1997 MTD Ranch King with Major Issues


Old 09-17-16, 02:27 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 1
1997 MTD Ranch King with Major Issues

MTD Ranch King 1997

18HP Twin Briggs & Stratton Engine

This mower was bought from my uncle, who is disabled and hasn't been able to work on it for a couple of years. His brother-in-law supposedly did "work" on it. And by "work," I assume he stood there and looked at it, and scratched his privates. *sigh*

Problem #1: Will not start by using key. Will start when jumped at solenoid. Ignition switch replaced. Fuse between ignition switch and solenoid replaced. Key does have to be turned to on for it to be jumped by solenoid.

Problem #2: Will only run with choke fully out. Sputters and dies when choke it pushed in. Replaced choke cable. Cleaned carb. Is a replacement carb in my future?

Problem #3: Dies when put in high. Dies when blades are engaged. Pulleys, blades, and belts move freely. Had deck off and cleaned it. Deck is a pita to take off and put on. New belts.

Known issues: Aunt left it out in the weather for a few months. It died on her and she couldn't push it back to the garage. Gas has been replaced.

I would also like to point out that I'm not a mechanic. My Dad was the one who fixed this stuff, and with him gone, it's fallen to me. And, being the youngest (and a girl), I was never allowed in the garage. So I'm getting a crash course in this stuff. Be gentle.
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Old 09-17-16, 04:25 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 2,365
Ok first we need fresh gas from the pump not fresh from a can that has been setting 2 yrs. Now mix a solution of about a pint of gas and about 3 times the recommended amount of SeaFoam additive, start it up and let it run on choke or however it will run until it runs out of fuel, let it set for 30-40 minutes then do it again by this time it will probably run off choke and we can move to the next problem. If the battery hasn't been replaced in 2 yrs it needs a new battery, mower batteries are only good for about a year . Have a good one. Geo
Old 09-17-16, 08:17 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 16,819
Problem 1: Do you have a test light or volt meter?

Problem 2: On the left side of the carb (when viewed from the seat) down low on the side, there is a plug screwed in with either a 5/8" or 3/4" head. Remove this and it will drain the carb bowl. Farther inside behind this plug is the main jet. Push a wire through it, preferrably a torch tip cleaner (available at a hardware store or box store like Lowes). This should help the running issue.

Problem 3: Related to problem 1 most likely.

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