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Discussion Starter #1
Hello I have a 2003 727 Z Track lawn mower with approximately 650 hrs on it, and it has been running increasingly rough, trying to make it through mowing season ?. I have replaced fuel filter and loosened gas cap, no change. I have pulled plugs and replaced but did not gap them (no gauge) . I noticed one plug nice and dry BUT the other one quite wet! And in general dirtier looking. No noticeable oil leaks on outside of engine from blown gasket for instance. It’s sputtering when I give it throttle and doesn’t seem to get up to full RPM when I’m mowing, no real symptoms at idle. Kind of surging and sputtering in general and getting worse when mowing! What do you guys suggest I check next?
Thanks
Kevin
 

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If youve got a wet plug after running, that plug is most likely not firing.
Check your coil or coils.
 
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As Jim said, check for actual spark on each cylinder. If no spark it's likely the coil. If so, replace both at the same time.
If you have spark on both cylinders but have low power unplug each spark plug wire and see which cylinder is dead. A common failure on these engines is a valve train issue. Valves will stick, then bend a push rod. Once you have identified the dead cylinder remove the valve cover and have a look. In extreme cases the valve guide will move in the cylinder head, bend a push rod. Sticking valves and pulled valve guides are caused by overheating and/or bad gas which causes the valve stem to sieze in the guide.
Let us know what you find.

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your suggestions, I alternately disconnected sparks plugs and engine kept running no matter which side was unplugged . Does this eliminate coil packs? Or could they just be weak, I don’t know how to test for that. Your suggestions? As I said at idle everything fine, when I increase throttle it sputters and won’t achieve full RPM even with no load, mowing deck not engaged.
Thanks
Kevin
 

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What engine is on it?

A wet plug on one side indicates a problem, but what problem is the issue here. Its odd that youd have one wet plug and one not, but both firing. Can you tell if its fuel or oil?
It could be a weak coil, but (Im not positive on this) there should be a test procedure. Knowing what engine was in it would help narrow that process down.
If its fuel, it could just be running very rich, which could be a carb/fuel issue.

As to the coils again, knowing the engine would help because if that engine has one coil firing two plugs, by disconnecting one, you will get a stronger spark to the other, in theory at least. There are automobile engines that fire pairs of plugs at the same time. One coincides with the power stroke on one, but not the other, so it has no effect on the one without fuel. Generally these are waste spark systems, and without the other plug attached, neither will fire, but there are all kinds of odd things going on in the world of engine ignition systems.
 

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If it was my mower, I would remove the carburetor and install a new carburetor kit. A wet spark plug give evidence that the rings on that cylinder is going bad... probably the oil and compression rings all at once, or it could be the valve seals in the head needs replacing.

However, I would first pour a can of Seafoam in the tank and run it full throttle for couple hours of mowing. That would clean out the crud in the carburetor.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The engine is a Kawasaki, family ID 2KAX86762CA
E/NO FH 680VB09716
Code FH 680V B516
Date of manufacture 1002

Let me know if any other questions
 

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Also is it normal for fuel filter to have only this much fuel in it? Or should it be more full? Thanks again
my x475 is probably about as full as urs is.
 

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Also is it normal for fuel filter to have only this much fuel in it? Or should it be more full? Thanks again
Fuel filters are not a "holding" tank on gas engines. Just there to filter out any particles before they get to the carburetor. Should you see no fuel as you crank the engine, then you should have some concerns.
 

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Any updates?

Just a few thoughts.
Could your fuel be bad?
Its possible your carb has crud built up in it. Likely actually, as I cant see the engine having issues at that hour reading. Kawasakis are pretty tough engines, even if abused (not saying yours is, just pointing out that even if it were, having bad rings at such low hours is just about unheard of.).
If your coils are firing, its possible they could be weak, but I would check the carb first.
If you want to run something through it to clean it, Seafoam is ok, but Mercury Quickleen is much better. You can pick it up at just about anyplace that sells boats and services them. 1oz per 5 gallons does it, so its cheaper than Seafoam too.


On the 23hp kawasaki on my Exmark, I was having hard starting issues after it was hot. Turned out the valves needed adjusted. Simple and quick, and its been great since. 1300 hours on it now. I highly doubt a valve adjustment would fix your issue though, as it sounds like yours starts fine, but is low on power.

I did have an issue on the old Onan that was a fuel problem. The fuel was fine one week, then the weather changed and somehow the fuel went south. I ended up having gummy residue in the carb, from the ethanol, and after I gave the carb a good cleaning, replaced the old fuel lines, tank grommets, fuel pickups, etc, its been perfect for the last two years.

Due to that issue, I refuse to run ethanol fuel in my smaller engines. We have a local station that sells ethanol free gas which is more expensive, but Im not using 20 gallons a week, so I dont mind. If I were, Id likely be getting paid, and still wouldnt mind.
I also keep the fuel treated with Mercury Quickleen and TCW3 oil. No issues what so ever in any of my engines since I started doing that.
Heck, even my JX85 push mower that I only use about 3 times a year still starts on the first pull after sitting in the shed all Winter. That reminds me, its due for an oil change.

