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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I’ve got a 66 Gravely L8. I’ve been haveing an issue where, when snow blowing, the engine easily get overwhelmed and will die. I am constantly having to pause and let it catch up. When I first got the machine 6 years ago it would chew through any amount of snow without any complaint. Wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction? I’ve cleaned the carb. Had the governor serviced. Neither seemed to help. Am I dealing with loss of compression? Any ideas would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Have you checked and gapped the points? (.015)
Last winter I was having a no start issue and the points were pitted and black. I cleaned them up and set the gap and it fired up though it was still doing the bogging down. I could recheck them again.
 

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+1 on points. If you haven't replaced the condensor in a while, do that too. A marginal condensor can take the points with it.

I wouldn't expect compression to be an issue unless it's getting very soft, and in that case I'd think you'd have a hard time starting it. If you pull it through by hand, it should take a real yank to get it past TDC, and if you turn it slowly by hand, it shouldn't get easier if you hold pressure on it. If it does, you may have a worn valve.

For that matter, check the valve clearances as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I checked the valve clearances today. Both were tight. Set them to .015”. Pulled off the magneto and the points were black and had a pit in the center. What’s causing this condition on the points? As I said I did this last winter as well and cleaned up the points. Ordered a new condenser.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So here’s an update. I put the new condenser in and a new spark plug and it’s not running any better. Drove it into about 8” of snow and it died after a few feet. Also, it is back fireing which it has been doing in the past but had forgotten because I don’t often run it in the dark . Flames shooting out the exhaust! Any ideas?
 

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Are you using ethanol gas ?...

Some I have bought had a cloudy appearance which is likely water in it,and after I put some in my tractor it began misfiring under a load and got harder to start--I drained it all out and bought gas elsewhere that looked perfectly clear and no troubles so far..
--the alcohol helps keep the water "mixed"and let it pass thru the fuel system ,but small engines are a lot fussier than automobile engines and don't tolerate any water in the gas very well..I also doubt the actual 10% level of ethanol is ever checked and most likely some gas gets a lot higher concentration of ethanol --alcohol burns slower with a lower BTU output so you lose some power too,and the fuel mixture sometimes needs to be set richer to compensate..

Flames out the exhaust usually indicates a leaking exhaust valve,or late ignition timing..could be a sticking valve too..a leaky head gasket can reduce power a lot and affect the fuel mixture by leaning it out ..

Maybe the snow is just wetter and heavier than usual,and the engine can't handle it as well as powdery lighter snow too..

Also maybe something is binding up and adding additional strain to the engine besides the snow,if the engine seems to be running well enough..
 

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Could it be too rich also? Have you adjusted the main jet lately? That is the adjustment sticking out at a angle pointing down from the bottom of the carb bowl. Turn it in some and see if it runs better. Keep track of how much you turn it.

If you turned this out some time before to get it to run better, it may have been because it was half clogged. Now the clog may have cleared out and now it's running rich. If this happens to be the case STAY AWAY FROM ETHANOL FUEL. Even if it's not the case and there is something else wrong with it, STAY AWAY FROM ETHANOL FUEL.
 

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Gravely1964
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First thing I would check is fuel flow. Pull the drain plug out of the bottom of the carb. And watch the flow. Should be a steady stream.

If not decent flow then try with gas cap off. Try cleaning the fuel lines and tank.

Was messing with one yesterday that had sludge in the tank and plugged the line after 30 seconds of run time.

If it is decent flow try adjusting carb and check the timeing too. Either could vibrate out of adjustment over time
 
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