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[Solved] craftsman eager-1 leaf chipper/vac starting problem [PHOTOS]

teetee1 1,973 918 November 21, 2011 at 02:41 PM
Over the past 5 years I've kept this push-type leaf vac (sear part number: 987799600 with tecumseh engine) working fairly well. I had my fair share of minor repairs and maintenance like carburetor / bowl cleaning, air filter/spark plug replacement, figure out which hole the governor link goes into, etc.



Yesterday I took it out and could not start it. Fresh oil and fuel were used (I dumped oil and let it run dry before storage every year after I finish leaf cleaning around this time). Base on what I know, the engine needs air, fuel, and sparks to function and I know the spark plug, fuel/carburetor, and air filter are all good (just replaced those last year), so I started to wonder if somehow maybe the prime bulb is going bad and not getting fuel into the bowl or the ignition coil or kill switch is not working properly.

I noticed there were two wires that are not connected anywhere (broken!)


One of those two wires is a green wire coming out of underneath the fly wheel, according to the photo I took from 2009:



It looks like the green wire should connect to the ground on the chassis.

There is also a black, plastic kill switch for safety at the rear leaf outlet / bag contact area:



Normally the engine only runs if the metal pin from the leaf bag (right side of the above photo) is seated well at the black groove of the switch. One of the black wires got broken from the switch in the above photo. The other ends of both of the wires connect to the chassis:



Now my question is, is there anyway to bypass the bag kill switch? It seems both of the black wire lead to the same metal block of the chassis so there has to be something mysterious going on on how that switch works.

I checked the two screw holes that are used to attach the bag plastic kill switch (the black thing with the groove) to the mower but it doesn't seem easy to disassemble that part for me to reattach the black wire back to it. I know it's for safety but really if the engine starts when there is no bag in the back, the worse thing that could happen will be I am covered in leave debris.

This machine doesn't have the clamp handle safety bar as the kill switch. All it has is the bag kill switch and the dead-man switch with speed settings (turtle - slow, rabbit - fast,shown on the right side of the last photo).

NOTE: Just found something that might explain the kill switch my mower uses:
http://enginesandmagnets.com/id9.html

it doesn't seem it can be bypass easily though. The way it works has something to do with when the safety metal pin (from the bag) leaves the plastic switch, there is a surge of some sort that disrupt the charging coil function and causes no spark from the plugs. That's why sometimes when I put the bag back to the seat the engine would keep running (when both black kill wires still attached to the switch).

================================================================

The problem was solved. The spark plug from last year was covered with black gunk and didn't fire. After it's replaced and oil changed as well as some carburetor cleaning the thing works.

There is still some problem with the wiring. When I put the throttle to stop postion, the engine doesn't stop. It runs at idle speed. I did find the kill wire (green) but don't know where it's supposed to connect to. But I can always push the wire lead against the ground (metal frame) to make it stop so it's not a problem.

The engine runs pretty well and I am glad it still has (a lot of) life left in it.

3 Comments

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#2
You're correct that the requirements are air, fuel and spark.
To troubleshoot no start on small engines I pull the spark plug and clamp it to some piece of grounded metal with a pair of vice grips and connect the spark plug wire.
Pull the rope and check for spark. It should be nice and blue. Yellow would indicate a weak spark.
If I have a spark, it's likely a fuel delivery issue.
Spray some carb cleaner in the spark plug hole, replace the spark plug, spray a little more carb cleaner in the carbeurator, and on the second or third pull of the rope the engine should fire and run long enough to burn off the carb cleaner.

Not sure if I answered your question, but doing those two things should help in your troubleshooting.
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#3
I am not a fan of storing a mower with no oil. I always change the oil in my mower at the end of the season as well as put in a new air filter, clean it up etc. The reason why is you want the oil in the engine to continue to lubricate the parts and prevent rust from forming on the parts that move. I also go out and give the mower a pull or two (no fuel, switch off, usually with the spark plug out too) in January or Febuary to recoat everything in oil again.
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#4
Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
I am not a fan of storing a mower with no oil. I always change the oil in my mower at the end of the season as well as put in a new air filter, clean it up etc. The reason why is you want the oil in the engine to continue to lubricate the parts and prevent rust from forming on the parts that move. I also go out and give the mower a pull or two (no fuel, switch off, usually with the spark plug out too) in January or Febuary to recoat everything in oil again.

Good point. Thanks.
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