The Starter Rope is Hard to Pull or Seems Stuck:
A typical cause for this is that the engine flywheel brake (the bar you hold down on the handle that stops the engine when released) is engaged. Be sure to bring the bar down all the way to the handle before pulling.
This can also happen if your mower blade is dragging in grass or clogged with grass clippings. Move your mower off your lawn to a hard surface. With the mower turned off and the spark plug wire disengaged, clear the underside of the mower of excessive clippings, then resume a safe mowing position, and give it another yank.
Your Mower Won’t Start:
Be sure you’re filled with fresh gas first. Old gas can also lead to problems starting. If you have last season’s gas in your mower, drain your fuel tank and fill with fresh gas. Other possible causes include:
- Loose, Dirty or Disconnected Spark Plug in Your Lawn Mower: Check it out, clean off debris, re-connect and tighten.
- Dirty Air Filter: Clean or replace.
- Fuel Not Reaching the Engine: Tap the side of the carburetor to help the flow of gas. If this doesn’t work, you might need a new fuel filter.
You Lose Power in the Middle of Mowing:
Here’s why this happens and what you can do:
- Dirty Air Filter on Your Lawn Mower: Clean or replace.
- Cutting Tall Grass: Raise the cutting height on your lawn mower
- Dirty Spark Plug: Clean or replace.
- Build Up of Clippings Debris: Clean underside of your lawn mower deck as noted above.
- Dull, Bent or Loose Mower Blade: Sharpen or replace.
Whoa! Your Mower is Smoking:
This might look a little scary, but it’s usually not serious. Your lawn mower’s engine can smoke if your oil chamber is too full, or if oil leaked into the exhaust muffler when you tilted your mower to the side. It’s simply burning off while the engine is hot. But if you’re seeing lighter colored smoke, plus have trouble keeping your mower running, it’s time for a serious look by a professional.
Of course, there are those cases when special tools or skills are needed to make a fix, or DIY attempts aren’t doing the trick. When it’s time to call a pro to get the job done right, find a Briggs Stratton Service Dealer near you.
Engine Won’t Start
We all know the disappointment when you’re all “dressed up” and ready to tackle the first lawn-cutting exercise of the season, only to find that your trusty CRAFTSMAN riding mower won’t start.
The CRAFTSMAN riding mower is, of course, fitted with a gas engine which means several problems could be causing the engine not to start. The below covers the common reasons why the engine doesn’t start.
Solution 1: Drain and Replace Old Gas
Check that the gas tank contains fuel, especially if the mower has been standing for an extended period. Gasoline degrades over time and evaporates.
Old gas should be drained from the system and replaced with new to eliminate this problem.
Solution 2: Replace the Fuel Filter
Following the gas line from the gas fuel tank to the carburetor will lead you to the fuel filter. The filter may be dirty, restricting or preventing fuel from reaching the carburetor so the mower won’t start.
If the fuel filter is visibly dirty inside, replace the fuel filter to ensure the gasoline can pass through the filter.
Solution 3: Ensure All Safety Cutoff Switches Are Engaged
CRAFTSMAN riding mowers have two safety switches that ensure the mover won’t start accidentally. One switch is under the driver’s seat, and the foot brake controls the other.
Their design is such that the driver must be seated on the seat, and the brake must be depressed to disengage the safety switches for the mower to start. Standing next to the mower while trying to start the engine will not work.
Solution 4:Charge the Battery
All CRAFTSMAN riding mowers have a battery located under the driver’s seat to turn and start the engine. When turning the ignition key and the engine turns very slowly but won’t start, the battery is most likely discharged.
Turning on the ignition and hearing a clicking sound without the engine turning is a sure sign that the battery is drained and needs to be charged.
In both scenarios, the battery requires charging, or if the problem persists, the battery may need replacement.
Solution 5: Clean or Replace the Solenoid
The carburetor fuel solenoid is attached to the base of the carburetor. The carburetor controls the fuel and air mixture required for the engine to run. The solenoid is an electrically operated fuel supply and shut-off valve. When the valve doesn’t work, it prevents fuel from entering the carburetor.
