Toro Personal Pace SR-21s wont start

andrelaplume2(usa)July 31, 2013

She's a 1999 model, oil, filter changes each year...gas with stabil...primarily used every other mowing for maybe 5000 sq ft...I use my toro wheelhorse for the rest. She's been a bit hard to start for a few years. The plug seems to foul out fast. This time, no luck...won't start...even changed the plug. Maybe I flooded it and I will try again tomorrow.

Before I go get a new one, I was wondering if a carb service might help. I think I can handle that and doubt I can make matters worse.

Ideas? its got a briggs engine.

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When you say the plug fouls fast- are the deposits hard or soft? Is this an OHV model? In general either Briggs engine on a SR wouldn't normally be responsible for the fowling as they don't tend to run rich. Signs of fuel overflowing such as fuel in the media of the filter or oil would go back to the carb I'd guess. A plugged air filter perhaps?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 1:01AM
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No, filter almost new. Plug is blackened around base after half a season. I pulled her out tonight and she started, smoke a little as usual but ran...maybe I flooded it yesterday. I pulled filter and sprayed in carb cleaner, let it sit, started, ran a while and repeated.

We'll see if she starts better...who knows. Dealer tech said she might be leaking a little oil causing plug to foul and hard start...

He said I could pop a new engine on ($300) or get a new PP for $500...or just live with it.

I am fearfull of the new TORO idea if they are Chinese junk or what...they are not briggs....

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 7:57PM
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Blackening itself is not horrible. Enough hard oil deposits will alter the spark. Could be you end up w/ that touch of oil in the cylinder after sitting creating your issues. Companies like Toro started to feel the effects of Hondas in the market place circa 1980 and shortly there after came out w/ Suzukis on select consumer mowers.The Hondas taking off in the US market gave us much better mower engines today. Enter the Honda knock offs that started to appear and now today the Chinese engine market has a firm stance in MTDs and now Toro. I've not heard of concerns with them, but I can tell you the times I look at the parts list, I would much rather own a Honda or Briggs due to individual parts availability and pricing.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 11:15AM
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The Toro with Honda engine is $50 more. I can't help but wonder if either will last 15 years! I am weary of the no prime start too but I guess that's the way they are all going. The tech seemed a bit miffed at briggs...saying they are doing nothing in their engine design to accommodate for ethanol in gas...I noted my briggs was 14 years old!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 8:23PM
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How strong is the spark? Also, I use a cap full of MMO in every fuel fill. Older engines like it. I also use the shutoff to run the carb dry after every use. This has taken the curse off using 87 E 10. No hard data, just a seat of the pants feel that the mowers start easier and that I have had way less carb troubles since I started doing these two easy things.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Well, in my experience I have very little ethanol issues w/ conventional Briggs carbs. Not so much Honda either though more than the Briggs. That being said, I wouldn't ever buy a mower powered by a Briggs with a plastic bowl carburetor.
The ones that I do see with ethanol issues regularly are the Kohler XT WPM engines and the knock offs. Granted the earlier Kohler XTs had metallurgy problems with the float valves that they have corrected- but so many of the carb bowls are filled w/ white gel and corroded by me it is unreal. I wonder if it is a metallurgy issue or?? I always push the ethanol treatment on these for their own good.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 4:46PM
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In the 10 years of doing this, I've never seen a plastic bowl on a Briggs. What engines are they on?

I am now seeing gelled jets on Hondas, which I've not seen before. Briggs, almost never, except for the ruined diaphragms on the low HP engines. Tecumseh is famous for the clogged jets.

I always attributed this to poor maintenance, rather than fuel. Proper use of additives and draining fuel at the end of the season would go a long way towards preventing this stuff.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 7:03AM
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Ok, update...I changed the plug after spraying the heck out of it with carb cleaner. It ran good for a few cuts, then it sat for 2 weeks. Colder weather now...won't start.

