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I let me mower sit all winter with a battery tender on it. Went to start, used some starter fluid...starts right up but won't stay running. I did this several times to see if it was just a matter of getting fuel to the carb. Never would fill the fuel filter so would always die once the starter fluid was consumed. The fuel filter on mine is normally full when running. Now it never seems to have any more than a little bit in the bottom of the filter. Not sure where to start troubleshooting.
 

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Start by back blowing thre line to tank from the fuel filter. See if that helps or cures the problem. My guess is pickup in tank is plugged or partially plugged.

Or pull pickup from the tank, clean it and the tank.
 

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Start by back blowing thre line to tank from the fuel filter. See if that helps or cures the problem. My guess is pickup in tank is plugged or partially plugged.

Or pull pickup from the tank, clean it and the tank.
Thanks for the tip. How do you pull the pickup from the tank?
 

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I let me mower sit all winter with a battery tender on it. Went to start, used some starter fluid...starts right up but won't stay running. I did this several times to see if it was just a matter of getting fuel to the carb. Never would fill the fuel filter so would always die once the starter fluid was consumed. The fuel filter on mine is normally full when running. Now it never seems to have any more than a little bit in the bottom of the filter. Not sure where to start troubleshooting.
Make sure to remove the air cleaner and confirm there are no mouses nests in the air cleaner or other debris blocking air flow, as the engine needs air, fuel and spark to run and since it will start we know you have spark. You are going to need the air cleaner off anyways to check other things. Check it thoroughly as the mice love to climb up into things to build nests.

It's most likely a fuel supply issue, if you left gasoline in the tank, chances are it has crystallized and the issue could be an obstruction in a fuel line, it could the fuel pump, which is shown in this image from the parts catalog. I would check to make sure the fuel lines aren't collapsed, obstructed or otherwise preventing fuel flow. I think the fuel pump on your tractor is a mechanical pump, not an electric pump and it could be failing to pull / push the fuel.

Usually, such an issue is relatively easy to solve if you start at the beginning of the fuel system and make sure the fuel is flowing from the tank to the pump to the carb. Another likely issue is the carb needs to be cleaned from the effects of ethanol blended fuel (which is nearly impossible to avoid at this point) which would explain the partially full fuel filter because the fuel is obstructed.

The good news is when the engine will run briefly (like with your use of ether) you know you have spark, you have ignition and you have some fuel (the ether) getting into the engine. Just be careful using too much starting fluid as it can damage the engine.

I would start by removing the fuel cap and seeing if the tank vent in the cap is plugged, restricting fuel flow. It's a simple issue which can cause trouble.

Then, I would pull the hose off the bottom of the fuel tank and drain the tank. While you have the hose off, make sure you can blow a small volume of compressed air through the UNHOOKED fuel line, as sometimes the fuel will crystallize and plug the lines. Also, it can cause the fuel lines to internally collapse and not permit fuel flow. Also, look into the tank and make sure there is nothing obstructing the fuel line from the tank at the fuel pick up point.

If you can get fuel to flow to the carb through the pump, chances are you will solve the problem. Make sure to run fuel system cleaner through the carb once you do get it running by adding a good fuel system cleaner to your NEW gasoline.

Focus on the flow of fuel from the tank to the pump and carb first, is how I would start. Also make sure the fuel filter isn't plugged as that can cause the fuel not to flow. This is much more common with the new fuel than it used to be.

The fuel pump could be bad or it could just be gummed up with the crud from ethanol fuel. If you know the fuel will flow from the tank to the filter and to the fuel pump, if the tractor won't stay running, its likely crud in the carb from ethanol.

One method you can try is to

1. Replace the fuel in the tank with NEW fuel. Not fuel from a can in your garage from last year, but NEW fuel just purchased at the gas station.

2. If you are sure the fuel is flowing through the lines from the tank to the filter and through the filter, then next stop is the fuel pump.

3. One trick you can try is to remove the air cleaner and have someone crank the tractor while you give it a very small shot of starting fluid. Once the engine starts to stumble, give it another very SMALL shot of starter fluid to keep it running. The point of this is to try and force the engine to draw fuel from the tank through the pump by keeping the engine running.

