Less than one year old Honda push mower won't start this season

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Dec 4, 2013
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This mower started with the first crank each time last Summer. At the end of the season we ran it until it was emptied of fuel and stored it in our shed. Filled it with fuel this week and now it won't start. What should we try?

Never run this mower dry!

You have 2 options, number 1 being at the end of the season fill it up with truefuel and run it for a minute or so.

Option number 2. go out every 2 weeks or at the least once a month and start it up and run it for a few minutes.

I do option number 2 on all of my small engine equipment.
 
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Don't run gas with any ethanol in small engines that have carburetors. I store my mower with at least a 1/4 tank of gas that way the carb is always full of gas. I use only 91 octane non-ethanol fuel in my mower and motorcycle.

Even if you run the tank dry there will still be some gas on the fuel bowl that will dry up and could leave varnish behind that will plug up the carb jets. Ethanol will separate from the gas when sitting and cause even more problems.
 
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Also check to see if squirrels/mice got into the cooling fins and air filter box.
 
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Never run this mower dry!

You have 2 options, number 1 being at the end of the season fill it up with truefuel and run it for a minute or so.

Option number 2. go out every 2 weeks or at the least once a month and start it up and run it for a few minutes.

I do option number 2 on all of my small engine equipment.
Yep, about a month or so before I expect lawn mowing season to end, I double dose a 2 gallon gas can with Stabil and start running it in my gear and fill the tank to the top.

I think the carbs on these are more picky than a B&S engine. I had to remove and clean it after the first year as I left it dry and it would surge. Probably got some dust or dirt in it.

I run some carb cleaner in these as well, just to help keep things clean.

Past couple of years, it's started after only a few pulls.
 
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Don't run gas with any ethanol in small engines that have carburetors. I store my mower with at least a 1/4 tank of gas that way the carb is always full of gas. I use only 91 octane non-ethanol fuel in my mower and motorcycle.

Even if you run the tank dry there will still be some gas on the fuel bowl that will dry up and could leave varnish behind that will plug up the carb jets. Ethanol will separate from the gas when sitting and cause even more problems.

Ethanol gas is no problem as long as it is used within 30 days, even non ethanol gas can go bad. There is just something about todays small engines where if you leave old gas, ethanol or ethanol free in them, it leads to these carbs gumming up. What I am saying is if the gas is left in there for more than a certain amount of time 30 days or more then there are issues. These carburetors need gas in them all of the time, every small piece of equipment I have run dry has been hard to restart when I added new gas. Unless I am wrong, but it is my feeling that if you run the mower out of gas that something is still left inside the carburetor.
 
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Every Honda GC and GCV engine I own has been impossible to start after running the gas tank completely empty until I figured out they needed to be primed with the new gas. I poured a couple of ounces of gas into the air intake with the air filter removed, it was the only way to get them humming along again.
 
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As a point of order - this is not a “Honda” mower, it’s an MTD or Husky (Craftsman) with a Honda motor and Honda has not used 160s in a few years on their mowers.

That said it has been hotly debated in the past, but agree with not running dry and running ethanol free fuel or stabil.

No problems with the auto chokes on ether of mine, there was a TSB years ago though…
 

AshleyQuick

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I replaced the spark plug with a new one (properly gapped) and tried starting with squirts of starter fluid. It runs for less than five seconds and stops each time.
 

pbm

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Every Honda GC and GCV engine I own has been impossible to start after running the gas tank completely empty until I figured out they needed to be primed with the new gas. I poured a couple of ounces of gas into the air intake with the air filter removed, it was the only way to get them humming along again.
This is good to know and probably why I had problems (I treated the Honda the same way I treated my B&S engines....run them until they die at the end of the season, change the oil, fog the engine by removing the plug and spraying a little fogging oil in the hole and pull the starter to disperse it...)
I'm thinking that the better fuel efficiency of my Honda is because of smaller jets etc...(the B&S did have more power in tall grass but used more fuel). In other words the upside is better fuel efficiency the downside is more fussy about storage due to the technology needed for that efficiency.
 
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Do I need a siphon to empty the fuel?
I add Stabil along with some TC-W3 2 cycle oil in the gas can when I fill it at the gas station.
I add Marine Stabil 360 (the blue-green one) according to the label. I add TC-W3 marine 2 cycle oil at the rate of 1 oz per 5 gallons. I use this mix for all my small engines (mower, generator, etc) all year long.

When winter comes, I:
1. Change the oil and run the engine a few minutes to circulate the new oil.
2. Turn off the gas on the mower and let the engine run until it empties the carburetor and dies.
3. Top off the gas tank with the mixed gas and store for the winter.

Never a problem starting in the spring.
 
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Do I need a siphon to empty the fuel?
People here are posting advice about everything except what you should do to get your mower running now.

If the gas in the tank is old, you should empty it. The simplest way to do that is take the gas cap off and tip the whole mower on its side. Or detach the tank, to do that you'd likely have to remove the plastic trim cover on the top of the engine. You could of course also use a siphon.
Then loosen the bolt on the bottom of the carburetor to drain any old gas out of there. With fresh clean gas in the tank, confirm that fresh clean gas drains freely from the carb.

My no-start troubleshooting process starts by removing the air filter and putting a 1 second spray of starting fluid or about a teaspoon of fresh clean gas into the intake. Then pull the starter up to about 5 times. One of three things will happen:

A. It starts and runs. Hooray! You may be OK for the whole season now. If you have th repeat the priming process on the next cold start though, the auto choke is not working as others mentioned.

B. It starts for a couple of seconds then dies. This means that fuel is not flowing through the carburetor. Remove the carb, disassemble it and clean the interior with spray carb/choke cleaner. Pay particular attention to the main jet passage that goes up through the center of the unit.

C. It still does not fire at all. The fuel system is likely OK but there is a problem with spark or compression (the other two elements of the holy trinity of internal combustion). Or the engine could be badly flooded.. Troubleshooting this case would continue by removing the spark plug.
 
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I”ll add that after giving it a shot of starter fluid, if it backfires, you may have a valve stuck open. Removing the carb and spraying carb cleaner on the valve stems helps with that. If still stuck, removing the valve cover and pulling up at the valve spring retainer can dislodge the stuck valve. Old gasoline causes this condition.
 
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Agree with drain it. VP makes a fuel for this purpose with a high dose of cleaner. Once you get it into the carb and let it sit a while it may solve all your problems.
 
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I would clean carb. There could’ve been residual gas
These newer carbs have smaller jets so they don't use as much fuel which makes them clog easier. Even thought you ran it until it wouldn't run any more there was still some residual gas left over as BMW said which is enough to plug the smaller jets. That is why I add some Star Tron every time I fill my can along with some red Sta-bil and when I'm done for the season I park it. Plus I always use E0 which I feel lucky to have as some don't.
 
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