need help with lawnmower

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(snip)

that sort of thing is why I went to a battery powered electric.
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<My lawnmower has been on the fritz all summer. It started cutting out when < <Yet he insists there is nothing wrong with mine. < <Does anybody have any ideas before I take it to another repair shop and have <to pay another $80? I am pretty strong, but unwilling to destroy my arm <yanking on this crank.
You sound like you're game. Read through the Mower Repair FAQ before you do anything else like. I'm sure your answer will be in there.
http://www.eio.com/repairfaq/REPAIR/F_lmfaq.html
I think you're getting gas so the logical alternative is to check the spark and I agree that a properly running mower more often than not, starts on the first pull.
best of luck with it Bets, -BH.
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Thanks, and thanks to all who have offered help!
wrote:

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Betsy wrote:

This thread made my twisted mind conger up yet another good reason why those ardant feminists who'd like to see the world turn into a place where all babies are cloned and born female are barking* up the wrong tree.
You've proven why men are and will always be a necessary evil; Your repairMAN can start that well worn lousy compression engine, but you, a woman, lack the physiognomy to do so yourself.
Long live all muscular male starter rope pullers!!
Jeff (Ducking.....)
* Any implicastion with female canines was unintended.
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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In my old neighborhood the best repairperson was a woman. :)

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Buy a sheep!

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Betsy, I know you have tried several things, so you might not object to a few more ideas.
First, try removing the air filter from your mower, and see how that works. If the problem goes away, you have a clogged or dirty air filter, so replace it.
Second, replace the gas in your mower's tank with fresh stuff. If the gas has been sitting there for many weeks (hopefully not from last season), it has probably gone bad. In the future, use a product called 'stabil' in your gas to keep it from going stale.
Thirdly, did you completely run the gas out of you mower last season. If any gas remained behind, it would probably turn to shellac, and plug up you carboretor. In that case, you will need to have it cleaned by a mechanic.
You basically need only three things to start an engine. Fuel, spark, and the correct air mixture. I have covered some of the overlooked problems. Be aware that using 'starting fluid' on a regular basis can deteriorate your engine and carboretor. It attacks all the plastic parts and does other damage, as well.
Hope this helps,
Sherwin D.
Betsy wrote:

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Is it harder then before to pull start or is it just taking more pulls to start it?
Maybe try premium gas. Let it run out of gas before putting in new premium or drain the other gas out.
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It takes many many many many many more pulls. Then seems to accidentally start just when one doesn't expect.
Could it be the plug?

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Could be, but from what you described yesterday, it sound like low compression. Worn out. Time for a rebuild or a new one.
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benzette wrote:

Premium gas won't ignite any easier than regular gas in a lawn mower engine.
Premium gas has a higher octane rating which means it suffers less preigniting from the heat of compression in high compression auto and aircraft engines.
It'll just waste Betsy's money, Benzette
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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Jeff is right, the difference between regular and premium is minimal.
And to be honest, as most gas stations sell such a small amount of premium gas compared to regular.
The regular is usually fresher and still fully potent. Many times the premium is already weeks old, and slightly dead.
People who have high compression engines that need the premium will know what I mean.
But at the low compressions in a lawnmower it doesn't make any difference anyway. Save the 20 cents and buy the regular.
But you can add a very small amount of gas line deicer (PURE methyl/ethelene hydrate/ alcohol) if you have a bit in the garage. (NOT the rubbing alcohol from you medicine cabinet that already contains water)
But mix it into the gas can as you only need a few drops per lawnmower tank full. (quart)
It helps the gas fire a slight bit hotter and help pass any water/condensation/scale through the carburetor It may not help with your starting, but it can't hurt it.
Then pour the rest of the bottle into your car gas tank.
It may not pay to fix it, but I would bring the lawnmower somewhere else to see if anyone else can locate the problem your neighbor seems to be missing.
It could be, dirt in carb, bad/ misadjusted/weak ignition module, pinched spark plug wire, bent flyweel key, bad plug. But it's impossible to tell from a usenet post.
These things are almost all cheap for parts to fix, but labour could cost $100 or more.
It would help to know if the motor is a briggs & stratton, tecumeth, or some other make, but I'm going to assume Briggs.
Offhand I'd check the spark plug wire is not pinched/cut in the starter-flywheel shroud where it goes out to the spark plug since that was removed shortly before the problems began. (to change the pullcord) Even an experienced person can do this easily if they aren't careful as there is only a slight bend in one spot for the wire to pass through without being damaged
If you can get the mower into the dark, try to start it and watch to see if little faint blue sparks may be going right through the wire to the engine case
Depending on the mower this wire can be part of the coil assembly, or replaceable separately. And sometimes just a bit of black electrical tape/shrinkwrap over the wire can get you going again.
But as already said, this is just an internet guess.
AMUN
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Amun wrote:

