Troy-Bilt mower: Starts but won't run!

fastmov4May 24, 2010

Hey all!

I posted here last year, and I got some great advice that helped me resolve my problem. So new year, new problem!

I've got a 2004 Troy-Bilt 21" push mower. I prime the engine per the operator instructions, pull the start cord 6-8 times, and hit the start handle. At best, the engine will start, run for about 3-4 seconds, and die.

The carburetor was cleaned last spring, and I also installed a new spark plug at the same time. I know the mower needs an oil change (oil is very black but not sludgy) but the engine is not low on oil. I have not checked the spark plug yet, but the spark plug wire cap is pretty clean. Also air filter is pretty clean.

It sounds to me like the engine is not getting any more fuel. It's burning what's been primed in, but that's it.

Also, this happened all of a sudden about 3 weeks ago. The mower had been runnning fine all morning. I did have to stop several times, turn the mower on its side, and clean wet grass clippings out from under the deck. But it finally just stopped running and started exhibiting the issues I listed at the top of the message. When I checked the air filter this weekend, probably the top 1/4 of the filter had oil on it (like oil leaked onto the filter when I put the mower on its side). Any suggestions on what to do? Thanks in advance!!


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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

Change air filter alittle oil dust make stopup air filter dust being all find particle from moving pollen. The air engine does get run out engine stop running. Air filters should be changed every oil change if oil black its time. simi clean air filter give me problems all time no large stuff just particle can't see.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 5:13PM
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It depends which way you tilted the mower to clean it. If the air filter was downward, it's not contaminated. Try starting without the cleaner. If it runs, change the filter.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 8:34PM
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Small riding Troy built mower. Will not move when in gear.
Do not know what to do. Help

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 3:56PM
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The drive belt is off the pulley, the cable is broken, or the belt is worn out or the adjustment isn't correct.

Better to repost your question using a new subject line.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 6:38AM
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starts n runs for 5 seconds i have cleand the carb what do i do

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 10:10PM
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I had this exact same problem after the gas tank ran dry, and I cleaned the carburetor as follows:

1. Turn off engine key and disconnect spark plug.
2. Pump out gas tank (or tilt mower) to gas can.
3. Remove air filter cover (1-bolt, 5/16" socket) and air filter.
4. Remove 3 air filter housing bolts (5/16" socket).
5. Remove air filter housing from hose in back.
6. Carefully remove carburetor gasket from carburetor.
7. Slide fuel line hose clamp 1" up hose (pliers, channel locks) but do not remove hose at this time.
8. Remove two carburetor bolts (3/8" socket).
9. Rotate carburetor CCW to remove throttle cable.

  1. Raise the carburetor, remove fuel line from the carb and hook fuel line around the engine key (to keep residual gas from draining).
  2. Empty gas from carburetor bowl through inlet into gas can.
  3. Blow dirt off of the carburetor with compressed air if you have it.
  4. Thoroughly clean the outside of the carburetor with Gumout Carb + Choke Cleaner or equivalent spray cleaner.
  5. Remove the bowl nut (1/2" socket) and remove bowl.
  6. Thoroughly clean bowl (there will probably be some grit on the bottom) and set it aside.
  7. Insert tube in cleaner nozzle and thoroughly spray the aspiration tube and fuel inlet pipe.
  8. Blow the carburetor including the two tubes with compressed air if you have it.
  9. With the carburetor upright, blow into the fuel line connection. Air should blow freely.
  10. Invert the carburetor and blow again. There should be no air flow as the float needle valve should close.
  11. Apply anti-cease to the five carburetor bolts.
  12. Reinstall carburetor gasket onto the air filter housing.
  13. Reassembly is the reverse of these steps. Since this is a single speed carburetor, there are no adjustments.

This worked for me. Replacement carburetor can be found at:

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:40AM
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Oops, my mower was a 2004 Troy-Bilt 22" FWD 6.75hp, not a 21" push, so check your parts manual for the correct carburetor replacement. The cleaning procedure is probably the same, however.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:52AM
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I picked up a Briggs & Stratton in-line fuel filter #298090S at Home Depot. I ran the engine dry and placed a large clean butter tub under the fuel hose. Using a razor knife, I cut the fuel line 3" away from the fuel tank and allowed the gas to drain into the tub. I was surprised that even though the gas tank appeared to be empty, the tub almost filled with gas.

Once the gas tank was drained, I placed hose clamps on each of the hoses, installed the filter then tightened the clamps. I then poured the gas from the tub back into the gas tank decanting away the solids that were in the fuel line just waiting to plug up the carburetor aspirator orifice.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 8:03AM
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Gas cap had busted rubber inner air valve which was sealing the tank from air. Mower would run for about 1 minute then sputter to stop. Ripped out the piece of carp and replaced with ring of solder wire with gap at ends. Now air gets in, gas gets out, mower runs. Cost of repair nothing but time.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 10:27PM
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