Hello, I recently purchased a 1998 Scotts (J.D.) with a B&S 17hp 31777 engine. Apparently, I screwed up big-time and have a lemon. There is a whole lot of oil in the intake. The smoke is enough to not be surpised if the F.D. showed up. When I first got the mower, it only smoked on a hill in my yard. Otherwise it seemed to run fine. Today I added quite a bit of oil before this began. I was surpised by how much I could put it in, and never did get it above the "add" line. I drained the crankcase on a level floor (left the filter on) and got exactly one quart. The manual says it holds 1.5 quarts w/o filter, so I think that seems right, explaining why it was still low on the stick. It seems to be consuming an awful lot of oil. If I block off where the breather "dumps" into the carb, the oil will spit out in other places (assembly that accepts the hose from the breather). I removed the breather and dismantled it. It has a "disk" that I'd consider pretty loose - certainly not sealed or heavily spring loaded. I gave it one whack to try to add tension, which did seem to get the disk a bit less wobbly, but it didn't seem to help. Do you think it's as simple this breather, or do you think it could be the head gasket? If the latter, how big of a project is that? I can replace the breather this week, but I fear that may not be the real problem. I'm not small engine savvy, but I am quite fearful. Thank you much, for any advice.