My gas mower doesn't turn over without 100 pulls.
It's 5 years old never tuned or anything. Plus, I never drained out
the gas because I use it over the winter.
Do you think it's the spark plugs?
What can I do to remedy this pain in the butt and arm?
Can I service it myself?
I know this can really be a PITA with lawn mowers.
Perhaps a new plug might help you. The plug that is in there might be
really fouled up, and in bad shape. Fresh gasoline wouldn't hurt either.
Do you notice a smell of gasoline when trying to start it after so many
pulls? If so, you're more than likely flooding the engine. If not, then
perhaps you're not getting enough fuel delivery for start up. Many lawn
mowers nowadays have rubber priming bulbs near the carburetor, and these
need to be pushed 3-6 times before trying to start to prime the
If the problem still persists after fresh gas, and a new plug, then the
last option is buy yourself a spray can of Starting Fluid (Ether).
While this isn't the best thing to use on gas engines, a short squirt
into the Carb after removing, and re-installing the carb filter will
most likely get it up, and running lickety split with a pull, or two.
If it's just a basic no feature mower, having someone else service it
could cost more than it's worth.
You need to determing first if it is getting spark and gas.
Prime or choke as usual, gas on full as usual then give it a bunch of
pulls. Take the plug out and see if it is wet.
If not wet: it's not getting gas. Take a straw and dip it in gas enough
to fill at least half way. Put finger over the end so it will hold the
gas when you remove the straw. Dump that gas right in the cylinder hole
where the plug goes. Put the plug back in and try to start it. Does it
kick or start for just a short period and stop?
If it is wet: then (for now) clean the plug with fine sandpaper. The gap
is what needs to be really clean. Was it ugly to start with? Connect the
wire to the top of the plug while it is out of the machine. Hold the
metal exterior base where you put the socket on to remove it against an
unpainted area of the engine. Use insulated handle pliers or you will get
zapped. Have a bud pull the starter one or two times. It will pull very
easlily with the plug out of the machine. You should see a small blue
spark in the plug gap. If you don't see spark then need to check if the
plug, coil wire or coil is NG.
If the plug was wet and you are getting spark, take the air filter off.
It's either made of paper or foam on the inside. Is it loaded up with
crud? Try and start it without the filter. If it starts and runs then
fine but don't use the machine without it on. You'll really clog up the
If you got the machine to run with the above, go get a new plug and air
filter. Take both with you. The new plug needs to be gapped before it is
installed. If the new air filter is foam, they usually recommend you
cover it in motor oil then squeeze out as much as possible. Also change
There are other possibilities like water got into gas, gas cap vent
blocked, etc but the above will at least get you started with some
Still another possibility is that the motor is plain worn out after 5 years.
Lack of compression can cause similar problems. I got rid of a mower for
that reason. The guy that took it still has the same problem, but is more
willing to pull the rope 30 or more times while my John Deere starts on the
first pull. (Kawasaki engine)
It's a Scott Self Propelled Easy Start 6.25 HP somewhat
fancy for me.
I do smell gas when pulling, and it says to prime 3 times
and I prime 10, so I must be flooding. You know, if
three's good, isn't ten better? NO!
If reducing priming doesn't work, I will clean the spark
plug and be sure gas is getting through the line. I admit
I am very close to buying the starter spray.
I bet it's operator error!
Al Bundy wrote:
I have two mowers. Depending on the weather one or both won't start
without a starter spray. After that, they run fine and don't need
starter spray to restart unless they've been sitting for a few hours.
It's only 1.19 a can or so at authoparts stores. If you have a
choice, get the one with "upper cylinder lubricant", but I don't think
it makes much difference.
Starter spray doesn't go bad and the nozzle doesn't get clogged. One
can lasts me for 5 or 10 years. I guess it's conceibable that the can
could leak so store it outside, I guess.
Why oh why do people not regularly service small power equipment??????
Do you drive your car for 5 years with no service? A gas engine is a
gas engine, regardless of size. On the bright side, it's a great way to
make money. Take a "broken" lawn mower/weedeater/whatever out of the
garbage, buy 20$ worth of parts, resell for two to three times as much.
MRS. CLEAN wrote:
Good advice in AL Bundy's post, I would just add, if the mower is 5
years old and you have never serviced it in any way, go ahead and
replace the plug, air filter, and change the oil; At 5 years this
should be done whether you test them or not.
No dumb questions, just dumb answers.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore, Maryland - firstname.lastname@example.org
If it's a Briggs & Stratton the carburetor is probably fouled
with "varnish" from the gasoline.
A quick fix to get it started is to spray some cleaner in the
throat of the carburetor. B & S sells their own brand, but others
will work, too.
For a longer term fix, pour about half a can of automotive carburetor
cleaner in the tank and run it out.
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after 5 years clean or replace the air filter and spark plug.
follow the owners manual about starting , more is not better in some
check service costs, in my area they often run a tuneup special , in
spring for lawn mowers and in fall for snowthrowers. Usually around $30.
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