Diagnosing if the solenoid is faulty is quickly done by getting an ear down close to the solenoid. A click sound will be heard when the key is turned on and off as the solenoid retracts and releases. If no sound is heard, the solenoid is likely faulty and requires replacement, or the mower won’t work.
The solenoid will need to be removed by unscrewing it with a spanner of the right size and cleaned or replaced if the cleaning doesn’t work.
Solution 6: Replace the Filter
The air filter is next to the carburetor and filters the air fed into the carb. When the air filter is filthy, it may get clogged up by dust particles. The clogged-up filter will prevent air from reaching the carburetor and the engine from starting.
The solution is to replace the filter with a new one.
Solution 7: Replace the Spark Plug
The spark plug performs the critical task of igniting the fuel in the cylinder head while the engine is running. The spark plug is constantly exposed to burning gas and oil residue; therefore, the spark plug can quickly become dirty.
Removing the spark plug is a simple exercise using a spark plug spanner. A dirty spark plug can be cleaned using a wire brush but will eventually need to be replaced. Instead, replace the spark plug to be sure it’s working well.
Blades Won’t Engage
Your CRAFTSMAN riding mower is running, you’ve reached the area that needs mowing, but now the blades won’t engage. What could be wrong?
We’ve found five possible causes for the blades not engaging with CRAFTSMAN riding mowers. These problems may differ depending on if your mower has a manual lever clutch or an electronic PTO clutch.
Solution 1: Replace the Electric PTO Clutch
Faulty PTO clutch. When power is supplied to the clutch, the clutch engages and turns the mower’s blades via the drive belt. When the PTO clutch doesn’t engage, the internal mechanism has failed.
The PTO clutch is not a repairable part as it’s a sealed unit, so it needs to be replaced.
Solution 2: Remove and Test Take-off Switch
The second reason the blades won’t engage on the electrically operated unit is a faulty power take-off switch. This switch is located on the dashboard of the mower and is usually yellow. Pulling the switch engages the blades, while pressing the switch disengages the blades.
Removing the switch and testing it for continuity using a multi-meter is the best to determine if the switch won’t work. If faulty, the switch would need to be replaced as you can’t repair it.
Solution 3: Replace Drive Belt
Before we deal with the manual clutch mowers, one common item between the electric clutch and manual version mowers is the drive belt.
The drive belt is located underneath the mower and connects the crankshaft to the mower blades via the clutch assembly.
The drive belt is a high-quality V belt, similar to those used in model car engines. When this belt becomes excessively worn or is damaged or cut, it can no longer drive the mower’s blades, which won’t work.
The drive belt must be replaced when damaged or worn out.
Solution 4: Replace Lever Mechanism Unit
CRAFTSMAN riding mowers fitted with a manual clutch can suffer the following failures over time that prevent the mower’s blades from engaging.
The clutch engages and disengages the blades on the manually operated version. The clutch is operated by pulling down a lever on the right of the dashboard. A cable connects the lever mechanism to the clutch located under the mower.
The lever mechanism in the dashboard can fail over time, making it impossible to retract the cable connected to the clutch.
A failed lever mechanism will require the replacement of the unit.
Solution 5: Replace Broken Clutch Cable
Broken manual clutch cable or spring: The cable, as mentioned earlier, connects the lever mechanism, and the clutch, along with its tensioner spring, is wearing parts, so it can fail with excessive use and eventually won’t work.
A broken or severely worn clutch cable and its accompanying tensioner spring must be replaced should they fail.
Runs for a Bit, Then Dies, Won’t Work
The CRAFTSMAN riding mower is reliable and generally doesn’t cause problems. Occasionally, you may find that your mower starts up and then dies. When you crank it, it starts, only to turn off again.
Briggs and Stratton’s engines used in CRAFTSMAN mowers are four-stroke engines, so they use unmixed fuel (no two-stroke oil required). They generally run very clean and shouldn’t develop any carburetor blockages.
Fuel starvation is the most likely cause of the engine starting and then stopping shortly after.
Assuming the fuel tank is sufficiently filled and contains fresh fuel. The motor dies because the fuel entering the carburetor flows in slower than the outflow of fuel into the engine; effectively, the carburetor runs dry, which causes the problem.
