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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. Thanks in advance for any help with this frustrating issue. What is happening is:

-Tractor starts and runs/cuts normally for about 15-20 minutes
-Starts to surge a number of times then begins to die, will run at full choke for a little bit (30 seconds) then dies
-Basically will start, run for a few seconds on full choke, and then die for a few minutes
-After maybe 5-8 minutes of this it will start and run normally, can engage PTO and cut again
-Will run for a minute or two and then the whole thing happens again

Could this be associated with bad gas? It was running well through April and May and then this problem started my last mow after I filled the tank. That gas can did not receive any fuel treatment when I brought it home.

Other things to think about, like carburetor adjustments, spark plug? I checked air filter and blew out fuel line to make sure it was clear. I can see a tiny amount of sediment in the tank but not a lot.

Thank you for any ideas!

Pete
 

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It could be your fuel pump is dieing. It heats up and then works for a bit before over heating again. Pull the line off at the carb and see what fuel flow is like right when it dies. If fuel flow is good check spark for strength. I think though you have a fuel issue rather than something else.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It could be your fuel pump is dieing. It heats up and then works for a bit before over heating again. Pull the line off at the carb and see what fuel flow is like right when it dies. If fuel flow is good check spark for strength. I think though you have a fuel issue rather than something else.

Thank you. When you say pull the line off, like literally what until it's dying and pull it off and see what comes out? Is bad fuel pump pressure consistent with running with the choke on?

I appreciate it.
 

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It could be your fuel pump is dieing. It heats up and then works for a bit before over heating again. Pull the line off at the carb and see what fuel flow is like right when it dies. If fuel flow is good check spark for strength. I think though you have a fuel issue rather than something else.
I agree that it sounds like a fuel issue given it will run a little longer with the choke. I'd also suggest immediately taking the gas cap off when it stalls to see if there is a vacuum in the tank due to a clogged vent in the cap.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you both. Fresh fuel appears to have fixed the problem, but I didn't run it for super long so not 100%. Is there a rule of thumb for how long to keep gas before it needs to be used? I usually treat with some fuel treatment from Home Depot, but I didn't do the batch that was in it when I brought it home probably a month ago.
 

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Fuel should be fine if used within a month. No rule of thumb that I am aware of but its useful life is highly dependent on humidity, daily temperature differential, and how much fuel is in your gas tank. In general, the more fuel in your tank the better.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Fuel should be fine if used within a month. No rule of thumb that I am aware of but its useful life is highly dependent on humidity, daily temperature differential, and how much fuel is in your gas tank. In general, the more fuel in your tank the better.
Thank you.
 

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Adding fuel could have been a band aid. Adding fuel makes the pump not have to work as hard to pull fuel out of the tank. I'd run it longer and see if it dies. Like Denverguy said pull the cap off and see if there is a vacum if it has one that your problem if not shut everything off and pull the fuel line off the carb and put it into some kind of see through container. Then crank the engine and see if you get any fuel flow. If you've got good flow then it's possible the fuel shutoff Solenoid is failing and killing fuel flow. Checking that you need a multimeter and measure the resistance to see if it's high. I'd eliminate the simple things first then move on to the more complicated items.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Adding fuel could have been a band aid. Adding fuel makes the pump not have to work as hard to pull fuel out of the tank. I'd run it longer and see if it dies. Like Denverguy said pull the cap off and see if there is a vacum if it has one that your problem if not shut everything off and pull the fuel line off the carb and put it into some kind of see through container. Then crank the engine and see if you get any fuel flow. If you've got good flow then it's possible the fuel shutoff Solenoid is failing and killing fuel flow. Checking that you need a multimeter and measure the resistance to see if it's high. I'd eliminate the simple things first then move on to the more complicated items.

Thanks. I'm sure the gas cap is allowing air through. I was blowing in through the fuel line to build pressure to empty the tank and I could hear air escaping. So just to be clear on the fuel pump test, obviously the engine won't start without the fuel line connected, but as it's cranking the fuel pump should be pushing fuel through the line? Will google where that solenoid is if need be. Thank you again for your help.
 

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Yes cranking it should provide enough vacuum to run the fuel pump. 2nd the Cutoff solenoid is on the bottom of the carburetor.
 

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It might have been the gas was just not very good. It could also be that there is something in the carb that is shutting off the fuel (like a particle of a rotting fuel line). The tractor is old now and rubber fuel lines don't last forever. It might be time to consider replacing all the fuel line. It might be time to clean the carburator.

Or, maybe just dump some SeaFoam in there and see what it does. I have had good luck with that on a newer tractor. At 20 years rubber is old and not as flexible as it once was and can be flakey.
 
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