Question about Poulan 38-Inch Steel Deck 15.5 HP Briggs & Stratton I/C Engine With 5 Speed

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Riding lawnmower wont start . backfires and pops when i turn it over with key. I have changed plug, battery, air cleaner, fuel filter, drained old gas, new gas.

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  • fmhatcher3 Jul 18, 2010

    I did not store the mower. I just purchased it used from another party. It started and ran a while and I drove it while purchasing. Now i got it home, unloaded and it wont start. It backfires. I changed the plug, gapped 0.030, battery, gasoline, new gas added. The guy said he changed out a push rod. When you crank it, it rotates bad. Not even spins. He said it always did that. One guy told me i got another bent valve rod, and sheared flywheel.

  • fmhatcher3 Jul 27, 2010

    I took my mower to be fixed. probably needs a complete engine overhaul. So, dont respond anymore. Wont probably be repaired till end of summer. What a racket. ONe riding mower repair shop for 350,000 people. they are horrible, rude, etc. monoply. Money down a toilet.



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Briggs and Stratton engines are very good in general. Did you store it over the winter and are just now trying to start it?

Troubleshooting Points from their manual:

Engine out of fuel, engine not choked properly,engine flooded, Bad Spark Plug, Dirty Air Filter, Dirty Fuel Filter, Water in Fuel, Loose or Damaged Wiring, Carburetor out of Adjustment, Engine Valves Out of Adjustment.

Did it work last year?

Posted on Jul 17, 2010

  • Duane Wong
    Duane Wong Jul 27, 2010

    could be a bent valve


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Hello,kindly check if the fuel tank has enough fuel because this can also prevents it to start.

If your lawnmower won't start, you hear a clicking sound and you've checked all the usual suspects by insuring that the battery is fully charged and will provide the starting load, the spark plug is connected and non of the safety devices like having the machine in gear or the blades engaged are causing the problem, the next place to check is the solenoid. The solenoid is usually easily accessible and is an electromagnetic switch that engages when you energize the ignition - by turning the key to the start position

If you lift the engine cowling and look to the rear of the engine you will see the solenoid. The positive (red) and negative (black) battery wires will be attached to it at heavy posts as well as some other electrical wires connected to smaller posts. First try gently tapping it with a rubber mallet. Sometimes this electromagnetically activated switch gets stuck. If that doesn't work, you can try jumping the solenoid switch. The safest way is to take your battery jumper cables and using just one of the jumper wires, connect one side to the negative post (black) on the solenoid and then touch the other side to the positive post (red) of the solenoid. Make sure your key is in the on position and the lawn mower is otherwise ready to start. Be careful that the jumper wires do not become tangled as the engine starts. Also, someone sitting in the seat to prevent any mishap is the recommended and safest procedure.
wish you good luck,

take care.
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Posted on Jul 18, 2010

  • fmhatcher3 Jul 18, 2010

    I will try that solution. mower has plenty of gasoline. i will try solenoid tomorrow morning, Monday.

  • Hammid Disu Jul 29, 2010

    hello,the following should be checked to put your ridind mower in it's supposed functional position,
    1.water i the gas, It goes to the bottom of the tank, and the bottom of the
    carb - where the engine picks up gas. Drain the carb and dry the
    tank if you find water in the carb might hit something and this will make the motor not to start,it is the flywheel key
    3. it could easily be the air filter,or probably that the gas has gone bad.
    you can as well visit the site below for a comprehensive instruction and diagram on your riding mower repairs.

    take care.



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