I picked up a year old Toro lawnmower from a moving sale.
I tried to start it up but nothing happens. It appears gas was left in
the lawnmower over the winter. Not sure any stabilizer was added,
probably not as it does not want to start. What should I do to try and
get it started? Deal was too good to pass up so I figured it was worth
If you have compression, fuel and spark the engine will run.
First check the spark, but be well insulated because the magneto will knock
you on your ass.
Next peek down the carb and see if you are getting any gas.
The compression you should be able to feel tugging on the starter cord.
If you have no gas replace the fuel and clean the carb.
No spark check the points and condenser could also be a bum pickup coil.
About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
First thing is fresh fuel. (Make sure the fuel tap is turned on.)
Clean the spark plug. Check you have spark.
Try starting it with a petrol soaked rag jammed in the carby mouth, or
even just a dry rag. This rag chokes the carby better than the actual
If there is a primer button, it may require experimentation to find
out how much priming is required.
Some or all of these things usually get small engines running for me.
(To get email address ROT 13)
If it has a spark, dump or squirt 1/4 tsp or so of gas into the carb
(remove the air filter first), then try cranking it. If it starts then, you
know the spark is at least working. If it starts, then dies, you probably
have a carb or choke problem. Try several squirts of gas/starts -
sometimes doing this a few times will get it working. If not, the carb needs
I use starting ether to test for a fuel problem. If a short squirt
into the throat of the carb will let you start and run the engine for
a few seconds, you have a fuel system problem. A squirt of
starting ether is more definitive than a squirt of gas (which doesn't
If it has a Tecumseh engine, check the flywheel key. If it has
sheared, which is fairly common, the timing will be off and the engine
will not run. Common failure mode is hitting a rock/brick/whatever
with blade, stopping engine, inertia of flywheel shears key and
flywheel keeps rotating, magnet on flywheel is no longer in proper
location with respect to crank throw.
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