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Sears carb choke issue!

Posted by archangel2003 (My Page) on
Sat, May 2, 09 at 0:37

Rant, info, then question?



Who ever though of that silly bulb as a replacement for the choke needs to be fired!

Since I first got it, it required 20 to 30 pumps or more to start!

The instructions say it only needs 3?

I suspect it is an attempt to keep emissions down as some forget to turn off the choke, so they deleted it!

And now it never starts unless I-
1: tear it apart and clean the grass out of the carb.
If so it might start like when it was new, but the next time only, and yes, I have replaced the filter many times and it does not help.

2: tip it over and dump some gas down the carb.
And I have to do the second one 2 or 3 times until it keeps running!

I know it's not a fuel issue unless I have been buying the same fuel in CA and IL over the last couple years and it also happens right after I clean it out.


It is the 6 Horse power Edger, model number 917.389621 and they have the gall to label it "Easy Start Performance"


What I need to know is if there is a direct replacement carburetor with a real, manual choke out there?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

Yeah, Tecumseh carbs can be cold blooded- that is for sure. I suppose you could find a carb with a choke, know that you would have to find a much older like sized engine to compare to and hopefully a good used carb as these things aren't cheap new- if you can get them. Then there is the linkage to deal with.
When you are inside, it is best to install a new bowl seal and if you haven't already- replace the bowl.That seal must be made in order to prime. Watch over the float level adjustment, but if it is running fine- it probably isn't too far off. There is always the shot of carb spray down the carb throat trick to save your arm...

Here is a link that might be useful: Tec manual

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

"tear it apart and clean the grass out of the carb." Excuse me..... is this "grass" INSIDE the carb??? If you are "getting grass into" the have a much bigger problem than you think. If you are really "getting grass into" the carb, your engine has also been inhaling unknown quantities of dirt and grit as well, and the piston and rings may be worn out. I hope this is not the case. It also sounds like the fuel bown might be empty (or very low) when you begin your starting ordeal. When you use this edger, do you shut off the engine just as soon as you get finished??? or do you allow it to idle a minute or so to "cool down"? Have you ever "had the carb apart" for a good cleaning/inspection? What I said about the fuel level possibly being low would have some effect on whether the "primer bulb" is able to prime the engine properly or just "puff a little air". The carb should be checked to make sure the float level is set to the right height (this determines how high the fuel level will be in the bowl). Also need to make certain the float is free to move and does not hit or rub anything that could obstruct its movement. A "low fuel level" can mean that the engine will "run leaner" in operation, and leaner means HOTTER. Couple that with the immediate shut down without a "cool down" idling period and the stage is set for the already "too low" fuel level to get even lower as the hotter engine evaporates more gas out of the carb as the hot engine cools off.

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

Yeah, I assume that the near microscopic crap clogging the fuel passage is grass bits swollen with fuel.

What else could it be?
Grass is being flung all over the place and gets everywhere, right?

After tearing it down and cleaning it out, it works until the next time I cut the grass and in the process run a few tanks of fuel through it.

I believe it's getting in through the fuel tank either sucked in through the fuel cap as fuel is used and air gets sucked in to relieve the negative pressure, or during the process of refueling.

Like I said, I replaced the air filter so its not through there.

Besides, if it were sucking grass through the air filter, I doubt it would go against the flow of fuel and climb up into the fuel passage that feeds the bulb, then stop and clog it.

FYI, I am a Ford factory trained mechanic, and have been working as one for over 20 years, and am in the process of going back to school to get my bachelor's degree in engineering.

Taking all that into account I disagree with the industry trend of changing the designs/parts and using the technological advancement excuse in order to maintain a monopoly on parts and repair!

RE: Tecumseh carb choke issue; what choke?!

Sears don't make the engine, but beings they put the cheapest engine on the market somethings they get a bad rap. I think as a ford mechanic you can understand this when ford when to Bazilian transmissions on there F series a few year back and cheapen your companies name, so you can relate to sears in some ways and you now understand how some of use feel when a BIG investment Craps out and really costs to fix it?

As for the grass getting inside the carb I don't have that problem and believe me a cyclone rake sturs up some dust and shoots clipping out somethings right over the engine. I would see if the air filter fit may be screwed up, maybe the slots are not in place before you hinge it up and put the wing nut on it, if yours is like mine????

If your engine not worn out (check compression) Get you a can of carb cleaner and prime it every time you want to start it. I have 5.5 vertical tec on my cyclone rake, after about a year and especially after 4 or 5 years of storage, it became hard to start, and it don't have a choke either.

I pump the primer bulb 4 or 5 times. remove the air filter (remove the wing nut and the housing and filter hinges off) spray carb cleaner right into the carb and pull the rope. it will usually hit on the first or second pull. now when it wants to die cause it don't have a choke and it's not warmed up yet I spray a 1/2 second or 1 second blast down the carb while it running and attempting to die.

