Troy Bilt self-propelled mower won't start

fastmov4May 6, 2008

This is a bit detailed, but I want to get all the info out up front:

Troy-Bilt Smart Speed Self-Starter Mulching Mower Model 569

has a B&S Intek engine

I purchased the mower new from Lowe's in 2004. I ran the mower for 3 years with no problems...and no maintenance. No oil change, no filter change, no battery charge, no spark plug change. Nothing but adding gas. Mower still ran great. But at the end of last summer, the mower gave up the ghost. It had been running rough for a few weeks, and then it finally stopped running completely. I changed the spark plug out and it started and ran for another 10-15 minutes and then quit again. Nothing seemed to get it running again. When it stopped running, it wasn't like there was catastrophic mechanical failure. It's almost like it was out of gas (it wasn't). I borrowed a neighbor's mower to finish out the season.

I started out this season by checking the oil (dipstick was bone dry). So I added a fresh 20 oz of synthetic oil. I also changed out the air filter (which was basically just a grass mat by now). I filled the tank with left-over gas from the previous season (probably a bad idea), primed per the owner's manual, and tried to crank it up. Nothing. I would give the pull-cord a couple of tugs to set the engine, then engage the electric start. The only reaction I would get is a little cough as the engine turned over. I talked to my dad, who recommended tugging the pull-cord ~20 times and then try to start it. I did that, and the enine actually came alive! It started up, belched a cloud of white smoke, foloowed a second later by a cloud of black smoke, and then it died. Nothing I did from that point forward has been able to get the mower started again. I back to just lifeless coughing when I set the engine up with the pull-cord and try the electric start.

Given how many systems I've prepped, I'm thinking this is either a very simple fix or a major problem. Any help would be appreciated. Also, if I'm leaving something out and any more info is needed, I can answer or find the answer. Thanks in advance.


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Clean the FUEL SYSTEM and have someone clean the carb.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 5:29PM
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Thanks, Bill. I already talked to a small engine shop about getting the mower running again. It'll be good to tell them specifically what to look for. Do you think the old gas in it would make a difference? I mean, I could empty out the gas and refill with fresh gas and some liquid carb cleaner. Think that would work in lieu of removing the carburetor and cleaning it manually?

Thanks in advance,


    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 4:25PM
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Carb cleaner in the tank usually doesn't do any good unless the engine is running.
It has to go through the passages IN the carb to clean things.

At the end of the season, dump your gas can into the car and buy fresh mower gas when you're going to mow the next Spring.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 5:28PM
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Well, I've had a similar problem with a piece-of-crap troy-bilt self-propelled lawn mower. It has the typical cheap B&S motor with the little "red button" primer. This mower will not start and is about to become a $400 boat anchor! For the life of me, this thing will not start. At first when this problem began, it would start cold but not restart hot. I would have to let it cool down everytime I emptied the bag. Now it just won't start at all, cold or hot. I've cleaned the tank, fuel lines into the carb, changed the plug, etc. to no avail. This mower is 2-1/2 years old; just out of warranty (naturally). I contacted my credit card company (platinum mastercard) and they DO NOT offer warranty extensions on any warranty but a one year warranty, which would double to two. The do not offer any extension on two year or longer warranties!!! Bummer!!!

Anyone got any ideas what could be wrong or have any advice on something else to get this "thing" running to at least the end of the year. I really hate to buy a new mower this late in the year.....

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 2:29AM
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Your situation is the result of total neglect and can best be rectified by a complete tuneup performed by someone who is competent.....Elmo

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 6:44PM
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Have you checked for spark?

Some of the carbs on the cheaper Briggs only cost about $22 for a replacement.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 7:45PM
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'I started out this season by checking the oil (dipstick was bone dry)'

It's toast.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:05AM
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I am not familiar with that mower but does it have an emergency cut off? Like when you let go of the handle. I had a mower one time that would not start and it turned out to be that do hickey was not disengaging when I pulled the handle....DT

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 10:46AM
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Hey guys, just a follow-up on the mower:

Got the carb cleaned and she runs great. New problem, though.

The front wheels have locked up. I could get them to turn maybe 1/16th of a rotation and then nothing. I looked underneath at the shafts going into the propulsion(?) box, and it looked like there was a lot of rust on the shaft. I've mowed the grass wet and then put away the mower without letting it dry out. You think it rusted solid?

I only need to mow the grass once, maybe twice more this season. Any ideas on how to get the wheels freed up? Do I need to disassemble the front end and soak it in PB BLaster or something?

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!


    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 4:06PM
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Well, a little WD-40 got the wheels unstuck. However, the self-propulsion is not engaging. A buddy and I turned the mower over (not running, obviously), and we noticed that the belt that goes between the blade shaft and the self-propulsion drive is really loose, so loose that I'm thinking it may not be gripping the shafts to turn the wheels. Is there a way to tighten the belt (like on a car), or am I better of just replacing a 4-year old belt and starting over? Thanks in advance!


    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 11:52AM
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I have the Troy Bilt 33" mower with a combination deck. It won't start using the ignigtion key. It will start with the key on by jumping across the selenoid. I replaced the solenoid but that didn't solve the problem.

I am trying to figure out the name of the square block with wires coming out next to the solenoid. I don't know what it is called or what it does. Is it likely it has failed or more likely the ignition switch is bad?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 4:40PM
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Running just fine. Clean filter, oil clean and level good.
Gas, new purchase. Spark plug good. I stopped to get a drink of water, when I tried to restart the engine it would not turn over. Since I had been working on an incline I thought maybe the engine was flooded, so I waited an hr. with the same results.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 3:37PM
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I got this at a yard sale the person said it did work & ran great well some how I forgot to ask where the primer is located, I know on most lawn mowers their is a little button you push their isn't one on this mower ! Is their anyone that could help me out on this one .My neighber came over and he couldn't locate this either.Next to the filter and gas line is a black small square the size of a quarter but nothing that you could push for priming What am I over looking ? Didn't get a owners manual.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 4:40PM
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It doesnt have a primer

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 8:43PM
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i have a troybuilt lawm mower that has been a good running machine. however, this year it started fine and then would not run any longer. oil is good, gas is good, not sure what to check next.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 11:32PM
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