I have an LX266 which I've had for more than 15 years. Just had it tuned up recently at a shop it was still going strong!
While mowing today it turned off suddenly and would crank but wouldn't start. To troubleshoot I pulled the fuel line and cranked ... NO GAS coming out. I then hooked up a test fuel line to a gas can with a priming ball and the fuel intake on the tractor. It cranked right up.... (I plugged the line from the tank and actually was temporarily able to finish mowing for the day too by strapping the gas can to the hood and quickly finished the job).
I'm thinking fuel pump. Anyone familiar with this model? Is there anything else that could cause this? It's a KOHLER engine. Fuel filter looked clean... I briefly traced the line back but couldn't see where it was going. Where is the fuel pump on this model? When I looked up the part online I saw a bunch of MECHANICAL fuel pumps... I was surprised by that...
I'm not familiar with this model but did do some looking on JD Parts. It shows a mechanical fuel pump. I'm only guessing that it is on the right side of the block. I noticed a metal fuel line with 2 short rubber lines to connect to the pump on one end and the carburetor on the other. The picture is not showing the engine block. The fuel is drawn through the top of the tank under the seat pan. A rubber fuel line connects to the pickup in the tank and goes toward the fuel filter and pump. If the end of the tank pickup fell off, the pump would just suck air, if the pump is good. Could also be a crack in the rubber line.
Guess you could check the fuel pump by temporarily connecting the inlet side to the "custom" tank you used and see if it will pump fuel from it. Also check the filler cap for a clogged vent hole if it has one.
The fender deck will need to be removed to check the fuel line and pickup in the tank.
I can offer a SWAG on removal, it should be relatively easy. I have never seen an LX266 but it is similar to the older LX188 model that I am familiar with.
To lighten the load, disconnect the seat switch. Remove 4 nuts holding the seat suspension to the fender deck. Two of those may be down inside the springs.
I don't know if the deck height adjuster is attached to the fender deck or frame. Set the knob to "0" and lower/lock the mower deck all the way down. If connected to the frame, remove the knob. If it's connected to the fender deck, you can probably leave it in place. Anything else that is larger than the holes in the fender deck has to be removed, such as the tank filler cap, cruise knob, etc.
Remove two bolts from rear of fender and two nuts under the footrests at the front. You won't have to remove the rubber foot pads the carriage bolts will not require a second wrench. Unless I've missed something, it's ready to lift off.
Then the tank and fuel lines are visible. On older models like a 318, the pickup has been known to deteriorate and drop off. I don't know if you can see it through the filler hole, but worth a look before going too far. Might be plugged somehow. A light air pressure from the hose at the filter connection to the tank should create bubbles, maybe.
Click on the images to get a better view. Good hunting! I gotta go shovel snow, you gotta mow!!!
I wanted to follow up on this. ... I blew air pressure back into the line and heard air bubbles in the tank. Afterwards fuel came rushing out. I hooked the line back up and I topped off the tank with fuel.
I've used the tractor twice now and it has been running good.
Yes, very likely some grass or other debris clogged it. I have a little story about my neighbor's L100. The tank on it is white plastic, under the seat with a large filler hole. Very easy to see inside. Similar pick up tube as your tractor. He used to have an occasional problem with the engine sputtering, chugging black smoke, etc. but would usually go back to normal. Sometimes it would quit. He could get it to start and continue mowing the rest of the yard.
He sadly was becoming a victim of Alzheimer's but had usually relied on me to do the repairs and maintenance on it. He never mentioned this problem, but I usually watched him mow ( for his safety) and knew there was something that needed looked at. So eventually I brought it to my place for a flat tire or something and decided to check it out. I found a spark plug, the spark plug cap, and three pieces of black plastic tape in there, and some small pieces of grass. One of those pieces of tape was about 8" long. Got all those things out fairly easily. There were a few small black pieces still in the bottom that were a bit more difficult. Eventually he let me mow for him using my mower or his. It didn't seem to have the problem any more.
Sorry to hear about your neighbor--Alzheimer's is one of those diseases I just hope and pray we can figure out to prevent or cure one day!
My tank sounds almost exactly like you are describing for your neighbor's L100. It is see-thru and has a very large filler-hole. I'm always careful when filling it but I'm thinking over the years some debris have found their way in. I'm going to run the tank near empty and go ahead and pull it for a thorough cleaning. I don't think I'm going to find anything like what you found in your neighbor's tank-LOL-but there must be something in there. My tractor shut off when it was practically empty and then wouldn't restart even after I filled it to 1/3 tank (finishing off a gas can I had here). It's like whatever is in there only clogs when the tank is getting very low ... then I have to back-flush it to clear it. I'll bet if I keep at least an 1/8 of a tank in there it won't even shut off again.
Nonetheless I'm the type of person that won't like knowing something isn't right. I'll pull the tank and clean it one day when the weather is nice and I have some extra time!
Nice that I probably won't need to replace my fuel pump...