Briggs & Stratton 42A707 starting issues
Hello everyone, I'm hoping to "pick your brain" and see if you can point me in the right direction with my mower problem. I do my best at DIY stuff but small engine repair is new to me. Yet, I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty and dig in! Here is my situation: bought a used RanchKing rider with a 16.5 hp Twin II I/C B&S engine, Type: 2238E1, Code: 9808205B. When I bought it from an older gentleman, he said he'd just replaced the battery but it still hestitated when starting so he had a repairman replace the starter. Still, it would strain to start but he said even so, it always would start. I found it did the same for me last summer, my first season using it but since it started I didn't really care. Now this summer I'm finding it's struggling even more and sometimes the battery will become depleted from attempting to start it. This is what I've done so far: taken the battery to a reliable place and had it checked (said it was absolutely fine and strong enough for the job..it's an Everstart 350 cranking amps). I replaced the two spark plugs, air filter, drained and replaced oil with synthetic, fresh gas with Sea Foam additive, cleaned battery contacts and made sure ground was good, and cleaned the deck and belt areas thoroughly. When I try to start it, after hooking up the battery to a charger to be sure it's fully charged (and it is), the flywheel spins about 1 1/2 times and it makes a "arr-rumpf" sound a few times but just doesn't seem to have the juice to fully start, as if the battery were weak. When I try to start it with the battery attached to the charger, the charge bottoms out completely as if attempting to start just is too much for it. (don't know if that's a normal thing to happen or not?). If I keep trying to turn the starter key (never more than a few seconds at a time) finally I'll hear a whining sound from somewhere underneath, I thought it was from the starter but my son said it sounded more like the battery area. I thought maybe it needed a new starter but a neighbor said if the starter was bad, it would just click click click and not be able to do as much as it was already doing, making the flywheel turn. I bypassed the battery and grounded the charger to the frame then put the pos. charger lead directly to the starter but it still didn't start easily. The last time I got it to start a week ago, it started to surge when I was idle with the blade off, acted like it wanted to die on me but didn't. Then it backfired when I shut it off later (scared the crap out of me!) I don't know if that is a comletely different set of problems involving the carb/fuel pump or filter, etc. I guess none of that will matter if I can't get the darned thing to even start! I tried to push it to the garage from where it laid after the last attempt to start it and it was too darned heavy so I hauled the battery charger outside on a long extension cord and charged it fully again and fortunately it started up with a puff of white smoke and sounded rough (probably flooded from my many attempts). I got it far enough to put it up in the shed and gave up for the night. I have an acre to push mow that consumes 4 hours of my life I'll never get back..I live in a tiny farm town and the only guy that worked on mowers just had surgery and can't do that now. The nearest places that have repairmen are 45 min. away and I have no way to get the mower there. So....short of the Mower-Genie magically showing up, I am turning to you all...I can't take apart the engine and rebuild it, I can do basic stuff and I'm always willing and eager to learn. If there is a book out there you can recommend, I'll buy it and memorize it. If you can at least give me a general idea what the main problem seems to be (need a new battery even though this one seems to test ok?), (need a new starter?), (need an exorcism????) I'd really appreciate the help. Thanks!