A Lawn Mower issue for you Experts: BOTH GAS *AND* OIL DRAINING FROM MOWER

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  #1  
Old 10-26-08, 04:14 PM
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Unhappy A Lawn Mower issue for you Experts: BOTH GAS *AND* OIL DRAINING FROM MOWER

I'm all but ready to toss this mower out and just buy something else, but I first want to make sure that I didn't inadvertently do irreversible damage to this (16 month old) mower myself. I don't want to damage a new one all over again tsk!

First, some statistics on the mower in question:

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SEARS CRAFTSMAN GAS-POWERED
21" REAR-WHEEL PROPELLED
6˝ HP
Model 917.370710
California-Regulated Model

PDF MOWER MANUAL HERE
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The good news is that my mower is still under warranty, and I'll be taking it up to Sears later today to be repaired.

I'm posting this thread because I want to learn what, precisely, I did wrong somewhere along the line with this mower so that I don't do it again. I'm a 5'10" (50-something) widow who prides herself on being able to drop a 100-foot tree with her 22" StihlŽ chainsaw. I love power tools; I thoroughly read the manuals; and I take good care of them. But this DEVIL MOWER is NOT OF THIS PLANET! lol

CRISIS #1 OIL OVERFLOWING
A couple of months ago I set about to do some heavy-duty mowing on a one-acre parcel I rent out, currently vacant. I noticed the oil in this mower was quite low and proceeded to attempt the mower's FIRST OIL REPLENISHMENT since having purchased it. I poured; it disappeared. And I poured; and it still disappeared. So I kept pouring. Remember, I had never oiled this mower before. Wow, I'm thinking, you certainly take a large quantity of oil.

By the time 2/3 of a 48-oz. bottle of mower oil had been deposited in the mower and the surface still couldn't be seen, I knew there was something very wrong. Sure enough I tried to start the mower and it coughed and belched black smoke. The next day I brought the mower out of my garage to discover a huge pool of oil on the garage floor where it had discharged itself during the night.

Again tried starting it; again, a nasty engine sound and black smoke.

Off to the lawnmower-repair shop because I couldn't wait for Sears to have it in their shop. The bill: $196, including parts. The repairman said This is an expensive lesson for you to learn! Never just keep putting oil in like that. Oh yeah? And it's normal for the mower to keep taking oil like that and never filling up? Whatever.

I proceeded to use the mower for the next two months >>including adding gasoline, when necessary, with no problems.

CRISIS #2 GASOLINE DRAINING
A few days ago I accidentally left the mower out overnight and it wouldn't start. I observed that it was out of gas, so I filled it up. It still wouldn't start. I went up to Orchard Supply Hardware (where I bought the mower) and a really nice young man offered to come outside and have a look at it. He diagnosed that it was water in the carburetor and asked me if I had used old gasoline. I admitted that, yes, it was pretty old heh. He showed me how to take off the carburetor and clean it out. He said >>but first you absolutely must drain out all of this old gasoline and put fresh stuff in. DO THAT FIRST; then clean out the water in your carburetor.

I drained out the old gasoline, and then proceeded to learn about my mower's carburetor. Turns out the repair shop didn't even affix the carburetor properly when they (obviously) opened it two months prior: the plastic piece inside was LOOSE and not on its pin. Fair enough. I replaced it on its pin; completely swabbed out the water; and reattached the carburetor. Righting the mower, I then began to put in fresh gasoline, when . . .

THE GASOLINE BEGAN SHOOTING OUT OF THE PRIMER BUTTON and dripping everywhere about the air filter! Having been through something like this once before with this Devil Mower I immediately stopped pouring gasoline into the mower.

By next morning the entire portion of gas I had put in had completely drained out of the mower.

Now, am I just losing my mind or is there something structurally wrong with this mower? It just seems to bizarre to me that BOTH the oil and the gasoline aren't capable of being contained. That can't be normal.

Any thoughts guys? Thanks, this is my first post to your great forum.

OMAB
 
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  #2  
Old 10-26-08, 06:50 PM
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Everytime you use a mower--check the oil level
Put Sta-bil fuel stabilizer in your gasoline-it keeps gas good for
a long time ( 6-12mo )
If you decide to buy a new machine--buy a riding mower.
Your one acre lots are turning your Craftsman from an angel to a devil-------
 
  #3  
Old 10-26-08, 06:59 PM
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From the purchase 16 months ago to the oil replenishment 2 months ago, I'm thinking you missed at least one oil change, more likely 2 changes. The life blood of any small engine is the oil. they don't hold a lot compared to a car, and push mowers don't have filters, and air cooled engines run hot and in a dirty environment, so clean oil at the proper level is an absolute must. I NEVER EVER start an air cooled motor without checking the oil first. I wish I knew where the oil leaked out from, did the repair shop give a cause?
 
