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4211 won't start

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Tryed to start a 4211 that was in the back of the shed.Put in a battery turned on the valve check the tank and there was fluid in it.Tryed cranking no start.Put some gas in the carb and it started right up for a few seconds then quit.Tryed it a few times same result.Does the fact that the liquid was clear and did not have any smell to it, have anything to do with it.I did drain the water out and it did start and run.Why don't these things run on water.I think it needs more octane in it.Bob

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