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Joined: Jun 2024
Posts: 7
Novice
My mower was purchased in 2020 and has performed well up until early this year. It's been exhibiting intermittent problems like surging, misfiring, blowing smoke, etc. The latest problem is intermittent as sometimes it will start up and run perfectly and other times it will misfire and won't rev or operate properly. I have replaced the carburettor, spark plug, air filter, cleaned out the fuel tank and the fuel lines. I am now thinking it may be a faulty magneto or auto choke. What do others thin?

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Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 2,070
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
Hi Geesey,

I'd take the covers off and check the choke is operating correctly and clean out any grass trapped around the motor with compressed air.

then I would adjust the valve clearance , found this video below that shows the correct procedure ,lots of other videos were wrong
and were adjusting the clearances at top dead centre ,that doesn't work with a compression release motor.





Cheers
Max.

Joined: Jun 2024
Posts: 7
Novice
Thanks so much. I have been trying to find that valve timing video for 550EX motors for ages. The auto choke as you know runs from an inbuilt heat sensor on the exhaust, so if it's faulty it means replacing the whole exhaust @ $100 AUD. My choke linkage wire is badly bent and the sensor on the exhaust is also bent, which was probably done when I sent it into the repair shop to clean the carby a year or so ago. I may have to replace the choke wire linkage first. Anyway you've been a great help and I'll let the forum know how I go with the valve clearance settings.

Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 2,070
Likes: 148
SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
If the choke linkage wire is badly bent and the sensor on the exhaust is also bent you should be able to bend it straighter so
the choke butterfly is fully closed when the engine is cold and when the engine is warm the butterfly should be fully open.


You could also check the coil is ok ,check the air gap ,make sure the kill switch wire isn't shorting intermittently ,sometimes
you run the motor with the kill switch wire disconnected to the coil and if the motor runs fine you know the problem
is in the kill switch side, another test I sometimes do is hook a timing light to the coil and watch the flashing light
when the motor misfires ,if the timing light stops flashing when the motor misfires you know it's a spark problem ,even
a cheap spark tester will work if you don't have a timing light.

https://www.briggsandstratton.com/e.../ignition-system-theory-and-testing.html

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1 member likes this: Geesey67
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 2,090
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
First question is where did you source replacement carb from? Genuine or aftermarket?

Have had issues of the choke binding up and/or jet block being drilled improperly.

I would do is change the plug again

I just fixed a victa that had an intermittent issue with similar symptoms- the barb on the tank was not moulded right and had a little thin whisp of plastic intermittently blocking flow. Somehow it managed to run fine for 5 years and only then start to show symptoms of surging and spluttering

1 member likes this: Geesey67
Joined: Jun 2024
Posts: 7
Novice
Re: Briggs and Stratton problems 550EX O9P702-0127-H5

Well this is proving a mighty challenge.

I had already cleaned the tank and lines, replaced the spark plug and oil, replaced the carby and air filter, both with genuine B & S one, cleaned all around the engine and sourced some fuel from another petrol station.

I have only ever used genuine Briggs and Stratton parts as well as quality SAE 30 (recommended) oil.

I had been advised to install a small fuel filter in between the tank and the carby but have read where that in itself can cause flow problems.

Immediately on starting as I've indicated, the mower started first pull and I allowed it to warm up, restarted it and then garaged the mower

The next morning the mower started but immediately misfired and wouldn't rev and started blowing black smoke.

This isn't the first time this has happened but to a much lesser degree.

I then joined this forum.

I hadn't done anything else to the mower and was astonished it again started first pull yesterday and ran perfectly for an hour allowing me to mow my son's yard.

During the mow I stopped and started the mower several times without any problem and always started first pull.

I observed the auto choke was behaving properly and presumably so was the governor mechanism.

There's only one thing left, the magneto, which I have purchased (genuine Briggs and Stratton) and am awaiting it's arrival to swap on the mower.

I will also check the valve clearances, the auto choke operation and anything else I can think off

I really appreciate the advice from this column.

Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 7,477
Likes: 147
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I haven't had a lot to do with these motors but my overall opinion is they are not a patch on the old sidevalve motors

1 member likes this: Geesey67
Joined: Sep 2015
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
Hope you haven't spent too much on parts Geesey as last summer I sold two newish serviced mowers for $100. each ,one was 3 years old
and I think it got thrown out because it needed blades and the 4 year old Victa had a rusted out base that I replaced.

