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Craftsman won't start


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04-30-08, 11:13 AM   #1  
Craftsman won't start

I have recently purchased a used Craftsman riding lawn mower (model number 917250480). It has a Kohler Magnum 18HP Twin engine (Model number MV18S). The engine will not start. I put starter fluid in the carb and it started for a few seconds and then dies out. I have detached the gas line from the gas filter (carb side) and blew into it (as suggested on a post here somewhere). I heard bubbling in the tank, so the line is not clogged.

I don't know too much about small engines (I'm a CPA not a mechanic), and would like not to have a repair guy come out to my house to fix this. Any thoughts as to how to determine if it is the fuel pump or if it is the Carb? I purchased a new fuel pump today, but after doing more research I am not sure which it might be.

When I took the air filter off to perform the test above I was surprised that I did not smell any gas (maybe that is normal?). Does that mean there is no fuel in the Carb?

I also picked up a new fuel filter and spark plugs to replace the old ones while I was at it.

Thanks!

 
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04-30-08, 11:30 AM   #2  
Forgot

It also ran just fine last week. Cut my yard (about 2 hours) let my son stear for another 20 min, and then parked it in the garage. This week, won't start.

 
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04-30-08, 05:19 PM   #3  
Posted By: Taylor's Dad I have detached the gas line from the gas filter (carb side)
Remove the fuel line from the fuel pump leading to the carb, Add a longer piece of fuel line (1/4") to the pump then hold it over a container and crank the engine over. If the pump is good it should pump fuel into the container, If not then the pump is bad.

If it pumps in the container the problem is in the carb, Possibly a piece of trash stuck in the main jet.


Good Luck

 
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04-30-08, 05:49 PM   #4  
Just for clarification, the 1/4" is in reference to the ID (inside diameter) not the length. The length will need to be long enough to run it to the catch can.

 
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04-30-08, 06:16 PM   #5  
Thanks for catching that puey....

 
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05-01-08, 04:49 AM   #6  
Update

Thanks, I will try that when I get back tonight. I did change the fuel filter on this last night, and when I tried to start it, fuel did get into the filter where there wasn't any before. it was only about 1/4 full though. This may be related to gravity, but it was only a matter of seconds between when I checked and there was no fuel, turned the key, and there was fuel. It also does not appear to have increased the amount of fuel since last night.

I will try your suggestion, but I have a feeling that is going to rule out the pump for sure.

I did also take the bowl off the carb to see if that was dirty, and I was supprised that it was clean as could be. There was also a fair amount of Gas that was in there as well. The float (which I didn't take off) seemed to work fine (from an accountants point of view) as I pushed up on it without any resistence.

I did also notice that twice when I turned the key, it would turn over once, but then stop and whine. Then when I let go of the key and tried again it would turn over again.

I have a friend who is good with small engines, but lives far away. He thought that it might be a clogged jet in the carb. He cautioned though on trying to take apart the carb myself to clean for fear of me messing up settings on the carb. Is that possible?

Just because I wasn't finished with my beer yet, I did also change out the spark plugs on it.

Thanks again everyone for all your help. My grass is about 8 inches and the neighbors are starting to worry.

 
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05-01-08, 06:21 PM   #7  
Posted By: Taylor's Dad He cautioned though on trying to take apart the carb myself to clean for fear of me messing up settings on the carb. Is that possible?

Not at all, I don't believe you could do anything short of breaking something that we on this site couldn't help you with.

Here is a cleaning procedure;

Take the carb. off then tear it down, Spray carb. & choke cleaner with the straw through ALL ports, passages and jets then blow it out with compressed air if available then re-assemble, Also check the fuel tank for trash and clean as needed.

Here is a carb breakdown should you need it but you don't have to remove the shafts only jets and adjuster screws;




Lastly the adjustment procedure after cleaning;







Good Luck

 
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05-03-08, 07:45 PM   #8  
Still not working

Thanks for the post, very informative.

One question though, on the drawing it notes a "fixed main fuel jet" which looks like a screw on the drawing. I didn't have this when I opened up the carb. Also, I went back to the IPL and did not see one on there. Is this just referring to the whole on the side of that tube hanging down in the picture and not a screw?

Well anyway, I disconnected the fuel line leading into the carb and there was no fuel when I tried to crank. I changed the fuel pump, and got fuel to come out. The tractor still wouldn't start though, so I took the carb off, spayed carb cleaner all over the inside, and in the holes like you suggested, but I did not notice any dirt. T

he one thing I did notice, was the gold pin coming down from the chamber into where the fuel bowl is appeared to be stuck to the side of the thing protruding from the bottom of the carb on the picture below. Is this the fuel jet? Could that be why it won't start even though I now know for sure there is gas getting to the carb?

Again, I was able to start if for a few seconds spraying carb cleaner or starter fluid down into the carb, but it cuts out after a few seconds.

Thanks again for all your help on this, I may give it one more shot tomorrow and then find a pro to take it to if it doesn't work.

Is there anything else it could be besides the carb? I don't think so because it does start briefly when I spray the cleaner in it.

 
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05-03-08, 07:48 PM   #9  
forgot

Sorry forgot to tell you that even though that gold pin is pushed all the way to one side, I am able to spay carb cleaner through the jet and have it come out in the chamber.

 
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05-03-08, 08:34 PM   #10  
Well T's D,

I did some back tracking and found your engine to be spec #58560, On my Kohler Dealer's site the carb part number you have is 52-053-54 which on my Kohler site is the same carb I pictured above.

The "fixed main jet" that has a flat screw head should be screwed into the hole in the side of that center part of that carb, Aren't there threads in that hole in the side ?

If it wasn't/isn't in the carb it would allow too much fuel to enter and cause a rich/flooding problem while cranking. Is it possible this jet vibrated out and when you removed the float bowl the first time inadvertently dumped it on the ground ?

