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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Sorry, one more update. I just wanted to be sure I log everything here for search purposes in case someone else has the same issue in the future. I think the problem IS the carb. Today it runs really bad even at lesser loads and I can't even mow. So I think I made matters worse by taking apart the carb. So I took it apart again to blow it out with compressed air and I noticed I accidentally damaged one of the O rings when reassembling the card. I just ordered more o-rings and a few other gaskets/seals online from parts tree because none of the local dealers I called have these in stock. I'm pretty sure this is my problem. It makes sense. I was actually glad that the problem got worse when I messed with the carb because now I think the problem is definitely pointing to the carb as the issue. I think it was just dirty originally and it was fine for a few minutes after I put it back together...until the o-ring gave out. It was nearly cut in half. Oops....my fault. This is a very simple carb to take apart so it's not a big fear factor when breaking it open....I just messed up and ruined the o-ring. When I get the new ring and put it together I'll update this again :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Here's the latest...

So, I have the carb all cleaned out after taking it apart again. After the first time I took the carb off, it was actually a little worse so I thought I must not have cleaned it well enough. I discovered I smashed one of the o-rings when reassembling it. So now I have the new o-ring and I replaced a few other seals while I was at it. Yesterday when I started out, it sputtered pretty bad again under heavy load (thicker grass, going fast). After about 15 minutes it seemed to clear up and I plowed through really thick grass at high speeds and it was fine. Today I start out and it's sputtering really bad under heavy load (wet grass, thick). I had to stop sometimes to let the engine catch up because it was sputtering so badly. If I babied it and went slow, it was ok...but any big load would cause the sputtering. After mowing for about 40 minutes, it was better. It only sputtered occasionally, under heavy load. After mowing I went out to the field where there was some REALLY thick grass to stress it and see how it ran. Under heavy load it wasn't too bad, but it still ran a little rough and sputtered sometimes....but when I got into some already cut grass that had lots of extra cut grass lying on top (causes a heavy load on the engine), it sputtered really bad AND made a popping sound coming form air cleaner area, as if it were backfiring. Knowing this, do you have any other ideas as to what it the ultimate cause of the sputtering and in this extreme case, the popping noise which I assume was backfiring???
 

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Here's the latest...

So, I have the carb all cleaned out after taking it apart again. After the first time I took the carb off, it was actually a little worse so I thought I must not have cleaned it well enough. I discovered I smashed one of the o-rings when reassembling it. So now I have the new o-ring and I replaced a few other seals while I was at it. Yesterday when I started out, it sputtered pretty bad again under heavy load (thicker grass, going fast). After about 15 minutes it seemed to clear up and I plowed through really thick grass at high speeds and it was fine. Today I start out and it's sputtering really bad under heavy load (wet grass, thick). I had to stop sometimes to let the engine catch up because it was sputtering so badly. If I babied it and went slow, it was ok...but any big load would cause the sputtering. After mowing for about 40 minutes, it was better. It only sputtered occasionally, under heavy load. After mowing I went out to the field where there was some REALLY thick grass to stress it and see how it ran. Under heavy load it wasn't too bad, but it still ran a little rough and sputtered sometimes....but when I got into some already cut grass that had lots of extra cut grass lying on top (causes a heavy load on the engine), it sputtered really bad AND made a popping sound coming form air cleaner area, as if it were backfiring. Knowing this, do you have any other ideas as to what it the ultimate cause of the sputtering and in this extreme case, the popping noise which I assume was backfiring???
I'm having a similar issue to what you are having. Although mine typically happens at startup and when i turn on the pto. I have a 19 hp FH601V Kawasaki on a JD 717a (300 hrs on my machine). If I can get it to overcome the spitting and sputtering I can usually get it to run wide open the rest of the time I'm mowing, but if I turn it off and restart it, it will do the sputtering all over again. VERY VERY Frustrating. I wish there was a video or diagram which showed how to clean the carb on my unit. I would like to attempt it myself because I don't want to shell out another 100 dollars to clean the carb if it is going to be a reoccurring event.
 

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Its possible you have your valves adjusted too tight.

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Hmmmm....Teck...not tech...John...
Are you a paying sponsor on this site...
Nothing personal...We give FREE advice and info in this forum..
You may want to try the equipment marketplace on this site...
One line of advice...followed by paragraphs of self promotion ain't gonna cut it on this forum....
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If you had been around this site..you would have seen that the Kaw valve adjustments have been posted on this site about 50 times...

The only one you're helping on this site...is yourself...
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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I'm having a similar issue to what you are having. Although mine typically happens at startup and when i turn on the pto. I have a 19 hp FH601V Kawasaki on a JD 717a (300 hrs on my machine). If I can get it to overcome the spitting and sputtering I can usually get it to run wide open the rest of the time I'm mowing, but if I turn it off and restart it, it will do the sputtering all over again. VERY VERY Frustrating. I wish there was a video or diagram which showed how to clean the carb on my unit. I would like to attempt it myself because I don't want to shell out another 100 dollars to clean the carb if it is going to be a reoccurring event.
Hey Brian....I see your FH601V manual here: http://www.mymowerparts.com/pdf/Kawasaki-Service-and-Repair-Manuals/

I got the FH770D manual there too and it was very helpful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Here's the very latest, as of yesterday evening. I went to the trouble to take the carb off one last time (since I know how to get it off quickly now LOL....maybe 20 minutes and it's off). I carefully checked every opening, blew it out again and carefully reassembled. I really don't believe it's ignition related unless someone can tell me for sure some reason why it would only do this under heavy load. I would think that a spark is a spark and if the coils/plugs, etc are working, they're just working and there's no reason why they'd behave any differently under a heavy load...BUT the carb definitely behaves differently under a heavy load, by design. I still think it's fuel related somehow.

