Lawn Mower Won’t Start After Cleaning Carburetor
The carburetor is a vital component but not the only part involved in starting a lawn mower. A visibly clean carburetor is not necessarily in flawless working condition. Therefore, you have to conduct a thorough inspection when your lawn mower won’t start after cleaning the carburetor.
A lawn mower won’t start after cleaning the carburetor if the part is worn, broken, or installed incorrectly. You may also have a cracked primer bulb, a malfunctioning spark plug, a clogged air filter, or bad gas. Furthermore, inspect the main engine components to fix the problem.
Assess the current condition of your carburetor and the last cold start performance of the lawn mower. These considerations will help you eliminate a few typical problems in lawn mowers. Read on to know about the usual glitches to detect and fix them.
Why a Lawn Mower Won’t Start After Cleaning the Carburetor
Ensure your carburetor is thoroughly clean and dry before you reinstall it on the lawn mower. Ideally, you should use a quality carb cleaner and dry it with compressed air. Check if the carburetor’s parts are in good condition; an easy inspection when you clean them separately (source).
You may consider the following probable issues chronologically to detect the causal problem.
The Carburetor Has Worn and Broken Parts or Is Installed Incorrectly
A lawn mower carburetor has several small parts, such as:
Small Engine Carb Cleaning Tools I Recommend
- Inlet and outlet ports, including jets
- Diaphragms and valves
- Metering unit, including lever, needle, pin, and spring
- Nuts, screws, gaskets, seals, etc.
A worn out or broken metering unit will prevent the carburetor from starting your lawn mower, even if it is visibly clean. Likewise, corroded jets and venturi won’t function optimally. Additionally, you may have a clogged valve or damaged diaphragms. Check the gaskets or seals, too.
Furthermore, you must install the carburetor correctly. The nuts and screws should have a snug fit. Pay heed to the fastening bolts and the adjustable screws if your lawn mower has the latter. Many contemporary lawn mower models have air mixture and idle screws.
You may replace a few broken carburetor parts, such as the metering unit. However, if you have significant corrosion, the only solution may be replacing the carburetor.
The Carburetor Is Not Sufficiently Primed for the Engine To Start
Many lawn mowers have a primer bulb to assist the engine’s cold start. The purpose of this primer bulb is to pump a bit of gas or fuel into the carburetor. Subsequently, the carburetor mixes the fuel with air and combusts the mixture to start the engine when you pull the cord.
When you reinstall a cleaned and dried carburetor on your lawn mower, there is no fuel inside it, and thus it will not start the engine. The standard practice is pressing the primer bulb a few times to pump or draw sufficient fuel into the carburetor, depending on the model.
However, you cannot do this if the primer bulb is cracked or broken. Evident cracks or signs of damage are easy to spot, but tiny leaks are difficult to detect visually. Unfortunately, many lawn mowers don’t have transparent primer bulbs, so you cannot see the fuel level inside.
Here’s how you can inspect and fix a primer bulb:
- Replace the primer bulb if you find visible signs of cracks or damage.
- Otherwise, press the primer bulb to feel its compression and retraction.
- A soft compression and delayed retraction implies structural damage or leaks.
- Replace a leaky primer bulb, including the valve on the lawn mower, if it is also broken.
- If none of these is a problem, check for fuel or gas inside the carburetor.
- Inspect the gas lines if there is no trace of fuel inside the carburetor, despite priming.
- Check the fuel lines and clean them if the primer bulb and carburetor are working.
- Replace leaking or damaged fuel lines if they are the problem preventing the cold start.
The Spark Plug Is Dirty, or the Air Filter Is Clogged
A clean and primed carburetor won’t start your lawn mower if the spark plug fails or the air filter is clogged. You may have both these problems simultaneously. Replace a broken spark plug and an unusable air filter. Otherwise, clean and reinstall them to check if the lawn mower starts.
