Lawnboy Tecumseh Starting problem

jsnyder2914October 24, 2011

I have a Lawnboy Self-propelled mower with a Tecumseh engine that's about 6 years old.

Suddenly, it wouldn't start.

Took it in for repair and was told they put in a new spark plug and air filter and cleaned out the fuel jets. Started fine for a couple days.

One week later, same exact problem. Took it back in, they cleaned the jets again, and started fine for a couple days. Following week, same problem. Took it in, they cleaned carb entirely.

And again, for a couple days, it starts fine, but after a week without trying to start it, it won't start.

This has been going on for about a month, and I'm getting tired of taking the mower back to the shop (and I'm sure they're getting tired of seeing me)

When I pull the starter cord, it doesn't even sound like it's trying to "catch" or sputter.

Does this sound more like a fuel or ignition problem, and how can I diagnose it? I don't mind replacing the carb or ignition module; I just don't want to throw away money.


Jay S

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The problem is very likely not in the ignition module. Does your mower engine have a primer button, and if so, how many squirts does it take to get the engine to fire when cold?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 1:24PM
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Re: the Primer:
It does have a primer bulb.
The times I got it back from repair, it took 3-4 squirts to get it to start, like it should.

But, then I let it sit for a week without starting, and it seems that no amount of squirts works (although once I primed it 10-15 times and it did barely start, but began belching smoke from the exhaust. I'm guessing I flooded the carb).

I can pull the rope until I'm blue in the face, and it just won't start; that's why I keep returning it to the repair shop, and that's "getting old" :-(

Any ideas are appreciated...

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 2:21PM
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Have you watched any of these services vs reporting what you were told on all?

1. Due to carb's fuel jets cleaning, were the fuel tank/line checked X contamination/gasohol damage?

2. Have you tried priming the engine to see if it will start or try?

3. I doubt it is fire but have you checked it for fire?

4. Is this a trusted Large/Small shop you have a good relation with? Are they charging each visit?

5. Is another trusted Large/Small shop close that will diagnose what has occurred before spending?

Good Luck! Loger

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 2:59PM
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This sounds like a fuel related issue. Was the tank drained and blown out with compressed air until dry? Was the fuel line replaced and possibly a filter added?

I had a similar problem and each time I took off the bowl, it had contaminants in it. Turns out the owner had a contaminated gas can.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 6:25PM
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My 2 cents are with Loger item #3 and Bay's suggestion of poor quality fuel . Try removing the spark plug and spraying a little carb cleaner down the hole . Then replace plug and attempt a restart . If the unit fires it is most certainly fuel starvation and a recleaning of the carb and fresh fuel with a conditioner is required .

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 4:55AM
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Also, try for spark with a new or known good plug. If the plug is wet with gas, it won't work right either.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 5:28AM
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Appreciate all the feedback...

To answer some questions:
1. The fuel is fresh, premium-grade, and the gas can filler tube has a very fine mesh filter.
2. The spark plug and air filter are new.
3. Re: Loger's #4, the local Home Depot recently began doing repairs on small engines, including mowers, so that's where I've been taking it, and no, thankfully they're not charging me for each visit.

Yesterday, I tried to start it by spraying some starting fluid down the throat (without any additional priming using the primer bulb) and it sputtered and eventually started after 8 or 10 pulls.

The big mystery (at least to me) is why it starts for the first day or two after mowing, but then won't start if I don't use it for a week. What could be happening during those several days of non-use?


    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 8:44AM
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If it went a week and wouldn't start, I would immediately loosen the bowl nut and see if gas comes out of the bowl.

Next, I would check to see if the plug was wet.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 4:11PM
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The fellow I have seen at a local Home Depot servicing equipment, advertisement and rate related to minor tuning vs any diagnostic or Carb work. I doubt he is associated with Home Depot vs having permission to use their space or from a Trusted Established Shop. His charges were possibly inline for his level of service but not enough servicing or the level needed (which he should have admitted). Good Luck, Loger

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 6:14PM
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