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Craftsman riding mower intermittently stops running


ssample's Avatar
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07-18-08, 09:47 AM   #1  
Craftsman riding mower intermittently stops running

My mower is a craftsman LT2200 18 HP Briggs motor. I have been having an issue with it running fine until it gets hot, then it will shut off. Sometimes I can restart the mower and sometimes I can't until it sits for about 5-10 minutes. Then it will restart and work fine for a little bit. The funny thing is that I can hear it sputter first and if I'm fast enough, I can disengage the blades, and wiggle the key and it seems to be able to be saved, at least 70 percent of the time until it finally will quit and not restart until it has set for a little bit.

This has been a great mower and we really need it. I just replaced and recharged the battery. I have checked the connections and the wires all is fine. I did notice when it shuts off that if I open the oil filler, I can see a little wisp of smoke coming from it, but I'm not sure whether it just due to it being hot or not.

Can anyone offer any assistance?

 
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07-18-08, 10:35 AM   #2  
To give you the best advice possible, we need the engine's
model numbers.

Thanks,

Fish

 
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07-18-08, 11:01 AM   #3  
Sounds like it's ignition/electrical as opposed to fuel but to be sure, the simplest way to start is with a 'gap type' spark tester. When it dies, and you are trying to restart, see if you have any spark. If you do, it's more than likely fuel related, and if you don't, then you know to look for an electrical/ignition problem.

As the other poster said, having the info on the tractor and more importantly the engine, will help a lot.

BTW, the gap type spark tester is a good investment and available at most any auto parts store. Usually they are <$15 and the gap is adjustable. The Briggs and Stratton one is set for a gap of 0.167" but if you adjust yours to anything close to a quarter inch(0.250), you'll be fine.

So, let's start with question 1, fuel or electrical and go from there. Let us know how you make out!

 
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07-18-08, 12:23 PM   #4  
Thanks very much for the info and the advice. Where is the model number listed?

I will try the spark and see. Right, know the 3 things to look for Spark, air and fuel. HAS to be one of those! LOL

I will be trying to complete my lawn this evening so I will make sure to put your advice to good use and I'll come back with an answer as soon as I can.

Thanks so much for posting a reply!

-Scott

 
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07-18-08, 12:26 PM   #5  
If it is an OHV engine, it is probably etched into one of the valve covers, or on a metal tag on the engine, or on older models, etched near one of the spark plugs.

Fish

 
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07-18-08, 12:42 PM   #6  
Scott, go here and download the 'numbering system fact sheet' and it will explain what you are looking for....

http://www.briggsandstratton.com/mai...nual_and_more/

That will be a big help! Good luck!

 
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07-18-08, 01:11 PM   #7  
What's the model number of the tractor? It should be a nine-digit number on a plate probably under the seat.

If wiggling the key saves it, something in the keyswitch may be amiss. There's a lead from the magneto to the switch that's connected to ground when the switch is OFF.

I wouldn't worry about the wisp of smoke from the oil filler tube at this point.

 
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07-18-08, 10:07 PM   #8  
Your engine may have a fuel shutoff solenoid on the bottom of the carburetor bowl. That could cause the engine to quit if you lose electrical power to it.

 
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07-22-08, 05:12 AM   #9  
Thanks a bunch for all the info. We've had some storms so I wasn't able to get the numbers yet, plus we are packing to move...buying our first house.

The ignition switch was a little loose, so I attempted to unplug the connector from it, only to have the switch pull apart! So, I used the inside of the switch and placed it against the contacts and turned it until it came on. It did the same thing as before, so I believe we can rule out the ignition switch.

It seems like the hotter it gets, the less time it stays running. Is there anything that cools the engine? a radiator for the oil? Heat sinks?

Again, I really appreciate all your help. I will get the numbers tonight and report them tomorrow.

 
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07-22-08, 04:09 PM   #10  
Hmmm. The keyswitch came completely apart when you pulled on the connector. That's definitely not good. Are you going to replace it? Were you able to get it back together so it will stay together?

The engine is air-cooled. A fan mounted on the flywheel forces air through cooling fins around the cylinder and cylinder head. It takes LOTS of air, so it's important for the fan and cooling fins to be clear of dirt, grass clippings, etc. All the shrouds must be in place, too.

 
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08-12-08, 08:48 AM   #11  
soooo sorry!

