Craftsman LT1000 Sputtering. Spitting, and Stalling

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  #1  
Old 08-11-13, 08:50 AM
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Craftsman LT1000 Sputtering. Spitting, and Stalling

I have a 2003 Craftsman LT1000 with a Briggs & Stratton 18 HP OHV motor, model 31H777, and type 0202E1.

For the last coupld of years I have been "getting by" with this mower. I have about 3/4 of an acre to mow and takes about a full tank to mow it. I always fill my tank before I start. About halfway through the mowing the mower starts to sputter here and there. Then it starts to sputter even more and buck. Then a little while later it will do the same and finally stall out. I can wait a minute or two and it will start right up but will repeat every so often and stall. It used to stall once or twice in a mowing session but now will do it at least five times. This adds quite some time and frustration. I always thought is had something to do with the motor getting too hot because it ran fine in the beginning.

Today I didn't have enough gas to fill it so I started mowing with about half a tank. About 5 minutes int otmowing it started sputtering and soon after would sputter till it stalled. I checked the cap and the gas level and I still have enough gas for it to in theory still be operating. I am running out later to fill up my gas can but in the interim can someone please give me your thoughts on what the problem may be?

Last bit of info to is I had a local small engines guy ervice it a year ago and he cleaned out all lines, filter, tank, and carburator but it did the same thing when I got it home.

Please help! I'd like to know if this is a simplew fix before the expense of bringing it to a mechanic again or just breaking down and buying a new one.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-11-13, 10:35 AM
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Sounds like the carburetor has problems. Either it needs cleaning or the choke is sticking.
 
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Old 08-11-13, 03:13 PM
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Does it have a fuel pump?
If so disconnect the line to the carburetor and turn the key after it's shut it's self off and see if fuel squirts out of the line..
 
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Old 08-16-13, 04:51 AM
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Here is an update and what I think my issue may be directly related to. I filled the tank last night and began to mow. It was fine for the first 20 minutes. The next twenty minutes it was a combination of sputtering and stalling, waiting a couple of minutes, starting it back up, mowing for a couple of minutes, and then it sputtering and stalling again. I did this until I just got too frustrated to continue. I opened the hood and decided to fill the tank again. I used about 1/3 of a tank prior to filling it again. With a full tank it mowed flawlessly for the final 20 minutes. So I think that the issue is related to the gas level in the tank and now I need one of you smart guys to tell me why and what I can do. Please help. Thanks!
 
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Old 08-16-13, 07:24 AM
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Dunno about the smart guy, but I have an opinion on just about everything I take it the first time you got 20 minutes out of a tank of gas, then the problem showed up.
On the second fill you got another 20 minutes. Did the problem show up again on the second fill or do you feel like you were ready for another round of sputtering on the second fill?
If the fuel level is actually an indicator of the problem, I'd say a fuel pump is at fault. Those things can act erratic and fuel level in the tank can crutch a bad pump.
If it turns out to be something else, I'd say it's a failing coil. Those things start with a little misfire and work up to a total trip south.
 
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Old 08-16-13, 08:23 AM
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Thanks for your reply marbobnj. The problem did not show up the second time but I imagine if I continued to run it longer it would have shown up again. It seems any time the gas gets to a certain level in the tank is when the problem starts. The time is irrelevant as from my first post when I started it with only half a tank the problem started right away. With a full tank it takes about 20 mins for it to get to that level. I'm not familiar enough with small engines to know where the fuel pump or coil is but I will find either in my manual or somewhere online unless you can point me in the right direction. Also how will I know if the pump is bad without replacing it and should I explore the pump before the coil or vice versa or both. Thanks so much for your help so far!
 
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Old 08-16-13, 08:36 AM
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Also wanted to note that I don't think that I have a fuel pump to more I think about it. I have a gas line from my tank to a fuel filter and then a line to the carburetor. Unless the pump is attached to the top of the carburetor.
 
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Old 08-16-13, 08:59 AM
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Something to try though I'm probably wrong (again), but when you loosened the cap to add gas did you hear a whooosh like a suction being released?

I agree though...sounds like something to do with fuel level, though it shouldn't matter unless you have some real restriction somewhere that only the pressure of a full tank can overcome. Seems like I've heard the Pros mention that some carbs do have a vacuum operated fuel pump?
 
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Old 08-16-13, 09:30 AM
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Replace the fuel lines from the tank to the carb. Sounds a lot like it is collapsing inside.
 
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Old 08-16-13, 10:34 AM
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Well, when ya look up the number on the engine model, it shows both types of fuel delivery to the carburetor - one with a fuel pump and one without for the same model.

If you trace the fuel lines from the tank to the carburetor and they go directly there, then......... no fuel pump. After replacing lines, like Cheese suggested, if there is still a problem, you might want to drain and flush the tank and replace the filter. There could be something in there that moves around.

To answer your question on which first, I'd look at the fuel system. If you find you do have a pump on it and it's vacuum driven, a gasket or vacuum port for the pump drive could be a problem as well as the pump. With the diagrams/model # on your engine, though, you'd just have to check for the pump to see what you have.
 
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Old 08-16-13, 01:10 PM
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So you think at a certain level of gas the fuel line itself is collapsing?
 
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Old 08-16-13, 01:52 PM
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I don't know of a correlation logic I could apply to that. I imagine those two things at the same time would be coincidental. Looking at the fuel line collapsing by itself - lines get old and separate and the inside of the line just lets go and makes a obstruction. It may not be evident from the outside.

It becomes more of a possibility when you have the draw of a fuel pump pulling the separation in on itself. However, in a gravity feed the same thing can happen.
 
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Old 08-16-13, 09:12 PM
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The more gas you have in the tank, the more the pressure is on the line. It's a small amount of difference, but it could be the thing making the difference.
 
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Old 08-17-13, 07:12 AM
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It certainly could be. Things like that are a matter of crossing a threshold and the steps of progression to that point can be very small.
 
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Old 08-18-13, 06:15 AM
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Have you tried cutting the grass with the fuel cap lightly on to ensure air can flow threw the threads. Sounds like your tank is not venting properly. Worth a try at least.
 
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