Craftsman Mower dilemma

mchad21March 21, 2010

I've got a Craftsman 6.25 22" cut 190 CC gas powered mower, Model 917371601. It's been working great for the past 3 seasons. I've taken good care of it...drained it after each season, changed the spark plug, fuel filter, and of course new oil and gas at the start of each season.

Did the same thing this season, and here are my symptoms:

Engine starts after priming, runs for a few seconds, then dies.

I have to go thru the above process, priming each time, for probably 10-15 times before the engine will stay running...and when it does it weaker than usual. I can still mow with it, but it sputters and spits at times. Sometimes it gives me full power, but it's rare.

Also, the 'quick start' function used to work great before this season. But now, even when the mower was just stopped, it won't start within hitting the priming bulb 10 times or so.

I did nothing different this year...changed the plug and the air filter, got new gas and of course new oil.

I've troublehooted this by buying a new spark plug. Didn't help.

Haven't tried a new air filter, but it's exactly like the previous one and it's brand new, so I doubt that's it.

Ensured the oil level was correct and not overfilled.

I didn't replace the gas, but it was brand new also.

Ran the unit with the gas cap off, thinking the gas cap may have been plugged. No help.

So I'm stumped. I'd hate to have to take it in for repairs and pay $$ if there are other things I can check.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!



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Fuel starvation. See if it has a brass bolt at the bottom of the fuel bowl. Tilt the mower up so the carb is on the high side and remove the bolt. Clean it and make sure all holes are clean. Use the soft steel wire out of a wire tie for the smallest hole, then blast out with carb spray. Replace the bolt (main orifice) and carefully tighten (just snug at first). Set mower on all four wheels and see if the fuel bowl leaks. Tighten bolt 1/8 turn at a time until it stops leaking. To prevent accumulations build-up in the orifices in the future, get some STA-BIL 'Marine' fuel stabilizer (blue) and use it in your gas can every time you go fill it.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 9:31AM
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I've attached a link to the manual. Could you point out which bolt you are speaking of?


    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 12:07PM
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#117/118 on the diagram. Its the only bolt on the bottom of the carb bowl. Tilt the mower over before you pull off the bolt/jet or fuel will flow out of the tank when the float drops. Clean out all of the junk in the bowl, clean all of the passages in the jet, blow it out if you have a compressor. Reassemble.....profit. As simple as it gets really.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 1:07PM
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Thanks! I'll give it a go and report back the results.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 1:29PM
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Here is a link that might be useful: Linky

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 9:20AM
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Yep, #117 main jet/fuel bowl attaching bolt. If you'd like, you can loosen this bolt with the mower on its wheels. this will allow fuel to flush through the bowl from the tank, removing any particulate matter from the fuel bowl. Definitely do this outside and try to catch the gas in a pan. You can filter it through a coffee filter and re-use it. If the tank is low you could just empty it this way then clean the jet and put it back in. Most of the time the fuel bowl will stay on as long as you don't mess with it.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 9:29AM
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Great. Thanks guys! I've located the bolt on the mower, and will probably do this over the next couple of days. I think I will tip the mower, as I just filled the tank and it also is probably easier to get to the bolt.

Will get some carb cleaner and also some air-in-a-can to make sure the bolt is clean.

If I remove the bowl, what should I use to 'clean' it? Simply wipe it down with a cloth? Use the carb cleaner?

Don't want to clean it with something that will leave a residue.

Thanks again!


    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 3:06PM
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I would try removing the air cleaner and squirting spray carb cleaner down the throat of the carb then starting. When it starts dying, shoot it again. Do this for about 5 minutes until the engine runs normally. Let the engine run awhile, spray the rest of the carb cleaner into the tank. It will help clean out the varnish.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 11:34PM
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Worked like a charm.

I pulled the screw off, then the bowl. The bowl was clean, but the screw had a little something in the hole that passes thru it...blew it out with carb cleaner, put it back in.

Cost me 2 bucks for the carb cleaner. Works good as new now.

Thanks guys!


    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 10:38PM
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Congratulations, Matt!

If everyone with a mower problem would try simple fixes like this, there would be far fewer lines outside of mower repair shops (and people would save themselves a LOT of money)!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 9:52AM
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Great Forum!
I have some questions
1. Where do I find the model number on a Tecumseh carb?
2. Will the carb work with a hole in the primer bulb?
3. Where can I get a primer bulb?
Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 11:50AM
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Use the model # tag from the engine, then look up the carb. Some primers have a small hole in them. There are also other reasons for the carb not to be priming. Google is your friend and if you have difficulty, post your model and spec here.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 11:26PM
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