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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Owned for 15 years. Tec 14 HP. Always started cold easily and flawlessly at 1/2 throttle and choke 1/2 open.

Now when i start cold I get a bang (explosion) in the exhaust and it doesn't even try to kick, even when raising choke fully and then opening fully while cranking continuously. Makes me think its flooded. Thinking engine is getting too much fuel, attempting to start with choke open and 1/2 throttle engine doesn't kick at all.

Only way to start engine is to set throttle to idle, crank starter while raising choke 1/2 way then back to open and engine starts and idles normally. Doesn't sound flooded at all when it starts. Huhh, what happened? Why does it start different? I know I'm lucky it starts at idle but this can't be normal. Any idea what is wrong?

Carb bowl is full, but not overflowing with fuel.
Main jet is clean
Choke opens and closes completely
Great spark and new plug
Compression 65 lbs
Compression release raises exhaust valve push rod .022 during compression stroke and allows valve to seat before TDC
Adj valved .010 and .005 at TDC per manual
Cranks normally

Haven't checked the float height, but when it runs it runs good even at high RPM. Main jet is not adjustable.
 

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Owned for 15 years. Tec 14 HP. Always started cold easily and flawlessly at 1/2 throttle and choke 1/2 open.

Now when i start cold I get a bang (explosion) in the exhaust and it doesn't even try to kick, even when raising choke fully and then opening fully while cranking continuously. Makes me think its flooded. Thinking engine is getting too much fuel, attempting to start with choke open and 1/2 throttle engine doesn't kick at all.

Only way to start engine is to set throttle to idle, crank starter while raising choke 1/2 way then back to open and engine starts and idles normally. Doesn't sound flooded at all when it starts. Huhh, what happened? Why does it start different? I know I'm lucky it starts at idle but this can't be normal. Any idea what is wrong?

Carb bowl is full, but not overflowing with fuel.
Main jet is clean
Choke opens and closes completely
Great spark and new plug
Compression 65 lbs
Compression release raises exhaust valve push rod .022 during compression stroke and allows valve to seat before TDC
Adj valved .010 and .005 at TDC per manual
Cranks normally

Haven't checked the float height, but when it runs it runs good even at high RPM. Main jet is not adjustable.
I been working on peoples mowers--tillers--etc. Long time And most of them the last 3 years been bad gas,,, Yep get some and put some gas in a clean glass jar and hold up to sun---should be CLEAR but what I have found is it will look little cloudy sometimes very cloudy and these small engines can,t deal with it--they will run but miss/back-fire--etc. Theres one gas station here in town I will not buy from--I checked my 5gal jug make sure it,s clean went got gas and yep cloudy look to it. Theres not really water you can see in the bottom just this white look to the gas--Maybe thats could be problem??
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Durfman, I'll check out the gas. It's only 2 weeks old.

A little more info. I checked the float level. It was a little low. Adjusting it as well as the mixture setting, didn't change the cold start issue.

Using a screwdriver to find TDC, I pressurized the cylinder. The only leakage was through the dipstick. Probably normal. While at TDC marked the shaft and ran it with timing light connected in hope of detecting slipped timing. Was surprised to find the timing is After TDC maybe 20 degrees or so. Thought it would be closer to TDC or maybe slightly before TDC. But you know what. The engine runs as well as ever, so I'm thinking After TDC is probably the way it always was and probably designed to be. Anyone out there ever timed one of these? Did you find After TDC as well?
 

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For what it is worth, I have a Massy with a 12 Tec ( hh120), It will never start if i were to give it gas and choke while cranking, hot maybe but doesn’t like it, cold never. My starting procedure is full choke crank while slowly bring the choke down till it fires, usually a couple of revolutions and if cold bring the choke off slowly then I can give it gas. This tractor has been like that for 45+ years never changed the way it likes to start Over the years through one engine rebuild and one new short block. Runs flawlessly. Just the nature of the beast I have always assumed.
 

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All the HH120's I have on Sears Suburbans with starter/generators will only start if the battery is fully charged up,and you put the throttle at idle,and close the choke fully,that is the only way the engine will crank over without binding up at every compression stroke-then when it fires you continue cranking while opening the choke some,and then it'll idle very slowly,and you can crack open the throttle to speed it up some while it warms up,and eventually open the choke fully..

