Lawn Mower Engines Seem So Picky

I do have a notoriously short fuse, I must admit. Today, a Tecumseh engine-based Ace Hardware self-propelled mower created a "that's the last straw" situation. It ran almost out of gas, and then when I put more gas in it (gas I purchased probably 30 days ago or so), it just flat-out wouldn't start. Some 20 minutes of priming with that bulb-thingie, sweat dripping off of me by the bucket-load, my allergies kicking in to such an extent that I developed asthma-like symptoms, all because I had a small patch to mow that wouldn't have taken me more than 3 minutes to mow. (I had just got an Intex easy-set pool and wanted to mow the designated spot once again to make sure it was "pool ready.")
Some 20 minutes later, having added some gasoline and primped that thing numerous times, and it STILL wouldn't start. Oh sure it would sometimes "fake start" for maybe 1 second, only to then cut right off.
It had been running just fine barely 5 minutes before all of this, but once it ran out of gas--forget it.
I became so enraged, I took a large wood-log and smashed the lawn mower into a million pieces.
OK, so that was childish, at least it was a $35 yard sale lawn mower (but it was self-propelled, making it something of a bargain). But man, 20 some minutes and it STILL wouldn't start, even with more gasoline added, even with it having ran just fine minutes previous?
I am not just writing to vent and rant/rave, and hear people reply "wow, that temper of yours, how silly of you" (not that I blame anyone for saying that, I understand). I am writing for a reason, namely--are lawn mowers as a group this picky? Is there someway, without it requiring multiple servicing efforts at a repair shop, to make lawn mowers less picky? Are Tecumseh engines as a group worse than Briggs/Stratton engines? Any method of storage (outdoors, we don't have a garage) that helps with this? Any tricks that can "kick start" a stubborn-as-a-mule lawn mower into starting?
Also, I do recall when I used to cut grass as a teenager some 20 years ago or so, it was common we'd run the lawn mower until it ran out of gas, then just add more and it would fire right back up and we'd carry on. It seems like now lawn mowers are much pickier--if you dare run out of gas, there's hell to pay. Is this true, and if so, why?
Thanks for the tips.
LRH
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I do have a notoriously short fuse, I must admit. Today, a Tecumseh engine-based Ace Hardware self-propelled mower created a "that's the last straw" situation. It ran almost out of gas, and then when I put more gas in it (gas I purchased probably 30 days ago or so), it just flat-out wouldn't start. Some 20 minutes of priming with that bulb-thingie, sweat dripping off of me by the bucket-load, my allergies kicking in to such an extent that I developed asthma-like symptoms, all because I had a small patch to mow that wouldn't have taken me more than 3 minutes to mow. (I had just got an Intex easy-set pool and wanted to mow the designated spot once again to make sure it was "pool ready.")
Some 20 minutes later, having added some gasoline and primped that thing numerous times, and it STILL wouldn't start. Oh sure it would sometimes "fake start" for maybe 1 second, only to then cut right off.
It had been running just fine barely 5 minutes before all of this, but once it ran out of gas--forget it.
I became so enraged, I took a large wood-log and smashed the lawn mower into a million pieces.
OK, so that was childish, at least it was a $35 yard sale lawn mower (but it was self-propelled, making it something of a bargain). But man, 20 some minutes and it STILL wouldn't start, even with more gasoline added, even with it having ran just fine minutes previous?
I am not just writing to vent and rant/rave, and hear people reply "wow, that temper of yours, how silly of you" (not that I blame anyone for saying that, I understand). I am writing for a reason, namely--are lawn mowers as a group this picky? Is there someway, without it requiring multiple servicing efforts at a repair shop, to make lawn mowers less picky? Are Tecumseh engines as a group worse than Briggs/Stratton engines? Any method of storage (outdoors, we don't have a garage) that helps with this? Any tricks that can "kick start" a stubborn-as-a-mule lawn mower into starting?
Also, I do recall when I used to cut grass as a teenager some 20 years ago or so, it was common we'd run the lawn mower until it ran out of gas, then just add more and it would fire right back up and we'd carry on. It seems like now lawn mowers are much pickier--if you dare run out of gas, there's hell to pay. Is this true, and if so, why?
Thanks for the tips.
LRH
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Get a push mower.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

