Question about Poulan 42-Inch Steel Deck 17.5 HP Briggs & Stratton I/C Engine With 6 Speed

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Poulan riding mower starts and runs for a few minutes then "chokes out" and stops running, why? If I let it sit for about 30 minutes I can restart it and finish the lawn. Now it runs for a few minutes chokes out and will not restart.

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If you have already changed your fuel filter and spark plug, look at your fuel tank cap. The breathing holes may be clogged with dirt or debris preventing good fuel flow. I happened to spend $150 bucks for this $5 fix. Hope this helps.

Posted on Aug 29, 2010

  • Frank S Oct 02, 2013

    I agree with the first solution. To verify that it is the holes that allows the gas tank to breath, when the engine cuts out, loosen the cap and listen for a vacuum hissing sound. Tighten cap and see if engine starts up immediately. If it does, replace the gas cap with a new one. You can try to clean the old one out, but who's to say that it will clog faster vs a new cap. Just. Suggestion.


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I had a bad run of watery gas which caused this same symptom. turns out some how i was getting water in the gas not sure if it was someone sabotaging the gas can or if there was a crack allowing rain water but after many issues with starting al of my lawn equipment i finally got a jar and poured the gas into it and discovered gas 2/3 water 1/3 i had to separate the gas from the water and clean out the carbs on all my equipment finally resolved the issue bought new storage containers and no more issues. replace spark plugs as well water tends to ruin the spark plugs fast hope this helps.

Posted on Dec 17, 2014


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Hi Spraker,

This sounds like a fuel filter with just enough dirt in it to allow some gas to seep through, but when the engine is started it will not provide enough to keep it running. Locate and close the spring tabs on either end of the filter. You will need to push something (a small bolt perhaps) in the ends of the fuel lines to prevent gas from coming out on both ends. Elevate them as well.

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