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Old 03-03-2018, 04:56 PM
 
959 posts, read 1,014,297 times
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Disclaimer - Not a very technical person

Bought a Troy Bilt lawn mower last Spring. Used it once a month (so 9x). Just tried to start it after it sitting through the winter (4 months no use) and it won't start. What should I do?

Do I need to change the oil? It still has oil in it
Spark plugs?
Some type of clogged fuel line?

I know lawn mowers need maintenance, but this house has a small yard and I only mow once a month (compared to normal once a week or every other week). I really thought it would be fine after 1 season...
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Old 03-03-2018, 06:07 PM
 
3,598 posts, read 1,518,497 times
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Fuel, air, spark. You need these three.


Oil change will have no effect.


First thing I would do is drain the gas and refill with fresh new gas (a lot of people recommend ethanol-free which is available at hardware stores - much more expensive but is claimed to be better for small engines that are only used intermittently.


If the mower was new last year, it almost certainly will not need a new spark plug, or anything else.


After sitting all winter, you probably need (after putting a full tank of fresh gas) to use the choke a lot more than you do when it's been recently run. If you have a squeeze thing that primes the carburetor, try double the recommended amount of squeezes at first, also.


Worst comes to worst you could give it a shot of ether starting fluid on the air filter.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Central Washington
526 posts, read 175,078 times
Reputation: 932
Quote:
Originally Posted by unknown00 View Post
Disclaimer - Not a very technical person

Bought a Troy Bilt lawn mower last Spring. Used it once a month (so 9x). Just tried to start it after it sitting through the winter (4 months no use) and it won't start. What should I do?

Do I need to change the oil? It still has oil in it
Spark plugs?
Some type of clogged fuel line?

I know lawn mowers need maintenance, but this house has a small yard and I only mow once a month (compared to normal once a week or every other week). I really thought it would be fine after 1 season...
I would bet it's old gas. Did you put fresh gas in it before you tried to start it? Put fuel stabilizer in it last fall?

The ethanol that's in most gas is bad for small engines, you can check this website to find a station near you that sells ethanol free gas.

https://www.pure-gas.org/

Here's a short video from Toro what is most likely the problem.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVaXwcHSRHQ

If that is the problem, to fix it the gas tank needs to be drained and the carburetor removed and cleaned.

A decent, well maintained lawn mower should last a long time, I have one that's 16 years old that still runs great.
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Old 03-04-2018, 12:31 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
15,569 posts, read 9,595,827 times
Reputation: 26029
1st thing I'd do is charge the battery. After 4 months of sitting, it's probably pretty weak.

Mine has a little gizmo that plugs into an electrical outlet at one end, the mower at the other. 1st time in spring, I leave it overnight.


But I also get the oil changed every summer, and blades sharpened at the same time.
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Old 03-04-2018, 04:49 AM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
65,012 posts, read 47,336,882 times
Reputation: 10512
Quote:
Originally Posted by unknown00 View Post
Disclaimer - Not a very technical person

Bought a Troy Bilt lawn mower last Spring. Used it once a month (so 9x). Just tried to start it after it sitting through the winter (4 months no use) and it won't start. What should I do?

Do I need to change the oil? It still has oil in it
Spark plugs?
Some type of clogged fuel line?

I know lawn mowers need maintenance, but this house has a small yard and I only mow once a month (compared to normal once a week or every other week). I really thought it would be fine after 1 season...
Yes.
Yes.
Maybe but probably not.

  • OIL: When you pull the oil dipstick out, what color is the oil? Clear Brown or black or in between? If its not clear brown, change the oil. Tip mower into container, drain oil into it, bring container to gas station to discard, put fresh oil in there.
  • SPARK PLUG: Look at your manual or search online and see exactly what kind of spark plug you need. Go buy one and replace. Easy thing to do.
  • GAS: Empty out the gas in a container, bring to local gas station to discard, put fresh gas in there.
  • FILTER! Change that filter. Bring it to store to match it or try amazon
I bet you it starts if all 4 of these are done.
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Old 03-04-2018, 06:44 AM
 
Location: Billings, MT
8,998 posts, read 7,086,859 times
Reputation: 12449
What was done when the mower was put in storage?
Did you run it until it ran out of gas?
Or, did you purchase and install a fuel stabilizer following the directions on the bottle?
If you did neither of those things, the mower needs to go to the shop to get the fuel system and carburetor cleaned. We used to get them in every spring at the shop where I worked.
Clean the carb, and they would run great.
Then in the fall, it was snow blowers/throwers. Same thing.
As for the gas with Ethanol (E-10), I have never found what the doomsayers have to say to be true. I normally buy my OPE (Outdoor Power Equipment) fuel 15 gallons at a time. I put a little over 2 ounces of Sta-Bil in each 5 gallon can, then fill with 87 octane gas. That 15 gallons of fuel will last us for 2 to 3 months, depending on how much we use the ATVs.
I have a 2 gallon can of fuel/oil mix for the weed whacker, mini-tiller, and chainsaw that is over 2 years old. All three units start easily and run fine. No fuel problems.
Before I retired, I was a Certified Technician for Briggs & Stratton, Tecumseh/Peerless, and Kohler four stroke cycle engines.
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Old 03-04-2018, 07:36 AM
 
16,754 posts, read 9,479,623 times
Reputation: 12144
High humidity areas and a partially filled fuel tank left to sit for months is a recipe for water sitting in the bottom of the float bowl of the carb due to condensation inside the tank from heat/cool cycles expansion and contraction sucking in moist air to then have it condense on the inside of an evening cooling down tank. Water will not move through the main jet with cranking of the engine. The only way to rid the carb of this is draining it via a drain screw at the bottom of the float bowl or removing the float bowl itself.

The use of Ethanol fuel actually mitigates this happening to some degree because methanol/ethanol will emulsify water in the fuel and allow it to disperse and get moved through the jets upon run created vacuum.

All the suggestions from a previous poster are spot on. Either drain the fuel completely or mix stab-il and shut off the fuel tap to the carb (if so equipped) then run it until it quits. All of this is ten minutes worth of work in the fall to save you days of aggravation in the spring.

The small engines with fuel shut-off tap equipped tanks or carbs and in-line fuel filters are worth the extra expense if you're maintenance averse.
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Old 03-04-2018, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Gray Court, SC
2,639 posts, read 1,744,456 times
Reputation: 2699
Unless you left it sitting outside, and assuming you have fuel in it, and know how to start it, keep trying. 4 months is nothing for the fuel. Id lean towards the battery needs charging. My mowers have been sitting since last October, took my jumper pack with me yesterday and all 4 fired right up. ALL of them have the E10 pump gas from local station.
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Old 03-04-2018, 09:45 AM
 
959 posts, read 1,014,297 times
Reputation: 604
//EDIT 24 hours after making this post - I went to Walmart and bought a lot of things. Ended up removing all the old gas, bought new gas from gas station, bought starter fluid, and it starts! I haven't mowed yet (busy), but at least it starts. Hope it lasts...
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Old 03-04-2018, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Wartrace,TN
5,278 posts, read 8,227,142 times
Reputation: 10385
I had the same problem last year. Turns out the guy that assembled it did not tighten the throttle cable and it was not choking enough to start.
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