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Did you empty the carb bowl and clean out any old fuel & contaminants? This is the most effective way to determine fuel issues. It also gives you the opportunity to remove all old fuel from the fuel lines, filter, & drain the tank bone dry. You may have already introduced water from your previous efforts so take out the plug & pull the cord a few times to dry out the cylinder. Next start the first time with starter fluid since you may still have contaminants in the primer system. In the future use only non-ethanol fuel, a marine grade stabilizer such as "Sea Foam" and replace all fuel every spring. Fuel begins to varnish and break down after 1 month unless stabilizer is used. Ethanol gas absorb water from the surrounding air in about 2 months & only gets worse.
sounds like carburetor is clogged or has something in the jets or possibly fuel line or tank is clogged. check fuel tank and line to make sure fuel flows easily then carburetor cleaning and rebuild may be required
There could well be a build up of sediment and debris in the main jet to the carburetor. It is easy to get to and clean. It is the brass bolt that holds the lower float bowl onto the main body of the carburetor. To clean it, drain your gas. Remove the bolt and external washer UNDER the carburetor bowl. Clean out the bowl of any sediment and/or water. To clean the brass bolt, use no metal objects. Carb/Choke aerosol spray cleaner will do the job. Pay close attention to the hole in the bottom of the bolt and the very small holes about 2/3 of the way up the bolt. Clean till shiny with holes cleared and reinstall. Your fuel flow problem and shut off condition may be solved.
empty the fuel bowl & tank. start out with fresh fuel for one. then get a new spark plug if it still dont start. as far as the cable thats another deal completely but it shouldnt cause it to stall out. but if it ran last year it will this year too. always run it empty for summer storage. its your personal choice if you use a summer storage lubricant.
Just checked my dad's for same problem. First thought is its not getting gas from tank; line is clean and no holes. On his 22" MTD push, i took off the air cleaner housing to expose the carb. Sprayed carb cleaner in carb throat, checked for smooth butterfly valve action, and also cleaned small jet/opening on left side of carb housing. Put it together and it ran perfectly. Don't buy a kit until you at least try this, its cheaper!
I got a new air filter for mine today, plus cleaned out the metal fuel canister under the carburator and the little brass bolt and my mower started right up. I was having hte same problems getting my mower to run and stay running. Glad I checked this site!
It could be a needle valve sticking or a mal-adjusted float but more common is a fuel filter that is restricted, once you use up the fuel in the line and float bowl it runs out and dies. A less common but easily tested issue is when the mower has run for the amount of time it begins to sputter and die, loosen the cap on the fuel tank just a bit, if it helps or resolves the issue the vent in the cap may be clogged.