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nrowles

Hard Starting 1981 C-145

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I'm new to the forums here.  Thanks for having me.  A little background....my grandfather passed away in April.  He bought this wheel horse new and had it since before I was born.  I decided I wanted to get it off my grandmother once he passed as a sentimental piece.  It started hard from the beginning, even when it was summer and warm.  As soon as I got it I did some of the basic tune up stuff like plug, new air filter, grease fittings, belts, etc.  This did not help.  Now that it is very cold (20 degrees)  I cannot even get it started.  I did start it last week when it was about 35 but it took about 10 minutes.  At first it will just turn over and turn over and turn over.  Then it will seem like it's going to fire and blow a little "smoke" out the exhaust but doesn't start.  It continues to do this until eventually it starts (except today).  No combination of choke and throttle helps.  It does seem to "fire" easier with no throttle though but doesn't make it easier to start.  Gas is not old.  Maybe 2 months.  Battery is turning engine efficiently.

 

Do you guys have any tips of what I can look at to troubleshoot this?  I did look in the gas tank and there is alot of debris in the bottom.  Screen in tank?  Fuel filter?  Spark?  Gunky carb?

 

Any ideas would be appreciated.  Thanks.

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Sounds like it may not be getting fuel.

 

You probably have to clean out the gunk in the tank (you may have to replace or remove the screen), I would replace the fuel lines and fuel filter (add one if its not there) all the way to the carb.

 

Try that first, then prime the system and turn it over with the fuel line AFTER the fuel pump disconnected. Gas should squirt out, if not you may have a gunked up fuel pump which will need to be cleaned or replaced.

 

 

After you do all that and make sure its all working make sure to run some Seafoam or equivalent in the first few tank you run through it. That will help clear out some of the other gunk in the carb if its not too bad. :handgestures-thumbupright:

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Thanks for the response.  Another note that I forgot to mention is that once the tractor is running there are no issues.  It operates smoothly.

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Does sound a lot like fuel related - this can usually be firmly diagnosed by 'priming' the system as gaffer mentioned. Remove the air cleaner and with something like carb cleaner or brake cleaner, or a squirt of gasoline out of a squirt bottle - get a little bit into the throat of the carb and try to start, if it tries to start add a bit more 'fuel'. If it does run with doing this, then it is almost certainly in the fuel system somewhere, again as gaffer suggested, go thru the step he mentioned - good luck!

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  Now that it is very cold (20 degrees)

 

:text-imsorry:   But... :laughing-rolling:  ^ 

 

 

Welcome to Redsquare. 

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Sorry for putting so much here but I really need some advice as you can see.

 

I checked things out a little better.  If you have not been able to tell so far, I am a novice at working on this kind of stuff.  I know the basics that's about it.  The fuel system......there is not a screen in the tank but it is a part that has what looks like a post/nipple coming from underneath.  On the outside, that part has what looks like it could open to drain the tank.  The line connects to this part as well.  There is no fuel filter.  The line runs directly from the part attached to the tank to the pump.  Then the hose from the pump to the carb.  The carb had some gas collected underneath, but I can't tell for sure if it is coming from the nut on the bottom of the carb or somewhere else.  The hose from pump to carb appears to be cracking but doesn't appear to be leaking.  Not sure though.

 

This is my plan.  I am going to drain the tank and clean it.  I am going to remove the post/nipple part from the tank (if I can) and clean it.  I am going to put new hose on with an in line filter.  While I am at it I will clean the fuel pump if you think that is wise.  Then I will put the sea foam thru after all installed to clean up.  Sound about right?

 

Some questions:

 

Is the post/nipple part at the tank removable/cleanable?  Or should I try to buy a new one?

 

Where in the line should I put the filter and are they standard or do I need to get a specific one by part #?

 

For cleaning the pump, I know nothing about these.  Do I simply unbolt, take apart and clean or is there more to it than that?  Are there parts/pieces once it is opened up?  What should I use to clean it?

 

Any ideas why there was gas collected on bottom of carb around the nut?  I don't think it is from the hose.

 

Anybody know the hose size for these?  It is not marked.  I may have to remove and take to shop when I buy it.  Hose from pump to carb seems smaller than hose from tank to pump.

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Sounds like you are on track.

