Riding Lawnmower Runs Rough In A Plume Of White Smoke Intermittently. - Tractors & Mowers - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:18 PM   #1
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Riding lawnmower runs rough in a plume of white smoke intermittently.


So, I'm 90% sure I know the answer to this, but I'd like to get some input from people who have seen this before. I have a rider with an 18.5 HP Briggs & Stratton Intek. I had zero issues with it last year. This year the oil level was very low when I checked it before firing it up for the first time this season. I filled it to the proper level filled the gas tank and mowed half my lawn with no issues. I went to back up on a very slight incline and it started billowing thick white smoke and running rough. I shut it off and let it sit until it cooled down. I then checked the oil level again, and found it was a bit low. I ran a compression test as well, it checked at just under 150 PSI. I replaced the spark plug, drained the gas and filled with new. I got about 1/4 of the way done with my lawn before it billowed more smoke, this stopped after a few feet, so I continued. it ran ok until I started down a pretty steep incline, then it started smoking worse than it had at any point. Bad head-gasket, or something else?
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:30 PM   #2
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Re: Riding lawnmower runs rough in a plume of white smoke intermittently.


White is water, blue is oil.
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:36 PM   #3
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Re: Riding lawnmower runs rough in a plume of white smoke intermittently.


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Originally Posted by Nealtw View Post
White is water, blue is oil.
It might be blueish, it smells like burning oil, but it's hard to tell when you are inside the cloud. lol. Besides, where would the water becoming from? The filter is dry, the tank was drained and filled with new gasoline fresh from the pump, and there's no water in the crank case that I can tell.
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:42 PM   #4
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Re: Riding lawnmower runs rough in a plume of white smoke intermittently.


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It might be blueish, it smells like burning oil, but it's hard to tell when you are inside the cloud. lol. Besides, where would the water becoming from? The filter is dry, the tank was drained and filled with new gasoline fresh from the pump, and there's no water in the crank case that I can tell.
On a slope sounded like a water trapped in the intake somewhere that splashes out when you are off level. Check and make sure you aren't overfilling the oil.
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:51 PM   #5
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Re: Riding lawnmower runs rough in a plume of white smoke intermittently.


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On a slope sounded like a water trapped in the intake somewhere that splashes out when you are off level. Check and make sure you aren't overfilling the oil.
That was my first thought, but after the first time, the level was low. I haven't checked it after the second smoke out because I was waiting for it to cool down and the oil to drain back into the crank case.
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:24 PM   #6
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Re: Riding lawnmower runs rough in a plume of white smoke intermittently.


Water is sneaky, it condenses in odd places.

There might be a drop or two hiding in the empty tank, or in the Carburetor bowl.

Is there an inline filter in the fuel line?

That could have lots of settlings in it, and be letting it escape into the carburetor on slopes.

Or if oil burning, that is usually bad oil rings, but a head gasket would likely make for poor compression, before burning oil.

I'm going to go with condensate in the fuel system.


ED
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:13 AM   #7
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Re: Riding lawnmower runs rough in a plume of white smoke intermittently.


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Originally Posted by de-nagorg View Post
Water is sneaky, it condenses in odd places.

There might be a drop or two hiding in the empty tank, or in the Carburetor bowl.

Is there an inline filter in the fuel line?

That could have lots of settlings in it, and be letting it escape into the carburetor on slopes.

Or if oil burning, that is usually bad oil rings, but a head gasket would likely make for poor compression, before burning oil.

I'm going to go with condensate in the fuel system.


ED
So, drain and clean the carb and replace the filter? Also, what are the chances that the dip stick would have a good enough seal to make it seem like I was getting good compression even if the head gasket ruptured between the piston and the rod galley?
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Last edited by Ironman187; 06-03-2019 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:36 AM   #8
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Re: Riding lawnmower runs rough in a plume of white smoke intermittently.


The dip stick seal, is designed to seal out things from the outside, not the pressure from inside .

So I think that the head gaskets are fine.

White smoke is WATER VAPOR, as stated before.

If a head gasket blows on these , it usually quits running .


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Old 06-26-2019, 09:37 PM   #9
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Re: Riding lawnmower runs rough in a plume of white smoke intermittently.


Quick update, I took the carb off and cleaned it, drained the gas and replaced it, replaced the oil, and still got the smoke, it was a slight bluish color, so I changed the headgasket. It's running better than it ever has! Thanks for the help guys.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:52 PM   #10
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Re: Riding lawnmower runs rough in a plume of white smoke intermittently.


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Quick update, I took the carb off and cleaned it, drained the gas and replaced it, replaced the oil, and still got the smoke, it was a slight bluish color, so I changed the headgasket. It's running better than it ever has! Thanks for the help guys.
Was there evidence that the gasket had a problem, after removing it, in inspection?

I'm glad that you are up and mowing again.


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