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Old 09-28-2013, 09:20 AM
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Small engine question

Hi All,

I need to make electric start adapters for my mowers so I can use my cordless drill to start them, is there something commercially available? It would just need to be something with a hex drive for the end of the shaft. I have recently had a torn bicep and every time I yank those blasted cords, I can feel it wanting to give again...

Russ

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Old 09-28-2013, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S10xGN View Post
Hi All, I need to make electric start adapters for my mowers so I can use my cordless drill to start them, is there something commercially available? It would just need to be something with a hex drive for the end of the shaft. I have recently had a torn bicep and every time I yank those blasted cords, I can feel it wanting to give again...
Russ
I can see using a socket and extension that is cut off short and will chuck up in your drill motor. I can also see one of the local kids cutting the grass for you in return for tutelage in the hot rod arts and maybe a little pocket money.
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:14 AM
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I can see using a socket and extension that is cut off short and will chuck up in your drill motor. I can also see one of the local kids cutting the grass for you in return for tutelage in the hot rod arts and maybe a little pocket money.
I've used that rig before and it works, albeit bulky as hel!. Around here, it's $40 per mow, every five days. For the 8 weeks I had to pay for this service, I could have bought some new equipment! Besides, I need the exercise...

Russ
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:17 AM
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I've used that rig before and it works, albeit bulky as hel!. Around here, it's $40 per mow, every five days. For the 8 weeks I had to pay for this service, I could have bought some new equipment! Besides, I need the exercise...Russ
40 bucks every five days? I can see several loads of rock in your future.
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:36 AM
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Thing is, a good running, well tuned small engine should start on a couple of pulls....should be no need to yank your arm off
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Old 09-28-2013, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S10xGN View Post
Hi All,

I need to make electric start adapters for my mowers so I can use my cordless drill to start them, is there something commercially available? It would just need to be something with a hex drive for the end of the shaft. I have recently had a torn bicep and every time I yank those blasted cords, I can feel it wanting to give again...

Russ
I owned an outdoor power equipment business for 31 years (sold it and retired last year, yippie), so I heard that question a lot. There have been many devices over the years that adapt a drill to your mower engine. most were sued out of business, and with good reason.
As poncho62 said, any fairly modern mower in good condition will start very easily. Toro started the trend ~15 years ago, with it's GTS engine, which stood for Guaranteed To Start in one or two pulls for it's first 5 years. they did, and every other manufacture had to step up to meet the demand. even a cheepy Wal Mart mower will start easily these days, given minimal maintenance, but if you really need an electric start mower, buy a mower with electric start already on it. you don't need to add missing fingers or toes, or broken wrist, to your current injuries.



Russ
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Old 09-28-2013, 04:10 PM
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Some of the small Briggs can be converted to a vertical style recoil starter, and they can be switched to an electric start. Need the right flywheel to make it work and the right starter. A 110v snowblower starter would work well..

I don't even think they have to be newish to start easy. I put an NOS ( circa 1985 ) 3.5hp B&S Maxx engine on my good walk behind mower a few years ago, and it starts every time with 1 or 2 pulls.
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:17 AM
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Both my "problem start" engines have that funky zero-adjustable carb that's half inside the fuel tank. I got a chance to spark-check one and the coil is weak, so I'm gonna look for another coil. These both started great the first two years, now the tank has to be refilled during a mow where it used to cut the yard 3 x's on one tank when new. New plug, cleaned air cleaner, no air cleaner - doesn't matter, it still takes forever to start. Also, they run smooth with no load, but once they hit a load they start "hunting" and on the down-rev side, they blow a black puff out the exhaust. I bought a new mower, but plan on turning this old one into a vacuum so I don't have to spend so much time cleaning up the clippings...

Russ
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:41 AM
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Drill the jet on the engine with the zero adjust carb. That's a common problem. They are set to run so lean/ perfect that any bit of dirt in the passages will cause a hard start and poor peformance
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S10xGN View Post
Both my "problem start" engines have that funky zero-adjustable carb that's half inside the fuel tank. I got a chance to spark-check one and the coil is weak, so I'm gonna look for another coil. These both started great the first two years, now the tank has to be refilled during a mow where it used to cut the yard 3 x's on one tank when new. New plug, cleaned air cleaner, no air cleaner - doesn't matter, it still takes forever to start. Also, they run smooth with no load, but once they hit a load they start "hunting" and on the down-rev side, they blow a black puff out the exhaust. I bought a new mower, but plan on turning this old one into a vacuum so I don't have to spend so much time cleaning up the clippings...

