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Old 08-24-2013, 12:17 PM   #1
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mower won't start


New Toro (with Kohler motor) mower last year.

Last week I pulled the rubber cap off spark plug while I tipped it and cleaned 2" of built up grass packed underneath.

Today tried to start it and it wouldn't even catch. Remembered the black rubber cap and put it back on the spark plug. Tapped it lightly with hammer to make sure it was snug.

Still won't start. I replaced the air filter 2 weeks ago.

It's a PIA to borrow my daughters suv and wait for her to help me lift it to take it to a repair shop.

any suggestions? Thanks.


Last edited by Startingover; 08-26-2013 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:33 PM   #2
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mower won't start


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New Kohler mower last year.

Last week I pulled the rubber cap off spark plug while I tipped it and cleaned 2" of built up grass packed underneath.

Today tried to start it and it wouldn't even catch. Remembered the black rubber cap and put it back on the spark plug. Tapped it lightly with hammer to make sure it was snug.

Still won't start. I did replace the air filter 2 weeks ago.

It's a PIA to borrow my daughters suv and wait for her to help me lift it to take it to a repair shop.

any suggestions? Thanks.
Pull the rubber cap back off
Remove spark plug
Pull rope to purge cylinder
Re-connect rubber cap to spark plug
Set controls as for starting
Hold threaded portion of plug to cyl. head, pull rope to check for spark
If spark plug has spark, I'm making progress
Replace spark plug and rubber cap
Remove air filter and put a table spoon ( measured ) of gas in carb.
Pull rope and start

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Old 08-24-2013, 12:53 PM   #3
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mower won't start


ALSO, before reading this reply I went out to try and start it again. One thing about this Kohler it has an 'easy start'.

No luck. Nothing. I took the cover off the filter and the filter is soaking wet with gas.

And, gas is still dripping out the front, running thru the area where the air filter goes.

I've never had that happen before. My garage smells like gas so I raised the door so it airs out.

Why is gas running out?

I used the hose and tried to clean out the new filter and now am letting it dry before putting it back in.

Besides having trouble getting the mower into a shop the guy who has the only shop I know of, is a jerk.

PS.
FAirview, how do I get the spark plug out? Don't I need a special tool for that? Will I shock myself while I'm doing it?

I better get the directions back out and see what a carburetor looks like so I know where to pour the tablespoon of gas.

Last edited by Startingover; 08-24-2013 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 08-24-2013, 01:11 PM   #4
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mower won't start


Please move the mower outdoors. Leaking gasoline isn't safe in a garage.

With this new information, disregard putting a tablespoon of gas into the carburetor throat opening.

Get a mower mechanic that's not a jerk to solve the unwanted gas flow problem and throw that air filter away unless it was designed to be washed.
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Old 08-24-2013, 02:13 PM   #5
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Fairview, I need to take it in to have the blade sharpened anyway, so might as well do it now.

This mower has a "Recycler" so it doesn't leave globs of grass when you mow. Sometimes it rattles and clanks and shuts off. I think that's when the grass is too deep or wet and it clogs up underneath. That's why I tipped it over last week to clean it out.

It looks like there are 2 rubber hoses going somewhere from the gas tank. I wonder if one came loose? Is that possible? Even tho it's Florida I doubt the hose rotted in just one year.

I did put it outside.
thanks
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Old 08-24-2013, 02:29 PM   #6
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mower won't start


The float is just stuck in the carburetor.
It's a simple DIY repair with a few simple hand tools.
Remove and disassemble it.
Shot some carburetor cleaner into all the ports.
And put it back together.
All the pieces are made so they can only go one way when assembling.
Why not sharpen the blade yourself and save a few bucks?
If you added an additive that counter acts the effects of ethanol fuel or use non ethanol fuel you may avoid having to go through this again.
Ethanol eats up and things made of plastic or rubber and gums up the insides of the carburetor.
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Old 08-24-2013, 02:34 PM   #7
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mower won't start


To remove the spark plug, all you need is a socket and socket wrench. Generally the size is either 5/8" or 11/16". You could probably get by with a pair of channel lock pliers or a crescent wrench, though. Pull the boot off the spark plug, and loosen the plug with the wrench, and unscrew the rest of the way with your hand. You won't get shocked (as long as no one is pulling the cord while you're doing it!) Check out this video for a better understanding. It's obviously not the same mower you have, but the concept is pretty much universal.


When you tipped the mower over, did you tip it where the carb and air filter point down towards the ground? If so, it's possible that this is where your gas 'leak' came from, just excess fuel running outside of the tank or carb, and soaking into your air filter. It's a gratifying experience to be able to maintain and work on your own equipment, but it certainly has a small learning curve. I wouldn't be eager to pack up a push mower and lug it to a small engine shop without giving it my due diligence first.

