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Performance Anxiety Or Just Too Darned Cold?


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#1 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted November 30, 2012 - 06:07 PM

I loaded up my Bolens 850 and Trac-Vac on my "new" (to me) trailer yesterday to head over to do some leaf pickup. However, it took longer than I anticipated, so I loaded everything back up and hauled it back to my house last night. I left the tractor on the trailer overnight so I could head out first thing in the morning today to finish the job. However, when I hauled my setup back over to his house today to finish the job, for some reason the old Bolens wouldn't start! It was very frustrating since I JUST had it running all day yesterday with no problems. Granted, it was a bit colder out today than it was yesterday, but not by much. It struggled to get in the 30's today and most of the day it was around 27 degrees out whereas yesterday it got to a high of around 35 degrees.

But in any event, I pulled the throttle out about 1/3 and had the choke on full to try and start it. At first, it tried to fire right up and started running very slowly with the choke on. I pushed the choke in halfway as it was trying to run and it continued on for about 10 seconds or so until it finally died. I tried cranking it with half choke for a bit and it didn't sound like it wanted to do anything. So, I pulled the choke out all the way again and tried cranking it over and it sputtered for a bit and tried to start again, but it ran for about 10-15 seconds on half choke again and it sounded like it was dying again, so I pulled the choke out all the way again for a sec and then tried pushing it in and the engine just didn't want to run, so it died on me again. When I went to crank it over again, I couldn't get anything out of it at all. I was cranking it over for a good 20 minutes (off and on again of course and I never cranked it for longer than 15-20 seconds at a time). I tried full choke, half choke, and no choke and nothing seemed to make a difference. I finally gave up and did some trim work with my push mower (which I thankfully brought over) and did what I could for today and then left to go back home.

But, here is the strangest part of all. After I get back home and start to unload the trailer, I figure I'll try starting the Bolens 850 one last time as I didn't want to have to push it off the trailer by hand. I cranked it over a bit and still nothing, it didn't even sound like it wanted to start. So, I grabbed a can of carb cleaner spray to try spraying in the intake just to see if that would make any difference. A little spritz of carb cleaner later and with the choke on full, it started right up no problem! I let it idle for a few minutes and drove it right off the trailer. So why the heck didn't it want to run earlier? Was the carb flooded perhaps from choking it too long or something? Is there maybe an issue with my fuel line where it's not quite getting enough gas to start it when it is so cold out? I never had any issues with it starting when it was warmer out over the summer. Any other ideas? I just want to be sure this isn't going to be an ongoing problem as winter approaches and I want to use it to plough driveways with.

#2 goodnews OFFLINE  

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Posted November 30, 2012 - 06:16 PM

sounds like it was flooded try using starting fliud on intial start from now on when it's cold . in Christ Bobby
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#3 KennyP OFFLINE  

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Posted November 30, 2012 - 06:33 PM

I'd watch using starting fluid. If so, use sparingly.

#4 Bolens 1000 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 30, 2012 - 06:39 PM

I'd watch using starting fluid. If so, use sparingly.


:ditto:
I'm not a big fan of the stuff either and use Carb cleaner instead.


From time to time that will happen on some of my Tractors and they need a little carb cleaner to get going again. It could be a number of things such as a small spec of debris in one of the carb ports that needs to work its way though.
Do you have a screen on your shutoff valve?
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#5 mjodrey OFFLINE  

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Posted November 30, 2012 - 06:39 PM

I don't like using starter fluid,and so I basically never use it.

#6 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted November 30, 2012 - 07:21 PM

Do you have a screen on your shutoff valve?


I think so. It's kinda hard to look down in the gas tank though to really check it out, but I think there is some kind of screen or filter at the bottom of the tank where the gas inlet/shutoff is. I know there is really no gas filter in the fuel line though. The fuel line kinda has me a bit concerned due to its age and it looks cracked on the outside from age and the rubber dry rotting a bit. It doesn't leak though for now (and as long as I don't touch it either, I'd assume...). If I mess with it at all, I'd just end up having to replace it all as I wouldn't reuse it in the condition it is in.

#7 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted November 30, 2012 - 07:36 PM

I wonder if you got some ice in the fuel or lines/carb and it eventually thawed or worked it's way through.

#8 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted November 30, 2012 - 08:47 PM

I wonder if you got some ice in the fuel or lines/carb and it eventually thawed or worked it's way through.

I will second that! You might try some fuel drier in the tank. If ice it could have warmed up enough to loosen the ice by the time you used the starting fluid. Back in the late 50/s and early 60,s we used starting fluid a lot in cold Iowa winters.
There were always stories floating around about the rods broke and in extreme cases cranks blown out the bottom and even heads blown off. If you do use it use it sparingly!
Remember thats a small displacement engine it does not take much ether to reach a critical and possibly terminal overload.

Edited by JD DANNELS, November 30, 2012 - 08:55 PM.


#9 Rock farmer OFFLINE  

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Posted November 30, 2012 - 09:03 PM

My thought is that you had a weak spark due to moisture getting into it over night on the trailer .
At the end of the day, it had dried out enough so that your spark was back to we're it should be.
I would inspect the wires for corrosien especially at the ignition switch.
I think if it were fuel related, it would have continued to run rough after starting .

Joe

#10 Bmerf ONLINE  

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Posted November 30, 2012 - 11:13 PM

... I'd just end up having to replace it all as I wouldn't reuse it in the condition it is in.

Then don't. Replace it. Fuel line is inexpensive. The fuel that we are allowed to purchase today is nothing like the fuel the old lines were designed to carry. Change the line and know for sure this was not the problem.
PS. This past summer an old line caused a fire on one of my machines, luckily had water handy. Whoops, water will not put out a gas fire, had to watch and wait, while trying to keep everything from going up in flames. Luckily only lost the plastic gas tank. On my engines, if the line looks bad, it is bad and will be replaced.
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#11 grand OFFLINE  

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Posted December 01, 2012 - 09:10 PM

Sounds like some more experienced folks have given you some very good advice. Replacing the fuel line is inexpensive and also add a fuel filter. You sound like you already had a clue to the problem because of temperature change. Some of the members always add Sea Foam to their gas. It's just a suggestion, but if you get the current problem solved, always keep an additive in your gas in regions where the temps change.
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