Mower won't start after sitting

etp1969April 21, 2009

I have a Murray 13.5 hp/40". It has been sitting unused for about 2 years. When I first tried to start it, no surprise, nothing happened. I bought a new battery and nothing happened. I changed the spark plug, and nothing happened. Only because I'm hard headed, well, and because I can't afford to take it to a repair shop, I kept trying. After cleaning the air filter and pretty much everything I could see, it would start to turn over. It would crank sometimes briefly but would not stay cranked. I decided to drain the old fuel out, as it tried to turn over when I sprayed the "instant starter" while trying. I went to the store to make sure I knew how to get the hose off (I guess I should interject here that I am not a mechanic, know nothing about mowers, and this is the first time I've ever tried anything like this). By the time I came home, drained the old fuel and added new, it was back to doing nothing. Not a sound. I even pulled the fuse out and cleaned it too. Any ideas??? And if you have help for me, you need to be specific on how to do it :-) Thanks for any help you can give me!

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hrpuffnstuff(Jacksonville, FL)

Was there fuel in the bowl? If not then the venturi is clogged and you have to remove the carb and take it out and clean it.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 8:40PM
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etp1969

I'm not sure what "the bowl" is... I'm sorry... like I said I'm new at this type thing. Although I will add this - it semed strange nothing was happening so I decided to jump the new battery from my car. While the cables were attached it would turn over and even crank briefly but wouldn't stay cranked. This leads me to thinking that whatever the problem is has to be draining the battery - as soon as I disconnected the cables it went back to not doing anything. Does this help anyone with figuring it out??

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 9:20PM
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lbpod

For one thing, it sounds as if your 'new' battery
needs to be charged. Most new batteries need
charging. Other than that, it sounds like a fuel
problem and the carberator will have to be
serviced. Make and model of mower/engine, please.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 7:05AM
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zoulas

After two years of sitting, you may have a significant mouse nest on your hands. For some reason, they seem to like it around the flywheel/ignition area. They may have eaten through your ignition wire as well. Ignition wires to mice are like White Castle. I would take all sheet metal covers off the top of the engine and inspect the flywheel area. Look for any signs of eaten up wires as well.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 8:02AM
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etp1969

The Mower is a Murray 405000x8E. The engine is Briggs & Stratton 21B807.

Is the carburetor something I can service myself?

And to zoulas - I have looked through the mower and there is no nest, and I haven't found a broken/eaten through wire. I will look again, but I was pretty thorough.

Thanks to all who are offering help!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 11:14AM
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etp1969

OK - so someone said to see if there was any "spark". So. I took a screwdriver, put it in the rubber part that goes on the spark plug, rested the metal of the screwdriver on the end of the sparkplug, and tried to start it. It keeps trying to turn over but can't. I saw nothing when I did this. I thought I would see a spark from the connection, but there was nothing. I don't know if it was actually a usefull test, but it seems like it would have worked. Any ideas what to look at if the engine isn't "sparking"?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 1:16PM
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1saxman

You need to refine your use of the terms 'crank' and 'turn over'. They both mean the same thing, to turn the engine in an attempt to start it. This could be by manual pull starter or electric motor. The engine may 'crank' or 'turn over' with out starting, which could indicate one set of problems, or not 'crank', which would be something else altogether.
As near as I can tell, the engine is not getting fuel, or not getting good fuel. You need to drain and discard any gas left in the mower/tank/carburetor and put fresh new fuel in. To this fuel add half a bottle of auto fuel injection cleaner. If you crank it some every day, you will pull the new treated fuel through which eventually will run the mower.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 1:44PM
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etp1969

Thank you for clarifying my terminology! The engine will crank but not start. I guess I should also add that it is an electric engine, not pull start.

I have already drained the old fuel and replaced it with fresh fuel as well as the fuel injection cleaner.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 2:01PM
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wrager(Z5 OH)

Saxman gives good advice. I did this yesterday with my lawn comber (lesco). It would not stay running on its own.
So I got it started, full throttle, using starter spray. Kept it running with a squirt before it would die. Eventually (10 min), it pulled enough good fuel and Seafoam through to clear the clogg. You can try this, but no guarantee that it won't need a carb rebuild.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 2:25PM
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etp1969

So you think the fact there is no spark from the spark plug is not important? That it is still just a fuel issue?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 5:58PM
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