Information readers should heed!
I know this is a very old post! I add this for anyone else that is trying to bring an old mower back to life after sitting for a time.
ALWAYS and I do mean always. Take the covers off the engine along with the flywheel. You wouldn't believe what all I have found stuffed under the flywheel (enough pecans to make a pie) and in the cooling fins.( everything from leaves, paper, insulation, rags, feathers and much more) I have also found the insulation chewed off the wires. All this stuff may or may not prevent the engine from starting, but the engine will overheat unless it is cleaned out.
After many years of restoring old mowers, I have found it best to at least do the following in addition to what I said already.
1. Clean the fuel tank. Fuel filter should be replaced (Gasoline begins to turn into vanish within 30 days)
2. Replace battery if it is more than 3 years old or if it hasn't been charged in the past 6-8 months.
3. Replace the v-belts if the mower has been sitting for over a year. (even though they may look okay, but they get hard and will destroy the bearings in the idle pulleys before long.
4. Check every inch of the wiring. The wiring insulation must taste great
as much as varmints love chewing on them.
5. Rebuild the carb, if any fuel was left in it. You will need to use a Chem cleaner to get all the vents open.
6. I take all cables off and soak them in mixture of oil and diesel (outside) while I'm doing all this other stuff. Doesn't hurt to work them once in awhile.
Every mower has it's own problems, so there may be more on your mower that needs attention! (blades, lights, switch and seat, etc.)