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Does this sound like governor trouble?

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by BenHeadrick, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. BenHeadrick

    BenHeadrick LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Based on what I can find through searching the web, I would think that I'm having governor trouble, but I find it odd in the way that the problem occurred.

    To start out, I have a Great Dane Super Surfer II with a 23hp Kohler engine. I was mowing along today and everything was fine. I stopped to prune a tree limb, cut off my blade, engaged my brake, and throttled all the way down to idle. The mower began to die, so I reached over and turned the throttle all the way up. It recovered stayed running, but it seemed to be missing terribly.

    I jumped on and booked it to the garage, because I didn't want to be pushing this thing up my front yard. I tinkered with it for a while, checked the spark, checked the compression, made sure I was getting a good supply of fresh fuel to the carb.

    The engine actually seems to run fine when I'm accelerating or when I first turn the blades on. Obviously when the engine is under a load. But as soon as the mower gets momentum, or the blades reach full speed, the sputtering and missing start back.

    The problem was so sudden, that I wouldn't think that it would be the linkage coming out of adjustment. It's almost as if something broke. What do you guys think?
  2. mowerknower

    mowerknower LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    I think you are barking up the wrong tree.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    No, long story short missing is not a symptom of a broken governor.
    More than likely your problem lies in the spark plug / ignition coil area,
    and it could be a carburetor problem to do with the choke / butterfly valve and this could be
    checked with the air filter off, also I would check and inspect that PCV rubber tube.

    FIXDISS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 445

    Pull one plug wire at at time to see which side is missing then pull valve cover off the side that is missing. Sounds like a push-rod may have came out from under rocker arm.
  5. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    I'm gonna go with trash in the carb causing it to lean out, With the engine running slowly apply the choke. If it smooths out give the carb a tear-down cleaning and replace the fuel filter.
  6. BenHeadrick

    BenHeadrick LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanks for all the replies guys. I've been at it all day and haven't noticed any changes. Today I changed the spark plugs, fuel filter, put some seafoam in the gas, and cleaned the carburetor. I did everything one at a time to try to pinpoint the problem. Still the same symptoms. I checked compression again and I used a timing light to see if there was a good rhythm. I did notice today that when I pull the plug wires off individually, that there was a slight difference in how the running cylinder handled the load.

    FIXDISS, tomorrow I will pull the valve cover off of the weaker side to see if I notice anything.

    Restrorob, when I barely even apply the choke, the engine stalls out.

    Regardless, guys, thanks for ruling out the governor for me. Looks like I'll be borrowing my mom's old 33" snapper to finish my yard tomorrow. I hope to figure this out soon.
  7. mowerknower

    mowerknower LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    If it stalls when you choke it I would say you might be running rich. You have not mentioned if you replaced the air filter yet.
    I cant tell you the amount of times a commecial cutter bring the machine in for running poor and all it needs is a new air filter and plugs.
  8. BenHeadrick

    BenHeadrick LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I agree that it seems like it's running rich. It has the same symptoms even when I run it without a filter.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    If it's running high fuel it could be your float inside the bowl isn't closing as it should,
    thus letting more fuel through, removing said bowl CAREFULLY (little parts) and pulling
    the pin and taking the mechanism all apart and then cleaning it all up real good with either
    acetone or carb cleaner should do the trick.

    Personal note: I prefer carb cleaner because it's pressurized but I did just notice
    the other week that the smell of this stuff I was using is mostly acetone.

    At 16 ounces a bottle of $3 carb cleaner compared to this:
    A gallon ...
    Well shoot it's almost the same.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
  10. digger23

    digger23 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Acetone eats some plastics. I don't like to use the stuff, unless I know the item I'm going to use it on doesn't have any vulnerable plastic in it. I usually can't tell, so I avoid the stuff.

    I've looked at a number MSDSes for carb cleaners and found most don't have any acetone. Of those that do, the highest percentage I recall seeing was about 60%. I believe the brand was Berryman.

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