The cause is a blocked fuel line or clogged fuel filter. 10% Ethanol fuel is tough on rubber fuel hose and causes the fuel line to degrade internally. This degradation blocks or severely reduces fuel flow from the tank to the engine.
Replacing the fuel line and filter will restore the fuel flow to the motor and prevent the engine from turning off when you least need the problem.
Won’t Cut Lawn Evenly
Cutting a large section of lawn only to realize that you’ve cut a series of steps into the lawn’s surface can be disappointing. How does this happen?
An uneven cut results from the mower deck (cutting blades) not being set to the correct height, or your mower may have a deflated tire causing the problem.
A mower-cutting deck rides on a series of linkages. They allow the deck to be adjusted up and down to adjust the cutting depth.
An underinflated or flat tire can play havoc with the angle of the cutting blades. If the blades are not level with the ground and cut deeper on one side of the mower, it will result in an uneven cut. So make sure all the tires are inflated to the correct pressure.
Cutting deck adjustment is made through two adjustment bolts. One adjusts the height seen from the left and right of the deck, and the other changes the front and rear deck height. It’s quick and easy! We’ve attached the below YouTube video, which details how the adjustments are performed.
Won’t Drive Forward
Like so many other mechanical devices, excessive use of a CRAFTSMAN riding mower will eventually take its toll. Occasionally something may go wrong, preventing it from driving. The gear lever is one of the items on a mower that sees a lot of use as it’s constantly shifted between drive, neutral, and reverse.
The linkage joining the gear selection lever and the actual gearbox may go out of alignment or get clogged up with dirt, preventing the gear levers from traveling the entire distance to engage or disengage a gear. Of course, the gearbox could be faulty, but this is unlikely as they’re robustly built.
Following the gear level selector down below the right fender of the mower will reveal the linkages that would need adjustment when gear selection becomes difficult.
Given that the linkages vary from model to model, it may be necessary to enlist a professional. Alternatively, some trial-and-error adjustments may do the trick.
A build-up of dirt inside the linkages is a real problem. The underside of the mower is exposed to a lot of dust generated by the spinning blades.
Carefully removing the various parts of the gear selection linkage will reveal dirt that prevents the levers from shifting their entire length of travel, preventing the shifter from working. Removing the dirt will enable the gears to be selected and allow the mover to drive.
While typically gasoline doesn’t get old and stale easily unless open to the elements, it can “varnish” which is a term that means the gas has produced a type of solid substance on the walls of the gasoline tank or the internal parts.
This typically happens when the lawnmower sits between mowing seasons (in those pesky winter months).
You might be able to notice this if you smell the gasoline and find that it has a sour smell (don’t smell the fumes very long as this can be quite dangerous to your health). To fix this you’ll need to drain your lawnmower gas tang of its entire contents.
Place a large plastic/metal pan next to the lawnmower and open the fuel tank to drain the contents of the gas tank out, clean the fuel lines and then add fresh fuel back into the tank.
Dirty Gas Tank
Just as the gasoline may often become dirty/stale and needs to be replaced and the fuel line needed to be cleaned, the gas tank itself may also need cleaning. All aspects of the gasoline storage, intake, flow, and the liquid itself can all become old and dirty which means good cleaning is in order to get it working properly.
Cleaning the gas tank is a bit more difficult as you’ll need to drain it and then either flush it with fluids or remove it in order to clean it.
Additionally, one key part of the gas tank that can become dirty is the cap on the gas tank. You may not know it, but there is a pinhole in the top of the cap that allows air to flow through into the tank. If this hole is clogged then no air can get back into the tank as the fuel is used up and it ends up killing the motor as the gas can’t enter the motor as well at that point.
Clean off the cap and flush water through the pinprick if possible, to clean it out. Place it back on and start it up again to see if that fixes the issue.
While this isn’t a specific fix to the lawn-mower starting and then dying, it will prevent most of the similar issues with your lawn mower automatically as it will keep everything flowing through it cleanly and maintained. It is suggested to have your mower serviced at least once per year typically in the spring (if you’re in a colder climate).