{snipped for brevity}
I would've suggested some simple things to check that might possibly have helped, but now that it has been violently disassembled the point is moot. If you decide to continue to buy used mowers being discarded for that price, be aware that they probably had owners with the same amount of patience that you do. For your own sanity and the safety of others, I suggest you bite the bullet and get something new (not a Tecumseh). The chances are better that it will run a while before it needs repair. Either that, or invest in some Valium.
GrtArtiste
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com said:

Sorry, but I'm trying to figure out how it matters how the grass under a pool is mowed. And 20 minutes of priming most likely flooded the engine.

Sounds starved for air, yup.

5? I thought it was 20?

"You get what you pay for."

You were almost done cutting the grass (3 minutes more, you say), so the engine was obviously hot. You said, "It ran almost out of gas", which leads one to believe that you manually shut it off. If the fuel system still had some gas, it was already primed and there was no need to do anything other than pull the rope. 20 minutes of dumping fuel in the cylinder did nothing but flood the engine. Too much gas and no air just won't work. ;)_

No. They all require a mixture of fuel and air in order to function.

A good tarp? A small "carport"?

Yes, patience and common sense. Some anger management classes may be in order, too. I'm not so sure that it's the mower that's "stubborn-as-a-mule", here.

Again, I'm confused. Did you run out of gas, or "almost" run out of gas? Did you prime and pull for 5 minutes, or was it 20?
--
Eggs

-My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.
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Thanks for the tips. By the way, what about an ELECTRIC lawn mower? I do realize they are less powerful, and that is worth remembering as I also can become tempermental (although not to the point of destruction) with a lawn mower that keeps having to be restarted because it can't cut the mustard (or grass, as it were).
But what about an electric lawn mower? I do have 3/4 of an acre, and lots of orange cord. I do actually have an electric chainsaw, and while it's not as powerful as a gasoline I LOVE how it immediately fires right up without hesitation.
LRH
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

My Aunt had an electric mower, and since she was 80 YO, I used to travel to her house and mow the lawn once a week. Her yard was very small and I guess no more than a quarter acre. Small front yard and larger back yard with a couple of trees and bushes. It was such a pain in the ass relocating and moving that heavy cord around that I couldn't imagine using it for any larger lawns.
--
Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Last year, got brand new push mower from Wal-Mart. 5 hp Briggs and Stratton. Worked fine the first few mows. Always used fresh gas. Then, it started doing exactly what you described. Run low on gas, stop and refill, won't start. However, was careful not to prime again to see if it would start like that. Then tried the prime button a couple of times, no luck. Long story, short. Found some crap in the tank and at the carb area. Spark plug said it was running rich, deposits. Air filter was very dirty from kicked up dirt as all was not grown over by grass yet. Cleaned all this up, changed the plug, and worked fine. My conclusion was that the dirt etc. in the fuel system was not a factor until low on gas with the engine stopped, then it showed its ugly face. Drained all residual gas from mower, after I ran it to the point of no gas late last winter, and stored. Changed oil and added gas. Fired up fine this spring. Dirt in air filter is not as much of problem this year, as bare areas are covered with greenery now. All current mowers are picky about the primer button, too much priming is guaranteed to flood the engine. Without aids, at that point, you have remove the plug and let it air out for at least a half an hour. Same memory here when young. Drove the heck out of Briggs and Stratton 3.5 hp push mower. Mowed alot of dusty areas too including a self-made ball field. The difference seems to be in the choke system and sensitivity to airborne dirt. A 20 lb sledge hammer is more appropriate for these newer "engineered freak" mower engines. But alas, we all don't have the same laboratory conditions that these "engineering marvels" were meant to operate in.
--
Jonny



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they require maintenance ... if you mow in dust,you can clog the air filter in one or 2 mowings... and not treating the gas with fuel stabilizer causes most carb problems during storage,even though you ran it out of gas,there is still some left in there. if your not willing to get a manual and read it , let someone who knows about engines get it going and mantenance it for you. lucas
http://www.minibite.com/america/malone.htm
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