Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Poulan Lawn Tractor
QUESTION: I am having a problem with my personal Poulan Lawn Tractor. I bought it new a few years ago. During the winter season, it is stored in an enclosed heated garage. I change the oil, drain the gas, and run it until it quits at the end of the season. I have used it once this year with no problem. Then all of a sudden, I was mowing and it wanted to die with the blades engaged. When I disengaged the blades, it would pick up again. However, when I was driving it back to the garage, it died on me. The next time, I jacked it up with a Mojack, cleaned out underneath the deck, changed the spark plug, put in a new air filter, and tried again. I got the same performance after a little bit of mowing. This time, I have drained the gas tank in case there was some condensation in the tank. I have yet to try it again. I know the grass was high and it has been very wet. However, I have an ancient Snapper rear engine rider with half the horsepower as my Poulan, and it did the job just fine. The Snapper is a single blade.
I guess my next step is to remove the deck, check all the pulleys for seizing, and then maybe the muffler. What other course of action would you suggest? These are the identification numbers.
Poulan Lawn Tractor
Briggs & Stratton Engine
Model Number 287707
14.5 hp I/C
Lawn Tractor Numbers
Model number 27149
MFG ID number 271491
Product Number P014538
Serial Number 051502B005911
ANSWER: Does the engine sound like it is running fast enough? Will the mower run fine for the same period of time if you are not mowing?
Have you used an ohm or multimeter to check the safety switches?
Have you dis-connected and cleaned the battery terminal posts and cable ends with a wirebrush? I have seen poor grounds cause the fuel shut-off solenoid not to function properly.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: In answer to your questions. The mower starts fine and runs like it always did for a short time. I mow my yard in the same manner each time. It seems as though I mow for about 20 minutes are so and then my symptoms start happening. And yes, it has been about the same amount of time both times when I was taking the tractor back to my garage. It died in about the same place both times. I don't know how to check the safety switches with an multimeter. And I didn't even know it had a fuel shut off solenoid. Where is that located? I will clean the terminal posts and connections before I use it next. Could my battery be going bad?
Here is a video URL for testing safety switches:
Anti-afterfire (fuel solenoid) test video URL:
I doubt cleaning the terminals will fix the problem but it is always good practice to clean the terminals and cable ends to be sure.
On problems like yours, it is best to determine if the problem is fuel, ignition, or other system causing the problem. Spark is the easiest to verify. An inline spark tester would be the best and quickest tool to use to verify spark. When the mower stops, quickly get off and install the inline spark tester to verify you have spark. If you have spark then look else where.
To rule out a fuel issue, you can use a small squirt bottle, I use an old dinner style ketchup bottle with the tapered time, and have a small amount of fuel in the bottle. When the mower stops, quickly get off, remove the air filter and use the small bottle to squirt a little fuel directly into the carburetor via the air filter housing. If it starts right up then you know spark is good and you have a fuel issue.
Does this make sense?