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Old 06-14-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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Default Lawn mower sputters and turns off within a few seconds

Recently while cutting my grass my lawn mower began to sputter and shut off. Whenever i try to restart if (after priming), it will chug for a couple seconds and then shut back off.

I cleaned the air filter, topped off gas, and checked oil. All of those items are okay. What else could it be?

Thanks!
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, USA
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You might have water in your gas. Change the spark plug.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Texas South High Plains
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Have you been using the mower already this year?
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:31 PM
 
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Check the air filter..either clean it or replace it.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:36 PM
 
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Thanks for input so far. yes i've used the lawn mower about 10 times already this year (although pretty small yard), and cleaned the filter already.

how do i deal with the water/gas or spark plug issues?
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:57 PM
 
Location: rain city
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Not enough detail to make a diagnosis, but it may not be either the fuel or the spark plug.

If the grass is wet it will stick in a thick blanket to the underside of the mower deck. When the grass clippings get deep and gummy enough, the mower blade[s] cannot freely rotate and bind up in the deep mush of grass. The motor doesn't have enough power to keep the blades rotating in the grass sludge--then the mower balks, sputters, and dies.

Turn the mower on its side and look underneath to see if there is a thick mushy layer of grass clogging the deck. If there is, scrape that grass off with your hands or a trowel or something. Get all of the grass out. Then take the mower to a hard vegetation-free surface like a sidewalk or drive way and start the mower up again. Should run.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Texas South High Plains
7,018 posts, read 6,341,471 times
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I will assume here that your lawn mower is a 4-cycle, i.e., you don't mix oil with your gas. If so, you may have some trash (leaf/grass parts) that got into the gas tank and is finding its way to the needle/seat inside the carburetor bowl. If a piece of trash is preventing the needle valve from closing all the way the bowl will flood and flood your engine.

However, first I would check the more obvious things, e.g. the spark plug gap and cleanliness (sometime spark plugs simply are bad even when new or they go bad), make sure you are getting a good spark at the plug wire end and make sure gasoline is actually getting to the carburetor. You should be able to check fuel flow by simply removing the gas hose at the carburetor. Make sure you do this away from anything that could ignite any gasoline that may run out.

If the spark plug, the spark and the fuel flow check out, a dirty carburetor is suspect. I would then remove the carburetor bowl (making sure you don't lose the tiny needle that usually just hangs from the float by a very small wire hanger) and spray the bowl area and the needle area with carburetor cleaner. Also be careful not to tear your bowl gasket or you will have to replace it. After cleaning the bowl and seat area, reassemble everything in reverse order and try to start it.

Four cycle lawn mowers are usually pretty simple in that, if you have sufficient spark, fuel and compression, it will run. If your lawn mower is a 2-cycle (oil and gas are mixed), a dirty carburetor is almost always suspect.
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Old 06-15-2010, 05:24 AM
 
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Mine did that last year, and I was taught by husband how to change the spark plug and clean the carburetor. That did the trick for me.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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I replaced the spark plug and that didn't change anything. Basically, if i prime it, it will chug for a few seconds until it burns up the primed gas. If i don't prime it, it won't crank at all.

Does that narrow it down at all?
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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This probably isn't it and might sound dumb, but it might be flooded. I only say as something similar happened to me with a leaf blower. I primed it would work for a sec....didn't prime and it wouldn't start either - until I tried it more than a few times. Then the flooding sort of worked itself out, so to speak (I also put the gas intake on low). FWIW
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