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Off Topic => Off Topic - Ideas, humor, inspiration => Topic started by: Adam Roby on March 20, 2016, 08:20:00 PM

Title: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: Adam Roby on March 20, 2016, 08:20:00 PM
Hi Guys,

Not cabin related, more small engine related.  About 3 years ago I severely hurt my back and basically everything came to a standstill. 
I wound up having to hire a landscaper to take care of the yard.  Fast forward 3 years, I had back surgery last summer and think I can resume my lawn duties, and the new contract just showed up ($80 per month, $560 for the season), so the motivation financially is also there.

I checked the gas tank and it is bone dry.  I have no clue if I last ran out or if it just evaporated over the past 3 years.  There was no stabilizer in there because of the sudden stop work order from my body.
I plan on changing the oil and spark plug, clean the air filter or replace, and sharpening the blade, and I was thinking of filling the carb with some seafoam or something, and letting it sit a while before I try cranking it over. 

Any chance it still runs without a carburetor overhaul?
Anything else you would suggest I do before trying to start it?
I can't remember right now what brand it is (Yardworks I think), I remember is wasn't exactly cheap and rang in at around $425 so it is worth it to get her back up and running versus just buying another one.
Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: glenn kangiser on March 20, 2016, 10:03:04 PM
May depend on how much gas may have been in it when it was shut down.  I have things that start right up after a year or two. 

First I would try it with some fresh gas.. maybe a bit of Berryman's Chemtool could be added in case of varnish from old gas.  Try to start it.  Next if it doesn't start it depends on the carburetor type, but you could pull the hose off to see if you are getting gas from the tank or unscrew the bottom plug to see if gas is coming into the carburetor.  If not then the needle valve could be stuck closed so you could pull the bottom off the carb and get the needle valve unstuck or remove it and clean the hole.  Check the jet in the bottom with a fine wire such as a torch tip cleaner.

That is about enough without knowing if there is any problem. Good Luck. :) 

Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: Adam Roby on March 22, 2016, 05:43:55 PM
Looks like a rebuild is in order. 
Took out the plug and shined it up.
Sprayed into the carb with Seafoam at an attempt to clean it first.
Poured some new fuel... but noticed some crap at the bottom of the tank...
Cranked over and over until my arm hurt, nothing happened.
Emptied the tank to have a better look at the bottom... went in with a white paper towel and it came out with chunks of orange goop... basically sludge, fuel turned to varnish would be my guess.

Plenty of YouTube videos showing it should be relatively easy to clean myself, just to find the right gasket kit might be a challenge.   

Edit:  Still have to do the things mentioned above, did not get a chance to.  Will check those first... thanks for the recommendations.
Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: glenn kangiser on March 24, 2016, 12:30:31 AM
Good luck. You'll get it.  Done it plenty of times myself.  I try to keep a small amount of gas in if not planning to use for a while so it is near out, but hard to plan when seasonal use items are "done for now" and on to the rest of the projects at hand ...then comes next year...  [ouch]
Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: Adam Roby on March 24, 2016, 06:22:30 PM
I'll give it a try, can't make it any worse than not working. 
If I do get it going, I plan to use small amounts of only pure gas (no ethanol) and always mixed with the storage stuff, just in case.
Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: Wild Blue Jondr on March 24, 2016, 07:21:30 PM
Good point, I think keeping a little fuel treatent in small engines is money well spent. StarTron works well for the ethanol issues, and seems to hold up well over a winter. Good luck with the carb rebuild.
Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: glenn kangiser on March 24, 2016, 10:56:36 PM
A friend with a small engine shop recommends using premium with Techron in the small engines.  I have been doing that for a few years and seem to have better luck starting things after sitting for the season most of the time .
Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: rick91351 on March 25, 2016, 05:25:14 AM
I used to drain everything and empty the bowls and all that. Then it suddenly just seemed not to work very well any more.  My buddy that owns a saw shop and small engine repair he is even in a fog what is best to do.  He does sell a additive I used for a while.  First tank of the year. Has some good solvents in it.  Mix to the label works pretty well however lately....

Going in to the storage season - not all the same - snowblower gets retired when the tillers come out..... Wood splitter it gets the heck used out of it fall - late fall - then this year in to the winter when my procrastinating neighbor........ and we all pitched in. Metal tanks I fill to the top with gas with Seafoam - ( I have been using Marine. )  Plastic tanks I am not so fussy about fulling to the top.  My theory filling to the top less condensation - less rust in the tank.  Yet to prove it to myself just seems the thing to do.

