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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for advice:

Been using my old LT1046 very heavily of late. Per another forum message, I installed a Johnny Bucket Jr. and a weight kit on it. Have been using it move many loads of bullrock down a pretty tough slope, which then has to be climbed back with the bucket empty. It’s also a pretty dusty job (limestone dust), and it’s 90-100F out.

The instant problem . . . mower started running rough occasionally (particularly when straining to get uphill). Conked out yesterday like it was out of gas (even though it had plenty of fresh gas in the tank and the see-thru fuel filter shows gas is getting thru).

Cleaned the air pre-filter a bit and that got it going, but about an hour later it died again. Tried the same light cleaning of the prefilter, no luck. Choking the engine got it to sputter a little bit, but wouldn’t run for more than a couple of seconds.

Gave the prefilter a thorough cleaning with soap and water and allowed it to dry overnight (paper filter looks OK) — no good; this morning it won’t even sputter. Tried a shot of starter fluid onto the air filter — no effect. Checked the spark plus cables, and they hadn’t come loose.

Prior to starting this project, I changed the oil and all the filters, and until very recently it had been running great. This project has probably taxed this mower to its limits (especially going up and down a slope with the bucket plus 150lbs of weight on the back weight kit), as well as bouncing it around a bit.

Ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Problem abated (for now at least). Charged battery to max, removed air filter and squirted a lot of starter fluid into the card. Engine started and ran rough for about a minute, then smoothed out.
 

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If you have the backfire solenoid on that carb, remove and clean. If you have been running ethanol gas, that is one place carb cleaner won't reach and tends to accumulate the gel blocking the gas flow. Look for a red wire attached to the solenoid and 2 tiny crosshead screws.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. Will check it out — that makes sense.

Yup, running ethanol gas — can’t get non-EtOH’d gas in my area without driving at least an hour away (EPA regs). (Boat owners around here *really* hate that.)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, my problem is still here, but I think I may have diagnosed it. Comments please:

Removed the carb and gave it a thorough cleaning, but inside it already looked very clean and all the internals looked fine. Reassembled everything, but while engine will run for 2-3 seconds if I squirt some starting fluid in it, it dies immediately thereafter.

Checked to see if gas is coming out of the fuel pump when cranking— a couple of drops, but no more. (I should have realized this when there was no gas in the carb bowl when I removed the solenoid.) Removed the vac line to the fuel pump and put my thumb over it and cranked the motor — felt only the slightest puff of vacuum.

Checked the oil and the dipstick showed it was overfilled . . . because the tractor was on a bit of a slope.

So, my working hypothesis: when I recently changed the oil, I probably overfilled it a bit due to the residual oil in the engine. Wasn’t a problem on level ground, but working a lot on a steep slope meant there was oil pooling where it would mess with the vac line. (My problem *always* occurred when going uphill.) No vac, no gas thru the fuel pump.

So other than getting the tractor to level ground and draining some oil off, any other way to test / fix the vac line? Alternatively, how can I test the fuel pump to confirm that it’s a vac issue and not a defective fuel pump?

As always, thanks in advance.
 

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With the fuel pump still hooked up to a vacuum, remove fuel line from carb and crank over the motor. Gas should come out the fuel line at a steady pace. If your oil fill tube has oil climbing up the tube when you go up a hill, or it's over filled, you will lose your vacuum, and pump will quit. Can you move the vacuum line to a valve cover instead. I have seen this way used with better success.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks. Was able to solve the problem as follows:

Disengage hydrostatic transmission; roll tractor down to level area.

Drain about 8 oz. oil. Check engine oil level (showed a little under full).

Crank engine briefly; check engine oil level again (showed about 3/4 full).

Remove, disassemble and check fuel pump (no obvious issues noticed).

Check/confirm vacuum line to fuel pump not blocked.

Clean, reassemble, and reinstall fuel pump.

Remove air filter and squirt about 2 seconds of starter fluid into carb.

Crank engine (started, coughed a bit, but then leveled out and ran as usual). Reinstall air filter.
 
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