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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok so im renting my 1st house and yard upkeep is on me. the owner left a lawn mower but now i cant get it to start. a few months ago i replaced the spark plug because i figured it had been sitting a while and needed it. it mowed the lawn but it struggled alot of chugging and choking. i figure maybe the fuel is just old it was obvious that last renters never used it the lawn looked like crap. i go out get 1 gal of 86 oct and put enough in to fill it up.... it still chuggs for a few minutes then dies completely. i pull and pull till my hand/ arm gets sore i cant get it to start for more than a few minuets. i say well lets check the oil. its midnight black and about 2-3 times over the maximum fill lvl. i cant figure out how to drain it so i look turn the thing over everything finally i leave the spark plug out flip it over and the oil starts draining out of the carb. AFTER it stopped draining its still at the top of the fill line and midnight black.... and still wont start. today i figure maybe i gunked up the carb i take it off and its clean but i clean it anyways, still nothing. i just cant figure it out. it sounds/ seems like the spark isnt catching but i tested the plug and its sparking so i am at a complete loss, any advice?

its one of these

http://www.briggsandstratton.com/en...82;&id={EEB465FB-FA91-43E5-9A29-16360E1A9AE9}


except it has the oil thing like one of these

http://www.briggsandstratton.com/en...82;&id={28D3B2BA-2DDD-46D8-9249-6D7EB92857E4}
 

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Pull the air cleaner off. Toss it. Replace it.

Spray carb cleaner into the carb. There's only one jet, as it's designed to run at one speed. You might need to pull it to clean it out. Check your fuel lines for clogging.

These things are stupidly simple and easy to fix. My "new" lawnmower is a $500 self propelled that the neighbors threw out because it didn't run. Twenty minutes later I had a basically new (one season) lawnmower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
it wont start even with the air filter off and i pulled the whole carb off last night and cleaned the thing and all lines going in/out whatever, it just dosnt seem to be catching the spark in the combustion area but i know its sparking, its not flooded BC i have left the plug off so it could all evap out...
 

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What did you do to clean it? If you have access to a sonic cleaner, a weak solution of Simple Green in water will work wonders. Let it sit over night, then blast all passages with compressed air and rinse it well. Then hit it with the compressed air again.

Check to ensure the spark plug clip is secure on the plug head. It's a spring fit; make sure it isn't stretched out--if it is, you won't get a good spark.

Once you have it together, try it again. If it still won't start, spray carb cleaner into the throat and give it a few yanks. If it fires, you know you have a blocked fuel passage. If not, then you probably have a spark issue.

Have you pulled the spark plug, ground it against the engine, and then pulled the starter to ensure you have a fat spark?
 

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I had a Briggs & Stratton powered mower a few years back, it had this horrible, plastic-bodied carburetor that worked great until you let it sit for a while, then refuse to work more than three minutes. Didn't matter how many times I cleaned out the carburetor, changed out the fuel, etc. the bugger just plain wouldn't run more than three minutes.

The only thing that would cure it was replacing the float bowl assembly. $14 for a plastic float bowl & float. Then it would work just great, until it sat for a month or two. Then back to three minutes' worth of running.

The local mower repair shop had a real love/hate relationship with these. On the one hand they could count on selling a ton of carb kits every spring, but on the other hand they hated the fact that it made an otherwise well-designed mower look like a piece o' crap.

I sold the frigging thing at a garage sale and got a different model.
 

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Call your landlord and tell him the lawn mower won't start. Seriously, this is on him to fix, as much as it would be on him to fix if you dented the wall when moving some furniture or cleaning the carpets after you leave the apartment.
 

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Pull the air cleaner off. Toss it. Replace it.

Spray carb cleaner into the carb. There's only one jet, as it's designed to run at one speed. You might need to pull it to clean it out. Check your fuel lines for clogging.

These things are stupidly simple and easy to fix. My "new" lawnmower is a $500 self propelled that the neighbors threw out because it didn't run. Twenty minutes later I had a basically new (one season) lawnmower.
My father-in-law had a push mower sitting that ran at one time but stopped and then sat for awhile (he got a zero-turn). I ended up with it for free, "if I could fix it", and did just that - new air filter, plug, pulled carb apart and cleaned it (my first experience with a small engine carb) - it ran for a summer and wouldn't start the following spring. Cleaned the carb again, ran great...decided I'd had enough of cleaning that carb so I spliced in a 1/4" fuel filter, haven't had to clean that carb in almost five years now. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Call your landlord and tell him the lawn mower won't start. Seriously, this is on him to fix, as much as it would be on him to fix if you dented the wall when moving some furniture or cleaning the carpets after you leave the apartment.
already tried, twice ... they say its a courtesy appliance and not on them..
 

