Tecumseh-LEV120 starts but dies


Old 04-18-05, 04:27 PM
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Tecumseh-LEV120 starts but dies

Howdy all. I need all the help I can get. I got this lawnmower from a, well was a good friend until he sold me the mower, at a bargin price. It is a Toro 22-inch Recycler self-propelled Model No. 20017. The Tecumseh starts fine when primed by directions. Runs then dies right out. If I keep the primer bulb constantly pushed in the mower runs fantastic. Hard position to mow in though. As soon as I release it, blah, it dies as if fuel was restricted. I hate to have to take it to the shop and hope I can do the repairs myself. I can read manuals, follow directions, ponder advise, and even place orders for parts, so any and all, I mean all the advise and direction I can get will be greatly appreciated. I'd love to be able to mow this coming weekend! Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-18-05, 11:06 PM
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You need to clean the carburetor. Remove the bowl, and pay particular attention to the holes in the bowl screw. There are 4 holes in it, one is very small and probably the cause of your problem. It is probably clogged.
Old 04-19-05, 06:35 AM
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Thank you!

Thank you Cheese! I appreciate the guidance and I will check it right after work! Have a terrific day!
Old 04-19-05, 07:41 AM
Beaver lout
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It will undoubtedly be something to do with fuel supply, which leads you straight to either the carburetta or possibly the fuel filter. Firstly just check ( i know this is rather obvious but it has defeated me in the past) that the accelerator cable actually moves the little arm on the carburetta fully from side to side. The fuel filter is usually either in the tank itself or somewhere along the fuel pipe from the tank to the carburetta. If it's totally blocked it may cause these problems. Otherwise you may find that the float inside the carburetta which is designed to regulate fuel flow into it's little reservoir, may be stuck half closed, such that it's not allowing enough fuel through. As said above the little jets in the carburetta are possibly the most likely cause. You may find however that it is running too weak, i.e. there is too much air and not enough fuel in the mixture. to solve this try undoing or doing up the little mixture screws whcih should be somewhere accesible on the outside of the carburetta. Make sure you have started it before adjusting these as sometimes it can be hard to find the correct settings again. You will probably not need to turn them very much. Another trick if none of these work is to remove the air filter and try half blocking air intake hole with your hand. You may find that by changing the amount of air you let in, it will run better in which case it is either the choke (when it's still cold) or the fuel mixture (back to those little screws) that you will need to investigate. You can see if the choke is working by looking into the air inlet and seeing if a flap closes across it when the choke is on. (The idea of the choke is to limit the air supply such that the engine sucks more fuel in).

Hope some of this helps. I don't have much experience with techumesh engines specifically, but most are quite similar in the basic features. If you have any questions please email me: [email protected]
Old 04-19-05, 08:53 AM
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Thank you for the sound advise - greatly appreciated.

Beaver lout,

I greatly appreciate the advise and will definitely check for clogs all around. I've never messed with Tecumseh engines, mostly Briggs & Strattons. I finally got a blow-up diagram of the carb for the Tecumseh. It will definitely help when checking it for blockages. Thanks again!
Old 07-15-08, 06:58 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
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sorry i dont have a solution but i need help as well for i have the exact same problem. but i was hoping to be able to attatch my mower engine to a bike or something. but the drive chaft comes out the bottom and not the side. is there anything i can rig up to change this situation?
Old 07-15-08, 07:33 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 2,365
Here is my $.02
This is a Tec engine and you have spark so here we go;

Clamp off the fuel line, remove the carb bowl, release the clamp to see if you have good fuel flow to the carb, raise the float to see that it shuts off the flow with minimal pressure, clean the junk from the bowl, clean the bowl nut, 2 holes close to the bottom and a tiny one about midway up(I usually use the wire from a twist tie), spray all holes, cracks and crevases with brake parts cleaner, reassemble and you should be good to go. If this didn't work it will be probably be necessary to rebuild the carb. If I missed something one of the real mechanics will post to help further. Refer to the photo below. Have a good one . Geo
Old 07-16-08, 12:27 AM
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As far as the crank position, you can't turn the engine. You can use a right angle gearbox or something like that, but that's about it.
Old 09-16-09, 06:28 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 3
LEV 120 runs too rich

I have a Craftsman power washer with a 5.5 hp LEV 120 Tecumseh. Early this summer it would start but not continue to run. I removed the carb bowl. There is a green stain in the carb bowl indicating to me that the gas was old (it smelled very bad.)The holes in the nut were clogged. I cleaned them and now it runs but appears to be too rich. Lot's of black soot on muffler and spark plug. I have replaced the spark plug, bought a carb rebuild kit, removed the carb and cleaned all the holes I could find. Replaced the float needle & seat. Put it back together and still runs the same. I added an inline fuel filter. I removed the air filter (sponge) and that made no difference. I'm ready to shoot it
Any ideas? Thank you, Peter
Old 09-16-09, 07:40 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Southern Wisconsin
Posts: 354
how did you clean the holes in the bowl nut? Sounds like it is rich that you are getting too much fuel that either the holes were enlarged in the nut or the air is being restricted. unleaded fuel does not run grey like the old leaded fuel did. Alot depends on how much soot are you getting. On a pressure washer the engine should be running at full throttle. When you slow it down to shut down the engine you might get some sooting.
Old 10-21-09, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 1
Great stuff

Hey, thanks for this.

My lev 120 had the same "dying after starting" problem.

Clamping off the fuel line, unscrewing the bowl nut from the bottom of the carburetor and cleaning the holes in it did the trick.

Used one wire strand from a household electrical cable to poke around in the bowl nut. Besides the 2 large connected holes at the bottom sides (forming a tunnel), and the small hole coming in from the side higher up, there's a small hole from the inside centre that runs down and enters the "tunnel" perpendicularly.

Just wish I'd looked at this site earlier.

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