Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Craftsman Mower


I recently acquired as a gift a Craftsman Lawn Mower.  The model number is 917.387221 and the serial number is 031098M 013845.  The engine model number is 143.984508.  The engine family is VTP163U1G1RA.  The displacement us 163,  D.O,M. is 8065 K.  

This mower would not start. I checked the plug and it was fouled and wet.  I cleaned it, re-gapped it.  I found the magneto magnet on the fly wheel to be really rusty.  I cleaned that of with a drill using a rotary wire brush until it looked bright. I did the same with the pick up piece, then used a 3 x 5 card to set the gap with (I didn't have a regular gauge). I found a piece of hose that runs from just above the primer bulb to a flat and flexible piece on top of the block that was split on both ends. I replaced that with some I had on hand that was not as stiff or thick walled.  After putting everything back together, I managed to get it started and it ran for a very few seconds, then died out.  I went through all the above a second time to include re-gapping the pick up and it started and ran for a very few seconds before dying out again.  Both times after dying, I could not get it to restart.  Got any ideas?  While I have your attention, is it possible to upload pictures of equipment for your inspection?  I have some other questions I would like to ask at some point in the future.


You have  Tecumseh LEV100-345009B engine.  The problem you have is the classic dirty carb.

Link to the repair manual:

There are lots of videos on You Tube on how to clean Tecumseh or Craftsman carburetors.  Clean with compressed air from an air compressor and spray can carb cleaner.  I would replace the inlet needle and seat.  You may need a new float, primer bulb and fuel line.

NOTE the throttle linkage connections.  Take digital pictures as you dis-assemble and remove the carb.  

DO not mess with the governor or governor arm screw.

Let me know is this helps.


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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