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Engine Starts with starter fluid, but won't stay running

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by mcc7, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. mcc7

    mcc7 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    I just purchased a Billy Goat Brush Mower on craigslist for a great price. I was not able to start it when purchasing it due to a missing fuel line. I got it for so cheap it didn't matter if it worked or not. After tinkering around for a bit, I was able to get the engine started. Its a Honda GXV (390 i believe). The way I got the engine started was by taking off the air filter and spraying alot of starter fluid in it. The engine turned over, and would run for about three seconds, presumably just burning the starter fluid as the fuel. After taking apart the gas tank, removing the filter, ensuring that the On Off fuel switch was working, and still having no luck, I drained the oil canister right beneath the air filter (at least I think that was what it was) It was draining gas from the tank, so I know that the gas On Off switch is working. So the bottom line here is, why is the engine not staying running, and running just off of the starter fluid? What do I need to do to fix this problem? Thanks in advance

    PS I have not been able to check the spark plug, as I dont have a long enough wrench, could a bad spark plug cause this problem? If its not the spark plug, what is it?
  2. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    Look, I know you didn't pay much for it and you have determined the engine runs, but this is a Honda and they make one of the best engines in the world so if you want a nice tool to work then you're going to have to do what it takes. So the first thing is you do need to change the spark plug, the air filter, and the oil (and filter if it has one), and since we don't run engines outside of their maintenance schedule now is a good time to bring the maintenance up to date.

    Then we talk, but you ruin this engine and it's as good as throwing $500 away so first things first.
  3. rbljack

    rbljack LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 725

    X2...do those things first. Then after that, it sounds like you may have a carb problem.
  4. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

  5. chesterlawn

    chesterlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 704

    Don't have anything to add but thanks Rob for all your help.
  6. kawakx125

    kawakx125 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,130

    classic case of not getting fuel. once the ether burns off it dies. start with cleaning the carb really well, if that doesn't work look into rebuilding or replacing the carb and she oughta run good after that. if it's sat for awhile probably just a good cleaning will get it going
  7. BigFish

    BigFish LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,068

    W...T....F...???? Spark plug? Air filter? OIL?

    As was mentioned, ya need to go over the carb. In the end you'll prolly need to get a new carb, and a couple of mtg gaskets, and you'll be good to go.

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain..............
  8. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    Is there a eco on this site ?!?! :rolleyes:
  9. mcc7

    mcc7 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    Thanks for all of the help, I will clean/replace the carb, and see what happens from there!
  10. Sharpcut 1

    Sharpcut 1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 452

    Starter fluid = BAD if it's ether you're using.

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