craftsman won't start

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  #1  
Old 07-17-05, 03:39 PM
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craftsman won't start

Let me start out with that my ex husband used to have a lawn mower repair shop, and I learned a little back then (15 years ago). So, when it comes to friends having carb problems I can usually clean them out and fix them up. This time it didn't work and I'm not sure what else to check. It is a 10HP Tecumseh and she said it just quit running two years ago. It was left to sit with gas in it. I took the fuel tank off and cleaned it out and dried it well. Then I cleaned the carburetor out well also. The breather line (I think that is what it might be called) was cracked, so I replaced it thinking this might be why it quit working in the first place. When I turned the key it did not even attempt to start. I thought I'd at least getter it to sputter. I took the filter off and there was moisture so I believe that means it is getting gas, correct? I replaced the oil and the spark plug.

Any suggestions? I don't know how you guys help people so much through these forums because it is so hard to make sure you have all the pertinent information down. But, you have helped me many many times!
 
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  #2  
Old 07-17-05, 08:51 PM
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check that you are getting power to the plug. also check for a good battery.

 
  #3  
Old 07-17-05, 09:27 PM
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Yes,check the battery first.If good then check the ignition switch and the fuse.Make sure that all battery cables are corroson free and tight.If your just getting a fast clicking sound out of her thow ,check the solenoid.
 
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Old 07-17-05, 09:58 PM
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I should have mentioned I bought a brand new battery. It's doing more than clicking, it's turning just not starting. (I wish I knew the proper terminology) I tried putting WD40 in the carb and that didn't even do a thing, and if I remember right if WD40 made it run for a few seconds it meant it wasn't getting gas. Apparently it wasn't getting the WD40 either. It has good compression and good spark.

You said check the ignition and the fuse. I wouldn't have a clue how to check the ignition and can you tell me where I'd locate the fuse? I feel really dumb now because I had no idea lawn mowers had fuses. I guess I've never dealt with that.

Thanks for all the suggestions and help!
 
  #5  
Old 07-17-05, 10:40 PM
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Check the plug again? Is it wet? Wet enough to shake drops of gas off it? Sounds like it may be flooding, but not sure yet. You said it has good spark and compression. The only other thing it needs is fuel and air. If it has too much, it won't start. If the plug isn't overly wet, try putting a tablespoonful (or so) of gas into the spark plug hole and reinstall the plug and see if it will start up for a couple of seconds.
 
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Old 07-17-05, 10:46 PM
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I'm bad,sorry.since were talking new battery and the engine is turning over and getting good fire it's none of the above,don't even worry about the electrical system.It sound fine.The problem is still in the carbretor.For some reason fuel isn't getting from the bowl,through the emerson tubes(in the center)if fuel is even getting to the bowl at all.Take the fuel line off at the carb.first.Make sure you're getting good fuel flow.If it is,then take the carb.off and clean by taking it apart and soaking in carb.cleaner or use carb/choke cleaning spray.

I don't have a book in front of me but if memory serves...these carburetors has a brass screw just below the float with an itsy bitsy hole in it.Run a wire into this hole to clean it out too.
 
  #7  
Old 07-18-05, 08:08 AM
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I will check all these things. I wondered about it still not getting gas myself. Although I cleaned out the carb with carb cleaner already I wondered if I just didn't get something cleaned good enough. I'll definitely check the gas line first cause that would be the easiest. I dread taking the carb apart again. They certainly don't make these things easy to work on. I honestly don't know how men with big hands get to half these screws and stuff!

I'll be back to you guys soon!
 
  #8  
Old 07-18-05, 08:44 AM
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The easiest step here would be to check the plug as Cheese suggested. If it is not wet after a start attempt, then try to add some fuel in the cylinder as mentioned. If it fires, you now have confirmation the engine is not receiving fuel ,or the proper mixture of fuel, on its own.
If the plug is wet, dry it or use a new or known good one and try adding fuel the same way. If it fires fuel regulation (Carb) or fuel condition (bad gas) should be suspect.
The brass screw repair guy mentions, could be one of 3 places I think and is the most common problem with fuel restriction. The bolt that holds the bowl onto the carb could have small holes in it that meter the fuel. If these are plugged the carb venturi can not recieve fuel to mix with air. Some may have this main jet threaded into the stem of the carb where the bowl bolt threads into. Some are as mentioned on the side just below the float.

If neither test will attempt to start it, spark should be re-evaluated.
 
  #9  
Old 07-18-05, 05:19 PM
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I'm not quite sure how one gets gas into the cylinder. All my funnels are to large to fit in the hole. Do I need to buy a different funnel, or is there another way? Remember I don't have much in the way of tools and equipment. I would swear to the fact that my ex husband used to use WD40 as a starter fluid, and I remember him spraying that in cylinders. Right or wrong, I tried WD40 and it still did nothing. By the way, if you take the spark plug out of the cylinder and turn the key it does exactly the same thing as if the spark plug were in it. I didn't know if that would help to tell you exactly how it sounds when I try to start it. So, I guess this means it is not a gas problem, is that correct?

