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Old 07-21-2012, 04:03 PM   post #1 of 19
atomix
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Default How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

Ok, so I know this sounds like a dumb question, but bear with me.

Picked up a Duraforce with the intention that it would be for parts. Sat outside for "a while" and was seized, but hadn't been straight gassed supposedly. There was an even rougher one next to it that I could have picked up today--but I think I have too many.

The short story is the photo. The lower reed is rusty, and has a hole on the bottom -- about half the bottom side is rusted through. Oddly enough the top reed still moves when you pull the cord though!

Unfroze the piston with a few squirts of oil & the breaker bar. Has spark, is getting fuel (wet plug..and I cleaned the carb and put in a new needle & seat). Primer is pushing in lots of gas...

Basically i went from wanting a parts mower to thinking I could get it running easily. Is reed damage of this magnitude enough to kill compression? With the added mess of oil you see in that photo pointing to a no-doubt weak lower crank seal as well.

Time to park this one for parts and work on more important things? I don't need another running Duraforce right now!
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Old 07-21-2012, 05:01 PM   post #2 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

Never been in a duraforce. I may be completely wrong but I would think on the compression stroke the reed wont seal and it will push fuel right back out of it. My experience is with motorcycle reeds but I would think they work similar. Personally I would be afraid if it disintigrating into the motor and would never chance it.

Ill let someone with a little more experience chime in.
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Old 07-21-2012, 05:40 PM   post #3 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

I have an S21ZPM that had part of the reed broken off, it ran but barely. I would think that reed you have would still allow the engine to run, but I would be hesitant.

I have the same thought as BDM. I would be concerned of rust particles damaging the bearings and the piston. I would also be concerned of the reed breaking off and being digested.

I think you would be very lucky if this mower runs.

Let us know what you do, and as always...LOTS OF PICS!!!


***EDIT*** Look at the piston through the exhaust ports, I'm curious.

This reed came out of a mower that ran...barely.
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Old 07-21-2012, 08:34 PM   post #4 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

I would replace the reeds. They're pretty inexpensive and would be worth a shot at trying to fix this one. If it doesn't work, you can always save the good reeds for another mower that comes along, but that's just my opinion.
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:51 AM   post #5 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

Coolted's picture has me confused! It seems like my destroyed reed should work compared to that one! But I'll stop trying, I think some of the rust already has been sucked in to the engine from my cranking attempts, doing who knows what damage.

Alright, I think the plan of attack is to dig into the engine as my time allows. I really don't need another Duraforce running, so I may get the engine apart (pictures!), diagnose, and let it sit until I need a spare.

The biggest hold back for me isn't the reeds ($4 last I checked), it's the $45 ring set, and $20 worth of needle bearings I'd want to put in while it was apart.

Also, I can't see the piston until it's off the deck. I'll see where I get to over the next few. Thanks for help guys.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:13 AM   post #6 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

My guess would be rings stuck to the piston causing loss of compression???
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:53 PM   post #7 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

I only have a diesel compression gauge, so I haven't tried to get a reading (I don't think this guy will be making 400-600 psi!)

Spent another hour on this since the wife was watching the baby and it was too wet to work outside...Engine is off the deck, and just needs a good wash before I crack it open.

Only odd finding was the soup pouring out of the exhaust. I put a good dose of oil in through the spark plug hole...and later some MMO to hopefully unstick any rings. But I did a lot of that ill fated cranking/pulling which I would have thought would have blown all this out. Very little in the transfer tube, odd.

Smells like gas & oil, but has little chips of rust in it (hooray). Could this be water living below the piston?
Can't wait to crack the case now...
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Old 07-22-2012, 03:22 PM   post #8 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

That sucker doesn't look like it had just been rained on, it looks like it had been submerged in water! I'd guess that water filled the engine and just sat there for quite some time and the condensation from that caused the reed to rust out like that. I don't see how else an engine could get that wet sludge inside...

I wonder how common this is in areas that have had floods? Anything with an engine on it, if put under flood water, would have the same sort of damage unless the water was cleaned out in short order and the internals relubricated.
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Old 07-22-2012, 05:38 PM   post #9 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

Going to be interesting to see whats inside. Definitely looks like it was sitting in a lake
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:03 PM   post #10 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

Take one of the old bearings to a bearing shop to have them measure and order new ones. It will save you money. $45 seems steep for new ring set also, I'd do a little more digging. I think you could get that one running for a bit less than you stated.
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:04 PM   post #11 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

Well, whoever guessed this mower was used in a swimming pool or a swamp would probably be the winner. Holy heck, what a mess! The reed is/was the least of my concerns!

I don't know what the previous owner did to this thing! Maybe, somehow, our 2 foot snow storm 2 years ago seeped in??

There was rust pretty much everywhere, particularly on the lower 1/2 of the crankshaft. The lower main (?) bearing on the crank was darn near frozen. The crank was covered in rust....The crankcase was too.

Doesn't seem like the engine was actually run that hard, the cylinder wall and piston didn't look bad beneath this rusty murk.

Bulk trash pickup is tomorrow--should I toss everything you see in the trash??
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:09 PM   post #12 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

That was me! What do I win? One rusted up DF engine? haha! I'd say that's without a doubt a case of an engine that's been swamped, and then just left for dead...

Do you plan to rebuild it? If so, is it really worth it? Aside from the metal rusting I'd imagine the aluminium parts inside the block would have corrosion started on them too. I'm surprised the cylinder walls weren't rusted up too. If they were, you have a boat anchor... Bearings are replaceable at least, and everything else...
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:00 AM   post #13 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

Holy Mother that is TERRIBLE!
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:23 AM   post #14 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

Boat anchor indeed, or target practice!

This may scare me out of buying / picking up any more non-running mowers! It really looked fine on the outside save a little oil and tree debris. Has a nicer deck than my "good" duraforce!
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Old 07-24-2012, 02:19 AM   post #15 of 19
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Default Re: How bad does a reed have to be to cause a non-start?

What a shame! I would salvage any of the decent external parts and toss the engine itself. Trying to rebuild it would cost you a ton of money and with the severe rusting who knows if it actually can be successfully rebuilt?
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