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Old 06-07-2014, 12:04 PM   #1
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lawn mower died, now won't start


Quick rundown of the problem:

- Roughly 10 year old Craftsman LT2000 with a briggs and stratton.
-I was building a new house last year so the mower sat for a year unused
-The lawn was ready to mow this year so i put a new battery and spark plug in it, and it wouldn't start. My father suggested covering the air intake with my hand to give it a better choke (to clear the gunk out) and that worked. I've mowed the lawn twice since then.
- The lawn mower started very hard today, had to sit still and run it on full choke for a while and it was spewing black smoke, backfiring, etc. Was then able to mow without issues.
- Shut it off because a friend stopped by and it wouldn't stop on it's own, it was coughing and backfiring and to get it to shut off i had to choke it out/
- Got it going and it ran fine for a while, then in the middle of mowing it died.
-Now it won't start at all, it's like it's not getting a spark or fuel, it's just spinning. The tank is full of new fuel.

Any suggestions? I was going to try a new plug first thinking maybe the backfiring fouled it but I didn't want to drive the 20 minutes to get one if somebody had another suggestion to try. I pulled the plug and it looks OK but I don't have a way to see if it's sparking.

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Old 06-07-2014, 12:24 PM   #2
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lawn mower died, now won't start


First of all how is your heart. If it is not good I would not try this because you might get a mild shock. To check the spark plug you need to put the wire back on the plug(assuming you took it off to get the spark plug out)and hold the metal side of the plug to something metal on the engine. Pull the cord or turn the key. It is best to try this in a dark area where you can see the spark better. If contact is lost during procedure between the plug and metal you will get a shock but you will know the electric system is working.

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Old 06-07-2014, 12:29 PM   #3
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lawn mower died, now won't start


Quote:
Originally Posted by mattsffrd View Post
Quick rundown of the problem:

- Roughly 10 year old Craftsman LT2000 with a briggs and stratton.
-I was building a new house last year so the mower sat for a year unused
-The lawn was ready to mow this year so i put a new battery and spark plug in it, and it wouldn't start. My father suggested covering the air intake with my hand to give it a better choke (to clear the gunk out) and that worked. I've mowed the lawn twice since then.
- The lawn mower started very hard today, had to sit still and run it on full choke for a while and it was spewing black smoke, backfiring, etc. Was then able to mow without issues.
- Shut it off because a friend stopped by and it wouldn't stop on it's own, it was coughing and backfiring and to get it to shut off i had to choke it out/
- Got it going and it ran fine for a while, then in the middle of mowing it died.
-Now it won't start at all, it's like it's not getting a spark or fuel, it's just spinning. The tank is full of new fuel.

Any suggestions? I was going to try a new plug first thinking maybe the backfiring fouled it but I didn't want to drive the 20 minutes to get one if somebody had another suggestion to try. I pulled the plug and it looks OK but I don't have a way to see if it's sparking.
Sure you have a way to see if it's sparking. Remove the plug, dry electrode with a flame if it looks wet, re-attach the plug wire, ground the side of the plug to the head and crank. One caveat of this method, it won't tell you if the plug will fire under compression.

To check for lack of fuel, remove the air filter and put about a teaspoon ( measured not just dump from the jug ) of gasoline directly in the carburetor throat opening. If the plug has good spark it will probably start and run for a couple of seconds. This will tell you basically there may be a fuel delivery problem to the combustion chamber through normal avenues and the carburetor may need cleaning.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:39 PM   #4
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lawn mower died, now won't start


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Originally Posted by Robpo View Post
First of all how is your heart. If it is not good I would not try this because you might get a mild shock. To check the spark plug you need to put the wire back on the plug(assuming you took it off to get the spark plug out)and hold the metal side of the plug to something metal on the engine. Pull the cord or turn the key. It is best to try this in a dark area where you can see the spark better. If contact is lost during procedure between the plug and metal you will get a shock but you will know the electric system is working.
In my younger days I just held the plug wire end to see if the mag was good but not any more at my ripe old age. The judgement was how far up the arm the current traveled. Just to the wrist - not too good - if it felt like my elbow joint got knocked half out of the socket - purdy dammmm good -
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:08 AM   #5
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lawn mower died, now won't start


I'd bet that your carb sucked in some gunk into the fuel jet orifice.
Take the carb apart and clean it out.. The ethanol they put in the fuel is destroying all the seals and gaskets on older engines. Fast too..

