Toro 22" Recycler can't get it started! Please help!

enigma7(6)August 25, 2013

Hi Everyone,

So I inherited a 6 month old Toro 22" self-propelled Recycler mower from my BIL that moved away (think it's 149cc and 6.75HP but don't quote me on that). So a really nice practically new mower that has probably only been used 5-10 times total. When I got it the gas had been drained but the oil was still in. Spent 30min looking for an ON/choke/priming bulb only to realize (after downloading the .pdf manual) that it doesn't use a prime you just pull the handle.

So I did that and it didn't start. And I did it another 30-100 times using different techniques (holding down just the start pulley, holding down both the self-propel and the start, etc). This was all before I downloaded the manual because how hard can something that says "Guaranteed to start" right on the damn mower can it be! :)

So after reading the manual and being sure I was doing it properly I started to second guess the fluids/parts. So I drained the fuel again and refilled with new (thinking there might have been water or something in the lines), drained the oil and refilled with new, and pulled and checked the spark plug. Still no dice. The mower wants to start but nothing.

So then I took off the air intake and shot some MAF cleaner (highly flammable) into the intake and when I pulled the cord it immediately started for about 2 seconds and then went dead. That confirms for me that the spark plug is working fine. Did this a couple more times and then got pissed and alternated between Sea Foam Deep Creep (another aerosol that removes carbon and buildup) and the MAF cleaner and was able to keep the engine going for a full 30sec before I stopped spraying, and it immediately went dead.

So my hunch is that the mower is fine but not getting fuel. Then I noticed some warning writing that said to change X at X interval and it mentioned this mower has a fuel filter. I've never used a push mower with a fuel filter and am wondering if that is somehow clogged it would cause exactly what I'm experiencing. Unfortunately I don't know where the filter is, nor exactly how to remove and replace it.

Before I try that can someone confirm who has this mower that there is no shutoff/off switch that I somehow missed? I swear for such a new mower to not get fuel seems difficult for me to imagine, and I just keep looking for a switch that is not letting fuel get to the engine!?!?

Thanks for your help.

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Wanted to add this, apparently this lady has exactly the same issue (and same mower) that I have. The answers are also pretty awful so don't read them. Again she confirmed there is no prime on this mower, and like me she replaced the gas. Please help!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Hey again, this is not my exact mower but is a GREAT reference for pretty much any carborated engine. I'm running out right now to see if that bolt with the jets is clogged!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 1:48PM
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MY old Toro GTS has a fuel shut off, The mower starts a lot easier if it is opened.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 1:49PM
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Mine doesn't appear to. So I used that last video link and tore apart most of the carb (without actually removing it from the engine) and poked at some holes and sprayed it with MAF cleaner. Put it back together and viola! It started and ran for about a minute before it started to run rough again. I had it self propel around the yard for a couple minutes hoping it would go away but it seems like there must be some gunk in the fuel lines. :( I think it might be time for a complete teardown and rebuild of the carb which is not what I wanted to see (or probably can do myself).

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 2:52PM
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There is probably something in the jet you missed. There's a good chance that the gas was left in the tank and has long evaporated, leaving clogged jets.

Use carburetor cleaner on the jets. Some of these pictures might help. The bottom jet has a small hole at 11 o'clock,

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 4:20PM
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Classic issue of fuel starvation caused from sour fuel . Put an ounce of concentrated fuel cleaner within the fuel and restart the mower. Let the unit run a few times and it will eventually run fine . If your in a hurry use a tag wire and compressed air to clean the orifices within the jets as illustrated by Bay . I have the same mower purchased last fall and it very efficient unit .

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 7:22PM
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Hi ewalk, haven't seen you or rustyj on here for awhile.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 8:09PM
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Heh there baymee , doing fine . Just back from some traveling with the RV . Hunting Season just around the corner , so trying to get the bucket list done asap lol . I think rustyj is on the Tractors site pretty regularly .

