Hard rope pull starting

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  #1  
Old 04-08-04, 11:04 AM
Dvath
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Hard pull/start on Craftsman

Hello, Ready to start the mowing season and want to fix what was turning into a problem near the end of the last season. I have a Craftsman self propelled 6.75hp lawn mower. I believe the engine is B&S. Its almost 7 years old. I have done some regular oil/plug changing and other general care like filter replacement and blade sharpening. What I started to expereince last year was a very difficult pull start process. As if the pull cord is getting bound up in something. As a result, I can still generate pull speed but not enough to get it cranking on its own. This process goes on for almost 10 minutes before it thinks about sputtering to a start. Before I blow my rotator cuff in my shoulder, anyone have any ideas? I suppose I can remove as much of the housing to get at debries and such that might be in the pulling mechanism but short of that what do you think I can do?
 
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  #2  
Old 04-08-04, 11:24 AM
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I think you are correct. There are probably debries under the shroud in the starting mechonism that is causing the friction. If there are debries, remove them. Also, if you see any rust in there that you think could be effecting the recoil start, go ahead and remove it with a wire brush or somthing. Another thing I would do is take your sparkplug off and make sure that it is clean. If it is not go ahead and replace it. Let us know how it goes
 
  #3  
Old 04-08-04, 02:47 PM
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Hard pull!

The first thing that comes to my mind is engine seizure in progress. However, you mentioned that you do regular oil changes. You did not however indicate if you regularly check your engines oil level. When I say regularly, I mean each time you fill up the fuel tank. Have you ever mistakenly run the engine low on oil, especially near the time you first noticed the difficulty in pulling? If not, and although Term20 brought up a good point, the next area you should check is the drive train, particularly at the crankshaft. AYP (the manufacturer of your machine) designed a belt cover that tends to accumulate grass between it and the engine pulley. Remove both the driven and drive pulley covers and clean them out. Pay close attention to the grooves of each pulley also, as they likely have build-up in them. The last step would be under the blower housing (shroud) in the flywheel area. You didn't mention if, when pulled, the rewind chucked at all. If so, this would indicate that the starter cup is cracked. Let us know how you make out.
 
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Old 04-08-04, 03:58 PM
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Great advice Puey61! Yes and could be engine seisure, or it could be grass getting bound up in belt and pullie. He is corect, I used to have a mower that did that to. Let us know how it goes.
 
  #5  
Old 04-09-04, 12:24 AM
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Hello Dvath!

On the handlebar of the engine is a bail that you have to hold to start the engine. (the one that shuts the engine off if you let it go). It is connected to a cable. Follow that cable down to the engine and see where it connects. That is the engine brake. Hold the bail down, and release it while watching the engine brake. Does it move a fair amount? If the engine brake is not moving, you need to replace that cable. If it does not move, you will be trying to start the engine with the engine brake applied, which makes it VERY hard to turn, and it also grounds the kill wire to the coil, so it will never start that way.
 
  #6  
Old 04-13-04, 07:16 AM
Dvath
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Thanks Terminator20, puey61 and cheese. Great advice. Here are my thoughts. 1. The engine brake cable moves all the way through its little housing on the body molding of the motor. I am assuming this is ok. 2. Engine seizure - This is a definite possibility as I did do the occasional oil change (realistically thinking now probably 3 times in its 7 year life.) Not good. And I did not check levels at each refill of fuel. Looking at the oil now, it is at a good level and does not look old or burnt. 3. Crankshaft - I unfortunately have no idea how I would determine if this is bad. I am a novice at small engines and looked at the owners manual for basic engine disassembly/re-assembly but got nowhere. Any more specific guidance on how to get at the crankshaft or identifying the driven and drive pulleys would be appreciated. 4. Starter cup - When starter rope is pulled, there is no chucking on rewind. 5. Debries - I removed any debries that was present in the blade holder/crankshaft area as well as in the starter pulley area ( I was not able to take off the cover to get at the starter pulley as it looks like this entails taking the tank off, fuel line etc..) so I stopped temporarily.

Thanks again for your help everyone. Someone tell me that this is a 3 rating out of 5 on the difficulty scale for a novice like me, and I will jump in head first. However, as this was a $260 mower 7 years ago, perhaps the value is not there for me and I might want to bite the bullet for a new one. I trust your judgement.
 
