mower runs for a couple of minutes only

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I have a Scotts Turf Vac3 mower. A while ago, I noticed that occasionally it wouldn't start when hot. Now, the problem is very severe. When I start the engine the first time (when the engine is cold), no problems. But the engine would run for only a couple of minutes. Then, it'd quit. Once it quits, I can't start it again. I need to wait for an hour before it'd start again. But once it starts, it'd run for a couple of minutes and quit. And the waiting game begins.
I changed the filter and the spark plug to no avail. I tried running the engine with the gas tank cap off. No use. I cleaned the carburetor. Nothing changed.
What could be the problem? Thanks.
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wrote:

What kind of ignition?
A cracked coil, allowing moisture into the coil would act this way.
When the coil heats, the cracks expands
What type ignition?
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Oren wrote:

Thanks for the quick response. The mower has a Tecumseh OVRM120-22032E engine. I looked it up and found that it has a solid state ignition.
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While the mower is on the "hot shut down" unscrew the spark plug, lay it on the frame, reconnect the wire. Put the whole thing in the shade so you can see, and yank the starter. Look for spark. If you get spark, think other than ignition. Please let us know what you find.
It's a long shot. But I've known of mowers that needed an oil change to behave similar. I like Castrol, which has worked well for me.
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It still has a coil. You need to take the plug out and see if ithas spark once you get it hot. Basically 98% of the problems wiht these small engines are fuel or ignition. Check for spark to eliminate or confirm the ignition.
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jamesgangnc wrote:

I checked it. No sparks. I think I can rule out carburetor and gas tank vent now. What next? Replacing the ignition module?
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On Thu, 24 Jun 2010 11:39:42 -0400, John Smith wrote:

Magneto and/or points. Earlier magnetos still had points but on a new mower motor I think the position of the flywheel provides spark timing alone.
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--- just mow really really fast!
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He said no spark, which suggests a bad coil. Or, stop wire shorted to ground.
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I think that more often heat related is the coil. Most of mine simply have a coil and a wire to the plug. I'm thinking form your posts you have a coil and some sort of ignition module. If you've got a can of car refrigerant handy you can ice down the suspect parts individually and see if that fixes it.
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Anyone know the penalty for releasing freon?
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Check the kill switch, not sure what it is like on that mower.
Jimmie
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wrote:

First check that the plug wire is not cracked/split and also check the terminal too ensure it fits snug on the spark plug. Clean the terminal.
The ignition module could have corrosion that can be cleaned with some sand paper. Sometimes you cannot see tiny cracks in a coil, that expand from heat. The module could have even slipped a bit -- if so adjust and tighten.
Your ignition pic:
http://im2.ebidst.com/upload_big/3/6/1/1262222354-17237-0.jpg
I had an old Chevy clunker years ago. It ran great when it wasn't raining. I opened the hood once at night after driving through a rain storm. Split/cracked plug wires, etc. It looked like a lightening storm under the hood...
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If youve hit any rocks or stalled the motor by the blade hitting anything the flywheel key could be bent or sheared, that alters timing and can make it run like crap but electronics would be a first bet, even a bad plug or wire might go off when hot. But ive usualy ended up with the coil or module being the failed part
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Works, for me.
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Could also be valve clearance problems.
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John Smith wrote:

Are you sure there is gas flow to the carb? A clog in the filter screen at the bottom of the tank (or in the hose) could cause this since eventually enough gas would get through to fill the float or diaphragm chamber of the carb so the engine starts and runs normally but quickly dies and won't restart. An hour later enough has seeped through to let it start again.
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Steve Kraus wrote:

Yes. I'm sure there is gas going into the carburetor. When I removed the carburetor and disconnected the tube going from the gas tank to the carb, gas gushed out of the tube. And when the mower "hot stopped", I immediately removed the bottom screw from the carb bowl, gas ran out of the bowl.
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John Smith wrote the following:

You didn't mention checking the oil. Did you?
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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wierdly my mower with briggs engine has the exact same prolem and the local repair shop is flooded with broken mowers
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