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Hello, I have a John Deere D130 Riding Lawn Mower with the wider mower base (42" I think). It is about 7 or 8 years old, and it has 50.1 hours on it.
It has run pretty well up until the beginning of this Summer.
I do always have to recharge the battery if the mower sits for more than a week or so. I replaced the battery, and same thing, so i figured that was normal? That's not the issue I am posting about, but maybe its a clue to it...?
A few weeks ago when I ran my mower, it ran really rough and kept trying to die. I would have to put the choke lever all the way up to keep it running, but then black smoke would come out, so I kind of feathered the throttle until I finished mowing.
Now when I try to start the mower, it turns over and tries to start and even engages sometimes but then instantly dies. It really seemed like it wasn't getting gas.
I have been lax in maintenance because I didn't know what to do when, and I was busy with other things. Now I may be paying the price.

Here is the troubleshooting I have done so far:
Replaced the air filter including the rubbery thing that goes underneath the filter.
Replaced the fuel filter and verified the arrow was pointing the direction the fuel should be flowing.
Took the hose off the output side of the fuel pump and tried to start the engine and gas came out like it should.
Blew compressed air through the hose I had disconnected from the fuel pump and through to the carburetor and could see where air came out of both tubes in carburetor.
Checked that the flap inside of the carburetor moves all of the way up and down when I move the choke lever.
Verified that the brake is pressing in the button in the engine compartment to allow tractor to start.
Verified that engaging and disengaging the lever with the yellow handle pushed in thr button in the engine compartment so it will start.
Made sure battery terminals are clean and secure
Made sure fuse was still good
Tried to check to be sure all of the wire connections were tight where they plug into each other.
Blew compressed air into the fan at the top of the engine. Not much in there though...no big leaves or anything.
Changed both spark plugs and made sure gap is .030
Loosened gas cap so air could get in case the cap is clogged up or something.

Tried starting again a few times and it would try to start and every once in awhile it would sound like it started and would run, but then it died right away.

So, checked to see if there was spark from the plugs.
Took one plug out at a time and left them plugged into the wire. Grounded them on the engine block and got blue spark when I tested the one of the left and then I put that one back in, and took the one on the right out and tested it and got blue spark.
I also put my finger into the open spark plug hole on each side and I felt a good burst of air coming out.

Here is the weird thing that has even my dad stumped now.
When I had one of the spark plugs out and grounded to the engine, the lawn mower started right up and I had to turn the key off to get it to stop running.
This happened on both spark plugs when they were out.
Just to clarify, one spark plug was always in and the other one was always out and grounded on the engine block. It didn't matter which was out or in, the engine started both times and only stopped running when I turned off the key.

I am wondering what that might mean?

What should I try next to get my mower to run?

I have short videos of each spark plug sparking while the engine starts.
I also have pics of the engine numbers and stuff. I will see if I can post those here.

Please forgive me for the long post, I am such a novice and am learning as I go. I wasn't sure what information you all would need or if I was even using the proper terminology so thank you so much in advance for you patience.

Ok, I wasn't able to post videos, just photos. So I took a couple of photos from the videos of the spark plugs sparking.
Its weird because when I turned off the engine after testing the left plug, you can see in the 2nd photo where there is a sudden flash of light near the front of the engine as I turned it off.
 

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The Admin from... Nowhere!
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Sounds like a carb cleaning is required, but since I don't have a good track record with cleaning them myself (see http://www.mytractorforum.com/12-john-deere-forum/1151713-stuck-choke-shaft-wallys-carb.html), I'm a little hesitant to recommend that. I did the carb on my JD 160 a number of years ago using just spray-in carb cleaner, and it seemed to behave better after that, but... the spray-in carb cleaner destroys rubber gaskets (well, so does the "soaking" carb cleaners, I understand), so you gotta be ready to replace any rubber gaskets or o-rings that might be on your carb. Soaking (or "dipping") your carb is what is mostly recommended, but I haven't taken the time to buy a carb dipping kit. Might be someone else along in a bit with more specific advice about your particular model, especially about what to do or not to do with your specific carburetor.

Hey, by the way, :Welcome1::howdy::MTF_wel:
 

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Hi LittleTractorGuy, thanks so much for your post. That sounds like good advice and its something I haven't tried yet.
Do you know where I can find a manual that shows me how the engine is put together and labels the parts? The John Deere Owner's Manual doesnt have any of that.
Maybe if I do a Google search for my engine model number Owner's Manual?
 

