NotTaR of small Gasoline Engines and Rotary Lawn Mowers : Starting the mower                      
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Starting the mower

Most mowers and other small pieces of gas powered yard equipment use a self retracting recoil type starter. You pull on a handle attached to a cord wound around a one-way clutch affair. Pulling on it rotates the engine's crankshaft and the clutch allows the engine to run without pulling you back into the mower! If yours has an electric starter, then you don't need to tug on anything - plug it in and push a button or turn a key. Of course, finding an outlet at the far end of a large yard may prove to be a challenge. With larger equipment like riding mowers, power is usually provided by an on-board rechargeable battery. In either case, there will be some kind of backup recoil or rope starter should the electric start be unusable or inconvenient.

For the following, we will assume you pull a self-retracting starter rope. With an electric starter, replace the words: 'pull...times' with 'crank for several seconds'.

Move the mower or other equipment to the place where it will be used - no sense in dragging a chugging lawn mower through the neighborhood. Position it on a solid level surface. Make sure there are no loose stones, twigs, branches, logs, etc. underneath to get sucked up and thrown about once you succeed in getting the engine started (if you ever do).

When attempting to pull on the starter cord, it may be helpful to put one foot on the mower deck to brace it. Whether this is needed will depend on the design of your mower and in what direction the cord exits from the starter.

You or the starter motor supplies the power to get it started. However, at the low speed of starting, special modifications may be required to the fuel system for the engine to catch. These may take one of the following forms:

If the appropriate procedure is not successful, the engine may be flooded. You can give it 15 minutes or so for the gas to evaporate and try again or, if there is an IDLE or LOW speed position, open any choke and pull the rope several times in this position which should clear out the excess gas. Then repeat the recommended starting procedure.

If none of this works, you may have a starting problem and should refer to the section: Lawn mower will not start. Probably, you forgot to fill the gas tank!

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