Troubleshooting Lawn Mower Starting Problems
The air is warmer and the grass is growing – time to break out the lawn mower. Unlike your car, your lawn mower and other lawn and garden equipment are not used regularly and the time spent sitting in storage can lead to problems with them running properly.
When you take your mower out for the first time, you may encounter a variety of situations. If you are lucky, the lawn mower will start with the first pull of the cord. Unfortunately, after months of sitting around, it is likely your lawn mower may not run smoothly, or even start at all. Before you give up, here are some things you can do to troubleshoot the problem.
Causes of engine trouble
If your engine starts but does not run smoothly or doesn’t start, the culprit could be air intake or fuel system related. The problem could be the age of the fuel in the tank, dirt or debris in the carburetor or an obstructed fuel tank vent. Other causes could be a fouled spark plug or a dirty or clogged fuel filter that restricts the amount of fuel getting to the carburetor.
Change the gasoline
If this is the first time you have tried to start the engine since last fall, fresh fuel may be in order. Gasoline will go bad in as few as 30 days, especially when fuel is mixed with ethanol as it is in many areas. Ethanol attracts moisture and over time the moisture will dilute the gas.
If the fuel is old, it should be dumped into a container for proper disposal and fresh fuel should be added. Fuel additives are readily available wherever auto parts are sold and may be helpful in not only starting your engine, but also in cleaning out any gum or varnish deposits in your carburetor while the engine is running.
After adding new fuel, check the gas cap. In many small engines, the gas cap also has a vent that serves as the fuel tank ventilation. In order to work properly and supply a sufficient amount of fuel to the carburetor, the vent must be open and free of any debris.
Check the air filter
The job of the air filter is to remove dirt and debris from the air before it enters your engine. The filter may become clogged and not allow a sufficient amount of air into the engine for it to run smoothly. If the filter is dirty, it should be replaced.
Examine the spark plug
A dirty or fouled spark plug can cause your lawn mower to not start. It can also work itself loose, causing issues. If the spark plug appears to be seated correctly but the engine doesn’t start, a new one may be in order. For a few dollars, this easy fix can get your small engine working again. Be sure to use the correct replacement spark plug designed for your lawn mower.
Check the oil
Check the amount, color and consistency of the oil. If it appears dark black, change it. If the oil level is low, add the proper oil, identified by your owner’s manual, to the engine – but be careful not to overfill it!
Look at the Fuel Filter
The fuel filter keeps dirt and contaminants in the fuel from getting into the carburetor. If it becomes clogged, it can prevent a sufficient amount of fuel from passing into the combustion chamber, preventing your engine from starting. Check the fuel filter, replace it if it is dirty or clogged.
I’m still having issues with my mower – what should I do?
If you are still having problems, it might be time to take it to a small engine repair shop to have a mechanic look at it. With their expertise, they’ll get to the bottom of the problem in no time.
Learn more about Champion parts, find your car part, or find where to buy your auto part today.
The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.
Around the Lawn
grass, how to, lawncare, maintenance
How to Change your Lawn Mower Blades
The key to a better looking lawn sometimes lies in new lawn mower blades. If you’re noticing any missed patches of tall grass right after mowing your lawn, then it could be time to replace your lawn mower blades. The quality of your mowing can be greatly improved by newer, sharper lawn mower blades! Fortunately, lawn mower blades are easy to replace and inexpensive! If you’ve never replaced your lawn mower blades – don’t worry! Here is a step by step guide to changing your lawn mower blades in under ten minutes!
Disconnect the Spark Plug
As always, be sure to disconnect the spark plug before doing any work to your lawn mower. This will keep the engine from accidentally engaging while you are underneath the mower; which removes any chance of accidents.
Lift the Deck
Before you can change the mower blades, you need to be able to easily access the underside of your mower. If you have a walk behind lawn mower, simply tilt the mower back and prop it up on its side. Be sure to pay attention to which side your gas tank is on and avoid tilting your mower in a way that will spill gas on the engine. However, if you have a lawn tractor or a zero turn mower, you will need to lift up the deck with a jack.
Before tilting your walk behind lawn mower back, take off the gas cap and lay a plastic sandwich bag over the opening of the gas tank. Then replace the cap, twisting it securely. This will make sure no gas spills out during the blade changing process.
Take Off the Mounting Bolt
After you have the mower propped up on its side, it’s time to remove the blade. Keep in mind that it’s usually a good idea to wear gloves when handling a sharp blade. In most lawn mowers, there are between 1 and 3 bolts holding the blade into place. Using a socket wrench, unscrew the bolt from the deck’s mount. Pay attention to which direction the blade is positioned, because the new blade will go on exactly like that.
