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Something Very Strange For All The Tech Wizards?

great bubble mystery!

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#1 maxedout OFFLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 05:08 AM

Morning guys, I haven't been online much we just had a death in the family that was expected but it's taken a great deal of time.

If you've got time for a question I have a real good one! I was mowing my mom's yard a couple of days ago using the old JD214 and it was running great. I was mowing close to her sidewalk and I backed up and not paying attention I backed into the walk and it gave me a good jolt. The engine started to idle down as if I had grabbed the throttle and was powering it down and then it just died.

Well, I tried to start it back and it would not start back. I checked the engine to make sure I was good on oil and I checked the coil and condenser and both was very hot. I didn't think it was over heated but it very well could have been because that day it was over 100 degrees in the shade here.

My next move was to check to make sure I had not ran out of gas and I had plenty of gas. I checked the fuel line we replaced those using the clear line so I could very easy see I had gas getting to the pump. I noticed very quickly the fuel pump was releasing bubbles and I mean very quickly. My first thought is this thing has vapor locked and I am still leaning that direction. Just I never saw a small engine on that set-up vapor lock before!

I was wanting to know if anyone else agrees? The fuel pump kept spewing bubbles for well close on to an hour or longer and when the bubbles stopped the mower started right back up and ran fine. What I think happened is when I backed up and hit the walk it sloshed the gas in the tank allowing air to get down into the gas line and because it was 100 degrees hot it just added fuel to the fire so to speak

Confused by the thought the coil of condenser got to hot I am guessing just added to the worry something bad happened. Another thing is I had just replaced the fuel pump and removed the original and thought I might have left something a little loose. Nothing from the fuel line to the pump itself was loose because I went over that and the condenser checks fine and the coil. You know I had planned on replacing the coil with a new automotive coil just have not had the time with the death taking place.

I guess what I am wanting to know has anyone ever experienced anything close to this? Has anyone ever saw a small engine vapor lock? Since I replaced the fuel pump I had the problem but before I never did and I am thinking about putting the original back on. I also noted that when I replaced my fuel pump the gasket between the engine and pump wasn't on it originally and I put one on it I made from gasket cork. I just wonder if I made a mistake in doing that? The service manual requires a gasket between the engine and pump is why I went to the trouble to make and add one and it seemed to work just fine until the great bubble mystery!

#2 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 06:03 AM

I think it is fairly common for some older engines to vapour lock in extreme conditions like 100F+ temps. We don't get those temps here but I have seen this happen in older chainsaws when used in the heat. One thing that gets neglected in a lot of these engines is cleaning out the cooling fins and the flywheel fan screens. When these get plugged with dirt and grass clippings the airflow is restricted and the engine and everything near it gets a lot hotter than normal. I would take off the shrouds and blow out the engine fins and the screen on the fan. Not keeping the engine clean can have consequences. I have a K321 in a 314 that has a cracked block. When I got the tractor the cooling fins were pretty much plugged with dirt, oil and grass which is probably why the engine overheated to start with.
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#3 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 06:32 AM

It's possible the gasket is to thick and not allowing full stroke on the pump.
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#4 DougT OFFLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 06:48 AM


how full was the tank when it happened? I'm wondering if the gas was low enough and the top of the tank was hotter. When you hit thee sidewalk the gas slopped up on the top and sides of the tank and started it? I wonder if putting cooler fuel in it would have stopped the vapors sooner??
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#5 Bruce Dorsi ONLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 07:10 AM

Small engines can vapor lock. .....Often it is caused by fuel lines being heated by exhaust heat or blocked cooling fins.

There have been many reports of gas "boiling" due to the formulation of today's gasoline.

If your gasoline was purchased in the early Spring it may be "winter formulation" gasoline. .....This fuel is prone to turn to vapor in fuel pumps and fuel lines during the hot temps encountered.
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#6 maxedout OFFLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 07:19 AM

The gasket is actually thinner than the one I got in the mail to replace the one I made and because I used CORK it a lot softer too. But I am going to check that again and make danged sure it's getting a full stroke.

I removed all the covers on the JD when I got it in February and it's been used very little so I don't think that should be an issue just yet. I am very aware of over heating problems. I wrote a thread about cleaning engines not so long ago here on this site, I just believe it's very important to keep an air cooled engine clean. Found out the hard way what happens when you don't do that on a regular basis.

The gas tank was just below the fill mark JD recommends it not be filled up to the neck of the spout. So I had just filled it up before starting to mow and when this all started I had been mowing along for about 2 hours.

I think when I bumped that walk I slopped the gas around in the tank, causing the air to get sucked into the line or at least I am hoping that was the cause. I just never saw a lawn tractor vapor lock before. I know it's basically air in the lines but I just never encountered it before ever! I have seen Chainsaws do that when Echo first brought in saws my uncle purchased a brand new saw. We had never used an Echo cutting pulp wood before and that saw would get So hot it would boil gas in dead of winter! I mean boil the gas and we had bells hell to get it to start if you ever stopped it you kept it stopped until it cooled off.

