Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Lawnmower hard to start
Old 04-26-2012, 01:34 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: France
Posts: 1,195
Lawnmower hard to start

We have a 19-year-old Honda 4-stroke lawnmower. I maintain it (change oil, clean air filter, sharpen blade, brush spark plug clean and check gap) every year.

It works great, but lately it has been hard to start (pull-cord). It takes many tries to get it going. Once it's started, it runs without a hitch.

I was thinking it might be the spark plug, which is as old as the mower, but I sort of imagined that if that was the problem, that there would also be problems when it's running.

Any ideas ?
__________________

__________________
Age 56, retired July 1, 2012; DW is 60 and working for 2 more years. Current portfolio is 2000K split 50 stocks/20 bonds/30 cash. Renting house, no debts.
BigNick is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-26-2012, 01:40 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,001
Probably a sticking choke or your carburetor needs to be overhauled/cleaned. A new spark plug can't hurt since it's the original.

You could also try some carb cleaner, starting fluid or seafoam to try and clear it out.
__________________

__________________
Dimsumkid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 02:14 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
frayne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: 19th Hole
Posts: 2,528
Low compression, piston rings ?
__________________
A totally unblemished life is only for saints.
frayne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 02:16 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,871
I'd try squirting a little gas into the air inlet. If it starts right up, your choke may not be engaging fully.
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 02:23 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,260
At 19, that spark plug is WAY over due (check your manual). It may not be the main cause, but it sure would not hurt to replace it.

My manual says change each year, but I don't. When it was running rough, I pulled the plug and it looked fine, perfect in fact. But I put in a new one anyhow, since it was 4 or 5 years old, and it immediately ran better.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 02:29 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,963
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I'd try squirting a little gas into the air inlet. If it starts right up, your choke may not be engaging fully.
+1. Usually my first option too. Good luck, sounds like my 22 year old John Deere...
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 03:36 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Telly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,448
Honda will want that spark plug for their museum

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigNick View Post
.....I was thinking it might be the spark plug, which is as old as the mower, but I sort of imagined that if that was the problem, that there would also be problems when it's running.
Well, not quite a valid comparison. IIRC, typical lawn mower engine's governed speed is about 3600 RPM, so with the magneto running at that speed, spark output is high. But your pull-start cranking speed is very low, so the magneto output will be low, so spark output will be low. And this is at starting, a time when everything is less than optimum.

One solution is to pull that cord a LOT LOT faster!

Seriously, a recent spark plug in good condition and properly gapped will sure help.
__________________
-- Telly, the D-I-Y guy --
Two fools dancing on the hands of time
Telly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 03:41 PM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
73ss454's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: LaLa Land
Posts: 4,378
Ethanol in the gas is causing most of the starting problems in these small engines.
When the gas sits in the tank, carb and hoses it destroys them. You need to clean out the carb and get some fresh gas.
__________________
Work is something you do to get enough $ so you don't have to....Me.
73ss454 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 03:44 PM   #9
Full time employment: Posting here.
Birdie Num Nums's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 776
I agree with the "get fresh gas" suggestion. I had a similar problem two years ago with my John Deere. After searching around on the Internet, I saw that suggestion, tried it, and it worked. (I had 5 gallon gas can in the shed in which I stored my gas, and the gas must have been 2 to 3 years old by the time I got to the bottom of the can, before I got some fresh gas.)
__________________
Birdie Num Nums is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 03:50 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
DFW_M5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 4,980
A spray of ether can also help start engines, but you have to use it very sparingly or kaboom.
__________________
DFW_M5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 03:51 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 9,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdie Num Nums View Post
I agree with the "get fresh gas" suggestion.
Me too.

A couple of times per year, I put any residual gas from the mower/snow blower supply into my car and refill the can with fresh fuel.

Also agree about putting in a new spark plug.
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 04:22 PM   #12
Full time employment: Posting here.
Birdie Num Nums's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 776
Here is where I found the "try fresh gas" suggestion:
Dirt in fuel system or fuel is old. Replace fuel with fresh stabilized fuel. Obtain fuel from another supplier before suspecting machine problems. [Emphasis added.] Suppliers blend fuels differently and changing suppliers will generally solve any performance problems.
Fuel blended with alcohol or ether may contribute to performance problems by causing gum and varnish deposits, especially if fuel is stored for several weeks or more. Obtain fresh fuel.
__________________
Birdie Num Nums is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 04:53 PM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
BUM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Mid Hudson Valley
Posts: 1,778
After years of messing around with domestic internal combustion engine problems, I found that using hi-test gas in all my mowers, trimmers, saws, etc. works very well. Try it you'll like it.
__________________
In a panamax down by the river.
BUM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 05:00 PM   #14
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,824
My solution to a similar problem with my Honda 4-stroke lawnmower was to hire a lawn guy. Although I must pay him each time he mows, I got a month of free mowing in exchange for my lawnmower (after I had a repair shop fix the problem and renovate it). Then it was not my problem any more.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 05:23 PM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 417
I'm with ERD50--quit posting and change the darn plug already. 19-yr old plug---jeesh!!
__________________
Payin-the-Toll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 06:20 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: France
Posts: 1,195
That's interesting about the gas. It's from last season, and it's our European "regular" grade (95 RON, 86 MON) which has about 10% ethanol in it. I'll get some 98 RON "premium", which should help on several fronts (fresh, high octane, no ethanol). And change the plug. I'd rather not disassemble stuff unless I have to.
__________________
Age 56, retired July 1, 2012; DW is 60 and working for 2 more years. Current portfolio is 2000K split 50 stocks/20 bonds/30 cash. Renting house, no debts.
BigNick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 06:52 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
73ss454's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: LaLa Land
Posts: 4,378
Nick, get the gas without the Ethanol and most of the problems will be solved.
__________________
Work is something you do to get enough $ so you don't have to....Me.
73ss454 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 07:03 PM   #18
Recycles dryer sheets
ducky911's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 397
I get ours tuned every mothers day. It breaks my heart to see dw having a hard time starting it.
__________________
You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?
I hate (despise) loads and fees
Retired July '11 investments 55/45 in very low cost index and mutual funds, balance once a year at best.
ducky911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 07:17 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,401
Quote:
Originally Posted by 73ss454 View Post
Nick, get the gas without the Ethanol and most of the problems will be solved.
I agree - I use non-ethanol fuel when I can find it but it is getting harder to find in many parts of the US. When I can't find non-ethanol gas, I use an additive that allegedly helps avoid the problems that ethanol gas causes.

Whereas I used to store motorized things for the off-season full of fuel with stabilizer, now my mechanics suggest draining the fuel tank.

For OP, I suggest a new spark plug (one could suggest you are taking LBYM to an extreme ) , cleaning the carb with some carb cleaner and a fresh tank of high test (wiht additive if you can't find non-ethanol high test). I would think that would make a major improvement in the starting.
__________________
pb4uski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2012, 07:22 PM   #20
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: seattle
Posts: 643
"Whereas I used to store motorized tings for the off-season full of fuel with stabilizer, now my mechanics suggest draining the fuel tank."

I try to drain tanks and run till it quits any more. I spoke with a marine mechanic about it, his comment was they saw just as many fuel-fault issues with sta-bil etc, as without it.
__________________

__________________
bld999 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:30 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.