mower runs for only 1-2 seconds


I push the primer about 10 times, then pull the cord a few times. Nothing. When I repeat (it's about 60 degrees here today), the mower runs strongly for only 1 or 2 seconds. Then I have to repeat all over again. It never runs more than 2 seconds, and seems to run longer with more priming.
I expect it's a clogged fuel supply somehow, even though the primer does get fuel to the engine.
Crafstman 15 yr old, self-propelled, 143.955500 engine
It ran out of gas the last time I used it, and now I have this problem. Maybe some particles of something got into somewhere. Same gas as before, not a new bad batch.
Air filter is not new at all, but I'd guess if it was bad, then the mower would never start. (I already took the mower to the basement to work on it away from the gnats, and it's partially disassembled - or else I'd remove the air filter anyway to see how it runs then.)
Thanks for any ideas.
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I think you answered your own questions. Ran out of gas, sucked up dirt, now it won't suck gas. The primer bulb is a seperate gas circuit, it'll never blow the dirt out. Pull the fuel bowl, check the jets for dirt, carefully blow it out without damaging the float, and it will probably start working OK. You may want to do the fuel tank while you're at it.
HTH, Lefty
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Sounds like it is not getting gas. Somewhere a line is broken or clogged. Primer bulbs usually have their own line into the tank.
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I just had a similar problem with my 30 year old King-O-Lawn front throw.
I empty the gas tank as best as I could, filled it up completely with fresh gas, noted the idle (or maybe it was the mixture screw(?) position) unscrewed a couple turn, a couple pulls & it was trying to start. Re- set screw position and it started & ran fine.
no trip to the lawnmower shop
cheers Bob
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Lately mowers do not come with fuel filters. This clogs the carburetor!
Install a fuel filter if you do not have one and clean the carburetor.
"Phil" wrote in message

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Might have water in the gas.
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Just enough time to cut 5 acres.
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A dirty filter won't help. Use fresh gasoline. Blow out the gas lines, clean tank. Check spark plug/gap. Do a cleanup with kerosene/toothbrush. I'd avoid physical messing with the carburator, maybe carb cleaner spray will help.
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Ideas on what? You have the perfect situation. Wife asks, "Did you mow the lawn?" and you say, "I did as much as I could. Are you going to the store? Get some beer. Thanks."
R
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Try primer 2 times, instead of 10. You're likely flooding the engine badly. Unscrew the spark plug, and pull the rope a couple times, and then try two pushes on the primer.
I'm remembering a boy I knew years ago. Had one of those little micro tiny scooters. He primed it about a dozen times, and when it wouldn't start, would prime it a couple dozen more times. No matter how much I talked at him, he'd be pushing and pushing the primer. I finally quit and left him to his futile efforts.
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Not the same mower, but I
Had the same problem.. removed the lower cover over the float... where the center screw came out, farther in there was a jet which I screwed out.
It was plugged, blew it ot with air, reassembled worked fine. except lack of power which turned out to be plugged air filter
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I had a similar problem with an MTD chipper/shredder. The guy who lived behind me wasa small engine repair guy, and he diagnosed it to be a bad diphragm. It would run long enough to use the gas that was in the line, then cut out because the diphragm was not pliable enough to pump the gas.
I don't know if that helps. I don't know enough about these things, but I thought I'd pass it on in case it would help.
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Phil wrote:

thanks for all the suggestions and comments. FWIW, here's how it ended up. I did locate more than a couple videos on youtube, of all places. Some were pretty good.
So I removed the float nut (though it'd seem better to call it a float bolt). It was clean and not clogged. Next I took off the float bowl. It was as clean as could be inside. I worked the float up and down a few times - it seemed to work as it should. Next, I verified that gas was getting from the tank to the float bowl - it was, so the rubber line and the brass screen weren't clogged.
So I figured I'd reassemble & try to start it before I took the next (big) step of removing the carburetor. It was cool out, so I primed it a lot, and it started. And it continued to run. It's fixed. Why? I guess I'll never know for sure :) Maybe I dislodged some dirt, or the float had been stuck. Neither seems likely but that's all I can think of.
(I had last week started it at least 6 times, when it would stall after 1-2 seconds.)
Thanks again.
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