Craftsman mower -won't start

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  #1  
Old 05-24-07, 07:05 AM
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Craftsman mower -won't start

Hello,

I've got a Craftsman 20" push mower, model 917.387271 with a 5.5 HP Tecumseh motor. When I pull the starting cord, it either doesn't start or pulls the cord back right out of my hand, and gives a puff of white smoke OUT of the air filter. I've changed the oil, spark plug, and air filter, and it still does this. I do have fuel from January (leftover from the snowblower) in it, but I did add stabilizer when I bought the fuel. It just started doing this this spring - the first time I used it it started up fine, the second time it did this a few times then started, the third time I tried to use it it wouldn't start at all. Any ideas?
 
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  #2  
Old 05-27-07, 03:17 PM
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Sorry we missed your post! Sounds like you have overfilled the oil crankcase and you now have oil in the combustion chamber. If so, remove the spark plug, tuck the plug wire out of the way, spray a small amount of carb/choke cleaner into the plug hole, cover the hole with a shop towel, crank the engine over 5 times, repeat the spray-cover-crank procedure as many times as needed until you have no indication of any further oil on the shop towel. Bear in mind that you likely have oil in the muffler and it will take many minutes for this to burn out once the engine is back up and running. You may need a new spark plug and air filter if they are soaked with oil.
 
  #3  
Old 05-29-07, 08:25 AM
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Thanks! Actually though, I read a lot of other posts on this site after I posted mine, and it sounded like it was a broken flywheel key - since the mower was pulling the starting cord right out of my hand. So I took it apart over the weekend, and the key was sheared, so I replaced it and the mower started on the first pull.
 
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Old 05-29-07, 12:58 PM
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Good job!

EXTRA: Content needed to post message. Hope the Site mods are happy now!
 
  #5  
Old 05-30-07, 02:39 AM
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A broken flywheel key indicates you either struck something with the blade or the flywheel has recently been removed and the nut was not torqued down properly. Which one is the case? If you struck a solid object with the blade then you need to be concerned that the crankshaft may be bent as well.
 
  #6  
Old 06-01-07, 11:14 AM
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The flywheel was never removed before, and didn't hit anything this year with the mower. I mowed the lawn and it ran fine for 2 hours after the fix, so I think the crankshaft is OK.

One thing that I didn't post about before - the recoil starter wasn't working well. The dogs weren't extending reliably when you pulled the starter rope, unless you pulled it really hard. Even then, sometimes they didn't extend until you were about halfway through the pull, so they'd wind up slamming into the notches on the starter cup instead of engaging them at the beginning of the pull. This was going on for about 2 years, but since I could eventually get it started, I didn't bother fixing it until the mower stopped running completely. I wonder if that slamming could have distorted & broken the flywheel key?
 
  #7  
Old 06-01-07, 12:18 PM
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If you are still having the rewind starter trouble, go buy a Tecumseh 590760, starter clip kit, and install and your trouble will be gone.
 
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