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The Admin from... Nowhere!
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My D130 Won't Start & My Grass Won't Stop

That IS one downside to life with Deeres, the technical manuals are a big source of income for John Deere so you don't usually find them out on the wild wild web. However, just as you thought, if we can figure out which engine is in that D130, you might be able to find a manual for just the engine from the manufacturers web site. I'm also a big believer in buying the JD service manual as it is well worth its weight in time and trouble saving.

Edit - here's what Tractordata.com says about the engine in your machine http://www.tractordata.com/lawn-tractors/001/0/6/1065-john-deere-d130-engine.html


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Hi LittleTractorGuy, thanks so much for your post. That sounds like good advice and its something I haven't tried yet.
Do you know where I can find a manual that shows me how the engine is put together and labels the parts? The John Deere Owner's Manual doesnt have any of that.
Maybe if I do a Google search for my engine model number Owner's Manual?
From the horses mouth-
http://www.briggsandstratton.com/us/en/support/manuals/engine

Your engine is a Briggs-
407777-0283-G1
The Bold numbers are what you need.
You can get a Parts and an Owners Manual.

Google-
273521 Twin Cylinder OHV BRIGGS & STRATTON
for a Service manual pdf.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks again littletractorguy. That link has a bunch of helpful stuff about my engine.
I am going to look at getting a John Deere manual like you mentioned. It would be good to have. Plus, while researching how to troubleshoot my tractor's current issue, I've come to realize there are a lot of maintence things I should have been doing all along. So I want to teach myself how to do those so I can keep up with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That is awesome Bill Kapaun! I went to that site and downloaded both manuals. I'll email copies to my dad too...that will make him happier.
Thank you! :)
 

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From what you are describing, your carburetor is dirty and gunked up. Either take it off and clean it or just replace the whole thing. It usually isn't too hard and worst case, the dealer can do it for you. Once it is running, go ahead and do the 50 hour maintenance which is usually thoroughly cleaning the deck (and the whole machine), sharpen the blades, do a full home maintenance kit and grease all grease zerks. With only 50 hours, the machine shouldn't need much else besides that. From now on, use high octane gas and add a fuel conditioner such as Stabil 360, gumout multi-system tune up or Marvels Mystery oil every time you fill the tank. That should stop you from having fuel and carburetor problems in the future.

As for taking care of the rest of the machine, I recommend you buy the John Deere seat cover to keep the sun off the seat and a mower lift makes cleaning the deck and getting to the blades and underside much easier than taking the deck off. Try to only mow the grass when it is dry and when you get finished, use either a leaf blower or a blower attachment on a compressor to blow all the grass and debris off. A few times a year, you can thoroughly wash the mower with car soap and a brush. If you do not have a shed or garage to store your mower, the deluxe john deere cover will keep the sun off and minimize sun and weather damage. Although those suggestions sound really simple, they make a big difference in keeping your machine reliable and looking great.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok taskmaster86, from your post and littletractorguy's post, it sounds like I need to clean or replace the carburetor. I was reading littletractorguy's posts where he was trying to clean his carburetor, and it sounded pretty involved to me. So, I think I should just look at replacing it.
I have printed off your post so I can keep it on the fridge and get the maintenance all caught up and kept up. Thank you so mich for that too. :)
Just to verify, high octance gas is the most expensive one when I'm at the pump right? I want to make sure I'm getting the right one.
Also, my dad always tells me to use Chevron gas in my car because he says the Techron in it is good. Should I use the same for my tractor?
 

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Oh yes, and I don't have a garage, so am taking all of your advice taskmaster86 and am ordering a seat cover and tractor cover from Amazon. I have been using a blue tarp, but it blows off a lot in this crazy Texas weather.
Thanks again :)
 

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Yes High octane gas is also called "premium" and is usually listed as 93 octane at the pump and yes it is the most expensive. Lawn mower engines usually run a little better on 93 octane and it tends to keep a little longer than regular gas also.

The Home depot and Lowes usually carry the John deere cover and seat covers in the store if you don't want to order them.
 

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Thanks taskmaster86. I will be sure to use the high octane gas from now on. I'll check out Lowes and Home Depot for the covers too. At least I could get them today from one of those stores.
I am going to have to wait to work on my carburetor because it is raining a bunch this morning and they say it will be all day.
The tractor is covered with a blue tarp and bungie straps, but if I find the tractor cover today, I will use that instead.

I'll update you all as soon as it dries out a bit and I can work on the carburetor...stay tuned...
 

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Victoria,

How old is the fuel? Today's fuel goes bad quickly. If you're letting it sit all winter, the fuel can turn into varnish. There's a product called sta-bil that helps with this. You need to put it in the tank and run the mower long enough that the fuel in the carb has the sta-bil in it too. Just adding it when you put the mower up for the season (without running any) won't keep the carb from gumming up. No need to run sta-bil during the season though. This is not useful for the issue you're having right now, but it's insurance for next season.