For this, you’ll need 3 basic supplies including:
Typically to make it easy when purchasing these, take out the air filter/spark plug from your lawnmower and take them with you to the store when you purchase the new ones. This way you’ll be able to easily know which one you need to purchase.
The air filter should be replaced once a year along with the spark plugs so that you know the juices flowing in and out are kept in tip-top shape. Start by removing the spark plug from your mower and then drain the oil from the mower by removing the cap and tipping it on its side. Make sure you don’t let the oil just go into the ground as it is very destructive/toxic.
Next, remove the blade from the bottom and give its edges a little sharpen so it doesn’t have to work overtime to keep the grass cut. You can use a file to do this. Ensure to clean under the mower deck so all of the build-ups from last season is removed. Put the blade back on and install the new spark plug on your mower. Lastly, fill up the lawnmower with oil again and you’re good to go!
The most common issue when a lawnmower starts up and then stops a few seconds after is a carburetor issue. Typically, if this is the case, you’re best to let a professional take a look and clean it out as this can get a bit more complicated.
If you do feel comfortable enough to work with them this would be the last step in the troubleshooting process for why the motor won’t keep running. When dirt and varnish from the fuel end up going through the lawnmower it can cause things to get sticky, orifices to get clogged, jets to get clogged, or gum to end up inside it which makes the engine sputter out while it’s running.
By doing an in-depth cleaning of the carburetor including all of its internal components will normally fix this up easily as long as you haven’t let it go too long and it ends up needing replacement. Most times cleaning will get the job done.
If you do plan to clean it there are different ways of doing it depending on the cleaner you get. Some simply require you to remove all of the connectors and spray all of the connectors/openings. After letting it sit for a while you then wipe it down and re-connect everything.
Another way is by taking apart the carburetor (make sure to take photographs of how all of the pieces went together first as this be helpful when reassembling it).
Once all of the pieces are separated then place them in a container filled with carburetor cleaner. You can then let them soak for about an hour or however long the instructions on the cleaner state. Once completed, rinse the parts with water and let them dry completely. You can use an air compressor to speed up this process if needed.
You will need to ensure that all of the water has dried completely as water should not be present here as it will cause issues with starting the lawnmower.
Once all of the parts are cleaned and dried you can then reassemble the carburetor and re-mount it on the mower again connecting all of the pieces and parts. Because this can be a bit of a complicated process you only want to do it if you have some experience/confidence with this type of task. If you are unsure, find a local handyman who has experience with it and asks them to teach you so you can self-sufficiently do this in the future.
If in doubt, it’s best to contact a professional for the carburetor cleaning.
Dirty or Defective spark plug:
If you have got a moderately unused start plug as of now introduced, you have got to clean it up and wipe out the carbon stores and oil. If debased the ancient start plug must be replaced.
Most carburetors nowadays have their carburetor bowl underneath and there’s a screw at the foot of this bowl with a gap that bolsters the bowl. If the gap in this screw got clogged up, discuss won’t be able to pass from underneath the carburetor and cannot control the descending development of gas. Then splash this gap with a carburetor cleaner. When recapping the bowl, dodge intemperate fixing of the screw to dodge misshaping the seal.
Blocked gasoline cap:
Most carburetors these days have their carburetor bowl underneath and there’s a screw at the foot of this bowl with a crevice that supports the bowl. On the off chance that the hole in this screw got clogged up, talk about won’t be able to pass from underneath the carburetor and cannot control the slipping advancement of gas. At that point sprinkle this crevice with a carburetor cleaner. When recapping the bowl, avoid plan settling of the screw to avoid misshaping the seal.
In case your lawnmower has served you for a long time and has experienced numerous repairs, the carburetor will be the primary one that must be supplanted taken after by other replaceable parts.Ready all the things you wish like carburetor cleaner, unused oil, carburetor unit, or oil degreaser when cleaning the engine. Pinch the gas hose to begin with with a clamp or a bad habit grasp to halt the fuel from entering the carburetor.
So in case your garden cutter starts then kicks the bucket the foremost common issue comes from the interior the carburetor itself or the things that are connected to it.
1.What would cause a lawnmower to start then die?
