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the pump is driven by a push and pull effect from inside the crank case , anything can be causing the loss of suction and a pulse however that would also effect the cylinder even a bad crankshaft seal can effect that . The model engine you have has had a lot of issues with the rotary valve section having bad seals and allowing the oil to leak out of the rotary valve section of the crank case and cause some smoke that everyone in town would notice. I would get a reading on that section while it is cranking over and see but it is most likely a bad seal