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Mr. Powers
Jun 28, 2005

white and gold.


Holy poo poo, I had no idea this thread existed. Another place for Motronic to give me the answers to the questions.

I recently moved into a house with a 400' driveway in New England. I bought a garden tractor with a 40" snowblower from a guy the next town over that runs a small engine shop. It's an 83ish vintage Ariens HT16 with the Briggs L Head Opposed Twin (vertical). I had to do some minor electrical work and replace the battery to get it starting, but it was running like a champ.

Before the recent 2 ft of snow, I did an oil change, new plugs, greased the fittings, etc. The first foot of snow drops, and I go out to clean up, and I get about an hour into it and the tractor starts sputtering. It eventually stopped running entirely. After letting it sit for a few hours, I managed to get it started and running for about a minute which let me get it back into the garage.

I ordered a carb rebuild kit. The bowl had some crud in it, so I figured it was fuel starved. Go through and do the rebuild and cleaning, put it all back together, and it's running again, though it seems low on power. When I engaged the PTO and starting moving snow, it would really bog down, and then after about 15 minutes it started sputtering (though different than before). Pulling the air box off, there was fuel everywhere, including pooled in the intake manifold. After disassembling, I figured the float had pinholes, but didn't hear any fuel sloshing in it.

I did what I should have done, which is ordered a new carb for only three times the cost of the rebuild kit. I'm hoping that gets things working right. If anything jumps out as "oh, you should check x", please let me know.

Fake Edit: I checked the gap on the plugs before installing them.

E: In doing all my research for this, I learned that there are two things I can do with my tractor aside from snowblowing: lawnmower racing, and all terrain conversion. Apparently with some parts from other Briggs models, I can get this puppy putting out 25+ HP (from the stock 16). I should not go over 4k RPM without an aftermarket flywheel unless I want to die, though.

Mr. Powers fucked around with this message at 03:00 on Dec 10, 2019

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Mr. Powers
Jun 28, 2005

white and gold.


Motronic posted:

First guess if the carb doesn't do it (it's the carb): it's a bad magneto. The running fine until heat loading and then not running right later is a thing I've seen.


You should absolutely do that.

FYI, don't touch poo poo on your new carb. Just install it. Most of them are coming set well enough that you don't want to even mess with them until you have run thing up to temp.

I did get an inline spark tester at HF when I was there. Is there a better way to diagnose a bad magneto? I wasn't planning on doing anything to the new carb. All the reviews said to just throw it on and fire it up. It was a pretty good deal considering it comes with a bunch of pipe cleaners sized for cleaning jets and passages, a new fuel filter, and a fuel shutoff valve (which I didn't have). I had already ordered new fuel line, but it's looking like it might be a huge PITA to get at the tank nipple.

My biggest concern is that the governor linkage might be hosed up from me wrestling the throttle linkage off the carb. It felt like it was running low from the get-go. The governor is definitely working because I can see it respond after I manually rev it, but I could have twisted it on the shaft. It's a loving pain in the rear end to get at.

I bought a new cheapest 2-stage Ariens tonight that I'm picking up in the morning, so I figure the carb will show up and the tractor will run perfectly to spite my $800 purchase (the tractor with 40" blower and 48" mower deck was only $1000, with perhaps $100 into it for parts). I still need the little guy for getting into some of the tighter spots the tractor won't be able to navigate, and also for clearing a path to the oil and propane fill locations.

E: I'm more likely to go with the all terrain lawn tractor. I've got some nice hills and a trail.

Mr. Powers fucked around with this message at 03:46 on Dec 10, 2019

Mr. Powers
Jun 28, 2005

white and gold.


Elviscat posted:

Look up the procedure for resetting your governor, and just do that, it's a really simple deal.

I have the repair manual for the engine. The diagrams are less than helpful, as they're line art, and the manual covers 20 years of the engine with two major configurations (vertical and horizontal) and several major revisions. The only diagram for "static governor adjustment" is for a different configuration (but it's the same process for all of them, just can't figure out what's what on mine).

Also, I swear the diagrams they have assume that you have removed everything from the engine except the one part you're working on because there's always plenty of space to get tools in places where tools totally can't fit in reality.

E: Son of a bitch, finally found a video that shows the area, and it's totally tucked behind the muffler, so that will have to come off, too.

Mr. Powers fucked around with this message at 05:08 on Dec 10, 2019

Mr. Powers
Jun 28, 2005

white and gold.


Motronic posted:

Oh, look at Mr. Fancy with the inline spark tester. The rest of us keep one of our used plugs around, switch the lead to that and ground the plug out on the surrounding sheet metal or block.

But seriously....yeah, that's a good way. If you can find the specs you can also check what the resistance should be and check it when its misbehaving and also when cold to see if it varies wildly and is out of spec all the time anyway.

The tester was cheaper than a plug.

How much of a pita is it to make up new plug wires? It doesn't look like you can buy it, just plug cord and boots. The ones on there look original.

Mr. Powers
Jun 28, 2005

white and gold.


Motronic posted:

The plug wires and boots aren't permanently attached to the magneto on that engine?

Maybe they are? The magneto is the next later down in the engine so I haven't seen it yet. I was try to apply car knowledge to small engines.

E: based on replacement parts, they totally are. That solves that mystery.

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