Small Gasoline Engine RPM Fluctuates

I have a 31-ton hydraulic log splitter powered by an 8 HP Briggs & Stratton gasoline engine. It's about 7 years old and we split about four cords a year.
Several weeks ago, it wouldn't start. I changed the oil and replaced the fuel filter, air filter and spark plug. I also took off the "pot" under the carb that holds the gasoline and float, cleaning that out; there was a little scum as if there had been water in there somewhere along the line. I started it up and ran it for a few minutes, then shut it off.
This afternoon it wouldn't start until I shot some ether into the carb and fiddled with the choke a bit. When it finally started running, we began to split some logs. Although it split well, we both noticed that the engine RPM was fluctuating noticeably, something it never did before to that degree. After about six logs and ten minutes, it stopped dead and wouldn't start again.
Any idea as to what might be causing this?
Paul
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I would take that bowl (pot as you called it) off try and inspect for contamination, you may still have water in the fuel system. also make sure before you reassemble allparts are clean the float is properly adjusted and go from there. After that it could be a number of things mis adjusted carb air / fuel mixture, worn carb throttels shafts, carb / govenor links/ springs are damaged or missing , plugged airfilters, ect. Good luck

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On Sun, 24 Feb 2008 17:53:59 -0500, "Pavel314"

Paul, Why not take it to a small engine repair shop and have it serviced for once in its lifetime? Its given you plenty of good service now return the favor to it. Bubba
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wrote:

Or, invest some time and learn to fix it. Leaving you ready when it happens again. These motors are not that complex.
O.P. - Either the carb has a problem (plugged jet, stuck float, etc) or you didn't adjust the choke appropriately. You did replace old fuel with fresh?
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Sounds like it may be running lean and searching.
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