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Tons of smoke - fix?

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by tbeaulieu, May 10, 2009.

  1. tbeaulieu

    tbeaulieu LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6


    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. :cry:

    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.
  2. mowerknower

    mowerknower LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766

    You blew a head gasket and that took out the breather. Replace em both. Ive done so many head gaskets and breathers on these ohv briggs engines I think I could do it with my eyes closed. Its a pretty simple job.
  3. tbeaulieu

    tbeaulieu LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6


    How big of a job do you think it is for someone that's never done it?

    Where do you live? I have a whole lot of beer :)
  4. mowerknower

    mowerknower LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766

    You should be able to do it yourself. Gotta remove flywheel housing, carb, muffler, valve cover and head. The breather is located right behind the carb. You can try it without a breather first but I always do both breather and head gasket at the same time. The head gasket will be blown right between the cylinder and the push rods. Sorry, Im about 3000 miles away and I work for money not beer. But crack one open and get to work. You can do this. Most small engine repair is not that difficult. Usually its the figuring out the problem that is the tough part.
  5. tbeaulieu

    tbeaulieu LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    I just pulled the engine. Gonna give this ugly duckling another chance before buying new.

    I'll start to make a parts list for tomorrow's order. I'm I assume the engine's in 3 pieces, valve cover, head, crankcase. Therefore, I should buy a valve cover gasket, head gasket, exhaust, breather assy. Oh wait, this thing's horizontal, isn't it? I see a KIT on J.D. for gaskets.

    Should I consider rings and valves, or is that a much larger can of worms?

    Thanks for the help!
  6. tbeaulieu

    tbeaulieu LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    Oh, and what about the carb? Other than dismantling and cleaning it, what should I replace?

    Thanks again!
  7. mowerknower

    mowerknower LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766

    I wouldnt worry about the rings, they are not your problem so why mess with them now. Valves might not be a bad idea, its very little extra work to put valves in whele doing the head gasket

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