Craftsman LT2000 tractor keeps dying

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  #1  
Old 05-07-08, 11:49 AM
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Craftsman LT2000 tractor keeps dying

I have a 18.5 hp Kohler engine in my Craftsman lawn tractor. The last couple of mowings it has been acting like it is running out of gas. You know the engine will slowly die like it does when it is out of gas, the only problem is it isn't even low on gas. At first it would do it every 10 minutes or so and wouldn't even die, just spit, sputter, and the engine would slow down. Now, it will die and not start for 15-20 minutes. I looked at the fuel filter (which I changed along with the air filter, oil filter, spark plug, and engine oil) and it doesn't have any fuel in the filter. If I leave it sitting for 15-20 minutes, the fuel filter is magically refilled. I took off the hose from the tank to the filter and it was clean, and also the hose from the filter to the ??carb?? (not sure where this hose goes) and it was clean too. Any thoughts as to what maybe causing this??
 
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  #2  
Old 05-07-08, 12:46 PM
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sounds like the fuel cap is not venting, try runnung it with the cap loose. Have a good one. Geo
 
  #3  
Old 05-07-08, 12:55 PM
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Tried It!

Thanks, but I have tried that already. I even ran it with the cap off and same thing. That is what it sounded like! It isn't sucking fuel into the fuel filter all the time!
 
  #4  
Old 05-07-08, 01:45 PM
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Is there a small filter or screen INSIDE the gas tank on the fuel line connection?
Some machines have a sort of pre-filter actually in the tank right at the line connection that can get a little clogged over time.
 
  #5  
Old 05-07-08, 02:15 PM
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Having sold these tractors for 8 years at Sears (I recently left them for personal reasons) I can tell you that you have a good unit. Assuming a few things first, I think I can help you solve your problem.
Assuming the battery is charged and has no short, or dead cell;
Assuming you didn't leave gas in it over the winter while it sat idle in your garage, and that you started off with fresh gas, not the stuff you save from last fall in your gas can;
Assuming that everything you said you did is in good shape; Therefore, I suspect one of two things:
1) you are mowing in an area that is tall grass or thick grass and you are mowing too low or with the mulching plate on the discharge area, thus overstressing the tractor because of the accumulation of grass in the deck. This stress can cause the problem you are experiencing by backblowing the fuel system. This could be the reason for the dry gas filter.
2) You have a loose, or slightly defective, ignition switch. If you leave the key in it all the time, this can also in rare instances cause the battery to drain or cause a short in the ignition switch. When the tractor cools down, so does the short in the switch.

There is one other possibility. A wild shot, but it is possible. One of the safety sensors/switches could be defective. I am betting it is the one under the seat. I don't think you are sitting on it for those 10-15 minutes waiting for it to restart.
 
  #6  
Old 05-07-08, 11:53 PM
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Sorry, but "backblowing" the fuel system from accumulated grass in the deck??? I think we can rule that one out, as well as the seat switch, ignition switch, and battery.

barlowchiro,
I wouldn't be too concerned about the visible amount of fuel in the filter. It doesn't have to be full. In fact, when they are running they often barely have any in the filter showing at all.

Next time you get ready to mow, go ahead and get a ratchet and 5/8" socket ready in your pocket. When the mower shuts off, pull the spark plug out right quick and check for spark. If it has no spark, the coil is bad. If it does have spark, put it back in and try to start it again. If it starts up, start over again. If it doesn't start back up, check for fuel in the carb bowl.
 
  #7  
Old 05-08-08, 04:49 AM
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I will certainly try the spark plug thing, so once the engine dies. Rally quickly take out the spark plug and look for a spark? Where is the spark going to be? Should someone try to crank the mower while I look? (sorry for stupid questions but never done this before) Just to clarify, the fuel filter is BONE dry when this thing acts like it is running out of gas. I know what you mean about there barely being any fuel in the filter while it is running, but this thing is EMPTY! Also after I let it sit for 15-20 min, the fuel filter has fuel in it again and the mower will work for another 10 min or so.
 
  #8  
Old 05-09-08, 01:37 AM
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If there is no evidence of fuel being int he filter AT ALL, then the problem may be that after all.