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Sometimes it rattles and clanks and shuts off. I think that's when the grass is too deep or wet and it clogs up underneath.
You're absolutely right, this is why your mower shuts off. It likely has nothing at all to do with the symptoms you describe.. just cut your grass more often, when it's dry, and mow higher, and you shouldn't have an issue.
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:11 PM   #8
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mower won't start


NegativeTen, I did happen to see on the directions to tip it towards where the oil is............which is opposite the gas and air filter. You're right, it's very gratifying to accomplish things myself, around the house. What amazes me is that many things are simple, it's just that I didn't know how to do them. Thanks for the link. I like these howto videos but didn't think to find one.

Joe, thanks for your input. I use the same gas as for the car. The gas was trickling out pretty fast. I found a video and yes it appears that a stuck float can cause a leak.

It's still leaking and it's been over an hour. I'm soaking up the gas with rags but then don't know what to do with the rags as gas isn't good for the atmosphere.

I know how to solve this. There's a retired mechanic a few houses away and he's always wanting to do things for me, which I firmly decline. I'll call him tomorrow and take my mower up there. edit: that won't work. The neighbor has a cast on his arm.

edit: hey I didn't even know we had a 'mower' forum here. Sorry for posting in the wrong spot. How would a person find this? I looked under 'forums' for the list and 'tractors and mowers' is not listed.

Last edited by Startingover; 08-24-2013 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 08-24-2013, 04:00 PM   #9
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Here are photos where I see it leaking. This rectangle area is where I took the air filter out. Also read instruction booklet again and there is no reference or info on carburetors. The neighbor isn't home. I'm going to take the top off and just look to see if I can find the float.

mower won't start-dscn1858.jpgmower won't start-dscn1860.jpg

Last edited by Startingover; 08-26-2013 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:47 AM   #10
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mower won't start


got the top off and removed the piece that holds the air filter. (I hate when this happens, but a little ring fell off from somewhere, but I may figure out where it goes when I put it back together.

I don't see anything that looks like the float valve I see online. Does anyone know where it is? thank you.mower won't start-dscn1861.jpgmower won't start-dscn1862.jpg
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:11 AM   #11
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mower won't start


This is the carb. The float valve is inside. The big bowl on the bottom comes off. Removing the bolt on the bottom should allow the bowl to drop off and give you access to the guts of the carb.

Before you take it all apart, have you tried starting it since you took off the air cleaner?
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:16 AM   #12
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dan,

gas was steadily dripping out (after I put fuel in and tried to start it), so there's no gas in it now. The gas dripped right below the air filter.

ok, I'll keep taking the screws off but am a bit worried I won't put everything back together right or won't find a problem.

I think the float is stuck (as Joe indicated) and that's why the fuel dripped out. I don't have any way to get it to a shop soon and need to mow by Friday when I leave on vacation.

brb

edit: rats! I see 2 screws in the bottom of the float. One is at an angle, and the other is directly on the bottom. I can't budge the bottom one and there's no space to get leverage. I give up.

BUT, on another matter, am I understanding this right............marine gas would be better for my mower? There are marines all around me here in Fla. I have a 2 gal gas can, would I use marine gas the same as car gas, meaning, don't let it sit over the winter?

thanks anyway.

Last edited by Startingover; 08-26-2013 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:57 AM   #13
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dan,

gas was steadily dripping out (after I put fuel in and tried to start it), so there's no gas in it now. The gas dripped right below the air filter.

ok, I'll keep taking the screws off but am a bit worried I won't put everything back together right or won't find a problem.

I think the float is stuck (as Joe indicated) and that's why the fuel dripped out. I don't have any way to get it to a shop soon and need to mow by Friday when I leave on vacation.

brb

edit: rats! I see 2 screws in the bottom of the float. One is at an angle, and the other is directly on the bottom. I can't budge the bottom one and there's no space to get leverage. I give up.

BUT, on another matter, am I understanding this right............marine gas would be better for my mower? There are marines all around me here in Fla. I have a 2 gal gas can, would I use marine gas the same as car gas, meaning, don't let it sit over the winter?

thanks anyway.
The bolt on an angle is a drain for the carb. There's a small amount of gas in it. The other one that is directly on the bottom is the one that holds the bowl onto the carb. There aren't many parts inside the bowl so it should be easy to put back together.

Marine gas doesn't contain ethanol which is in car gas. The ethanol is bad for small engines. If you can get it, use it but don't let it sit over winter. There are also additives you can add to car gas to help counteract the affects of ethanol.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:59 PM   #14
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wow, just got some estimates to fix (what I assume is wrong) the carb float. Up to $100 plus standard $25 service fee. Plus the time is 2 to 4 weeks to repair. They must be busy this time of year.

Even tho my neighbor has a cast on his arm would I sound awful if I asked if he could supervise me fixing the float.

Last edited by Startingover; 08-26-2013 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:09 PM   #15
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wow, just got some estimates to fix (what I assume is wrong) the carb float. Up to $100 plus standard $25 service fee. Plus the time is 2 to 4 weeks to repair. They must be busy this time of year.

Even tho my neighbor has a cast on his arm would I sound awful if I asked if he could supervise me fixing the float.
Couldn't hurt to try.

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