View Full Version : Can't start after minimal use

04-15-2008, 09:17 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm very new to the world of commercial mowers but got tired of mowing my 3/4 acre property with a 22" mower so I bought a Red-Hawk 48" mower w/ Kohler 18HP engine brand new in August of last year. The mower arrived and was working beautifully. I stored the mower in my garage and this season put in fresh gas and checked the oil and cannot start it. Just to be sure I replaced the spark plug and checked the gap but nothing. The mower won't turn over at all.

Anyone have any thoughts before I retain a local shop. I'm not thrilled about paying to service a mower with less than 10 hours of service.

Thanks in advance


04-15-2008, 09:43 PM
did you happen to shut the fuel off last year? is it electric start or pull rope? is the choke closing fully?

04-15-2008, 09:47 PM
It's pull start and I did open the fuel valve.

Not sure where to check to see if the choke is closing fully but will have a look tomorrow.


04-15-2008, 10:21 PM
Are you smelling gas when pulling it over? Have you looked at the plug to see if it is wet with gas? If no gas, tap the side of the carb lightly with a screwdriver handle. Sometimes a needle will stick in the seat when stored and wont release to allow fuel in to the carb when it's turned on again.

04-15-2008, 11:06 PM
I'm pretty certain I smell gas but what needle are you referring to? Something in the carb or a needle like from a pine tree?

Sorry if I sound like a n00b... I am :laugh:

04-15-2008, 11:07 PM
Hi everyone,

The mower won't turn over at all.

What exactly do you mean by "won't turn over"? Do you mean the engine's crankshaft won't even rotate, of do you mean it rotates but the engine doesn't fire up? If it's the latter and you stored the mower for the winter with fuel in the tank, then gasoline that was in the carburetor may have dried up leaving a gum deposit which clogged the carburetor jets. But before tearing into the carburetor, make sure the plug is firing. That's easy to check by removing the plug, connecting the spark plug wire to it, grounding the outside of the plug against the engine, and then cranking the engine. If there is spark, it should be clearly visible.

04-15-2008, 11:19 PM
Yes the engine turns and I'll try what you suggest with the plug tomorrow to make sure it's firing.

I thought I ran out all the fuel but when I went to fill up this week there was a small amount in the bottom so there it the possibility that there was some left behind.

04-15-2008, 11:23 PM
I'm pretty certain I smell gas but what needle are you referring to? Something in the carb or a needle like from a pine tree?

Sorry if I sound like a n00b... I am :laugh:

The needle and seat is a valve in the carb that is controlled by a float. It opens and closes to allow and control fuel flow into the carb. If you left gas in the carb over the winter and didn't run it out untill the engine died, this might be your problem. Of course there are other possibilities. Next fall or even between mowings this summer, it is a good idea to get in the habit of shutting off the fuel while the engine is running and letting it run at idle or just above until it uses all the gas in the carb bowl. Then there is less chance of it causing these parts to stickduring storage. An alternative is to use a gas stabilizer and leave the fuel in there.

04-15-2008, 11:40 PM
Gotcha, ok will check all that out and let you know what I can get accomplished...

04-16-2008, 12:10 AM
The needle and seat are on the side with the gas line.

The fresh fuel you put in could even work overnight to loosen up what might be clogging the flow. It could start for you tomorrow. I've had it happen a few times.

04-18-2008, 09:14 PM
Ok update, I got out to look at the mower today and tested the spark plug and both last years and the new one are sparking fine. Tapped the carb and tried to start it and got a couple of small thump thump's from the motor but that's all.

Found a couple other threads here and am going to try looking at the carb, with neighbor's help and maybe a new fuel filter.

Will keep everyone posted.

04-18-2008, 10:13 PM
Remove the bolt on bottom of carb and catch the fuel in a small container. You will probably get a small amount of water and rust. Carefully remove bowl as not to damage gasket and check for free motion of float.You can spray it out with carb cleaner then clean and reassemble.Make sure to drain enough fuel to purge the fuel line before you turn fuel valve back off. After reassembly turn fuel on , check for leaks then apply choke set throttle and pull on the rope.

04-21-2008, 09:17 AM
Bingo, I took apart the carb, drained the fuel in the line and hit the carb with some cleaner picked up at Home Depot. Put it all back together and 2 pulls later the mower was fired up and working like a champ.

Note to self... do better job next season putting away for the winter.

Thanks a million for all the suggestions everyone!

04-21-2008, 01:04 PM
Be sure to change your fuel filter and have an extra on hand. Tony