Briggs & Stratton Guru?!

I have an older Snapper walk behind mower that has run fine and always started on the first pull. Last week I ran over some tall grass and the engine choked and stopped. It wouldn't restart.
I started troubleshooting and noticed it would start and run with the spark plug wire disconnected and set about 3/8" from the spark plug. If I move the wire closer it slows and stops. This seems to be a timing issue.
I pulled the flywheel but the key is fine and not sheared. The motor seems to have solid state ignition as I don't see any points or mechanical advance system.
Does everyone agree that it is timing? How do I adjust the timing on this type of mower? There seems to be no markings. Also it seems pretty convoluted as I have to remove the shroud/pull start adjust, then put it back and try it repeatedly.
I am still at a loss to figure out how it got into this strange state. What could cause the timing to just change that drastically.
Any help is appreciated.
Thanks, Andrew
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The key does not have to be sheared. If it is bent the slightest, it needs to be replaced. It should be clean and unmarked, usually square in cross section. If it is not square, replace it. It will on ly cost about a dollar to try.
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this was posted earlier, Removing plug wire wont change timing. Did you try a new plug
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mark Ransley Spilled my beer when they jumped on the table and proclaimed in

The plug wire issue the OP is experiencing is helping the spark to jump across the (probably misgapped) electrode with the right power level to ignire the F/a mixture.
I had a Ford that sometimes needed to be started that way...on the coldest days. TBIs suck. <G>
NOI
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Put a new plug in the mower...make sure the gap is correct and you will be surprised more than likely that it runs. New plug is about $1.50...

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Although real rare , Ive purchased a few bad plugs, all I can think is they were dropped by a by a person in the store.
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I guess I'll try a plug, but I see the spark jump the gap on the plug when I pull it out and ground it.
On a Tecumseh engine with solid state ignition, timing is adjusted by adjusting the distance between the flywheel and coil assembly, so i thought the same might be true on this B&S engine.

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mark Ransley Spilled my beer when they jumped on the table and proclaimed in

Possible. All you have to do is crack the ceramic insulator for the center electrode and your plug's firing at the wrong time...
NOI
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