Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Replace Tecumseh engine


QUESTION: Thank you for helping others. I have an old Tecumseh OHV 135-180 in my Murray riding mower. It's been going downhill for years but I've managed to keep it going. I want to replace the engine but was hoping for a Briggs and Stratton. Can you recommend a replacement or tell me what to look for? I'm not exactly a mechanic but can do many things with written instructions so keep the technical stuff to a minimum. Thanks!!

ANSWER: Take a look at the URLs below:

Engine Replacement URL:

Both URLs should be helpful for you to determine if replacing the engine is something you can do with basic hand tools.  For the most part, an air impact gun is helpful but you can do the job with basic wrenches and a 3/8 socket set...a 1/2 socket set will help remove the pulley bolt.

Are you familiar with wiring?  It is not hard and should be minimal as Tecumseh and Briggs use similar setups.

Is the rest of the mower in good shape to justify replacing the engine?  What transaxle does the mower have?  
What is the mower model number?  The model number should be located on a sticker usually under the seat or rear fenders.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the quick response. The wiring will not be a problem. I tend to take good care of my stuff so the rest of the mower is in real good shape. Just need to adjust the deck and change the belt.

It's a Murray 405005X99B my wife actually bought it in 2002 when I was on a contract in the Middle East. It has a six speed DANA transaxle.

ANSWER: The location, Mid East, explains why the engine search came up with weird sites.  FYI, most of the engine footprints, the bolt mounting patter, is pretty much the same for similar horsepower engines.  

There will probably not be a direct Briggs replacement based on different wire connectors and may be the throttle linkage.  

You will need to do some research to make sure the muffler will fit/bolt on a replacement engine as new mufflers for small engines can be pricey.  

Also, just to be sure the replacement engine will work, you should measure the crankshaft PTO, the end the pulley is connected to.  It's easy to do.  Just measure the diameter, length and note if a key way is necessary...I'm betting you will need a 1/4 or 5/16 key way.  Your measurements don't have to be exact but should be close as many engines have a standard length, diameter and bolt threads.  Engine manufacturers started making "standard" engines in the early 90's...cheaper for them to produce a "standard" in similar horsepower ratings that way they could sell to various equipment makers.

If you like you can attach a picture of the muffler and I can take a look at it.  

Sounds like you know what you are doing so I'd recommend you pull the engine off, this is pretty easy, main pulley bolt, throttle control, couple of electrical connections and the fuel line.  Less than 30 minutes with some an air impact gun.  With the engine off you can measure the crank, verify the muffler and throttle connection plus note anything else that might be odd when switching engines.

I'd recommend ordering from a supplier that will let you return the engine in the event something will not work.   I ordered a new engine for my Snapper a few years ago, a fantastic deal, but when I got the engine it was not what I had would have worked but I would have had to done a lot of work to fit the throttle connection and starter.  I knew the new engine was a direct fit for a high-end Toro so I ended up trading it for a new "standard" Briggs engine from a buddy that had a Toro dealership.  The second new engine was a direct bolt-on and the starter plus throttle cable mounting were correct for my mower.  Did not cost me anything to trade but I had to wait a couple of more weeks to finish the project and my buddy got a super deal for the Toro/Briggs engine.

What part of the country do you live in?  I might be able to recommend a good engine supplier.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Sorry, I didn't mean we bought it in the Middle East. I was in Iraq and she bought it here in South Carolina while I was away.

I know a couple of places that can get me an engine. I think with the links you provided, I can take it from here. I appreciate your help.

Hopefully I provided enough tips to help you find a good engine to fit your machine.  Like a said before, pay attention to the muffler and crankshaft output and you should be fine...just have to connect the throttle and a few electrical connections.

Iraq?  South Carolina?  Sounds familiar...I just spend my time between Afghanistan and Colorado Springs...just got home Friday after my second rotation and hopefully the last one!

Let me know if you have any other questions as I will be "hanging" out at my friends shop and will have access to more resources now that I'm back home.


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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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