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PK., Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 1052
Experience:  Retired Owner of a full service shop and national parts sales website.
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I have a John deere 212 lawn tractor with a Kohler engine (12hp)

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I have a John deere 212 lawn tractor with a Kohler engine (12hp) that will not start although it fires faster and faster but will not keep running. It acts as if starving for fuel. The fuel pump works. I cleaned all the passages in the carb with compressed air. The Problem still seems to be a lack of fuel. Ether does not help. What next.
What model and spec number are on the engine? Also the DOM if you can read it. Thanks, PK.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

The model number K301AQS; the spec number: 47640; the serial number: 15098858.

I couldn't find the DOM, we guessed the model year is about 1986.

Do you know if it has points or not?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No I don't.

Okay, that will be the first thing to determine.


You're going to need an engine manual. Fortunately, if you go to you can download one.


We know that an engine needs three things to run, compression, fuel and ignition and all at the proper time.


By using ether, you've effectively eliminated fuel as the problem. So first I would check for spark. Pull the spark plug, hook the plug wire back up and using insulated pliers, hold the metal part of the plug against the engine head while someone tries to start the engine. If there's a spark, then I would check the compression with a compression gauge. It's hard to determine the actual compression because of the compression release, but it will give you an idea.


Also, you can have ignition, but if it's not delivered at the right time, then the engine won't run. You'll need to determine which ignition system you have. You could have a points issue, a problem with the pushrod for the points, or for the electronic ignitions a flywheel that's moved out of position.


Check these things and let me know what you find and we'll go from there. Thanks, PK.

PK. and other Small Engine Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
We downloaded the manual and will study it today and tackle the repair again tomorrow. Thank you so much for your help.
Okay. This question stays open for as long as you want. You can reply the same way you have been for as long as you need. Thanks, PK.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
We replaced the points and found that they were gapped too large and only slightly burned. We also replaced the condenser while we were in there. Thanks for the website on the Kohler manual it was very helpful. We had to loosen the engine to access the points. Thanks for all your help the tractor runs like it did a couple years ago.

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