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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I have an MTD 1846 Yardman with a 20 HP Briggs and Stratton . It's a '97 or '98.

Anyway, my husband was mowing one day and the thing ran out of gas. He left it for a few days and then added more gas, but it wouldn't start. So being my husband, he just left it to rot over winter.

This spring, I decided to tackle the job of getting it to run. It would try to start but wouldn't roar to life. My dad added gasoline to the carburetor, and that would make it run a little bit and then die. He told me the carburetor needed rebuilt and to take it to a shop. Me being me, I decided to
1.) find out what a carburetor was
2.) figure out how to "rebuild" one

Okay, so stop laughing. I educated myself for 2 weeks on lawn mower carbs and I would like to announce that I rebuilt the whole thing perfectly. When I went to start it back up, I felt a rush of apprehension - would it start or not?! I turned the key and...

Nothing. The battery was dead. Lawn mower: 1, me: 0

So I learned how to properly jump a battery and I got the thing started. It took a couple of tries, but it now starts, AND STAYS RUNNING. Smoothly, even.
Lawnmower: 1, me: 1

I go to back it out of my garage and the dang thing won't move. I put it in low gear. Reverse. Nothing. It won't budge an inch.

Lawnmower: 2, me: 1.

What could have caused this? I have EXTREMELY limited knowledge (obviously from my background info) about machines, but I am super handy and learn quickly.

Everything I read said a drive belt may have come off, so I asked my husband to look and his reply was, "Well...everything looks okay, I guess."

I need some details on what to look for, if the drive belt is really what's causing it, or could it be something carburetor-related. Pleeease be specific.

One last thing, and I have no idea if this is related. After I got it started and before I pushed down the clutch, my husband tried to shift the speed of the lawnmower, not realizing that I didn't have the clutch pressed down. Could this have anything to do with it?

Sorry for the novel. Please don't let my lawnmower win :^:
 

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I love it! That's awesome you are going the extra mile to concur this project. :) If you could give me the model # off of the decal and the serial # as well.
Something you may want to check as well is the parking brake. There is a disc on the side of the transmission on the back of your mower, you can see it if you bend down and look up under between the back wheels. It works a little like disc brakes on a car and those are known to stick and keep the mower from moving until you push it around a little and free it up. It's worth a quick look anyways. Also don't know if your model has it or not but there may be a lever, rod or a knob sticking out the back of the mower that is designed to disengage the tranny so you can push it around (free wheel), make sure it is in the correct position (up, down left or right) depending on model.

These won't cost you any money either ;)
 

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Hello Jen, welcome to the forum. As five pointed out, due to the machine being left outside. I bet the brake is stuck on. You can follow the brake rod to it and check for its movement. A little WD-40 would help!! Try that!
God Bless!
Eric
Here is a picture I found on Google
 

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Thanks Jen, those are the #s off of the engine, if you could find the tag that has the "mowers" model # and serial#, it's likely under the seat or on a panel somewhere on the body of the mower, probably on a decal.
 

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Way to go! Give yourself a big ol' pat on the back. Not many folks would do what you've done. I'm sure you'll get it all figured out and running like new soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi all,

Sorry for the delay in replying. I'm a teacher and I had a graduation ceremony to run.

This is what I found under the seat (I'll attach a pic of it):

MODEL
144Q828H118 1A12481 0054
SWC# 483021

I think this is what you want. Sorry if I'm an annoying newbie; I'm really trying to learn!:dunno:

Also, where it says "Parking Brake" on the shifting panel area, there's just a hole (see a previous photo). There's no rod or anything, and never has been since we inherited it a couple of years ago.

Thanks for all of your encouragement!

 

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Okie dokie, first off hear is an operators manual if you don't have one,
View attachment MTD 820 thru 829 840 thru 849 Owners Manual.pdf

Now go to this link,
Outdoor Power Equipment Parts: Use the Part Finder Tool from MTD
and look at item 41 and you will see the disc brake location. If your rod for the parking brake is missing, check inside the hole as it could be jammed in there causing the brake to lock up.

This next link has the parking brake rod (figure 26). It will give you an idea of where and what it looks like.
Outdoor Power Equipment Parts: Use the Part Finder Tool from MTD

Let us know what you come up with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Okay, well I went to start it up, and the battery was dead. Pretty sure it was a goner...so I just bought a new one. I could only get it to start by jumping it. Can a weak battery prevent it from moving? So I'm going to replace it and check out the disc (if I can access it. Do I need to remove the seat?). I'll get back to you tomorrow after work. Thanks a lot.
 

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The battery will not keep the mower from going in gear. The gearing is all mechanical. Make sure you get a higher amperage battery for your 20hp engine and don't settle for the cheaper lower amperage battery. A mower shop or an auto parts store like Discount or NAPA should have the right selection and they will help you get the correct one. Make sure the battery has the proper orientation too such as pos and neg in the correct locations. We'll see you tomorrow :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay, I replaced the battery. I've removed the seat and everything that was in my way, so I can stare down into the drive assembly area.

Some things I've discovered:

1.) Whenever I move the speed selector, I can't get it to move into first speed. It's a 6 speeder, and barely wants to go into 2nd.

2.) After looking at a parts diagram, Parts and Diagrams for MTD MTD GT 1846 Mdl 141-848H118 I found that when I push down the clutch, and move the speed selector lever (15), it doesn't engage the speed control link (13) at all. I think the ferrule (10) is loose? Anyhow, the speed control link doesn't move at all, and I'm not sure that's good news! Shouldn't it somehow move and do something to the variable speed torque bracket (27) or the pulley plate (29)?