  #7  
Old 04-13-04, 10:09 AM
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Another posibility to think of is that your flywheel key may be sheared. The flywheel key is about half and inch long and either rectangular or half moon shaped. They are about 3/16" thick and are designed to break if the engine happens to stop very quickly. It is located on the crankshaft right where the flywheel sits around it. The key costs about $1 or less, so it is a cheap way to protect and engine. If you remove the shroud(the cover on top the engine) off of the engine, you will see the flywheel sitting there. You should be able to see the flywheel key down in a notch in the flywheel where it fits around the crankshaft. If it is sheared, then let us know and that could be your problem too. If it looks fine, than your OK in that area.
 
  #8  
Old 04-13-04, 06:36 PM
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You can take your engine apart and get at the crankshaft and piston in an hour or less, but you need some special tools. You will need a flywheel puller at the very least. However, assuming that you DID remove the crankshaft and the piston, how are you going to measure the crank throws and the piston bore without the proper bore gauge and micrometer?? Unless you like doing stuff like that, or do it often there's no sense in spending $500 for tools to evaluate the mechanical condition an engine that can be replaced new for $300.
 
  #9  
Old 04-13-04, 08:13 PM
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Unless I understand this whole thing wrong, I think this conversation has gone in the wrong direction. If your engine turns at all, it is not seized. Secondly, an engine doesn't normally just seize when it is sitting unused (unless left unused for years). It seizes when it is running. It suddenly quits. I think you have a much simpler problem than the conclusion everyone has jumped to.

Quote: "As a result, I can still generate pull speed but not enough to get it cranking on its own. "......this means it is not siezed.

Quote: "The engine brake cable moves all the way through its little housing on the body molding of the motor. I am assuming this is ok".....never assume...look at the actual brake pad on the flywheel. Make sure (visually) that it is releasing the flywheel.

Also, have you tried to turn the engine over without the spark plug in it?

Have you tried turning the engine by hand, with the rope starter removed, to determine if it is a problem in the rope starter, or in the engine?

Have you removed the blade, or visually inspected to be sure it is not hitting the mower frame?

Check the coil. If the screws cam out of it, it will scrub the flywheel and make the engine hard to turn.

I see no reason to think the engine is siezed.

I agree also with terminator, sort of. A sheared flywheel key won't cause any resistance to turning the engine, but... it can cause the engine to fire out of time, causing a "kick-back" which might be the reason you can't spin it fast enough to get it started.
 
  #10  
Old 04-14-04, 05:07 AM
buttlint
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Or...the crank is bent.
 
  #11  
Old 04-14-04, 11:36 AM
Dvath
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Cheese, Your absolutely right. I probably did not explain my situation well enough. The engine can clearly turn it is just difficult to pull start it. So lets rule out seizing. I will definitely re-inspect the engine brake to ensure it is releasing the engine and allowing it to turn well when the handle bar mechanism is held. I will also check the blade for rubbing. One new observation that might help....... If I grab the pull start rope, and extremely slowly pull it outwards, there are brief moments when the starter pulley/motor resists, and brief moments when it seems to be smooth. Kind of like when you bent your bike tire rim and it occassionaly rubs against the brake pad. This may lead me to do as you say cheese and attempt to turn the engine by hand without the rope starter. This may then help to determine if it is a rope starter problem or potential crankshaft problem or something else. Thanks again for everyones help. I will post what happens.
 
  #12  
Old 04-14-04, 04:18 PM
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Watch your fingers if this thing actually startes when you are turning the engine by hand!
 
  #13  
Old 04-14-04, 11:55 PM
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Of course you don't want to turn the engine by hand with the plug wire connected. I doubt you could turn it fast enough by hand to start it, but just in case, remove the plug wire.

The spots that feel like resistance when you turn the engine slowly....that sounds like you're describing the compression stroke of the engine, which is normal.
 
  #14  
Old 04-16-04, 06:45 AM
Dvath
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UPDATE: After providing fresh gas, several primer pushes (40+) and several pulls (30+), she started and ran like a champ. Let me reiterate that when cold starting, the first 20+ pulls resist (not jerking, just continuous resisting) but I am able to get the rope fully extended and it retracts properly. All this while no hint of any engine firing or attempts. Then she loosens up after 20 pulls or so and several primes. I may get a couple of smooth easier pulls that allow speed for engine firing and she may fire, clear all the primer gas and putter out. This only happens once or twice then I drastically decrease the amount of priming when I get to this stage. Then a clean pull or two and she's going. Meanwhile, sweat on my brow, a half a beer later, and a sore shoulder, and I'm cuttin grass. Each start after emptying the bag is a piece of cake, with only 20% of the pull speed I needed at first. When the tank is empty, I will get at the pull/start mechanism and pulley by removing the cover and inspecting the pulley grooves and look for debries. Otherwise, what do you think?
 