Take the carb off, remove the bowl, float, fuel jet, etc.. spray it out with carb cleaner and buy a rebuild kit on ebay for it.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:18 AM   #6
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lawn mower died, now won't start


By far most often it's going to be a fuel problem.
And no, just blowing it out with air is not going to fix it.
Going to need the model# and Ser.# off the motor, not the mower to get a rebuild kit.
And power tool shop will have one.
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:18 AM   #7
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With most gasoline's having Ethanol additives nowadays it is not good to let anything with a small internal combustion engine sit over 3-4 days. I have a friend who owns a mower sales/repair shop and he says about 40% of his business now is to clean out carbs that have sat with Ethanol gas and have gunked up. Ethanol does separate from gasoline and causes many problems. Ask around and find a gas station that sales non-Ethanol gas and use this for your small IC engines. You will find that they will run better and start better after sitting for a week or so.
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:28 AM   #8
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lawn mower died, now won't start


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Originally Posted by Thurman View Post
With most gasoline's having Ethanol additives nowadays it is not good to let anything with a small internal combustion engine sit over 3-4 days. I have a friend who owns a mower sales/repair shop and he says about 40% of his business now is to clean out carbs that have sat with Ethanol gas and have gunked up. Ethanol does separate from gasoline and causes many problems. Ask around and find a gas station that sales non-Ethanol gas and use this for your small IC engines. You will find that they will run better and start better after sitting for a week or so.
There are ways to overcome that problem..

I have about a dozen small engines around here.. Log splitter, chainsaw(3), leaf vacuum, lawn mower(2), hedge clipper, weed whip, generator, leaf blower, motorcycle, snow blower, etc etc..

I had the same ethanol related problems.. The cure is to put additives into every can of gas that you get WHEN you get it..

I add a product called "STA-BIL" at the recommended dose + 50%.. I also squirt in a tablespoon of LUCAS OIL into every 6 gallon can and put a tablespoon of carb and fuel injector cleaner as well.

Shake it up good and the gas will not only sit well for at least 6 months, it will help clean up your carbs and fuel system while in storage.

Since I started doing this, I have not had a single ethanol related problem.

One other piece of advice.. Lots of people make the mistake of running the cheapest gas (Lowest octane rating) the can in their small engines. Small engines can not take the low octane gas.. its too unstable. You must use an 89 octane (minimum) or better or you can shorten the life of your engine.

Hope that helps,
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:34 AM   #9
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lawn mower died, now won't start


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thurman View Post
With most gasoline's having Ethanol additives nowadays it is not good to let anything with a small internal combustion engine sit over 3-4 days. I have a friend who owns a mower sales/repair shop and he says about 40% of his business now is to clean out carbs that have sat with Ethanol gas and have gunked up. Ethanol does separate from gasoline and causes many problems. Ask around and find a gas station that sales non-Ethanol gas and use this for your small IC engines. You will find that they will run better and start better after sitting for a week or so.
Quote:With most gasoline's having Ethanol additives nowadays it is not good to let anything with a small internal combustion engine sit over 3-4 days.

************************************************** **
That's complete nonsense. As time progresses I can see this eventually coming down to 3-4 minutes. What usually prompts this BS is the mechanic doesn't know what the problem is so the gas gets the blame.
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:56 AM   #10
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The municipality I work for spends extra to buy 91-93 octane non oxygenated non ethanol gasoline for all of our small engines (we have a LOT of small gasoline engines). We had issues up until we switched from the ethanol containing fuel a few years back. In the last 3 years we haven't had to clean out or rebuild a single carb...that was the spring ritual for a long time. We still have about 40 carb kits for small engines sitting in the parts room.
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Old 07-26-2014, 12:23 PM   #11
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lawn mower died, now won't start


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairview View Post
Quote:With most gasoline's having Ethanol additives nowadays it is not good to let anything with a small internal combustion engine sit over 3-4 days.

************************************************** **
That's complete nonsense. As time progresses I can see this eventually coming down to 3-4 minutes. What usually prompts this BS is the mechanic doesn't know what the problem is so the gas gets the blame.
I think he meant 3 to 4 months... which would be about right..
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Old 07-26-2014, 12:35 PM   #12
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spark plug you need to put the wire back on the plug(assuming you took it off to get the spark plug out)and hold the metal side of the plug to something metal on the engine.
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Old 11-23-2014, 08:01 AM   #13
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lawn mower died, now won't start


Mostly when a lawn mower or any small engine won't start, the problem could be with the gas or the carburetor. Have it checked.
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Old 11-23-2014, 09:37 PM   #14
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lawn mower died, now won't start


I sea foam all my small engine gas ...a few drops in the carb may clean it out enough to start it. Let it set a couple of days first to let it work.
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Old 11-24-2014, 11:30 PM   #15
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There's a website called pure-gas.org which you can use to find gas stations in your area that sell gasoline without ethanol. Works well, they also have a smartphone app.

The big box stores are also sellling non-ethanol 'gasoline' in quart cans premixed with oil for 2-cycle or plain for 4-cycle.

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