Craftsman mower won't stay running

Got this Craftsman model 917 6-hp lawn mower for free when I got a new house. It starts up fine, but runs for only about 30 seconds and then stops.
I know what you're thinking: Fuel delivery problem. I thought so too. I pulled off the tank emptied it, blew it dry and put it back on with fresh gas. The screen at the bottom of the tank is clear.
If I prime it more than the 5 suggested times, it says, it stays running longer.
I did this quite a few times in order to get it hot, but it still keeps on shutting down.
The carb is tight to the block. I tried leaving the gas cap on and off to see if venting was an issue. Still kept doing the same thing.
The air filter was dirty, so I left it off while testing. Still won't run.
Any suggestions?
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It still sounds like a fuel delivery problem. It runs when you use the prime bulb. It will not stay running when the prime is burned. I would suggest that the carb is gummed up and needs to be cleaned. You should also invest in a carb. kit.

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On Sun, 02 Jul 2006 20:01:53 GMT, "John Lawrence"

I agree about the fuel starve. I was thinking a stuck float, and or valve. Sometimes a tap or two with a screwdriver handle can knock things loose.
If the OP can start it and try spraying some starting fuel in the carb and try to keep it running a little longer would make me rebuild the carb.
Oren
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Could be. I got a Sears mower with my house in 2002 and it ran fine for a several years, but this year it will prime, but not stay running. One problem is that there is no fuel shutoff, so you cannot run it dry when finished. Gas in the carb probably evaporates leaving residue that gums up the carb eventually. But no fuel shutoff also makes it hard to clean the carb when you have a full tank of gas.
Fortunately I also have a good old fashioned 2-cycle Lawnboy (after Toro bought them out). It has a fuel shutoff, so I can run it dry to avoid carb gum up. And it started right up after not running for years.
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wrote:

Running them dry is something I do only at the end of the season. It doesn't seem to be a problem when used regularly.
Bob
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diaphragm under carb possibly
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46erjoe wrote:

You dind't mention the fuel filter; is it clogged?
Definitely sounds like fuel starvation. Can you get gas to come out of hte hose if you remove it at hte carb? If not, there's a hint. Is gas comes out, then the carb is the next cluprit even though you said you cleaned it up. Float stuck? Sunk? Jets clogged?
HTH Pop
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wrote:

I've looked and looked a sunken float before, sometimes you just never see the leak. The float is full of fuel.
Oren
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Wouldn't that give you too much fuel?
Bob
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Sunken float causes flooding. My guess is also some kind of fuel supply problem. My guess is clogged metering jet. They tend to have Tecumesh engines, and those jets clog easy. That, or water in the carb bowl.
--

Christopher A. Young
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Oren wrote:

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Had the same problem with my Toro. It would only run while I was priming it. I called about getting it serviced. The guy said you can bring it in and I will fix it for 30 something dollars or I can tell you how to do it now for free. What it was: the fiber washer that makes the seal on the carb bowl retaining bolt ( has the metering jet in the bolt). There was a hair sized thread of thar fiber washer sucked into the hole (jet) in the bolt. Just reach down to the bolt head on the bottom of the carb bowl (noting the front side of the bowl to get it back in place right) and unscrew it with your fingers. Take the bolt out, blow it out, check the washer for stray fibers and trim the stay fibers off and reassemble.
Bob
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Cogged fuel filter?
46erjoe wrote:

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there may be a passage in the carb bowl nut that is clogged or passage in bowl nut boss...also a good ime to pull the bowl off and wash out.lucas
http://www.minibite.com/america/malone.htm
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Is this the type that the carb bolts directly on top of the fuel tank?
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Craftsman usually used tecumseh engines. So, it would be gastank h igh in front, carb on the side.
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Christopher A. Young
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Tinkered with it some more today. I can keep the motor running indefinitely as long as I keep priming it every 10 secs of so. Does that give any clues? Thanks.
Are there places on the net where I can just buy a carb outright instead of going through Sears or rebuilding it?
On Sun, 2 Jul 2006 20:19:04 -0400, "digitalmaster"

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wrote:

IMHO It's parts in the carburetor, and even disassmbling the carb and soaking in the good stuff** might not be enough to clean them. The guy at the repair/parts store talked me into buying 5 or 6 parts, and I did it partly so he would be nice to me for the next lawnmower, so it was about 30 dollars.
**I'm not sure if they sell the good stuff anymore. IIRC the stuff 40 years ago would leave the metal of my car's carbuertor parts shiny, but I'm just not sure it is that good anymore. I'm not referring to gumout spray or liquid, but small parts cleaner that comes in a coffee can style thing, with a metal basket so you can dip things in there, then pull them out without getting the stuff on your fingers. It turns them brown. Does anyone know if the stuff they sell in the last 20 years is as strong as what they sold 40 years ago. Carcinogens and all that. What about what gas stations use, with the flexible gooseneck pipe and the pump that circulates the cleaner and puts it where you want it. Is that the same stuff that they sell in quart sizes, with the baskeet in it.
At any rate, buying new is more reliable. Each part is only 3 or 4 dolars.
Carbs vary but this one had a bowl with a nut head on the mddle bottom of it. The part was an inch long or more, and has a small jet in it that if you have one like mine, you probably can't even see the jet. So you'll never know if you have unclogged it.
I think he sold me a new float, but I don't think I needed that. A new valve and seat is not a bad idea.
He tried to sell me a new bowl, under the theory that once running, the gum in the bowl would dissolve and yet still clog the new jet. That doesn't sound likely, but I may have bought it, like I say, to make him happy.**
There might be a screen of some sort, can't remember.
He didn't seem to be listed as an authorized dealer, (but he had everything in stock.) so I called him to make sure he had what I wanted. It was almost closing time and he was 10 or 15 minutes away, so he on his own spent the time making a list of the parts I needed, putting them in a bag and making out the receipt. That wasn't enough to make me buy all of them, but all but one or two. And it did save me time. I think in less than an hour after I got home it was assembled and running fine.
*** This was the end of last summer. I have 3 more lawnmowers that need fixing, but I have two that work and it's hard to get up the energy, or even the money, to fix mowers that I have no use for and can't sell for much.

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wrote:

I missed the original post so I'm piggybacking onto this response. My Craftsman mower had the same problem this spring. I had left fuel in it over the winter (yes, I know better but I've gotten away with it in the past!). Like yours, it would run as long as I pushed the primer bulb every few seconds, but that's an awkward way to mow a lawn!
I took it to a mower repair guy. He cleaned the carb and replaced the gas cap. Apparently a poorly-fitting gas cap doesn't allow for the proper vacuum and can contribute to the mower not running. (Someone else can probably describe that better). It cost me between $25-30 to get it fixed.
Lauri in WA
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Sounds a lot like mine that had set up for 2 years. There was a couple of things wrong the rubber boot used to prime it was torn and it was full of gooey gunk. Replacing the boot and soaking the carb in cleaner did the job. These carbs used to have a needle valve in the bottom of the bowl now the orifice is permanently set. The tube that holds the bowl on was really gunked up. Cleaning this solved the biggest part of the problem.
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