In the event that your grass cutter begins, runs briefly, at that point passes on these are the four most common reasons that’s happening: Messy carburetor / clogged carburetor bowl. Ancient gasoline that has gone terrible. Messy or inadequate start plugs.
2.What can be used instead of starter fluid?
Premixed gas from grass gear, chainsaw, ice twist drill, any kind of premixed gas will work awesome. Make beyond any doubt it’s a premix or else it’ll dry out the barrel dividers in case it doesn’t begin, which isn’t great. And for beginning liquid, make beyond any doubt it has upper barrel oil in it for the same reason to utilize premix gas.
There’s only one thing to remember when the mower is continuously stalling even if it can start up easily and that it is not getting enough power to continue running, therefore, it starts with starter fluids but dies. If you want to maintain the robustness of your lawnmower, always have an engine degreaser because you’ll surely need it when cleaning and maintaining your lawn mower engine including your carburetor.
Lawn Mower Stops Running When Hot – Troubleshooting Guide
The lawnmower, like any other machine, can malfunction when it gets hot. This can be frustrating, especially if you can only spare a few hours to work on your lawn. There are several reasons why your lawnmower may be overheating and failing when hot.
Your lawnmower may stop running when hot due to an overheated engine, air leaks, a clogged fuel system, or the carburetor not getting enough gas. It is also possible that the engine is not cooling as it runs because of a dirty air filter. Finally, worn-out pistons may also be the problem.
When troubleshooting the likely reason your lawnmower stopped running when hot, you should eliminate one possible cause before moving to another. Sometimes, you may have more than one fault to deal with, so it is best to check every possible cause to find a lasting solution. Keep reading to find out how to fix your mower.
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Clogged Air Filter
The air filter blocks dirt and dust from getting into the engine, and a gas lawn mower engine needs fuel, air, and a spark to run. As the air filter blocks impurities in the air from getting to the engine, the dust and other debris get stuck to the air filter.
A clogged air filter will not allow sufficient air to power the engine, and the result is less combustion, which naturally translates to less horsepower.
This video illustrates what you need to check when attempting to find reasons behind the problems with your lawn mower:
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My Lawn Mower is Not Getting Gas to Spark Plug [5 Fixes that Work]
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It is frustrating when your lawn mower won’t start. I’ve seen this problem even with new gas-powered mowers. After extensive diagnosis and experience, I’ve found the most common cause is that the lawn mower is not getting gas to the spark plug. But that’s not all.
When your lawn mower won’t start, chances are it is not getting gas to the spark plug. Common causes include a dirty air filter, spark plug, and carburetor. To fix these issues, replace the fuel filter, clean the carburetor and spark plug, and replace the fuel if it is old as illustrated below.
What causes my lawn mower not to pump gas to spark plugs?
Gas-powered lawn mowers need gas to be pumped into the carburetor in order to start. Should anything obstruct the flow of gasoline, the engine won’t start. And even if it does, it’s likely to fail after a couple of minutes.
Here’s what causes mowers to not efficiently pump gas to the spark plug and ignite:
A dirty air filter
The air filter on a carburetor cleans the incoming air of dust and other debris that could cause damage to engine parts. Over time, the air filter could get clogged up, thus affecting the flow of oxygen to the engine.
When the engine does not get enough oxygen that helps with fuel combustion when the spark plug ignites your lawn mower won’t start.
Manual choke left turned on
The choke is a shaft-mounted valve within the air intake chamber of the carburetor. Its function is to block the airflow for improved suction and consequently facilitate a more efficient engine start-up.
While some chokes are automatic, some mower motors have manual chokes that the user has to turn on and off by themselves.
If you leave a manual choke on several minutes after starting the mower, the carburetor will likely flood up, leading to starting failures the next time you try to start up your lawn mower.
Clogged filters in the fuel pump
powerful mowers, such as ride-along lawn mowers, make use of fuel pumps to pump gas into the engine – instead of the gravity-feeding system that’s common in most push-along mowers.
If the filters are clogged, your lawn mower won’t start because gas will not reach the spark plug.
