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Why Does My Riding Mower Keep Shutting Off?


I have a Poulan 15.5 38in riding mower. It will start and run for a few minutes and then shut off. Then it will not start until it cools down. I have cleaned the carburetor, replaced plug, and cleaned the air filter. The carburetor is overflowing with fuel.

I have taken the switch off of the fuel bowl and hooked it up to the harness and the plunger comes down when I turn the switch on, but when I turn it off it does not come up. Is that the problem?

By Denny from Greenville, SC


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By Myrna 16 1,070 08/04/2010

The carburetor isn't suppose to be holding that much fluid. I asked my husband about this problem and he thinks something is screwed up with the carburetor, like the float that is suppose to regulate amount of fuel.

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By Greg F. 1 04/27/2013

I'm asking the same question, I have a craftsman 18 horse kohler that will mow for 5 minutes, die as if you shut the key off and start back up in 30 seconds. It may run the rest of the morning and not do it again or it may die 4 or 5 times.

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By jerry_jones06790 1 07/11/2013

The coil is probally no good. When coil cools off, it will start again, then when it is hot again, it will shut off.

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Here are questions related to Why Does My Riding Mower Keep Shutting Off?.

Question: Mower Keeps Shutting Down

I have a John Deere L130 mower. It runs for an hour then acts as if it's starving for fuel. If I wait 15-20 minutes, it starts right up and it's good for 45 to an hour and it does it again.

By Rod

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Most Recent Answer

By Deanj 917 11/28/2011

I don't think it is the battery and certainly not the spark plug. I have a new John Deere that when I first purchased the unit the mower would not start and I thought it was the battery. I would would charge the battery and finally bought a new battery. Still had the same problem. So I visited two John Deere dealers and they told me the valves were out of alignment. Thought they were nuts but one told me it was the problem the Briggs and Stratton engine. To fix the problem short of have them repair the valves was to turn the air strainer that sits on top of the engine counter clockwise until there is resistance to the turning. I did that and the mower started right up. So, now I have to turn the strainer either clock wise or counter clock wise to start the mower.The dealer said he could fix the valves but I would be back next year to have the valves set again. The mower has been used only 43 hours.

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Question: Riding Mower Engine Keeps Shutting Off

My John Deere mower keeps cutting off after the engine warms up. I can cut grass for about 3 minutes, then it will start cutting off. I don't want to have to keep cranking the engine. It will turn over, but will shut off again. Any ideas?

By Lincoln

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Most Recent Answer

By Mary LaCaze 28 79 09/19/2011

When my push mower did that, a friend told me that it was most likely gas trash or gunk stopping the fuel and that it was getting stuck in the jet soon after I'd start mowing, then might release later and would let it through again, etc., which sounded about right.

I looked on YouTube for a video on how to clean the float area in the carburetor. It was easy, and I found a lot of tiny accumulated bits of gunk that would block off the fuel as it tried to pass through the teensy jet. After spraying it all with carburetor cleaner and cleaning it a few times, just as the video will show you how to do on your particular brand mower motor, it's worked fine ever since.

Also, since then, I use a funnel with a coffee filter in it and filter every drop of gas that goes into the gas tank, just to be SURE nothing else gets in there, and I've had a summer of great mowing and no further problems. (I'm a 54 year old woman, by the way, so don't say you can't do this, almost anyone can, even if you have to bring the part in and sit in front of your computer while watching the video, which, yes, don't laugh, I did. I've also fixed my neighbor's mower when the same thing was happening, same results. Not bad for a can of carburetor cleaner that only cost a couple dollars at Walmart! :^)

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Question: Riding Mower Cuts Off After It Gets Hot

I have a ride on LX 279 John Deere. It turns itself off after 5 minutes after it's warmed up. I have taken the solenoid out of out the carby and replaced with a bolt. I still have the same problem. I cleaned, checked, and dismantled the caby many times. Still the same problem. I removed the thermostat from the radiator line and flushed. Then I removed any sensor things on the motor or around. I put two fuel filters on to catch any crap, but no luck. I checked all wiring and plugs for looseness. I held a running water hose on to keep motor cool and even tried to run it with the fuel cap off in case of fuel vacuum problems, but it still cuts off after the motor seems to get to some temperature; I think? I don't know what else to check for apart from burning the bloody thing. Any other idea? I don't think a photo will help.

By Decker

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Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

Archive: Why Does My Riding Mower Keep Shutting Off?

I have a Craftsman riding lawnmower. It starts, but after a few minutes it turns off as though it runs out of gas. It has plenty of gas, the starter is new, new fuel pump, new battery, but it still turns of after only a few minutes running.

By Joe from E Town


RE: Why Does My Riding Mower Keep Shutting Off?

Try cleaning the reservoir that holds the spark plugs and changing your spark plugs, you need this maybe once or twice a year depending on how much you cut your grass. (05/02/2010)

By kimsukie

Archive: Why Does My Riding Mower Keep Shutting Off?

I have a Mastercut riding lawnmower with a Tecumseh 12.5hp engine. It keeps cutting off after running for 15-20 minutes. Then it starts right back up and does it again. If I catch it before it shuts off I can keep it running with the choke. I replaced the carburetor, it's brand new. Does anybody have any ideas?

By Ricky from Jacksonville, FL


RE: Why Does My Riding Mower Keep Shutting Off?

Call some businesses who specialize in small engine repair, you might be able to find the answer to your question.

If you are still having problems take it to a professional. (05/26/2010)


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