View Full Version : Toro/Suzuki engine start question

10-13-2002, 05:18 PM
I bought a Toro Proline 21" with 5.5hp Suzuki 2 cycle in April. My old LB had a transmission problem and couldn't afford to wait to get the parts to fix. Later I did get it fixed, great mower-- I use it as a second hand mower for some lawns.

I like the Toro, especially the engine -- nice purr to it, great power. I know, the engine does not cut the grass, the blades and mower deck are important, but I like the sound and feel of good equipment!

But, I have a question that I did not see addressed in other threads that are related to Toro and the Suzuki engine. The question is warm-starting.

When cold, three pumps on the primer bulb, no choke, and it starts first pull. When hot, after dumping a bag, one pull, and it fires up nicely. But, when warm, I've not yet found the combination of primer, choke, and throttle position to make it fire easily.

By warm-start, I'm talking about finishing one job, putting it on the trailer, driving a short distance, pulling it off, and getting started at the next job. Usually, these times are 10-20 minutes. The engine hasn't fully cooled, but certainly is no longer hot.

I've tried primer bulb, one, two, three times. I've tried choke with no primer, and various combinations. I've also tried throttle at idle position.

I often need 5-6 pulls on the rope. It usually has some puff of smoke, indicating flooding. But, with no choke, no primer, it does not start either.

Any ideas or similar experiences?

BTW, in general: Toro for productivity, LB for good result, IMO.

I was hoping the Toro would give me some discharge capability, but a friend loaned me the discharge chute that attaches to the bagging chute -- a joke! And, discharge with the LB is also a joke. The Toro does a better mulching job than the LB for my work. The side bagger on the LB is THE BEST for bagging when damp or wet.


10-13-2002, 11:05 PM
1 primer push on choke pull as rope is recoiling move throttle to high

Warm: leave throttle on high and pull.
You are wasting time and energy man

10-14-2002, 12:04 AM
I've got a toro 2-cycle and just purchased a toro 4-cycle with the Kawasaki 5.5 engine.

I find my 2-cycle takes 5-6 primer pushes to cold start. Once warm, it always starts on the first or second pull. My 4 cycle starts first pull cold or hot, runs quieter and the regular oil changes don't add up to too much maintenance time.

However, I'm trying to move away from the 2-cycle mowers due to the exhaust fumes. No matter how I tweak the mix, the fumes get to me by the end of the day.

Anyone else experience that problem with their 2-cycle mowers? I'm curious about this one.

10-14-2002, 07:05 PM
5-6 primes?
do we have the same machine? I didnt even prime today took two pulls one choke and the other high and it was under 40 out

10-14-2002, 11:29 PM
I have the same problem. Sometimes takes up to 10 pulls to start it once it is very hot. Get the puff of smoke just as you do.

I also went to an old Toro blade(low lift) and get a much better cut on thick grass. Don't know the model number but the blade is red. I was having too much uncut grass.

Some of the commercial guys here have gone to eliminating the kill switch.

Also tried the 4 cycle model and found it to have more power. This was a loaner.


10-16-2002, 10:49 AM
Thanks for the responses. The past couple of days I've been more diligent in my procedure.

For warm-start, 1 pull with choke, then return to full throttle, for another pull, or two -- best for me so far.

One other question I failed to ask in the first post, has anybody found any difference in the warm-start (by my definition) if the engine was shut down at full throttle, or if pulled back to slow idle before shutoff? Do you let the engine run at slow idle for some time (10-15 sec) for cooldown before shutoff? How about warmup on cold-start? Do you let it warm for a short time at slow idle before full throttle? I've been told that most engine wear happens when engine is running at cold temperatures.


Craig Jones
10-16-2002, 01:32 PM
We have two Toros with the Suzuki two strokes. We occasionally have problems with the partial cool down and taking 5 pulls to get it to restart. Normally, if we do not keep the spark plug fresh, we have problems starting.

When we start the mower cold or very hot, it only takes one pull.

Please bear in mind both of these mowers have a lot of hours on them and are an 85 and 96 models.

We too have found the side discharge chute almost worthless and use a Snapper side discharge for deep grass.

I have found the two Toros good for mulching and also bag wet grass well if the occasion calls for it.

We have switched to a synthetic oil mix since we experienced the same problem with exhaust emissions especially in cold weather. It has really made a difference both in cleaner burning exhaust and spark plug life.

We have gotten great service out of these mowers even though we only use them for real small yards or trim work.

Hope this is of help.

Craig Jones for Tim's Lawn Service

Green Pastures
10-16-2002, 02:15 PM
I'd try not choking it or priming it at all on the warm starts. That's what I do with mine. No problems.

I did notice I had to change the plug at least twice a season though. It likes a clean plug, but that could be just mine. Some two cycle have a hotter (or colder) spark than other models even with the same engines/ignition systems.


10-16-2002, 10:00 PM
Changed my third belt on this model in less than a year. Anyone else having this problem. It just jumps off the rear pulley and burns the belt.

Roger, would you buy the proline over the LawnBoy again if you had the choice now. Can anyone suggest a good commercial side dischage 21". Has anyone seen the new Gravely 21".


10-16-2002, 10:37 PM
I havent done a thing to my toro and really no one does to any of their's around here. I have had residential lawnboys older ones two stroke with bbc sp the whole nine yards but wasnt pleased wit the hsp, they just couldnt mulch thick fescue good enough. I havent had a power problem with this mower or a belt problem, yours must need some type of adjustment. I have seen mowers with 400-1000hrs on them with no belt changes.

10-29-2002, 04:12 PM
... sorry for late responses to items in this thread - I have to use a PC at the local public library. I do get e-mail every day at home, but no Internet access.