The cooler the outside air temp the harder mine usually to get started. Some times I just throw the throttle wide open prime the sh** out of and and let it wind up from dead cold and when the RPM starts to drop I hit it with the carb. cleaner, it hangs a little and then picks back up, may have to do this several times till it warms up. Also if you let it set for a month or more it will probably be harder to start. But the spary carb cleaner does the trick for me. Once mine is warmed up it starts on the first pull, I think that is were they put the name easy start! HEE< HEE.

Mine has this plastic red square piece in the carb. housing, if it's cold (anything under 50 degree IMO) you are suspose to relocate it. But, I never fool with that. I just prime the SH** out of it with carb cleaner. I would also keep the oil changed in it quite often, if it's black and thick it's time to change it. Mine is 8 years old and still runs good ONCE I GET IT STARTED!!!!!!!!!!

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

Exactly....where in this carb are you finding this "grass"? If the grass is present in the air horn of the carb, it is coming in through a breach in the AIR intake portion of the carb. If this edger uses a carburettor fed from a separate fuel tank through a connecting hose, why don't you install an inline fuel filter? If it is the kind of carb that mounts directly to the fuel tank......and you are finding the grass in the fuel pick-up tube or the jets,(and it shouldn't make it to the jets if the screen is good on the pick-up pipe) then it is coming from the fuel tank area in one of the two ways you suspected. If it is coming in when you fill the tank, you need to use a filtering funnel lined with a clean cloth to catch any debris. If you believe it is coming in through the fuel cap vent, it would be easy enough to fashion a "bonnet" out of a piece of scrap cloth wired in place with a piece of tie wire. I surely wouldn't put up with having to do the clean out all the time, I'd find out where the heck that stuff was coming from. You don't think some little kids might be putting something over on you, huh? Since you think it might be coming from the fuel.....have you ever removed the tank and washed/cleaned it out good?

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

Posted by tomplum
Yeah, Tecumseh carbs can be cold blooded- that is for sure.

So you know for sure it's a Tecumseh carb, and I assume engine?

Posted by tomplum
I suppose you could find an older carb with a choke.

Any Idea where I could look on line to find one?

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

I am fighting a hard start problem with our 4.5hp Tecumseh lawn mower. I can't get it to keep running. It dies right away. I can rock the little butterfly tab on top of ther carb and get it to run for a while by rocking it back and forth but it just dies after I quit. I am going to rep-lace the primer bulb abnd maybe adjust the float if that doesn't do it. I looked at it but didn't measure the gap as it looked ok and had been running before ok. I'm not going to let it beat me. I will make it run. I put some carb cleaner in the gas tank too. Gonna tackle it again next week when I have time.

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

Well, I tossed your model on the Sears parts look up where they referenced a 143.016712 (LEV120-361523A) Tecumseh engine. If that was correct I am. You can put your engine #s into the same look up or post them here. I'm unsure of where to find a used carb on line. Usually there is a small engine bone yard at a dealer near you. Remember, you need the linkage as well. I've had my first new Tec carb show up as NLA this spring on a fairly recent WBT. We'll see more now since Tecumseh went away. Maybe you can find a Chonda to fit...

Here is a link that might be useful: Sears parts

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

Any starting or running problems you have to go over the basic's first. Remove the spark plug and inspect, clean gap and reinstall. If that don't help then do a fuel system clean up. remove the carb. tank, Clean the tank out and remove the bowl on the carb and clean the bowl and float area with carb. cleaner, if you are afraid to disassemble it any further and give it a good cleaning.

If all that don't help now you have to look deeper. if flat head the combustion chamber can be carboned up especially if it's a few years old. Head bolts also relax their torque from years of heat tranfer. with the piston up and the valve closed clean the piston, head, valve and head gasket. if overhead model then you may want to check lash clearances.

I've pulled craftman lawnmowers out of the trash and just cleaned them up and the ran good. All was wrong with them was neglect on preventive maintenance.

Don't think you should have to do this kind of pre-ventive maintenance? then buy a new one every 4 or 5 years or so and through the abused one to the curb.

the orginal poster never said how new or old the edger was! you've got to prime it and keep going or take it to a SGE mechanic and if your problem can be fixed. if it new enough and the warranty still good take it to sears repair center? I would just prime it if it runs fine after you get it started.

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

Posted by tomplum
We'll see more now since Tecumseh went away.

I do not believe they went out of business.
Did they get out of the small lawn mower engine supply, or just no longer doing business in our area (USA)?

Posted by tomplum
Maybe you can find a Chonda to fit...