4. By all means, use the starting fluid VERY sparingly in small squirts and use the choke just like you normally would to start the engine.

If you can keep the engine running with the starter fluid, its certainly a fuel flow issue. If you can fill the fuel filter by keeping the engine running with VERY SMALL squirts of starter fluid, then the carb may need to be rebuilt to deal with the effects of the ethanol in fuel. But you certainly have a fuel flow issue...........just locate the issue by starting at the source, the fuel tank.

Modern gasoline almost ALWAYS contains a blend of Ethanol as part of the EPA mandates. Ethanol is a decomposing product which crystallizes and causes lots of fuel system issues. If the tractor worked when you stopped using it last fall and won't start now, its most likely related to the fuel quality. Ethanol fuel breaks down as quickly as 60 to 90 days and can start to gum up the fuel system components. Sometimes you can clean the issue away, other times, it may require a rebuild of the carb or replacement of the pump, etc.

The fuel pump is also a suspect, but before you replace it, make sure you can get fuel TO IT. If fuel flows to the pump but not past it, you can remove the pump and try to clean it with carb cleaner squirting it in the pump through the line ports. You can also try blowing through the pump to see if the pump diaphragm is not moving, which would explain why the filter is empty. Just make sure to blow in the same direction as the fuel flows and not the opposite way as that won't work.

Make sure to post follow ups to let us know what worked, what didn't and the results as it makes the tread more valuable for others in the future.


By the way, here is the link to reach the parts page on the John Deere parts catalog for your machine and this can be helpful in illustrating and identifying components you may not be familiar with, such as what the fuel pump looks like.

John Deere Parts Catalog
By the way, welcome to GTT..............:wgtt:

Screenshot: ⁨John Deere Parts Catalog⁩
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the great detail and info SulleyBear. Will be a little while before I can post back results as I will be unable to try the things you mentioned while away on travel.
 

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@SullyBear, sorry for the delayed response...finally getting to work on the mower. Not the pump…the gas is not getting into the carb. When I take the hose going into the carb off of the pump…you can see gas sitting in the hose. If I then use air to blow into that hose…it will push some gas into the carb and when I then crank it...it will try to start. Not sure what step to take now. I guess I can figure out how to get the carb off but wanted to post here first to see if there are other things I can try (like Carb Cleaner) first.

Make sure to remove the air cleaner and confirm there are no mouses nests in the air cleaner or other debris blocking air flow, as the engine needs air, fuel and spark to run and since it will start we know you have spark. You are going to need the air cleaner off anyways to check other things. Check it thoroughly as the mice love to climb up into things to build nests.

It's most likely a fuel supply issue, if you left gasoline in the tank, chances are it has crystallized and the issue could be an obstruction in a fuel line, it could the fuel pump, which is shown in this image from the parts catalog. I would check to make sure the fuel lines aren't collapsed, obstructed or otherwise preventing fuel flow. I think the fuel pump on your tractor is a mechanical pump, not an electric pump and it could be failing to pull / push the fuel.

Usually, such an issue is relatively easy to solve if you start at the beginning of the fuel system and make sure the fuel is flowing from the tank to the pump to the carb. Another likely issue is the carb needs to be cleaned from the effects of ethanol blended fuel (which is nearly impossible to avoid at this point) which would explain the partially full fuel filter because the fuel is obstructed.

The good news is when the engine will run briefly (like with your use of ether) you know you have spark, you have ignition and you have some fuel (the ether) getting into the engine. Just be careful using too much starting fluid as it can damage the engine.

I would start by removing the fuel cap and seeing if the tank vent in the cap is plugged, restricting fuel flow. It's a simple issue which can cause trouble.

Then, I would pull the hose off the bottom of the fuel tank and drain the tank. While you have the hose off, make sure you can blow a small volume of compressed air through the UNHOOKED fuel line, as sometimes the fuel will crystallize and plug the lines. Also, it can cause the fuel lines to internally collapse and not permit fuel flow. Also, look into the tank and make sure there is nothing obstructing the fuel line from the tank at the fuel pick up point.

