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I am pretty sure this is a 4.5 Hp engine with the carb on top of the tank. Plastic carb 4 or 5 mounting screws mating carb to tank. Remove the air cleaner... and tighten the carb to fuel tank mating screws. It is drawing air between the tank and the carb. This should stop the surging. If is has been a long period that you used the mower with the surging problem the diaphragm between the tank and the carb may be either out of position or damaged. The diaphragm is not expensive. Usually the first time this symptom presents itself you can resolve it by tightening the carb to tank scresw. IF you have the primer bulb carb..mash the rubber of the bulb against the carb body. If the surging stops... the primber bulb has a pin hole in it.
You passed the mower model number and not the engine model number. When we use the 11A number you passed all we get is the base and handle parts. If you need more help I need the model number off the engine just above the spark plug wire on the air shroud.
Carburetor possibly needs cleaning. Initially, remove air filter, start mower and while it is running, spray some aerosol carb/choke cleaner into the carb thru air intake area. Continue doing this several times but not too fast or heavy to make it stall and then spray it heavily until engine dies. Let it sit for several minutes and then try a restart. If no difference in performance is noticed, carb may have to be removed and cleaned in bath-type cleaner and governor settings will need to be checked also.
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Sounds like the primer bulb dry rotted from sitting &/or the float is stuck in carb. If gas is indeed leaking from bulb. It will need to be replaced. While it is apart, clean carb inside & out with spray carb cleaner.
Fuel Problem, Pull off the Carb bowl you will see the problem (Green Gunk and Varnish. When you drop the Carb Bowl you will see a hole in the carb assy. below the float, use a paperclip or other small object to clean it out........its probably plugged.
sound through experience you have a air leak possible from a gasket or oring if so equipped. take some wd 40 and spray around the carb gaskets and seams. if this stabalises the surging or smooths it out it is definatley seeping air around it. in any case you will most likely need to take the carb back apart and repair or replace the gasket. hopes this helped. happy mowing!
a mower will hold 20 oz of oil. however most times it is changed you do not not get it all out. so only 16 oz is needed. if you overfilled the oil. this would cause hard starting. or did you have the mower tipped on it's side for to long, oil can sometimes seep past the piston out thru your intake valve and into your carb as well as destroy you air filter. you might get by with a new oil change and a carb cleaning.
also has this unit been sitting for a while does it have fresh gas. and No water in the tank/carb