Here are the steps to clean and test a lawn mower spark plug:
- Remove the spark plug from the lawn mower.
- Clean the carbon buildup from the spark plug with a soft wire brush.
- Get a multimeter and test the two ends of the spark plug for resistance.
- Replace the spark plug if it has no resistance, thus implying it is broken.
- Check the spark plug part number to buy an identical one.
Watch this video to test if your lawn mower spark plug is alright or broken:
I’m Austin, a motorcycle enthusiast, a lifelong rider, and I occasionally make YouTube videos. My channel serves as a platform to share my experiences, reviews, and insights into the motorcycle world, and I strive to captivate and inspire fellow riders by showcasing the excitement and beauty of life on two wheels. I love riding motorcycles, especially my Honda Grom which I’ve owned for more than five years, and tinkering with small engines to boost performance on mini-bikes. I hope to inspire and ignite the same passion for motorcycles and beyond in others. Join me as we embark on thrilling journeys, both on and off the road, in pursuit of adventure, knowledge, and the limitless possibilities that await.
How To Locate and Clean The Carburetor On A Lawn Mower? | A Beginners Guide
Like a car engine, the carburetor on a lawn mower helps the engine run. It ensures that a proper mix of gas and air enters the engine cylinder to allow for proper combustion, increasing overall fuel efficiency. In addition to overtime wear and tear, the carburetor of a lawn mower is also prone to damage from the lawn debris that can clog up the air filters, thus limiting the carburetor and lawn mower’s function. In this article, find out where is the carburetor on a lawn mower.
Keeping the carburetor of your lawn mower clean, well-maintained and in good shape is very important. It is a great way to save yourself some money, increase the lifetime of your mower and avoid unnecessary headaches and hassles down the road.
However, mower engines are quite compact, and most people often find it very difficult to locate various engine components, especially the carburetor.
Generally, the carburetor of a lawn mower is located behind the air filters, and it is often blocked from the view. So, you can start by looking for a square-shaped or circular filter housing. This filter housing usually contains a foam or paper filter. In addition to that, you can also locate the carburetor by tracing the fuel pipeline coming from the gas tank of your mower.
That said, lawn mowers come in a range of shapes and sizes. Depending on the lawn mower you have and its manufacturer, the location of the carburetor can vary.
So, you will need to understand a lot more about mower carburetors before you can precisely locate them, and we are here to help. So, let’s get started!
Lawn Mower Carburetor 101
Before we get into locating and fixing the carburetor of a lawn mower, it is important to understand what a carburetor is, how it works, what it looks like and why taking care of a lawn mower carburetor is essential.
What Is A Lawn Mower Carburetor?
The carburetor is an essential part of a gasoline-powered lawn mower’s engine. It regulates the flow of fuel from the gasoline tank and air from the environment in a correct combination. However, unlike the carburetor system used in a vehicle, the carburetor of a lawn mower is generally placed in a horizontal position.
In addition to that, the carburetor of a lawn mower also does not have any throttle butterflies. The carburetor is the lungs of a lawn mower, and it is a complex device with multiple connections. These connections typically include air lines, fuel lines and exhaust lines.
What Does A Carburetor Do In A Lawn Mower?
You might already know that any gasoline-powered engine burns fuel to generate power. However, what you might not know is that the fuel must be mixed in a correct ratio with air to yield maximum energy and fuel efficiency.
This is where the carburetor comes in; the carburetor of a lawn mower determines how long the engine has been running, the speed at which the mower is moving, the type of train that you are crossing and then adjust the balance of fuel and air accordingly.
If the carburetor of a lawn mower is not working correctly, the engine of the mower can still run; however, the fuel efficiency and engine power will be significantly reduced.
How Does A Lawn Mower Carburetor Work?
The carburetor of a lawn mower has two chambers. One chamber is known as the carburetor’s bowl, which stores fuel that will be injected into the second chamber, known as the combustion chamber.