Spark? Well, I pulled the plug, held it against the metal engine and had my son pull the cord. I saw no spark. Did we do it right...who knows! Nevertheless, I popped off the carb. The outside was covered in gunk. Carb Cleaned it and its surroundings. I popped off the looked perfectly clean inside. I carb cleaned the inside anyway, paperclip cleaned all holes and sprayed compressed air here and there. I put it back together....probably should have picked up a new gasket.

I pulled the started, blew some white smoke and died. I assume it was burning the carb cleaner sprayed everywhere.

Question...if there is indeed no spark, would it have started at all?

What do think I should try next...coil? thoughts...(other than buy a new one!)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 9:41PM
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Yes, it would need spark to start. Could you post model numbers. Maybe the intake seal is shot, or the intake manifold is broken or loose. Andyma- the plastic bowl Briggs are on some of the entry level MTD equipment. It debuted ~ 2 years ago or so.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 11:32PM
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The quantum series engine was very common on the Toro Super Recycler mower in 1999. This was a good engine and I see many that are older than yours.

Most of the starting problems are related to the carburetor and the air filter base with the primer bulb.

From your description, you did not install the parts from a new carburetor kit. Spraying carburetor cleaner into the needle seat area will cause the Viton seat to swell. While the needle valve will continue to close, the fuel level in the float bowl will be maintained at a lower level. This reduces the amount of fuel delivered during priming. To check, remove the carburetor and float bowl. Hold the carburetor in an inverted position. The float should be level with the carburetor body. Another issue is the bowl nut. Even spraying the main jet with carburetor spray may not clean residue from ethanol fuel. The bowl gasket must seal the bowl in order for the primer to work correctly. Your best bet is to renew the carburetor with a kit and new bowl nut or simply replace the carburetor.

The air filter base contains the primer bulb. When depressing the primer bulb, a shot of air is routed to the float bowl forcing fuel to travel up the venture tube. With time, the gasket between the filter base and the carburetor deteriorates. Warping on the filter base is also common. As air leaks develop, the primer becomes ineffective and the engine will not start. If this is the case, replacing the gasket or installing two gaskets may help. The best solution may be to replace the air filter base.

I noticed some discussion about replacing the engine or buying a new mower. This is of course your decision. In many cases, a few simple repairs could result in many more years of service. The carburetor and the filter base usually costs about $60 - $70.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 10:41AM
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thanks, ill get a carb renew kit and try it.As far as a model...of the engine? I see nothing but briggs 6.0 gts...I see nothing in my manual either.Funny, before removing the sucker, the bulb was hard to press an took forever to pop back out...especially when cold. Now it goes real easy and can hear it...still I will get the kit. I also borrowed some sort of spark test thing that goes betweeen the plug and cap....suppose to be a light go on if spark . I will try it.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 5:51PM
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ok, tried the spark tester thing. Yes there is spark...looks orange/yellow...I know it suppose to blue...truth be told this is a testor from Harbor Freight so who know how accurate it is.

It took the carb off again...was about to head over for a renew kit. I looked at the nut that secures the bowl...I had forgot to blow that out. There was some gunk in it. I put the sucker on again...primed it a bunch of times and it started.

It sounded rough though. I assume I should just go get the renew kit..$5 last time I bought one...and keep my fingers crossed.

There is also a little black spring ...when I pull on it the engine revs higher and actually sounds better. Do these stretch ot...should I replace it too?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 6:28PM
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the Toro model # at the Toro site will give you the model number of the engine. Or it is stamped in the valve cover or blower housing depending on which engine it is. Yes, governor springs can fatigue though you really should have the rpms adjusted w/ a tach.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 9:57PM
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took the carb to the dealer. They convinced me to replace it and forgo the renew kit. Popped it one. It started on one easy pull! I used it for 35 minutes or so. I decided I'd do the whole lawn so I stopped to grab a tank was hot out. The sucker would not restart.

