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Thread: Lawn Mower Won't Start

  1. #1
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    Lawn Mower Won't Start

    It's a Troy-Bilt Brigs and Stratton 550 EX push mower. I just bought it last year, and it worked fine. It has been sitting in the garage with no use for about 4-5 months now. I just pulled it out, put gas in it, checked the oil and tried to start it. No go..the engine just rolls over, there's no sputter or anything. It just won't start. I'm really not good with this kind of stuff so I was wondering if anyone has any tips or advice.

  2. #2
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    Check spark plug connection. Pull air filter out and make sure it is not clogged.

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    Try a shot of starting fluid.

    Edit: Does the mower have a primer bulb? May need to prime it.
    Last edited by Horn in one; 04-14-2013 at 11:49 AM. Reason: no good reason

  4. #4
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    fetzer valve is probably sticking

  5. #5
    push the rubber button a couple of times

  6. #6
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    What O&W said. Change the spark plug if fouled. Clean the air filter if it's dirty.
    Last edited by retread; 04-14-2013 at 11:50 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Texasbadass View Post
    push the rubber button a couple of times
    I know what you're talking about, but this one doesn't have a primer. Not sure what a fetzer valve is.

  8. #8
    You sure it's not electric?

  9. #9
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    Cleaned the air filter and checked the spark plug. When I pull the cord there is kind of a 'popping' sound, as if it's trying to start but never does. Maybe I need a new spark plug? I don't really know how to tell if it's gone bad.

  10. #10
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    Your yard guy doesn't have another mower?

  11. #11
    Was there gas in the tank while unused? May need to drain it. Water gets in gas from condensation due to temperature change. Should be spring loaded valve at bottom of tank or carb bowl to let it out. Drain and few ounces, wait, try again.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lockport View Post
    Not sure what a fetzer valve is.
    This guy knows what it is. I think it's the by-pass line.


  13. #13
    If you left old gas in it, it's not gonna run right. Ethanol is hell on small engines. You might spray some carb cleaner in it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orange&White View Post
    Check spark plug connection. Pull air filter out and make sure it is not clogged.
    What O&W said. Try starting it with the air filter off. If it starts without it then a dirty air filter is your problem most likely.

  15. #15
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    I'll try that. Any tips on draining and storing the used fuel? I don't see a plug on the bottom of the gas tank so I'll probably have to tip it on its side.

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    IIRC tipping those push mowers will get oil up around the spark plug.

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    Was the gas you put in today a couple of months old as well? I would drain gas in mower and get new gas in the can. Also try some starter spray. Remove the air filter and spray it in the air intake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RexWilson View Post
    Was the gas you put in today a couple of months old as well? I would drain gas in mower and get new gas in the can. Also try some starter spray. Remove the air filter and spray it in the air intake.
    Indeed it was, I filled my gas can last summer. It may be the fuel then..just need to figure out how to dispose of the old fuel.

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    Pour it in the stream out back

  20. #20
    I think it's the bypass line..

  21. #21
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    Well I've $#@!ed around too long and now I don't have time to get it done today. I'll go by Lowe's tomorrow and see about getting some starter spray and a container for the old fuel. Also realized I don't have a socket wrench so I can't even check the spark plug.

    /beer

  22. #22
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    When it was sitting still for several months, was it on its side? My experience is that if you leave it tipped on its side, the fuel and oil may get into the muffler. Screws everything up. You can usually tip the mower to one side and be ok.

    If you can't easily get it fixed, just take it to a small engine repair guy. I bet half of their work is the weekend mower that screws up their mower trying to fix something. And I've been guilty of that. Small engine repair isn't too expensive because they need to keep it below the cost of a new mower.

  23. #23
    dipshit pablo13 is probably perfectly normal.  Probably. Maybe. Who cares?
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    Make sure you have not shut off the fuel valve...

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    Call a lawn service and put the pusher in the Shaggy classifieds. win/win for all of us

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    Sounds simple, but make sure that the grass catcher or the device that fits in its place is fully locked in. For safety reasons, the mower won't start if that is not secured properly.

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    I bought a mower at Home Depot a couple of years ago that was "Guaranteed to Always Start." I thought that was BS but sure enough, it always has, even after months of inactivity and old gas and pretty much whatever kind of neglect (like the two weeks I left it outside and forgot about it). Any small gas engine gurus know how that could be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullneck View Post
    I bought a mower at Home Depot a couple of years ago that was "Guaranteed to Always Start." I thought that was BS but sure enough, it always has, even after months of inactivity and old gas and pretty much whatever kind of neglect (like the two weeks I left it outside and forgot about it). Any small gas engine gurus know how that could be?
    You want to know why your lawn mower IS starting? Months of inactivity and some old gas ain't gonna kill your engine.

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    When my lawn mower won't start, I offer to go pick up some breakfast tacos. That usually gets him and his compadres going. #NationOfImmigrants

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lockport View Post
    It's a Troy-Bilt Brigs and Stratton 550 EX push mower. I just bought it last year, and it worked fine. It has been sitting in the garage with no use for about 4-5 months now. I just pulled it out, put gas in it, checked the oil and tried to start it. No go..the engine just rolls over, there's no sputter or anything. It just won't start. I'm really not good with this kind of stuff so I was wondering if anyone has any tips or advice.
    Make sure this coming winter that you start it every three or four days and let it idle for 10-15 minutes to avoid this problem next year. #MadeIn'Murica

  31. #31
    You can get the plug wrench, starter fluid and stuff cheaper at wal Mart or a parts store.

  32. #32


    Be sure to get the metal detector attachment. Win, win for everyone.

  33. #33
    Starter fluid sprayed in air intake. Spray it for about 2 seconds then immediately pull the rope. $5 says it starts.

