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I have a 16.5 Kholer engine with ohv on a craftsman lawn tractor.

Customer Question
It starts fine and runs...
I have a 16.5 Kholer engine with ohv on a craftsman lawn tractor. It starts fine and runs fine for about 15 minutes then breaks up and shuts down. It will restart but not run for very long. The gas is fresh, the fuel filter is new, the carb was cleaned, the ignition module was replaced. Any ideas? Thanks Harry
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Small Engine
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Answered in 2 hours by:
6/25/2010
Technician: Curtis B., Technician replied 8 years ago
Curtis B.
Curtis B., Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 31,911
Experience: have worked on and around most engine models for 35 yrs./Polaris ATV expert
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Check the fuel shutoff solenoid in the base of the carburetor. They heat up and drop out, killing engine. It has to stay engaged(open) for the mower to keep running. Listen for the click each time you tune key on and off. Then when unit dies, listen to hear if it is still clicking. No click, no fuel.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I tried a different carb from my John Deere tractor and still had the same results.
Technician: Curtis B., Technician replied 8 years ago
I assume that it did not have a fuel shutoff solenoid? The solenoid doesn't have to be bad, you can lose power to it and the same thing happens. I guess you need to run the old spark test, take a spare plug with you and when unit shuts down, remove the spark plug wire and attach it to the spare plug, and with the plug grounded see if you still have the spark. It is good to know if you are chasing fuel or electrical problem. Let me know. Thanks.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I changed the ignition module so I ruled out that problem. I was thinking when the engine gets hot that their maybe a bad head gasket or a crack somewhere could be causing the problem?
Customer reply replied 8 years ago

Any more ideas as to what could be causing this problem?

Technician: Ranwell1, Small Engine Technician replied 8 years ago
Ranwell1
Ranwell1, Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 10,347
Experience: I Own a Lawn Mower Sales and service business (37years). Have 2-cycle and 4-cycle certification.
Verified

This problem actually sounds to me like the fuel cap is not venting. If there isn't any air getting into the gas tank it will create a vacuum and it will not allow fuel to enter the carburetor. The engine will run for between 5 and 20 minutes and then act like it is starving for fuel and then die.

 

If this is not the problem, then I am thinking that the carburetor needs to be cleaned and rebuilt.

 

Trying a different carburetor from a different engine is not usually a good thing to do because the carburetors may not be exactly the same. They can be jetted differently.

 

Here is my comprehensive carburetor and fuel answer that may give you some ideas.

 

As engines sit or get older, fuel that is left in the carburetor can turn to gum and varnish and cause this and other problems. Also, any gasoline that was left in a gas can for a period of more than 30 days must be discarded because it also has begun to turn to varnish.

 

Today's gasoline's contain MTBE and alcohol. (Ethanol) They turn to "Junk and garbage" very quickly. Alcohol is partially water (H2O). And they call it "Oxygenated fuels! It is the oxygen that breaks down the organic compounds in the fuel and turns the gas to "Garbage" (Gum and varnish) The fuels we had just a few years ago had no alcohol in it and would store for longer periods of time before going stale... and fuel stabilizers do almost nothing to prevent the fuel from going bad with the changes in today's fuels.

 

Do not buy gas from the "Discount" Stations. The discount stations get a reduced price on gas because they may be buying fuel that is nearly 30 days old already. You may be getting fuel that's nearly stale right from the pump when buying from a discount station. Purchase your fuel from the well-known stations such as Shell, BP, Sonoco, Phillips 66 etc.

 

More than 70% of all of our repairs in our lawn mower business are due to this same issue. You most likely have dirt, gum, varnish...etc in your carburetor plugging up the small passageways and jets in the carburetor.

 

The carburetor must be removed from the engine. Clean all parts with carburetor cleaner and blow out all the small holes and passageways with compressed air. Remove all of the non-metallic parts since the carburetor cleaner will cause them to be disfigured decompose and plug the carburetor as time goes on.

 

Wash the carburetor cleaner off of the metal parts by washing them in warm, soapy water then rinsing with clean water. Dry them by blowing it off with compressed air. Make sure that all the passageways are blown dry before reassembling.

Reassemble using a NEW carburetor rebuild kit.

 

DO NOT TRY TO REASSEMBLE WITHOUT USING A COMPLTE CARBURETOR KIT! You will just end up having to do the job again.