Russ
Several things jump out at me here.
There were several variations of the fuel tank/carb you describe, but I'm guessing that you have the older "automatic" choke version (the choke plate appears to be spring loaded if moved?). if so, you're money ahead by tossing it in the trash and stopping by your local small engine shop to see if you can pick up a later model used assembly with the built in primer on the side. most shops will have a few laying around in the back shed for cheep. pick up a new diaphragm/gasket set wile your there, just for insurance. the whole deal shouldn't put you back more than $20.00 or so, and it makes a night and day difference in ease of starting. it's a straight bolt on deal.
I'm also guessing you have solid state ignition on yours? is the area between the coil windings and lamination filled in on one side? if so, that's a solid state coil assembly. if it's open on both sides of the windings, then you have points and condenser under the flywheel. if your have points, pick up a conversion kit (made by B&S). it's cheeper than a set of points, and works way better. if you already have SS than leave it alone. the coil either works or it doesn't, but will never be "weak" (ok…. 1 in 500,000,00 it might be weak).
one more little tidbit: you're engine won't run correctly without an air filter screw installed. the hold down screw goes straight through into the fuel tank, and if the tank is near full, it will pull raw fuel up the screw hole and make it puff smoke, or just die completely when any load it put on the engine.

There. now you know everything I know from 40+ years in the business. do you feel smarter?

Russ also
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Northstar T View Post
Several things jump out at me here.
There were several variations of the fuel tank/carb you describe, but I'm guessing that you have the older "automatic" choke version (the choke plate appears to be spring loaded if moved?). if so, you're money ahead by tossing it in the trash and stopping by your local small engine shop to see if you can pick up a later model used assembly with the built in primer on the side. most shops will have a few laying around in the back shed for cheep. pick up a new diaphragm/gasket set wile your there, just for insurance. the whole deal shouldn't put you back more than $20.00 or so, and it makes a night and day difference in ease of starting. it's a straight bolt on deal.
I'm also guessing you have solid state ignition on yours? is the area between the coil windings and lamination filled in on one side? if so, that's a solid state coil assembly. if it's open on both sides of the windings, then you have points and condenser under the flywheel. if your have points, pick up a conversion kit (made by B&S). it's cheeper than a set of points, and works way better. if you already have SS than leave it alone. the coil either works or it doesn't, but will never be "weak" (ok…. 1 in 500,000,00 it might be weak).
one more little tidbit: you're engine won't run correctly without an air filter screw installed. the hold down screw goes straight through into the fuel tank, and if the tank is near full, it will pull raw fuel up the screw hole and make it puff smoke, or just die completely when any load it put on the engine.

There. now you know everything I know from 40+ years in the business. do you feel smarter?

Russ also
Russ also, I like that... <j/k> It's nice to find people out there that can and will help! My engines both have the primer bulb, and I remember pulling a flywheel once (not sure if it was these though) and not seeing anything under it. Below are pix of the coil. My spark tester has markings of 020, 030, & 040 which I ASSume correspond to the plug gap and I am supposed to set the pointer at the corresponding number. The 020 setting eaves about a 1/2" gap which is normally no problem, but with this coil it only jumps when closed down to 1/16" and really weak at that.

Remembering back, the problems with the mower started in earnest the first time it ran out of gas. After refilling, it took forever to start and that's when the hunting started. Prolly fuel related, as Matt alluded to. I never actually used the mower w/o an air cleaner (including the screw), just ran it in the driveway to see if it made a difference. After cleaning it with Brakecleen, it would stall after just setting the a/c in place. After washing with soapy water and drying, it seemed OK. Are these foam things even reusable?

Oh, and what coil gap do you like to see? I've been setting mine as close as possible...

Thanks!

(the other) Russ
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by S10xGN View Post
Russ also, I like that... <j/k> It's nice to find people out there that can and will help! My engines both have the primer bulb, and I remember pulling a flywheel once (not sure if it was these though) and not seeing anything under it. Below are pix of the coil. My spark tester has markings of 020, 030, & 040 which I ASSume correspond to the plug gap and I am supposed to set the pointer at the corresponding number. The 020 setting eaves about a 1/2" gap which is normally no problem, but with this coil it only jumps when closed down to 1/16" and really weak at that.

Remembering back, the problems with the mower started in earnest the first time it ran out of gas. After refilling, it took forever to start and that's when the hunting started. Prolly fuel related, as Matt alluded to. I never actually used the mower w/o an air cleaner (including the screw), just ran it in the driveway to see if it made a difference. After cleaning it with Brakecleen, it would stall after just setting the a/c in place. After washing with soapy water and drying, it seemed OK. Are these foam things even reusable?