The gold pin is fine sitting to one side, They all do that but it isn't the main jet.

I feel since it does start on spray that the problem is in the carb but we just have to sort the problem out.....

 
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05-04-08, 06:36 AM   #11  
Must have lost it.

"The "fixed main jet" that has a flat screw head should be screwed into the hole in the side of that center part of that carb, Aren't there threads in that hole in the side ? "


I believe the whole is is threaded. I will check around the ground and tractor to see if it fell out without my noticing. Would this cause the tractor not to start, or just to run rich?

Also, what does the white smoke mean out of the exhaust, is that too rich or too lean? I noticed some yesterday. I don't remember though if it was during a start with the carb cleaner or just in normal cranking.

As always thanks for your help.

 
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05-04-08, 10:05 AM   #12  
White smoke indicates you have fuel migrating into the crankcase oil thereby overfilling the oil and the engine purging the excess and the result is a white smoke. Be sure to solve the carburetor issue then change the oil before you run the engine again. BTW, the lack of the main fuel screw will cause a rich running condition.

 
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05-04-08, 06:51 PM   #13  
Still won't start

Here is the latest. Took apart the carb and gave it another good solid cleaning with spray carb cleaner and then with compressed air. put everything back together, but still nothing.

There is a couple additional things I noticed this time. Mine does not have a fixed main jet that you have talked about below does not have a screw, nor is it threaded. It appears to be just a whole that leads to where the main fuel adjusting needle goes.

Another observation is this time I did not spray any carb cleaner or starter fluid in the carb, and tried to crank it. I then took off the fuel bowl, but there was not a drop of fuel in there. Again, cranked it with the fuel line into the carb disconnected and there was fuel pumping. I think the problem may lie in the fuel inlet needle. Upon inspection of it, it appears that the rubber tip is starting to where out, and pushing out of the body. I believe this is leading to fuel not being able to come into the carb.

 
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05-04-08, 07:09 PM   #14  
Try removing the bowl, then turn the starter on & see if fuel runs out of the needle valve connected to the float.

If the bowl is empty sometimes you have to crank on it for a while to get the bowl full.

 
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05-04-08, 07:18 PM   #15  
May I suggest spraying carb cleaner followed by air through this inlet needle port (from inside the carb), You will most likely find it plugged up with trash. If the float needle was in deed bad it would cause the carb to flood.

 
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05-05-08, 05:51 AM   #16  
Thanks again

Posted By: gejandsons Try removing the bowl, then turn the starter on & see if fuel runs out of the needle valve connected to the float.

If the bowl is empty sometimes you have to crank on it for a while to get the bowl full.
I tried that, and nothing came out. I also when I was cleaning had sprayed carb cleaner in the inlet and nothing went through with the float connected. It only came through when I pushed up and down on the float (it reacted almost like a pump).

I will try to spray the inlet again, but I did spray going both ways already. I will make sure there is nothing in there.

Would a gasket cause this problem? I don't see how, but again, this is my first dive into small engines. The gaskets seem OK, but would it help if I replace them. One of the from the carb to the air intake is a bit rough, but the rest seem fine.

Thanks for your help everybody. My neighbors especially thank you for trying to get this started since my grass is really high now.

 
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05-05-08, 05:34 PM   #17  
A bad gasket wouldn't cause this problem but if it's in bad shape go ahead and replace it.

I hate to say it but this is getting to the point it doesn't make sense.

If you have fuel pumping out of the fuel pump and the float needle valve inlet port is open/clear you should have fuel in the float bowl after cranking it over a couple times.

Have you checked/replaced the fuel hose from the fuel pump to the carb ?

 
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05-05-08, 06:06 PM   #18  
If you have fuel pumping as stated with the line disconnected from the carb, the inlet is plugged, If the seat that the fuel inlet needle seals against is removable, it needs to be removed. You may have a piece of rubber from the line plugging it up. If the seat is removable or not, blow compessed air thru the inlet at the same place the inlet valve seats with the gas line to the carb removed. You have found the problem, no gas to the carb bowl.

 
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05-05-08, 07:05 PM   #19  
Posted By: gejandsons If you have fuel pumping as stated with the line disconnected from the carb, the inlet is plugged, If the seat that the fuel inlet needle seals against is removable, it needs to be removed. You may have a piece of rubber from the line plugging it up. If the seat is removable or not, blow compessed air thru the inlet at the same place the inlet valve seats with the gas line to the carb removed. You have found the problem, no gas to the carb bowl.

Hmmm.....Is there a echoooo in the thread ???

It is not necessary to remove the brass seat just to clean.

 
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05-05-08, 07:18 PM   #20  
I guess you can see it better from where you are 31y.
My previous post was not intended to offend youas it must have.
It was an option to help remove a possible obstuction, that may could be held in place by the seat & the seat may restrict air flow to blow it back out the other way.

 
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05-06-08, 03:15 AM   #21  
Thank you everybody.

It works! The problem as I suspected had to do with the fuel needle. The rubber tip was starting to rip off and it only pushed out from the body of the needle an 1/8th or a 1/4 of an inch, but that must have been it. As soon as I replaced (and cleaned one more time) It started up after about 45 seconds of cranking. Shut it down, and it started right back up again.

I think I still need to play with the adjustment screws as there is a drop in power as I am riding (not a pattern, just kind of randomly).

I did also during this process change the fuel line from the fuel filter to the fuel pump, and also from the fuel pump to the carb, so I knew those were fine.

I can't thank everybody enough, like I said, I don't know much about these things, and would have stopped a while ago if not for this board. Thank you

 
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05-06-08, 06:44 AM   #22  
In any event, Glad to hear you found the problem and got it up and running......

 
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