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    Thread: Toro Lawn Tractor Died, Won't Start. Fuel Problem?

    1. Member nobbyv's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 03:51 PM #1
      My Toro LX425 lawn tractor w/ a Kohler Courage 20 engine died the other day while running it, and won't restart. It turns over fine. Checked, and I have good spark. I replaced the fuel filter, thinking it might be clogged, and notice that no new fuel is flowing into the new filter (its a clear plastic housing). I think there are two possibilities:
      1) Fuel line pre-filter is clogged
      2) Fuel "pump" isn't drawing fuel (fuel solenoid?) through the filter. I don't know anything about power equipment fuel supply; can anyone clarify if the filter would have fuel even if the solenoid failed?

      Thanks!

    2. Member oRANGEJULIUS's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 02:54 AM #2
      I believe that motor uses a vacuum style pump to transfer fuel from the tank to the carburetor. If it does, It will look like a little rectangle with a fuel line coming from the tank on one side, one going to the carb on another, and a vacuum line leading to the engine on the face or another side. These just have a rubber diaphragm inside that pulses to engine vacuum and pumps the fuel; common thing to go bad on seasonal equipment.

      First thing first, shoot a little either or wd40 into the intake, turn the key and see if it will run. If it runs it’s a fuel issue, if not re check for spark, if you have spark, or then get spark and still no start > check compression (issue in valvetrain?)

      Next, after you hear it run:

      Pull the fuel line off from the next connection closest to the tank and check that it is flowing (No? check tank, and shut off valve if it has one), move to the next connection down the line (filter most likely) and check to see if fuel comes out from the open line. No? replace filter. Once you get past the pump, you may have to cycle the key to see fuel flowing. If you have nothing at that point but you did previously it’s the pump (or if an electric pump (has wires going to it), use a test light or multi meter to check and see if you have voltage going to it while key is on; if so bad pump, if not check ignition switch and wiring) So you got fuel all the way up to the carburetor? You saw the spark plug spark when turning the key? Got compression? Go on: Issue may be a plugged jet or orifice in the carb (clean dirt), stuck float, adjustment screw backed out, or other carb issue.

    3. Member Mk1Racer's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 06:01 AM #3
      ^ Good advice.

      I'll add one other thing to check. I had this happen on my Troy Bilt tractor (actually just a re-branded MTD). It seems that many of the modern lawn tractors have anti-backfire valves on the carbs. It's essentially a solenoid on the bottom of the float bowl that activates a plunger that shut off the fuel flow. The solenoid has to be energized to open the valve. The one of mine failed, and I could not get the thing to run. I ended up removing it, and replacing it w/ an appropriately sized bolt (they use the solenoid to hold the float bowl to the bottom of the carb.

    4. Member nobbyv's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 02:34 PM #4
      Guys, thanks for the replies. I am officially stumped now. Pulled the fuel shut off solenoid, and it is indeed bad. I tried turning the ignition with it out, and the plunger isn't moving. So that's no good. It WAS stuck in the "shutoff" position, so I forced it in by hand and reinstalled it, thinking that if it was stuck closed before, it would be stuck closed now. Tried it, still won't start. Removed it, verified it was still in the "open" position. Reinstalled it, removed spark plug and re-verified spark. Added about 1 teaspoon of gas right to cylinder, reinstalled plug, STILL won't start.
      I don't get it.

      Summary:
      1) stalled while running, won't restart
      2) Has spark
      3) Fuel directly in plug hole does not help
      4) Turns over fine, just won't start

      Anyone have any other ideas before I bring it somewhere?
      Thanks!

    5. Member oRANGEJULIUS's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 10:15 PM #5
      Just out of curiosity; try a 3 Mississippi shot of starting fluid to the carb intake with the throttle open, quickly turn the key. Sometimes the gas manually added in the cyl does not work for various reasons. It would be nice to just hear it sputter or attempt to run… If you got spark for certain on a good, proper plug, and the starting fluid is introduced and it till will not let you run, you’re looking at a mechanical issue (timing, compression, etc). That will do a lot in narrowing down your issues. I do believe MK1Racer has a good idea as to what the issue is. If you verified fuel up to the carb, and you can get it to kick over on starting fluid, it’s a carb issue. If you can’t figure it out, worst case scenario is to pick up a carb on ebay and swap it out yourself; still cheaper than service I would imagine.

    6. Member Mk1Racer's Avatar
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      10-04-2012 06:26 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by nobbyv View Post
      Guys, thanks for the replies. I am officially stumped now. Pulled the fuel shut off solenoid, and it is indeed bad. I tried turning the ignition with it out, and the plunger isn't moving. So that's no good. It WAS stuck in the "shutoff" position, so I forced it in by hand and reinstalled it, thinking that if it was stuck closed before, it would be stuck closed now. Tried it, still won't start. Removed it, verified it was still in the "open" position. Reinstalled it, removed spark plug and re-verified spark. Added about 1 teaspoon of gas right to cylinder, reinstalled plug, STILL won't start.
      I don't get it.