The 15-20 minute wait is also common to a failing coil (15-20 minutes for it to cool off enough for the internal windings to make contact again, and work once more).

I'd try checking spark anyway, to be sure. To check spark, pull the plug out, plug it into the plug wire, lay the plug so that the metal end of the plug is touching a metal part of the engine. Crank the engine, or have someone crank it while you watch the gap at the electrode of the plug. There should be a blue spark that continually flashes at that gap while the engine is cranking. It might be hard to see in the bright sunlight.

If the spark is ok, and the problem does prove to be fuel related, I'd reccomend using a new fuel filter specifically for kohler. Did this problem begin after installing the new filter you mentioed? I've heard of kohlers being sensitive to the filter used for some reason, although I haven't run into this firsthand.
 
  #9  
Old 05-20-08, 03:57 AM
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Did you ever solve the problem? I'm curious to hear what you did. I am experiencing similar symptoms but am pretty sure it's the fuel filter. I just changed it last night, the mower runs fine for about 45 minutes or so then does exactly what you described. If I wiggle the fuel filter around and or the hose from the fuel tank and gas goes into the filter the tractor starts right up.
 
  #10  
Old 05-22-08, 07:05 PM
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Been there... fixed that...

This mower has a design flaw.... the carb is not fit for this mower. I have replaced mine 4 times. The symptoms are exactly as you said. They are worse in wet or humid weather. It seems starved for fuel exactly as you said... trust me, it is the carb. You can buy one online for about $85 bucks.

Hold on, I will run downstairs and check the box from the last one I ordered to get you the part number.

(while I am down there, please be thinking of a way to put some sort of a lift kit on the mower... now that my grass is more mature, the Kentucky Blue Grass is suffering badly from the woefully piss-poor max cutting height of this mower. I am skulling the crap out of my yard already and when the hot weather comes, all the KBG starts dying... bigger tires on the back will work, but can't think of how to address the front wheels)

Kohler part number 12 853 117-S
http://www.m-and-d.com/KH-12853117-S.html
(seems like this price is very high)

If you have not replaced yours, you will have to. My latest one has lasted MUCH longer. I changed from premium unleaded fuel to 87 Octane. I also put a bit of Seafoam engine treatment in the fuel every 5 or so fillups.

Hope this helps... I did the fuel filters over and over, different sizes, etc, even replaced the hoses... bad carb was the answer! Didn't think that was possible considering the first one was replaced at 20 hours!

Thanks,
Kirk
 
  #11  
Old 05-26-08, 10:20 AM
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Still Acting Up

Well, I have tried everything listed on here and it still is acting up. The only difference is when the mower is first cranked up, it will run for 45 min - 1 hour before it starts to die. After that, it will die in 20 min, then 15 min, then 10 min, etc... I have to let it sit for about 15 - 20 min and then it will start again. The fuel filter is keeping fuel in it, so it might be the coil. I will try to replace the coil and see where that takes me. I am going to try the coil before the carb, just because the coil would be cheaper. I'll let you know how it goes.
 
  #12  
Old 05-26-08, 12:03 PM
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Lift Kit for Mower

Sears actually sells gauge wheels that mount on your mowing deck. You can mount either two or four gauge wheels on you mowing deck to give it that "floating deck" effect. I did that for mine (four gauge wheel, 2 in front and 2 in back) and it works wonders, lower that wheels enough that when you have the deck at your setting, the wheels are about .5-1" off the ground. That way when you go over a bump or up/down a hill, the gauge wheels touch the ground to prevent the deck from scalping the lawn.
 
  #13  
Old 05-26-08, 07:57 PM
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Did you ever check for spark when the engine dies? Sure sounds like a coil problem. Especially with your latest description.
 
  #14  
Old 05-28-08, 03:30 AM
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switch

it is the ignition switch does it have a anti-backfire solinoid?
the switch is making that solinoid shut down that was my experiance
 
  #15  
Old 05-29-08, 02:44 PM
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Cheese Is The Man!!!!!

I replaced the coil, and WAM!!!!!! No more problem!!!! Thanks to everyone to contributed to this post!!!!
 
  #16  
Old 05-29-08, 09:27 PM
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Good news! Glad to help, and thanks for the update!
 
