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Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

Posted by vfxguy (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 31, 10 at 20:38

I have a Craftsman 21" 4.5hp mulching mower. It's been running fine for about 3 years and then it started dying a few minutes after starting up. The problem worsened until it would only run for a few seconds before dying. Sounded like a fuel problem to me.

I decided that it was time for a general tune up on the mower anyway so I went in and tried to clean out the carburetor installled a new spark plug, drained and replaced the oil, drained the gasoline and replaced with fresh gas, replaced the air filter and swapped a new blade since the old one was dull. The problem still kept happening.

I then ordered a replacement carb from sears parts. After it arrived I installed it and fired up the lawnmower. It ran for around 5 minutes (just enough time to start mowing an overgrown lawn) and then died. It's back to running for a few seconds and dying again.

I don't see a fuel filter anywhere and I figured that after I replaced all the various parts of the mower including a new carb that I would have solved the problem.

Anyone have any ideas? I'm frustrated and don't want a simple lawnmower engine to win the battle against me.

Thanks for the help.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

If there was debris/ water in the tank and lines your new carb is now contaminated. That stuff just doesn't come out w/ draining the gas always. The fuel cap should also be venting. Usually that issue begins after several minutes of running. Is this a model w/ the carb on the fuel tank? #s would be helpful.


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

FIXED it with a SIMPLE method. After 3 days of frustration. Briggs and Stratton engine (probably one of the cheapest).
As you say runs a for just a few seconds after priming. Fuel filter okay, changed gas, etc.

What I did, primed it, started it. When it was running I primed it again. Before it could die, I primed it again. I did this 5 or 6 times. After that, it ran on its own and I was able to mow the lawn.


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

Start using fuel cleaner conditioner and a Fuel Stabilizer during extended storage and you will not experience this form of carburetor related gumming issues .


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

I'm having a similar problem, but I know it's not bad gasoline. Priming the engine or spraying carb cleaner gets it to run until that fuel is burned, but then it shuts down. Cleaned out the carburetor, including all the pin holes in the bowl nut and up through the carb. Then, someone blocked the air intake hole with his finger, cutting off appx 75% of the air, and the engine kept running. Float seems to be working fine, and the carburetor is getting gas. Other than having someone walk along side the lawn mower while I'm cutting the grass, with their finger regulating the air intake, what can I do to keep the engine running? Briggs & Stratton engine, if it helps. Thanks.


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

  • Posted by baymee LehighValleyPA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 6, 10 at 22:12

It's probably still lean on fuel somewhere. You might be able to use a strong Sea Foam solution in the gas and it will clean out the varnish.


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

You have not either replaced a plugged fuel filter or have not properly cleaned the carb circuits .


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

Thank you, baymee and ewalk. By carb circuits I assume you mean the pinholes in the carburetor. For sure I haven't changed the fuel filter. I'll do that, and if it doesn't do the trick, take the carburetor off again and clean it out good. And if still nothing, look for that Sea Foam stuff. Thanks again guys.


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

I am having the same problems, the lawnmover will start for a few seconds and them stall. Craftsman 917.377 280 Briggs and Stratton engine. This mower is over 10 years and I have not had starting problems at all. It started well at first pull for all these years.

If I have to apply some Sea Foam. What is the proportion and do I put it in the oil or fuel. My manual says oil cap = 20 ozs and Fuel cap is 1.6 qts.


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

D: Put a few ounces in a fresh fuel system its the carb your attempting to clean !


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

Looks like there are two threads on the same theme. I posted the following on the other one, but have had no response. This thread seems more current; so perhaps someone monitoring it can help.

RE: Craftsman Lawnmower Won't Stay Running Part 2

Posted by tofino (My Page) on Thu, Aug 12, 10 at 20:00

I have the same problem with a model 917.377822 -- a Briggs and Stratton 7.0 Hp engine. It's run very well for three years, and I've kept it maintained. Oil levels OK and air filter clean. But now after running for a few seconds it dies.
I've tried hilmay's re-priming trick, and as long as the primer is permanently pressed in it runs. But after letting the primer go the engine still dies. I've done this a dozen times.

So, any suggestions about next steps? I'd be happy to take the carb apart and clean it. But the manual isn't helpful in that regard, nor is the schematic that Craftsman posts. Not sure where to start in that disassembly. Is there a better diagram somewhere, and can anyone walk me through the steps? Thanks.


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

Soved it.

After doing some online search, Realized I probably had to clean the carburator. Did some search on youtube and there are some good postings there.

Basically dismantled the carburator, cleaned it nicely inside out. Just using WD-40 and some compressed air. The carburator was in very good shape for a 12 year old mower. Assembled it and cranked it, It fired up at first shot. Smoked a bit for some time and then looked good. I will test it in a few days when I have to do the lawn, that will be the test.

I also took the opportunity to clean it allround using simple green and hosing it down. The mower now looks like it is 2-3 years old.

Inspect the V-belt to see if it is not stretched. I also filled the gear box with greased.

The instructions are very simple and are on youtube.

I would suggest you drain the fuel so the leak is minimum. You will need small sockets spanners with screw driver attachment.


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

I have a Craftsman Riding Mower DYT4000, Model # 917.273621. Briggs & Stratton Intek Twin 24 OHV.

Last week it worked like a champ. This week, not so good.

It will start up but when I let the clutch out, it dies. I have tried it in neutral, forward, reverse, deck -up, deck-down, blades engaged and blades off. Doesn't matter.

As soon as I take my foot off the clutch, it turns itself off. Now, if I push the clutch back in, it revs back up.

Any suggestions?


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

  • Posted by baymee LehighValleyPA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 16, 10 at 5:38

You should post a new thread, but it sounds like a malfunctioning safety switch.


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RE: Craftsman Lawn Mower Dies after a few seconds

my new Murray (Briggs&Stratton) mulching mower would stall a few seconds after starting. I primed according to the instructions but it would always stall out after running 5 seconds or so. After reading this thread I primed it again after it started. I had to do this a few times but it did continue to run after doing this a few times. I let it run awhile and then turned it off. It started back up without priming and seems to be OK.


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