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Old 04-25-2016, 04:58 PM   #1
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Mower won't stay running


I hope someone here can lend me a bit of advice...

I have a LawnBoy self propelled push mower with a Kohler 149cc motor on it. For the past year and half or so this mower had leaked oil fairly badly out the oil pan gasket. I don't have a very large yard, so I just added oil ever time I mowed, but I finally got tired of drippings on my drive and sidewalk, so I finally replaced the oil pan gasket, but now the mower doesn't like to start easily nor does it do anything other than idle. If I go to grab the bar to engage the blade the mower bogs down and dies.

Even though, it will start, although getting more and more where I need starting fluid or carb cleaner to do so, I checked the plug and even used a plug sand blaster and cleaned it. I've pulled off the air filter, it is time to replace, but not too bad. I even added a bit of seafoam to the gas to see if it was having a clog issue and see if that'd clean anything, but nothing seems to help much. As I kept spraying cleaner in it, it seemed to idle higher, but I still can't engage the blade....

Before pulling it apart it would start right up with one pull, in fact I mowed an hour before working on it and it ran perfect! Same gas, same everything.

Only difference is after the rebuild I added 5w30 synthetic oil as I have a bunch of it, so figured might as well use it. I've been using 5w30 conventional oil prior with no issues.

I'm wondering if when I flipped it on it's side to pull the motor from the deck if oil went somewhere it shouldn't have. The drain plug is covered by the blade, gearing, etc, so I didn't bother draining the oil....hoping it didn't get to the head and blow a head gasket. To be honest, that never crossed my mind until it didn't run right. I'm going out in a minute to check compression and see if I can find anything else.

The only other thought is did I hook something up wrong when i put her back together. The self propelled feature works, maybe I screwed up the clutch/gearing.

Any suggestions??
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Old 04-25-2016, 06:21 PM   #2
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I'll update this with...

I went out and tried to cold start the mower, it wouldn't fire. I pulled plug, checked compression with a push in style fitting and cheapo gauge, as didn't have right fitting for a snap on gauge I have. I was able to get 50psi, not sure if good or bass as I haven't found anything staying what good compression is for this. Typically I thought Murray engines are around 100psi +/-.

I put the plug back in, tried to start and no go. Sprayed staring fluid in and she fired up on 2nd or 3rd pull. Idle seemed high and when I engaged the blade she almost died but I kept her going. I let her idle for a few minutes and have it a go on my yard which is pretty nice, thick fescue which is about one mowing past due. It was slow going I think mainly due to height and thickness, but I was able to get the mowing done. Idle still seems high, but after I turned it off, it did start again.

Still wonder what happened.....
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:19 PM   #3
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Re: Mower won't stay running


Hard to tell but it seems it has (mostly) solved itself. By turning the engine on its side you may have allowed oil to flow into places it doesn't belong. You also may have fouled the crankcase vent. If oil had seeped into the combustion chamber the compression would have read high (although having said that I don't know what it should normally be). A high idle may indicate that some oil is still fouling a passage in the carburetor - they are very tiny. If you have the skill, perhaps a carb cleaning and/or rebuild kit might be in order. If nothing else, remove the bowl and see what's swimming around it there. If oil fouling was the problem and is still lurking, the symptoms may recur. The starting fluid is highly volatile and may have burned off any remaining oil.
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Old 05-30-2016, 10:22 AM   #4
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Re: Mower won't stay running


How does crankcase oil get into carburetor passages?
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Old 05-30-2016, 10:27 AM   #5
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Still running fine. Idle seems high, possibly off balance, but with blade spinning seems fine and smooth. I'm going with it....
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:08 PM   #6
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Re: Mower won't stay running


The Seafoam may be working. It helps to run it for awhile than let it soak. I would add some more.
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