Starting Problem Fixed – Thank You!

Old 06-15-03, 06:19 AM
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Thumbs up Starting Problem Fixed – Thank You!

Last weekend I was out mowing and the engine started running rough (Craftsman II, 5.5Hp Eager-1). It looked like it could rain at any moment, so I continued on, hoping to beat the rain. Then the engine just quit. It would start back up if primed but would only run for ~10 seconds then quit. Great, I thought. The last thing I needed was my mower acting up on me; my dryer just died the day before and I had to buy a new one of those.

I couldn’t get away from work throughout the week to take the mower to the shop. I googled around on Friday, found this forum, and started reading. I found a few topics that described my problem exactly and the solution seemed easy and straightforward. So Saturday morning I removed the bolt that holds the float bowl onto the carb, cleaned the holes on the bolt out real good with carburetor cleaner and put it back together. Took all of 10 minutes. The thing started right up and ran like a champ! I was stoked! (programmers get easily excited about fixing mechanical things…)

Thanks a lot for your help, you experts out there. This is a great forum.

Old 06-15-03, 07:20 AM
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Hello Jim C. Welcome to our Do-It-Yourself Web Site and our Small Engine forum.

Glad to know you found the web site, this forum, read the prior asked questions and replies. Doing so allowed you to fix the mower fast and finish the mowing asap.

Sure beats waiting for a reply to a question asked repeatedly. One good reason to surf the forum before asking...

I'll add you to the list of "Happy Campers."

This forum & many other forums on the web site, does contain almost every possible problem question, cause and solution.

Thanks for posting your satisfaction with the web site, this forum and the replies to the questions asked on the subject of the problem.

Also for joining the site and becoming a member. Got more questions on almost any other topic? Ask that question in the appropriate forum and get professional advice again.

Can you also help on the site with computers etc? If so, your welcomed to do so. Do not get excited... Help others to help themselves and help them to remain calm....
Old 06-22-03, 08:22 AM
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Ok, well after my success of last weekend, I’m back to having trouble starting the mower again.
It just doesn’t pull start. If I remove the air filter and give the carb a quick squirt of carb cleaner, the thing will start up next pull.
The engine runs perfectly after last weekends carb-bolt cleaning. The problem now is just getting it going.
Should I clean the carb-bolt holes again? Or what should I look into next?

I’m a newbie, so please speak slowly

The air filter and sparkplug are new as of last month.

Old 06-22-03, 03:53 PM
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You might need to clean the entire carb. If trash gets stuck under the needle valves, it will restrict the flow of fuel through the carb.
Old 07-22-03, 10:20 AM
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You may want to empty the fuel tank and replace it with fresh fuel.
Check any fuel canisters for any trash or water. Fuel has to be pure. Keep your mower and fuel cans inside out of the weather (garage, shed, ect...) or covered really, really well. Rainwater is the #1 cause of problems I have worked on. I don't know if this is the source of your problem, hope you have luck fixing it.

Old 08-12-03, 07:39 AM
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Keiser is absolutely right on !!

I would add that you replace the fuel filter as well, and keep a spare on hand. (Wal Mart has them). Also while there, pick up a bottle of Sta-Bil and add it to your FUEL CAN every time you buy a new batch of fuel. Follow the directions and your fuel will remain usable for the following season !!
Dick S.
Old 09-23-03, 04:01 PM
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good job

well done
Old 10-07-03, 02:15 PM
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I have the same mower with the same exact problem, and the same thing happens practically every year! It is stored in a dry shed, and the gas is kept fresh. I always allow the gas can to dry out and blow air in to clean out debris. Seems like every fall this happens. 2 years ago I spent $80 on this $150 mower!

I will try the carb bolt trick. Then I'll go get a new mower! with a HONDA engine!

Thanks for the forum to vent a little! I'll let you know how it turns out. The mower is 6 yrs old, and I mow 1 acre of lawn 2X a week. It may just be tired.

PS...I don't think this motor has a fuel filter?
Old 10-11-03, 09:23 PM
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Great news...

Mower is running great now. I cleaned the carb bolt, and added some dry gas. Not sure what fixed it, but back to normal. Still might buy a mower with a Honda motor. I hear they are built much better than B&S. Any thoughts? Mowers tend to go on sale this time of year.
Old 10-12-03, 04:22 PM
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It's about seasonal use;

Hi Dan... Glad to hear that your mower is up and running ) Time to store it away again soon !! Nice site you have, great looking Dodge, I have a Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins, they do seem to be a cut above !!

I am including this info for everyone who has been following the thread, it may be lenghty, but should help lots of the seasonal users of power equipment out there.

1/ Fuels evaporate with time, leaving a residue which eventially coats the surfaces around it with a varnish type of material. This coating decreases the openings or sizes of the jets, bowls, tanks and other surfaces which contain it.

2/ The less fuel there is in the container, the quicker the fuel evaporates leaving the coating, it doesn't really matter what make (Dodge or Honda) the container is.. but it does seem to be a bit more of a problem if the container is made of metal.

3/ With items stored in areas where temperatures change quickly, (our shed or garage) another problem develops in these containers in the form of condensation (thus the help from your "Drygas".)

4/ Now that we have a combination of these situations in the item that we have stored away in the shed for some months, it comes time to put it to use again... in this case your mower. However, our fuel has lost it volatility, it contains moisture and the fuel flow openings have decreased.
To make matters worse, we are using the item in a temperature either colder or warmer than the jetting was set up for.
(the first time we mow each season, it is usually colder than it would normally be during the mowing season).

