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Murray push mower - pull start sticks at times


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08-03-13, 09:44 AM   #1  
Murray push mower - pull start sticks at times

Murray push mower with Briggs & Stratton engine. Last few times I've started it I've noticed that the pull start wasn't as smooth as normal, and it took more pulls to get it started. Almost seemed like there was a lot of friction where there shouldn't have been any. Needed to use it again last week and tried to start it and it wouldn't start - same reason - pull cord was much harder to pull, and I think I just couldn't get the speed fast enough for it to start. Oil level is good. I just replaced the blade and did an oil change and air filter clean earlier this summer. Started troubleshooting it today. Read here on the forums about somewhat similar problems being caused by a failing brake, so I checked that. As far as I can tell it is working properly. The handlebar lever causes the spring/brake to move, and as far as I can tell with the limited visibility through the slots on the side, it is releasing fully. Just to make sure, I had my wife pull on the cord while I pushed the brake open farther than the cord was opening it, and she still experienced spots where it would stick. I'm not sure what else to check to determine the cause of it sticking. When listening right by the mower while she was pulling the cord, I can hear what sounds like a metal-rubbing-on-metal sound from the flywheel area at the times she is feeling it freeze up.

Any suggestions on what to look for next?

 
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08-03-13, 09:52 AM   #2  
Model numbers

Murray 223310X24A

B&S
Sticker says:
FAMILY YBSXS.1901VC 274466

Stamped part number on engine part says:
12H802-2384-B1

Not sure which of the 2 B&S numbers is the actual model number.

 
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08-03-13, 08:38 PM   #3  
Sounds like you should pull the shroud off the engine and look to see what's rubbing. Are you sure it's not the blade hitting underneath?


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08-05-13, 06:55 AM   #4  
I've checked the blade and it doesn't seem to be that. I'll give it a closer look later today just to make sure though.

 
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08-06-13, 03:25 PM   #5  
The blade was rubbing on some built-up grass clippings in one location. After removing those clippings the blade is no longer rubbing anywhere, but the sticking remains. I've removed the flywheel cover. See pictures. I have been unable to determine the cause of it sticking. There is no apparent pattern to it either. i.e. it doesn't stick every time a certain section of the flywheel/blade goes around; it's a different location every time.

I've also verified that the engine brake is not touching the flywheel anywhere when the handle lever is pressed down.

Overall, I think the stickiness has improved since I first started working on the mower. It's not as severe as when I started. It is definitely still happening, though. Any ideas as to what it might be?




 
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08-06-13, 11:00 PM   #6  
Take the spark plug out and see if the sticking goes away.


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08-08-13, 02:49 PM   #7  
The sticking goes away with the spark plug removed. What does that indicate?

 
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08-08-13, 03:53 PM   #8  
Did you hit something with the mower just before the sticking started, maybe you have a sheared flywheel key. Have a good one. Geo

 
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08-08-13, 06:57 PM   #9  
I'd say chances are it has a worn out short blade, sheared flywheel key, or oil or gas in the cylinder.


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08-09-13, 05:57 AM   #10  
What is involved in fixing it if it's a sheared flywheel key?

 
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08-09-13, 09:36 AM   #11  
Removing the engine shroud, then the flywheel and replacing the key. It's not hard.


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05-11-15, 09:51 AM   #12  
I got sidetracked on other projects two summers ago and never finished working on this mower. I put it back together last summer and it ran, somewhat sporadically, most of the summer. This spring it won't start, and I pulled this thread back up to see what the likely culprit had been of the issues two summers ago, to see if I had ever fixed it (because I couldn't remember). While reading about flywheel keys I read that a bad one can cause the engine to run erratically, and it was definitely doing that last summer. Ok, all that to say, I have now disassembled the mower down to the flywheel, but can't get the flywheel off yet. I've tried prying up with a pry bar but it's not budging on the one side, and there's nothing to leverage against with the pry bar on the other side. (Yes, I removed the nut first.)

Any other tricks to getting it off without getting a flywheel puller?

 
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05-11-15, 11:52 AM   #13  
As you pry up on the flywheel with the pry bar you should notice a slight bit of movement.
Install the nut about 3/4 of the way so no threads of the shaft are exposed.
While holding pressure up on the pry bar, use a good sized hammer (I used a 3lb) and give the nut a good solid and deliberate RAP.
Usually will pop first time.

 
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05-12-15, 09:31 AM   #14  
Thanks for the suggestion BFHFixit. Unfortunately it's not working thus far. I do see a slight bit of movement when I use the pry bar, but that's because the whole shaft is lifting up until the blade stops it from going any farther. I keep it held there and then use more leverage on the pry bar but nothing happens. Hit the nut with the head of a 6lb axe while prying up. It makes a loud noise, but the flywheel is still stuck.

Here's a pic of the key area for good measure.
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05-12-15, 10:07 AM   #15  
Yup mine had same issue 5 days after bought. returned it and went elsewere , but one thing i can say is my old murray rider still runs like a champ.

 
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05-12-15, 07:16 PM   #16  
I finally broke the flywheel loose. The key was using the heat gun that I bought at auction last year and forgot all about until today. Heated it for awhile, then used the pry bar and 6 lb axe head. It took a few knocks but then it was free.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that the flywheel key appears perfectly fine to me. See pictures below - both installed and removed. So, if it's not the flywheel key, where do I turn next? The issue this year is that it won't start. Last year it would start, but run somewhat erratically most of the time.