We have so much fuel sitting I try and treat it at the pump. I try to have fifty or sixty gallons on hand. I store it in five and six gallon containers.  Why so much on hand? Winter time snowblower and I plow a lot of snow with my  fourwheel a 650 and it drinks a lot of fuel plowing. Summer time we run the fourwheelers everyday, plus chain saws and rototillers and mower and weed trimmers.....  Fires - road closures - power outages - acts of God.  We do have gasoline available up here - but if the power is out - zero available and we have had it out over a week - very little now is available on the farms and ranches because diesel so so so much more common.  Seems easier that having the five gallons ready to go than the old farm tank sitting up on the stand......
Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: Adam Roby on March 25, 2016, 05:35:24 PM
I used to have a ritual with my motorcycles, worked well for 20+ years.  I would add Sta-bil storage stabilizer to the tank and take it out for my last run of the season (in my head to coat everything nice and good), then top off the tank on my way home (also for condensation and less rust forming).  I would then close the fuel valve and let it run until it ran out of fuel.  All my bikes had hoses from the carb bowl to the ground, so I would just back off each of the carb screws and the remaining fuel would leak out of the carbs which I would catch in a small container.  This pretty much always worked for me.

What happened with the lawnmower was sudden, instant pain and can't move let alone store the lawnmower.  So it sat "as is" for 3 1/2 years or so... probably more now.  Same reason I had to sell the motorcycle, simply can't ride anymore.  I will pull off the carb tonight or tomorrow, see if I can figure it out.  Seems to be 2 jets, and the consensus seems to be to use carb cleaner with fishing line to prevent damage to the jets.  Only catch is figuring out what gaskets to buy for replacement.  Looked on the Yardworks site, they don't even recognize my model... strange.  I am guessing the carbs are pretty standard, Briggs & Stratton most likely, carb itself might have a model # on it.
Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: kenhill on March 25, 2016, 07:02:49 PM
My ritual is to mix a cocktail of Seafoam, Stabil, Marvel Mystery Oil, and heet.  Some products are redundant I believe.  The idea is the Marvel Mystery Oil keeps steel and aluminum from corroding, Stabil preserves the fuel, Seafoam keeps things clean, and heet would absorb any water from the fuel expanding/contracting and bringing moisture into the tank.  I do not drain tanks or carbs.  I run the engines to make sure the cocktail is in the carb.  This prevents corrosion and drying out of rubber parts.  I do this at the end of the season.  When they come out of hibernation, things start with 2 pulls.
Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: Adam Roby on March 26, 2016, 07:02:18 PM
Does anyone one if Throttle Body Cleaner can be used on a carburetor?

I thought I had some carb cleaner but I don't.  I wanted to start working on the carb tonight, pulled it off and I can clearly see gunk all over the place.  I have brake cleaner and throttle body cleaner... I suppose I can just wait for tomorrow... but if anyone knows it either would be safe to use then I might give it a try.

I could also use rubbing alcohol... and I think I have some rum around.  :)
Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: Adam Roby on March 28, 2016, 08:46:16 AM
Well, that is what I used in the end... didn't realize most places were closed on Easter Sunday. 
I think I got everything clean, all the jets were spraying etc. 
But she still won't start... one strange thing is that the primer bulb doesn't seem to be working, so no fuel is getting into the carb.
I am going to swap it out as soon as I can get my hands on a replacement bulb...  figure if air is getting in that would prevent the carb from pulling fuel properly?  I don't see any cracks but the mower is probably 10 years old and it was sitting for 3-4 years without running so it can very likely be dried out and I just don't see the cracks (my eyes are not as good as they used to be either).

BTW:  If I spray throttle body into the inlet and crank she starts right away but just for a second.  I know the engine/spark side of things is still good, just a fuel problem still.
Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: kenhill on March 29, 2016, 11:46:39 AM
Sounds like could be a float level problem, stuck float needle or plugged orifices.  You can use a brass wire to gently probe the low and high speed ports.
Title: Re: Lawnmower Restore
Post by: glenn kangiser on March 31, 2016, 08:29:45 PM
I carefully use a cutting torch tip cleaner to get a proper sized wire and not damage the jets... works most years for me when I have a problem.