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#4576485 - 11/16/17 07:51 PM mower hard starting after sitting
Oldtom Offline


Registered: 07/05/14
Posts: 329
Loc: Cecil County Maryland
I have 2 Briggs lawnmowers that are stored in a shed. The mowers often sit for 2 or 3 weeks between uses. I use stabilized E0 gas which is kept in Eagle safety cans. Even with all these precautions, I generally have to use a shot of starting ether to get the mower started. I have some back problems and pulling on the starter can be painful. After about 6 pulls I get frustrated and sore and reach for the ether. New spark plugs have not helped.

I wonder if the volatiles are evaporating from the gas in the carb? The mowers run perfect once they start.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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#4576498 - 11/16/17 08:00 PM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: Oldtom]
FastLane Offline


Registered: 12/10/14
Posts: 448
Loc: MB - Manitoba
New carb diaphragm would be the next thing I would try.
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#4576506 - 11/16/17 08:04 PM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: Oldtom]
JLawrence08648 Offline


Registered: 01/20/17
Posts: 234
Loc: NJ
Could be the gas, old or water in the gas, especially if it's a metal tank. Also could be the carburetor, needs cleaning, preferably a dip tank. First drain the fuel bowl, then try it. If not try different gas. If you have a carb mounted gas tank then it's the diaphragm.

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#4576516 - 11/16/17 08:15 PM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: Oldtom]
Merkava_4 Offline


Registered: 01/30/07
Posts: 17501
Loc: Clovis, CA
What are the engine numbers Tom ? I could probably figure it out if I had the engine numbers.

FastLane, I'd like to know how you came to the conclusion the carb takes a diaphragm without knowing the engine numbers. You must be psychic.

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#4576557 - 11/16/17 08:53 PM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: Oldtom]
Oil_Flunky Online   content


Registered: 06/23/09
Posts: 97
Loc: Michigan
I've had that with the small engines at my cabin. One ounce per gallon of Gum Out All In One fixed it.
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#4576558 - 11/16/17 08:54 PM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: Oldtom]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2967
Loc: USA
If you can prime the carb, how much do you prime it?

On my Tecumseh GTS 6.5 I give the primer bulb about 10 presses and it starts literally the first time every time.

A replacement OEM carb for your mowers may be in order. They are only about $20 nowadays and that tends to fix most issues all at once.

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#4576571 - 11/16/17 09:08 PM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: Oldtom]
JohnnyJohnson Online   content


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 2740
Loc: Wet side WA
Empty the tank get new fresh premium gas and give it a shot of Seafoam!
Check the plug for fouling.


Edited by JohnnyJohnson (11/16/17 09:11 PM)
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#4576616 - 11/16/17 10:08 PM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: Oldtom]
Uphill_Both_Ways Offline


Registered: 11/06/17
Posts: 63
Loc: Winnipeg
I discovered that my mower (Briggs & Stratton) starts on the first pull, every time, even after sitting all winter, if I press the primer bulb no less than a dozen times. (Sometimes it would start after pushing it 10 times, but sometimes it wouldn't.)

I use premium gas with stabilizer.
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#4576775 - 11/17/17 07:42 AM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: Oldtom]
boraticus Offline


Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 2905
Loc: Canada
Sounds like the fuel is evaporating from the float bowl, which is hard to understand if there's fuel constantly being supplied from the tank? Unless the float needle is sticking in the closed position?

How do they start after being fired and run for a while? If OK, I'd look at the priming system. Something may have a hole or a crack in it. That happening on both at the same time seems unlikely though.

I also doubt very much that the carbs would have diaphragms. Never seen a diaphragm carb on a lawnmower.

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#4576777 - 11/17/17 07:43 AM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: Oldtom]
mk378 Offline


Registered: 09/27/15
Posts: 1418
Loc: USA
Without knowing what type of carb system it has, we're just guessing, but the choke or primer system is essential for cold starting.

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#4576781 - 11/17/17 07:46 AM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: boraticus]
mk378 Offline


Registered: 09/27/15
Posts: 1418
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: boraticus
I also doubt very much that the carbs would have diaphragms. Never seen a diaphragm carb on a lawnmower.

The low-end models that have the carburetor mounted directly on top of a small flat gas tank use a diaphragm. Instead of a bowl, they have a little pocket that holds fuel for immediate use. If that pocket has dried up from extended storage, you will need to pull the rope several times to refill it. The primer bulb draws from the pocket, so pressing it does nothing unless the rope has already been pulled several times.

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#4576886 - 11/17/17 09:23 AM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: mk378]
khittner Offline


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 309
Loc: Michigan
Briggs & Stratton = hard starting. After using a Honda GCV-160, I don't know how B&S stays in business. Life is too short, Tom, to spend any of it yanking a bazillion times on a B&S small engine starter cord. Buy a Honda-powered mower for yourself for Xmas, and be happier. Will it to your children; it'll last and work like a Swiss watch for a long time with very basic maintenance.

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#4576950 - 11/17/17 10:14 AM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: boraticus]
FastLane Offline


Registered: 12/10/14
Posts: 448
Loc: MB - Manitoba
Originally Posted By: boraticus

I also doubt very much that the carbs would have diaphragms. Never seen a diaphragm carb on a lawnmower.


Every Briggs lawnmower for 50 years has had a diaphragm. Only the new Briggs don't.

My friend and I just rebuilt a Briggs 2.5 hp that was built in 1966. You can still buy parts for it.


Edited by FastLane (11/17/17 10:15 AM)
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2002 Mustang GT 4.6 Mobil 1 5W30 MC FL-820S
1966 Cessna 150 Phillips 20W50
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#4576975 - 11/17/17 10:33 AM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: Oldtom]
andyd Online   content


Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 7143
Loc: Marshfield , MA
Switch to carb cleaner. Give it a pre-emptive spray before you even try to start it. Maybe give the gas a little MMO or B12 Chemtool. Yah since the mastectomy, I don't yank a starter so well either. Yes, using carb cleaner to start a mower shouldn't be necessary. But a little spritz will get it going faster and less painfully. I have learned to adapt my lack of strength to situations by slowing down the approach and planning out my moves. I'm slower,but I'm doing less damage to myself. grin2
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#4576976 - 11/17/17 10:33 AM Re: mower hard starting after sitting [Re: khittner]
69GTX Offline


Registered: 09/23/15
Posts: 3815
Loc: Connecticut
Originally Posted By: khittner
Briggs & Stratton = hard starting. After using a Honda GCV-160, I don't know how B&S stays in business. Life is too short, Tom, to spend any of it yanking a bazillion times on a B&S small engine starter cord. Buy a Honda-powered mower for yourself for Xmas, and be happier. Will it to your children; it'll last and work like a Swiss watch for a long time with very basic maintenance.


That's just the B&S. The longer it sits the harder it will be start with just the "normal" 3-5 pumps of the primer push-button. My B&S was starting just fine first pull all summer after sitting 1 week. Yet I ran it for the last time this week after sitting for 2 weeks in cold weather. It needed 2 pulls and a second prime. And the first start each season requires a number of pulls....though I'll try the recommendation above for 10-12 pumps next time.

Use fuel stabilizers/carb cleaner on each refill (Seafoam, Techron, Startron, Gumout, MMO, etc.). They will keep the carb from gumming up, making cold starts that much harder. My worst B&S ever required 10-20 pulls every time I ran it. So I feel for the abuse on our backs. One time I did 50 pulls before I finally tore the carb down to clean it....and that mower NEVER started again...lol. Ever since using fuel treatments I've never had to do more than a few pulls to start the B&S mower up after winter. Wish I had found Bitog years earlier.
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