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Mower Stalls on Hills


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  #1  
Old 06-02-2018, 08:04:49 AM
Benjamin Gradler Benjamin Gradler is offline
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Default Mower Stalls on Hills

I have a Tecumseh-powered Toro rotary mower I am guessing is from the 1980s. Cast-alloy chassis, about 3.5 horsepower, the Tecumseh with the plastic air-filter box.

It is very sensitive to mowing on a grade or slight hills. The obvious thing that popped into my head was float-level so I checked it, tried setting it both higher and lower, and the mower still very sensitive to a grade, cutting out and quitting very easily.

I know it can not be anything but the float level, but after taking the carb apart six or more times and playing with the float level and cleaning the carb etc. and getting nowhere I thought I would see if anyone has any ideas I have not thought of.

Thanks...
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  #2  
Old 06-02-2018, 09:46:22 AM
Ed Radtke Ed Radtke is offline
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Default Re: Mower stalls on hills.

junk in tank,low oil shutdown switch.?
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:08:13 PM
Bill Sherlock Bill Sherlock is offline
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Default Re: Mower stalls on hills.

I'd suggest you check the fuel line and connections. Might have an air leak that only shows up when the mower is on a slope??

Bill
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:52:13 PM
s100 s100 is offline
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Default Re: Mower stalls on hills.

"I know it can not be anything but the float level,"

I don't know what the solution is but you have just given us the reason why you have not been able to repair your mower.

First off, you say

"Mower stalls on hills."

What does this mean? Does it stall going uphill, downhill, side hill left or side hill right, or any/all of the above? Does the engine experience problems as soon as it is on a hill, or is it fine for a little while then acts up? Does it sound like it is starving for gas, spluttering to a stop, or does it flood out and chug black smoke? Or does it stop right away? What happens if you start the mower on your drifveway then tilt it in four directions?

Several things could be wrong but based on the work you have already done I think we can safely eliminate the float as the cause of the problem UNLESS the float is sloppy on its shaft and the slanted operation causes the float to bind. Highly unlikely but still.

If the engine simply quits dead then it may be some kind of ignition issue, like a defective spark plug wire insulation shorting against something when gravity pulls it that way. I've actually seen spark plug wires act up similar to this. But this too is pretty unlikely.

This problem just screams "Fuel Supply". Check the WHOLE fuel supply from the tank to the float bowl. And I mean WHOLE. I once had a Kohler twin that would run until it wouldn't. No rhyme or reason to it. I chased that problem for literally three or four years. Everything checked out or so I thought until at long last, for some reason I unscrewed the hose barb fitting from the carburetor and in there I found a nice round little pebble that would block the carburetor inlet when it chose to do so. I got rid of the pebble (NO idea how it got in there) and the problem was solved for good. I am not saying this will be the case with your engine. All I am saying is, don't take anything for granted. Check EVERYTHING. If you do you will find your problem.

Start out with a question to yourself: What changes when the mower is on a grade? If you make a good list you will find your problem, I think.
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Old 06-02-2018, 04:16:40 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: Mower stalls on hills.

I agree - sounds like a fuel issue. remove the tank and dump out the fuel. Any debris in it? Is your techumseh one of the ones with a foam element in the tank? It was meant to prevent sloshing and vapor wash out the cap, but E-10 crap gas tends to make the foam rot, which in turn will block the pick up. If your tank has the element - try removing it.

How full is your tank when this happens? If less than 1/4 full, and the hill is steep, you may be starving the engine due to the fuel level in the tank. Try and note wether the fuel outlet on the tank is on the high side when the engine quits. If it is low side, I would definitely look for debris in the line or tank. There should be a fine screen on the inside of the tank. If there is debris in the tank, it may be blocking the screen.
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:51:17 PM
Benjamin Gradler Benjamin Gradler is offline
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Default Re: Mower stalls on hills.

The mower will stall and quit almost instantly when it hits a grade that tilts it forward, backward or sideways. It quits immediately as if someone is hitting a kill-switch.

If the mower had a problem with the tank or lines it would not respond that quickly, so the problem almost has to be in the carb. I can run it longer off fuel in the line and float-bowl than it will run if I tilt it twenty-degrees in any direction.

Thank-you to everyone for your input so far!

---------- Post added at 10:51:17 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:50:15 PM ----------

I was thinking of just buying a new carb for it if one is available, but I, and I am sure just about everyone here likes to fix things and figure them out instead of throwing them away.
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Old 06-03-2018, 10:25:57 AM
s100 s100 is offline
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Default Re: Mower Stalls on Hills

"The mower will stall and quit almost instantly when it hits a grade that tilts it forward, backward or sideways. It quits immediately as if someone is hitting a kill-switch."

Think about what you just said then start digging into the ignition system. Given what you have told us in your last post I consider that to be the most likely cause.

It seems like you know at least a little bit about engines. Given the attention you have focused on the carburetor, I think it is the LEAST likely cause of your problem. Carburetors are relatively simple beasts and problems are not too hard to find, if only because there are so few things to go wrong in there. And with all the messing-around you have done in there, the problem, if carburetion related, would almost certainly have changed in some way, if not gone away.

Thinking outside the box a little, delving into the realm of pure speculation, does the engine idle properly (at any time, regardless of angularity of repose)? There is a theoretical possibility that something is wrong with the governor or associated linkage, causing the throttle to close to full idle when the machine is tilted. If the engine will not run well at idle, this could cause an almost instantaneous stall as you describe. Similarly if the mower happens to plowing its way through some tall or wiry grass when the throttle is closed, it will not have enough power to keep running, even if the carburetor is functioning properly and idles fine at other times. If it comes to the point where you are considering this possibility, it's relatively easily eliminated by adjusting the low idle speed upward to a medium cutting speed with the idle stop screw. That way the engine will always be running at a speed where it can cope with at least most conditions regardless of what the governor commands.

But start with the spark. I've never trusted those little knife switch affairs on the throttle/choke cable hookup bracket used to short out the ignition primary circuit. It's true I have not seen many that actually were bad, but I'm with those like you are with carburetors. Whenever I suspect an ignition problem, the first thing I do is disconnect that switch! And follow that wire from the knife switch ALL the way back to the magneto. Examine the high tension lead carefully for cracks. Look inside the magneto breaker box to see if anything is loose or rolling around in there.

These may seem like long shots but the low hanging fruit has disappeared on this one some time ago. Long shots are all that are left.
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Old 06-03-2018, 04:53:08 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: Mower Stalls on Hills

I also think that it sounds like ignition.

My Toyota pickup would do the exact same thing when going around right hand clover leaf interchanges ~15 years ago. Off like a switch. Slow down and it would come back on like a switch. A new cap and rotor cured the problem, and it's been fine ever since.

So, I wonder if there is excess end play in the crank that disturbs the ignition? Or some similar phenomenon?

How about installing one of those neon spark testers on the plug, and watching to see if it stops firing?
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Old 06-03-2018, 06:16:14 PM
RustySteele RustySteele is offline
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Default Re: Mower Stalls on Hills

You could unhook the kill wire from the engine and try it, if it doesn`t die, it`s a safety switch somewhere. Possibly on the hills you shift in the seat, causing the seat switch to shut the engine off?
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Old 06-03-2018, 06:43:32 PM
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Steve Kreiner Steve Kreiner is offline
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Default Re: Mower Stalls on Hills

Quote:
Originally Posted by RustySteele View Post
You could unhook the kill wire from the engine and try it, if it doesn`t die, it`s a safety switch somewhere. Possibly on the hills you shift in the seat, causing the seat switch to shut the engine off?
Read number one
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