Craftsman Lawnmower only starts when primed

Jeremy654April 20, 2011

Hello, I have a craftsman walk behind mower. It is 5.5 horsepower, 22 inch. It is the eager one pull start model. I think it has a tecumseh engine. Model # 917.387150, Serial # 112296m 000401, Engine Model # 143.975500, D.O.M # 6325-J.

I just got this mower from a friend. He said it did not run. I was eager to try and fix it anyway because my old new lawn mower got stolen. I thought a new plug, oil, and gas, and air filter, would do the trick. I did all that and I could not even get it to start. I looked online and followed some instructions on how to clean the carb. I cleaned the thing out and replaced the gasket, and a few other parts, I can't remember the name of. I also cleaned out the bolt at the bottom of the carb, per the instructions.

After all this, I was able to get it to start. It seems to start just fine after I prime it. It cuts my grass like a champ. It cuts better then any other mower I have had. Unfortunately, it only runs if I prime it. Even if it has been running for awhile, I have to prime it. Also, it usually takes at least two hard pulls to get it going. If you guys and gals can give me some idea how to get this thing to run without having to prime it every single time that would be great!


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If you are saying that it runs every time, but you have to prime it first, just add some Sea Foam to the fuel and over time the carb will clean itself.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 5:51AM
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Baymee, it does start everytime but only if I prime it. How much Sea Foam should I add to the fuel? Are there instructions on the can? Thank you for your response.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 1:17PM
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slag(lawrence, ks)

I'm fairly certain you are supposed to prime it every time to start it. That being said, those eager 1 engines are junk and the carbs are horrible.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 4:37PM
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If all it takes is one push of the primer to get it running I don't think you have much, if any problem. Certainly not enough to spend any money trying to fix. Just get back to mowing grass!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 5:40PM
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From what I've seen in my shop, the Eager 1 mowers were probably the most durable mower ever sold by Sears. I see them from the 90s with the wheels still intact.

Add about 1 oz. of Sea Foam per gallon of gas.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 8:33PM
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The primer bulb takes the place of a lot of extra engineering of how to get the mower to start easily. They've been in use for a lot of years. Only problems with that type are dirt in the tank, in the fuel line and filter, bad float, plugged air bleeder hole in gas cap, or a hole in the little rubber primer bulb! Some of them have a hole in the bulb made that way.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 5:58PM
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Speaking of the hole in the primer bulb, I discovered something recently that I never gave much thought to.

A customer went to his Briggs dealer and was given a primer bulb with no hole to repair a late model 6.5HP engine. The engine would start and run for two seconds and die....repeatedly.

I know from experience that these engines all use the bulb with the hole in it, so I swapped it out on a hunch.

The engine started and ran perfectly. Although there are both type of bulbs, the same type of bulb must be used for replacement.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 7:05AM
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