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I have a john deere D140 riding mower which ran great last year but started running rich this summer, very strong gas smell from exaust.then about a week ago it started surging bad, then it would only run with the choke on.I started throwing money at it thinking eventually i would fix it! I changed plugs,coils, fuel pump, fuel filter, air filter, nothing made a diffrence,so i went to the dealer and spent $200 on a new carb. still no change,oh yeah i did empty gas tank in the beginning and put fresh fuel in also. oil level is good.what else good it be?
 

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Usually that is a sign of a plugged main jet in the carb. It runs exactly the same even with the new carb? The only thing you haven’t done is adjust the valves. The choke is adjusted properly? And the throttle linkage and governor?
 

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Needing a choke to run usually means too much air or not enough fuel. If engine will run, start & warm. Get a propane torch, open valve on torch...do NOT light.. and run nozzle around base of carb and intake manifold. Any change in rpm indicates an air leak. Could be bad gasket, loose bolt(s) or cracked "something" !!

If no change, fuel issue. Remove fuel tank and line to pump. REPLACE fuel line, including piece going into tank and strainer (if equipped). Put a little fuel back in tank and shake violently! Pour fuel out onto a clean surface and inspect for anything in drained fuel. Repeat shaking & draining until fuel comes out clean.

Also, if you don't use some type of fuel stabilizer, start using one! Many on the market, but I've had excellent results with StaBil. 'Bout all I've got, Bob
 
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