Tip & How-To about Garden

Sears Craftsman Riding Mower Basic Tuneup

I was having problems getting my Craftsman riding mower to start. It's equipped with the Kohler 15.5 OHV motor and really had not been that well maintained. The battery was dead, so I kept starting it with an external battery - the ground attached to the block and the positive attached to the positive terminal on the starter. This worked fine for a few months, but then I was getting zero spark. I tried changing the plug, but no dice.
Before changing the fuel filter out I drained all the fuel out into a clear 2 liter bottle and noticed that there was cloudy liquid under the gas.. probably water.. Beware of the cheap gas - if it has ethanol in it it needs to be used up more quickly, or fuel stabilizer needs to be used.

I refilled using the "marine fuel" pump at my local gas station - that's the zero ethanol gas that Shell sells around here (Theodore, AL).

Bought the tuneup kit - fuel filter, air filter, foam pre-filter and plug . I changed the very dirty oil out first, and immediately got spark again. I did not use the plug in the kit.. so now I have a spare. I suspect the oil was so low or dirty that the oil pressure cutout was activated. I cleaned the carb thoroughly and noticed that the tube that leads to the cylinder head was cracked. I got some 5/8th fuel line and tried to get it on. No dice. Had to remove the plastic part from the Walbro Carb and used WD 40 to persuade that end of the hose on. reassembled it all, then finally sprung for a new battery. It fired up on the first crank!

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