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Craftsman 21'' Lawn mower won't start

I have a craftsman 21'' self propelled lawn mower model # 917.378841 with a Briggs & Stratton Intek OHV engine. It was idle for 2yrs. I changed the fuel, air cleaner, spark plug & magneto and it still won't start. It was stored with no gas in tank or carburator. It had no spark. There is a lot of rust on the magnets on the flywheel, do I need to clean it off? What is the correct air gap between the magneto & fly wheel? Is there a way to bench test the old magneto, and how to do it?

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  • j1abe Apr 16, 2009

    I did what coughy man suggested but, just reinsulated the wire with heat -shrink and black tape. No spark. After cleaning the rust off the magnets on the fly wheel and the rust on the magneto, I got it to spark. It did not start, I think the carburator needs to be overhauled as I had fresh gas and replaced the fuel line. I put some fuel manually into the carb and it runs a few seconds and die. This mower was sitting for 2 yrs. with no fuel in the tank but, I guess there was some fuel in the carb. I think the 10% alcohol in the fuel does screw up the carb. Another problem I found was that the fuel tank had a crack in it, need to replace that too.

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In order for there to be a spark at the plug, make sure the plug is grounded to the engine, it will not "fire" if it isn't.

Remove the cover with the crankrope, there should be a thin black wire going to the coil, going to a ground lug that kills the engine. Try unplugging this wire and re-check the fire...if it fires, there is a fault in this wire and should be replaced. The mower will run without it, but will not stop without "choking" out the engine

Posted on Apr 16, 2009

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