Craftsman Model 917.270812 Won't Stay Running

victor2232(7)April 22, 2011


I was able to mow the grass one time this season with my LT upon going to mow the next time the tractor started but then died. I have had to have this tractor worked on one time before for the same reason, basically flooding out, and the fellow told me that this engine

(Model #42E707-Type 2631-E1 19.5 HP) was known for getting gas in the oil and that when this happened to check to see if the oil smelled like gas and if it did to change it and it should work fine (Not this time) lol, This work was done about 7 years ago (I'm pretty sure they re-built the carb. or used a carb. kit or whatever it is you have to do to one). I was also told by a Sears tech. that this engine was one of the better engines made and would last me a lifetime if taken care of. We got this tractor in '97 or '98.

Let me share what I have done so far. Upon checking the air filter I noticed the foam pre-filter was quite dirty on one side so I replaced both the pre-filter and the paper cartridge. Changed the oil (a second time after flooding again) checked the fuel filter and when I released it from the line the gas that drained out was VERY dirty. I thought "Oh no I'll bet it's got a bunch of dirt in the carb"(There were a lot of fine particles that maybe got through the small screen in the filter). I replaced it with the newer type of filter with the paper cartridge inside. I had put the E3 lifetime spark plugs in the tractor but I bought new ones just in case. After letting it sit for nearly a whole day I tried to start it again and the same thing happened, it flooded out.

After Googling the problem I was led to this site and did some searching on the Lt model # I found one posting on this model #917.270812 which led me to another posting by "mownie" telling the person to remove the plug in the diagram (at the link he provided) to clean the main jet which I did with carb cleaner. Here is the link to the posting I found for this LT;

The problem that this fellow posted is similar,upon pushing the choke in it will run for a few seconds but dies. Very frustrating! :-(

Each time it has flooded I have removed the air filter cover and the filter to find quite a bit of gas in the filter housing (same problem when it was worked on). I remove the plug at the main jet and captured the gas that comes out which was quite a bit. I do this to hopefully speed up the process of letting the excess gas evaporate. The last time I tried it I wanted to see if it would run at the lowest throttle setting. Started it and it ran longer at this setting but eventually flooded out again so I assumed because of this it is getting to much gas.

I have never worked on or rebuilt a carb. so I am a little leary of removing it and letting it soak in chem-dip as someone else has suggested.But I am willing to try if I can possibly fix it myself.(Oh, the carb. is missing one of the screws that attaches it to the manifold maybe dirt is getting in there?) Since it seems to be getting to much gas I am hoping I can make an adjustment or something to get it going.

Any help is very much appreciated. This is my first post here and it looks to be a very informative place with a lot of knowledgeable folks.

Sorry for such a long post but I wanted to give as much info. as possible the first time.

Thank You, victor2232

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Check the float in the carburetor. Take it out, and allow it to float over night, in a can with gasoline in it-enough to allow it to float and not touch the bottom of the can. 3 inches should do. If it is on the bottom of the can--and full of gas, install a new float!
Also, if you are seeing a lot of dirt in the carb bowl, check the fuel tank for collected dirt inside it. The fuel filter should also be changed if it looks dirty inside. Then check your gas can for dirt and condensation, too. Poke a pin in the gas cap breather hole-might be a bug egg in it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 11:08AM
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Yes, check the float, and the needle valve, and the seat where the needle valve applies itself to shut off the flow of incoming fuel.
The flooding is due to a defect in one or more of those items.
You did OK in checking the Main jet sump for debris build-up but debris in the bottom of the bowl does dot CAUSE the flooding condition.
An accumulation of "large pieces of debris" might indicate a problem upstream that is feeding the material into the fuel pump and on to the float bowl.
Finding large debris in the bowl should always be followed by arbitrarily replacing the fuel filter (because it might have a breach) and at least the fuel hose running from the filter to the carb inlet (because the hose interior walls might be flaking, hence the debris.
Finding large debris in the bowl also means the fuel pump itself could have junk in it.
Large debris can become trapped in the needle and seat causing the carb to over fuel, but usually a condition like you are experiencing (absolute drowning with fuel) is caused by a defect in the float or needle & seat.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 12:42PM
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above advice is excellent, imho. Also work to find the root source of your "dirty" fuel.. could be from inside of fuel tank - may be your gas can or even the source where you purchase fuel.

These small carbs are not very tolerant of dirt - which can cause all manner of engine operational malfunctions. Gotta get that entire fuel supply system cleaned out and keep it that way. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 4:23PM
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Thank's guys for the timely replies!

O.K. couple of questions. In the manual on page 53 it shows the diagram of the carb. manifold etc. It lists #358 as Gasket Set #861 as Pump Repair Kit & #121 as Carburetor Kit. Should I purchase any or all of these before removing the carburetor?

I've never worked on any kind of carburetor before but it seems like I heard that when working on one and after removing it you have to replace the gaskets, etc. True?

Also, is there a certain process I have to go through to check the float and needle valve and seat. In other words, do I just remove the whole carb. from the manifold and continue from there or is removing it necessary to get to the float and needle valve and seat?

Thanks again for your help!


    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 4:33PM
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It is always safer to have the gaskets on hand than to wait and see if something tears (or is already flaky).
Do yourself a big favor before you remove the carb and begin disassembly of the carb.
Use a camera (digital if possible) and shoot lots of pictures of the carb from all different angles. Try to close in on things like cable connections and other pieces that attach to the carb. Then as you actually start to disassemble things, in addition to shooting pictures as you continue taking things apart, put tape labels or wire tag labels on pieces indicating where/when it was removed.
Make notes as you go.
Do the disassembling of the carb inside the confines of a large baking pan with raised sides (not a flat cookie sheet)
so rolling or sliding pieces can't escape.
Be very careful, you will be messin' with gasoline and carb cleaner.............highly flammable stuff.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 5:01PM
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