I called the dealer guy. He said hard start on a hot engine could be the coil or compression issues. He said since I just bought the carb, he'd sell me a used but good coil for $10 but before I wasted my time to see if I still saw spark when it was hot and not starting. If spark was there, it was not likely the coil but a compression issue...said I likely would not find an engine for 99 model

Well I checked..there was spark. I let it cool down. It then started on one pull.

I repeated this check 3 or 4 times over 2 days. It seems to start on one pull when cold. If the engine is go.

99% of the time I start it, use and put it away with no stopping in between. For all I know this compression issue has been around for years. Is that possible? Can I count on it starting cold? Why would that be anyway? what is compression anyway?


    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 1:59AM
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Please explain exactly how you are attempting to restart. How long after the shutdown did you attempt to restart?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 12:27PM
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go out...hit prime once or twice, starts on first pull. Run 15+ minutes....stop...wait a coupe of minutes...pull cord...wont once or twice...won't start...wait 30 minutes or once...starts on first pull...

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:03AM
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Compression is the secret of the internal combustion engine. The fuel/air mixture in the cylinder must be compressed to be powerful when ignited. Compression occurs when the piston rises against the closed intake and exhaust valves. It's measured in psi and every engine has a normal range in it's specs that can be measured. The problem with measuring it on lawn mower engines is they all have a compression release mechanism for easier pulling of the starter cord which obviously would give a false, lower reading. I actually don't know how the mechanics get around this to find the true compression.
Anyway, engines can lose compression from wear and faulty valve timing. Usually a lawn mower engine with low compression would indicate a new mower needed, but in a few cases low compression can be caused by hard carbon in the piston rings which doesn't allow them to expand and seal the cylinder. There are several brands of solvents for internal engine cleaning. The best in my opinion is 'KREEN' by Kano Labs, the makers of 'KROIL', a well-liked penetrant. I would use 'KREEN' as-directed in any engine I suspected of low compression. If it doesn't help, repair/replacement is indicated, because lawn mowers are basically cheap, and you can't justify spending hundreds on engine repair or replacement. The exception would be if you had a premium mower with a good deck and drive system that you really like. An aluminum-deck Super Recycler could be in this category - it all depends on how much you want to spend on it.
I think your mower should have lasted longer. Cutting only a tad over one tenth acre every other time would constitute light use in my book, and most any mower should last almost indefinitely under those conditions WITH THE PROPER CARE. However, you can't overlook the possibility of a bad engine from the factory that may have a problem that just took some time to show up.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 11:12AM
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to be fair the mower was used more often in its earlier years..the past 5 or so, less than 30 minutes every other time.

I'll look for the KREEN.

Is it possible this compression issue has been around a while and I never noticed it because I seldom try to restart when warm?

How long can it go on like how long will it start easy cold...hell I'll just make sure I finish up with it before I shut it!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 11:47PM
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your techniques in restarting the engine are ok. I suspect you are missing some clue.

the ignition has been checked.
the carburetor has been replaced.
since the cold engine starts, I don't suspect a flywheel key.
Compression has not been checked.

check the compression with a compression tester. First check the engine cold , then check the engine hot.

you still have not supplied the engine numbers. Is this the flat head engine or the ohv engine. The early ohv engines suffered hot restart problems. Some problems were related to vavle adjustments. In some cases, the throttle plate wjould stick in the closed position. Briggs issued a service bulletin to change the spark plug gap to .020.

if this is a flathead, there may be a problem with sticking valves due to ethanol fuel, or there may be inadequate valve clearance. You may need to take to a shop for evaluation.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:21AM
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ITs ohv I think...still have not found model number. Valves or compression..what are we talking as far as cost goes?

I can regap the plug.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 8:52PM
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It could be a bad plug, try a new one. Try hot starting without a prime. You prolly could check the compression and go from there.costs should be minimal, A few bucks for gaskets, maybe.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 2:09PM
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