I do have a cheap spark plug tester and re-tested the spark and it is definitely firing.

I was wondering one other thing. What will a mower do if the flywheel key is sheared? Could that be a possibility? I have no reason to believe it is, but in the back of my mind this came up as a vague memory.
 
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Old 07-18-05, 11:54 PM
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How did you verify that this engine has good compression? If it sounds exactly the same whether the spark plug is in it or not, then it has no compression at all. It may have a broken connecting rod causing all the above problems.
 
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Old 07-19-05, 04:58 AM
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Without a compression tester, remove the spark plug, safely tuck the spark plug wire out of the way (so you don't get a jolt AND you don't ignite any fuel vapors which may still be in the combustion chamber) and place your thumb over the spark plug hole while another person cranks over the engine. You should have much difficulty keeping your thumb sealed over the hole. In other words, you should have a gush of compressed air rush past your thumb. If, on the other hand, you have relative ease at keeping your thumb sealed against the hole then you likely have a lack of necessary compression. In which case you will have to remove the cylinder head to determine the exact reason for such.
 
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Old 07-19-05, 05:28 AM
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Using my thumb is exactly how I tested and verified compression is good.
 
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Old 07-19-05, 08:32 AM
Azis
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U don't need a funnel as you only need a few drops to test. A squirt bottle a teaspoon, even a screwdriver held at the hole and slowly dribble some fuel on the upper end of the shaft, enuff will hold to the screwdriver and slide to the end of it in the hole.
You can also remove the airfilter from the carb and put some fuel directly in the throat of the carb, which should provide the same test results.

Also you may confirm a good plug by testing for spark with one installed in the high tension lead and holding the base to ground. Just becuz a spark tester shows spark does not mean the plug in the cylinder is firing. It also requires more juice to create a spark under compresion.

If you can verify that fuel is getting to the cylinder or that adding fuel to the cylinder does not produce a start attempt, then the shear key may be worth inspecting. The shear key basically times when the spark happens so that the piston and valves are in the correct position. If sheared a lot of the time it will backfire or pop or kick back on itself. I don't think this a common or likley your problem as your main load is belt driven. It would not hurt tho to remove the shroud and have a look at the coil and flywheel to see if all looks intact.

P.S. I have used WD-40 to check for vacuum leaks but have not had luck with it as a fuel source...I would not rely on a test using it as a fuel source.
 
  #14  
Old 07-19-05, 06:52 PM
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Remember I said earlier that I put my thumb over the spark plug hole and found compression to be good. Well, I borrowed a compression gauge from work today and hooked it up and it registered at around 110 PSI. Then just for kicks I put my thumb on it again and this time there was no compression on my thumb. So, I hooked the gauge back up and nothing. Does it build up for the first start and then nothing? So, you guys had it nailed about it being a compression problem.

Now, can you tell me what I'm going to be looking for in the cylinder? Or have I reached my limits here in what I can do?
 
  #15  
Old 07-19-05, 07:37 PM
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remove the spark plug and look down the hole, while turning the engine see if the piston comes to the top and returns down the hole again. You can also use a suitable tool something non metalic such as a wood dowel. Gently stick the dowel in the hole until you feel contact. Hold light pressure and turn the engine by hand. If it is still connected and travels up and down, you may try a bit of engine oil in the cylinder and check for compresion again.
You should be able to check valve clearance without removing the head. At this point you may want to evaluate just how much you are willing to invest. Time tools and some knowledge needed for internal repairs. If you are able to diagnose it, it may be worth having some of work done by a shop.
 
  #16  
Old 07-19-05, 08:50 PM
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Just out of curiosity, does it make sense that I could get good compression the first start attempt and then no compression after that?
 
  #17  
Old 07-20-05, 05:53 AM
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In a case such as yours, it would only make sense that the compression release mechanism on the camshaft is sticking intermittently. This, I can say, I've never come across but I suppose is possible. This would mean a tear-down of the engine in order to inspect the cam.
 
  #18  
Old 07-20-05, 08:45 PM
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Well, thank you all for the incredible help and knowledge! I told my co-worker if she wants it fixed she's going to have to take it to a shop.

You guys are great!!!!
 
  #19  
Old 07-21-05, 12:09 AM
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Sounds like a valve seat is loose and intermittently falling into place allowing good compression, then popping out of place causing an air leak. Removal of the head will reveal the problem unless it is a compression release problem. Usually the compression release will allow a bit of compression even if it does stick on.
 
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