Stumped, John Deere 180 lawn tractor won't start
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Thread: Stumped, John Deere 180 lawn tractor won't start

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    Question Stumped, John Deere 180 lawn tractor won't start

    I bought this lawn tractor (for a great price) off my parents neighbor, he couldn't get it going. I'm a pretty good backyard mechanic, I've rebuilt car engines, Atv's, snowmobiles, and lots of small engines. But this one has me stumped... I've read many forums and tried everything I've found. So here it is...

    last owner had new ignitor, new coil, new plug, new fuel pump installed, and had the carb cleaned. I've talked to the dealer he says that engine is bullet-proof. I checked the compression, was getting about 60-70 psi, dealer says that's cause of a decompresser, and suggested the ignitor, I installed a new ignitor, it started backfiring flaming out the carb. I then checked the valve lash, tuned them to .006 mm, and same result when I tried to start it, checked the flywheel key, it's good, cleaned the carb myself, tried many different adjustments, all with the same result, flames comming out the carb. I took the head off, looked like the head gasket was gone, so ordered a new one, lapped the valves while I had it out, re-assembled it and still backfiring flames out the carb. what did I miss? is there a timing adjustment for the valves? what is the gap for the coil? could that cause it? I forget what I set it to. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Oh the engine is the Kawasaki FC540-ASOO.

    Thanks hotelcali

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    glc
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    Hi hotelcali and

    If the coil air gap is too big,that could cause it to backfire through carb. Not positive,but it shouldn't be any more than .015".
    Sorry,but I'm not very familiar with Kaw's. Hopefully someone here is and can be more definite.


    Greg
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    Thanks Greg,

    I'll check the gap today and see what happens. I'll post the results this evening.


    Hotelcali

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    I had an LX176 that experience the same symptons, though the compression was too much when I did a compression test. The readings you got would be inline for that engine since it has an ACR (automatic compression release). My LX had a bad ACR, which allow for too much compression when starting and allow for a lot of backfiring when cranking. Since the ACR was located on the cam and therefore needed a new cam and a complete engine tear down, I decided to part it out.

    On yours I would recommend getting a manual, at least for the engine, from Deere. Throwing a bunch of parts and money at it will only increase your frustrations and empty your bank account.
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    Well, I'll be damed... I'm sure it was a combination of things, but... I checked the coil air gap, was twice the reccomended which was .012 - .015" so I set it to .015, tried starting it and now it's firing, trying to run, but still sputtering and back-firing, so I mess with the carb settings cause I can see gas spraying out of the carb, so I assume it's getting too much gas. I manage to get it to idle roughly but not run, getting frustrated now lol, I take the plug out dry and carboned but sparking, to what looks like a good spark, try some (I know i'll get screamed at for this) Quick start ether, and same result, so just for the hell of it I try another spark plug from the many I have kicking around, it's not the recommended plug but good enough to try, and it fired up on the first crank and ran like a charm, I sharpened the blades and mowed the lawn and still running great. So...if I had just changed the plug would it have worked? I doubt it, I think it would have when the problem first started but the previous owner changed the coil and a lot of other stuff, so I think it was a combination of the coil air gap the plug, carb settings etc, but it's going now! thanks for your help and suggestions!!

    Hotelcali

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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Welcome to GTT!

    That is the best news to report! Thanks for the update. Your initial problem sounded like timing or another ignition issue. I'm glad you got her fixed!
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