  #4  
Old 10-26-08, 10:27 PM
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The issue with the gas leaking is due to the needle not seating in the seat in the carb. Most likely, the needle fell out when you had the carb open, or the float is stuck, needle binding, etc... Something is keeping the needle down.
 
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Old 10-27-08, 08:48 AM
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Fascinating

Originally Posted by cheese View Post
The issue with the gas leaking is due to the needle not seating in the seat in the carb. Most likely, the needle fell out when you had the carb open, or the float is stuck, needle binding, etc... Something is keeping the needle down.
Cheese, thank you for this sound advice. This is entirely possible.

When I first opened the carburetor up a few days ago the plastic unit was completely loose, in other words, the pin sat, threaded through the little hinges permanently attached to the chassis . . . but the plastic piece fell out once I opened the carburetor. When I observed that the plastic piece had what appeared to be two perfectly-engineered hinges of its own through which the pin could be threaded, that is the way I reattached the pin.

I think this is significant, and I really want to understand what I did wrong. I have some closeup pictures I took of the "innards" of the carburetor (for my own records, since the manual is worthless on this level of detail) and they show both the pin and the hinges on the plastic piece. I'll post them to my website before continuing to reply to your post. Thank you, this is extremely important for me to understand.

OMAB
 
  #6  
Old 10-27-08, 08:52 AM
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False

Originally Posted by bontai Joe View Post
and push mowers don't have filters, and (SNIP)
False. I suggest you view the PDF manual I uploaded and view the image yourself.

OMAB
 
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Old 10-27-08, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by j HOWARD View Post
Put Sta-bil fuel stabilizer in your gasoline-it keeps gas good for a long time ( 6-12mo )
This is a great suggestion, thanks JH.

OMAB
 
  #8  
Old 10-27-08, 10:46 AM
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That home page is a sneeeeekieeeeee way of sucking us into
a political adv........................................
What happened to the carb.--- I guess our new pres...
will take care of that,,,,,,,,,,,
 
  #9  
Old 10-27-08, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by O MyAching Back View Post
False. I suggest you view the PDF manual I uploaded and view the image yourself.

OMAB
I think Joe was saying they don't have OIL filters. Therefore regular oil changes are even more important.

And also, due to the design of the engine, you put a measured amount of oil in, then you check it with the dipstick attached to the cap. Not like some engines where you fill til oil is visible in the bottom of the fill hole. I think when you overfilled it and then tried starting it, the piston probably had nowhere to go and when it fired, something blew out and dumped the oil on your floor. The correct oiling procedure is right in the manual you posted.

As to the carb, yep..that happens. Stupid little tiny parts that move and fall out. Happened to me more than once rebuilding all sorts of carbs for cars, motorcycles and small engines.

I had a Craftsman, similar to yours for 10-12 yrs. Even ran it out of oil once and it stopped due to overheating. Filled it back up and used it 2 more seasons. Lucky for me.
 

Last edited by Gunguy45; 10-27-08 at 11:20 AM. Reason: add info
  #10  
Old 10-27-08, 12:18 PM
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Yep, I was referring to oil filters and the lack there of. By the way, when I click on the PDF file, I get a mower manual as expected, no political advertisement.
 
  #11  
Old 10-27-08, 02:15 PM
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Joe, if you take the PDF file off the provided link, I think thats what jH was referring too. Jeez, do I have to explain everything...lol..j/k.
 
  #12  
Old 10-27-08, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by O MyAching Back View Post
When I first opened the carburetor up a few days ago the plastic unit was completely loose, in other words, the pin sat, threaded through the little hinges permanently attached to the chassis . . . but the plastic piece fell out once I opened the carburetor. When I observed that the plastic piece had what appeared to be two perfectly-engineered hinges of its own through which the pin could be threaded, that is the way I reattached the pin.
You may not have done anything wrong when you reattached the float, from your description I believe the float is installed correctly, however you may not have installed the metering needle which needs to be attached to the float before the float is assembled to the carburetor with the hinge pin.
 
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Old 10-27-08, 06:49 PM
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Phew! Okay guys, the pictures are up (busy day).

PICTURES OF CARBURETOR HERE

<hr>Meanwhile, jHoward:
Listen honey, did I tell you to go to my home page? tsk tsk. the noive . . .
 
  #14  
Old 10-27-08, 07:12 PM
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Well I don't see the inlet / float needle in any of the pictures and without it the carburetor will continually flow fuel and flood. The bowl gasket also looks like it was pinched and may need to be replaced.

The needle looks like this one
http://www.m-and-d.com/ST-525-840.html?id=QGjK2TnT
 
  #15  
Old 10-28-08, 01:35 AM
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Yep, the needle is gone. Fell out undoubtedly, when the bowl was removed. Install a new one and the trouble should be gone.
 
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