PRO Tip: Before taking off the old blade, take a picture of the underside of your mower deck with your phone. That will help you be sure the new blade goes on the same way.
Install the New Blade
Once you have a new blade, using the same socket wrench, attach it to the mount. Make sure that the blade is positioned exactly the same way the old blade was. Don’t over tighten the bolt – this can cause warping in the blade. Once the new blade is on, sit the mower back up and connect the spark plug wire! After this, you should be ready to mow like a pro!
Lawn Mower Fuel Lines: How to Change The Old and Damaged One
Lawn mower fuel lines are issues that can get damaged or just need to be replaced due to age. Replacing them isn’t as difficult as you may think.
In this article, we will look into the process of changing damaged or old fuel lines so that your lawn mower functions optimally.
- How to Change Your Lawnmower’s Fuel Line
- – Step 1: Prepare the Tools You Need
- – Step 2: Switch off the Fuel
- – Step 3: Remove the Engine Cover
- – Step 4: Release the Spring Clips
- – Step 5: Take off the Fuel Line
- – Step 6: Remove the Spring Clips
- – Step 7: Measure the Old Fuel Line Against the New Fuel Line
- – Step 8: Cut the New Fuel Line
- – Step 9: Reinstall the Spring Clips to the New Fuel Line
- – Step 10: Attach the New Fuel Line
- – Step 11: Reposition the Spring Clips
- – Step 12: Reinstall the Engine Cover
- – Step 13: Test the New Fuel Line
How to Change Your Lawnmower’s Fuel Line
To change your lawn mower’s fuel line you must prepare your tools, switch off the fuel, and remove the engine’s cover, and try to release the spring clips. Then, take off the fuel line and remove the spring clipping, measure and cut the old fuel line, reinstall and attach it.
If you’ve ever had your mower go into a bush or several, there’s a high probability that the fuel line got damaged. When this happens, you’ll need to replace them unless you want to run the risk of damaging your lawn mowers even more.
– Step 1: Prepare the Tools You Need
You should prepare the tools you need for this task: a new fuel line, handheld snips, socket wrench, pliers, a flathead screwdriver, and a marker pen. These tools are the ones you need to prepare in order to have them in front of you, so you accomplish the task with all success.
Replacing the fuel line for your mower’s small engine requires at least many tools to keep everything easier to manage. Aside from the fuel line, the tools you’ll need are most likely in your tool kit. If not, you’ll need to look for similar tools or purchase the ones that you don’t have.
You’ll likely need these tools for other activities around the house too, and if you don’t have them, you can always buy them.
– Step 2: Switch off the Fuel
After preparing all the necessary tools and items, you’ll need to switch off the fuel before removing the fuel line. This will cause the gasoline to flow out of the line; however, if you have a cut-off valve for your fuel, simply turn the valve off.
Otherwise, draining the gas tank before replacing the line is important, because you don’t want to waste the fuel that is present in the tank.
– Step 3: Remove the Engine Cover
To access the fuel line more conveniently, take off the engine cover. Using a socket wrench, turn the fixing bolts that hold the engine cover in place. Continue turning and removing each bolt until all bolts have been taken off.
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Place the bolts in a safe area to keep them from moving around and getting lost, and turn your attention back to the engine cover, lift it off, and set it aside.
– Step 4: Release the Spring Clips
Use your pliers to remove the spring clips. Hold your pliers to pinch the clip’s prongs. This will open the clip up. This allows the clip to slide to the middle of the fuel line, and when it does so, it will help things move quicker, use a flathead screwdriver to move the clip along the line.
Once you have moved the first clip to the middle of the fuel line, do the same thing with the other clip.
Perform the same actions until the clips at both ends of the line are right in the center of the fuel line, and make sure to release them.
– Step 5: Take off the Fuel Line
Taking off the fuel line is a step that needs to be done with utmost caution. Old lines tend to stick to the parts of the lawn mower, such as fuel filters, really well. This can make it slightly more challenging to remove.
To loosen the line, gingerly twist it in order to break its adhesion to the mower’s parts. Once it has loosened, pull the fuel line from the parts it has attached.
Usually, the fuel line is stuck to the gas tank. If the line is still a bit difficult to remove, get your flathead screwdriver to help you pry it off. Slowly pull out the line as you pry it out and it should come off, and remember that you must always exercise caution to avoid damaging the parts that you’re working with.
