Craftsman Lawn Mower 917.271142 oil leak


  #1  
Old 05-15-24, 03:30 PM
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Craftsman Lawn Mower 917.271142 oil leak

This mower (yes, it is 24 years old) had never leaked a drop of oil or had engine problems.

This week it developed an oil leak. Oil is leaking off the front of the engine.

Looking for ideas on what it might be. How much would I have to disassemble to fix this? If it is a head gasket, then, I am sure the fix is over my head. If there is maybe a valve pan back here with a gasket that needs to be replaced, then, I might take this project on.









 
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Old 05-15-24, 11:41 PM
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It may be the head gasket, hard to say for sure without viewing the leak and tracing it to the source. Is the oil in the engine that clean?
 
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Old 05-16-24, 04:35 AM
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Doing a compression check will eliminate/indicate a bad head gasket. If not head gasket, my guess it is one of the 2 crankshaft seals. Getting to seals will require some exterior disassembly. Oil leakage should be observable.
 
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Old 05-16-24, 11:05 AM
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The head gasket can leak oil without losing compression.
 
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Old 05-17-24, 07:02 AM
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Cheese, thanks for the correction. What would be the source of the oil leaking from a head gasket that is holding compression?
 
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Old 05-17-24, 12:47 PM
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Update. I pulled the shroud off so I could get a better look. Interesting. The paper towel is dry from the last 24 hours just sitting cold. Red marks show where it was dripping onto the towel.

I started it and ran it for 10 minutes. Still no drip.

I am thinking that the valve cover gasket may be leaking when running and the oil pooled up on that black cover below it. Then, it slowly dripped through a slot in that after I parked it.

I will report back after I cut and run it for an hour. That should show me the oil again.

One suggestion was to simply tighten the bolts. I may try that after I see the leak again. Or, to just ignore it. Put a paper towel there after I cut to catch the couple ounces of oil that drip out.

Will update this post once I see the leak again. Thanks to all for your ideas.

 
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Old 05-17-24, 12:49 PM
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Old 05-17-24, 06:33 PM
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Bob, the head gasket has the usual circle area where the compression is contained, and oil shouldn't contact that area. But beside that is the push rod chamber where the push rods pass from the block up to the rocker arms (through those odd shaped holes on the side). This is also sealed by the head gasket and often allows oil to drip through if it is damaged in that area and compression is unaffected.
 
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Old 05-28-24, 12:51 PM
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I believe I found the source of the "oil leak". It looks now to me like a gas leak. Everything was coated with gunk and was making the stuff dripping on the paper towel dark.

After cutting yesterday I put a fresh towel under it. Notice where the drip is. Gas is actually dripping off the red wire. Looking closer, I see gas coming out above that where the black carb thing is attached. See red circle.

It looks like I need to pull that black thing off and replace the gasket?


 
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Old 05-29-24, 09:50 AM
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I think I just made it worse. Tried tightening the bolts, but, I cracked the housing of the black air intake/gas thing. Will order a new one of those and a gasket and try that fix.

 
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Old 05-29-24, 08:29 PM
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The float needle is leaking. Gas should never get that high to contact the area that is wet. Normally I would say to replace the needle and clean the seat but on these single cylinder Kohlers, that almost never works. Replace the carburetor.
 
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Old 06-07-24, 12:35 PM
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I bought a new carb and a new base for the air filter. Replaced carb and re-hooked everything back up. Seemed pretty straightforward. Added gas back to the tank. But, engine will not start. I don't smell any gas. Does not fire. Spark plug is connected. How can I check to see if gas is flowing? Did I maybe hook up the choke incorrectly? Should the choke/valve close completely when I choke it?
 
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Old 06-07-24, 03:53 PM
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Yes, the choke should close completely. There is an adjustment for that on the linkage control area if I remember right. Make sure the fuel shutoff solenoid screwed into the bottom of the carb is retracting too.
 
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Old 06-08-24, 10:33 AM
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Here is what I did this morning.

Could not get it to fire (and I don't have any starter spray here). I made sure there was gas going to the carb. I could also hear the solenoid clicking when I turn the switch on.

I still questioned the choke on the new carb. See 'before' picture. Butterly valve was not closing very far when choked. So, I pulled the new carb off and re-installed the old, leaky carb. Engine fired right up.

I then put the new one back on. But, this time, the valve seems to be closing. See 'after' picture. It did close all the way, just did not get it in the picture. Maybe I had the linkage connected wrong? Put it all back together and it started and runs.

Now, it runs very rough. See video. Thinking I need to 'tune' the carb? There are two screws on carb. Did not want to mess with them until I understand better what they may do. Could use some advice on how to smooth out the running.


before
https://photos.app.goo.gl/KpTLEdMUCPTThXPQ7

after
https://photos.app.goo.gl/sui7eB8PxGSHrpAz7

video
https://youtube.com/shorts/L5-V2mp1y6w?feature=share

new carb
https://photos.app.goo.gl/22kU9J47WtqhQ9sc9


 
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Old 06-08-24, 09:57 PM
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Now your choke is staying shut while the engine is running, according to the video. It sounds like the choke is fluttering closed with the vacuum of every stroke of the piston.
 
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Old 06-09-24, 06:44 PM
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Cheese. You were absolutely correct.

Looking closely at the choke, I see that when I connect the linkage to it, the linkage cable contacts a bar that limits the movement of the choke. If I connect the linkage on the flap closed side, it starts, but, as you said, it was choking the engine every second or so. If I connect the linkage on the flap open side, it is unable to close the flap completely and thus it won't start since it is not getting any gas.

So, I cleaned up the old carb as well as I could. Installed the new gaskets and reinstalled everything with the old carb. Engine started right up and runs beautifully. Now, I just need to see if my leak returns or if the cleaning was all it needed.

I have a defective new carb. I don't see how this one could ever work. I will be sending it back for a refund.

Thanks to all for the help.

Defective carb with bad choke
https://youtube.com/shorts/ayDQTmwJxFE?feature=share


 
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Old 06-09-24, 09:07 PM
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Glad you figured it out. That looks to be a chinese knockoff carb. I've had some success with them but a lot of problems too. I'm pretty confident your leak will return.
 
 

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