Stuck open valves
If the intake and exhaust valves don’t seal fully due to sticking, build-up of debris or normal wear and tear, compression is hampered, consequently creating ignition problems.
If the intake valve becomes stuck, this affects the efficiency of the flow of the air/fuel mixture to the cylinder, resulting in a lawn mower that won’t start.
Signs your lawn mower is not getting gas
There are several issues that could be causing your lawn mower not to run, including electric faults within the spark plugs as well as the causes I’ve listed above.
For instance- if your spark plug is wet, you definitely can’t get your motor to start. However- more often than not- the issue is usually caused by the cutting off of efficient fuel supply to the spark plugs.
Here are a few signs your lawn mower is not getting gas to the spark plug and won’t start due to the inability to pump gas to the engine:
Lawn mower won’t start completely
If you totally can’t get your mower to start, there could be issues with the efficiency of fuel flow to the engine.
- This is usually caused by debris collecting and blocking crucial components of the fuel intake system such as the throttle, primer button, carburetor bowl, and the fuel filter.
- A malfunctioned fuel pump.
Such clogging hampers the efficient flow of gas to the spark plugs.
Riding lawn mower starts then stops running
If your fuel tank is full, but your mower still comes to a stop after just a few seconds, it’s highly likely that the hole atop the tank’s cap has been blocked by dust and debris.
This cuts off the back pressure needed to push fuel out of the tank and into the carburetor – by cutting off air supply into the tank.
No gasoline odor
If you can’t get your mower to start and at the same time can’t sense any gas smell coming from the motor, your lawnmower has definitely run out of fuel.
Most mower brands typically include a dipstick attached to the screw cap. A dipstick is used to check the fuel level within the gas tank. It will typically have low and high-level markers.
- Dip the dipstick into the gas tank to check the gasoline level.
- If the fuel mark is below the low-level mark, it means you’re running out of gasoline and that’s why your mower won’t start.
In this case, refill the gas tank then try starting the mower again to see if the problem will have been fixed.
See also my guide on the type of gas to use with your lawn mower
How to Fix a Lawn Mower that’s Not Getting Gas
Some of these problems can occur when in the middle of mowing. A dirty spark plug, for instance, may cause your lawn mower not to have enough power for mowing. Fuel pump and filter problems too can make it not to start.
Here are simple DIY fixes you can use to correct the problem and start the lawn mower again.
Use fresh or new fuel
I found that for Craftsman mowers, old fuel tends to clog up the carburetors and cause difficulty in the flow of gasoline. As such, you should always ensure that the gasoline in your tank is as fresh as necessary.
- A good way of keeping stored oil fresher for longer is to use a gas stabilization product.
- Use a high-quality fuel stabilizer for small engines such as the Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment.
This solution will prevent fuel degradation by reducing oxidation. Your fuel will stay clean and fresh for longer.
Replace the fuel filter
If you own a Husqvarna mower and it won’t start, the most likely cause would be a clogged fuel filter. This usually happens if you’ve left fuel in your mower for long.
The best fix is to drain off the old fuel from the gas tank and replacing the filter.
Clean the carburetor
For MTD mowers, the most common cause of fuel not getting to the spark plug is a clogged-up carburetor due to the buildup of debris.
To fix the problem, clean up the carburetor by taking out the fuel bowl and spraying the carburetor with some carburetor cleaner.
A clean carburetor will get your MTD lawn mower motor running again.
Here’s a video on how to clean the carburetor on your lawn mower:
Tune up the riding mower engine
The engine tune-up includes routine maintenance for a riding lawn mower or tractor. Engine performance suffers if you don’t regularly tune up the engine. A poor-running engine may stall when you try to drive the mower. You may notice uneven cuts if the engine doesn’t run smoothly when you’re mowing grass. Routinely tune up the engine by replacing the engine oil, oil filter, air filter, fuel filter and spark plug. The tune-up also includes checking the ignition, carburetor, battery, throttle and choke controls, as well as cleaning the engine cooling fins.
How to replace a riding lawn mower fuel filter
If your riding lawn mower’s engine runs rough or won’t run, the fuel filter could be dirty. This repair guide and video show how to easily replace the fuel filter on your riding lawn mower in 15 minutes.