I googled "Chonda" (assuming the capital "C" was not a mis-type as it's not next to the "H") and found nothing but a reference by Google asking if I, or I should say you, meant Honda.
Could there be a Chinese, AHEM, "version" of Honda called Chonda?
I'm going to assume you did imply Honda, and will look there.

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

probably just the primer bulb cracked and not pulling the gas up. Very simple to find out. if it don't fire by pushing the primer bulb? try a squirt of carb cleaner down the venturi. if it fires after two or three pulls. THEN YOU DO HAVE A FUEL PROBLEM. IT"S NOT GETTING gas. "I know it's not a fuel issue" (probaby corn gas ruint it letting it set in the tank and carb roting parts).

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

"Could there be a Chinese, AHEM, "version" of Honda called Chonda?" You are getting warm.
"I do not believe they went out of business.
Did they get out of the small lawn mower engine supply, or just no longer doing business in our area (USA)?" Click the link below for the thread related to Tecumseh's "demise".

Here is a link that might be useful: News and rumors

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

* Posted by rcmoser

probably just the primer bulb cracked and not pulling the gas up. Very simple to find out. if it don't fire by pushing the primer bulb? try a squirt of carb cleaner down the venturi. if it fires after two or three pulls. THEN YOU DO HAVE A FUEL PROBLEM. IT"S NOT GETTING gas. "I know it's not a fuel issue" (probaby corn gas ruint it letting it set in the tank and carb roting parts).

Read them all.
I already said I verified that it was a clogged passage in the fuel system. If I tear it down and clean it, it will work for the day, and if the bulb were cracked, cleaning will not help.

I can get my manual choke compressor started in one pull on most days!

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

Also, the Honda GX200 is 200cc's.

My lawn mower engine is the Tecumseh LEV120-361523A.

The 120 after the LEV stands for 12.0 CID and that's 200cc's.

So I doubt the Honda flange is the same as, or even close to the Tecumseh flange, as well as if the carb would fit the space.
I guess I will just have to head out to a local "generic" mower repair shop and ask advise and to see what the Honda carb looks like.

Heck, if they have a bunch of used units sitting around with a manual choke and of the right engine size, eyeball what I can and measure everything that looks close.

I modified the hell out of my compressor with a condenser to pull the moisture out of the air before it gets to the dryer and then the main tank.

In CA moisture was not an issue as the air is so dry, but out here the humidity is so bad my air tools spit water all the time, and the air tank can fill up with water fast.

I also made an adapter to fit a new pulley on the tapered shaft of the pump so I could get rid of the crappy ribbed belt to add a V belt.

OH, and the Toyota muffler welded to a section of flexible SS exhaust tubing and mounted to the new handle (damn thing was so loud)!

And a real handle, not the crap thin wall tube that was stock and lasted a month!

Why not modify the hell out of the mower?
New carburetor and a quiet exhaust!

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

You sound as though you have been around the block once or twice. Put the carb in hand and look for something in budget to make it happen at the local shop, or flea market or Craigslist. i think that it is your capability to make anything bolt up- even 3.0 V6 if it had to! The Chonda remark realy was to the Harbor freight fake Hondas. Actually, many parts interchange. It does, in the end- boil down to how much $$ makes sense to put into a repair. Much like you do every day. And yes, Tecumseh is no more. Truthfully, if someone had to go- it was best it was them. . .

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

Anyone ever consider that problems like these arising with aging Tecumseh engines is why Husqvarna switched to Briggs for almost all the Craftsman lawn equipment?

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

Did you try the carb cleaner as a primer when initially starting it and see what happens. I have to do this about every time on mine. IMO there has to be a small passage still restricted or something like a weak diaphram causing this.

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

Also, to sum up the rant: You are upset that Tecumseh used a primer bulb to get the air out of the fuel lines before attempting to start the engine (a practice still in use on many small engines), so you are going to take out your spite on the retailer that sold the product to you years ago, ignoring how far down the process they are. Step one: Tecumseh designs and builds an engine to sell to manufacturers of lawn equipment. Step two: Lawn Equipment manufacturers buy the engines to assemble onto products, putting various brand names on them. Step three: Brand Names pay for the manufacture, and sell the products to the retail stores. Step four: retail stores do their best to supply you with the equipment that will be best suited to your needs out of what they have available. I can see the frustration, but wouldn't it be more realistic and fair to say that it is worth it to spend a little more to buy a piece of equipment that is better designed and has no primer bulb rather than berate the retailer that had no choice in whether or not the mower you chose had a primer bulb?

RE: Sears carb choke issue!

Fast forward to 2013!

It has been living in the basement all these years.

Retailers can specify how they want the engines they install are built.

I also have a sears weed whacker in the basement gathering dust.
The Echo replacement is still doing well.

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