Surging Issue with White Riding Mower - Lawn Mower Forums : Lawnmower Reviews, Repair, Pricing and Discussion Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Surging Issue with White Riding Mower

Hi All,

I have recently been fighting a surging issue with my White LT 542G riding mower. The details on the mower and engine are as follows:

Tractor model #: 13A2771G790 (March 2006 mfg date)
Engine model #: OV490EA (Tecumseh) -- It's an 18 hp engine.

The mower will start normally, but then used to just completely cut out and die. It would start right back up immediately afterwards and I could use it as normal...or so I thought.

I originally (over a year ago when the problem was intermittent) thought the problem was due to a faulty fuel solenoid in the carb, but replacing with a new one did not help cure the issue. There is a thread over on MTF that I started a while back that has some more info that might be helpful. Here is the link: White LT542G Runs Briefly, Then Dies

More recently, I reacted quickly enough and moved the throttle control back and forth as it started struggling and I was able to catch the motor and prevent it from dying. However, the motor would surge badly at full throttle, and now will not allow me to engage the blades without completely shutting down. I can watch the governor at all throttle speeds and it will almost randomly start moving back and forth, though I don't always hear the rpm change when it does so, unless the surging starts.

I pulled the carb today and cleaned it (though I probably should go back in again as it made no difference). I replaced the fuel filter as it had been a while.

Things I observed as I was cleaning the carb and reinstalling:

1. The choke does not always open back up when the throttle cable is moved out of that position (I only observed this when the engine was off...did not get down and check while running).

2. When the throttle control is set as low as it goes, the throttle butterfly in the carb is not all the way closed. In fact, the portion that sticks out above the carb and can contact some sort of stop screw never actually contacts that stop screw. Not sure if my description is even close to adequate on that one...

So...I can understand that the engine is running lean, from what I have read up on so far, but really am not sure where to go next to try and solve this issue.

Really hoping it's not something wrong with the governor assembly in the engine itself.

Adam
Flathead Valley, MT


1982 Lawn Chief 11/36 Rider
1993 Coast to Coast (MTD) 14/38 Rider
2003 Snapper Hi-Vac S-P (216517B) w/Thatcherizer
2004 Craftsman Push Mower (917.388630)

Other Machines in My Yard:
1974 Wizard (Gilson) tiller (project)
1977 Ariens Rocket V tiller (project)
1980 Ariens ST824 snowblower
1990s Toro CCR1000 snowblower

Previously Owned Machines:
1990 & 1992 Snapper Hi-Vac mowers
2006 White Outdoor (MTD) 18/42 rider
1996 Ranch King (MTD) 12/38 rider
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 07:35 PM
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Sounds like the choke might be causing it some what. Does it blow black smoke when this happens? Does adding choke help or make it die faster? Throttle may not hit that stop as the governor controls it. Governor may be just reacting to the fuel issues.


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1967 Sears Suburban SS10
1971 Bolens 1256
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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It usually blows some black smoke during the surging, but not a lot. The heavier the surge, the more smoke produced.

I can choke it and it will clear up most of the surging, but then it wants to die after a short bit on choke.

Surging will start again when I bring the throttle back to full. It does not surge as bad at lower throttle settings.

I should pull the spark plug and see what that tells me now that I think of it...

Adam
Flathead Valley, MT


1982 Lawn Chief 11/36 Rider
1993 Coast to Coast (MTD) 14/38 Rider
2003 Snapper Hi-Vac S-P (216517B) w/Thatcherizer
2004 Craftsman Push Mower (917.388630)

Other Machines in My Yard:
1974 Wizard (Gilson) tiller (project)
1977 Ariens Rocket V tiller (project)
1980 Ariens ST824 snowblower
1990s Toro CCR1000 snowblower

Previously Owned Machines:
1990 & 1992 Snapper Hi-Vac mowers
2006 White Outdoor (MTD) 18/42 rider
1996 Ranch King (MTD) 12/38 rider
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 07:59 PM
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Weird as it sounds kinda like a rich condition with smoke. Choke seems to help huh? See what the plug reads. I will try to think what it might be, kinda tired after marathon garage day today!


John Deere LX172 bagger
John Deere 180 yard tug
1997 John Deere 345
1967 Sears Suburban SS10
1971 Bolens 1256
Craftsman 9HP snow blower
Honda HRB215SDA mower
Change is the normal with my tractor list!
John 3:16 Psalm 28:7 1 Corinthians 15:57
"Complain and remain, praise and be raised! "

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-16-2016, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I finally had a little time to pull the plug, and found it was almost completely black. So, that tells me I am running rich, and most certainly NOT lean as I thought in my earlier posts.

