When to tickle


"Sons of Arthritus"
Jan 14, 2004
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When to tickle is another one of those Black Magic things about Amals.
Do it right, starts right up, do it wrong, you have drippy mess and / or fouled plugs.

Obviously, tickle when cold. I do it for a 3 count, just to the point of hearing the fuel top out in the tickler. If any drips, I wipe it off. Done correctly, it will be very minimal, if any.

The fun starts when one stops for awhile. More than 30 minutes, less than 2 hours.

Is the engine cold, do we tickle or not. Try to start without tickle, nothing, now tickle, flood the engine. You know the drill. And the more people watching, the more likely this will happen and the more kicks it will take.

The problem is, when we stop we turn the fuel off, do our thing and come back. The fuel starts evaporating from the heat of the engine. If it is a short period, no issues, long enough to empty the float bowl and it is an issue.
We turn the fuel on, and try to start the engine on an un full float bowl.
As we try to start, it is slowly filling up, then we try to tickle and flood it.
I have been saying we, maybe I should say I, because I have experienced this several times.

One solution is to leave the fuel on if it is a short stop. This will keep the carbs full. I realize this goes against the grain, but it has worked for me.
Apr 15, 2004
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So the gas evaporates? Interesting, i was wondering where it went. Shouldn't it refill fairly quickly once you turn the taps back on though?

The issue of when tickling becomes necessary again is a bit of a puzzle isn't it. How much does the engine have to cool down before tickling is needed? As you say, guessing wrong gives a flooded engine and frustration. And I suppose NOT impressing the admiring crowd (not an issue around here, people are too self-absorbed to even notice).


Ron L

Feb 27, 2004
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I'm not sure the issue here is actually evaporation. It doesn't re-start because the engine is cool enough to require a slightly richer mixture. Closing the enrichener (choke) should do it. Tickling it dumps raw fuel down the carb throat which either fouls (floods) the plugs or if your lucky enrichens the mixture enough for starting.

It does require more tickling at cold start due to fuel evaporation. It needs to fill the float bowl first, then flood a little fuel in the carb throat.