Craftsman starting problems

Old 09-22-01, 07:08 AM
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Hi Tom
I have a Craftsman Lawn tractor with a Briggs&Stratton 17HP OHV Platinum engine-Model# 311707 Type 0132-E1.
Since new it sporatically has problems with starting, it seems as if the starter doesn't have enough power to over come the compression of the engine. A friend suggested that this is a common problem and its cause is incorrct valve lash/clearance right from the factory. I was wondering what your opinion may be and if you would have the specs and procedure for setting the vlave clearance?


Mark Armstrong
Old 09-22-01, 04:21 PM
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Hello and Welcome Mark

First off, I would not recommend you make any adjustments to the overhead valves. Incorrectly set valves will burn up very quickly, if set to tight.

I could be mistaken but I would not suspect the orginal valve clearance, from the factory, setting to be incorrect. Over a short period of time the valves would have burned.

You mentioned "since new" there has been a sporadic problem. The statement raises questions. How old is the machine? Have you taken the machine in for service on the problem? These type problems are covered under warranties.

I would be more inclined to suspect the starter or starters electrical system has a problem then with the valves. Could be a high electrical resistence within the starter itself. This may happen sporadically based on ambient temperature, moisture, heat generated during cranking time, battery condition etc.

There may be an electrical problem anywhere within the electrical wiring, terminals, ignition switch, connections and or componets. Everything would need to be checked out prior to suspecting a valve clearance setting.

Check with a Briggs dealer at the repair shop regarding any factory bulletins on this engine model. Visit the online web site for engine specifications, settings and factory bulletins.

In my opinion, adjusting the valves would be the last option. I would recommend purchasing a service manual.

Others posting in this forum may have specific valve clearance settings for that engine and post them.

Regards and Good Luck,
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Old 09-23-01, 02:11 AM
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If you bought it under 2 years ago, I would take it
to a dealer. It probably is the valve clearances, but if
it is still under warranty, they would also deal with
any starter damage that may have occured. Also a leaky
carb needle could let some fuel seep into the combustion
chamber, and since fuel is not compressible, give you
similar symptoms. But if it were valve lash mis-adjustment
the gap would be too great, and the compression release
would not engage, and the starters on these are not made
for that kind of work. If it was a fuel/carb problem
it is probably not going to be covered under warranty.
Old 10-28-01, 02:06 PM
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Fish Hit the nail on the head about the compression release, these newer starters on these engines if it dont work, shell crank it up against compression and bounce back Valve's Might be out of adjustment, but by saying that its sporadic in happining i would say its the compression release at fault, if it happend every time id lean on out of adjustment valves once out they dont fix them selves lol. Take the Valve cover off and rotate engine by hand you should see a slight movement on the exhaust rocker while coming up on the compression stroke, Also had one in here this spring the owner had it all apart and had the push rods in the wrong spot, Talk about no turning on compression stroke that one was it ,lol Thank god for starters id hate to have to hand crank one with the release not working right, would remind me of my 2 old L Model Gravleys out back.

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