If you can get fuel to flow to the carb through the pump, chances are you will solve the problem. Make sure to run fuel system cleaner through the carb once you do get it running by adding a good fuel system cleaner to your NEW gasoline.

Focus on the flow of fuel from the tank to the pump and carb first, is how I would start. Also make sure the fuel filter isn't plugged as that can cause the fuel not to flow. This is much more common with the new fuel than it used to be.

The fuel pump could be bad or it could just be gummed up with the crud from ethanol fuel. If you know the fuel will flow from the tank to the filter and to the fuel pump, if the tractor won't stay running, its likely crud in the carb from ethanol.

One method you can try is to

1. Replace the fuel in the tank with NEW fuel. Not fuel from a can in your garage from last year, but NEW fuel just purchased at the gas station.

2. If you are sure the fuel is flowing through the lines from the tank to the filter and through the filter, then next stop is the fuel pump.

3. One trick you can try is to remove the air cleaner and have someone crank the tractor while you give it a very small shot of starting fluid. Once the engine starts to stumble, give it another very SMALL shot of starter fluid to keep it running. The point of this is to try and force the engine to draw fuel from the tank through the pump by keeping the engine running.

4. By all means, use the starting fluid VERY sparingly in small squirts and use the choke just like you normally would to start the engine.

If you can keep the engine running with the starter fluid, its certainly a fuel flow issue. If you can fill the fuel filter by keeping the engine running with VERY SMALL squirts of starter fluid, then the carb may need to be rebuilt to deal with the effects of the ethanol in fuel. But you certainly have a fuel flow issue...........just locate the issue by starting at the source, the fuel tank.

Modern gasoline almost ALWAYS contains a blend of Ethanol as part of the EPA mandates. Ethanol is a decomposing product which crystallizes and causes lots of fuel system issues. If the tractor worked when you stopped using it last fall and won't start now, its most likely related to the fuel quality. Ethanol fuel breaks down as quickly as 60 to 90 days and can start to gum up the fuel system components. Sometimes you can clean the issue away, other times, it may require a rebuild of the carb or replacement of the pump, etc.

The fuel pump is also a suspect, but before you replace it, make sure you can get fuel TO IT. If fuel flows to the pump but not past it, you can remove the pump and try to clean it with carb cleaner squirting it in the pump through the line ports. You can also try blowing through the pump to see if the pump diaphragm is not moving, which would explain why the filter is empty. Just make sure to blow in the same direction as the fuel flows and not the opposite way as that won't work.

Make sure to post follow ups to let us know what worked, what didn't and the results as it makes the tread more valuable for others in the future.


By the way, here is the link to reach the parts page on the John Deere parts catalog for your machine and this can be helpful in illustrating and identifying components you may not be familiar with, such as what the fuel pump looks like.

John Deere Parts Catalog
By the way, welcome to GTT..............:wgtt:

Screenshot: ⁨John Deere Parts Catalog⁩
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just to provide a final update on my issue...once I cleaned the fuel shutoff switch, I was able to get the mower running again but the throttle would surge up and down and if the the throttle was too low the engine would die. I got some "in tank" carb cleaner, poured it into the fuel tank and then let the mower run for about 30 minutes. After about the first 15 minutes, the mower started running smooth again. This is all my own fault for leaving the fuel in the tank...and the fuel in the tank had ethanol in it which is not good for engines that are not run very often.

Make sure to remove the air cleaner and confirm there are no mouses nests in the air cleaner or other debris blocking air flow, as the engine needs air, fuel and spark to run and since it will start we know you have spark. You are going to need the air cleaner off anyways to check other things. Check it thoroughly as the mice love to climb up into things to build nests.

It's most likely a fuel supply issue, if you left gasoline in the tank, chances are it has crystallized and the issue could be an obstruction in a fuel line, it could the fuel pump, which is shown in this image from the parts catalog. I would check to make sure the fuel lines aren't collapsed, obstructed or otherwise preventing fuel flow. I think the fuel pump on your tractor is a mechanical pump, not an electric pump and it could be failing to pull / push the fuel.

