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I have a JD L118 model 406777 Type 0139E1. Had trouble starting replaced fuel filter and routine maint. mower ran OK for 2 weeks backfired went 20 feet back fired again, stopped running and have not been able to restart since.
I pulled fly wheel and woodrif key ok.
No apparent compression. Engine spins fast and freely
fuel filter half full??
Spark plugs are dry.
Did not respond to starter fluid.
 

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...No apparent compression. Engine spins fast and freely...
That sounds like you might have a valve problem or worse. :( Does the carb suck any air at all?

Fuel filters don't always fill completely. Mine never has on my Deere's Kohler engine. So I would not worry about that. You can download a service manual for the L-Series here that might cover your unit:

http://www.mytractorforum.com/images/reference/2002_L_Series_Manual.pdf

Curious, how many hours does it have on it?
 
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