Oh, and what coil gap do you like to see? I've been setting mine as close as possible...

Thanks!

(the other) Russ
Both coils in your pic are solid state units, so no points involved there. I'd question your spark tester validity however, as it's so uncommon for these coils to go bad. when they do, it's virtually always the ss portion itself, so there would be no spark at all in that case. these ss units show a visibly smaller spark, compared to what we're used to with a point system, so generally if you can see a spark,... it's good.
does this thing ever yank the rope out of your hand when you're trying to start it BTW? you had mentioned that the problem started when you "ran out of gas". but are you sure that you hadn't actually stalled the motor by hitting a rock/stump/squirrel/etc???? if you answer either question in the affirmative, then you need to take a good look at your flywheel key. if it's very slightly tweaked, that can also cause your symptoms of surge, hard start, etc.
If the flywheel key is ok, then the surge is likely caused by a lean condition, which can be caused by several things on that carb.
With air filter removed, do you see a spray of fuel when you pump the primer?
if you cleaned the carb with some type of carb cleaner, then a good place to start is to replace the diaphram and gasket between the carb and tank. that diaphragm pumps fuel up into the reservoir in the upper tank, where the engine actually draws it's fuel from. at the same time, also check the screen on the end of the pickup tube for debris.
the carb body can get warped on those, where it mates with the tank, and there's a check valve in the primer system that can go fluzy on you once in a wile (primer won't spray fuel). in either case, you'd be best to replace the carb.
start by carefully checking the flywheel key for a kink. then check primer for spray, then ck other carb stuff I mentioned and get back to me.
paper air filters can not be cleaned, but foam should be washed and lightly oiled.

Russ also
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:42 AM
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Both coils in your pic are solid state units, so no points involved there. I'd question your spark tester validity however, as it's so uncommon for these coils to go bad. when they do, it's virtually always the ss portion itself, so there would be no spark at all in that case. these ss units show a visibly smaller spark, compared to what we're used to with a point system, so generally if you can see a spark,... it's good.

I'm gonna try again this afternoon, earlier I had cleaned the rusty mounting surfaces and put some dialectric grease on them, may have been interfering with the ground.

does this thing ever yank the rope out of your hand when you're trying to start it BTW? you had mentioned that the problem started when you "ran out of gas". but are you sure that you hadn't actually stalled the motor by hitting a rock/stump/squirrel/etc???? if you answer either question in the affirmative, then you need to take a good look at your flywheel key. if it's very slightly tweaked, that can also cause your symptoms of surge, hard start, etc.

It has kicked back before, I can check the key...

If the flywheel key is ok, then the surge is likely caused by a lean condition, which can be caused by several things on that carb.
With air filter removed, do you see a spray of fuel when you pump the primer?

Good spray, but sometimes the bulb will collapse and not return to form like something is clogging a passage. It's good 95% of the time.

if you cleaned the carb with some type of carb cleaner, then a good place to start is to replace the diaphram and gasket between the carb and tank. that diaphragm pumps fuel up into the reservoir in the upper tank, where the engine actually draws it's fuel from. at the same time, also check the screen on the end of the pickup tube for debris.

I always clean that whenever it's apart. I have been re-using the gaskets though.

the carb body can get warped on those, where it mates with the tank, and there's a check valve in the primer system that can go fluzy on you once in a wile (primer won't spray fuel). in either case, you'd be best to replace the carb.
start by carefully checking the flywheel key for a kink. then check primer for spray, then ck other carb stuff I mentioned and get back to me.
paper air filters can not be cleaned, but foam should be washed and lightly oiled.

Hmmm, I never thought to oil it, what do you recommend? An what about the coil air-gap dimension?

Russ also
Thanks!

Russ
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:05 PM
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"Hmmm, I never thought to oil it, what do you recommend? An what about the coil air-gap dimension?"

engine oil is fine. you just want a film to grab any dust in the air. coil gap isn't that critical on these engines. I always used a B&S parts box, which is about .020 thick.

Russ also
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:41 AM
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Hey Russ,

I removed the flywheel and the key was perfect. Cleaned all the coil mounting surfaces and tried again. I can only get a very weak spark (using a plug, not the tester) when the gap is less than 0.005". Any more gap than that, there's nothing. It will not even pop with that small gap. I'm gonna buy another coil, cause I can't imagine the magnets in the flywheel being an issue...

Thanks!

Russ
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