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Hello, Peter. You have an old, original Lawnboy there. The black sludge is probably oil from the gas/oil mix that was more than likely left in the tank. Start by cleaning that out along with the carburetor. Be very careful when taking the carb apart. Might be some delicate parts in there due to the age and condition of the machine, but all are still available if you look in the right places.

Good Luck! (And welcome to the forum!)
 

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A Lawnboy dealer might be the best place to start. From there, Ebay, NAPA (great place to buy replacement coils for these machines), other enthusiasts.

I would try cleaning the gas tank with carb cleaner, then put some rust remover in the tank, or about 50 small nuts and washers and some water. Shake around until the rust appears to be cleaned out. Then rinse it really well. Also, you can put some vinegar in the tank and leave it overnight.
 

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