 

I wouldn't bother cleaning the fuel pump until you know its a problem. They are generally just a replaceable item as there are no more rebuild kits available for the metal ones and the plastic ones are not serviceable. Some people (I have done it one one of mine) replace it with a slightly more expensive electric fuel pump but thats not necessary.

 

1/4" fuel line. Any standard 1/4" fuel filter will work (make sure you install it the right direction) and it usually hangs out up between the "firewall" or the dash tower and the engine so that you can replace it down the road.

 

The nipple on the bottom of the tank is a shut off valve (screw in to stop flow of fuel, out to start) . It is removable, a push fit, but if the gasket is old you may ruin the gasket in the process of trying to get it out. I have not had to replace one but people on here know where to get them. I think they are fairly standard.

 

If the gas didnt come from the hose, the gaskets in the carb may be leaking, in which case you will need to rebuild the carb. But first, try tightening that bolt on the bottom of the bowl just a little to make sure it isnt coming loose.

 

Someone else i am sure will chime in if they think i missed something... :handgestures-thumbupright:

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yes as Brandon stated the shut off valve just pulls out or the grommet,i would get a new valve with the screen and a new grommet,avaiable at most small engine shops,toro dealer,probally john deere too,i have several tractors and if they sit more than a few weeks some of mine are really hard to start too,i too use a spray bottle with gas in it,ya you have to take off the air filter but it saves a lot of wear and tear on the starter and battery,i guess the fuel drains back and the old fuel pumps cant prime very good any more

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Sounds like you are on track.

 

I wouldn't bother cleaning the fuel pump until you know its a problem. They are generally just a replaceable item as there are no more rebuild kits available for the metal ones and the plastic ones are not serviceable. Some people (I have done it one one of mine) replace it with a slightly more expensive electric fuel pump but thats not necessary.

 

1/4" fuel line. Any standard 1/4" fuel filter will work (make sure you install it the right direction) and it usually hangs out up between the "firewall" or the dash tower and the engine so that you can replace it down the road.

 

The nipple on the bottom of the tank is a shut off valve (screw in to stop flow of fuel, out to start) . It is removable, a push fit, but if the gasket is old you may ruin the gasket in the process of trying to get it out. I have not had to replace one but people on here know where to get them. I think they are fairly standard.

 

If the gas didnt come from the hose, the gaskets in the carb may be leaking, in which case you will need to rebuild the carb. But first, try tightening that bolt on the bottom of the bowl just a little to make sure it isnt coming loose.

 

Someone else i am sure will chime in if they think i missed something... :handgestures-thumbupright:

Make sure the fuel filter is for use on an engine with a fuel pump. It does make a difference, I found out the hard way!

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You stated above that there was gas under the carburetor. You really need to find out why. If there is a leak, then there is a possibility that air is being sucked into the system, which would cause problems.

 

Be careful what type of fuel line you buy. Some is not compatible with the gasoline sold today.

Edited by km3h

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Looks like the guys here got you covered.   :WRS:

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Once again thanks.  You guys are very helpful.

 

Pulled the fuel lines off this morning including the valve and rubber grommet at tank.  Flushed the tank (there was definately 33 years of debris in there) and dried it.  The screen (which I previously was describing as a nipple/post) was 100% clogged at least 1/3 of the way up from bottom.  Line from tank to pump looked good but line from pump to carb was cracked very badly (hoping this is why fuel was collected on bottom of carb).  Will be replacing the rubber grommet, valve and fuel lines while adding a filter.

 

After doing this I have only the following question.......if you look at the picture below, the fitting on the pump is pointing directly at the exhaust pipe.  When I pulled the fuel line off this fitting, the fitting was actually loose and pointing mostly straight down.  My concern is this.....if I make the fitting tight and it is pointed towards the exhaust pipe, the fuel line with a natural bend is only about 1/4" from the pipe (i tested while line was still on) which seems to be too close for comfort.  I can pull the line a bit to create separation from the exhaust but that seems like it would restrict flow.  Any ideas here?  Maybe there is a different angled fitting that would work, maybe 45 degree?