The starter/generators are on the weak side for cranking,especially in cold weather when the oil is thick and the battery has less power--closing the choke and leaving the throttle at idle prevents much air from getting in the cylinder,thus making less compression,and it allows it to spin over more easily..in extreme cases "smothering" the carb with your hand will let it crank over easily ,then once it fires you can take it off..

Once you get it spinning and firing you can manipulate the choke & throttle to get it running at a fast idle..all of them need a few minutes to warm up before you can apply a load to the engine or they'll want to bog out and stall too.."Just the nature of the beast" is exactly how I'd describe the starting procedure...
 

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Yup Tractor Holic, dispite mine being a ring gear starter it starts the same way. Just thought maybe MikeMenards 14 tec would be the same way, suddenly it seems to prefer this starting procedure by all accounts.
 

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Thanks Durfman, I'll check out the gas. It's only 2 weeks old.

A little more info. I checked the float level. It was a little low. Adjusting it as well as the mixture setting, didn't change the cold start issue.

Using a screwdriver to find TDC, I pressurized the cylinder. The only leakage was through the dipstick. Probably normal. While at TDC marked the shaft and ran it with timing light connected in hope of detecting slipped timing. Was surprised to find the timing is After TDC maybe 20 degrees or so. Thought it would be closer to TDC or maybe slightly before TDC. But you know what. The engine runs as well as ever, so I'm thinking After TDC is probably the way it always was and probably designed to be. Anyone out there ever timed one of these? Did you find After TDC as well?
I know these motors are touchy with timing do you have a model number & type I want to look up something? After tdc don,t make sense--but if it runs who cares,lol
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The tractor is a Bolens 1400G model 1463. The engine is a XL EXTRA LIFE Cast Iron Tec OH140 160 027D ser 3O18E.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I been working on peoples mowers--tillers--etc. Long time And most of them the last 3 years been bad gas,,, Yep get some and put some gas in a clean glass jar and hold up to sun---should be CLEAR but what I have found is it will look little cloudy sometimes very cloudy and these small engines can,t deal with it--they will run but miss/back-fire--etc. Theres one gas station here in town I will not buy from--I checked my 5gal jug make sure it,s clean went got gas and yep cloudy look to it. Theres not really water you can see in the bottom just this white look to the gas--Maybe thats could be problem??
Replaced the gas. In the pic below the left glass is what I drained out of gas tank. Right pic is new gas I filled. Not ready to say cold start issue is gone, but it did start up. True test is starting from cold engine tomorrow.

Thanks much
 

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Gas in the left jar probably has water in it by the looks of it..

Most of the Tecumseh's I have had with points ,the smaller HP ones,did have the magneto timed to fire with the piston slightly before top dead center--but the HH engines with solid state ignition had two pins that triggered the coil,one is likely positioned to fire after top dead center to avoid kick back and the other pin "takes over" once it starts and runs over a certain rpm and probably advances the timing..
 

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Gas in the left jar probably has water in it by the looks of it..

Most of the Tecumseh's I have had with points ,the smaller HP ones,did have the magneto timed to fire with the piston slightly before top dead center--but the HH engines with solid state ignition had two pins that triggered the coil,one is likely positioned to fire after top dead center to avoid kick back and the other pin "takes over" once it starts and runs over a certain rpm and probably advances the timing..
Thanks for the input. So far with the new gas the engine may be starting better. Although the engine isn't cold, so I could be fooling myself. I have the sold state ignition.

My vintage Sears Penske inductive timing light appears to be broken now. It stopped working while upping the RPMS during the timing check. Continuity checks fine so no broken wires. Very similar to this guy https://forums.aaca.org/topic/290057-broken-timing-light/. Can a one cylinder engine burn out a timing light?
 

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It was on the cool side this morning. Engine back fired through the carb 3 times then started on second attempt. It starts with the throttle a little bit above idle and with the choke coming off 1/2 way back down to full open. Seems better with the new gas. I guess it's as good as it will be.

Thanks everyone for the aid. I really appreciate it.
 

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Maybe try a few times no throttle at all and choke as we do starting the HH’s and I think you said you tried. If the back fire goes way, then adopt that as your new starting procedure.
 

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You may have to take the bowl off the carb to get all the water in it out--sometimes just running fresh gas will eventually flush it out,but not always..
It might be the spark plug has a defect from the water too,I have had a few develop a crack in the ceramic around the center electrode and it caused kick back and misfiring until the engine warmed up good..

