I emailed Dave and quickly had a diagnostic appointment in which we talked through some basic troubleshooting and came up with a plan of attack. Dave emailed me over the weekend to let me know he couldn't resist poking around a little, had identified what we needed to work on, and gave me a short list of specific parts to buy (and exactly where to buy them) before our work appointment.
It turns out my issue was largely due to missed maintenance, but Dave took time to explain both how to fix the issue I'd created and take proper steps to avoid it in the future. In addition to best practice maintenance (oil change, cleaning filter, gas storage), I also learned some "basics 2.0" items like spark plug gap spacing, applying the recommended torque when installing a new plug, troubleshooting and draining a carburetor, etc.
Not only do I feel a lot more informed and empowered to tackle engine issues in the future, I had a blast hanging out with Dave and learning from him. In addition to being an expert, he's a super easy-going guy and a gifted instructor.
I'm lucky to live near WrenchMonster, but it's worth the drive even if you don't. Don't hesitate to reach out to Dave on any engine issues big or small.
- Wyn Gregory
(Yes, the post title is a dad pun....for which Wyn bears no responsibility. - ed.)