 

IMG_2826_zps86877531.jpg

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Several wraps of pipe tape should make it not leak or draw air and allow you to put it where you want.  You can use the thicker gas pipe tape also.  :)

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So I'm still having issues.  I flushed the fuel tank and replaced the fuel line all the way to the carb putting an inline filter in.  I have no fuel leaks anywhere.  Once the line was primed, I disconnected the line from the carb and turned the key.  Fuel was spitting out the line quite fine.  So I'm getting adequate fuel to the carb.  I pulled the spark plug.  It was extremely wet and black (the plug only had 5 hours on it).  I read if it is wet with oil there are seal issues and if it is wet with fuel it is too rich (carb).  I don't know though if it was oil or gas because I wiped it clean with a rag before I researched how to read a spark plug.  I bought a new plug and put in.  No change.  I pulled the plug out with wire attached and grounded it was making spark at point of ground, so I'm assuming my plug is firing.  Does this sound like a carb issue?  Should I lean out the carb?  Any ideas/tips/suggestions before I let the professionals look at it?  When I first turn it over it is still acting as if it wants to start but never does.

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If you're getting good spark and good fuel to the carb then there are only a few things left.  You can pull the carb and clean it but I would also look at compression since its a quick easy test.  If compression is good then I would go right to the carb.  :)

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If you're getting good spark and good fuel to the carb then there are only a few things left.  You can pull the carb and clean it but I would also look at compression since its a quick easy test.  If compression is good then I would go right to the carb.  :)

 

Geno......would you please tell me how to test compression on this machine without buying the compression gauges?  Or do I need to buy the gauges?

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Gonna have to buy a gauge.  Around 20.00 at the local parts stores.  Good thing to have on hand. 

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You did have it running, right? When running did it perform well? did you ... say cut grass with it and it did OK? If so then the compression is probably OK. If ran sorta crappy - smoked, didnt seem to have much power, etc then might be weak compression.

 

But, I dont know, I'm still leaning to it being fuel related. Have you been into the carb? when you did the other fuel stuff? If not then its time to get into it and get it cleaned. It may have sat a lot if your G'fathers health got bad, and sitting with todays fuel is BAD for a carb. It could easily simply need a needle and seat replacement in the carb - and a good cleaning!

 

FWIW, a rough and ready compression test is to hold your thumb over the spark plug hole and spin the engine over :eek:  - but, while a seasoned mechanic can get a rough idea from this, maybe not so much for a newbie :eusa-think: :eusa-think:

 

Keep tryin, theres got to be some relief here somewhere!

Edited by pacer
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You did have it running, right? When running did it perform well? did you ... say cut grass with it and it did OK? If so then the compression is probably OK. If ran sorta crappy - smoked, didnt seem to have much power, etc then might be weak compression.

 

But, I dont know, I'm still leaning to it being fuel related. Have you been into the carb? when you did the other fuel stuff? If not then its time to get into it and get it cleaned. It may have sat a lot if your G'fathers health got bad, and sitting with todays fuel is BAD for a carb. It could easily simply need a needle and seat replacement in the carb - and a good cleaning!

 

FWIW, a rough and ready compression test is to hold your thumb over the spark plug hole and spin the engine over :eek:  - but, while a seasoned mechanic can get a rough idea from this, maybe not so much for a newbie :eusa-think: :eusa-think:

 

Keep tryin, theres got to be some relief here somewhere!

 

It did run well although it was always hard to start even when hot out.  I cut grass with it about 5 times the end of season and it cut/ran fine.  It didn't give me these major problems until it got colder.  A couple weeks ago when it started getting chilly it took me about 10 minutes to get it started.  Then last weekend when it was in the teens it wouldn't start and the rest is history as detailed above.  It did sit quite a bit the last couple years because he bought a new mower.  He used the Horse for blowing snow in the winter so apparently he didn't have the issues I'm having in the colder weather.  It's been in the 50's/60's the last couple days and it still won't start though.  I guess I'll check the compression and then clean the carb.

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if there is dirt and water from the ethenal fuel in the bowl it can make it hard to start because it displaces the regular fuel in the bowl that the carb needs to run. friend of mine has a B80 that they keep running crap gas in and at least once a season i have to go and take the bowl off and clean it out and it will start and run fine after cleaning. 1st time or 2 i took the carb off but last time i just took the bowl off and it was fine sorry if i rambled a little but hopefully you get my point

 

 

 

 

 

eric j

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OK. Lets eliminate and concentrate. (Says the man who has trouble with the latter).