All of your crappy advice is just a guess. You spelled internet wrong. In your case it's u-n-e-d-u-c-a-t-e-d.
--
WARNING:

Do NOT under any circumstances take advice from an idiot named AMUN.
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Amun wrote:

Not that it matters for her problem, but gas does not go bad in few weeks under normal conditions. A month or two would be more of a likelihood of such a problem. If she had her gas in the tank for that time period, it could have gone bad. That is why I suggested she put in a product like Stabil just after buying the gas. If her gas is that old, it's too late to protect it, so she should dispose of it and get fresh stuff.

Most gasolines already have about 10% alcohol in them, at least in my part of the USA. If she bought her gas without the alcohol in it, she is better off going to a different gas station who might not have water in the bottom of their tanks, or finding a station that sells gasahol. My vote goes for stale gas, not gas with water in it.

I would recommend a product called SeaFoam, available from most auto stores to treat the gasoline to both clean the carburetor and stabilize the gas (similar to the Stabil product I mentioned earlier). If she did not run the gas out of her engine last season, these additives probably won't work, and she will need to have the carburetor cleaned by a mechanic.

A broken ignition wire is highly unlikely, but not impossible. I would do a more positive test of taking the plug out of the mower, but leaving it connected to it's lead wire. Then set the body of the plug next to a large metal surface of the mower. Pulling the starter cord should then produce a healthy spark at the plug. If it doesn't, she has an ignition problem such as a bad plug, ignition coil, etc.

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Since the OP never did say what make the engine is, all of us are guessing
But as the original post said the lawnmower never had any problems.
Then the rope broke and was replaced.
Then it ran good for a while, then later acted up
On newer Briggs motors you have to pull the whole flyweel cover/shroud off the get to the rope. If you look at the spark plug wire it comes off the coil, and just sits in one little bend between the flywheel shroud and the block.
When putting the cover back if the wire is in the wrong spot it gets pinched.
And may not cut through right away but the mower vibration finishes it off. A bit of moisture, and no spark
Then the spark may jump to the block rather than going to the plug. if only the odd weak spark makes it to the plug, it will be hard to start, but may still fire up if pulled fast enough
It's only a guess, but it would cause all the symptoms that were described
AMUN
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That sounds pretty plausible. It is a B&S engine, & I did basically have to take it apart to replace the starter rope. I guess I need to take it apart again to see if I pinched something?

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No need to take anything apart yet.
Look at where the spark plug wire goes back to the engine.
There is a very small "outward bend" in the flywheel shroud where the wire should pass through.
If the wire is not there, pull off the cover and check the wire for ANY possible damage.
AMUN

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Premium gas has nothing to do with her lawnmower. It is for high compression engines, which lawnmowers don't have. Don't waste you money on this. The key issue is to get rid of any stale gas with fresh gas. Low octane gas is good enough. I wonder if Betsy is just ignoring my suggestions, or she missed my comments?
Sherwin D.
benzette wrote:

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I'm not ignoring anyone. Thanks for any help you've offered. I bought a can of starter spray last night, and next time I need to cut the grass, I'm going to try it.

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Well, it seems like you are listening to the wrong people.
Starter spray might get your mower started, and then again, it may not. It is certainly not a long term fix, and using it repeatedly can damage your mower. Did you check the other things like the air filter, spark to plug, bad gas? If you can't do those things, it's time to take it in for service. If your engine starts with the starter spray, you can pretty much rule out the spark plug and electronics, and concentrate on the fuel quality and air filter.
Sherwin D.
Betsy wrote:

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