Mower Problems

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  #1  
Old 06-30-03, 06:39 AM
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craftsman mower getting to be a pain

The last couple of times I have used my model 9.17377530 mower, it cut out, and then I had a dickens of a time restarting it. Last week I added some oil, waited a bit, tried and tried, then finally it started. Last night, it didn't start right off, finally did, I cut the front yard, stopped for a minute to empty the bagger, and then it would not restart. I pulled and pulled, and all I got was a little pffftt of smoke out the side - not even a cough of a start. I changed the filter, but frankly, the old one was barely dirty. I removed the spark plug and hung it off the wire so I could see if I got any fire when I pulled the rope - either I have bad eyesight, or there was none. My neighbor came over and checked the plug - (It was new last summer) and said the spark plug looked in good shape. He pulled and pulled, and finally the thing started. I'm a single mom - I do a lot of things, but obviously I don't do lawn mowers. Any ideas of what I could check? Otherwise I'm going to take off work (drat!) and find a shop to take it to this afternoon - I have to get the darn grass cut!! One thing I have not been good about is changing the oil - I add it when needed, but I never change it ( I know, I know - but that's the sort of thing that I just stand there and say...ummm...where would I do this...how would I do this....??? ) Sorry - a "girl" thing I guess. No clue. Anyway - appreciate any help you might have.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-30-03, 06:40 AM
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Sorry - wrong model #

That should have been 917.377530
 
  #3  
Old 06-30-03, 09:37 AM
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How old is the mower?
How's the compression feel when you try to re-start? In other words, is the rope as hard to pull on the warm engine as it is when you first start it up? Does the engine seem to spin longer when you try to start it warm?
On older engines, when the valve seats get worn/burned, you will lose your cylinder compression which makes a warm engine really hard to start. The only fix is a valve job. If you do it yourself be sure to recheck the valve stem to tappet clearance on the valve before you re-install the springs. IF this is the problem and If the engine usually is run for long periods of time, you may want to replace the valves with stellite valves.
If compression feels good when hot, check your carb mounting bolts and head bolts to make sure they're tight. This problem will also normally (but not always) show up on a cold engine.
Good Luck and let us know what you find!

PS = Start changing your oil regularly. The lawnmower needs it worse than you car!
 
  #4  
Old 06-30-03, 11:10 AM
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The mower is 5 years old. Is that considered an older engine? I guess I didn't notice any difference in the amount of "pull" I had to do on the rope - but I'l check that tonight. Thanks.
 
  #5  
Old 07-01-03, 09:20 AM
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Hello Yardnut!

By chance, has the mower hit anything like tree roots lately? It sounds a lot like the flywheel key may be partially sheared. It could also be the valves, but on a 5 year old mower, I would think the valves should still be fine.
 
  #6  
Old 07-01-03, 09:42 AM
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Your machine is a American Yard Products (part of Electrolux) made unit for Sears. Anything "917" in the model # prefix is as such. It likely has a Tecumseh engine in it. If you go to www.sears.com and then "parts" you can see an entire picture/parts list for the machine. The engine parts list can also be viewed by plugging in the engine model # (will start with 143) on the Sears site. No need to buy parts from Sears (unless they are the cheapest source) as they are buying engine parts from Tecumseh and reboxing them at a higher price, or from AYP on the machine/deck parts.

Sounds like it needs some good maintenance. Change your oil once a season, more often if used more frequently. Change the air filter yearly as well as clean/change the spark plug. Should be a J19LM Champion plug and the gap is likely .030".

Try squirting a little fuel in the cylinder and putting the plug back. If it fires up and runs and dies, we have a fuel problem, Houston.

I own a couple of these same style mowers, including one I recycled from my neighbor's trash in 1998. He gave up on it after jamming the starter cord and "ruining" the machine. I simply tuned it up, did some maintenance to it, unjammed the starter cord and have used it every week without fail ever since .
 
  #7  
Old 07-02-03, 02:06 PM
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Well - I did get the grass finished the next night - it started up, but not without difficulty - and then would not start again once I turned it off.

Not being one to try and take things apart that I know nothing about, I dropped it off at a small engine shop (really old place - barely looks inhabited - but I heard they do good work - and it's close). They called me today - it's ready! They said they had to take apart the carburator and clean it. So - is this a result of me not changing the oil? Or is this just something that must be done every so often?
 
  #8  
Old 07-02-03, 04:38 PM
Joe_F
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No, likely stale gas/poor quality gas/age gummed up the carburetor.

Changing the oil will help the engine run cooler, longer and more efficiently.
 
  #9  
Old 07-03-03, 05:02 AM
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I've never seen a gummed carb cause (just) hot start problems. But then again, I've never seen the AC power coming into my house (but I know it's there). Let us know if this cured your problem.
 
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