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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2020, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Problem Starting Mower

Have a Toro 22" Self Pace Mower, Model 20332, S/N 310001541, purchased in 2012. Mowing my yard takes 35-40 minutes and I estimate it's run for about 400 total hours.

Early this year it would start after 3 or 4 pulls. Lately though it takes 15 or so pulls to start. When it does start, the RPMs vary slightly for about 30-40 seconds and then stay constant and it runs great.

I've put in a new spark plug and air filter but the problem persists. (The old spark plug is only 2 years old and looks OK. The air filter was new last fall.) I use gas that has 10% ethanol and I add stabilizer. I put some of my gas in a clear container and let it sit for about a month and it shows no sign of water.

I have discovered a wierd work-around. I tip the mower up 90 degrees with the gas tank up. Wait a minute then put it down and it starts with 1 or 2 pulls.

Hope you experts can point me toward a solution!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2020, 12:01 PM
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Iím gonna say carb, Mostly because ethanol gums them all up at some point. Yes, water separation is an issue, but over time the ethanol creates a shellac inside the carb that gums up the works. It does the same for your fuel filter, which you should replace regardless.

You could try carb cleaner spray. You might get lucky and that could solve the problem, but if the spray and new filter donít fix your problem, I see a new carb in your future. Rebuilding a carb takes time and time is money. New Chinese carbs on Amazon are cheap these days.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-15-2020, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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The only problem I have is with a cold start. Once the mower starts it runs great. If I have to stop mowing for any reason, it restarts with 1 or 2 pulls. So I don't see how a gummed up carb would cause this behavior. Is there some kind of choke on the carb that isn't working unless I tip the mower up briefly?

I haven't removed the engine covers to look but none of the manuals that came with the mower show any fuel filter and the Recommended Maintenance Schedule says nothing about replacing a fuel filter. So I assume it doesn't have one.

I should add that to start with 1 or 2 pulls I must tip it up briefly, put it back down on it's wheels and immediately pull the start cord. If I wait a couple minutes before pulling the start cord it will take 15 or so pulls to start.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 10:46 AM
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After, say ten pulls, remove the spark plug....It's likely dry meaning insufficient choke....not enough gas flowing....maybe a clogged slow speed jet along the lines of the posted suggestion above.

If your mower has a primer bulb, remove it and clean it. I just repaired a neighbor's mower and dirt and dust had apparently allowed air to seep in around the primer bulb fastening...hence it would not prime properly.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 05:17 PM
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I agree that it sounds like the choke is not closed during start up. Pull the air cleaner and confirm that the choke is closed with the engine cold. Some engines use a spring on the choke linkage and if the spring is broken or missing, the engine will be hard to start when cold.



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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-25-2020, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Removed the air filter and saw the choke was open. By the time I removed the top plastic cover and the gas tank the choke had closed. Cleaned out a lot of clippings and dirt, lubed the pivot point and checked that everything could move freely. Reinstalled the tank and air filter but left the top plastic cover off so I could watch the choke. It started after 3 pulls and the choke immediately opened. The RPMs varied slightly for about 30 seconds and then it ran smoothly. After it cooled down, the choke closed. So I guess it was just jammed up with clippings keeping the choke from closing.

Thanks to all who responded.
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