Lawnmower repair and/replacement

Hi - an appeal to the hive mind.

I have a Briggs and Stratton engine that won’t start so have gone all YouTube and changed the spark plug and cleaned the sponge in the air filter to no avail. I don’t think I have a spark but am unsure what I should be googling for videos.

It came free with house so is well old and battered so if I was to buy a new one I would welcome recommendations.

It literally has holes in the decking so don’t want to pay a repairman £100 when I can get new for £250.

Cheers in advance
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Comments

  • MattFalle
    MattFalle Posts: 11,644
    edited June 2021
    .

    .
    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.
  • masjer
    masjer Posts: 2,473
    If there's no spark it's probably the ignition coil that's faulty. Pretty straightforward to replace and about £35.
    If the deck is very rusty an annual clean and coating with waxoyl can keep it going.
  • seanoconn
    seanoconn Posts: 11,294
    When was it working last? Does it have a choke? Did you replace spark plug with new?
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,423
    Checking for a spark is pretty straightforward, if you don't have a spark then the next step back is the coil, easy to check if you have a multimeter, I have a Honda HR173 that is nearly as old as me that stopped working because of rust on the plate under the coil - fixed in 10 mins with a screwdriver and a bit of sandpaper and it's been going strong for the last 6 years since.


    Due to the above I can't help with new models but there's a lawnmower repair guy on Barnett Wood Lane in Ashtead, maybe he'd take it off your hands if you don't want to get it repaired.
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860
    seanoconn said:

    When was it working last? Does it have a choke? Did you replace spark plug with new?

    Worked a week ago, put new spark plug in
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860
    masjer said:

    If there's no spark it's probably the ignition coil that's faulty. Pretty straightforward to replace and about £35.
    If the deck is very rusty an annual clean and coating with waxoyl can keep it going.

    There are literally holes in the deck😮
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860
    monkimark said:

    Checking for a spark is pretty straightforward, if you don't have a spark then the next step back is the coil, easy to check if you have a multimeter, I have a Honda HR173 that is nearly as old as me that stopped working because of rust on the plate under the coil - fixed in 10 mins with a screwdriver and a bit of sandpaper and it's been going strong for the last 6 years since.


    Due to the above I can't help with new models but there's a lawnmower repair guy on Barnett Wood Lane in Ashtead, maybe he'd take it off your hands if you don't want to get it repaired.

    Ashtead is just up the road but a quick google is not throwing him up, can you remember his name?
  • seanoconn
    seanoconn Posts: 11,294
    Try monks idea and if that doesn’t work I’d rub the top of the old spark with some sandpaper, cleaning off the sooty deposits and try again. Spark plugs are temperamental, even new. I’m assuming there’s petrol in the tank?
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • Jezyboy
    Jezyboy Posts: 2,806
    Depending on size of lawn... I can semi recommend the "EGO" battery lawnmowers...slightly less faff than petrol much nicer than faffing around trying not to run the electric cable over.

    Downside is no roller for stripes, and if lawn is super long, the battery life is about one strip too short for my garden.

    Don't fancy it lasting as long as a proper petrol one though.
  • focuszing723
    focuszing723 Posts: 7,131
    edited June 2021

    seanoconn said:

    When was it working last? Does it have a choke? Did you replace spark plug with new?

    Worked a week ago, put new spark plug in
    I have a Briggs and Stratton Mountfield mower. Under the airbox there is a spring which limits the throttle cable, sometimes on mine it disconnects and consequently won't start. One thing to check.
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860
    seanoconn said:

    Try monks idea and if that doesn’t work I’d rub the top of the old spark with some sandpaper, cleaning off the sooty deposits and try again. Spark plugs are temperamental, even new. I’m assuming there’s petrol in the tank?

    My skills are akin to an ape with a hammer but yes there is petrol and I changed the plug. Will look for the coil and try the sandpaper
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860
    Jezyboy said:

    Depending on size of lawn... I can semi recommend the "EGO" battery lawnmowers...slightly less faff than petrol much nicer than faffing around trying not to run the electric cable over.

    Downside is no roller for stripes, and if lawn is super long, the battery life is about one strip too short for my garden.

    Don't fancy it lasting as long as a proper petrol one though.

    Lawn is about 500 sq metres

    Not bothered about stripes as just want to keep it under control, will take a battering on roots and scraping lumps
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860

    seanoconn said:

    When was it working last? Does it have a choke? Did you replace spark plug with new?

