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How do I troubleshoot loss of mowing power and other issues?

I've had a Husqvarna 87521 RES mower for a few years and now it is experiencing a number of (possibly related?) issues. What should I be looking for? The symptoms: - Difficulty/inability restarting the mower if it stops during use (but restarts later when cool); pull cord vs. electric starter makes no difference here - When releasing the control bar, engine doesn't shut off fast enough (may continue running for up to 5 seconds before it finally dies down) - Generally poor mowing performance; judging by engine sound, it doesn't seem to be running high enough. The engine speed also dips too easily, even in short grass. - Pull cord doesn't provide enough resistance when starting the mower. Usually there's a fair amount of resistance at intervals, but that resistance is noticeably less of late (a new issue as of this year; last year the resistance was present but so strong it felt like hitting a brick; year before that it was fine) - Burning too much fuel too fast. Normally I can expect to finish our front yard in about 1/2 tank (depending on grass height), but lately it seems to be eating the full tank. Our back yard is larger but a full tank typically mows 70% or more -- however, on the latest attempt I only made it to about 30% before I had to refuel. Was unable to actually finish the yard that day due to difficulty restarting it. - Primer button is always wet (with fuel/vapor) The mower did receive some maintenance and replaced parts last year but I don't have specifics on exactly what (I wasn't involved with the repair).

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  • Richard Gitschlag
    Richard Gitschlag May 12, 2014

    Update: The problem last year was apparently a blown cylinder head gasket, and the replacement gasket appears to have blown as well. (This does not explain the other symptoms, though.)


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Low compression ( head gasket ) would account for bad restart.
The 'Hitting a brick' sounds like your carburetor Seat is not working properly and gas is getting past the carburetor ( hence the wet Primer) and getting down into the cylinder. That Hitting a Brick feel was "hydro Lock" TOO MUCH GAS IN THE CYLINDER. See if your Oil is way full and smells like gas. This is being seen everywhere since our idiot politicians created ETHANOL gas

Posted on May 12, 2014

  • Richard Gitschlag
    Richard Gitschlag May 13, 2014

    Disassembled the engine block today and the cylinder head gasket was most definitely blown. Replacement put in, ready to test.

  • Richard Gitschlag
    Richard Gitschlag May 13, 2014

    Also checked the oil: slightly above the full mark on the dipstick but does not smell like gas.


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SOURCE: Intek 6.5 HP in a Craftsman 21'' mulcher/bagger --loss of power--

No - 6.5HP is enough to cut 3" at a fast walking pace. I would suspect a blown head gasket.

Posted on Oct 02, 2009

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