5/ Lower temperatures require more fuel to ignite, but the chokes in our power equipment
are designed not to choke down too much in an effort to avoid causing the # 2 biggest problem with small equipment known as "Fouled Spark Plug" (
Our mower jets are smaller, we have some moisture, the fuel is not as explosive as it was when purchased and... the darn mower won't start... when it does start, it won't stay running... for the reasons described above.

6/ ---- What to do ----
a/ Always add "Sta-bil" to the fuel container itself before going off to buy fuel.
b/ Buy the best grade of fuel that you can.
c/ Move the fuel can around a bit before refilling the gas tank.
d/ Do not run the carburetor dry (it is not likely to remove all of the fuel out of the carb., (only down to below the level required to keep the mower running). Try to leave the fuel tank above 1/2 full as well.
c/ An ounce or so of high percentage "Isopropyl" alcohol, (the active ingredient in dry gas & available for less at any good pharmacy), is helpful in both the tank and fuel can at the start of each season.
d/ Always keep a spare spark plug handy for problem # 2 which usually follows problem #1 ;o)

7/ Finally...
a/ It is best if you can run your equipment for a few minutes each month between seasons.
I don't do that myself, but I do take the precautions mentioned above. I have a trimmer that I used this year after having it the shed for over 2 years, I did top off the tank with my latest batch of fuel, and off it went after a couple of starts & stops.
b/ I have "never" seen a combustion engine without a fuel filter somewhere in the fuel system, either between (or inside of) the fuel source and the carb., or injector being used used to control the amount of fuel entering the engine. That filter requires replacment, especially when the the conditions mentioned above occur.
c/ The engines by the eastern countries are very good for the most part.
However, most all power equipment dealers, (even several discount type of stores) carry the parts (and quite often even the tools and manuals) for us "do it yourself" people. Service for the good old B & S engines is also easy to find if needed. There are several items for those other engines that you could be hard pressed to locate.. and... I expect the cost will be interesting as well.

Happy snow blowing Dan.
Remember to spray silicone in the hopper & chute of your winter equipment ;o)

Dick S.
Old 11-15-03, 06:04 AM
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There are a couple of opinions stated within the posts I will express my two cents on.

DANSKOTA stated, "Then I'll go get a new mower! with a HONDA engine!" and "Still might buy a mower with a Honda motor. I hear they are built much better than B&S. Any thoughts?"

Comment: I really love those Honda engines. I make a lot more money repairing a Honda than any other brand. Example; a carburetor bowl for most Hondas are about $29.00 retail. B&S, Tecumseh, Kohler about $4.00. Profit margin Honda about 500%, profit margin for others about 100%. Because Hondas are so proud of their parts and special tools my shop rate is higher for a Honda. Don't work on Hondas as much as B&S, probably because B&S makes more engines than anyone else, something like ten times the amount Honda produces.

Comment: The Craftsman II, 5.5Hp Eager-1 is a Tecumseh product. I thought the mention of the B&S implied it was a B&S.

Futures1 stated, "I have "never" seen a combustion engine without a fuel filter somewhere in the fuel system, either between (or inside of) the fuel source and the carb."

Comment: unfortunately there are many small engine applications where a fuel filter is not used and the Craftsman II, 5.5Hp Eager-1 is just one of them.

Old 11-16-03, 12:16 AM
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The 5.5 eager 1 should have a fuel filter screen inside the tank.
Old 11-21-03, 09:47 PM
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Hey guys, we have a 15 year old Honda mower that has seen almost no maintenance. Up until about 3 years ago, the gas was never stabilized or drained for winter, the oil was never changed, the spark plug was never changed, the gas tank was never cleaned etc. By that time, the mower was hardly running at all. It was running really rich (due to a clogged air filter, REALLY clogged) it used to miss whenever it was bumped (carbon fouled spark plug from rich mixture.) burned oil (oil was thin, watery and jet black when I dumped it, burning stopped with proper, new oil) However it always started, first pull (probably because of the clogged air filter it got LOTS of gas when it was started on choke. Heck I could start the mower without the choke on!)
After doing some major maintenance, that 15 year old engine is going strong and running like new amazingly. It should run for another 5-10 years I am guessing. It only gets moderate use for a few months each year but still going that long with NO maintenance, something with Hondas, they can "get by" without maintenance. However, as with ANY engine, maintenance is a must to extend life and improve performance.
Old 11-22-03, 05:04 AM
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Be Aware or the recent message

For those of you who live in a warmer climate...
Kurt is quite right in his message...
but read it carefully !!
In his case it's a matter of hours used and cooler temperatures !!

However, for those of you who live in a warmer climate, you may be using your mowers more in a month than he does in a year. I suspect that many of you may also have a thicker lawn which places more of a load on your engine, especially with a dull blade !!
Also, he lives in a cool climate and does not drain his fuel which eliminates much of the "varnish" problem in his fuel system.

As for the oil, I have had several folks come into my shop who have run their Briggs engines out of oil to the point where the would no longer turn over.
In many cases I simply refilled the crancase with good fresh oil, freed up the engine and sent the customer on his way with the suggestion that he or she at least check the oil level and top it off before each use!!

Futures 1

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