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Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Annoying Briggs starting problem


Hi Eric,

Here's an interesting one.
I have a Briggs 16 HP Intek twin cylinder that has starting issues.

I did a basic service, oil and filter, air and fuel filter, plugs.
It was staring just fine afterwards.
Next day it refused to start.
I used a little starting fluid, and it fired right up for a few seconds.
I checked the solenoid first thing.
It's fine, clicking and moving in and out as expected.
I took the carb off, and overhauled it.
Starting and running fine now..or so I thought.
It started several days running.

A few days later, the same thing, no start.
Replaced the fuel pump, still no go.
The next day, the darn thing started right up, and several times a day for a few days.

Yesterday, here we go start.
Picked it up after checking it out, no start.
Brought it home, started it on the trailer and backed it off.

I'm scratching my head now.

Any ideas would be appreciated,

Are the fuel pump lines/hoses new?  It could be a poor safety switch problem or a fuel problem.

The next time is won't start the first thing to check is spark.  If there is spark, then remove the air filter and prime the engine with a little fuel.  If it starts then there is a fuel problem.

I've had 2 problems like yours.  One was a poor connection at the the seat switch.  Ended up soldering the wires directly to the switch.  Worked great and never saw the mower again but it took several weeks to find the problem.  Second time was a poor ground on the carb anti-afterfire solenoid.  Again, took a while to isolate the problem.  Finally figured it out by accident.  I checked the spark each time.  Good spark.  It started each time when primed and would run fine for a couple of mows. Finally just ran another ground wire to the solenoid and never saw the mower again.  Few months later a service bulletin came out recommending to add an additional ground wire to ensure a good ground.

Let me know if you have spark each time the mower refuses to start.

Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)

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Eric A. Jones


Lawnmower Repair . Certified Master Service Technician from B&S. Have 23 years experience on B&S, Lawn Chief, Weed Eater, Echo, Peerless, Wheel Horse, Snapper, Atlas, MTD, McCulloch, Homelite and many other numerous brands. Specialize in electrical repair.


Born and raised in the midwest. Started tinkering with engines when I was about 14 on my Suzuki RM-80. I began lawn mower repair at a small hardware store. I knew absolutely nothing. I read lots of repair manuals and met an older fellow who taught me many lessons. I continued working on small engines through high school and paid my way through college working on mowers at the same hardware store. Decided to get away from the midwest and mower repair so I joined the Air Force. I repaired air traffic control electronic equipment and ended up in Hawaii where I got a part time job at Small Engine Clinic. I gained a lot of experience from the Small Engine Clinic and had a blast repairing small engines. I then took the Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician test and earned my MST. I then traveled to Wisconsin where I attended the factory update training seminar and received formal training. Continued working on mowers part time as I completed 20 years of military. Retired from the military on a Friday and continued in the lawn and garden industry the next Monday.

MAS Aerospace Operations BA Mathematics AAS Electronic Communications AAS Electronic Technology

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