Re: hard starting smokes white like gas is getting into...
White smoke in a small engine is oil. Oil in the cylinder will create too much pressure for the engine to achieve compression. Make sure the engine is not getting fuel into the oil and thinning the mixture (literally smell the oil... gasoline and oil smell nothing alike, if it smells like gas, it is). If this is the case, the carb is leaking fuel into the engine, thinning the oil and causing the oil to leak past the rings into the cylinder head, through the valves and, from there, into the exhaust to burn off. Black smoke indicates a direct fuel issue in a small engine, white is oil based.
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Take out spark plug so engine will turn freely, Make sure the piston is at top dead center of the compression stroke. insure the valves are opening and closing watching the springs as you turn the engine. With engine at TDC of compression stroke adjust valves according to factory specifications.
If the oil smoke is only at start-up, it is due to worn valve seals and/or valve guides. If it stops in less than 40 seconds, this is normal wear. If the smoke persists longer, a valve service is required. If your engine is burning oil continuously, it can be due to the following: 1. The crankcase is over-filled with oil. 2. Excessive wear on valve guides/seals. 3. Piston rings/cylinder excessive wear or damage. 4. Oil contaminated with gas due to defective/dirty carburetor inlet valve or damaged float. Solution1. Check oil level. If the oil level is high, check if is is watery and has a strong gas odor. If so, drain completely, refill, install new oil filter and service carburetor.2. Perform compression test. While every engine is different, 80-100 PSI is acceptable. If it is lower, add about 1 ounce of oil into the cylinder and retest. If compression increases significantly, the rings are worn. Hone cylinder and replace rings.
Nope, this is most likely a problem with the valves needing adjusting. On your engine, there is a compression release that works off an arm on the camshaft. This mechanism is active at low RPM's and cancels out when the engine begins running. Many,many users have encountered this problem. The compression release AIDS in the starting phase. It uses the intake valve (which opens slightly) just below TDC on the power stroke in the 4 stroke cycle. The Briggs site has all the valve clearances and the instructions on how to do this. You will have to remove each valve cover (4 little screws) to access the upper valve train on your engine. You will need a box wrench, an allan or Torx (star) driver and a feeler gauge. It is not hard to do. You won't have to buy any new parts either. Here are the Briggs instructions for adjusting the overhead valves on your engine.
I suspect an internal engine issue such as a valve, the white smoke was oil and it could mean a bent, burned valve or damaged valve seat causing the valve stem seal to leak allowing the engine to **** some oil and burn it (the white smoke) and now you lack compression. It is less likely but possible the oil was overfilled and you "lipped" the piston which causes the compression to drop. check the compression, 100-120 is normal, less than that means bad internal parts.
I also have a John Deere LT155 Garden Tractor, and 'I have issues with white smoke and cannot get it started. I have detected gas smell in the oil. Quick call to a JD service centre told me it was likely a head casket. If the smoke is white, then that is likely your problem.
This is called blow-by. Start with compression test to find out is rings are ok. Need more information like gas diesel, model number of engine. So here is a general run down. Compression is getting into crank case. Several things can cause this. Possible causes are bad valve guides, rings, head gasket valve stem seals. Compression test will tell if low cylinder. If this is ok for your year model look to valve stem seals. If two cylinders next to each other low. Possible head gasket leak. Use compressed air 60-90 psi and listen were air is going. If blowing into crank case or intake exhaust manifolds. If crank case rings if not valves. I am going to assume your engine is burning oil or using more then normal. Possible white smoke from exhaust. If this is the case and compression is good valve stem seals should fix it. Hope this helps. Remember when compressing cylinders have both valves closed on top dead cylinder.
>>From your Description it Sounds like the Valves Require Adjusting.
>>The Following is a Basic File I made for Setting the Valve Clearances. Any Input is Appreciated. >>**I Do Not Use the Setting Called for by the OEMs. I have Found that the Following Works Best. >>Remove the Valve Cover (on the Dead Cylinder for Twin Cylinder Engines). >>Check the Push Tubes and make Sure they are Not Bent. >>Set the Cylinder you are Setting the Valves on to Top Dead Center on the Compression Stroke When Setting the Valve Clearance. Now Loosen the Valve Adjuster Lock and Using a Blade Style Feeler Gauge, Set the Intake Valve Clearance to .004in -.006in and the Exhaust to .006in - .008in. Loosen and Tighten the Rocker Arm and the Feeler Gauge is Placed Between the Rocker Arm and the Valve Top where the Rocker Arm Pushes on the Valve. >>***BE SURE TO TIGHTEN THE ADJUSTER LOCK AFTER YOU HAVE THE PROPER VALVE CLEARANCE*** >>I have had Better Performance Out of the Mowers and Less Burnt Valves Using these Settings. Be Sure the Piston is at TDC on the Compression Stroke.** >>If you Remove the Valve Cover and then Turn the Engine by Hand, you can Watch the Intake Valve Movement. When the Intake Valve Closes, the Piston will Just Starting the Compression/Power Stroke. >>On Some Engines you can Us a Straightened Coat Hanger and Feel the Piston. >>Be Careful and Don't Jam the Wire in the Cylinder. Usually the Piston will Push the Wire Out of the Spark Plug Hole with No Problems.