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Hi forum, newbie here with an interesting problem.

D140, 2015 model with a Briggs & Stratton. Tractor was last run in October--most of the fuel was used up at the time, and it was stored in a shed until March.

Before starting it in the spring, I typically clean it up and change the oil. Boy am I glad I did--RATS got into the engine bay and built a nest in there. Not mice, but rats. Once I had the black shroud off, you couldn't even see any cooling fins, it was that bad.

On top of the filth they filled up the insides with, they chewed up the right-hand coil/armature and spark plug wire. I used three cans of brake cleaner and an air compressor to clean the filth out. I then replaced the coil/armature with one from the dealer,following the instructions about spacing it from the flywheel. And I did my usual oil change.

The engine cranks and cranks and cranks, but it doesn't fire.

Some notes:

- It's a relatively new mower with only light use
- Battery and starter appear to be in good shape.
- Tank has fresh gas.
- Plug from new coil has spark (though it looked red/orange).
- Fuel flow to carb is good--if I disconnect the fuel line exiting the fuel pump, it squirts as the engine cranks.
- I haven't messed with the carb--it and the air intake appeared to be the one place the rats didn't mess with.
- In addition to the fuel line, there's a vapor line connecting the gas tank with the left side of the engine. The tube is clear, but it seems blocked at the gas tank if I try to blow from the engine side.

Questions:

1. Should the vapor line be clear into the gas tank? I want to make sure there's not some valve I might damage if I hit it with compressed air. I don't even know what it does.

2. Though I tried to match the orientation of the chewed-up coil/armature, it's possible I could have installed the new coil upside-down (see picture below). I don't know what this would do in terms of spark.

3. Any other guesses before I give up and take it in to the dealer?

tvj4ppx.jpg
Note the rust on the old coil... entirely due to rat excrement.

Thanks, folks
 

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It could very well be the fact that it was stored for a length of time with a partial tank of gas. Ethanol (regular) gas degrades very quickly.

You might want to try draining the tank and fuel lines along with the carburetor bowl and put fresh gas in.

I know you said you put fresh gas in but I am assuming that was on top of the old gas. The old gas is likely still in the carb and lines.

When storing equipment for a month or more, drain the tank, then run the engine until it stalls thus getting all the gas out of the system.
 

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Next thing I'd do is get a big, mean, farmcat!!
And don't feed him much. LOL
 

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I used to have a half dozen cats,, the coyotes depleted my supply of cats,,

Last fall,, I spent over $100 on mouse traps, ALL types,, I catch close to one per day on average,,,

Does anyone think I overspent on mouse traps?? :dunno:

When I see damage like that, I think I underspent,,, :flag_of_truce:

Yesterday, I dumped two out of one repeating trap,,
my wife noted that since I caught two,,, think how many fewer there will be in the future!! :laugh:
 

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Hi forum, newbie here with an interesting problem.

D140, 2015 model with a Briggs & Stratton. Tractor was last run in October--most of the fuel was used up at the time, and it was stored in a shed until March.

Before starting it in the spring, I typically clean it up and change the oil. Boy am I glad I did--RATS got into the engine bay and built a nest in there. Not mice, but rats. Once I had the black shroud off, you couldn't even see any cooling fins, it was that bad.

On top of the filth they filled up the insides with, they chewed up the right-hand coil/armature and spark plug wire. I used three cans of brake cleaner and an air compressor to clean the filth out. I then replaced the coil/armature with one from the dealer,following the instructions about spacing it from the flywheel. And I did my usual oil change.

The engine cranks and cranks and cranks, but it doesn't fire.

Some notes:

- It's a relatively new mower with only light use
- Battery and starter appear to be in good shape.
- Tank has fresh gas.
- Plug from new coil has spark (though it looked red/orange).
- Fuel flow to carb is good--if I disconnect the fuel line exiting the fuel pump, it squirts as the engine cranks.
- I haven't messed with the carb--it and the air intake appeared to be the one place the rats didn't mess with.
- In addition to the fuel line, there's a vapor line connecting the gas tank with the left side of the engine. The tube is clear, but it seems blocked at the gas tank if I try to blow from the engine side.

Questions:

1. Should the vapor line be clear into the gas tank? I want to make sure there's not some valve I might damage if I hit it with compressed air. I don't even know what it does.

2. Though I tried to match the orientation of the chewed-up coil/armature, it's possible I could have installed the new coil upside-down (see picture below). I don't know what this would do in terms of spark.

3. Any other guesses before I give up and take it in to the dealer?

View attachment 577465
Note the rust on the old coil... entirely due to rat excrement.

Thanks, folks
If its getting spark, I would check the fuel. Drain and refill the tank and lines, and maybe clean the carb. Next, make sure that the fuel shutoff is operational, and that the wires haven't been chewed. It is located under the carb, directly under the bowl.



Go ahead and check the air gap again, just to make sure. Does the engine have a low-oil shutdown? make sure there is plenty of oil in the pan.
 

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I used to have a half dozen cats,, the coyotes depleted my supply of cats,,

Last fall,, I spent over $100 on mouse traps, ALL types,, I catch close to one per day on average,,,

Does anyone think I overspent on mouse traps?? :dunno:

When I see damage like that, I think I underspent,,, :flag_of_truce:

Yesterday, I dumped two out of one repeating trap,,
my wife noted that since I caught two,,, think how many fewer there will be in the future!! :laugh:
I have a southern black racer that hangs out in my shop. I really hate snakes but he doesn't show himself much and he does keep all of the other critters out so I leave him alone.
 

