Getting lawn mower going again...

I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't do right by my lawn mower last Fall and just left it in the garage over the winter without doing any winter prep. It's warm enough today that I thought I'd drag it out and see if I could start it, and I couldn't after priming the engine and a few quick on the rope. What should I do at this point? The lawn mower is a Murray with a 4-stroke engine (model 20617A for those that care). I bought it used and didn't get a manual or anything like that with it.
As a follow up, what's the right way to put this machine away for the winter?
Thanks in advance, -Lotofun
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For starters, dump the gas in the tank and in the can. Then drain the carburetor-- there's probably a drain screw in the bottom of the float bowl. If not, just remove the big screw in the bottom of the float bowl and the bowl will lower. Actually, you probably want to pull the bowl anyway and spray everything with carb/choke cleaner ($4.00 at Wal-Mart). Also drain and replace the engine oil- go to engine mfr's website to see the weight of oil to use. If no info, it's hard to go wrong with 10W30.
While you're at Wally's pick up a can of starter fluid to spray at the air cleaner right before you make your first start attempt. Also, remove and clean/replace the air cleaner. Also remove the spark plug. You can clean/gap it to save money or buy/install a new one. Do the plug last because you'll want to put a shot of starting fluid in the spark plug hole right before you reinstall it and do your start.
Buy a can of fresh gas, fill the tank, set the choke, press the primer bulb and she should start.
At the end of the season, do all the maintenance I mentioned above-- except for the starting fluid of course.
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bowl.
and
oil
clean/gap
you
bulb
except
One other thing that I do to mine is add some Sta-Bil (gasoline stabilizer) to that last tank of gas at the end of summer/fall and then do all the stuff Kicking Bird said.
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Spritz starter fluid into the carb. It works for me.
--
Ron Hardin
snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com
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Also put an unlit propane torch into carb, the propane starte easier than gas and it will run even on an MT tank and gummed carb IF you have spark ;)
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All sounds good to me except starter fluid can easily damage these cheap engines. If the primer bulb is working you shouldn't need starter fluid. The primers are connected by very small gas line and they tend to fail easily. Is there a gas shut-off valve ? If so make sure it is open. If my small engines don't fire after the first few pulls I take the cap off the gas tank, press my lips tight inside the opening, and blow as hard as I can - then try to prime and start again.

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As for winterization, I'm of the opinion that Sta-Bil is a mower's best friend. I don't believe in draining the carb bowl because even if you do that, there is still fuel residue in all of the jet orifices and passages -- and THAT's where gum is the big problem. Just top off the fuel tank, pull the spark plug and spray some WD-40 in the cylinder, gap the plug and reinstall it.
But -- I run Sta-Bil in ALL my fuel all summer long, not just for winterization. That may make a difference. I get gas in a 5g container and just add the Sta-Bil to that and it lasts the summer and then some. Never had an issue with year-and-a-half-old gas.
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remove air cleaner dump some gasoline in the air intake..... pull like crazy
or remove plug, pour some gas in plug hole, put plug back in, pull like crazy...
either of these will likely get your mower going again
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On Mar 26, 9:02 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I am a firm believer and religious user of Sta-Bil, but gas will STILL get old. The best thing is to make sure that your last tank of the season has Sta-Bil or some other fuel conditioner in it, pour almost all of it out, then run it until it's dry. That way you don't get the gum that you are worried about because of the stabilizer in the fuel, but you aren't leaving stale gas in it all winter. I also spray pour a tiny bit of motor oil in spark plug hole and pull the rope a couple of time so that I don't risk the piston corroding to the cylinder wall.
Mine mowers and tiller, and even chain saws and other two-stoke critters, virtually always have started on the third or fourth pull - it takes a couple, I guess, to get the motor oil out of the system. Once in a while I get a first-pull start at the beginning of a season. When that happens, I go have a cold beer and contemplate the perfection of the world. :)
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Your best solution is prevention: Fire the mower up a couple times over the winter and let it run 10-15 minutes. Especially if it has a battery/charging system. I do and never have any problems getting either of them going in the spring.
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My old snapper always needs a shot or two of starter spray (ether) in the carb to fire up for the first time every season. Other than that I run it out of gas before storing it for the winter and come spring I change the oil and put in a new spark plug every couple years. I usually sharpen the blade a couple times a season also. This has kept this used mower functional for the last 15 seasons.
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