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JohnF2015, Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 1140
Experience:  Owner/Service Technician at S & J Small Engines
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Pearl, I have a Craftsman riding mower 54 inch deck. It

Customer Question

Hi Pearl, I have a Craftsman riding mower 54 inch deck. It starts right up and runs great until I engage the blades. It will run the blades but once I start cutting grass it bogs down. It used to plow right through. This happened all at once when I ran out of gas one time. I'm not sure if that's a coincidence or if it's related to that event. Had a Sears tech out here already. He told me to get a new belt and new blades. Did that, no help. I checked the compression on both cylinders, good. Changed the fuel filter, changed the spark plugs, air filter, check the deck and mandrels, all spin freely. Pulled the fuel line off and fuel pump seems to be pumping plenty of fuel. Cleaned the carb with carb spray. I checked the fuel line going inside the gas tank, wide open. No blockage. I have new gas high octane. But still bogs down. I already paid the Sears tech $100 to come out and he told me to change the blades and belt. He is going to come out again for another $100 but I don't have confidence in his skill. I think he'll just tell me to get another part and change me another $100. Any ideas? Could it be a clutch or PTO problem? Wiring harness? Not sure??
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  JohnF2015 replied 1 year ago.
HI, my name is***** will be assisting you.My first thought is that you may have a bent push rod which is causing the engine to run on only one cylinder. The compression would still be good but the valve not opening properly will cause the engine to run only on one cylinder. Try to remove one spark plug wire and start the engine, then hook it back up and remove the other and restart the engine. If the engine will not start with one or the other plug wire off then it is a good indication that the one cylinder that is hooked up with a no start condition is a problem. I would then check the push rods on that cylinder or side of the engine. It is possible that if the engine backfires hard enough it could bend a push rod or the valve guide slips in the head and will bend the push rod.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi John,
You're a lot savvier than the Sears tech who came to my house and told me to change the blades and belt.
Sears should have never merged with Kmart.
Anyway, I did what you said. Wow!!! One of the cylinders doesn't work. So I checked for a spark. NO Spark!
I should have checked this first. What was I thinking? Haha. Anyway, since there is no spark at all, do you think it could be a coil problem?
At least I know where I am looking for the problem now.
Expert:  JohnF2015 replied 1 year ago.
Yes, it could be. If you want to verify that you can remove the blower housing from around the flywheel, locate the two ignition coils and unplug the small wires that go to each of the coils, this will eliminate anything backwards in the system and then recheck your spark, just keep in mind that you don't want to get caught in any moving parts while checking it. If you get spark on both coils while doing this check then I would replace the ground wire that goes between the two coils, this wire has a small diode in it that if it fails can cause the coils to act up and not fire properly.If you do have a bad ignition coil, I normally recommend replacing the both while you are making the repair.Thank you it has been a pleasure to assist you.Please take a moment to rate your experience.