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I can't add anything more to the troubleshooting advice that's already been given but I had the exact same problem with mice the last 3 years with my D160. They LOVE to crawl up in those coils to build their nests and chew on the wires.

This year I soaked a rag in peppermint oil and laid it over the top of the engine. Not a single rodent anywhere in the shed so far this winter. :good2: As an added bonus, every time I open the shed door it smells like Christmas! :laugh:

Hope you get it sorted out soon!
 

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I have a southern black racer that hangs out in my shop. I really hate snakes but he doesn't show himself much and he does keep all of the other critters out so I leave him alone.
It would keep me out.

I would also have to jack up my car another 2 feet and put a lift kit on my creeper.
 

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I think you need to disassemble and clean your carburetor if it was sitting with ethanol gas. I bet the pilot jet and possibly main jet or other passages are plugged with crud.
 

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In the early '80's, I bought a log splitter to use during the summer. I'd shut it down about Sept/Oct, tarp it and start it the following April/May...but only after pulling the carb apart, give it a good cleaning, and replace a few gaskets. 2 or 3 pulls later it would run fine. After 3 or 4 years of "spring cleaning" the carb, my cousin suggested/recommended using Sta-Bil in my gas. I tried it and that was the last time I had to clean the carb!
I also put it in 2-cycle fuel. I don't use my chain saw or trimmer as much as I used to, and a 5 gal can of fuel can last me 3 or 4 years. 3 or 4 pulls and my 2-cycles fire right up!
As far as running the fuel system dry, I do the opposite: I top my tanks off if something is going to sit for a season...that helps prevent condensation.
Topping off or running dry is your call, but I STRONGLY recommend using Sta-Bil in your fuel(s). Bob
 

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The guy that started me in my first career of repairing lawnmowers told me that an engine has to do 3 things - Suck, Fire and Blow! :laugh: But that really takes it down to the basics.

If it were me, I'd probably start with the first two basics - Suck and Fire. As others have mentioned, I'd clean and rebuild the carb. If you have a local shop (where you can buy the parts - don't forget to take the engine model AND serial numbers!), they might soak it in their carb tank for a few hours. Or you can take it apart and hit it with a lot of carb cleaner. I'd replace the needle and seat, clean the bowl, etc. If you buy a rebuild kit, replace all the old stuff with whatever is included in the kit. Screw in your adjustment needles until they seat and then back them out 1.5 turns as a starting point.

If that engine uses points and condenser, I'd replace them as well. That will mean that you have to pop the flywheel. I got out of the business around the time that Briggs was shipping engines with factory installed electronic ignitions, so I don't know if yours has it or not. Looking at the coil, I'm guessing it does not. I'd take some fine sandpaper to the outside of the flywheel and clean off any surface rust. Ditto for the coil. If I remember correctly there is supposed to be a .010 gap between the coil and the flywheel. The easiest way to do that was to position the magnets of the flywheel opposite the coil, slip a feeler gauge in with the .010 and .011 blades and then let the magnets pull to coil close to sandwich the feeler gauge. Tighten up the little screws and you should be good to go.

Replace the plug. It will be $4 well spent.

Put it all back together and pull it through a few times. Does it have spark? (Do you know how to check for spark?) If not, the coil may be bad from the mouse pee and you'll have to replace it. Look for one on Amazon and save some $$$$$. If it's got spark, is it getting gas? Pull the plug and see if it's wet. If not, you still have something blocked in the carb, so take it apart and try again.

Good luck with it!!
 

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Success!

johnH123 hit the nail on the head!! Though the carb was spotless inside and out, the fuel shutoff lead was chewed.

In case someone else needs the info, for the D140, the fuel shutoff is located on the side of the carb bowl, beneath the carb itself. It has a grey wire, which gets routed up between the cylinders and over the right-hand one to the main alternator harness. It also has a black, ground wire that goes immediately to a ground terminal on the right cylinder. This is what the rats chewed.

Thanks everyone, especially johnH123. I was so happy to hear it start, I went and Armor-All'd the whole thing.
 

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We have several feral cats. They aren't 100% effective. I use mothballs under the hoods of my tractors in the winter. I think there are several "smellie" options that work. I also use an ultrasonic pest sounder. I have 4 of them setup around the yard. This year, not one mouse in the house. And no ground hogs. And the deer stay further away too. Young people complain about them, but I can't hear them very much.
 

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Glad you got it all sorted out! Usually when something that was working simply does work not at all anymore it makes me think of electrical issues -- even when the electrical failure is impacting the fuel supply. Shutoff is a complete lack of fuel, whereas stale fuel may fire halfheartedly once in a wile.

When we had small acreage our one cat kept things pretty cleared out in the shed...but each time I brought home a new tractor that had been setting I checked it for any sign of rodents using it as a base of operations. Here is a typical picture or two -- I thought the peanut shell was pretty incriminating...:laugh:

nest under air cleaner box.jpg

peanut shell in nest material.jpg

Chuck
 

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Well, a few months before I had a bought a tractor and after some days I saw the engine wires were destroyed, I had found out there was a rodent nest in the engine. I had looked out for evidence, like mouse droppings, bad odors, or weird sounds. Immediately I called up the rodent control Walnut Creek CA services to exterminate the rodents nest. As the exterminator had eliminated the rodents and they said the you can use ultrasonic pest control devices, which most of the people found that it is a great way to keep rodents from coming into your tractor.
 

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I leave hoods open and put a mothball somewhere on the engine. Seems an open area and maybe the smell is a diversion. I’m out in the sticks with mice issues but it works for me
 
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