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is it in your lease that they provide a lawn mower, or that you have to mow the lawn?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
that i have to "maintain" the property, yes. that they have to give the the proper equipment to do such, no...
 

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Consider that the gas you put in it may be bad as well as what's already in there.it's happened to me). It's the ethanol they put in it.
 

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ethanol in fuel kills small engines that don't get used on a regular basis

tough problem on a cheapo lawnmower

with my snowblower, I have fuel shutoff valve and easily accessable thumbscrew drain on the float bowl, instead of turning engine off with switch, I shut fuel valve off let it run till it stalls, then open the float bowl drain

yer lawnmower prolly don't have fuel valve or easily accessable float bowl drain

as far as getting it started, the carb & float bowl needs to be cleaned, use conventional carb cleaning chemicals, I would stay away from the simple green someone suggested, its corrosive and could easily damage the jet passage
 

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You've gotten the tips on the carburetor, so keep chasing those. It (and old fuel) is the likely culprit. Make sure the fuel is turned on, too.
The plugs on mowers almost always outlast the mower, so your new one should be fine as long as it's gapped properly. The oil drain plug on a push mower is usually accessed from under the mower deck. Look for a square head bolt (male OR female) that's threaded into the engine base plate. If that fails, drain through the fill tube.
 

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Get yourself a scythe. Keep it sharp and it will always work. I also suggest scything your lawn at night, when it's a cooler outside, and while wearing a hooded raincoat in case of inclement weather. Let me know how this works out for you.
 

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I repaired lawn mowers at a hardware store for 2 years back in HS, so maybe I can lend a hand.

As a couple of people have stated already this is definitely the doings of old gasoline with ethanol. Generally I always recommend people try to find non-oxygenated fuel, most commonly at fleet farm, for use in your mower. Non-oxygenated fuels do not contain ethanol and will last longer in your mower or snowblower.

You said you cleaned the carb but didn’t go into detail on what you did. Simply spraying carb cleaner into the carb is not enough to fix most problems. Pull the carb off of the mower, and really dig into it.

Remove the float bowl, float needle, seat and main jet. to really gain access to clean from the bottom. Using a pipe cleaner helps to get into the needle and seat passage, also I like to find a piece of stranded copper electrical wire and remove a single strand of wire. This makes a great little tool for cleaning the fill passage as well as all of the little tiny orifices’ on the main jet.

If you can soak the main jet in carb cleaner and run the piece of stranded copper through it to make sure there is no gunk built up in them, a small blockage will make a big difference in how the engine runs when you get it back together.

Buy a carb rebuild kit for the engine (usually around $10 from a hardware store or small engine shop) this will usually just have the float bowl gasket, needle, seat, and a drain gasket for the bottom of the float bowl if you have a drain. Some come with new main jets and Ive even seen them come with a new float bowl before.

Assuming the kit does not come with a new float bowl it’s a really good idea to clean that out too. I like to give it a shot with carb cleaner and then scrub it down with a scotch brite pad, then another shot of carb cleaner to remove any gunk that you knock off with the scotch brite.

Finally reassembly, they are not very complicated so just reassemble with the new parts from the carb kit. Take extra care to make sure that the float bowl gasket doesn't get twisted. I’ve seen more than a few people go through all the effort only to have the float bowl leak because they just threw the gasket on the float bowl and tightened it down.
Another good thing to check while you have the mower apart is to check the clearance from the ignition coil to the flywheel. Take the shroud off of the engine and you should easily see the coil and the flywheel. Take a piece of standard printer paper and fold it in half, this can be used as a clearance gauge. If the folded piece of paper fits snugly between the coil and the flywheel you are good to go. If not adjust the position of the ignition coil as needed.

Another good idea is to replace the air filter while you are at it. It just removes one more potential problem spot.

One last little tip. If you tip the mower over for whatever reason, make sure to tip it so the carb is up. If you tip the carb down on a mower that has worn piston rings they commonly will leak oil through the carb and onto the air filter making it impossible for the mower to pull air through it.

Best of luck. If after all of this it still runs like crap, tell your wife the mower is broken and take the rest of the afternoon off with a beer.
 
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