    Worked a week ago, put new spark plug in
    I have a Briggs and Stratton Mountfield mower. Under the airbox there is a spring which limits the throttle cable, sometimes on mine it disconnects and consequently won't start. One thing to check.

    That is within my capabilities- thank you
  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,423
    Follow the cable back from the spark plug, the next thing you encounter is the coil.

    I think it's "mr mower" but I'm just about to go for a spin round the block to bed in my new brake pads so I'll take a look. It seems like a pretty old school operation from the outside so maybe he doesn't have a website etc.
  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,423
    Number 194 barnett Wood Lane, next door to the baptist church
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860
    monkimark said:

    Number 194 barnett Wood Lane, next door to the baptist church

    I really appreciate that, I have my hair cut at Barnett Fair and buy meat from Hammonds but would never have known he was there
  • dabber
    dabber Posts: 1,924
    You have petrol and the petrol tap turned on?
    If there is a bolt underneath the carburetor bowl it can be worth loosening that and letting a little petrol run out.
    “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment!”

    Wilier Cento Uno SR/Wilier Mortirolo/Specialized Roubaix Comp/Kona Hei Hei/Calibre Bossnut
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860
    If I take the air filter off I can see petrol when I push the bulb

    I did not know I had a petrol tap

    It was working and cut out, then would not start so probably something that broke or loosened
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,707
    If it won't spark start there - once you have a spark then worry about the petrol etc.

    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • photonic69
    photonic69 Posts: 2,360
    I love old mowers. My dad had an ancient Atco mower. It was a pig to start but it made a beautiful cut despite its age. It was very similar to the one in this video except ours didn't have the kick-start pedal, rather it had an old piece of rope you had to wind around the flywheel and pull with all your might. Again and again and again until it started.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KtXwg3mupc

    Persevere. Consider it like any vintage vehicle. It's rewarding when you get it working again.


    Sometimes. Maybe. Possibly.

  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860

    I love old mowers. My dad had an ancient Atco mower. It was a pig to start but it made a beautiful cut despite its age. It was very similar to the one in this video except ours didn't have the kick-start pedal, rather it had an old piece of rope you had to wind around the flywheel and pull with all your might. Again and again and again until it started.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KtXwg3mupc

    Persevere. Consider it like any vintage vehicle. It's rewarding when you get it working again.

    I am coming up against stuck bolts and the edge of my comfort zone but I like the idea of keeping it as a project. It has holes in the decking you can put your hand through so I can only guess it’s age.
  • photonic69
    photonic69 Posts: 2,360
    edited June 2021


    Plusgas is your friend for seized nuts and bolts. Also a very good adjustable spanner unless you have an Imperial set of spanners. Also the bolt threads will be imperial too so not so easy to get spares

    Edit: a good trick is when trying to undo seized nuts/bolts is to try and tighten them slightly first so you break the corrosion bond without rounding off the flats in the direction of loosening them. Failing that then heat from a plumber's torch.


    Sometimes. Maybe. Possibly.

  • MattFalle
    MattFalle Posts: 11,644
    nah - go to nut and bolt factor. he will have everything

    or ebay.

    job jobbed.
    .
    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.
  • darkhairedlord
    darkhairedlord Posts: 7,180
    Check the points, they might be pitted and need facing with sandpaper. Check the low tension wires to the coil, stick a multimeter across them and see if it flicks from +V to 0v when you turn it over.
  • darkhairedlord
    darkhairedlord Posts: 7,180
    The petrol may have gone-off during storage; drop a match into the tank to see if the octane is high enough.
  • If the cutting deck has actually got holes in it, then it may be actually dangerous to use as any hard objects caught by the blades could fly out at high speed.
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860

    The petrol may have gone-off during storage; drop a match into the tank to see if the octane is high enough.

    I was going to burn off the oily crud on the outside should I do it at the same time or separately?
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860

    If the cutting deck has actually got holes in it, then it may be actually dangerous to use as any hard objects caught by the blades could fly out at high speed.

    If I follow DHL's advice this could be the least of my problems but as I have two young children and it is far from a pristine lawn that is a fair observation.

    Might be a good uplift on the traditional Father's Day cr@ppy present
  • seanoconn
    seanoconn Posts: 11,294
    Pour the possibly gone off petrol over the lawn and set light to it?
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,860
    seanoconn said:

    Pour the possibly gone off petrol over the lawn and set light to it?

    that would solve the grass problem but if I did it in the shed I could get a new shed and lawnmower