People around here mostly don't pay for repairs and I think just buy new mowers from Bunnings.

The biggest mower / machinery shop here that started in the sixties closed down this year.

I spoke to another mower shop owner who closed a long time ago and he said sales went down hill after Bunnings
started selling mowers.

I wouldn't be surprised if the coil needs replacing , I've had new coils out of the box not work from eBay, also had a lot of newish Chonda coils that needed replacing.

I try to not pickup free mowers these days but it just seems such a waste for them to end up as scrap metal when all
they need are blades or a service ,especially if the mowers are only a few years old.

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1 member likes this: Geesey67
Joined: Jun 2024
Posts: 7
Novice
Yes I've probably already spent more than the mower is worth with the carburettor and magneto. (roughly $175 AUD)

I had an idea Briggs and Stratton were quality engines but it's not what I'm hearing from a lot of repairers.

Some unkindly refer to them as Breakem and Scrapem

Anyway the "free' market is drying up as the costs of parts (particularly the freight) makes for some expensive "gems"

Joined: Jan 2016
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I would say 50% of the ones I have had here have had a rod out the side of them

1 member likes this: Geesey67
Joined: Jun 2024
Posts: 7
Novice
Well after successfully mowing 3 times over three weeks, it wouldn't restart after I shut it down.

I noticed when I fired it up first off before mowing, black smoke blew out the exhaust for about 10 seconds which it has done on and off for a long time.

Then I would reckon it's run extremely rich as most of my fuel was used up, when it usually uses 1/2 tank at most (it's winter here and almost no grass growth)

It had cooled down a lot when I tried to restart it.

I haven't taken the spark plug out but I'm almost certain it's fouled with fuel.

I have a B & S magneto on order and it was supposed to arrive nearly 2 weeks ago.

Last edited by Geesey67; 13/07/24 01:34 PM.
Joined: Jan 2016
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Likes: 147
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Hi Geesey
What I would try is lock the choke wide open and put a squirt of Start Ya Bastard in the air filter so you can get it started and see how it runs. If you don't have any starter fluid get it started with the choke closed and then lock it open somehow and see how that goes. I'm afraid you have wasted your money on a new coil because that is not the cause

1 member likes this: Geesey67
Joined: Jun 2024
Posts: 7
Novice
I've tried the starter squirt and the choke was fully closed when I tried to start it...no go. These mowers seem to last 4-5 years before they need extensive repairs...well that's my experience.

Joined: Jan 2016
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
But that was not what I said, I said wedge the choke open and then give it a squirt of starter fluid. Yes they are not a good motor, you might be better off finding a good sidevalve motor on a rusted out body and fit that to your body.

Joined: Jun 2024
Posts: 7
Novice
I have just discovered I can get a complete new upgraded engine for $275 AUD delivered.

Getting parts is also a problem here ...you can order them through Bunnings and then wait weeks.

A simple auto choke linkage wire which is $6.50 AUD in the US costs $35- $40 AUD by the time you get it here.

I have spent so far over $175 in genuine parts.

This mower is obviously just one problem after another and any repairer here wants $50 to $100 to just look at it.

No wonder people throw mowers away.

Last edited by Geesey67; 14/07/24 01:42 PM.
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 7,477
Likes: 147
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Do not waste anymore money on this Briggs Poo look around and see if you can come across a Honda GXV 160 but before you pick one up let us have a look here because the later GXV160 have the brake assembly underneath and it is a problem you are not going to be able to sort out

Joined: Jul 2018
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I'll add, change the plug again

I just had one mow 1 strip, belch black smoke and die - brand new champion plug useless

Joined: Sep 2015
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
I've never had much luck with Champion spark plugs ,plugs are usually cheaper if you buy in bulk.

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Joined: Jan 2016
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I remember Champion plugs had a bad name back in the late sixties when I was working at a service station for a while

Joined: Sep 2015
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Likes: 148
SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
People also didn't like using Champion plugs because they had cut threads that they said weren't suitable in alloy heads so they used NGK or Bosch that had stronger rolled threads.

Only problem with cheaper plugs is to make sure they are genuine ..

https://www.blingstrom.com/modmonda...s-how-to-tell-the-difference-ilfr6b-6481

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