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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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Discussion Starter #4
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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #8
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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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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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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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.
I'm a little confused on what you think it might do in 10 seconds or for that matter what harm it might cause if just left in there until you change the oil as long as it's not overfull ?? I'd leave it in there and at least cut the lawn with it. IMHO It needs some time and heat to loosen crud up. I've always just added it to the oil and run the automotive engine until the next oil change. Can't say I've used it on any of the riders.

If you're thinking of doing the head you might want to surface if before putting in a new gasket.

.
 

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The Seafoam folks say that to clean out the crankcase you should drain the oil a just pour a can of it in the crank case and run it for less than a minute to break all the crud ans sludge up as leaving in long term will wreck the bearings and rings as the remaining residual oil is being dissolved by the solvent.
 

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The Seafoam folks say that to clean out the crankcase you should drain the oil a just pour a can of it in the crank case and run it for less than a minute

Yikes. Drain the oil, replace it with straight Seafoam, and run it for a minute? That's not something I'd be comfortable trying. Not saying it won't work, but Seafoam isn't just regular oil, I would be nervous running it as the only thing in the crankcase.



Adding a recommended amount to the oil and running for a longer period of time, that I can get behind, as you're still running mostly oil.



But maybe I'm just chicken :)
 

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your not suppose to drain the oil and replace with seafoam. anyone that does that clearly can't read the instructions. it is meant to work with the oil. Add 1 ounce to 1.5 ounces of Sea Foam Motor Treatment per oil quart.

what about just filling the crank case with diesel and letting the engine sit? it will tell you if the rings are bad or not by whether the cylinders fill with diesel or not. i had my 1 truck fill the cylinders and most of the block with gas 1 hot day. truck use to smoke of up the neighborhood for a few oil changes while gas was still in the oil. i did a compression test after and it read about 150-160psi. been running shell rottella 15w40 most of the time since and last time i checked it's compression it was at about 170-180 with little to no change with the wet test. i don't know if running diesel truck oil in a small engine would help or not but i don't think it would hurt. it might help and since it will thicken up a bit it should hopefully burn or leak a bit less. that is part of the reason i use it in my vehicles on top of hearing lots of stories about people taking apart engines and them looking nearly new after years of running diesel truck oil.
 

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Diesel oil will ruin catalytic converters as the cat won't take the added antiwear additives. I run 15-40 in small engines, and really old trucks and cars...don't use it a a newer vehicle...unless you want to plug the cat.
 

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good to know but that still mean Rit can put it in his mower and it shouldn't hurt anything since there is no cats on riding mowers that i know of. how would 15-40 plug cats on newer vehicles? i could maybe see it not being compatible with some of the new engines and their over complicated workings but don't really see how it would get into the exhaust system unless something has failed in the engine.
 

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I read an article about ten years ago from an oil enginneer in Motor Trend that explained the anti wear additives in diesel oil would destroy Cats......if you look at oil raitings now, they don't mix gas and diesel oils anymore. In the 60's, I wouldn't use any oil in my race cars that didn't have the diesel rating.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So, yesterday, I took the 14.5 HP Intek engine (and mower) out to cut the lawn. I added oil, and Bardahl magic snake oil to the crankcase. The 1st 45 minutes, it smoked as usual going up hills, under load. Then, I took a break, added more oil and some more Bardahl (about 4 ox 1st time, and an additional 2 oz the 2nd time. This time cutting, it didn't smoke at all ! So, my "guess" is that I had stuck rings, that the Bardahl freed up, and cured the problem - for now.


My questions is - what do you think really happened, and will I be buying a new mower in one month, or in 5 years ?


THANKS


Rit
 
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