Smoking Riding Mower

I was given an old Craftsman riding mover. It needed new blades and not knowing how to take the deck off I jacked up the front end as high as I could. It sat overnight. The next morning I started it up and it started to smoke a little(white smoke from the muffler) as soon as I put it in drive it started smoking like it was on fire. I checked the plug, it was completely fouled up, I checked the air filter compartment and there was a fair amount of oil at the bottom. I changed both of them and started it again, still smoked heavily. Turned it off and had to clean the plug to get it to start again. I let it idle for over an hour, then put it on full throtle - still smoked. Did I screw up the engine? I was thinking of trying a engine addative and see if that thickens up the oil incase I busted a seal. I could really use some help here. Its really not worth taking to a mechanic for any type of major engine work. Thanks John
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News Groups wrote:

Will it actually drive? If not, it could be that the drive belt has popped off the pulley on the transmission. That's happened to my craftsman tractor, and the result was clouds of smoke.
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Did you check the crankcase oil level, If you ran it with oil the extra that drained into the motor will burn out.
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jrv,
Your method of changing blades should not damage the engine but may have caused some oil to leak into the wrong places. Clean the oil out of the air filter, and run the engine for 1/2 hr. If it's still smoking then you know why it was given away. If you're handy a new engine is not hard to put in but rebuilding the old engine is hard.
Dave M.
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A very common problem. Most likely base oil ran out through the crank base vent. If you can get it started, that's good. Top up the engine oil, start it and let it run until the oil is burned off. Smoke should stop then. It may require cleaning the plug a number of times. next time don't hoist it up as high. lol

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Thanks for all the replies, it runs fine except for the smoke. The blades, pullies and belts are all ok. The tractor ran fine for several days before I jacked it up so I know its something I did. I had a mechanic tell me that I might want to use a higher viscosity oil to see it that may help ast all( long shot) so today I changed the oil from 30wt to 50wt. I let it run another hour and still smokes. I filled the oil level to just below full. Any suggestions if the additives will work? Thanks John

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If you have been just letting the engine idle it probably has not gotten hot enough to burn out the oil. Try mowing with it under a pretty good load while monitoring the crankcase oil level. It can take quite a while to clear up a badly over-oiled engine.
Don Young
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wrote:

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Today I ran it for about 15 minutes then it started sputtering then backfired a few times then stopped. I cleaned the spark plug and it started right up, but did the same thing again. Its been running the past half hour, its making a sputtering sound, like when a car sits too running to long and water gets in the muffler. It would sputter for a few moments then blow a big cloud of smoke then run fine and start all over again. Still getting oil in the air filter compartment though. I had to take the deck off, it looked like a fog machine when I turned the blades on but Im driving it around the yard on high speed to put some strain on the engine. Some times its starts to die and I have to stop for a few moments. Any ather suggestions Thanks John

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Was it an oil burner when you got it?, you might have cracked a piston ring by starting it when the cilinder was oil flooded, oil does not compress, the compression might have been to high on starting.
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You most likely tipped it too far and got oil up inside the engine parts. Change the oil filter for starters. Then run the heck out of it under load. If this dont stop smoking after a few hours of operation, you might have a stuck piston ring. That means to either tear down the engine, live with the smoke, or sometimes it helps to remove the spark plug, pour kerosene in the cylinder and let it sit like that for a day or two. Then pour out the kerosene and pull the string a few times. Then replace the spark plug and start it. Sometimes that unsticks a stuck ring.
I should mention that one of my mowers started smoking this spring after sitting all winter. It never did that before. I just changed the oil and ran the heck out of it. I use this mower almost daily in the summer. It took a few days to stop smoking. I know a ring was stuck but it loosened up from use.
PS. I never tried this, but heard that adding a tablespoon of ATF transmission fluid to the oil helps unstick rings.
They also sell some stuff called Marvel Mystery Oil that is supposed to work too. That stuff gets added to the oil and the gas. I have added it to my car a few times but not for smoking, just to clean out an enine that sat for a long time. I was told that Marvel Mystery Oil is about the same as transmission fluid ATF.
Mark
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