As you might have already guessed by now, fuel mixes with air and burns in the combustion chamber.
A float pin in the carburetor’s bowl regulates the amount of fuel that enters the combustion chamber. In the combustion chamber, a spark plug ignites the air and fuel mixture, which produces thrust that, in turn, pushes the piston of the mower’s engine.
The piston then rotates the crankshaft, and this is how the blades on a mower spin.
What Does A Carburetor On A Lawn Mower Looks Like?
The carburetor of most lawn mowers looks very similar. Usually, it is a medium-sized metal component with springs and levers.
Carburetor can be rectangular, round or bowl-shaped. If you hold a carburetor in your hand, you will notice that it has two main openings. One opening is for air intake, and the other is for the exit when.
However, not all lawn mower carburetors look similar. For example, carburetors are now available in the market that are made of plastic, and some of the latest lawn mowers are using them.
Also, the fuel bowl on these plastic carburetors is not as pronounced as the conventional gas bowls in the older models of the lawn mowers.
Where Is The Carburetor Located On A Lawn Mower?
The carburetor of a lawn mower is typically hidden from the view. It is typically present inside or behind an air filter which in some cases has a hood on top. over, the location of the carburetor varies depending on the type of lawn mower and its manufacturer.
However, if you know what you are looking for, finding the carburetor of a lawn mower is not difficult. You can locate the carburetor by simply tracing the air filter or the fuel lines. Here’s a complete guide on how to locate the carburetor of a lawn mower:
Park The Lawn Mower
Park the lawn mower in a comfortable, preferably flat spot so that you do not risk accidentally rolling over the lawn mower. Also, ensure that the ignition is turned off and the engine is cool so that you do not risk burning yourself in the process.
Remove The Engine Hood
As already stated, not all lawn mowers will have engine hoods. It is usually the riding lawn mowers that come with an installed engine hood. So, if your lawn does not have a hood, you can skip this step. The hood is used to protect the engine.
You will have to remove the engine hood to reach the mower’s carburetor. The hood is usually attached to the mower’s body by hood latches. Just release the hood latches on both sides, and you will be able to see all parts of the engine.
Locate The Air Filter
The carburetor of a lawn mower is usually located beneath or behind the air filter. So, you will have to first locate the air filter of your lawn mower, which is often encased in a filter housing.
Depending on the shape of the carburetor, the housing of the air filter can be square or round. The air filter housing is usually located on the side or top of the mower’s engine, and it has slits or holes in it for air intake.
The filter housing is usually attached to the carburetor by screws or fasteners that hold the filter in its place. The filter is usually made up of paper or foam.
The function of the air filter is to prevent dust and lawn debris from entering the carburetor. All in all, finding the filter housing is the key to finding the carburetor of the lawn.
Locate The Gas Tank
Another way of locating the carburetor of a lawn is to trace the gas tank and fuel lines of the mower. For most lawn mowers, locating the gas tank is an easy task.
It is the place where you add gasoline. However, there are some lawn mowers on the market that, just like cars, have the filling cap and gas tank in a different location.
Some lawn mowers also have their gas tank covered. Nonetheless, a gas tank is very easy to locate due to its characteristic shape.
If you can locate the filling cap, you can quickly locate the gas tank by tracing a fuel line to it. From there, it would be straightforward to locate the carburetor of your lawn mower.
The carburetor is usually located next to the fuel tank at some height below it.
Pinpoint The Mower Carburetor
Once you have located both the air filter and the gas tank of your lawn mower, locating the carburetor is easy.
A carburetor is a metal object underneath, beneath, or behind the air filter with springs and levers. These springs and levers regulate the flow of air and fuel into the carburetor for efficient combustion.
If you look closely, you can clearly see that the carburetor has two large holes in it. One of these holes is from where the air enters the combustion chamber of the carburetor.
In the combustion chamber, it is mixed with fuel and then ignited. Due to ignition, the temperature rises, air expands, and it is forcibly ejected through the second hole.