  #17  
Old 06-01-08, 11:54 AM
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can you post the part number for the coil and where did you get it? Thanks.
 
  #18  
Old 06-03-08, 09:24 AM
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The part number for the coil is 12-584-04-S. I got it at a local small engine shop for $48. I replaced the coil and it did fine for a while, now it is doing the exact same thing!!! What now????
 
  #19  
Old 06-03-08, 04:27 PM
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Thanks, I stopped at the local lawnmower shop on my way home, the guy was willing to sell me the coil but said he didn't think it was the coil or the carb. Said it may be the filter, the paper could be too fine??? Told me to remove the hose from the filter to the carb and see if the gas flows out of that side of the filter. So I will try that now.

I hope I can get this fixed cause I hate stopping every 10 minutes when mowing and playing with the fuel hoses.
 
  #20  
Old 06-04-08, 12:11 AM
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Barlowchiro, have you checked for spark yet?
 
  #21  
Old 06-04-08, 01:06 AM
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Yeah, I checked for a spark after it dies, and it still has one. Does that mean that it isn't the coil?
 
  #22  
Old 06-04-08, 08:21 AM
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You have a vacuum operated fuel pump that uses the pulseation from the crankcase to operate. Do you have any oil weeping around the gaskets? You could be loosing vacuum when you get the engine warmed up and not pumping fuel to the carb. With spark after it dies, your coil is okay. Pull the fuel hose off the carb when it dies and crank over looking for good fuel flow. With no fuel flow you will need to see if fuel in coming to the pump. A leaking gasket can cause a pump to not pump. Not knowing the exact engine numbers, I can only guess on the pump method as some of these engines also had a mechanical fuel pump but most of the Sears units were vacuum operated.
 
  #23  
Old 06-04-08, 09:27 AM
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Did you ever fix the problem?

My Craftstman lawn tractor with Kohler engine is doing the exact same thing as stated in this thread. Have changed the ignition module, fuel and air filters, spark plug and the mower will still stall after about 10-15 minutes of running. Could it be the carburetor? thanks.
 
  #24  
Old 06-04-08, 12:10 PM
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LT2000 issue

Also, this problem began when I first changed the fuel filter this spring. I had not changed the fuel filter in the previous 5 years, and as soon as I changed it this spring, I began to have the stalling problems after the engine warms up for 15 minutes. Hopefully that provides more information for someone to make a good diagnosis. thanks.
 
  #25  
Old 06-04-08, 05:08 PM
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Problem Solved

I believe I have fixed the problem. Since my problem began when I changed the fuel filter, I thought that could be the problem. I bought a new fuel line and ran it directly from the tank to the carb. Problem solved. Mower ran without stalling. Now, it's probably not wise to run it w/o a fuel filter. So, I emailed Kohler engines directly and they promptly emailed me back. They believe the part # that Sears uses in their manual for my mower - 25-050-22 S1 is not correct. They have recommended part # 25-050-21 which is designed for gravity feed fuel systems and has a 75 micron rating. I am going to find one of those and see if this fixes the problem permanently. Hopefully, this will help someone else out as I have been working on this mower for the past few weeks. I only wish I tried this earlier, as I spent $60 on an ignition module and another $10 on a few spark plugs. It turns out that neither was the problem. Still better than calling sears repairman or taking it into the local shop! I think I will email Sears parts and tell them they have the wrong part # listed. Bet they don't listen...
 
  #26  
Old 06-04-08, 11:15 PM
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They might listen. I;ve heard of the filter being a problem on those before (see my first reply to this thread where I mentioned the possibility of a filter problem). I haven't run into it firsthand yet though.
 
  #27  
Old 06-05-08, 01:24 PM
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I just went and bought fuel line today yo run it straight from the gas tank to the carb. Hopefully it works. I went and bought it and hadn't even read the post about it. This after I wasted $100 dollars on parts that I can't return.
 
  #28  
Old 06-06-08, 05:40 AM
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I did the same last night too, will try it tonight or tomorrow. I talked to a friend, who is a motorcycle mech and he says with a plastic gas tank in our tractor, there is really not a need for a fuel filter. Being totally clueless about engines, I'm not sure what to believe, but I will run it w/o the filter and hope it works.

