Please Help Mower Down!! Mower Down!!

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by dgollar1, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. dgollar1

    dgollar1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    I had a new Kaw. FH541V installed less than a year ago. Now when i start the motor it struggles to reach its normal 3500-3600 RPMs. I smell strong fuel fumes and some times it backfires. These symtoms started about 6-8 weeks ago and have progressively gotten worse. Now i can't even engage my blades without the engine stalling. I have tried different positions on the choke and also running the engine with out the air filter. The engine will start but it spits and sputters really bad and idles about 3100 RPM. The engine jumps to full RPMs and then immediately goes back down. Any advice?
     
  2. Jeff in AL

    Jeff in AL LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 728

    Sounds like the typical Kawasaki ignition coil that took a dump!

    Did you think it was going to get better the longer you ran it this way? If it is a coil going/gone out, you will have quite a bit of raw fuel mixed in with the oil now being that it has been run for 6-8 weeks this way.

    Isn't there a Warranty with that less than one year old engine from Kawasaki?
     
  3. dgollar1

    dgollar1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Thanks for your response Jeff. I didn't get it serviced because this is the only mower I own. Also, in the begnning after the motor ran for a bit, maybe 2-3 min, the RPM's would level out and i wouldn't have a problem. It seemed to be the worst when i first started it for the day. Even when i would go to my next group of accounts several minutes later the motor would start up fairly smooth. Just in the past week or so the engine has been getting worse. On your adivce I followed up with the company i purchased the motor from regarding the warranty. Hopefully i hear something back soon. Is there a way i can check to see if its definitely the ignition coil? Will the oil smell like gas?

    Thanks again.
     
  4. Jeff in AL

    Jeff in AL LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 728

    If determined that it is ignition coil related, I would get it to a Kawasaki Dealer to have it repaired under warranty... Provided you have a printed copy of the DOP.

    To check the ignition coils I use an inline loaded coil tester. That way I can see the fire when running and which side gets weak or drops out completely when the issue happens.
    Per Kawasaki, they recommend using an adjustable spark tester and have it set to 1/4 inch. The 1/4 inch gap "loads" the coil and if it does, then the coil is ok... Will need to be done on each coil.
    You can get an adjustable coil tester at just about any autoparts store.

    The other side to your problem may also be fuel related...
    Depending if the engine is running lean, you won't smell much fuel in the oil. But if a coil is dropping out or you have an over rich condition, then yes, you can get and smell fuel in the oil.

    Also check the choke lever and make sure it is closing completely when in the choke position and that it is fully opening when in the choke is in the off position. If not closing, it can be harder to start, if not opening or hanging it will cause a rich condition depending on position.
     
  5. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,711

    FWIW, I had the same exact issue a couple few years ago - and replacing the bad coil was an immediate fix. Runs like a top now.
     
  6. dgollar1

    dgollar1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Just heard back from the dealer. Jeff you were spot on...ignition coil. Should get it back today or tomorrow. Thanks for all your help.
     
  7. Jeff in AL

    Jeff in AL LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 728

    dgoller,

    Was it concluded if it was warranty or not? If it was warranty, it will be tough to cover both coils, but it is possible :)

    If it wasn't going to be covered by warranty, I would strongly recommend that both get replaced.

    Kawasaki is one of several OEM's with ongoing ignition problems!

    Either way, glad to hear you got it figured out!
     
  8. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Posts: 555

    Also, make sure your engaging your blades at 3/4 throttle and disengaging at 1/4 throttle.
     
  9. Jeff in AL

    Jeff in AL LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 728

    And that has exactly what to do with an ignition coil going bad?
     
  10. dgollar1

    dgollar1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    It was one coil that went bad and yes the warranty covered the cost. Also, I didn't know that engaging/ disengaging the blades at certain speeds made a difference. What about turning the engine on and off. Should that be done at certain throttle speeds?

    Thanks again everyone!
     

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