Also, the carburetor of a lawn mower is usually black, lies in the center of the main body and has connections with nearly every essential part of the mower.
However, not all lawn mowers have the same-looking carburetor. The size and shape of the carburetor varies greatly with mower types and mower manufacturers, as described below.
Carburetors On Walk-Behind Mowers
Walk-behind mowers usually come in four different variations. Depending on your needs and requirements, one type might work better for you than the others.
Below we have described the different types of walk-behind mowers and their uses. Following that, we will discuss how you can locate the carburetor of a walk-behind mower.
Electric Walk Mower
As apparent by the name, an electric walk mower runs on electricity. It will not have a carburetor as it runs on an electric motor. Such mowers are suitable for small properties.
When you have a large lawn or a big area to mow, self-propelled mowers come in handy. Self-propelled mowers come in two variations: 1) Front-wheel drive and 2) Rear wheel drive. Front-wheel drive lawn mowers are suitable for lawns that are even or flat.
Whereas rear-wheel drive lawn mowers are suitable for lawns with a slope or a lawn located on a sidehill. Nonetheless, both lawn mowers are great for mowing large areas.
How To Locate The Carburetor On A Walk-Behind Lawn Mower?
For most walk-behind lawn mowers, you will find the carburetor on one side of the main body. It is located near the base of the lawn mower. Once again, tracing the air filter and fuel lines is the key to locating the carburetor of a lawn mower.
However, if you are having trouble finding the carburetor of your walk-behind lawn mower, we suggest that you look for the round or square filter housing. It is usually located on the side in walk-behind mowers, though sometimes it might be on the top.
The manufacturers usually make it easy to locate and remove the filter housing so that lawn owners can easily swap filters independently. Once you have located the filter housing, you can pop it open to access the lawn mower’s air filter.
There might be a few screws, latches or bolts holding the filter housing above the carburetor in its place. Ensure that you do not lose the screw or bolts when removing the housing.
Carburetors On Riding Mowers
If you have a very large turf or need to mow a very large area such as a sports field turf, walk-behind mowers just do not cut it.
For such situations, you will need a riding lawn mower. It is more powerful than a walk-behind mower, and you can sit on top of the machine while mowing for easy maneuvering and movement.
Like walk-behind lawn mowers, riding lawn mowers also come in multiple variations. We have described different types of riding mowers in the text below.
Make sure that you know which type of riding mower you have so you can refer to the correct part of this article:
Zero Turn Radius Mower
A zero-turn radius mower has a turning radius that is effectively zero. It can literally turn on a dime and is known for its speed and maneuverability.
A lawn tractor mower has its cutting deck located in the middle of the body. They usually have more power than the other types of riding mowers. Therefore, they are very suitable for mowing large expanses of land.
Rear Engine Riding Mower
It is the smallest of all riding mowers. Unlike the lawn tractor, it has its cutting deck located in the front, making moving around much more effortless. However, it is not as powerful as a lawn tractor due to its small size.
How To Locate The Carburetor On A Riding Lawn Mower?
Identifying and locating the carburetor is generally difficult in riding lawn mowers compared to walk-behind lawn mowers.
It is because riding lawn mowers are larger and more complicated. However, just like walk-behind lawn mowers, the carburetor of a riding lawn mower is located near the engine.
So, once again, you will have to locate the filter housing and the fuel lines of your riding lawn mower to reach the carburetor.
To do this, we highly recommend that you use the manual that came along with the mower to avoid any issues.
If you cannot make any sense of the things mentioned in the manual, a quick search on Google or YouTube can find you an article or video that can help you through the process of locating the carburetor on your lawn mower.
If you are still in doubt or do not want to risk opening the lawn mower on your own, you can always hire a professional to look at your lawn mower.
Do I Need To Clean The Carburetor On My Lawn Mower?