Usually, such an issue is relatively easy to solve if you start at the beginning of the fuel system and make sure the fuel is flowing from the tank to the pump to the carb. Another likely issue is the carb needs to be cleaned from the effects of ethanol blended fuel (which is nearly impossible to avoid at this point) which would explain the partially full fuel filter because the fuel is obstructed.

The good news is when the engine will run briefly (like with your use of ether) you know you have spark, you have ignition and you have some fuel (the ether) getting into the engine. Just be careful using too much starting fluid as it can damage the engine.

I would start by removing the fuel cap and seeing if the tank vent in the cap is plugged, restricting fuel flow. It's a simple issue which can cause trouble.

Then, I would pull the hose off the bottom of the fuel tank and drain the tank. While you have the hose off, make sure you can blow a small volume of compressed air through the UNHOOKED fuel line, as sometimes the fuel will crystallize and plug the lines. Also, it can cause the fuel lines to internally collapse and not permit fuel flow. Also, look into the tank and make sure there is nothing obstructing the fuel line from the tank at the fuel pick up point.

If you can get fuel to flow to the carb through the pump, chances are you will solve the problem. Make sure to run fuel system cleaner through the carb once you do get it running by adding a good fuel system cleaner to your NEW gasoline.

Focus on the flow of fuel from the tank to the pump and carb first, is how I would start. Also make sure the fuel filter isn't plugged as that can cause the fuel not to flow. This is much more common with the new fuel than it used to be.

The fuel pump could be bad or it could just be gummed up with the crud from ethanol fuel. If you know the fuel will flow from the tank to the filter and to the fuel pump, if the tractor won't stay running, its likely crud in the carb from ethanol.

One method you can try is to

1. Replace the fuel in the tank with NEW fuel. Not fuel from a can in your garage from last year, but NEW fuel just purchased at the gas station.

2. If you are sure the fuel is flowing through the lines from the tank to the filter and through the filter, then next stop is the fuel pump.

3. One trick you can try is to remove the air cleaner and have someone crank the tractor while you give it a very small shot of starting fluid. Once the engine starts to stumble, give it another very SMALL shot of starter fluid to keep it running. The point of this is to try and force the engine to draw fuel from the tank through the pump by keeping the engine running.

4. By all means, use the starting fluid VERY sparingly in small squirts and use the choke just like you normally would to start the engine.

If you can keep the engine running with the starter fluid, its certainly a fuel flow issue. If you can fill the fuel filter by keeping the engine running with VERY SMALL squirts of starter fluid, then the carb may need to be rebuilt to deal with the effects of the ethanol in fuel. But you certainly have a fuel flow issue...........just locate the issue by starting at the source, the fuel tank.

Modern gasoline almost ALWAYS contains a blend of Ethanol as part of the EPA mandates. Ethanol is a decomposing product which crystallizes and causes lots of fuel system issues. If the tractor worked when you stopped using it last fall and won't start now, its most likely related to the fuel quality. Ethanol fuel breaks down as quickly as 60 to 90 days and can start to gum up the fuel system components. Sometimes you can clean the issue away, other times, it may require a rebuild of the carb or replacement of the pump, etc.

The fuel pump is also a suspect, but before you replace it, make sure you can get fuel TO IT. If fuel flows to the pump but not past it, you can remove the pump and try to clean it with carb cleaner squirting it in the pump through the line ports. You can also try blowing through the pump to see if the pump diaphragm is not moving, which would explain why the filter is empty. Just make sure to blow in the same direction as the fuel flows and not the opposite way as that won't work.

Make sure to post follow ups to let us know what worked, what didn't and the results as it makes the tread more valuable for others in the future.


By the way, here is the link to reach the parts page on the John Deere parts catalog for your machine and this can be helpful in illustrating and identifying components you may not be familiar with, such as what the fuel pump looks like.

John Deere Parts Catalog
By the way, welcome to GTT..............:wgtt:

Screenshot: ⁨John Deere Parts Catalog⁩
 
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