As for the carb, pulling off the bowl can tell you a little bit. On my motor (and doesn't appear to be that way on yours), there was one bolt holding the carb on, that was centered. That bolt was also the main jet. Again, yours is different from the pics in the manual. It's also possible that the fuel shutoff solenoid isn't opening all the way. It looks like on your carb, it screws into the side of the bowl (part 276a -- at least I think that's the shutoff solenoid). In any case, pulling the bowl off will show you the varnish if it's there.
 

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Just FYI, Ractar28 is likely looking here:

John Deere - Parts Catalog

for the diagrams. If you haven't already found this, its the JD online parts catalog, and its a good free resource for at least looking to see how your tractor might be put together. If you put "D130" into the Model blank and select Exact Search, it will return you the complete parts list for your tractor, broken down in several different ways. The Sectional Index is often the best way to "zoom in" on a problem area with your machine...
 

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Thanks taskmaster86. I will be sure to use the high octane gas from now on. I'll check out Lowes and Home Depot for the covers too. At least I could get them today from one of those stores.
I am going to have to wait to work on my carburetor because it is raining a bunch this morning and they say it will be all day.
The tractor is covered with a blue tarp and bungie straps, but if I find the tractor cover today, I will use that instead.

I'll update you all as soon as it dries out a bit and I can work on the carburetor...stay tuned...
I would suggest you take pictures of the carb on the mower first, all of the connections of the carb to the engine. Then, take the carb off and clean it yourself. Unless you have infinite funds you'll find a new carb expensive. You can do it.
 

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I would suggest you take pictures of the carb on the mower first, all of the connections of the carb to the engine. Then, take the carb off and clean it yourself. Unless you have infinite funds you'll find a new carb expensive. You can do it.
Definitely a +1 on the taking of pictures. As for buying a new one versus cleaning it, cleaning it first is the way to go. The carb I was working on is a much older, simpler carb than what you've got on the D130, and apparently plentifully available (likely because of silly people like me who want to try to keep 50 year old tractors running). Not sure you'll be so lucky with finding a carb for the D130, particularly since my experience with my 30 year old (non-vintage) 160 is that the carbs are impossible to find.

Parts for your carb, yes, those you'll likely be able to find, through something like OEM Replacement Parts for Mowers, Trimmers, Blowers, Chainsaws, Snow Throwers and much more | PartsTree.com, or through Briggs and Stratton resellers/parts places.

(and really, if you read between the lines on my post about Wally's carb, you'll see I did the purchase in a fit of pique, shortly after which Bill came back with a more reasonable suggestion I should have tried first. :tango_face_smile:)
 

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Thanks taskmaster86. I will be sure to use the high octane gas from now on. I'll check out Lowes and Home Depot for the covers too. At least I could get them today from one of those stores.
I am going to have to wait to work on my carburetor because it is raining a bunch this morning and they say it will be all day.
The tractor is covered with a blue tarp and bungie straps, but if I find the tractor cover today, I will use that instead.

I'll update you all as soon as it dries out a bit and I can work on the carburetor...stay tuned...
on the gas thing.. just remember to NOT use the corn blended gas.. (or called ethonal).. it's that crap will foul up ur carbs..
 

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on the gas thing.. just remember to NOT use the corn blended gas.. (or called ethonal).. it's that crap will foul up ur carbs..


+1 on not using gas with ethanol. I have a pretty steady stream of people bringing me their mowers and other small engines because "it ran fine last year and now it won't start". 9 times out of 10 I end up replacing fuel lines, filter and either cleaning the carb or replacing it. Right now I have at least a dozen carburetors apart on my workbench and probably 20 more cleaned and sitting on the shelf waiting to be installed on people's equipment. (I find it easier that way, then I can usually just unbolt the carb for someone and put a different one on and have them up & running the same day not having to wait for it to be cleaned.)


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There are some very good basic carb cleaning videos on You Tube where you don't soak it, but clean all the jets and where to find them.

with luck they may even feature your carb.

BTW your battery should be able to sit a month or two with no problem, so that has to be addressed soon too.
 

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From one novice to another , I understand her unwillingness to get into the carb . My fear was not replacing the jets or mixture screws properly and blowing up my engine . But I will add that if it is ethanol problems in the fuel system , I would replace the entire fuel line and filter all the way to the carb from the gas tank as I did with my 20 year old Gravely . That way your sure you got all of the contamination . I also run ethanol neutralizer ( Startron ) year round to help . Cheap insurance as to not degrade my fuel line . JMHO .
 
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