Blown engine in Craftsman lawn tractor

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  #1  
Old 06-13-16, 03:35 PM
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Blown engine in Craftsman lawn tractor

OK, first off, confession time, I was an idiot and did not check the oil on my 1 year old tractor. She go "pop" she make smoke, she stop run, she no start.

Tractor is a Craftsman Model 917.203810
Engine is a 19hp 540cc B&S Model # 33R877-0002-G1

The Sears guy came out and pronounced it dead with little more than a touch to the flywheel screen. He said it would be nearly as expensive to repair/replace the engine as to buy a whole new tractor(!).

So, looking at options.

Firstly, let me say I have a rudimentary idea of whats going on in the internal combustion engine, but I am not in the habit of taking them apart and reassembling them. So, be gentle with me!

I took the covers off the flywheel, and there is some play in the engine. It'll move back & forth about a quarter turn. I did get it to do a full 360 one time, but mostly it hangs up somewhere inside.

I haven't taken the spark plug out yet (because I can't find my little SP socket).

Is the play in the engine a good sign? Or, not so much?

I didn't think it was salvageable, and was considering dropping a new engine. But I thought the engine was completely frozen, now I wonder...

Thoughts?
 
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  #2  
Old 06-13-16, 03:46 PM
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It's all guessing without some details. A one year old tractor shouldn't be going through a lot of oil, but if it was actually ran low or out of oil, it's on the done side of the scale. There are some variations to that.

What did the Sears guy do to check the engine? Did he try to start or turn it over or just listen to your story and pronounced it dead?

The movement is better than no movement as in the engine is stuck from frozen parts from no lubrication or insufficient lubing, anyway. But movement doesn't move you from the done side of the scale, though. How low was the oil - little bit or clear out of it? Oil is a bad thing to be short of in an engine. But there's other things to keep it from running.

Take out the plug and see if you can turn the engine over and listen for clanks/clunks when you do so. Either would be a bad sign.
 
  #3  
Old 06-13-16, 05:33 PM
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I didn't think the relatively new tractor should be burning much oil either, which is why I suppose I was lax about checking it. Truth is, I don't think I EVER checked it, so it could have been undefiled from the beginning, but there's no way to prove that now...

The Sears guy barely touched the tractor & didn't try to start it. Literally, he simply put his hand onto the flywheel screen, and checked the oil. It wasn't completely dry, there was oil on the stick, but apparently not enough, either for the engine nor for the technician to attempt a warranty claim.

I'll get the plug out tomorrow when I can either find my SP socket or get another one.

But, to reiterate, as I hand turn turn the flywheel, when in stops, it does so with a "clank" of what sounds like metal on metal.
 
  #4  
Old 06-13-16, 05:40 PM
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Go ahead and check it with the plug out, but the clank is likely the rod bearing out of it. Most likely beyond a rebuild, but you never know until you get into it.
 
  #5  
Old 06-13-16, 11:58 PM
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He turned the engine flywheel and heard the noises and felt that there was no compression along with no oil and determined it was toast. There was no more required at that point. A new engine is probably going to retail $600 or so. Your engine block may be bad... usually when a birggs blows and damages the block, it is right behind the starter. If you are interested in fixing it, I would start by removing the starter and have a look to see if there is a crack or hole in the block. If it was run without oil, the balancer may be shot, the crankshaft may be scored, the piston might be galled, etc... A lot of wear and damage happens without oil. Then factor in the broken rod that you hear clanging and that is keeping it from rotating 360 degrees. It flew around in there hitting parts and pieces, so you may also have a broken piston skirt and camshaft, governor, etc... The only way to know how bad it is is to take it off and open it up.

If it lasted a year, it was probably sufficiently filled from the factory. A year is a long time to not check the oil. In fact, the manual will tell you that after the first several hours the oil will need to be changed because of the metal shavings that end up in the oil during the breakin period. The engine holds less than 2 quarts of oil, and if it gets low enough to cause acellerated wear, the problem compounds itself rapidly, causing the oil level to drop exponentially. Being half a quart low in your car engine is inconsequential, but half a quart low on your mower is eating up your engine.
 
  #6  
Old 06-14-16, 08:29 AM
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Thanks everyone for your input. I never really thought the engine was salvageable until I started reading some things on line, which I guess gave me some false hope.

No, Cheese, I am not going to even attempt to fix it myself (WAY beyond my ability).

