp man Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2005
    Fairfield, Iowa
    Hi,Coventry49.I have never used the mantis,but with a 2-cycle engine,the choke should be in the closed position for a"cold start".When you hear the first grumble,open the choke,and fire that thang up.Congrats on your new garden plots.Happy growin'-

  3. Lynne

    Lynne Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    Hey I really like my Mantis - however I found after a couple of years it was a lot easier to start if I let it warm up for a hour in the sun. My husband say's that it shouldn't make a difference, but it sure seems to work for me.
  4. manygoatsnmore

    manygoatsnmore Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feb 12, 2005
    SW WA
    I've had 2 of the gas Mantis tillers, one from a garage sale and one I bought new. Never could get the garage sale tiller to start, the new one worked fairly well for 6 months and then got progressively harder to start. I eventually traded it in under warranty for the electric model, and I LOVE IT!!

    My ground is full of rocks and roots, and the gas one had to be shut off and restarted every time a rock got stuck (every couple minutes :grump: ). With the electric tiller, it's SO much easier. Just take my finger off the trigger, clean it out, and press the trigger again. I can wholeheartedly recommend it, expecially for someone who doesn't have a lot of upperbody strength to pulling on a 2-cycle engine.

    Psst! Anyone want to buy a garage sale gas Mantis, cheap? :D
  5. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    northcentral Montana
    I love my Mantis, too, but I seem to be the only one in my family it won't act up on! Besides doing all that Barb said (switch on, choke closed, primer pumped, etc.), I find that if after 2 or 3 pulls it doesn't start, I open the choke a little and give the throttle a little gas while pulling the starter. It usually roars to life right away.

    This technique works on my elderly string trimmer, too.
  6. kathy H

    kathy H kathyh

    Dec 9, 2002
    I never have a problem starting mine[ except when I have forgotten to turn it on].On mine when its trys to start I take choke off and lightly apply just a little pressure to throttle then pull again, starts right up.
  7. misslinda

    misslinda Well-Known Member

    Apr 6, 2005
    I've been wanting to get a Mantis and I have decided to get one THIS year for sure!! But.....I have a real dumb question that I hope somebody can answer. When working the tiller into your ground....are you walking it forward or do you have to walk backwards with it? I have the video and it really doesn't show which I've been wondering. Can somebody please answer this question for me? Thank you!!!
  8. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    If you want then little tillers to dig well, you need to drag them backwards. If the soil is really soft they will dig going forward. I had a Ryobi. Worked great for 2 years. 3rd year the carb wasn't doing it's job, so two different mechanics worked on it. They both put new rebuild kits in it. Wound up giving the sucker to a man who thought he could get it to work. JUNK is spelled RYOBI>>>
    Bought an electric Remington. Starts every time.