Odd Lawnmower Engine Behavior


Old 10-02-09, 11:42 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 481
Odd Lawnmower Engine Behavior

I have a snapper lawnmower that sat in my shed for about 5 years without ever being used. I checked the oil (was very clean and level was good) and put gas in it and started it up. I ran it in the yard for about 15 minutes until it started slowing down and it slowed some more and more until it stopped. I made sure the spark plug wire was securely on the plug and even crimped the end of the cap a little for a snug fit. I checked the oil 10 times, and the level is great and it is very clear; it is just 5 years old or more.

1.) I wouldn't say it sputtered ...the engine just got slower and slower till it stopped.
2.) White smoke was coming out while it got slower and slower;
3.) After trying to start it for 30-40 minutes, I let it sit for about 4 days, and on the first pull (without priming it) it started. But it ran very slowly for only about 10 seconds, then stopped.
4.) Every 3-4 days I try it and it runs slowly on the first pull for about 5-6 seconds. Funny thing is, I do not prime it. I DO prime it 3-4 days earlier when it stops ...in my attempt to start it again.

Question: What would be the first 1-3 things I should check into knowing these symptoms?

Thanks a million! -Tony17112
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Old 10-02-09, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 211
What kind of engine is it? Approximately how old is the mower?

White-ish blue-ish smoke on a small 4 stroke is generally an indication that the engine is burning oil. If this is a briggs quantum engine, if you flipped the mower on the exhaust side side, you might have sent oil onto the air filter. Might want to check that. Try running it w/o the air filter temporarily to see if that improves things. Check the plug too - it might be fouled.

I'll reserve further comments for when we know what kind of engine it is.

- Joe
Old 10-02-09, 02:26 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 481

I got the numbers off the mower and it's a:

Briggs & Stratton Intek 6.0 HP OHV.
126602 0110 E1 620117 FA, then on the silver exhaust is: 693331.

Would that fact that it ran for 15-20 minutes rule out the carb?

Old 10-02-09, 11:02 PM
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I'd say change the plug, check the air filter and clean it, and if it still does this, you'll need to go into the carb.
Old 10-03-09, 11:24 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 481
Boy do I feel stupid:

I did pull the air filter and she started right up. I did find that there's oil all over the filter. I mean ALL over it. I will search the forums here, but is it suposed to have a little oil in it? I doubt it.


P.S. Thanks for answering my original simple question.


I just checked the oil and it is indeed overfilled. Sitting in the shed for years and years, I must have overfilled it long ago and forgotten about it.

UPDATE #2: I just dropped the oil out and it was very, very liquidy. It almost acted like water would ...not a gel-like movement like fresh oil. I wonder if gas could have gotten in there? I doubt it. I dipped a paper towel in it and lit it up to see if it acted like gas and it was very hard to tell. I guess I could let it sit out in the bowl and see if the level goes down over a few days meaning that the gas would be evaporating ...where oil does not. Any comments are welcome. -Tony
You can assume all is well once I replce the air filter and oil ...unless you see another post by me.

Thanks again folks!! I love this place!

Last edited by tony17112acst; 10-03-09 at 11:57 AM.
Old 10-03-09, 12:52 PM
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
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You very well could have had water in the oil. 5 years in the shed could cause condesation due to temp changes and humidity changes.
If the air filter is foam, it should have some oil in it. Paper, NO.

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