Sam, would I buy a ProLine over a LB next time....?
Good question, but I hope I don't have to make that decision soon. Each brand has good and bad features, at least from my viewpoint. The Toro covers ground more quickly, but the LB does the better job of mowing on the best lawns. I carry both on my trailer some days, but the Toro is the primary mower.

I work solo some days, but many days with my wife. Her "only" job is running the Toro -- no trimming, blowing, using my XM w/b, hedge trimmer, etc. She likes the Toro much better than the LB, so I can't be critical. I'm pleased with her help, and she has become a much better operator -- a very good one! I believe the sure-footed feel of the Toro, ability to navigate difficult terrain (nothing is flat in SW PA!) are the reasons she likes it. Quality of result is more important to me than to her. If I was the only operator, I probably would favor a new LB.

I wish that both mowers had better gear ratios in the transmission. Third gear is worthless here to anybody. Lawns are too rough, terrain too difficult for that ground speed. If I was to choose, I would make second gear a bit slower, and third a bit faster than the present second gear. First gear is OK.

Someone mentioned using synthetic 2 cycle oil in the Toro. Are you using something like Ampsoil (sp?) in the Susuki? I've had major problems with exhaust port plugging in my LB. It is an older model. I bought it about five years ago, just before the Dura-Force engines were used on LB. I had taken the muffler on/off so many times that the threads in the engine plate became worn out. Last season, I had to replace the plate so that the bolts holding the muffler in place had freshly threaded holes.

Since it was new, I always used LB 2 cycle oil, mixed 32:1. When I mowed about 125 lawns this Spring, the ports were plugged again. Having seen threads on this Forum about others using synthetic 2 cycle oil, and expressing satisfaction, I bought a bottle of Ampsoil, mixed it 100:1. I only ran through 1 tank of mixed fuel when the tranny broke. After I got the tranny fixed and put the LB back into service as a second 21" mower, I continued to use the synthetic oil mix. I have not had any problems with ports plugging.

I also decided to try one of my hand power tools with the same synthetic mix. I have Stihl products (hand blower, string trimmer, edger, hedge clipper). I have used the synthetic mix in the hand blower only (thinking it was the least expensive to replace if the fuel mix ruined the engine). Since April, I've only run synthetic mix in the blower, but continued to use 50:1 Stihl mix in the other three pieces of Stihl gear. The blower runs well, starts better than any of the other three. If I see no ill effects by the end of the season, I will probably run synthetic in all four next season.

When I bought the Toro with the Suzuki, I didn't think I wanted to experiment with 100:1 synthetic mix in this costly engine! Therefore, I've continued to use 50:1 Stihl mixed fuel in the Suzuki all season. It has ran so well that I'm doubtful I will switch to a synthetic mix next season -- maybe just too conservative!

BTW, with regard to my original question about warm-starts ....
I've made a very focused effort on the warm-starts and have had very good success with throttle lever in full choke position, then a part-pull on the starter rope (only partial length, just one or two compression cycles, no intent to start the engine), then a full length, hard pull. I can count on it starting on the full length pull every time. After it starts, the throttle lever is reset to full throttle, off the choke position.

Thanks for all the comments...


10-30-2002, 02:23 AM
I have 3 prolines, #1 was mfg. in 1999, #2 mfg. in 2000, #3mfg. in 2001. Mower #1 has the TV5002 motor on it, which I believe is a 4.5hp. (I do not know for sure, as I bought this mower used) I have had no problems at all starting this mower, no matter if it is hot or cold. Mowers #2 and #3 have the 5.5 Suzukis, and I have the same problems with as you guys. Most of the time it takes WAY to many pulls to get them to start. Mower #3 was just purchased in July, still under warranty, took mower to dealer, who tried to start it and pulled out starter rope!! Dealer suggested new filter, spark plug. Still has problems. :(

Sam Wilson ---Changed my third belt on this model in less than a year. Anyone else having this problem. It just jumps off the rear pulley and burns the belt.

I also had this problem, dry grass collects under the plastic shield housing the belt and pulley, and it will get PACKED under there, that will cause your belt to jump off. When you do your maintenance, just take off the shield (there's only 2 bolts), and gat all the grass out of there.

10-30-2002, 04:44 AM
I've mowed 1,000s of lawns with the Suzuki 5.5hps,they always start 2nd pull,never on the first,and always with full choke,if it doesn't start by the 2nd pull check with full choke it is actually flipping the choke over to fully on.The mowers we use here often the cable needs lenghting a tad to fully engage the choke.You can pull 10-15 times to start one without the choke.They need choking every start.I use el cheapo 2 stroke oil 50:1,done untold 1,000s of hours on them with no problems.

Craig Jones
10-30-2002, 11:17 AM

We use Optimal 2 stroke oil which was recommended by a dealer and we get in bulk from Landscaper Supply in N. Y. via mail order. We have used it for the last two years and have not had port clogging in the Toro mowers. There was also a noticeable reduction in smoking in cold starts and cold weather. We used it this year for the other two stroke equipment and have really liked it. I would use Amsoil but was too lazy to take the time to order it. We also like not having different mixtures for different equipment. I found the crew putting the wrong mixture in some of the equipment at times.

I also read the last post and I experienced the same problem with the choke on our Toro. Until I took off the air cleaner, I did not realize the choke was not fully engaging. I did have to adjust the cable and really helped the starting problems.

Hope this is of help to you.

10-30-2002, 10:31 PM
:) Thanks for the information about adjusting the choke, I will try that tomorrow.

10-31-2002, 01:39 AM
I purchased one back in 99 with the 4-1/2hp Suzuki, don't have the prime bulb but have never had a problem starting it, starts in damp,hot,cold,wet weather, great little mulcher.....Marks Mowing Service