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Don’t Know? Ask Joe | Service All Makes and Models

Don’t Know? Ask Joe | Service All Makes and Models James River Equipment services all makes and models of machines....

Small Ag blog default image. Small ag tractor sitting in field with bucket and TLB backhoe package.
Don’t Know? Ask Joe | Service All Makes and Models

James River Equipment services all makes and models of machines. We can also help you fix them yourself. Don’t Know Ask Joe (askjoe@jamesriverequipment.com) takes questions regarding all machine makes. Check out some of our advice!

1. Question: Hi, I have a Craftsman lawn tractor 24hp Briggs moto. The problem I’m having is that it starts okay and seems to run okay until I engage the mower, then it loses power and blows black smoke out of the muffler. Sometimes it will clear itself for about ten seconds and then right back to spitting and sputtering. I don’t know what to do.

Answer: Your problem is slightly tricky. Most likely there is a restriction in the high-speed jet in the carburetor. There is also a possibility of an internal governor problem, but that is less likely than the carburetor restriction. If you are not familiar with proper carburetor cleaning procedures, I would recommend taking it to a reputable small engine shop in your area. Otherwise, a thorough cleaning of your carburetor should solve your issues. Just be careful to be sure you know what you are doing or you risk damaging the carburetor. You may also try spraying some carb cleaner in the machine.

2. Question: Aye Joe! I’ve got a Briggs and Stratton 13.5 hp engine. I think I killed it! While I was mowing my lawn, the mower suddenly made a loud noise like something “dropped” and then it wouldn’t start. I pushed it into the garage and saw white smoke from the oil reserve. I attempted to start the engine, but it just winds out and won’t turn at all. Is it dead? Should I look for a new mower? Thanks!

Answer: I would first inspect the engine block for holes. The problem sounds like a possible broken connecting rod. If this is the case, the engine would need to be replaced or rebuilt. If by chance the connecting rod is not broken, there could be a valve train problem causing a valve to stick open. It would be worth your while to determine is the piston is moving with the cylinder. If the piston is moving, then there is a chance the valve train is your problem.

3. Question: Help! Joe, I’ve got a Craftsman tractor with a Honda engine. It started running rough and then stalling. It starts and then dies. I changed the spark plugs, cleaned the air filter, changed the filter and oil. I put carb cleaner additive in the gas…Could this have caused the problem? Runs fine with choke open…

Answer: My first question would be: does it run well with the choke engaged or disengaged? If the choke is open and it is running fine, then it is functioning normally. If it is running well with the choke closed or engaged, then most likely you need to pull the carb off and clean the entire body of the carb. I do not believe that your carb cleaner could be causing the problem but it does sound like a fuel delivery issue from the carb to the cylinder.

4. Question: My Kubota will run forever, but sometimes if you turn it off it will not restart. If I let it sit for an hour or two it will start??

Answer: There are a variety of reasons that this could happen. I would recommend first checking your valve adjustments. After verification of valve adjustment, I would recommend a leak down test on the engine. If you are not sure about the leak down test, any Jamer River Equipment or Kubota dealer should be able to perform this test. It does require some special tooling to measure the percentage of leak down.

5. Question: Hey Joe I need some help. My Briggs and Stratton leaks gas from the exhaust pipe when I turn the ignition switch; acting as a low battery and won’t start.

Answer: It sounds like to me that the float is stuck open in the carburetor causing the chamber to fill with gas.