That saw was a good running saw but it would scare the crap out of you because it got so hot needless to say it didn't last but about 2 summers of cutting pulp wood.

At any rate, thanks for those who have replied, it is interesting to read others thoughts and gives me some idea's to go back to the drawing board to check.

BBL later to see what others think! Great day for Garden Tractors!

#7 Bolens 1000 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 07:21 AM

Small engines can vapor lock. .....Often it is caused by fuel lines being heated by exhaust heat or blocked cooling fins.

There have been many reports of gas "boiling" due to the formulation of today's gasoline.

If your gasoline was purchased in the early Spring it may be "winter formulation" gasoline. .....This fuel is prone to turn to vapor in fuel pumps and fuel lines during the hot temps encountered.


:ditto:

When I'm mowing with my Bolens and its fairly warm out they will not start back up due to vapor lock/ Gas boiling. When I open up the gas cap you can see the fuel bubbling in the tank
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#8 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 09:33 AM

I agree with overheat/vapor lock, sounds like you nailed it.
Do any of these pumps have a roll over check valve in them, like some of the cars did? If so, the pressure of the expanding gas coupled with the bump could've held it closed?
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#9 olcowhand OFFLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 09:59 AM

Too much air (bubbles) in the fuel pump would stop it's ability to pump fuel. I've had vapor lock many times on small engines.
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#10 motobreeder OFFLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 12:45 PM

Since the tank was close to full, did the gas slop against the gas cap and plug the vent hole?

I'm wondering if that could exacerbate an issue with vapours forming in the fuel pump?
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#11 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 01:13 PM

I forgot to say Sorry for your loss. Even when expected, a lost family member is like losing a little piece of yourself.
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#12 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 01:18 PM

Sorry for the loss in the family, maxedout! As far as the bubbles in the fuel, I think we'll be seeing more with the ethanol they are putting in there.
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#13 maxedout OFFLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 01:19 PM

I have no idea about gas sloshing into the cap because I wasn't even aware of the side walk! LOL! It could have at this point I don't know but I would think being it bounce me pretty hard it must have sloshed the gas.

What was so odd about this is it was just like you put your hand on the throttle backed it off until it just died. I rolled it over to a shade tree and started checking things. The fuel line that goes from the tank to the fuel pump is standard line but the line that goes up the carburetor is clear. The engine was OFF and out of the pump flows air bubbles and this continues for at least an hour if not more! The inline filter did Not have hardly any fuel inside it and it's also clear and brand new. I have two filters on that tractor, I just spent several days re-building that carburetor and I am protecting my investment, I have a filter before the pump and another after the pump.

The gas at the station now says it contains 10% more ethanol so I asked how long those stickers had been on there and was told about 2 weeks. So the gas I purchased was very recent in fact I am thinking a day or so before I mowed.

Another funny thing is we bought gas for the car at the same station and our check engine light came on the next evening when it was so hot during the day. At night it was 95 degrees here at 11:00 at night! Yep it get's hot here in the NC mountains and it's so muggy you can hardly take a breath!

It just seems odd how it powered down and died. The gas in the tank did not appear to have bubbles but if you know the JD214 you also know it's very difficult to see inside that black plastic tank and the location of the fill makes it very hard to see down inside the tank. So I could be wrong about bubbles in the tanks.

If air is going into a fuel pump enough to prevent enough gas to get to the pump then it would have to cause a problem wouldn't it?

#14 maxedout OFFLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 01:22 PM

I forgot to say Sorry for your loss. Even when expected, a lost family member is like losing a little piece of yourself.


Yea guys it was my wife's dad, he had stage 4 bone cancer and we've know it was coming for about 4 months. The sad thing is because her father was just a mean and nasty drinker he never had anything to do with her until he got sick. He did tell her he was sorry but sorry does not cut almost 47 years of no father. She took care of him for the past 3 months of his life and it took it's toll on her. She is a much stronger person than I am because I am not sure I would have even tried.

#15 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2012 - 01:57 PM

Yea guys it was my wife's dad, he had stage 4 bone cancer and we've know it was coming for about 4 months. The sad thing is because her father was just a mean and nasty drinker he never had anything to do with her until he got sick. He did tell her he was sorry but sorry does not cut almost 47 years of no father. She took care of him for the past 3 months of his life and it took it's toll on her. She is a much stronger person than I am because I am not sure I would have even tried.

He helped bring your wife into this world, but she helped him go out. Strong women are hard to come by, you have a very strong one in her. Stand by her, give her all the help you can right now. She needs you!
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