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While cutting the grass the other day my 170 felt a little sluggish on the slight uphill in my backyard and then it finally just quit. I was able to restart it immediately, but I quickly noticed that it would only run if fully choked or with the throttle all the way down at idle. Pushing the throttle just a hair above idle would kill it. My initial thought was that something was wrong with the throttle linkage-all of that is working properly. I pulled the line from the fuel pump to the carb and got a quick squirt of fuel with every crank of the engine. I see that there is a little fuel filter inline before the pump-could it be that the filter is clogged just enough that it will only flow enough fuel for idling? Does it sound like a carb problem? Prior to all of this I've never had a problem-in fact, prior to it become sluggish about 10 seconds before it died it was cutting like a champ as always. It has the Kawasaki 14HP engine-I got it from my FIL who got it new in 1988 or 1989. Any ideas?
 

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Retired Aug.31 2007
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My guess would be the carb.
 

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It sounds like it either isn't getting enough fuel to the carb or the main circuit in the carb is restricted. It is just getting enough fuel to idle. Is there an inline filter between the pump and carb? Hose pinched or collapsing? Pick up in the tank clear? Vent to the fuel tank open? Do you think there is sufficient fuel right at the carb? If so then in has to be in the carb. I am much more familiar with automotive carbs than small engines ones but the few I have torn down and cleaned were pretty simple. If it is like the ones I worked on it should be simple to drop the fuel bowl and see if there is crud in it or if the main jet is restricted. You can also check the needle and seat of the inlet with the bowl dropped. I think one of these things should find the problem. Good luck.
 
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