Sorry to hear you wasted $100. Still cheaper then having a sears repairman look at it though.
 
  #29  
Old 06-07-08, 10:09 AM
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same problems

My mower started acting up last week. It is a 2004 Sears Craftsman LT2000 with the 17.5hp Kohler engine. I have replaced oil,fuel,fuel filter, air filter, spark plug. My battery indicator slowly drops during mowing then finally it dies out. dOES THE BATTERY INDICATOR GO TO -10 WHEN YOU JUST TURN ON THE LIGHTS WITHOUT THE ENGINE RUNNING? (sorry about the caps) I get a lot of backfire when I idle it in the high(or rabbit) position. I will try the coil. Also the fuel filter I bought was the one stated as being wrong by kohlor, but i have always used the same part # with no problems.
 
  #30  
Old 06-08-08, 07:12 PM
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Fuel filter was it for me.

Since running the fuel line directly to the carb and removing my fuel filter, my LT2000 has run perfectly. I mowed for over an hour today with no stalls whatsoever. I'll be ordering the correct fuel filter and hopefully that filter will work. Hope I've been able to help someone out.
 
  #31  
Old 06-10-08, 05:23 AM
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Same or similar problems.

I was given a Craftsman LT 2000 with a 17hp Kohler engine. My brother in-law was tired of it dying on him.

When I received it, it was completely dead. Turning the key did nothing.

After checking the battery and topping it off with distilled water I charged it for several hours. Now the motor spins but doesn't start. I removed the air filter and poured a little gas directly into the carb. Now the motor starts but only runs until the gas in the carb is gone. Went out and bought a can of carb cleaner sprayed a little directly into the carb.

Now the motor starts and runs without a problem. I've driven it 3 or 4 times since then and it has not died yet.

Happy to find this forum and know that it's not just my mower. Maybe give carb cleaner a shot. It's a cheap possible solution. Good Luck!
 

Last edited by ZippyMcClavin; 06-10-08 at 05:24 AM. Reason: just subscribing to the thread.
  #32  
Old 06-10-08, 10:25 AM
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Yes redsfan you have helped me out, I actually got the new fuel line before reading your post but you were still helpful and I thank you. I ran the tractor twice now, both times over an hour and it never stalled. I too will be getting the correct fuel filter, thanks again.
 
  #33  
Old 07-05-08, 08:01 AM
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Similar Problem

I have a 18hp Briggs & Stratton Intek engine that displays similar symptoms as stated in this forum. The engine ran fine until 3 weeks ago. It stalls after about 45 min. of running. Letting it sit for a few minutes is enough to restart and I'm good for another 30 min. I never changed the filter. I noticed that the DC Amperage meter needle leans to the + side when running the engine on high (rabbit). Should not the needle be close to 0? What could be causing this and would it explain the battery no longer charging. I replaced the original one last week-end. I can now start the mower but it still shuts out after 45 min.
Other than the direct fuel line, am I having another issue?
Thanks
 
  #34  
Old 07-05-08, 08:49 PM
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I think you have a different issue. I'd start a new post about it so we don't have to wade through all this other stuff to deal with your problem. Try loosening the gas cap when it dies and see if that helps. If not, check for spark immediately after it dies. Post back with results, but start a new thread if you will.
 
  #35  
Old 04-10-09, 02:36 PM
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mower keeps dying

I'd like to know if anyone has found the proper solution to this dilemma.

I have a 4 year old Sears LT2000 with a Briggs engine. Last year my engine started doing the exact same problem as described here.

My own thoughts were on fuel starvation due to clogged passages in these newer emissions friendly carbs that use very tiny fuel passages.

Also, fuel pumps. My mower never came with a fuel pump. That seems like it would fix all my problems. My father has a near identical craftsman mower but he has the more expensive "red" one (LT5000?). He has the exact same 18.5 hp Briggs engine AND a FUEL PUMP.

So, why does his need a pump and mine does not???? Makes no sense.

I was thinking of just buying a pump anyway, it looks like I have the provisions to fit it.

Has anyone else fixed this issue yet?!

Thanks,
Jim
 
  #36  
Old 04-10-09, 07:22 PM
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A fuel pump is not going to solve your problem. Pull the fuel line off the carb and let it run into a can. Does the fuel flow fast, or is it slow-flowing? Consider starting a new thread since this one is old, and deals with a different engine and fuel system.
 