After thinking about it a bit, I went to look at the air filter and though it didn't look like it really needed it, I went and pulled the outer foam off and washed it well with soap and water, then dried it. I put it back on the mower and went to start it. It started up, then wanted to die again after a couple of seconds, but I was able to catch it by moving the throttle to choke. It would not stay running on choke, so I had to drop it to lower throttle. However, at mid-range it ran steadily, so I left it there running for about 30 seconds. Then I gradually brought it up to full throttle and did not notice any major response by the governor (at least in terms of surging and trying to kill the engine).

I ran it around a bit and it did not surge at all while driving (blades not engaged). I engaged the blades while moving slowly and the governor responded appropriately (maybe too much as the engine almost died, then caught itself before dying) and I was able to mow a little bit as a test run.

I turned it off and then restarted after 15 - 20 seconds and it started the normal way it always had before the issue surfaced.

So...I am thinking I should change the air filter anyway (had not done it this year) and I should get a new spark plug, too.

Should I be looking anywhere else while I am at it? Still not really sure if I don't have an electrical problem somewhere that only shows up intermittently, as that is what I originally thought a while back now.

Adam
Flathead Valley, MT


1982 Lawn Chief 11/36 Rider
1993 Coast to Coast (MTD) 14/38 Rider
2003 Snapper Hi-Vac S-P (216517B) w/Thatcherizer
2004 Craftsman Push Mower (917.388630)

Other Machines in My Yard:
1974 Wizard (Gilson) tiller (project)
1977 Ariens Rocket V tiller (project)
1980 Ariens ST824 snowblower
1990s Toro CCR1000 snowblower

Previously Owned Machines:
1990 & 1992 Snapper Hi-Vac mowers
2006 White Outdoor (MTD) 18/42 rider
1996 Ranch King (MTD) 12/38 rider
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-22-2017, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Got the White out for some work today, and ran into the same surging issue again.

I put an extra-rich dose of Seafoam in the fuel when I ran it today, and was able to mow the entire yard with few surges - so that is an improvement over the last time I ran it in the fall (couldn't really do any work the surging was so bad). Didn't get any large quantities of dark smoke this round, unlike what I described in previous posts in this thread. It seemed to surge less as the engine got warmed up to operating temperature.

This one is a bit of a head scratcher for me...though I don't exactly have THAT much experience with small engines, either.

Could it be the fuel pump? I ask only because I suddenly thought to lightly tap on the fuel pump while the engine was surging, and it seemed to quiet down. Possibly coincidence, of course, but anything is worth trying.

On edit: I still need to change the air filter...forgot about doing that until I read my last post in this thread.

Adam
Flathead Valley, MT


1982 Lawn Chief 11/36 Rider
1993 Coast to Coast (MTD) 14/38 Rider
2003 Snapper Hi-Vac S-P (216517B) w/Thatcherizer
2004 Craftsman Push Mower (917.388630)

Other Machines in My Yard:
1974 Wizard (Gilson) tiller (project)
1977 Ariens Rocket V tiller (project)
1980 Ariens ST824 snowblower
1990s Toro CCR1000 snowblower

Previously Owned Machines:
1990 & 1992 Snapper Hi-Vac mowers
2006 White Outdoor (MTD) 18/42 rider
1996 Ranch King (MTD) 12/38 rider

Last edited by The_Geologist; 05-22-2017 at 09:24 PM. Reason: Forgot some info.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-23-2017, 08:45 PM
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As long as the fuel pump is providing adequate pressure the float should control the flow of fuel from there. I can't image a fuel pump issue causing a rich mixture. Wondering if you might have a sticky float?
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2017, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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I'll look into the float. Thank you!

Adam
Flathead Valley, MT


1982 Lawn Chief 11/36 Rider
1993 Coast to Coast (MTD) 14/38 Rider
2003 Snapper Hi-Vac S-P (216517B) w/Thatcherizer
2004 Craftsman Push Mower (917.388630)

Other Machines in My Yard:
1974 Wizard (Gilson) tiller (project)
1977 Ariens Rocket V tiller (project)
1980 Ariens ST824 snowblower
1990s Toro CCR1000 snowblower

Previously Owned Machines:
1990 & 1992 Snapper Hi-Vac mowers
2006 White Outdoor (MTD) 18/42 rider
1996 Ranch King (MTD) 12/38 rider
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2017, 11:30 PM
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I have an old David Bradley tiller that was giving me a similar problem years ago. I never did get it sorted out even after having the carb apart several times. I swapped the carb from another Briggs the same vintage and it worked fine. So I would guess yours still to be something in the carb. Mine would run fine as long as it was just setting there running. Soon as I tried to till with it and it started bouncing around it would start sputtering and running rich. It's just a little 3 hp or less and only gravity fed fuel from the tank above the carb.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2017, 09:48 PM
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wondering if your problem is as simple as a floating choke butterfly--Flopping closed randomly...It should be under tension...spring or friction...Perhaps you can "rig" a wired open choke butterfly after starting...see if problem goes away !
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