John Deere 14SB Not Drawing Gas/Fuel

rmui(ZONE 7 Northeast USA)May 5, 2013

My 1996 14SB started stalling so I took off the carb and cleaned it with spray carb cleaner. It ran fine after that, though a little slower than when it was brand new (probably about 80% speed judging by how fast it's propelled) and I mowed about half an hour with it to make sure it stayed running well before putting it away.

Well maybe I should've left well enough alone, but I thought it would be a good idea to replace the brittle original fuel line, and add a fuel filter while I'm at it. After replacing the line with generic 1/4" line with one of those button shaped filter that seems to sold everywhere, and using good screw on band clamps, the mower started stalling after running for a few minutes. It would restart easily if I wait a couple of minutes, but stall again after a couple of minutes. Did this a few times and figured maybe I have a bad filter, since I don't see how the fuel line and clamps could be causing this problem.

A few days after that, I replaced the filter with a John Deere unit made for a riding mower that cost $12 from Home Depot, seemed to be the best one they had. The mower ran for a couple of minutes with this new filter, and the filter was getting half full with gas, line the old generic filter was, but then started stalling. I noticed the fuel level in the filter was getting lower each time I restarted the mower and it stalled after less than a minute each time. Restarted maybe 4 - 5 times. Now it won't start at all, and there is almost no fuel in the fuel filter on the tank side (filter has a clear plastic shell). Funny thing is I think I can see the cavity inside the paper filter element, on the carb side, still is almost full of fuel, because the paper paper element is slightly translucent when wet.

I don't have any idea why it's doing this, but then I know very little of how these engines work, so I might be missing something really simple. Would really appreciate any help on this. This is a really nice mower and has a lot of life left if I can get this problem straightened out. It doesn't have all that much wear, probably 20-30 hours each year and I changed the oil at the end of each season. Sorry about the long post, but wanted to make sure you have the information you need. Thanks for any help.

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There is really no need for a filter here. The red disc filter at 125 micron is usable, but hardly worth it. There isn't enough head here to allow fuel to consistently flow through a small micron large bodied filter. Pull the tank and clean it and put clean fuel in. You can also have a fuel cap that vents poorly.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 10:29PM
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rmui(ZONE 7 Northeast USA)

Thanks for the reply, I'll go back to running without the filter and see how it goes.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 4:27PM
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I have the same problem, but I can't determine how to remove the fuel tank to clean it. It appears that I need to remove the complete top cowling, but that would seem to require removal of the pull start flywheel cover and I can't figure out how to remove the nut holding that on (since the shaft on which the nut is screwed just rotates when I try to turn the nut).

Can anyone provide me with some insight as to how to remove the fuel tank on the 14SB?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 9:17PM
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The symtoms you describe very closely match what I have been experiencing with my 1994 14SB. I also had installed an inline filter after the internal one in the tank became plugged. The inline filter is not your problem since mine ran fine with it for 2 years. The fix for mine was the small brass jet located on top and directly in front of the low speed idle adjustment screw. This is a slotted screw with a hole in the center of the slot. Remove it and you will see 3 holes in the side of the shaft & 1 very small hole in the end of it. Make sure that there are no obstructions in any of these holes by running fine wire through them followed by carb cleaner and compressed air. The very small hole was cleaned by using wire from the braided shield in RG6 video cable. If you have not resolved your problem yet, I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 12:26PM
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rmui(ZONE 7 Northeast USA)

Thanks for the reply. I never did get around to taking the tank off but did already pull the jet mentioned and cleaned it with wire and more carb cleaner without success. I just didn't want to put anymore time and money into it especially since it seemed the transmission might be starting to go. And I somehow got a sore ligament at my elbow that might be from my moving the mower around working on it (that still haven't healed now a few months later).

Honda had a one-year extended warranty offer at the time so I bought the $399 model at the local H D store. Glad I did, quieter, lighter and easier to maneuver than the John Deere. And it mulches better and doesn't accumulate clippings under the deck like the Deere does. With the Deere, I'd have to scrap under the deck with a putter knife after almost every mow, and that's when my grass is dry to the touch. Only thing with the Honda is I have to get used to the hand padels self-propel speed control. It's good for on the go speed adjustments, but the down side is it does take more effort to keep a constant speed, especially with my lumpy lawn often bumping my mower a little up and down. And I have to restart it every time I let go of the handle. But it's a lot cheaper than the Deere that cost me $700 back in 1995, will have to see how long it last. Overall I like the Honda better and will try to sell the Deere for parts.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 11:14AM
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