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JON
JON, Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 937
Experience:  Certified Small Engine Technician
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Had to replace drive belt on riding mower. Couldn't get it

Customer Question

Had to replace drive belt on riding mower. Couldn't get it without tipping it over. Now it won't start. This was actually the second time I tipped it. The first time there wasn't much gas in it. It started after that, but noticed it slipped on outside of belt guard and I didn't see before I put mower deck back on, filled tank and ran it for a few minutes. Then noticed so I had to do it second time – now won't turn over.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

Hi, my name is ***** ***** me review the issue, and I will be more than happy to help resolve it as quickly as possible.

Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

You will need to drop the bowl to the carb and drain the carb. Most likely the needle is stuck. If this doesn't work, you will need to remove the entire carb and clean out

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Drop the bowl? Can you give a little more info on that.
Is is most likely because the gas tank had more in it the 2nd time?
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

When you tipped it over, was the carb up in air or down towards the ground? Being as though you seen gas on the air filter, tells me fuel leaked through the carb and out onto the air filter. This disrupts the float inside carb and can hang the needle up which allows fuel flow, so with out fuel flow it isn't starting. Should be a bolt or nut on the bottom of the carb and you can just remove the bowl, let the pressure off the needle and maybe it will solve issue without pulling the entire carburetor

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
need to go look and see what side the carb is on
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

Okay. If is poured enough fuel onto the air filter, the engine cannot breathe and would cause it not to start. Have you been able to remove the air filter completely and try to start machine?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Air filter is a hard plastic one, pops out easily. It appears the carb is on the front of the engine in the middle. Right below the air filter housing. Could that be right? Haven't had it a long time, not as familiar with this model.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
tried without air filer in, no luck
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

does it just turn over and over? Pull the spark plug and make sure it is not flooded out. Once you pull plug, turn engine over a few times to blow out any fuel that has leaked into the cylinder

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
removed the bolt on the carb – lots of gas came out. replaced it. It just cranks and cranks, doesn't turn over. Need to find my long sockets to remove spark plug next.
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

okay. let me know how it goes after plug removal

Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

make sure plug is dry when you reinstall it

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Removed plug. Appeared to be dry. Wiped it down good, reinstalled it. Still only cranks, doesn't turn over.
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

pour a little fuel into the plug hole and see if it fires off briefly

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
lost my light, will have to wait until morning.
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

no problem. I will be on tomorrow also. Just let me know

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
put some gas in hole, nothing. Realized there was a second plug on opposite side of engine. Pulled it, it was dry. It's barely cranking now.
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

battery is probably low from cranking and cranking. If you put fuel directly into cylinder and it doesn't start still, you have no spark or low compression

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Can you walk me thru putting it directly into cylinder. I'm ok with engines as long as I have a little guidance.
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

do you have a can of carb cleaner or starting fluid?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
no, should I grab some. would that make it easier?
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

you could just spray it into the carb then, instead of removing plugs each time

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I know how to do it on a car, but my carb is connected to the bottom of the air filter housing. if I remove the air filter i can see into the housing. There is still fuel in there.
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

can you spin the top of the engine with your hand currently? If so, hard or easy turns

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I can turn it about half way before there is resistance, not forcing it.
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

okay, normal then. do you have spark at both the plugs. I just thought of this..... May have dropped a valve or push rod when tipped over. Will have to pull off valve covers to check the push rods and valve clearance

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
when I was removing one of the two valve covers, the head of a bolt snapped off. Valves appear to be open (all or most of the way up)
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

are both rods in proper places and straight. What is your valve clearance on each valve?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
This is quickly rising above my comfort level. I need to get the bolt out for now. Can't put the valve cover back on – don't want it exposed for now. Before I did this I was beginning to wonder if the battery was losing it. I might have left keys in it overnight the other night. I'm gonna be mad at myself if that was my issue all along. Might go charge battery/get a new one (it's older) If I can get the bolt shaft out.
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

Customer

put some gas in hole, nothing. Realized there was a second plug on opposite side of engine. Pulled it, it was dry. It's barely cranking now.

24 Sept 2016, 11:11 AM

Me

battery is probably low from cranking and cranking. If you put fuel directly into cylinder and it doesn't start still, you have no spark or low compression

24 Sept 2016, 11:12 AM

Customer

Can you walk me thru putting it directly into cylinder. I'm ok with engines as long as I have a little guidance.

24 Sept 2016, 11:14 AM

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I don't understand your last response.
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

that's what I had stated in beginning was the battery may be low from crank and cranking. put everything back together and try charging the battery. Let me know what happens. They are just so many things that can cause this issue once a machine is tipped over. I assumed you had a fully charged battery, that is my fault

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Not your fault. It was running fine the day before. It just dawned on me today when I tried starting it again that I had left the keys in it Thursday and I couldn't remember if it was in the off position or not. Not really sure - could be. My main concern at this point is getting the bolt shaft out. It's really warped and I've stripped off all the exposed threads and it's just shredding off the metal at this point. Need to deal with battery as well. Borrowing neighbor's mower so I can get it mowed before it rains tonight. May be tomorrow before I get back to you.
Expert:  JON replied 9 months ago.

no problem.