  #37  
Old 05-31-09, 06:09 PM
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I just changed the fuel filter on my LT2000 with the Kohler engine, and instantly started getting the same problem described here. My tractor runs for about 20 minutes, then sputters a little and dies and the fuel filter is virtually dry. I wait a few minutes and then it starts up again and runs a little longer. My neighbor thinks it's pretty funny...but I'm not laughing anymore.

Before I buy the 25-050-21 filter, I was wondering if anyone had any luck using this other fuel filter?

Thanks for your help!
 
  #38  
Old 05-31-09, 06:16 PM
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Found this on another forum website while trying to fix this issue. Figured I'd pass it along:

"I'm posting this as an informational message for those who have problems with fuel flow in Craftsman lawn tractors with Kohler engines (possibly this affects others as well), specifically after changing the fuel filter. My model is a 917.272481 Craftsman LTX1000 with a Kohler Pro 18HP engine (Model:CV492S Spec:27506) bought in 2002. Note that this engine does not use a fuel pump and relies on the gas tank being higher than the carburetor so that gravity carries the gas to it.

In 2004 I bought a replacement fuel filter for this tractor based on the model number listed in my manual, 25-050-03 which today maps to new Kohler part number 25-050-22. This filter was an aftermarket that mapped to this same part number and was clear rather than a white opaque plastic. After doing this I had the problem that many in this forum have posted about where the filter appeared to run out of gas and the engine would stall after about 20-30 minutes. If left to set, the fuel would eventually fill back up. The original filter could be put back and this problem went away which pointed to the new fuel filter as being the problem.

I ended up using the old filter since they really don't see much action on a lawn tractor, but this season I decided to find a proper replacement. After some research in the Kohler manuals and having a part shop look up the filter type based on engine model number vs. the part listed in my manual I discovered that Craftsman made a typo in their documentation. The part number 25-050-22 (or 25-050-03) is a 50 micron filter designed for a fuel pump where they also make a 25-050-21 (or 25-050-07) which is a 75 micron filter designed for a gravity feed system like my engine is.

Kohler isn't particular to brand of filter as some would suggest in these forums but rather it is particular to the micron size (and thus flow rate) of the filter media based on whether you have a fuel pump providing extra pressure or just have lower pressure gravity carrying the fuel directly to the carburetor.

So if you can trace your fuel hose as going straight from the gas tank and into the carburetor float bowl, use the filter 25-050-21 with the bigger 75 micron holes and if you have a fuel pump in between, then use the 25-050-22 with the 50 micron holes to keep your gas cleaner. Using a different brand should make no difference on a Kohler as long as you can determine which micron size it has (these branded maintenance parts are just sourced from some other company for cheap and then marked up). I would avoid anything that says universal without specification though since you have no idea what they decided is a universal micron size. "

...One last thing. If you're searching for this part on searspartsdirect.com, the part number is "25-050-21-S". Note the "-S" at the end.
 
  #39  
Old 05-21-13, 05:14 AM
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Fuel Filter Causing The Engine to Starve For Gas

Gravity Fed Engines (No Fuel Pump) need a 75 micron or LARGER filter to allow for adequate gas flow to keep the engine running. If you use a "Universal" gas filter, with a fine fiber screen, you will find the filter runs dry and the engine dies. After a few minutes, the filter fills back up and the engine will run again, until the same thing happens. The finer filter media is IMPEDING the gas flow on gravity fed engines. An easy check would be to connect the motor to the tank directly, and eliminate the filter. If the engine runs, then that is the problem. I returned 3 filters to Sears (33392) before I came to the conclusion that it had to be the filter. Once I went back to the original filter 33940 (75 micron) my engine ran like a top again.
 
  #40  
Old 04-30-14, 03:48 AM
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Might help

I tried everything I've read on here for 2 yrs same problem after running for awhile would start backfiring and die wait awhile starts again my father in law works at Chevy mentioned it to a tech as soon as he started the tech said you have carbon buildup and gave him a can of ac delco carbon cleaner I'm happy to say that was the fix ran 4xs now no more problems hope this helps
 
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