craftsman riding mower cranks but won't start

toddeAugust 22, 2011

I have a 917.287012 riding mower. I mowed the grass and turned off the mower to move the cars and boat so only about 5-10 mins and when I tried to start the mower back up it would only crank. Don't have a clue as to what is wrong so any and all help would be appreciated. It's a Briggs and Straton engine if that helps.

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rcbe(6)

will it start OK after cooling off for 30 min-1 hr ?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 10:03PM
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todde

No it still didn't start. But will try again in the morning.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 10:29PM
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walt2002

When asking for advice on an engine, it is always a good idea to post the engine model number. I haven't the faintest idea what engine that model mower has on it and do not do mfg. lookups.

Walt Conner

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 11:17PM
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walt2002

You didn't leave the PTO turned on?

Walt Conner

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 11:19PM
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todde

Sorry but what is PTO

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 8:22AM
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mownie(7)

PTO= Power Take Off
This is the electric clutch (if configured with one) or the manual blade engagement if not equipped with electric clutch.
The question about PTO being left on was asked because either configuration uses an interlock system that prevents the starter from engaging if the PTO is ON.
But that stops the STARTER from operating on most types of tractors.
Your complaint fits the description of an exhaust valve seat having come loose and is now holding open the exhaust valve.
That is just an assumption based on some other instances where that happened, and the fact that the Briggs single cylinder OHV (Over Head Valve) engines have enjoyed some infamy for losing an exhaust valve seat.
But there are some checks that need to be done before tearing into the engine.
Check to see if there is spark at the plug when cranking the engine. If yes, spray a 2 second burst of carburetor cleaner (as an alternate fuel) into the throat of the carburetor and then try to crank the engine.
If the engine wants to run for a couple seconds on this shot of "fuel", the problem is in the fuel system.
If the engine still refuses to start, you will need to check for compression by removing the spark plug and placing a thumb over the spark plug hole as though you wanted to stop compression from escaping out the hole.
Crank the engine (or have a helper operate the key switch) while holding your thumb pressed tightly on the spark plug hole. If you feel a strong pressure pushing on your thumb or pressure forces its way past your thumb, compression is good. If you feel little or no pressure on your thumb in this test.........the engine has lost its compression, like due to the out of place valve seat.
If any of the tests are confusing to you or you don't feel able to DIY this, find a shop to check it out.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 9:54AM
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todde

just went out and it started right up. What would have caused it not to start up yesterday?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 11:03AM
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rcbe(6)

Try removing engine cooling shroud sheet metal to verify cooling fins are not stopped up with trash. Closely inspect all exposed wii\ring at that point for damage of any kind. clean/repair as needed.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 12:10PM
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mownie(7)

As rcbe suggests, you need to look for a probable cause.
Clogging of the cooling fins/shroud with grass debris (and sometimes mouse nests) is often the cause of a valve seat loosening in the head.
It is possible that if in fact a loose valve seat was the culprit yesterday it might have dropped back in place today.
Anyhow, if it was a loose valve seat..........you may see a repeat of this in the future.
When that happens, go through the checks above to see if it is due to "no spark, no fuel, or no compression".

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 12:56PM
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yardman1081

My craftsman riding mower was running earlier today, I turned it off and power washed it and now it will not fully crank. It will turn about a Qatar to half way and then stop. What could have happened?

Model number is 917276390

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 3:42PM
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rcbe(6)

yardman1081-
RUN (don't walk) with that power washer to the nearest trash can and give it a quick toss. Worst thing you could EVER turn loose on a lawn tractor. Use compressed air or leaf blower instead.
M/W, remove spark plug(s) and crank engine - Observe if liquid is expelled out spark plug hole(s). If so, continue cranking engine until no more liquid is seen coming out - replace plug(s). Immediately drain/replace crankcase oil and filter as most likely water has entered crankcase.
Remove air cleaner and allow cleaner element to dry - if wet from water. Allow ALL engine components to dry completely also.
Using RATTLECAN CARB CLEANER, spray several shots directly into carb throat while assistant is cranking engine in a normal fashion (1/2 throttle, no choke, PTO off, Cl/Brake pedal fully depressed). Engine should start/run. If not, post back with details and we will go from there.

Note: your starter motor most likely hangs like a "pail" and will catch/hold water from that washer - don't know if it has a drain hole or not. Just hope it does...

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:14PM
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yardman1081

Engine will still not turn over. When you turn the key you hear a noise and the motor will try to turn but then it stops and you hear a clicking sound. After pulling the spark plug out I did see a little water on it.

Also thanks for the advice about the pressure washer I was not aware that was a bad idea.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:48PM
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rcbe(6)

OK, then time to remove the battery, take same to a qualified shop that will LOAD test same for you to prove battery is good/bad. While battery is out, clean all related electrical cable connection surfaces with sandpaper to bright finish - including points where cables contact the chassis, starter solenoid and starter itself.
Re-install known good battery; test again.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 9:02PM
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