Engine is flooding


Old 04-06-08, 06:00 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 4
Engine is flooding

I have a 2005 John Deere SX85 with a 13hp B & S engine. I just bought it used and it ran great. I ran it for a couple hours yesterday, then turned it off for a while. When I went back to start it, it just kept cranking. I let it sit for about an hour, still nothing. I pulled the spark plug, and it was wet with gas. There was excess gas in the air cleaner compartment, and even a little fuel dripping from the muffler. I took it all a part and dried it out. Finally got it started, but when I tried to put the air cleaner back, it started to run rough, took it off again, and it ran smoother. After I turned it off, it won't start again. Any suggestions??

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 04-06-08, 10:12 PM
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Sounds to me like the carburetor needs to be cleaned and reconditioned. Clean it out and replace the needle, then check the oil...there may be gas in it now and you don't want to run the engine with gas-thinned oil.
Old 04-07-08, 03:51 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Thank you, that is very helpful. I will try that.
Old 04-07-08, 06:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Sounds to me the carburetor float inlet needle is sticking. A sticking inlet needle will allow gas to flow out of the bowl into the engine as you describe. Be sure to check the engine oil to see if gas has gotten in the crankcase. If gas has entered the crankcase and contaminated the oil, change the oil after you repair the carburetor.

Not knowing the engine model and type number, I will offer this general information to correct your problem.

The problem may be caused by a foreign object entering the carburetor or the effect of stale gas.

Remove the carburetor bowl and the float and inlet needle. Pay attention to the position of the needle spring, if so equipped, it will need to go back in the same position. If the insides are not extremely dirty or shellacked, a simple cleaning with solvent or spray type carburetor may suffice.

Even after a general cleaning of the carburetor I recommend you, polish the inlet needle.
Float inlet needles will often drag or stick in a needle cavity that is dirty or corroded. Needles often do not seat against the fuel inlet hole because of dirt or corrosion. This dragging, sticking or not seating will allow fuel to flow past the needle.

Here is a tip that often fixes sticking or dragging float needles or needles that do not seat. With the plastic inlet seat removed, if installed, polish the needle cavity. I make a polishing tool using a wooden meat skewer with one end wrapped with NEVR-DULL metal polish. The wrapped tip should fit tightly in the needle cavity. Chuck the skewer in a drill and insert the end wrapped with the NEVR-DULL in the needle cavity. Operate the drill slowly several seconds and the needle cavity is usually clean and polished. If you do not have NEVR-DULL use a wooden skewer, wrap the tip with cotton then saturate the cotton with the metal polish of your choice.

Install and set inlet needle and float. Place a few drops of solvent or fuel on the inlet needle. Pressures test the needle seat by inverting the carburetor and applying 5-15 PSI air pressure to the fuel inlet fitting. A seat that functions properly should hold the pressure. Move the float with your finger and observe that it moves freely.

I do this to every carburetor I rebuild and rarely have problems.

Take a look at the service manual and ensure the float clip is installed correctly and float height is set correctly.

Good luck and let us know how it came out.
Old 04-07-08, 07:18 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 4
Thank you very much for the great advice. Your possible reasons for this problem make great sense. I ran it all day cleaning up all the left over leaves left over from fall. The bagger attachment is right by the carb. There was also fuel in the tank when I recently purchased it used, and I have no idea if it was new or left over from last year. It just reinforces that a little extra effort up front can save lots of trouble later.

I look forward to trying your suggestion.


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