      Summary:
      1) stalled while running, won't restart
      2) Has spark
      3) Fuel directly in plug hole does not help
      4) Turns over fine, just won't start

      Anyone have any other ideas before I bring it somewhere?
      Thanks!
      It doesn't fire at all w/ the fuel dumped right into the cylinder? Not even a sputter? That's VERY odd, if you actually have spark and compression.

      If it does fire, but won't run, it's probably an issue w/ not having enough fuel in the float bowl to actually let it run. You need to make sure the float bowl has fuel in it. When you pulled the solenoid out to check that it was till 'open', did fuel pour out the hole? If not, you're not getting fuel to the carb.

    7. Member XClayX's Avatar
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      10-04-2012 11:33 PM #7
      Sounds like a spark issue. If your dumping gas in the engine without a pop, somethings up spark wise.

    8. Member nobbyv's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 07:41 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Racer View Post
      It doesn't fire at all w/ the fuel dumped right into the cylinder? Not even a sputter? That's VERY odd, if you actually have spark and compression.

      If it does fire, but won't run, it's probably an issue w/ not having enough fuel in the float bowl to actually let it run. You need to make sure the float bowl has fuel in it. When you pulled the solenoid out to check that it was till 'open', did fuel pour out the hole? If not, you're not getting fuel to the carb.
      I thought that was odd, too. I bought some starting fluid to try and spray through the carb while cranking it; as soon as it stops pouring here I'm going to try that.

      To answer your other question: yes, when I removed the fuel solenoid, gas leaked out of the carb float bowl, so its getting that far at least.

    9. Member Mk1Racer's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 10:05 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by nobbyv View Post
      I thought that was odd, too. I bought some starting fluid to try and spray through the carb while cranking it; as soon as it stops pouring here I'm going to try that.

      To answer your other question: yes, when I removed the fuel solenoid, gas leaked out of the carb float bowl, so its getting that far at least.
      Be careful w/ that starting fluid. It's essentially Ethyl Ether, which is EXTREMELY flammable, and will ignite at a massive rate, making you think it blew up. It doesn't take much of that stuff.

    10. Member nobbyv's Avatar
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      10-06-2012 05:21 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Racer View Post
      Be careful w/ that starting fluid. It's essentially Ethyl Ether, which is EXTREMELY flammable, and will ignite at a massive rate, making you think it blew up. It doesn't take much of that stuff.
      Wiser words have never been spoken. Too late for me, unfortunately. Tried the starting fluid yesterday while my wife cranked it. Heard a "BANG!" and oil started leaking out of the engine. Its siezed now, and I think the connecting rod punched through the block.

    11. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      10-06-2012 07:48 PM #11
      Ouch!
      Garmin Is My Pilot.

      I am confident you are wrong, but instead of illustrating why, I will just make disparaging remarks about your reading comprehension.
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    12. Member BiH's Avatar
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      10-06-2012 11:25 PM #12
      saw this too late, I had my toro die while running and I thought it was out of fuel cause it sputtered on the end. turned out I got the gas accelerator line loose so with full throttle it wasnt pulling on the lever. must have had a branch pull it loose or sumtin. I had a craftsman lawnmower before and this toro is by far the best. sorry to hear about your missfortune, I try not to use the starting fluid as its like a crack for engine, once it gets used to it, it doesnt wanna start without it.
      I do work on cars, anything short of engine and transmission rebuilding can be done. welding, custom and aftermarket as well as regular repairs. IM me for details, shop is in WOodbridge.

    13. Member Mk1Racer's Avatar
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      10-07-2012 05:11 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by nobbyv View Post
      Wiser words have never been spoken. Too late for me, unfortunately. Tried the starting fluid yesterday while my wife cranked it. Heard a "BANG!" and oil started leaking out of the engine. Its siezed now, and I think the connecting rod punched through the block.
      Damn. Looks like you're in for a new motor or a new tractor.

      As I said, starting fluid is some nasty stuff. I'm actually surprised they can still sell it, considering how dangerous it is. There's an old mechanic's trick for getting really stubborn tires to mount. You spray a LITTLE starting fluid inside the tire and light it. The ensuing semi explosion usually blows the tire onto the bead.

    14. Member nobbyv's Avatar
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      10-07-2012 09:35 AM #14
      Put the Toro up on Craigslist, and sold it within an hour for $350. Didn't want to mess w/ a new engine; cheapest I found was $700 for the Kohler (new), so I said screw it.

      I ended up picking up a Craftsman 46" hydrostatic yesterday (after trips tp three different Sears stores to find one that ACTUALLY had it in stock). It was a good excuse to upgrade to a 46", and offers Craftsman's "Tight Turn" 6" turning radius. Mowed the lawn last night and loved the small turn radius. Unfortunately, I hate the "lever" speed control and miss the foot pedal my Toro had, so thus one is going back Monday for the next step up Craftsman which does offer the foot pedal.

      http://www.sears.com/craftsman-46inc...4&blockType=G4

      Thanks for the help guys; for my own curiosity I really wanted to know what happened to my Toro, but its someone else's problem now.

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