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post #1 of 35 Old 07-29-2018, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Riding Mower Help Needed

I use a relative's 15 yr old riding mower with a Briggs Intek OHV engine and it smokes when under load, and going up hill while cutting grass. It has been suggested that it sounds like a head gasket issue.


I've looked at some videos and spoke with some people, and does anyone here have any suggestions on the degree of difficulty, and am i chasing the right problem ?



Seems like it could be about $15 in parts and about an hour of labor ? Seems like a worthwhile investment versus $1500 for a new mower. This one is about 15 yrs old, and I cut about 1 1/2 acres of lawn about 6-10 times per summer.


Thanks !


Rit
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post #2 of 35 Old 07-30-2018, 12:35 AM
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Don't know anything about that particular engine but would guess more like rings or oil leaking past valve guides\seals. Maybe check the crankcase breather system. Upon further youtube investigation... I guess it is pretty common for them to suck oil in via head gskt issues. Yes, give it a shot. Won't know until you tear it down.

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Last edited by gibbs296; 07-30-2018 at 12:41 AM. Reason: more reseach performed. Now i are am egspert
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post #3 of 35 Old 07-30-2018, 12:39 AM
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Before I would do that I would check the valve clearances after it has been cold for at least 24 hours. But if that engine has hydraulic valve lifters that will not be needed.

The only other things that I would want to have checked are the (1) condition of the valve guides/seals and (2) a compression test before I even thought about a tear down like that.

if you have a leaking head gasket you will lose a lot of power or crankcase oil through the gasket.

if your mosquito fogging the yard most likely it is the piston rings and a simple compression test will tell you if the rings are worn which would explain the smoke.

Are we sure the crank case is not overfull?? Has the engine been using a lot of oil?


Do a compression test first and that will tell you if the piston rings are still in good shape.
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post #4 of 35 Old 07-30-2018, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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It tends to "burn" about 4-6 oz of oil per hour of cutting, and yes have not had any mosquitoes for about a week after cutting the lawn - LOL. I guess I should do the compression test. Will do, and report back.


Thanks


BTW, leonz, I was thinking of going the "fluidfilm" route, but all of my barrel of fluidfilm is earmarked for the snowblowers. LOL Also, seems like you are in the Cooperstown area, right ? Last week they were predicting half-dollar sized hail at Richfield Springs. Did you get any ?
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post #5 of 35 Old 07-30-2018, 08:46 AM
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I have had success with Restore added to the oil. It's suppose to fix the indentations in the cylinder wall. I add 1 oz to all my mowers and snowblowers. I find it stops the smoking and starting is easier if it's due to lower compression.

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post #6 of 35 Old 07-30-2018, 11:06 AM
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Hello RIT333,


It would be worth your while to pour a 1/4 can of seafoam in the crankcase, start the engine and run it for 10 seconds and drain out the crank case as it will get all the water out of it and also clean all the surfaces in the engine crankcase too.



No hail last night, sending you a PM.
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post #7 of 35 Old 07-30-2018, 12:30 PM
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I had a Briggs OHV tractor that was smoking quite a bit when I bought it. It was the head gasket. Like you said, ~$15 and some time, and I was back in business.



Don't just pull the head and look at the top of the gasket, though, to decide if it's OK. The outward-facing side of mine was OK, the blown area was underneath the gasket, facing the engine.


Honestly, I would do this before going any further. Checking valve clearances is fine, and should be done as part of the process anyhow. Compression too. But don't tear into the engine just yet (I wouldn't get into valve seats and piston rings at this point). Make sure your oil level is OK, and maybe change it (perhaps it's the wrong viscosity).



I'd pull the head, check the gasket, hopefully it's an easy & inexpensive fix.

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post #8 of 35 Old 07-30-2018, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Full disclosure !


Forgot about this...


About 7-8 yrs ago, the carb/float needle valve had some dirt in it, and it was dripping/leaking gasoline into the crankcase. NO - the oil burning did not occur directly thereafter, but a few years later, hence I dismissed that as the cause of the oil burning, but it might be related, huh ? I have changed the oil yearly since then with straight 30W oil, several times - annually.


But, the Seaform may be a good idea. Any other good ideas after the "full disclosure" !


THX
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post #9 of 35 Old 07-30-2018, 01:45 PM
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How long ago did it start to burn this much oil? If it just started I would say head gasket. If it has been burning this much oil for a number of years with no real loss in performance, you would think more in the line of oil control rings or valve seals\guides. I wouldn't think the fuel in the oil did much damage if it ran ok after that. If the thing is a POS try a can of snake oil additive. If you want it fixed properly so you don't puke while using it, a tear down, at least partially, is the solution.

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post #10 of 35 Old 07-30-2018, 01:47 PM
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Just change the head gasket......easy job, all Inteks blow them at one time or another ( there is a weakness in the design near the pushrod galley where the is no supporting head bolt.) The cylinder comes down for the intake stroke, sucks oil out of the pushrod galley, and blows a lot of smoke. Many Inteks blow the connecting rod because they have a blown headgasket that makes the engine use just a little oil, and the owner doesn't check often enough. Check out one of the many videos on Youtube first.....
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