 

You said you checked for spark and it looked good.

You changed out the fuel lines so we eliminated air getting into the line and causing the hard start. (Very common issue).

You cleaned the fuel tank and screen and have good gasoline flow.

You checked and made sure your fuel pump was working as you said you had fuel when I'll assume you were cranking the engine just before the carb intake.

The spark plug was wet an black so you changed it I'm sure. (Nothing causes hard starting or no starting at all than a bad plug). Set the gap at .025" hopefully?

I think you also replaced the inline fuel filter?

 

As was mentioned above, you didn't say that you did anything to the carburetor. You mentioned gasoline under it and just spraying carb cleaner isn't going to remove crud from around the needle valve seats and crap in the bowl. If the tractor starts by spraying a little starting fluid in the throttle body or putting a little gasoline down it's throat, you have a gunked up carb. (You would need to check this by disconnecting the gasoline line from the carb first since a sticking float will flood it regardless of spraying either into it).

 

Carb kits are cheap for the K series. Being pretty close to Harrisburg, I know you have some NAPA's down there. Stop into one and pickup a carb kit for it. Take the numbers off the carb before you go. They are very easy to put in and there are no microscopic parts either!

 

If the carb kit doesn't help, then I would look at buying a compression checker and looking for a hanging or burn't or broken valve.

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As a note.........A friend has compression gauge so I will be checking that.  Also, I found a youtube cleaning video of my exact carb so I am going to buy a rebuild kit and do that.  Gotta love the internet. 

 

Response to last couple posters:

 

What is crap gas?  Low Octane?  That is what I use.  Should I be using high octane?

 

I did not set the plug gap to .025.  Factory set on the plug is .028-.033.  When I replaced it earlier in the year it didn't seem to affect how well it started.  I guess I should gap my plug.

 

It did not have a fuel filter originally but I added one when replacing lines.

 

I have done nothing to carb.  I have sprayed carb cleaner into the throat to try and get it started (read a lot on not using starting fluid if you are a newbie such as myself) which did not work.  Maybe because I did not disconnect the fuel line as you have mentioned.

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Virtually all gasoline sold today has ethanol in it and older, and small engines just dont like it, check around and see if you cant fine a station in your area that sells non ethanol fuel - theres usually a couple in larger markets. There are also additives for fuel but I'm not familiar with them, I have a station that has the non ethanol.

 

Plug is probably alright at those settings, but check it anyway.

 

I really think the carb is gonna be the problem here - when you drop the bowl off and see what crud can be in it ... well, it can be amazing that one could run period.

 

Starting fluid (labeled as such) is basically ether and - in my opinion - is too dang hard on an engine, in recent years I have been using brake cleaner as a starting assist (I dont think I could run my shop with out brake cleaner!!) (works great for zapping wasps!) WD-40 will even work, or gasoline in a squirt bottle, or.... many other.

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I'm a newbie like you, and am just finishing a carb kit and fuel system cleaning like you.

I  agree you probable need to do a carb kit if it's as gunked up as mine was.. However one easy carb thing to do first is remove the idle and main jet needle and clean them . Before you remove them screw them inward and count the number of turn till closed so you can re-install them in the same setting. When you have the needles out spray carb cleaner down each hole, wait a few minutes and repeat several times. The long main needle has a tiny hole through it near the tip,  then is hollow and has another tiny hole through it half way up.  Carefully clean these holes with carb cleaner and possible a tiny wire (small stick pin) when they are clean you should be able to blow air from the hole in the tip to the middle hole like a whistle. (thanks to whoever on here taught me this whistle trick)  I just cleaned mine and these holes were very plugged.

 

The carb on my 1985 had a lot of hard gray buildup above the float, and even in the throttle body just past the main jet. If you decide to put the carb and find a lot of build up get a gallon can of carb cleaner $28 or take it to a shop and asked them to soak it for you. I had to soak mine for 2 days to dissolve this buildup.  

 

Good Luck

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I wouldn't even consider today's regular gas a problem in a no start or hard start condition.  It's not as good as the older gas (non-ethanol) but I have over 30 of them here that run just fine on it.  :)

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