  34. #34
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    check the oil. Some have a switch that won't allow it to start with low oil.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jkwellborn View Post
    You can get the plug wrench, starter fluid and stuff cheaper at wal Mart or a parts store.
    Thanks for the heads up

    Quote Originally Posted by squib View Post
    Starter fluid sprayed in air intake. Spray it for about 2 seconds then immediately pull the rope. $5 says it starts.
    Will try that tomorrow or next weekend, thanks

    edit: If it starts do I owe you $5?

  36. #36
    I can't say this enough times. Always run your outdoor power equipment out of gas if it is to be stored for more than a couple of months. Use "fresh" fuel when the times come to use it again.

  37. #37
    Yeah, probably clogged from old dirty gas. Carb cleaner, maybe a squirt of seafoam inside the spark plug hole if that doesn't work. Or you might have gotten a little water in there somehow.

  38. #38
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    Sounds to me like you not getting a spark. Usually with old fuel you'll get some kind of half-assed start attempt. Make sure all safety switches are functioning and making contact, attempt start again. If no go, pull spark plug, hold plug with pliers with threads touching engine block, have someone else attempt start and see if you see spark on plug (works best in dark garage). If no spark, you have an ignition problem, i'd suspect a safety switch somewhere because coils rarely go. If you perform this test and spark was good, reassemble and try with fresh gas, mix new gas with double dose of seafoam and spray starter fluid directly into carb on start. You can dispose of old gas in your car tank.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Lockport View Post
    Thanks for the heads up



    Will try that tomorrow or next weekend, thanks

    edit: If it starts do I owe you $5?
    No, just a pic of your freshly shorn lawn.

  40. #40
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    It's the bad gas.
    replace. starting fluid.
    retry.
    pour the old gas in your truck.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by squib View Post
    Starter fluid sprayed in air intake. Spray it for about 2 seconds then immediately pull the rope. $5 says it starts.
    Quote Originally Posted by LimaDelta6 View Post
    I can't say this enough times. Always run your outdoor power equipment out of gas if it is to be stored for more than a couple of months. Use "fresh" fuel when the times come to use it again.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by BA93 View Post
    You want to know why your lawn mower IS starting? Months of inactivity and some old gas ain't gonna kill your engine.
    What I'm wondering is how a company can guarantee an engine to start and actually be right about it. Or putting it another way, how can they do this an many others can't. If you want I'll go see what kind of engine it is.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullneck View Post
    What I'm wondering is how a company can guarantee an engine to start and actually be right about it. Or putting it another way, how can they do this an many others can't. If you want I'll go see what kind of engine it is.

    Ball bearings.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoseCuervo View Post
    Check the spark plug for spark.

    Pull the plug out of the engine, put the spark plug wire back on the spark plug.

    Figure out how to hold the insulation and not bare metal. Maybe prop up with wood.

    Have wife pull on the starter rope while you look for spark. If you have spark, then the problem is fuel.

    Then have wife go make you a sammich.
    No, no, no. Here's how you check for spark. Disconnect the spark plug wire, remove the rubber protector, and have your wife hold onto the metal plug snap while you yank the starter cord.

  45. #45
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    its the spark plug. cost you like $3 for a new one.

  46. #46
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    In case everything else fails and you get sick of dealing with it, Mike will come and get it started in a few minutes for $60. http://www.mobilemower.com/

  47. #47
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    I had this problem this year with a new motor. Two things fixed it for me:

    1. I had too much oil in the oil pan and the oil level was above the rings, sitting so long some oil seeped into the combustion chamber. I drained the oil to a normal level and pulled the spark plug to clean it. Then I sprayed a short burst of starter fluid in the plug hole let it sit for a while before replacing the plug. Did this twice to get all the oil burned off.
    2. Cleaned the air filter.

    YMMV

    You could also have water in the fuel bowl if it got rained on or you have bad gas. Take the bowl off under the carb and empty it so it fills with fresh gas.
    Last edited by TexasEd; 04-15-2013 at 10:16 AM.

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Texaus View Post
    Sounds to me like you not getting a spark. Usually with old fuel you'll get some kind of half-assed start attempt. Make sure all safety switches are functioning and making contact, attempt start again. If no go, pull spark plug, hold plug with pliers with threads touching engine block, have someone else attempt start and see if you see spark on plug (works best in dark garage). If no spark, you have an ignition problem, i'd suspect a safety switch somewhere because coils rarely go. If you perform this test and spark was good, reassemble and try with fresh gas, mix new gas with double dose of seafoam and spray starter fluid directly into carb on start. You can dispose of old gas in your car tank.

    This. In that order, right down to the disposal of the old gas. If it starts but won't continue to run using the starter fluid, then most likely its the float in the carb sticking.

  49. #49
    NAACP National Champ Snacks might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Snacks might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Snacks might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Snacks might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Snacks might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Snacks might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Snacks might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Snacks might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Snacks might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Snacks might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Snacks might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Snacks's Avatar
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    try seafoam... if that doesn't work, you're going to end up pulling the carb and cleaning it... you let the mower sit and the old gas in the carb turned to varnish and plugged up the carb...

    which reminds me, it's time to start my generator (that i had to clean out last year, because i let it sit.)

  50. #50
    \m/ MeSoHorny Shaggy Gold Club MeSoHorny Shaggy Gold Club MeSoHorny Shaggy Gold Club MeSoHorny Shaggy Gold Club MeSoHorny Shaggy Gold Club MeSoHorny Shaggy Gold Club MeSoHorny Shaggy Gold Club MeSoHorny Shaggy Gold Club MeSoHorny Shaggy Gold Club MeSoHorny Shaggy Gold Club MeSoHorny Shaggy Gold Club MeSoHorny's Avatar
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