Remember, my husband tried shifting speeds without the clutch being pressed down. Not sure if that did anything to it.

Also, could this have anything to do with the mower not actually moving?

I was really just kind of hoping there was just some magical cable I forgot to connect near the carburetor :^:

Ah, learning is good. At least I can read a parts diagram!
 

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Have you got it started yet? You may want to do that first and then try shifting using the clutch and even rocking the mower back and forth as there may be something binding. And the ferrule (10) should be a little loose as it slides in that slot on the speed control assy. Also, did you resolve the brake rod issue?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yes, it runs with the new battery. No, it doesn't move. It was in 3rd speed on low range. I didn't try any of the higher speeds to see if it moved in any of them.

So the ferrule is supposed to rock back and forth in that slot? I guess I don't understand how it changes speed then, because it doesn't look like anything is engaged when I shift the rod (I did this with the engine off though).

There is no parking brake rod whatsoever. It's completely gone. I asked my husband go check too because I thought I was crazy.
 

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reference this;
Outdoor Power Equipment Parts: Use the Part Finder Tool from MTD

Changing speed on these is not a mechanical function on or in the transmission. What happens is when you move the speed selector it changes the tension on the belt that goes from the tranny to the variable speed pulley. The "VS" pulley 79 will slide up or down on a shaft changing the depth of which the drive belt rides in the pulley therefore changing the RPMs of the drive pulley that is on top of the transmission itself.

So lets try this (carefully ;) ) with the engine running and in any speed range that you can get it in and the shift lever in forward are the belts turning the big pulley that is on top of the transmission (Drive Pulley) item 70. (You may want to jack up the rear end of the mower and put it on jack stands to be able to perform these tests)

If the drive pulley on the tranny is being turned by the belt then it may not be in gear but in neutral. Make sure the shift lever 111 is engaging all the way as that is actually what shifts the tranny from reverse to neutral to drive (high or low range). If that is not engaging all the way then the tranny itself is not going in gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Okay, so interesting turn of events.

This is what I tried and the results.

1.) I pushed in the clutch, put it in neutral, started it right up. Let go of the clutch, and the drive pulley spins.

2.) I pushed the clutch back in, shifted hard to low range (I have the shift plate removed, but I know the positions), and the whole mower jerked forward. Now, I wasn't expecting this since I've done this many, many times before with zero movement, and the only thing that's changed is a new battery and the removal of the shift plate. So I think to myself that maybe the shift plate wasn't allowing it to fully engage.

3.) I decide to see if it will go in reverse out of my garage. It does, slowly.

4.) I put it in forward, 3rd speed where it was and it creeps along with a slight jerky feel.

5.) I put it in high range, and it speeds up but then starts coughing like it's got bronchitis so I push the clutch in and put it back in neutral. It sputters the rest of the way to dead.

6.) I depressed the clutch again and tried to restart it. It won't turn over. I tried over and over again. It just makes the whirring sound nonstop (the same one it makes before it actually starts).

Like I said, interesting turn of events. What's next, Captain? :bag:
 

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OK, lets focus on the no start problem 1st. Was the fuel tank cleaned out, and fuel filter replaced when you had the carb rebuilt?
If not you may have sucked up junk or bad gas that was left over in the fuel lines.
Fuel hoses can also get hard and break down as well and if you did change the filter and also when you removed the fuel line from the carb when you rebuilt it you could have had small pieces of degrading fuel lines (rubber) go right into your newly rebuilt carb and plug up the inlet or clog up the jets when you reinstalled the lines. If you can't get it started, I would be suspect to these areas.

OR, you may have just flooded it out, or ran it out of gas? I would consider the previous though :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
OK, lets focus on the no start problem 1st. Was the fuel tank cleaned out, and fuel filter replaced when you had the carb rebuilt?
If not you may have sucked up junk or bad gas that was left over in the fuel lines.
Fuel hoses can also get hard and break down as well and if you did change the filter and also when you removed the fuel line from the carb when you rebuilt it you could have had small pieces of degrading fuel lines (rubber) go right into your newly rebuilt carb and plug up the inlet or clog up the jets when you reinstalled the lines. If you can't get it started, I would be suspect to these areas.

OR, you may have just flooded it out, or ran it out of gas? I would consider the previous though :(
The parts store was closed the day I pulled the fuel filter, but I cleaned it up really well. It's just a mesh screen on this beast...it didn't appear worn or clogged. I had planned on replacing it anyway, but I've been distracted by this not-moving issue. Anyhow, gut instinct says it's fine.

I've had this mower idling many different times since I rebuilt the carb. Surely it would have clogged up before now? Maybe that's just wishful thinking - hoping it's not my beautiful carburetor :^:

I never cleaned out the fuel tank because there was little fuel left in it and I was advised online that it was unnecessary :dunno:and just to add new fuel.

If I flooded it, won't letting it sit for an hour or two help? I'm not really familiar with how to un-flood it. Stinkin' carburetor.

I'm going to double check that I have gas. Also, to make sure my fuel line didn't come off the fuel tank. It was looking pretty sad when I rehooked it back up (I took it off so I could get a better look at the drive system).

Any suggestions on what to check or do in additional to checking gas levels, letting it sit for a couple of hours and kicking it?
 

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Maybe my reading skills are not up to par, but has anyone mentioned that the drive belt could be stretched and its not getting enough grip to grab the pulley and get it moving???

Also the coil or magneto as its really called could be bad or weak causing it not to start after being warm and also the other problems you mention
 
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