Need help justifying repair work on Craftsman mower


Old 09-16-04, 08:37 AM
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Need help justifying repair work on Craftsman mower

I took my Craftsman mower to the shop this week because it was becoming impossible to start. I'd prime it, crank it several times, it'd run for a few seconds and die. After repeating that procedure three or four times the mower would continue to run and I could mow the grass without any further problems.

What I really want to do is just finish this mowing season with this machine, then buy a higher-end mower next spring when I'll have a bit more cash on hand.

The shop is telling me it needs a tuneup which includes the carb work that I think is necessary, but they're also telling me it needs a headgasket. Again, all I want the thing to do is start and run a dozen more times then I'm going to junk it, but they tell me that unless I pay to have the headgasket replaced, the carb work and tuneup won't do any good at all.

The only thing the guy can tell me about WHY the headgasket is so necessary is that it's "allowing air into the crankcase."

Does that sound right? Is a leaky headgasket going to affect the way the machine starts?
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Old 09-16-04, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: somewhere down in texas
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i would get a second opinion and make sure they do a compression test to verify the head gasket issue. i would think you would be blowing oil out if the crank case were getting blowby.
Old 09-16-04, 08:53 AM
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Understood, but would a leaky headgasket contribute to the engine's hard starting?
Old 09-16-04, 09:25 AM
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A leaking head gasket could and most likely will effect starting and possibly depending on how bad could damage the engine. If the head gasket is leaking, it will cause air to be drawn into the cylinder via the leak instead of drawing fuel/air through the carb thus hard starting.
If the carburetor was actually having a problem and in need of repair, it may help the starting problem, but the head gasket, if leaking will still cause you problems. You may want to ask about the need of the carb repair and just go for the gasket fix which may be all you need.
It should not be that much to change the head gasket especially if they are kitting the carb, and if there is a chance of you keeping it as a spare or 2nd or some soul getting it used, my opinion would be certainly to have it changed if its leaking.
You gave no information on what kind of mower other than a craftsman, and from your statement that you prime it, I assume its a push mower.
Old 09-16-04, 11:31 AM
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Azis, that makes a lot of sense. If the mechanic had explained about the engine sucking air through the gasket instead of fuel/air through the carb I wouldn't have hesitated to have them fix it. In fact, I just called them to OK the repair based on your post. Thanks.

And it's a self-propelled 6.5 HP Craftsman mower, maybe five years old but in very good condition that someone gave me when I moved from an apartment to a house last year. No clue what engine it has but running well, it's probably worth the $165 repair. Just.

Maybe I'll just mow with it for another season and buy that shiny new Honda in 2006.

Thanks again, you helped me a lot.
Old 09-16-04, 12:36 PM
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Sounds like you should have a good mower to use for as many years as you wish to keep it. Newer power equitment does require a bit more preventitive maintenance than those of yor, but if given, can still deliver the years of service those oldies did and do

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