Saturday afternoon I cut the front grass. Sunday morning I mowed the side a nd back lawns and the paths in the vineyard. Probably 20,000 square feet to tal for both days, no problems.
Shortly thereafter, I was mowing the weeds in the area we use for the pumpk in patch to prepare for tilling when the engine just quit. It would still c rank and fired sporadically but wouldn't keep going. I noticed that the fue l filter was about empty, although I'd just filled the gas tank. I got some tools and checked things out. The gas filter was about half full now. When I disconnected the fuel line above the pump and cranked the engine, it pum ped gas several feet with good pressure and volume, so that was working.
I left the tractor and went on with the tilling, as the weeds weren't high and thick enough to tangle in the tiller blades. A few hours later, I went back to the tractor and took off the cowel over the engine to look inside. On a whim I tried to start it and it ran fine as long as I left the choke o ut. It would travel and mow without problem, but as soon as I put the choke in, it would die. Immediately, no sputtering or winding down, just shut ri ght off.
Usually when something like this happens, I've found that the carb is loose , allowing excess air through the gasket between the carb and block, and th at tightening the carb bolts solves the problem. I haven't gotten around to that yet, ran out of day.
Any other ideas on what the problem could be? Ironically, I already have a lot of tune up parts on order for the engine (filters, plugs, etc.) which s hould arrive before next weekend.