Other than regular wear and tear, the carburetor of a lawn mower is also prone to damage from the lawn debris.
Therefore, the carburetor of the lawn mower needs to be kept clean and in good shape. It directly supports the mower engine in its function, and without it, the lawn mower will eventually stop working altogether.
In many cases, when the lawn mower is not working correctly, the issue is nothing more than a clogged or dirty carburetor.
And if you just clean the carburetor of your lawn in such instances, it will start working again. Below is a list of some issues that result as a result of dirty or clogged lawn mower carburetor:
- Engine stalling while you are mowing the grass.
- Black smoke is coming out of the lawn mower’s muffler.
- Difficulty in starting the lawn mower.
- The engine is running turbulently or sputtering during mowing.
- Fuel efficiency decreases over time.
- Mower starting with a jump or shutting down while mowing.
- Engine overheating during the mowing.
If you have any of the issues mentioned above, chances are it is due to a dirty or clogged carburetor. So, you will need to clean it and here is how you can do it:
How To Clean A Carburetor On A Lawn Mower?
The first thing you need to do while cleaning the carburetor of your mower is to remove it from the mower’s main body. And, Please note that the below-mentioned instructions are only meant to be used as a general guideline. Refer to your lawn mower’s manual for the exact process of removing and cleaning the carburetor.
Removing The Carburetor
- Before cleaning the carburetor, it must be entirely removed from the lawn mower.
- Remove the engine cover if it is required.
- Remove the air filter housing and then the filters.
- Turn off the gasoline if possible. If not, make a crimp in the gasoline line.
- Remove the fuel line from the carburetor and be prepared for some spilling.
- If gasoline falls on the mower, clean it with a rag.
- Disconnect the carburetor’s choke and throttle links.
- Remove the carburetor from the mounting nuts with a sliding motion.
- Release the carburetor bowl, if needed, by unthreading the screws.
- This will release the carburetor bowl.
- Finally, remove the float pin to release the fuel float inside the carburetor.
Once you have taken out the carburetor from the main body of your lawn mower, you can move towards cleaning it. Here’s how to do it:
Cleaning The Carburetor
- In order to completely take out the carburetor of your lawn mower, you will probably have to unscrew the nuts and bolts all around it.
- Once you have done that, you will need to remove the gaskets, diaphragm and the metering plate attached to the carburetor.
- To properly clean the carburetor, ensure that the carburetor intake and outlet ports are fully exposed. Then, use a carburetor cleaner spray to clean it thoroughly.
- If there is a carburetor bowl, make sure that you clean it as well.
- If there are any signs of rust on the carburetor, use sandpaper to clean the rust.
- Following that, allow the carburetor to dry in the open air.
- Once the carburetor is dry, put all the parts together and ensure that everything is in its proper place and you have not missed anything.
- Put the carburetor bowl in its place, if needed and use a sliding motion once again to reinstall the carburetor in its original place.
- Tighten up the bolts and nuts holding the carburetor in its place.
- Reattach fuel lines as well as carburetor throttle links and choke.
- Also, clean the air filter and its housing and reinstall it in its place.
- If there is an engine hood, place it back in its place and you are done. Congrats!
How Do You Fix A Lawn Mower Carburetor?
Sometimes the issue with a faulty lawn mower is not a dirty carburetor but a carburetor that needs to be fixed.
So, if your lawn mower is not working even after cleaning the carburetor, there is an issue with the carburetor or any other part of the engine.
If you are sure that the problem is with the carburetor, you have three options to fix it.
- The first option you have is to get a carburetor repair kit. These kits are readily available, and they are inexpensive. For example, you can easily find a mower carburetor repair kit for about 20 or 30 US dollars on amazon.
- If you think that the carburetor on your lawn mower is beyond repair, do not worry. Carburetor replacements are readily available online and in hardware stores. A typical carburetor replacement can cost anywhere between 50 and 100.