Anyway, after the third breakdown/reassembly of the carb, I searched this forum for the backfiring issue. I found some other people talking about bad gas, carb issues, etc. I had the idea to get some more fuel system cleaner just in case there's still something sticky in the carb I didn't get....and I also picked up some Lucas 'not street legal' octane booster and some ethanol treatment. I usually buy the 93 octane gas but the last few cans I've bought were 89 I think. I'm wondering if the gas station I used sold me some bad gas. I don't know.

I ran the mower with these products in the tank which had about 5-7 gallons left. After running awhile, it sure 'seems' to be doing a lot better. I went back to the field and plowed through the thick 1 foot tall fescue again and I only heard it sputter slightly once in awhile. At this point, unless it just won't run well enough to mow, I think I'm going to keep mowing with it and get gas from a different station and see what happens over the next few weeks. I think the fuel system is about as clean as it's going to get. LOL New fuel filter, new fuel pump, carb cleaned three times, air filters look good, fuel flows fast and free from the pump when the outlet line is removed and checked with the engine running. Not sure what else I can do, fuel related. I'll update this post after the next couple mows and let you know how it's going.

Regarding the valves, the engine/mower only has about 150 hours on it. I'd hope that it doesn't need to be adjusted already. Given that the problem changed in severity after I started messing around with the carb, I still lean towards it being fuel related....so we shall see :) Time will tell.
 

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Lotsagrass...sorry for detracting from your post...
I believe the first valve adjustment is around 200 hrs...
Definitely sounds fuel related..are there any adjustment screws on the carb..
If so..open them up a little and see if it changes the problem..
Have you looked at the sparkplugs..running lean can turn them white..affect spark..
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M ezmark did the same thing you are describing, and continually got worse until i realized (with help of some fine folks on this site) to look at my coils. Sure enough i was struck with infamous KAW coil failure, the begining stages were just as you are describing.

Good Luck
I'm another homeowner with an Exmark Lazer, and I had the same problem that also turned out to be nothing more than bad coils. Lotsagrass, you acknowledged seeing BKTP's post about the coils but I don't think I saw your response saying "yes I checked that and it's definitely not the reason for the malfunctioning". Checking the coils is a pretty easy thing to do. All you need to do is take a resistance measurement. I didn't even have to remove the coils, just the spark-plug wires.
 

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Another thing to check...
When it starts acting up..give it a little choke and see if it improves..
This will richen up the fuel and let you know if you have a lean condition ..and possible intake gasket leak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Thanks. The plugs looked very clean and normal to me. Not fouled, wet or overly white or anything like that. I tried pulling the choke out a little but it actually makes it slightly worse.

My last resort is the coils. I'll see about checking them with a meter soon. I saw the procedure in the book, but I guess I can measure them one way with just using the meter lead on the plug wire and I assume ground to the engine. If measuring the resistance that way will tell me something, great. It will be easy enough to check.
 

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I actually tried the method of pulling the spark plug wire from the spark plug one at a time while the engine was running. neither one died when pulled seperately. so I am assuming that the coils are not completey bad. Could they still be bad even though I did that test?
 

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I checked the plugs today. They look great. Very clean. I confirmed that I did change the plugs with new NGK plugs this spring. I found the old boxes I kept to get the right part number again next time.
Try another brand plug.......this is a common problem with NGK plugs under a load I once had a ferris come in to the shop just like mine and I swapped parts until I found a bad plug. I took out the bad plug and put it in my mower and it did the same thing. I changed both plugs to a champion and no problems since.

I like NGK plugs and I use them..... but i have had them go bad and also a bad one from the start.

Cant hurt to try.

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I just checked the coils with an Ohm meter with the coils still attached to the engine. From looking at the service manual, the only check I can't do is the check between the kill wire connection and the other terminals.

From my understanding, position A in the illusatration is the part that's grounded to the engine so using the engine itself should get me to that one....and the plug wire is the one marked C in the illustration, correct? So I should be looking at the reading between A & C? If so, I think my readings are fine for the coils. Well within the specs listed in the book which is a range between 14k and 24k, right?

I put my notes on my actual readings in the yellow box below. Can you confirm that this looks ok to you too?

 

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Your readings are within specs...but...one is at the low limit..and one at the high limit..
I would expect them to be about the same..both being off the same engine...
Reading the coils when hot may actually change one or both of these readings into the bad numbers...
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
I checked it when it was cold. I took it out for a spin again this afternoon into some really thick and tall grass in the field. It sputtered a few seconds after I engaged the blades, but in less than a minute, it was plowing through the grass with no sputtering. You could tell it was stressed (normal sounds of an engine under heavy load), but no sputtering. I'll see what happens over the next few mows and if the sputtering keeps coming back I'll go ahead and do the plugs and coils next.
 

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The pro's know best! My kohler magnum MV20, this spring did the same thing. fuel filter, pump, fuel line replaced, cleaned & flushed fuel tank the hole bit. turned out to be the carbs float needle. Replaced the needle ran a couple tanks of sea foam and fuel through the mower, problem went away. I normally store the mower dry during the winter, last year I got lazy just added stabilizer and put her away. This ethanol fuel were being forced to use sucks and wrecks all rubber in our equipments fuel systems.
 
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