Toro self propelled has no spark


Old 09-27-04, 07:37 AM
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Toro self propelled has no spark

This spring I bought an older Toro self propelled mower with a 3.5 hp Briggs engine, aluminum deck in great shape. About a month ago it started getting hard to start when warm. When you ran a tank of gas out it would have to cool down for a few hours before it would start again. Now it refuses to start at all and there is no spark. I've been told this mower uses a solid state ignition and I've taken the flywheel off and found what looks like a condensor with points. Is this my problem? I've cleaned the coil and the flywheel surfaces to make sure there's no rust there to inhibit generating a spark.

Thanks for the help,
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Old 09-27-04, 10:08 AM
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A slight adjustment of those points would probably have ya up and going, although it is possible that your coil could be going out and only rears when heat is added to the equation. If your points are in fair condition you could try gaping them and run it to see if the problem returns. If it does disconnect the small wire from the coil (when you have no spark) and see if spark returns. If it does then the wire you disconnected (kill wire) is shorting to ground, if not then the coil is bad. If you find you have a bad coil then you may want to convert to a solid state as the cost of solid state coil is about that of points and conventional coil.

Personally, unless the mower is going to be used heavily or unless you find you have a bad coil, I would stick with the points (I like parts I can see move b4 I smak em with a hammer).

To set the point gap, rotate the engine by hand untill the points open to the widest gap, loosen the clamp on the condensor and slide it to set the gap at about .015.
Rust on the flywheel is not a big deal unless it builds up to the point where clearance is an issue. Set your air gap on the coil at .010 to .012.
If this cures the problem you can either keep mowing "az is" or replace the points at your leisure.

Letus know how it goes or if ya need mo help.
Old 09-27-04, 02:43 PM
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Location: Upstate New York
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If you in fact have points & condensor, you have point ignition, not solid state and you'll set the point gap at .020". This likely has not changed at all thereby indicating a need to replace them...Briggs part number 299061. Something else to think about though is if you do have to replace them you may want to consider converting over to solid state ignition by simply replacing the ignition coil with a new solid state module...Briggs part number 496914. Yet another point to consider is the possibility of a valve train issue. Specifically, an exhaust valve seat issue. The older Briggs are notorious for the seat breaking loose should the engine have ever over-heated. This will be distinguished by a popping noise upon the engine stalling. Post back with the engine model, type and code numbers if you would please.
Old 09-28-04, 08:05 AM
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We're dealing with the rains from Jeanne (I'm in NC) so I haven't taken time to check any of this out yet. Hope to be able to tomorrow and I will post the model number, etc that you've asked for. I never noticed it popping at all, it runs great till it emptied the tank then just wouldn't restart no matter what until it cooled down. Now it just won't start period. This is my trimming mower, used sparingly to do trim up work that I can't get to with my John Deere.

I do remember the points looking very good (no dirt, rust, or noticeable wear of any kind). Everything inside that little compartment looked brand new including the wiring ends that went through the clip on the condensor.

Thanks for all the input guys. I'll report back in a day or so with further info.

Old 10-13-04, 11:18 AM
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Sorry for taking so long to post the results, work called me away to California for a week. After resetting the points I found the "kill wire" was grounding out. Replaced the wire and it's running good again.

Thanks for all the help and advice guys. Great site!!


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