Riding Mower Keeps Shutting Off

August 3, 2010

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


August 4, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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July 11, 20130 found this helpful
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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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9 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 17, 2011

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


September 19, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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October 4, 2017

I replaced the carb on my old 11 HP Murray mower. Now it will run for about a minute or so then quit. If I wait a minute and choke it, it will restart, but soon quit again. Any ideas?


October 4, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Many people have this issue with their riding mowers.

  1. It sounds like you have bad gas in your tank.
  2. If you have left gas in the tank there is a thick sludge that will build up at the bottom of the tank.
  3. You need to empty all the gas out of the mower and flush your tank.
  4. Now replace the gas in the tank.
  5. You will need to check the spark plugs and replace this too.
  6. Leaving gas in a mower isn't good for the mower because the gas will evaporate and leave a thick sludge at the bottom of the tank.
  7. When you add new gas in the tank and run the mower the sludge buildup mixes with the new gas and clogs your carburetor again.
  8. I also would flush the new carburetor and make sure there is no sludge in the new carburetor.
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May 28, 2016

How do I disable the seat safety switch on my Poulan Pro Model PP194A42? I only weigh 95 lbs and the mower keeps shutting off because I am not heavy enough!


June 17, 20160 found this helpful

Show me why riding lawn mower won't keep running

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March 21, 20170 found this helpful

Not advised to do so but if you did you would take wires off and put them together and make sure they are taped together well and can't short out on anything else

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June 23, 20170 found this helpful

Unplug the wire connector to the seat, if it won't start after unplugging it you will need to jump the wires together

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It's my first time on here and I have read some other comments on lawn tractors shutting off after about 10 minutes of cutting. I have a LT 4200 lawn tractor that is running and cutting for about 10 minutes then just shuts off. After it shuts off I try cranking it again and after about three tries at cranking I can hear that start which to me sounds like it's not getting enough juice from the battery.

The engine is a Powermore 420 cc. Does this particular engine run off the battery after it is cranked? I don't believe it does, but I am not good on small engine diagnostics.


August 21, 20170 found this helpful

I would clean the carburetor first and see what happens.

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August 21, 20170 found this helpful

If you have left gas in your engine after use this will cause a gunk build up in the engine and gas. It appears that the gunk has entered into your carburetor now. This needs to be cleaned. Your battery is draining because of trying to start this mower several times. I would make sure your battery is fully charged and clean your gas tank, remove all gas and then clean the carburetor.

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August 23, 20170 found this helpful

I had one do this too.
it turned out to be the switch under the seat, I just cleaned it and now it works fine.

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August 23, 20170 found this helpful

Cleaning your mower carburetor and removing all gas from your tank/mower sound easy - right??
Well if, as you say, you may not be very good on small engine diagnostics then either of these tasks may not be very easy for you. Note: Huskee mowers are made by MTD for Tractor Supply so most likely you can call your local Sears Service Center for help or for any parts you need (at least as a comparison price).
Here are several ideas as to why you are having this problem (from numerous repair centers)

Check the coil: may need replacing. When the coil cools off, it will start again, then when it is hot again, it will shut off. Spray carburetor cleaner in the carburetor.
Old or Bad Gasoline
The carburetor might be clogged. A clogged carburetor is most commonly caused by leaving fuel in the lawn mower for a long period of time. Over time, some of the ingredients in the fuel may evaporate, leaving behind a thicker, stickier substance. This sticky fuel can clog up the carburetor and cause the engine to stall. If the carburetor is clogged, try cleaning it with carburetor cleaner. If cleaning the carburetor isnt effective, rebuild or replace the entire carburetor. Check videos on youtube for repairing the carburetor for your mower (you will need a complete rebuild kit).

Old or Bad Gasoline
remove all fuel - easiest way is with a hand-powered siphon pump.Check videos on youtube for your mower.

Fuel Cap
As fuel is consumed by the engine, the level in the fuel tank lowers. To make up for this, the fuel cap uses a small vent to allow air to enter the tank. If the fuel cap vent is clogged, air wont be able to enter the tank and a vacuum or vapor lock will occur. This stops the flow of fuel to the carburetor causing the engine to stall. To determine if the fuel cap vent is clogged, try slightly loosening the cap and then starting the engine. If loosening the fuel cap allows the engine to stay running it is likely clogged and will need to be replaced.
Spark Plug
Inspect the spark plug for signs of wear or damage. If the porcelain insulator is cracked, an electrode is burned away or damaged, or there is heavy carbon buildup at the electrode, replace the spark plug. Unscrew the plug and see if there is carbon residue or debris around the electrode. If so, you can clean it with an old toothbrush. However, do know that most lawnmower manuals recommend replacing the spark plug every year.
Air filter:
The easiest way to check if your problem is related to the air filter is to remove the filter, and then try to start the mower. If it starts right up and the engine sputtering ceases, you've found the culprit. Foam air filters can be cleaned with detergent and water. Once the filter is dry, soak it in clean engine oil and put it back in the air filter compartment. Paper air filters should be replaced. In any case, don't let the engine run very long without an air filter.

Here are some links that might help you to get started.

This is an interesting link to read sometime.

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August 15, 20180 found this helpful

Same problem.. Punched a hole in my gas cap. Problem solved.

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My Husqvarna rider, after you start it, if you try to start blades it shuts down. If you put the key in and mow in reverse mode it works fine.

I want to fix this problem before I give it away or sell it. It's three yrs old.


March 17, 20170 found this helpful

Check your warranty. Ours came with a 3 year warranty, you might have that problem covered.

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July 8, 20170 found this helpful

I have one too It will run and cut I can make 3 rounds and it cuts out like it out of fuel I can turn the blades off it runs fine and wait 5 minutes to cut the blades on and cut 5 more round and does it again

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November 26, 2011

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


November 28, 20110 found this helpful

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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October 24, 20160 found this helpful

clean the gas tank and replace the filter

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March 13, 2016

I have a John Deere 900 diesel that cuts out when the revs are put up high.
Can anyone help?


September 13, 20170 found this helpful

There could be several issues with your motor. Try following these steps to see if you can troubleshoot and repair the problem.

Step 1
Check you filter on the mower. You have one of two problems, the starter solenoid and a contaminated fuel problem.

Step 2
Try to find a way to turn the engine by hand to make sure the engine isnt seasing up.

Step 3
Check you fuel shot off solenoid.

Step 4
To check the fuel shut off solenoid follow the steel injection lines back to the tractors pump from the injectors. The solenoid should be there.

Step 5
Check under the seat or in the battery box for your master switch. Make sure all the wires are attached to the switch.

Step 6
The fuel shutoff on the tractor is electrical and when the engine is interrupted the current to the solenoid is affected.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 3, 2010

I have a Mastercut riding lawnmower with a Tecumseh 12.5hp engine. It keeps cutting off after running for 15-20 minutes.

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May 24, 2010

I have a Craftsman riding lawnmower. It starts, but after a few minutes it turns off as though it runs out of gas.

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