As an aside, the reason I treat the fuel like I do is because the Onan is supposed to be decarboned at certain intervals. The Quickleen keeps carbon from building up, and the TCW3 is a top cylinder lubricant when used like I do. Between those two, they keep the cylinders cleaner, and the oil also keeps the carbs buildup free, because when the fuel evaporates, the oil film is left behind. Theres a long drawn out explanation of why its important in certain carbs by an old Kawasaki Concours carb guru who originally got me using it in everything, but the short version is, while the oil may or may not have other benefits, it does do that very well. Quickleen is very highly regarded on most boating forums, and most say its MUCH better than Seafoam at clearing out issues. When I bought it, even the service manager said it was noticeably better. He said that they had a problem carb that they ran Seafoam through a few times and it didnt clear up, at the end of the season, the figured theyd tear it apart and clean it out. Right before they did, they ran Quickleen through it and it sorted it out fairly quick. Sold him on it, and between the online reviews and his, sold me too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, all good info and I appreciate your efforts. So today I had already purchased the sea foam additive as I had not read your post yet on the Merc quickleen, (and it was on sale, second one half off) in the future I will look for the Merc stuff. Gas was probably only 3 weeks old.
But anyhow I ran the mower for awhile and it was sputtering as usual but running enough to get grass cut. But after say 25 minuets things really started to go south. I would really lose power and exhaust smoke was more noticeable. I would disengage mower and let power build up again , BUT only slowly and still not full RPM. (And no grass wasn’t that high or tough) So I limped back to garage and tried the ol disconnect one plug again alternately and this time IT DID DIE when one side was unplugged but would run when I did it to the other side! So I’m suspecting coil finally did die lol. I tried the plug trick again just to make sure and always on the left side engine would die. So I’m off to dealer to get two coils and try that. Maybe try carb rebuild if that fails.
I was on the phone to confirm they had coils in stock and asked about carb rebuild kit and after a few minutes he wasn’t sure they had one available. He wants me to check marking on carb and bring that info with me. This may not be necessary anyways if coil(s) do the trick.
So hopefully pick up coils tomorrow and when I get installed (hopefully tomorrow) I will report back.
Again thanks for your and everyone else’s help. This is a great resource.
Thanks
Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well augh... long story short, I replaced both coils and fired it back up. And shortly after I heard the familiar sputtering! All is not well. It’s got kind of a miss going on. (I sprayed carb cleaner down into carb why I had everything opened up too.)
I tried to see if I could mow and turned around after about 20 feet as I still had low power and can’t achieve full RPM. So what do you suggest next?
Carb rebuild? Check plugs for oil or gas? Take off valve covers? I don’t know!
Frustrated here.? Yikes.
 

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Is this the 2003 listed in your signature?

If so, Ill check something when I get home. I may be able to help a bit more than I thought...its possible I have a pdf that will greatly assist you.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yes I got it New in 2003, so I’m assuming that’s what it is. Maybe it’s leftover 02? Don’t know. I tried pulling boots to plugs alternatively and this time it Kept running no matter which side I pulled so I think we are good on coils and sparks.
I’m trying to find out which carb it is cause yesterday he said there were four possibilities. He said it was stamped with a number? The only number I found turned out to be for the intake pipe on carb.
It starts fine , idles fine, but when you give it throttle it starts flubbing about half throttle and won’t quite get to full RPM at full throttle.
 

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Yes I got it New in 2003, so I’m assuming that’s what it is. Maybe it’s leftover 02? Don’t know. I tried pulling boots to plugs alternatively and this time it Kept running no matter which side I pulled so I think we are good on coils and sparks.
I’m trying to find out which carb it is cause yesterday he said there were four possibilities. He said it was stamped with a number? The only number I found turned out to be for the intake pipe on carb.
It starts fine , idles fine, but when you give it throttle it starts flubbing about half throttle and won’t quite get to full RPM at full throttle.

Should be marked with 5 numbers followed by a dash and 4 numbers.
xxxxx-xxxx
Its probably going to be hard to see.
Numbers can be on the mounting flange, carb body, etc.
Being that long of a number, its likely punched in small numbers too, which will make it even harder to read.
 
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I was trying tio look up the carburetor on this Ztrack, and realize that John Didn't make a Z727 Zero turn. So, what you have is a Mini Z727A or a Z720A. Do you have the Owner's manual to verify what model tractor you have?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Here is pictures of machine, owners manual, serial #’s etc, this should help with identifying. So do you think it’s a clogged jet? I’m thinking if I can post a picture maybe I can post a video with SOUND, then you guys could listen to it! I’ll try that tomorrow, don’t want to wake the neighbors.
Thanks
 

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It certainly could be, but the odd thing is that its fine at low speed. Those are generally the passages/jets that clog first, as they are smaller.
While odd, its not out of the realm of possibility.

I got to thinking a bit more about it tonight, and am now wondering about the fuel pump. Its possible if its weak, that it will run ok for a short time, then it will be unable to keep up. That certainly wouldnt account for wet plugs, but maybe they arent now that the coils have been changed?

By the way, Im sending you a PM about something else related.
 

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I would say it is the carburetor that is causing the problems here. That Seafoam just loosing up all the crud and sent it right into the jets.

I finally did the Mini-727 to pull up on John Deere Parts Catalog. The kit is Number MIA10405 and I didn't go find what the price is.

When you have the dealer to order one, make sure there are 5 gaskets and one 0'ring in the package. I think three of those gaskets go between the carburetor and the manifold. The reason I tell you this, as some times a little thief robs a gaskets from a kit. Don't ask me how I know.

After you install the kit, and before you run the engine...remove the gas tank and go buy you about two dozen 5/16 hex nuts that you put in the tank with a quart of paint thinner or lacquer thinner and shake for about ten minutes to break/loosing any crud that is in the tank.
 
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