- If you do not want to go through the hassle of fixing the carburetor on your own, you can take it to a professional, and they can fix it for you. The cost will vary depending on the work done and labor cost in your area.
Conclusion | Lawn Mower Carburetor
A lawn mower is a necessary piece of equipment when it comes to lawn care. However, what most people do not understand is that you have to properly take care of your lawn mower to keep it going and increase its life.
And keeping the carburetor of your mower clean and in good shape is vital to lawn mower maintenance.
That is why you should at least clean the carburetor on your mower two to three times a year; however, depending on the use, you might need to clean it more often.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I know if my lawn mower carburetor is bad?
If the lawn mower has trouble starting or starts with a jump, overheats or stops working during the mowing, releases black smoke or increases fuel consumption, there is a big chance that the carburetor on your mower needs to be cleaned or fixed.
Can you use wd40 to clean a carburetor on a mower?
Yes, you can if you do not have the carburetor cleaner spray. However, we highly recommend that you use a specific carburetor cleaner spray.
What causes a lawn mower to start and then die?
If you are facing a situation in which your lawn mower starts and then quickly dies, there is a high chance that its carburetor needs cleaning or some sort of repairs.
Where do you spray carburetor cleaner on a lawn mower?
You need to spray the carburetor cleaner right in the middle of the carburetor. We suggest that you do it in pulses which is a much more effective approach to removing the debris.
How often should a carburetor be cleaned?
In general, you should at least clean the carburetor of your lawn mower at least two to three times a year. However, depending on the use, this frequency might need to increase.
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Use Degreaser Cleaner EZ-Pods to remove stubborn build-up in industrial, commercial, and residential kitchens. Safe to use on stovetops, microwaves, backsplashes and more to get rid of tough grease and grime.
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- Ensure reliable starts and smooth idling on heavy duty trucks and high-mileage fleet vehicles. Clean regularly with WD-40 Specialist Carb/Throttle Body Cleaner.
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Where is the Carburetor on a Lawn Mower? (every mower)
Do you need to do some troubleshooting or maintenance with your lawn mower? If so, you’ve probably wondered where the carburetor is on a lawn mower. The location of this component of your mower’s engine can vary depending on the type of lawnmower you have.
In today’s article, I’ll tell you what a lawn mower carburetor looks like, where it usually is found on every type of mower, and provide a list of cleaning tips to maintain your mower’s carb.
All About the Lawn Mower Carburetor
What it Looks Like, What Parts of the Mower it Connects to, and
The carburetor is an essential part of your lawn mower’s engine. It makes sure that the correct combination of fuel and air will go into the engine cylinder. This is essential for combustion to occur.
When the spark plug ignites the fuel and air mixture, it combusts and pushes the engine piston in a downward direction. This, in turn, rotates the crankshaft. This makes the lawn mower blade spin.
Depending on the type of lawn mower you have, the wheels of your mower (for example, a riding mower or self-propelled mower) will also start to rotate.
How to Find and Identify Your Mower’s Carburetor
The carburetor is part of the mower’s engine. Typically, it is bolted to the side or top of the engine. It is also connected to the gas tank, and will typically be located just below or behind your air filter. Most lawn mower manufacturers make the air filter housing easily accessible and easy to identify so that owners can change out the filter as part of their annual maintenance. Find the air filter and your mower’s carburetor will be the next part of your mower’s engine, right behind it.
While the location will vary by manufacturer, there are a few qualities most carbs share to make them easier to identify.
Carburetors are metal and rectangular in shape. Your mower’s carb will often have black areas, such as a black circle and trim on the right and left.
In this article I’ll walk you step-by-step through locating and servicing your mower’s carburetor, with specific tips for locating the carburetor on every type of lawn mower.
Different Kinds of Lawnmower
In this section, we will go over the different kinds of lawnmower and where you can usually find the carburetor in each. The two main kinds of lawnmower are walk-behind and riding.