  #15  
Old 04-16-04, 08:06 AM
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It almost sounds like you got to much compression. What do you guys think, would to much compression cause such a problem, because I knew if you have alot of compression it would be harder to pull start.
 
  #16  
Old 04-17-04, 12:32 AM
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I don't see how it could obtain an excessive amount of compression. If...by chance, gas or oil was getting into the cylinder, it would cause a situation similar to high compression, because gas and oil do not compress like air does. Does it smoke when it finally starts? Oil spit out the muffler?
 
  #17  
Old 04-17-04, 08:30 AM
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Hello: Dvath

The key important words you mentioned to describe the problem and or condition where: "What I started to expereince last year was a very difficult pull start process."

Thanks. Says about all the info needed to begin the problem diagnostics at the basic level in the process of steps.

Sure glad this thread got back on track....

If not, you would be tearing down an engine looking for engine internal problems, which do not exist....

Removing the plug and cranking by hand (while holding the lever back against the handlebar to release the brake) was the correct first step diagnosis to difficult or hard rope start pulling.

The difficult and than easy to rotate the engine by hand you mentioned using the flywheel with the plug still in, is the difference between the 4 strokes.

Compression stroke, intake, firing and exhaust strokes.
 
  #18  
Old 04-28-04, 06:11 AM
Dvath
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Final Update: Had another day to mow the lawn and had excessive trouble pull starting this thing. Finally pulled enough to break/strip the pull starter kit. So , I completely removed the tank, shroud, and pull starter kit to find that the pulley in the starter kit was craked. So now I had this problem. I was able to find the entire starterter kit assembly at the local Sears Parts and Service center for $30.00. Before I replaced it though I took your advice and tried to turn the engine by hand. I felt a lot of resistance. I took a plyers and yanked tighter on the engine brake cable and sure enough the engine turned with ease. I replaced everything, and adjusted the cable on the engine brake so as to have it open farther when I depress the handle bar level. I then gave it a pull. It was like butter and on the second attempt it fired up. So, long story short, like you said cheese, I should not have assumed the brake was releasing. Either way, my mower is back and my shoulder is thankful. Thanks for everyones help.
 
  #19  
Old 04-28-04, 09:25 AM
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Assuming is dangerious. Never Assume anything!
 
  #20  
Old 04-28-04, 02:56 PM
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Yeeha!!!

Fine job my friend. Glad you got it solved.
 
  #21  
Old 04-28-04, 11:26 PM
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Glad you got it fixed, and to be of help! Thanks for letting us know how it went!
 
  #22  
Old 05-17-04, 05:27 PM
Taz
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Question

Gentlemen,

I need your help. I have a similar problem as Dvath, however, no matter how far I push the engine brake cable, it does not ease up on the tension when pulling the pull cord or when cranking by hand.

Cheese, you had asked Dvath if he had tried pulling without the spark plug in. That was one of the first things I tried and sure enough it pulled very smoothly, with no resistance whatsoever.

My mower is a Craftsman with a Tecumsah engine. This problem didn't start happening until after I changed the spark plug, oil, and filter and sharpened the blade.

Anybody got a suggestion? My arm is killing me!!!
 
  #23  
Old 05-17-04, 07:14 PM
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That sounds like you have a compression issue going on here. If you turn the engine by hand without the sparkplug in place and it turns real smooth and easy, then it might be a compression issue. Mabie check the valves to make sure they are working properly. You will get other replies. But it is usually best to create your own thread. Let us know how it goes.
 
  #24  
Old 05-17-04, 11:25 PM
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Hello Taz!

Sounds like you need to adjust your valves. I bet they are too loose. Let us know what you find! BTW: not sure what engine you have, but if you set both valve clearances to .005 you should be ok.
 
  #25  
Old 05-20-04, 09:57 PM
Taz
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I'll check my valves...once I figure out how to do that. I'm pretty handy, but I've never done any small engine repair. Just one more thing to learn and put under my belt

Thanks!
 
  #26  
Old 05-21-04, 03:41 AM
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Quote - "This problem didn't start happening until after I changed the spark plug, oil, and filter and sharpened the blade."

Two possible issues: 1- Did you overfill the engines' oil? 2- When you tipped the mower to service it, which side did you tip up? The reason for these two questions is to figure whether you may have gotten oil up into the combustion chamber. Overfilling or improperly tipping the mower will cause this to happen. When you did remove the spark plug to check for ease of turning, did you notice if the plug had oil on the tip or possibly oil seeping from the plug hole?
 
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