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 4:44PM
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Hi there ,I know this threads about a year old but could anyone be able to mention exactly where these jets are? Thank if any info could be given.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 7:31PM
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The metering bolt is also the fuel bowl bolt and is on the bottom of the fuel bowl. Turn the mower up on its wheels with the carburetor on the high side. Remove the bolt and the fuel bowl usually stays attached to the carb. Clean the metering orifices with spray carb cleaner and maybe a pipe cleaner will be needed, but the tiny air bleed at the top usually has to be rodded out with the soft steel wire from a wire tie. Replace the bolt but don't overtighten - it screws into a zinc or aluminum part. Set the mower back on its wheels and watch for a leak at he fuel bowl. Tighten the metering bolt in 1/8 turn increments, one at a time, until the leak stops. This should put you back in business. To prevent having to do this every so often, use a fuel stabilizer in your gas can every time you get gas. If you use Ethanol-blended fuel, use the Sta-bil Marine for ethanol-blended fuels. Also add about 1 oz per gallon of Marvel Mystery Oil or Seafoam to the fuel can. When it comes time to put the mower away you really don't have to do anything about the fuel - it'll be fine over the winter.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 8:16PM
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Fuel filter is in hose at bottom of fuel tank. It is a thin plastic yellow and not mentioned in manual. I pulled it out and mower ran like deer. I couldn't see anything wrong or dirt, but it was causing mower to start then stop. Crazy place to put a filter without informing user. Great for shop work though. Hope this helps others. It was 22 inch recycler
6.76 Kohlerengine.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2014 at 4:29PM
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    Bookmark   October 19, 2014 at 8:24AM
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This is so annoying. I just bought the Toro 22" recycler in the spring of 2014. By the 2nd or 3rd use, if it choked down in thick grass, it would not start until it cooled down. Now it won't start at all, unless you spray starter fluid into the carb.

I've removed the jet bolt twice, seems clean, but after seeing the pics posted above by baymee, I see that I may have missed the tiny hole on the end of the threads in the bottom picture. Will take it off a 3rd time and look for that tiny hole.

When I took the bowl off both times, it had gas, so can I assume that it's not the filter?

It's not the spark plug since it runs fine with starting fluid.

This problem with this particular mower is very common, must be a design flaw. I even use non-ethanol gas. What else could it be if the jets are definitely clean?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2014 at 9:43PM
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nannoman, it may be best to start a new thread and supply model numbers for your engine or chassis. There are several engines to choose from. My guess is that you may have an auto choke issue.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2014 at 10:11PM
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Tomplum... Good suggestion, will follow up with a new thread and more specifics about my mower. I'm determined to fix this and not take it to the shop! Thanks very much!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2014 at 10:24PM
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Nannoman; read this whole thread again and pay attention to the parts about cleaning the tiny air bleed in the orifice/bolt. Not all mowers have it - mainly Tecumseh.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2014 at 2:47PM
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The orifices in the bowl bolt are clear, that is not the problem. Will investigate an auto-choke issue as suggested by tomplum.

My Toro is the Recycler 22" 7.25 hp Briggs & Stratton, "No choke No prime Ready Start" "Guaranteed to Start" Personal Pace Self Propel System. Don't see a model # anywhere.

Any suggestions for diagnosing the auto-choke?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2014 at 9:29PM
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Check spark plug
remove air filter
clean carburetor with carburetor cleaner
remove bowl and inspect and clean everything
use a thin paper clip insert it into the jet cleaning all debris
put everything back together
always change your gas and use supreme! Only buy what you are going to use! Clean gas = clean carburetor
I even added a gas filter to the gas line very easy to do!

Here is a link that might be useful: Clean out Toro lawnmower carburetor jet

    Bookmark   November 8, 2014 at 4:13PM
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The B&S ReadyStart is more like NeverStart. I've played with mine on my powerwasher several times. Cleaned the carb, jets, new plug, etc. and didn't help one bit. I found some YouTube videos on how to adjust the bi-metal auto choke but that didn't do much either. I've learned to never shut the thing off and refill the tank with the power washer running. Never got it to work right.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 11:20PM
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David James

NannoMan, same problem for me...about the third time I wanted to use the mower it was hard to start. It started off with being hard to start after stopping it to refuel and then trying to restart it. Now that I need to use it this year, it won't start at all. If I spray starter fluid or gasoline in the carb, it will run for a couple of seconds. My 15 year old Toro with the primer bulb has started every time on the 1st or 2nd pull...never failed. I gave it to my daughter last year when I bought my new "guaranteed to start" Toro. Today I contacted an authorized Toro service dealer and they told me this is a known issue with the auto choke and will need to be fixed. I've always been satisfied with Toro products, but it sounds like they have a bad product now.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2015 at 7:48PM
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David James

Found my problem today when I took the carb bowl, gas line, and gas tank about. Looked like very small black plastic pieces were in everything....possibly from when it was manufactured? Cleaned it up and works fine now...we'll see how it does long term.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2015 at 11:54AM
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