There are four main types of walk-behind mowers, which I list below – if you own a walk-behind mower make sure you know which type it is so that you can refer to the correct part of this article to locate your mower’s carburetor:
- Electric walk mower: An electric walk mower is appropriate for smaller properties.
- Self-propelled mower: A self-propelled mower is handy because it propels itself, meaning it’s a lot less work when mowing hilly areas. If you get a self-propelled mower, you can choose front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive is suitable for level ground. A self-propelled mower with rear-wheel drive is most suitable for sidehill and uphill mowing.
- Two-function mower: A two-function mower mulches and bags as well as does the usual grass cutting.
- Three-function mower: A three-function mower cuts the grass as well as bags, mulches, and side discharges.
There are three main types of riding lawn mowers, which I list below. If you own a riding mower, make sure you know which type it is so that you can refer to the correct part of this article to locate your riding mower’s carburetor:
- Rear Engine Riding Mower: The rear engine riding mower is the smallest of riding mowers.
- Lawn Tractor: Lawn tractors (sometimes called garden tractors) have very powerful engines, which are great for large properties.
- Zero Turn Radius Mower: Zero turn radius mowers are also very powerful, but they are easier to maneuver.
Carburetor Location in Walk-Behind Mowers
For walk-behind mowers, you will find the carburetor at the side of the mower, in the area above the base of the mower. As we mention later, the carburetor is connected to the air intake and air filter of the mower. Therefore, finding these components makes it easy to find the carburetor.
If you’re having trouble finding them, search for square-shaped or round-shaped filter housing. This will generally be on the side of the mower’s engine, though it’s sometimes on the top.
The air filter case is usually plastic and pops open easily to provide easy access to the filter for maintenance. The mower’s carburetor is just behind the air filter’s housing, and there are typically 2-3 bolts that can be loosened to remove the filter housing and reveal the carb.
This video does a nice job demonstrating the removal and cleaning of the carburetor on a walk-behind mower:
The exact process for repairing or replacing a carburetor in a riding mower will depend on your exact model, and it tends to be more complicated than working with the carburetor of a walk-behind mower, so you may choose to hire a professional at a small engine repair shop to do this for you.
If you are going to do a carb repair or replacement yourself, my advice is to consult the manual that came with your machine, and document every step of the process so that you can remember how the carb was set up and have an easier time re-attaching everything properly.
Here’s a video from Sears that walks you through replacing the carburetor on a Craftsman Mower. It provides a good sense of what’s involved in this project, what your riding mower’s carburetor looks like, and where the carb is located on some riding mowers:
- Step 1: Turn off your mower’s ignition and use the parking brake. To stop any accidental rolling, put the mower in gear.
- Step 2: Make the mower’s engine accessible by releasing any restraining devices (such as hood latches) that are holding down the hood.
- Step 3: Find the air intake and the filter. You should find filter housing (square or round-shaped) on the side or top of the engine. This will have slits or holes in the top. The filter housing will be attached to the carburetor by screws or latches. This housing contains a filter made of foam or paper. The filter found within the housing is there to stop dust and dirt from getting into your mower’s carburetor.
- Step 4: Locate the fuel line that comes from the gas tank. You can use this information to find where the gas tank. Gas tanks will usually be mounted in a place that makes it easy to access for re-fueling and is often black.
- Step 5: Find the fuel line that comes from the tank. This line will usually be situated in close proximity to the bottom of the tank. A small clamp is usually there to attach it. You can trace the fuel line that attaches the tank to where it connects with the carburetor.
Why is it Important to Clean Your Lawn Mower’s Carburetor?
The carburetor of your lawn mower needs to be kept clean in order for the machine to work as it should.
Think of the carburetor in a car. If it isn’t kept clean and properly maintained, your vehicle will not run properly.
This is the same with a small engine such the kind you have in a lawn mower.
If you are having certain problems with your mower, there is a good chance that you need to clean the carburetor. Below are some signs of a dirty carburetor:
- You’re having problems with the engine stalling when you are trying to cut the lawn.
