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post #1 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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318 backfired and quit!

Well, not exactly. I was making my home stretch pass back up to the house when all of the sudden I began losing power. I backed the throttle down and disengaged the PTO. I reached around the left and put the gas on reserve thinking I was running out of gas. As I tried to throttle up it didn't want to go past 2/3rds throttle with very little power. When I did get the engine up to speed the PTO would not engage at all. I had to nurse it back up to my garage at about half throttle and it barely made it.

I'm trying to reason why the PTO stopped working and wouldn't engage after the engine backfired and went from running perfect to running poorly? I'll look at it tomorrow when my mind is more clear. I'm too tired right now to fool with it. I'm old and decrepit...mostly decrepit! :^)
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post #2 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 04:54 PM
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

Sounds like a cylinder quit, hopefully you didn't pop a rod or anything.

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post #3 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 05:02 PM
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

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Originally Posted by PA318Guy View Post
Sounds like a cylinder quit, hopefully you didn't pop a rod or anything.
That's what it sounds like...how many ours on that engine...all the 318s have been around for a while and getting up there in hours of use
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post #4 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

It's a 1985 model with the B43 Onan. It hasn't made any mechanical sounds like a loose rod or anything like that. It has just under 2000 hours on it. It's been using a little oil, about a half pint after mowing 3.5 acres.

I was thinking it was running on 1 cylinder too but what would that have to do with the PTO not engaging?
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post #5 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 07:41 PM
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

I was mowing two weeks ago and the same thing happened to me. Turned out that one spark plug gave up the ghost while I was mowing. Mower still ran on one cylinder but would stall out immediately under load. Perhaps the same thing happened to yours (cheap fix) and just not enough power to run the pto. Does the pto try to engage?

"If you can't fix it with a hammer, you got an electrical problem."
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post #6 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 08:14 PM
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

The PTO engages via electricity. Spark needs electricity. Backfiring can occur when the spark is weak or intermittent.

Let's be hopeful.

Charge and test your battery. Check the output of your charging system. Check the gap of your PTO clutch.
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post #7 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 08:26 PM
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

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Originally Posted by BufordT View Post
The PTO engages via electricity. Spark needs electricity. Backfiring can occur when the spark is weak or intermittent.

Let's be hopeful.

Charge and test your battery. Check the output of your charging system. Check the gap of your PTO clutch.
Excellent logic and answer.
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post #8 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 10:29 PM
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

If that makes it run better and fixes the PTO then two things: take the battery to an automotive store and have it tested and if it is good then test to see if your voltage regulator is returning juice back to the battery like it should. I'm hoping it is one of those, they are way less expensive than my first thought.

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post #9 of 27 Old 06-09-2019, 07:55 AM
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

My 318 did about same thing. Spitting sputtering all at once and would not take throttle. The coil failed. It was a old points type coil. Ordered a points type coil from flea bay, received a electronic ignition coil and it would not fire correctly. Finally got a points type ignition coil from amazon and all ok.

But in reference to yours possibly being electrical issue. My 318 has a on dash lamp to indicate battery not charging. Few days ago the BAT lamp on the dash panel came on while mowing. I found the slip on wiring plug of the voltage regulator fell of the regulator. Re-connected and used a zip tie to hold it in place. all ok.
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post #10 of 27 Old 06-09-2019, 08:17 AM
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

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Originally Posted by Forest Gump View Post
My 318 did about same thing. Spitting sputtering all at once and would not take throttle. The coil failed. It was a old points type coil. Ordered a points type coil from flea bay, received a electronic ignition coil and it would not fire correctly. Finally got a points type ignition coil from amazon and all ok.

But in reference to yours possibly being electrical issue. My 318 has a on dash lamp to indicate battery not charging. Few days ago the BAT lamp on the dash panel came on while mowing. I found the slip on wiring plug of the voltage regulator fell of the regulator. Re-connected and used a zip tie to hold it in place. all ok.
So the dash light is triggered by system (alternator plus battery) voltage being below some threshold. I don't know off the top of my head what that is. The alternator could be fine, and trying like heck to charge a very low of failing battery, leaving few watts available for running the ECM, coil, and PTO.
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post #11 of 27 Old 06-09-2019, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

I went out this morning to have a look and I couldn't find anything wrong. It started up and ran normal. I backed out both spark plugs to see what they looked like and they weren't terrible, a little black but both looked the same. I'm wondering if the fuel pump is acting up when it gets extremely hot like it was yesterday after I was finished mowing my 3 1/2 acres? I did notice the fuel filter had gas in it but it was far from being full. I wonder if that's normal? I'll have to wait until next week to really give it the acid test. It might only do it after the 318 gets stinky hot.
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post #12 of 27 Old 06-09-2019, 11:09 AM
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

Fuel filter will never look full. If you have the stock fuel pump, it is vacuum, or pulse operated off the crankcase. You could have a cracked vacuum line but not likely.

Did you charge the battery and check the charging system?
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post #13 of 27 Old 06-09-2019, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

The battery reads 12.6 volts with the engine off and 13.9 volts with the engine running. The battery is about 2 years old.
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post #14 of 27 Old 06-09-2019, 11:33 AM
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

It could be vapor lock. If it happens again, loosen the gas cap, it could just be a clogged vent.
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post #15 of 27 Old 06-09-2019, 11:37 AM
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Re: 318 backfired and quit!

Cool, now here's datum request #3 - what's the internal resistance of the PTO coil? May as well have a look at the wiring for melted insulation while you're down there measuring it.
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