I took a much needed vacation and we moved into a new house. I bought a new switch, still no-go.

The model of the mower is: 917.273752

Hmmm....fan on flywheel...I wonder if it's clogged and overheating. It seems like an overheat issue, an you can feel the heat off the motor when you raise the hood when it quits.

Are the shrouds easy to remove?

Should I be looking elsewhere as well?

The motor is an OHV 18 Hp Briggs. Still don't have the engine model, but I now have internet from my house, so I will try to post tonight after back to school shopping.

Thanks in advance to everyone for all your advice and assistance. I have 1.8 acres and I really need this mower! LOL

-Scott

 
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08-12-08, 05:18 PM   #12  
According to the owner's manual, your engine is a 31P777-0299-E1.

You can get the manual here if you don't have one:
http://www.managemyhome.com/mmh/lis_...M/L0404217.pdf

 
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08-12-08, 05:28 PM   #13  
31P717 is the number on the motor.

Thanks.

So, does this engine have a historyof certain issues?

 
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08-12-08, 11:26 PM   #14  
Nothing really that would cause your problem. From your description, I'd suspect the keyswitch and/or the coil.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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08-18-08, 06:37 AM   #15  
Performed a thorough cleaning of the fan and the air path, still same issue. Noticed small tear in the base of the spark wire where it attaches to the magneto, however, if this was an issue, I would think it would be a constant problem, not an intermittent one!

Still on the search....

 
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08-18-08, 07:12 AM   #16  
Just for giggles, try running it with the fuel cap loosened and see if this makes any difference. Could be drawing a vacuum in the tank and loosing fuel to carburetor. Another possibility is a failing after fire solenoid on the carburetor, that may work for a short while and fail when it gets hot. This would cut off the fuel supply to the engine.

Just some thoughts of other things to look for.

Good Luck...

 
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08-18-08, 07:23 AM   #17  
Thanks, 30year...I'll check into those. Is there any test that can be performed to determine whether it is the culprit? Like ohming it out, checking voltage, bypassing it? Also, can you give me some description of the part or point me to a place I can learn more?

Thanks so much.

Two more dumb questions, can old oil, or lesser weight oil cause this issue?

Could there be a clogged oil line? I assume this is an oil cooled engine, is this an incorrect assumption?

 
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08-18-08, 08:06 AM   #18  
Old oil or a pluged oil line would not cause this issue. While the oil does help cool the engine, the majority of cooling comes from air blown by the fan blades on the flywheel accross the engine.

I am not sure what the readings would be for the fuel solenoid, I will see if I can find any when I get back in for the day, I am heading out to do some repairs at this time. The fuel solenoid screws into the bottom of the carburetor and has a small plug on the bottom where wires plug into it. If you remove it, be sure to clamp off or turn off the fuel supply or all your fuel can leak out of the carburetor.

 
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08-18-08, 09:25 AM   #19  
Here is an excerpt on how to test the solenoid from the Briggs & Stratton manual:

Anti-Afterfire Solenoid Test
The anti-afterfire solenoid is controlled by the equipment key switch. With the switch OFF, the solenoid plunger closes, stopping fuel flow through the fixed main jet. With the switch in the ON and START positions, the solenoid plunger opens, allowing normal fuel flow. The solenoid is operating properly if it clicks when the switch is turned ON or OFF. If solenoid does not click, the problem could be the equipment wiring, engine wiring or the solenoid.

To determine the problem, perform the following tests in order:
NOTE: The solenoid requires 9 volts minimum DC to function.
1. Remove solenoid from carburetor.
2. Place a jumper wire on either terminal of a 9 volt transistor battery and on one of the pins in the solenoid connector.
3. Place another jumper wire on the remaining pin in the solenoid connector and on the other terminal of the battery.
4. Plunger should retract freely. When battery connection is removed, plunger should return. Replace solenoid if plunger sticks or doesn’t move.

 
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08-18-08, 09:35 AM   #20  
Other than replacing the ignition switch and battery what have you done?

Have you replaced the spark plugs?

Have you checked valve lash?

 
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08-18-08, 05:28 PM   #21  
I have looked through all my service literature, and cannot find any specific readings for testing the resistance of this solenoid. The only test procedure I could find was the same one posted by airman. The only way I can think to test, is to see if the engine will start with a prime after it dies, this would at least tell you if its fuel related.

 
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