- You are having difficulty starting the mower.
- There is black smoke coming from the muffler.
- The engine is sputtering or running turbulently during mowing.
- You have noticed an increase in your mower’s fuel consumption, even though you are using the way you always have.
How to Clean a Mower Carburetor Once You Locate It
Let’s take a look at how to clean a lawn mower carburetor.
Please note that these are general instructions and you should consult with the instructions that come with your particular mower before you proceed.
Removing the Carburetor
- You must completely remove the carburetor from the lawn mower before trying to clean it.
- If it is necessary, take off the engine cover.
- Take off the cover of the air filter, the filter, and the housing of the air filter.
- If possible, turn off the fuel valve. If this isn’t applicable, make a crimp in the fuel line. After that, take it off the carburetor. Be ready for a bit of fuel to spill out. You can use a rag to deal with the mess.
- Get the choke and throttle linkages detached from the carburetor throttle lever.
- Use a sliding motion to remove the carburetor from the mounting bolts.
- If necessary, release the carburetor bowl by unthreading the screw. This will release the bowl.
- Release the float and needle by removing the float pin.
Cleaning the Carburetor
- To completely take apart the carburetor, you will possibly have to unthread screws so that the primer bulb and base are released. After that, take out the metering plate, diaphragms, and gaskets.
- The outlet ports and carburetor intake should be exposed. You should then use a special carburetor cleaner spray (if you don’t have that, then WD-40) to clean out residue from the ports.
- If there is a bowl, clean it out.
- Check if there are any signs of rust in the carburetor. If so, get rid of it with sandpaper.
- Give the carburetor time to dry. After that, put it back together. Ensure that the diaphragms, metering plate, gaskets, and primer base are correctly positioned. Also do the same with the float and float needle.
- Ensure that you put the bowl gasket back in its correct place. Reinstall it if that is necessary.
- Use a sliding motion to reinstall the carburetor onto the mounting bolts. Get the throttle linkages re-attached to the throttle lever.
- Reattach the carburetor to fuel line.
- Reinstall the air filter, filter cover, and air filter housing.
- If this is necessary, reinstall the engine cover.
What if the Carburetor Needs Repairs?
It is possible that your carburetor will need repair as well as cleaning. If that is the case, you can consider buying a carburetor repair kit. This will help you with replacing some of the major components of the carburetor, such as the diaphragms, gaskets, float, and float needles. You can probably find a kit that matches your mower on Amazon for less than 20.
If you find that the carburetor continues to have poor performance, it’s possible that you will have to get a new carburetor and replace the old one. The price of a replacement carburetor will typically be about 50, and you can find genuine manufacturer’s carb replacements on Amazon (like this one for a Honda self-propelled mower).
If you’re sure your lawn mower issues are the result of carburetor problems, it’s generally easier to buy a new carb and replacing the whole thing vs attempting to repair a few gaskets or parts.
In my experience a repair kit works better in theory than in practice, and your average weekend warrior is better off replacing the whole thing if determined to DIY a fix. For 30 more, why not install a brand new carb?
The other option (recommended for most people) is to take your mower to a small engine repair shop and let them do the work for you. This is less expensive than you’d think, and will save you some time and headaches.
For optimal lawn mower maintenance, you should clean the carburetor every year.
This will help your mower always perform at the optimal level and help to hold off problems that will require parts replacement or full replacement of the carburetor.
And you don’t have to take your carb out to keep it running like new – I give my mower a shot of Gumout Carb and Choke Cleaner (Amazon link) before every mow to keep it running like new. It’s like 5 a can and lasts a whole season.
Maintain Your Lawn Mower So It Lasts!
Understanding how your lawn mower works and how to maintain it is key to making it last.
Purchasing a new lawn mower is an investment, so it’s well worth taking the time to read the manual and understand all the components and their functions.