I've had the strobe light burn out on a few timing lights before--they are pretty fragile and the light gets knocked around some during use & storage,and like any other bulb,they don't last forever..Radio Shack used to sell strobe lights you could use in a timing light,but they have all become extinct now..
It might be another electrical component inside too,like the capacitor that link spoke about..I'm not much help when it comes to electronics,I know the names of the parts,but not much else really..
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The carb bowl and fuel lines were completely emptied of old fuel before putting in new fuel.

It looks like my new starting procedure may be, give it a little throttle (so when it starts it doesn't stall) start cranking then raise the choke 1/2 way and wait til it fires up. Seemed to work well tonight, but its warmer than it was this morning. If it continues to start like tonight I'm golden:)

As for the timing light. Did a visual component inspection, looks fine. My gut feeling is the bulb burnt out. Think I'll look for a bulb. Never thought I'd use that light again. Just goes to show you never know.

Thanks everyone
 

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All of my Tecumseh engines in my Bolens tractors always started on idle with full choke if the carb was set up correct. One thing you may want to look into is the coil may be weak and not giving enough spark when cold. Check the trigger pins for correct height and put a new fresh spark plug in it. I know the coils are very hard to come by but if you can find another coil swap it out and try that. Also check the valve lash for proper gap.
 

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All of my Tecumseh engines in my Bolens tractors always started on idle with full choke if the carb was set up correct. One thing you may want to look into is the coil may be weak and not giving enough spark when cold. Check the trigger pins for correct height and put a new fresh spark plug in it. I know the coils are very hard to come by but if you can find another coil swap it out and try that. Also check the valve lash for proper gap.
We are in a warm spell right now 48 degrees this morning. The engine is starting fine at the moment. Valve clearance previously adjusted and it has new plug. I did check the spark and ignition pin lengths today. Nice blue spark. Short pin was out of spec .150, should be .187, and long pin was .250 right in spec. Not sure it was wise but I went ahead and shimmed up short pin with a .020 star washer and locktite it back in. It's in speck now at .187. As mentioned earlier, engine is stating fine right now so I'll see how it goes into the colder weather.

nsconductor, since you have a similar Bolens. I would like to ask you if your drive train gear box (the one the engine drive shaft turns) is noisy all the time. Mine makes an odd chang chang noise and always did it. Especially noticeable at idle. It's a weird sound for sure, but not a bad bearing or grinding sound, just odd.

Thanks very much
 

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That short pin in too far might of been the cause of
Your finding it firing after TDC. I do remember years ago when changing a the electronic ignition mag on my hh120 tuning one of the pins by tapping it in a few thou. As pointed out there is a timing retard of sorts, when first starting and as the engine warms up/ loosens up the rpm increases to a point it can advance. I always assumed it had to do with the two pins and the speed the flywheel passes them.
 

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My Bolens that we’re medium frames were/are all hydrostatic transmission and did not have the gearbox your talking about. I never heard or operated a gear drive medium frame to hear what they might sound like. Sorry couldn’t help on that issue.
 

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Thanks for all the feedback. At current temps in the high 40's and 50's the engine is starting perfectly set to 1/2 throttle with full choke cranking for 3 seconds before moving choke to full open, then it fires up just like I remember it doing. Although I've done lots of checks the only thing I consider a corrective measure was draining the old gas and putting clean gas as suggested in this thread. I wish I could say raising the short pin made a difference but it's been starting perfectly since the weather warmed and has new gas in it. There is a cold front coming this weekend so I'll see if it starts as well near or below freezing, as currently.

The transfer case noise seems to be related to gear backlash. It makes a chang chang sound even when turning the output pulley back and forth with engine off. No oil leakage to be seen. I wonder if the gearbox is supposed to be full of oil or grease. There's no fill or drain plug as far as I can see. Made that noise since the first day I bought it used in 2004.

My brother in law bought the tractor from next door neighbor who was getting $1000 quote to fix non starting engine issue. With my help we diagnosed burnt out solid state ignition unit. Working on it is when I decided the tractor was worth owning and asked to buy it. Came with mower deck and never used snow thrower. This cold start issue is the first time it's acted up in all those years using year round as a mower and snow thrower..
 
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