– Step 6: Remove the Spring Clips
Now that the fuel line has been removed, you can take off the spring clips cautiously and know that these clips can be used later on. To fully remove the spring clips, take your pliers to remove both clips off the fuel line.
– Step 7: Measure the Old Fuel Line Against the New Fuel Line
Now that you have the old fuel line, you line it up with the new one. Using your marker pen, mark the length of the old fuel line on the new one. This will help you figure out a more exact length for the replacement fuel line.
The inside diameter of the fuel line pipe must be the correct measurement so that no issue would tackle it in the long run, when you cut it incorrectly. If the diameter is too small, it will be difficult to install it. When the inside diameter is too big, it can cause leaks, so one must accurately measure the old to the new.
– Step 8: Cut the New Fuel Line
The length should always be just right. This means that it should not be too long or too short. If it’s too long, it can cause kinks in the line that can stop the flow of fuel. It will have poor contact with the engine parts if the length is too short.
Use your handheld snips to cut the new fuel line at the marked length. As much as possible, cut at a flat line to get the maximum contact between the engine fuel parts and the new fuel line. Doing so will ensure the fuel line fits better with all parts of the gas tank, and won’t cause any problems.
Now, after you have cut it, make sure that you use silicon-based spray lubricants to prevent the fuel line from splitting or cracking. This condition is known as dry rot. Once the fuel line is applied with these spray lubricants, then the fuel line gets protected from harsh sunlight, heat, and water.
– Step 9: Reinstall the Spring Clips to the New Fuel Line
Install the spring clips on the newly cut fuel line, just in the right place where it was. Once the spring clips are installed, use your pliers to open the slips. This allows you to slide the clips to the center of the line, where they are supposed to be.
Most homeowners tend to forget this part, so ensure that you do it whenever you replace new lines. Otherwise, you may end up removing the fuel line just to install the spring clips.
– Step 10: Attach the New Fuel Line
This also requires an extra amount of caution. The fuel line and its surrounding parts, such as the fuel filter, are delicate and may be prone to damage if excessive force is used. To install the new fuel line, slowly twist and push it at the same time, so they would fit in the right place.
Before doing so, you will be able to figure out the hardest angle and start from there. Don’t rush this part so that the new fuel line gets installed correctly. Confirm that it’s pushed on the parts completely so that the new fuel line is unable to go any further.
If you find that there are slight difficulties getting the line on far enough, you might be tempted to stop right then and there. If you stop short here, it could lead to future leaks. As a result, you must continue installing the fuel line until everything fits as perfectly as possible.
– Step 11: Reposition the Spring Clips
Now that you have the fuel line correctly in place, you can at present begin repositioning the spring clips. To do this, grab your pliers and reinstall the spring clips as they were prior to removal. Remember that you should aim to double-check their positions, and use the old fuel line as a reference, as the old fuel line will most likely have imprints of where the spring clips used to be.
– Step 12: Reinstall the Engine Cover
If you check, everything should be right in its place; as a result, it’s time to return the small engine cover to its original setting. Reinstall the cover and place the bolts where they should be. Using your socket wrench, fasten the cover with the bolts.
At this point, you should also ensure that the bolts are tightly screwed to avoid the possibility of them being shaken loose when the lawn mower is in operation.
– Step 13: Test the New Fuel Line
You’ll need to refill the gas tank to test the newly replaced fuel line. If you have a cut-off valve, switch it back so that the valve is open. While the fuel fills the tank, you can start checking for leaks. Remember to do so carefully to avoid damaging sensitive parts, such as the fuel filter.
Once the lawn mower fuel tank is adequately filled, turn on your mower. Allow the lawnmower to stay idle for several minutes. After some time has passed, check for leaks. If the fuel line and clips were correctly installed, there should not be any evidence of leaks.
With all that we’ve covered, you’re in a better place to start replacing your riding lawn mower fuel line. To recap everything, here are some reminders:
- Ensure that you have the proper items and tools handy.
- Measure correctly so that you end up with precise cutting; make sure it isn’t too big or too small.
- Remove and replace items as efficiently as possible to make the entire activity quick and smooth.
- You need to take care of some considerations before and during fuel line replacement in small engines. While they seem to be trivial, they can actually help you lessen errors in the long run.
We bet you’re excited to start changing your mower’s fuel line. Now, you have the perfect knowledge about how to replace the fuel lines in the most efficient way. If during this fuel line repair, your mower’s gas cap gets damaged, you can temporarily fix it, but we highly suggest replacing it with a proper gas cap!