 

ALWAYS clean the fuel tank and replace the fuel line when doing this repair or you may have to do it all over again. The inside of the fuel line disintegrates over time and these small pieces of rubber will plug up the carburetor too. Dirt and water from a dirty fuel tank will also plug up the carburetor. Find the Model, type and serial or code numbers off of the engine and take them to your local dealer to get the carburetor repair kit.

 

If you do the work yourself, take pictures or at least make a drawing of where all the linkages, gaskets, and component parts go. Correct reassembly is critical.

 

If the carburetor still doesn't work correctly, you may have to take it to someone who has an "Ultra-sonic" cleaning machine. This machine uses carb cleaner and ultrasonic vibrations to get the very small passageways clean when traditional methods fail.

 

If you don't feel comfortable with this kind of repair I would suggest sending it to a reputable shop.

 

Feel free to contact me here at this question anytime ...even after you hit the "ACCEPT" button ...and I will try to help further.

 

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I don't believe I have a fuel problem. If the engine runs for 15 min. how can that be a fuel problem? I put another carb on the tractor and still had the same problem.
Technician: Ranwell1, Small Engine Technician replied 8 years ago

It still seems like to me that the fuel cap is not venting properly. I just put the carb answer there just to give you some additional information.

 

And yes it can be a fuel delivery problem...it may not be very likely, but here is how it could happen. If the float needle is not opening fully or the float is not set right. You could be burning more fuel faster than the float and float needle can let in into the carburetor. In this particular example the engine might take 15 minutes for the level of fuel in the carburetor to get too low to supply enough fuel so the engine will run.

 

This happens every now and then and happens even more often after someone takes the carburetor apart to try to clean it or rebuild it. The get the float set to high and causes this problem.

 

Another way it can be a fuel problem is in THIS example.

 

This happens all the time several times a month in our shop.

 

This happens mainly with Some Kohler engines.

 

The fuel solenoid that is located on the bottom of the carburetor that has an electrical wire connected to it. This is called an afterfire solenoid. Even when these solenoids appear to work, they have have a problem on the inside of the carburetor. On the end of some of these solenoids is a black piece of rubber. this rubber "Stopper" is connected to a needle that is in the center of the electric fuel solenoid. This needle goes up and down as the solenoid is activated and deactivated. When power is applied to the unit, the needle is pulled into the body of the solenoid allowing fuel to flow into the engine through the carburetor, When th power is cut off to the solenoid the needle with the rubber plunger is pushed upward into the carburetor and stops the fuel flow. the problem we have with many of these is that because of the garbage fuel we have no, this rubber stopper gets soft and comes off of the needle and floats around in the very narrow passageway and after a few minutes gets sucked upward into the hole and shuts off the fuel and the engine dies. When the engine dies and the customer turns off the key. The needle then goes back up into the rubber cap and it stick back on where it is supposed to be. And the process starts all over again. When a mechanic takes this fuel solenoid off to inspect it, most of the time he sees nothing wrong because the rubber cap is back where it is supposed to be. If the mechanic would pull slightly on this rubber cap, it would come off in his hand and he would know that it is bad. Do not pull very hard because if it does come off, the solenoid MUST be replaced and it cannot be reattached.

 

So you see, in these examples, the problem could be fuel related. I am not saying that this IS the problem I am just saying it is possible. Since you have already replaced the ignition, you should be able to rule that out....so the fuel system is more likely the problem than not. Have you tried the gas cap issue yet? It could also be a fuel pump that is not working to its full capacity.

 

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

Tomorrow I will take the carb off again and check it out.

I've ran the engine with the gas cap off and still had the problem. When cleaning the carb I was not able to take out the high speed screw because it has a taper resistant cap on it. that is only part of the carb I didn't clean. Can't I take off the solenoid and cap the hole to rule this problem out?

 

 

 

Technician: Ranwell1, Small Engine Technician replied 8 years ago

If you find the correct bowl nut with the correct threads you can replace the fuel solenoid with that bowl nut and it should tell you if the solenoid is the problem or not. Make sure that the rubber top of the solenoid is not left in the hole.

 

Do not use the unit this way very long as you will be very likely get large backfires when you shut off the engine. That is what the fuel afterfire solenoid is there for.

 

I hope we find the problem soon. Thanks

 

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