I know I done my engine wrong, now I'm a gonna have to pay!
 
  #7  
Old 06-14-16, 08:51 AM
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With it being fairly new it might be difficult but check around for a similar used mower. You might be able to get one with a decent engine that can be swapped over to yours. My son has 7-8 yr old craftsman rider and the deck rusted in two A new deck is cost prohibitive but he was able to buy a 10 yr old mower very reasonably. He thought they both had the same size deck but the used one had a smaller engine. Unfortunately the decks weren't interchangeable but the mower is good enough for him to use until I find time to possibly rebuild his old deck.
 
  #8  
Old 06-14-16, 08:59 AM
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Yeah marksr, I've been looking for used engines, but nothing so far. I can get a new B&S for $580 with shipping....

Since it seems as though I'm going to have to be replacing the engine (barring a miracle when I get the plug out), I need to figure out if I'm going to just do the straight swap with the B&S direct replacement, or go with Matt's idea about the twin.

Originally Posted by matt
If your up to getting a new muffler, and possibly new wiring harness ( depends if wiring matches your tractor. This will be quite an upgrade on your mower. The Intek Twins are not the best but as long as you make sure the air cleaner is good and sealed, and make sure to keep it full of oil, and change it at least seasonally. They do last. John Deere Briggs Stratton 20HP OHV V Twin Riding Mower Engine Briggs Warranty | eBay
I like the idea of more power, but I'm a bit intimidated by something that's not essentially "plug & play". The twin is actually a little cheaper!

Talk me into it or talk me out of it! (Please!)
 
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Old 06-14-16, 09:42 AM
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What ever you do unless you have to provide the old one as a core, I would strip everything off the old one, like the coil, flywheel, shrouds, carb, etc and sell them off on ebay or craigslist. You can recover something to help with paying for a replacement.
 
  #10  
Old 06-14-16, 10:56 AM
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If you attempt to put a twin on, you will likely have to change wiring, throttle cable, you'll probably have to install a choke cable, longer fuel line, different exhaust, and the hood may or may not fit.

Check craigslist for old mowers or engines. Sometimes you can pick up a good mower for $100 with a good engine and swap it. Most all have the same bolt pattern and crankshaft size but not all of them.
 
  #11  
Old 06-16-16, 09:19 AM
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So, even though I think I'm going to try to find a "straight swap" engine, I'm looking at used options too. I found a guy on Craigs who says he has a....

"20hp I/C intek Platinum twin cylinder Briggs and Stratton, I believe the series is 407777, works perfectly"

Anyone know anything about this engine and it's suitability for my project?

I don't know what he wants for it yet.
 
  #12  
Old 06-16-16, 11:29 AM
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Personally I would not go through the trouble of the single to twin conversion on a craftsman. You won't notice any more power, unless you know a good bit about how all of it works, it will be more of a headache to get up and going and for future issues/troubleshooting, you will be pretty much on your own.
 
  #13  
Old 06-20-16, 10:08 AM
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@ BFHFixit - Thank you Sir, I appreciate your advice and insight. A straight swap out it will be!

In "old news" - Someone on another forum gave me this advice about verifying the death of my current engine ....
Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Use a wooden pencil in the spark plug hole as an indicator to see if the piston is moving back & forth when you turn the rock the fly wheel.
OK, I know most of us have given up the old engine for dead, but I got another SP socket and finally got spark plug out. I can't try Bill's idea because the pencil only goes in about 2 inches. Further indication of a blown motor?
 
  #14  
Old 06-20-16, 10:47 AM
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I use a wooden dowel, but yes, stick the pencil in holding it against what should be the top of the piston, and rotate the engine by hand. If the pencil does not move than neither is your piston.
 
  #15  
Old 06-20-16, 03:11 PM
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I'm only getting about a 1/4 turn on the flywheel before it hangs up on some. I held the pencil in the SP hole and rotated the flywheel, there didn't seem to be any movement by the pencil, the entrance seems fully obstructed.
 
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Old 06-20-16, 03:15 PM
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I imagine your rod has come apart and is binding up the crankshaft.

I also agree with cheese that there is usually physical damage to the block when this happens.
 
  #17  
Old 06-20-16, 03:18 PM
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No reason not to remove the engine and pull the sump off to see what happened for sure.

Drain the oil, 4 bolts to remove the engine and about 10 sump bolts.
 
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