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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I have a L111 automatic, 20hp Briggs & Stratton engine.
Since I've had it (four years), I've always had the same problem with it, and I'm unable to diagnose it.

It always takes a long time to start up. It has no problem cranking over, it just seems that it's not getting any fuel for the first five to ten seconds of cranking, so it won't fire.
The fuel filter is new, changed it myself after the first year of having it. It's clean. However, it never has very much fuel in it.
The fuel pump was changed a year or two before I purchased it, so I would not consider it a likely suspect. Air filter is also relatively new and very clean.
Once it starts, it never starves or stalls. It just has difficulty starting when cold.
When the engine is warm, it starts up quite nicely.

So I am guessing that the fuel line is draining itself of fuel (gravity?) and it takes the fuel pump a few seconds to refill the fuel lines.

What can cause this issue?

Thanks!
 

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Another thing to check is make sure the choke plate is closing all the way. I used to have a 175 Hydro that was terrible to start when cold and it turned out the choke plate was only closing 3/4 of the way. Once I adjusted the linkage so it closed all the way it fired right up.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So I did a test with the shut-off fuel valve, and let it rest 24hrs. normally it would be hard to start again, but it fired right up without even cranking For two full turns. So I assume.this eliminates the faulty cutoff solenoid, and any carb adjustment issue.
Where could air be entering my fuel line to cause it to purge back to the tank? There is no fuel leak on the ground.
 

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2019 2025R with Loader, Backhoe, 54D Mower, Forks, Rear Snowblower, Box Blade, Landscape Rake, QH
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So I did a test with the shut-off fuel valve, and let it rest 24hrs. normally it would be hard to start again, but it fired right up without even cranking For two full turns. So I assume.this eliminates the faulty cutoff solenoid, and any carb adjustment issue.
Where could air be entering my fuel line to cause it to purge back to the tank? There is no fuel leak on the ground.
I have the same L111 you do with the same personality. Frankly, I have just taken this "hard starting" in hand given the age of the machine and thank myself getting another year out of it (it's does some trail-mowing and other minor grass chores for me alongside my 2025R). I crank it for 10 seconds with throttle on half and choke up. Let it rest a few seconds, then push throttle all the way up and pull back the choke to half. Almost always starts right up. But I understand your desire to get to the bottom of it.
 

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It really is a characteristic of this engine to experience an extended cranking cold, especially if they sit for more than a couple weeks. Most had the 2 BBL carb back when the L111 was made. As jgayman eluded to, the choke control cable adjustment seems to be an issue with many of these.
That being said, if you are having an issue daily and your shut off valve definitely improved the situation- think about the gravity of the situation. That being your fuel is being pulled up a straw to the top of the fuel tank. No pumping going on, fuel gradually returns to the tank. I wouldn't think that the fuel pump would hold the fuel back. That leaves an air leak before the carb or a float valve that isn't quite able to hold the reverse flow letting air into the line. The carburetor bowl is vented, the engine / muffler heat helps the fuel evaporate enough to lower the fuel level in the bowl enough to require more fuel to be added for the engine to start. Add an air space in the fuel line and the long intake manifold for the mix to travel. Note that with lower fuel level in bowl, the float has opened the inlet enough to let air into the line. It's basically like that game you played with the kids dipping the straw into the milk, putting your finger over the end then releasing it and milk went all over the table / your wife yells at you / you kick the dog / and your tractor won't start....
 
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