Craftsman Lawnmower Stalling

goodground(z6 NJ)May 28, 2007

I have a craftsman 6.5 hp (Briggs) 21" lawnmower from Sears. I can get more specific model info if needed. I'm so confused about 2 cycle and 4 cycle engines. I might have mixed up either the wrong oil or gas. I never had this problem until I filled the gas and oil levels this spring. It will start and run for a few minutes and then it starts to smoke (whitish/blueish) and then the engine slows down and stalls. It seems like the oil is leaking and smoking. I removed and drained the gas tank this morning and I'm trying to figure out how to drain the oil as well. I removed the tube exposing the oil tank but the tank seems to be attatched to the entire bottom. Do I need to order any parts or do I just need to replace the gas and oil with the proper mix? I removed and cleaned the filter as well. First timer here. Thanks

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6.5hp Briggs is a 4 stroke. No mixing of oil/gas. Straight gas in the tank. Fill the oil to full mark on the dip stick with it screwed in all the way. Level ground.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 12:48PM
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goodground(z6 NJ)


Here's the model number - 917.388651

I might have used gas with an oil mixture from my chainsaw. As far as the oil, I don't remember if I put 2 or 4 cycle. The Sears rep told me to use 2 cycle and then after I questioned him about it, he said to use 4 cycle. He confused me further. It's smoking oil out of the holes on the silver side cover that has two screw nuts and a "don't touch" symbol. I have the extra time so if it can be repaired, I'd like to give it a shot. I'm hoping that flushing and replacing the gas and oil will fix it, but I'm not sure if I did damage to the engine. Thanks

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 1:15PM
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goodground(z6 NJ)

Does anyone have a link for the manual for this model? I can't find it through sears or craftsman. I'm looking for the owners manual and the parts manual. Thanks

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 1:32PM
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You can order parts, manuals etc. from Sears
Just plug in 917.388651
The engine is a
You can get engine owners & parts manuals from the Briggs website.

IF this has the oil fill tube/dipstick, you just tilt the mower over on its side to drain the oil back through the tube used to add the oil.

The smoke from the muffler is probably just because of the chain saw gas. Once you use up that fuel, it should disappear. Once you get down to 1/2 tank of gas or so, you may want to add fresh gas to dilute the solution.

Download the owners manual at the link and save it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Owners manual

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 2:28PM
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The 'oil tank' is the crankcase and can't be removed (as far as you're concerned). The oil goes in where the dipstick is screwed in and the cap should be marked 'OIL'. Use 20 ounces of SAE30HD - available at Wal Mart and other places in the correct-sized bottle under the Briggs & Stratton brand and others. Drain the old oil by removing the dipstick and tilting the mower up on it's wheels so the oil runs out into a pan. Set the mower back on it's wheels and put the new oil in. 4-cycle engines don't usually smoke even with 2-cycle oil/gas mix, so I'm guessing you also put 2-cycle oil in the crankcase. The old gas should be removed. If pulling the fuel line off the tank and draining the gas into a container is too much for you, you can suck most of it out with a big syringe with a rubber bulb - looks like a turkey baster - in fact, you can use one, but don't put it back in the kitchen drawer - the chief cook and bottle washer may get a tad upset. Refill with fresh regular gas. You should now be ready to cut grass. Be aware that there will be some smoke as the oil burns out of the engine and muffler, but it should stop after a few minutes. Check the air filter and replace before starting if it's oily (for the pleated paper filter).

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 4:43PM
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goodground(z6 NJ)

Thanks Guys!!!

I drained and refilled the gas and oil. I "hosed" the air filter and let dry. It wouldn't start with the filter installed so I went out to Sears. I popped it in and it started in the first shot. The smoking stopped after two minutes and then I turned it off. I think the problem might have been from adding too much oil. I had filled to the top and disregarded the dipstick gauge. I will give it a good test tomorrow when I hit the lawn. Thanks for all the help.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 8:50PM
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Good deal. Doesn't it make you feel good to fix something yourself? Remember, it takes only 20 ounces of oil.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 9:23PM
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How about a report back after you mow!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 3:37PM
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I can't tell you how grateful I am that someone else did something similarly goofy to my little oil mix-up! I accidentally added 2 stroke oil to my Craftsman 6.5 mower after being assured by the salesman that it would be perfectly fine. I found out otherwise after about 10 minutes of mowing, mower coughing and smoke billowing! That will teach me to trust my instincts! Not being able to locate either my owner's manual or the drain plug for the oil, I was so happy to find this same situation that clearly instructed me on how to drain the oil. I am happy to report that after replacing the correct oil, changing the spark plug and inserting a new air filter the mower works like a charm!

Thank you so much for all the advice posted here, it was a godsend!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 9:55PM
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If you go to the Sears website listed above,
you might be able to download the manual.
I noticed the one for the OP is available.
Look on the R side of the page.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:46PM
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    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:43AM
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My God!!! it seems some folk seriously need to take up a lawnmower maintenance program. The oil drain hole plug is located under the body's platform of the mower, about 3 inches away from the protruding crankshaft, where the mower's blade is located and attached. It's a plug that has to be removed by wrench, to let out the old oil and the built up grime sitting on the bootom of the crankcase. Never, and I say again, NEVER!!! should the old oil be removed back up, and out through where the oil is added to the crank case (dip-stick area). Who ever got the bright idea that the old oil should be removed by having it come back out through where the drip-stick is located, is totally nuts, or lazy, as they would leave most of the gritty grime still in the crackcase, by doing it that way. That will wear away the rings in a short amount of time, thus shortening the overall engine life span.
Best thing I can say is, if you want your 6.5hp.engine to last along time and run smoothly, take it to a proper qualified repairman. Quit trying to do a job you are not qualified or trained to do. You will save yourself a whole lot of headaches and money in the long run, specially if your thinking on taking advise from these backyard want-to-be repairman clowns, who are giving you very poor servicing advice. It's pay me now, or pay me a hell of alot more, later on down the road, after you finish taking the advice from these so-called want-to-be small engine repairman who don't even know how to change the oil on a 4 cycle engine properly. It's your choice, what will it be?????

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 7:50PM
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Wow mower man..... The one thing you have knowledge of and therefore seek out forums on which to post you feel the need to belittle others... get a new hobby sir.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 1:01PM
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The manual for the craftsman actually tells you to drain the oil from the top. Did that the first year, but thought it was not the way to go. Removed plus from bottom, as I had other older mowers, the second season.

My craftsman 917.389011 leaks oil from the bottom and top. Only 1 1/2 years old and it is the backup - not much use.

I have Kmart mowers that are over 10 years old that still work.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 10:09PM
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Hey mowerman ... quit trying to act like mower maintenance is rocket science dude. I also noticed with your vast mower knowledge you were not even helpful or tried to be.

Your a just a tool.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 2:45PM
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Well, mine might be the worst of all. This isn't my mower. It belongs to my limited-English father-in-law. He added 2 stroke oil to both the gas tank and the oil tank. It now overheats within one minute of being started. I have drained the oil and gas, but the oil was very thick. It took about five minutes to drain the oil with my Pela.

I think the engine is shot. I do have the ability to take the engine apart, but I fear it was oil-starved. Why else would the thermostat activate after one minute?

The engine is a Quantum 675 on a Craftsman self propelled. Vertical shaft. Any advice?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 3:45AM
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