Riding Lawn Mower Won’t Start After Running (How to Fix?)
If you have a large lawn to cut, owning a good sit-on mower is more than just a pleasant luxury, it’s a necessity. Beyond a certain size of lawn, it is no longer feasible to mow with a traditional push mower, but a sit-on version will let you finish the job in no time.
However, sit-on mowers – like other types of mower and just about any kind of power tool – can develop problems, and one is that it starts up fine at first but then won’t start up again after being used. Here, we will look at the question of what to do if a riding lawn mower won’t start after running.
The basic tenet of repair work
Before we start, let’s just remind ourselves of the proper procedure to follow when trying to repair any kind of machinery.
If you want to repair something, first, you need to identify the problem. To do this, you need to narrow down the search area to determine where the problem lies. By systematically eliminating all possibilities, you can locate the problem – and once you find it, you can fix it.
In order to work out where the problem lies, you need to ask yourself some questions. The first question – a very obvious one – is why the lawn mower stopped in the first place. Did you stop it, or did it stop by itself?
This is a very important question to ask since it will help you determine where to start looking for the problem. If the mower won’t restart after stopping by itself, the fact it was running might not be relevant.
By this, we mean the fact that it won’t start after running might be coincidental – that it was running before might not be related to why it won’t start now, and the problem might lie elsewhere.
To begin with, we will look at why your mower won’t start if you stopped it yourself – because in this case, the problem is probably to do with the fact that it is hot and not something else.
Why it won’t start after running if you stopped it yourself
Problems with restarting a mower that has been shut off after running are almost always related to compression, i.e. the engine’s ability to build pressure on the cylinder.
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Basically, when an engine runs, it heats up – and metals change size and shape when they are hot. The change is almost imperceptible, but even this tiny amount of difference can cause a problem.
Since the valve changes size, it may no longer be able to close 100% and so you won’t have the necessary pressure required to start the engine.
To see if this is the case, test the compression when cold and test the compression when hot. If you have more compression when cold, this is an indication that you have identified the problem. To rectify it, ensure that the valve lash is set correctly when cold.
The problem with this is that it is not an easy job either to test this or to fix it by yourself unless you know your way around engines. If you are not sure what you are doing, you might be better off asking a professional to check for you.
Another possibility is simply that the engine is overheating. This could happen if grass clippings clog the cooling fans. This is something that is easier to check, so you should eliminate this before calling in a mechanic.
Here’s a video of someone dealing with a similar problem.
What about if you lose power during mowing?
If your mower shuts off while you are mowing and won’t restart, you might suspect that it is a heat-related problem, but it could also be something else. Here are some other possibilities that you should try to eliminate.
Are you out of fuel?
So we’re starting with the most obvious, but in the interests of being systematic, check it.
Having problems restarting after running out of fuel and refilling?
Perhaps your mower stopped because it was out of fuel but after you refill it, it still won’t start. This is probably not a heat-related problem at all. Here, it is more likely that there was some debris floating in the fuel and was sucked into the fuel line when the fuel ran out.
To rectify this problem, ensure that the fuel lines are clean and free of debris. After removing any debris, it should start again.
Cutting tall grass or build-up of grass under the mower
It is possible that the grass you are cutting is too long and is clogging up the mower, causing the engine to stop. Try clearing out the cuttings and then adjusting the cutting height.
Similarly, if the mower becomes too clogged up by grass cuttings, the same may occur. Try clearing it out and trying again.
Old or dirty spark plugs
This is another obvious one to check. If your spark plugs are old or dirty, replace them. This will probably increase your mower’s performance instantly.
This is the kind of problem that might make you think the problem is because the mower has been running when actually the problem lies elsewhere. Make sure your spark plugs are in good condition, clean and properly connected to eliminate this possibility.
Dirty air filter
As with the spark plugs, this is the kind of problem that can make you think the problem is heat-related when it isn’t. If your mower loses power and then won’t restart, it might be due to dirty air filters.
This is a simple problem to check and fix. Make sure the filters are clean and in good working order and try again. If this was the problem, it should start up again easily.
Eliminate all possibilities to find the problem
If you have a problem restarting your mower after it has been running, the first thing to do is to eliminate all the simple issues.
If none of the more obvious problems are to blame, you could well have a problem with compression due to a valve. If this is the case, unless you are very confident around engines, you might need to think about calling a professional.