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05-12-15, 10:38 PM   #17  
Good use of heat to get the flywheel off. I does look like it had some serious corrosion on the shaft. Hope you did not mess up the threads and you may want to replace the nut from the looks of it unless it threads on and off easily.
For the no start, give the carb a dribble of gas and see if it fires at all. If not you should then check for spark.
Without researching the engine (even though you provided the numbers,) it being a Murray, I can imagine it is not and OHV engine but might be a valve clearance issue as far as the erratic. Then again so many things are hard to judge without having hands on or at least an ear on, and discerning just what erratic is?
It might be at a point of how bad you need THIS mower to run or look into getting another.

 
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05-13-15, 07:08 PM   #18  
Hope you did not mess up the threads and you may want to replace the nut from the looks of it unless it threads on and off easily.
There was one not-super-easy place, but for the most part the nut went on fine.

For the no start, give the carb a dribble of gas and see if it fires at all. If not you should then check for spark.
I wasn't clear on how to give the carb a dribble of gas, so I Googled it. That led to a Youtube video on cleaning the carb. I checked for spark first and it did spark. So then I took apart the carb and cleaned it. Still getting nothing when I try to start it. Below are pics of the spark plug, in case they offer any clues. Also a link to an audio clip of me trying to start the mower, in case that's helpful.

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Audio file

 
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05-13-15, 08:37 PM   #19  
The audio file doesn't work for me. Does it have compression?


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05-13-15, 08:50 PM   #20  
It's in AAC format. Let me see if I can convert it to mp3.

 
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05-13-15, 08:54 PM   #21  
Try this link. It's an MP3 version. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9m...ew?usp=sharing

 
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05-13-15, 11:56 PM   #22  
I believe cheese and I are on the same line, does it have compression?
With the spark plug removed, put a finger in the hole and pull the engine over, you should not be able to keep your finger in the hole with a decent pull and hear or feel air coming out.
If low or no compression, I would again suspect a valve problem, if not one stuck, at the very least clearance which may also account for the erratic running.

FYI, none of the audio worked for me either.

 
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05-14-15, 05:47 AM   #23  
What happens when you click the audio link? It should open in a new browser tab with a button to play the file - or alternately ask you to save it to your hard drive at which point you can play it with any mp3 program on your computer.

I'll check for compression later today.

 
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05-14-15, 10:32 AM   #24  
The audio sounds like a normal engine with normal compression not starting, but with no indication of why.

Try a new plug, check compression, verify spark at the plug again.


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05-14-15, 08:09 PM   #25  
The finger over the spark plug hole test indicated some compression. I've never done that type of test before so no idea how to gauge the results. Anyway, after verifying some compression I tracked down a new spark plug. Installing it yielded no change in the no-start condition. Finally decided to do something I should have down when it was first suggested - dribble a little gas in the carburetor. First I had to figure out how to do that, but I eventually figured it out. Great news - it starts right up with gas put directly in the carb. I put some more in, put the air filter back on, and it ran well for ~10 minutes - long enough for me to mow the 2 foot tall weeds in our garden area. It was still going strong when I turned it off.

It still won't start without putting gas directly in the carb. But once it is started via that method, it runs fine. I'm hoping this points to a specific cause of the problem. Let me know please.

 
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05-15-15, 12:42 AM   #26  
Try pumping the primer several times, like 8 or 10 and see if it starts.


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05-15-15, 06:15 PM   #27  
Try pumping the primer several times, like 8 or 10 and see if it starts.
9 pumps yielded no start. 6 additional pumps and it fired right up. Does that mean I just need to pump the primer 15 times from now on, or does it point to a specific problem that can be easily remedied?

 
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05-15-15, 06:29 PM   #28  
Replace the primer bulb, bowl gasket and clean the carb.
The primer bulb forces air into the carb which should be sealed and doing so, pushes a squirt of fuel up into the throat of the carb giving cold engine a prime. This is lieu of a choke which closes off air supply and the vacuum of the engine draws more fuel than air to provide the initial prime.

If the primer pushes too easy, I would say it and or the bowl gasket are not sealing. If it is stiff or hard to push, the bore from it to the bowl may be clogged.

 
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05-15-15, 08:14 PM   #29  
The primer pushes quite easily. When I had the carb apart to clean it the other day the bowl gasket wasn't in the greatest condition. I'll check with my local mower store tomorrow to see if they stock gaskets and primer bulbs.

 
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05-15-15, 11:23 PM   #30  
Yep, you are leaking the air pulse for the prime somewhere. If the bowl gasket is bad, it won't prime well, also if the gasket between the air filter housing and the carb is torn or in bad shape, it won't prime well.


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06-02-15, 05:05 AM   #31  
I'm finally getting around to replacing these parts. I replaced the primer bulb but now I'm stuck with the carb bowl gasket. The old gasket was stuck firmly to the carb and it's breaking apart when I pry it off. Not only that, but it's leaving a fair amount of gasket material behind on the carb. I tried to scrape it off but only had limited success with that. Any suggestions for getting this old gasket substance off the carb?

 
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06-02-15, 06:47 PM   #32  
I used some carb cleaner to help get the old gasket material off. The primer bulb, carb bowl gasket, and air-filter-to-carb gasket have all been replaced (two new air-filter-to-carb gaskets stacked together, per mower store guy recommendation). Mower still isn't starting easily with 2-3 primer bulb pushes. 5 or 6 primes plus 3-5 pulls on the starter cord. Did I overlook a part somewhere that should have been replaced?

I saw on another page that the carb float should rest parallel to the carb body when the carb is held upside-down. Mine isn't parallel. I have to push down on the side opposite the needle to get it to go parallel. Could that be related to the starting issues?

 
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06-02-15, 11:11 PM   #33  
Some older engines just require 8 or 9 pumps for an easy one-pull start. It's not new anymore and some problems are more problem to fix than to live with. Give it a quick 8 pumps and see if it starts with a good sharp pull. If so, I'd say let well enough be.


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