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I have a problem a Craftsman 18hp 42 in deck--it stops running.

I have a problem a Craftsman 18hp 42 in deck, 917.273762. It appears the engine isn't getting gas. It just stops running. Fuel filter has been replaced. All other filters are clean. The plastic/glass in the fuel filter line has no gas in it when the tractor stops running. It seems to happen after running for more about an hour, as if it's because it's hot. Let it sit for a period of time and it's good to go--but only until it's hot again --or whatever is causing this. Any ideas?

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  • lkw1278 Jun 28, 2009

    Holy cow--that's it? Gosh, thank you so much. I'll try the re-route-- but on a 2 yr old tractor you'd think that would have been taken care of in the design. Thanks again, I'll try your suggestions.

  • lkw1278 Jun 28, 2009

    We have replaced the fuel filter and the fuel hose-- and neither fixed this problem. Is there a type of tubing/hose that is more heat resistant that we should look for? I misspoke previously on the age -- the tractor is almost 5 yrs old. Still, doesn't seem old enough for a hose to rot/crack. I think we'll forgo injecting air and just replace the hose again. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experience about this problem. Thank you.


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The problem is called vapor lock. It occurs when the fuel in your supply line is vaporizing just before it gets to the fuel pump and the fuel pump is not designed to pump vapor so you run out of fuel.

Possible solutions are to re-route your fuel line so that it doesn't get hot from the engine and/or run the mower during the cool parts of the day only. It might be as simple as getting some new gasoline as winter bought gasoline will always vapor lock if used in the summer time as they alter the formula for gasoline on weekly basis to stay ahead of vapor lock problems nationwide. Way back when cars were mostly carbureted it was a MAJOR summer time pain. The three options given above remain the best solutions for this ages old problem.

Posted on Jun 28, 2009

  • melee5 Jun 28, 2009

    Three days ago I did replace the section of fuel hose on one of these between the fuel filter and carb. It had cracks that would let air into it causing a similar situation to yours. I found the problem by injecting air from an air hose nozzle into the gas tank with a rag taking up the major dimension difference between the air nozzle and the 2 inch gas cap which was removed. Be extremely careful not to blow up the tank or otherwise cause excessive pressure on the fuel system, but when I then looked for any leaks, I found a half-cup of gasoline on the floor of the shop under the carb area which is plenty dangerous enough. I you find ANY wetness along the length of the fuel hose it is time for a new hose, mine cost me $1.60 a foot at NAPA for generic 1/4" gas hose. You don't have to pay more.

    As a prophylactic measure you also don't need any excuse for just changing out your old fuel lines...


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