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Troy Bilt Bronco riding mower with Kohler courage 18 wont start.....

I have a Troy Bilt Bronco with a Kohler courage 18 engine. The engine ran fine the last time I used it (two weeks ago) and now it won't start. The starter solenoid went out a few weeks ago, instead of fixing it, I did the quick and easy thing and jumped it off of the bottom of the starter - I have jumped it in this fashion probably 4 times - now it won't jump off and won't even make a noise. I wasn't sure if the mower battery was good, so I even tried jumping it off my truck, so I know it was getting plenty of volts, yet it didn't even make a noise. I put a new starter on it this morning and still no luck....(i thought that must be the problem since it wouldnt jump off) I check the oil (which has been changed once a year in the three years I have owned it and its good. what could it be...the coil?

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Manage My Life
Gary,
Jerry is a great help -first thing I would check is the wire that provides power to the solenoid. On my mower, that wire had been damaged somehow inside the sheathing and had shorted out. if the wire looks good, check voltage on it anyway and make sure it has power. Mine did not.
Also, I thought my problem at one point was the solenoid as well - but found that after I cleaned the carb AND cleaned the solenoid that everything worked fine. Try cleaning the carb thoroughly before you replace the solenoid.
Good luck !
by Manage My Life
October 1st, 2012
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Jerry C
Hello Gary,



Thank you for replying with the detailed description. In your case, there is a reasonable probability that the solenoid has failed, but since there has been an issue elsewhere in the electrical system it would be a good idea to take a voltage measurement at the solenoid (it's connector) to ensure that it is energized with the key in the on position. If there is voltage to the solenoid, it is cost effective to flush out the carburetor first, then try to start it up again. If it still fails, the solenoid is the likely suspect. I cannot stress the high probability of debris clogging the fuel inlet, float needle and venturi tube on the carburetor though. We have seen quite a few reports of debris, undoubtedly from from the last section of the fuel line after the filter, due to what we assume are different formulations of fuel causing deterioration of the old lines.



Please keep me posted and let me know if you would like any further assistance.



Jerry C
by Jerry C Earned 317 community points in Lawn Mowers
October 1st, 2012
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Manage My Life
I have the exact same mower, same model number and engine and a similar problem. I was mowing a couple of weeks ago and it just died. The engine would crank but not start. I put in a new spark plug and it didn't appear to be getting any fire so I replaced the coil. I can get it to start using starter fluid but it will not feed gas and dies again as soon as the starter fluid burns out.

Is it possible that the fuel solenoid is bad. Remember it died while mowing so whatever is the problem it occurred while the mower was in use and not after sitting in storage.
by Manage My Life
September 30th, 2012
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Jerry C
Hello Blake,



I'm glad to hear that you have it going! I agree with Jones that this sounds like an oil overfill condition. I would not worry about it and just be sure to follow Jonesmowers' guidance on checking the oil prior to the next time you use the mower.



I have attached a link to the bowl gasket at the end of this reply. Please let me know if there is anything that I can further assist you with.



Jerry C
by Jerry C Earned 317 community points in Lawn Mowers
June 19th, 2012
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Manage My Life
what color was the smoke,if you overfill with oil it will smoke till it burns out.if it quit smoking after you ran it then its fine.check the oil when you go to use it again
by Manage My Life
June 18th, 2012
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Manage My Life
By the way, I checked the oil level in the engine. It didn't use any. My first inclination was to think that the rings were damaged on the engine somehow and it was burning oil, but it did not use any oil while this smoking problem was going on.
Also, the carb isn't leaking gas like it was, so I don't think excessive gas is getting to the engine as the prior fuel problem was solved by cleaning the float bowl / needle as you suggested. Also, I mowed a little over 2 acres today and I only used 1/4 tank of gas, so it isn't using excessive fuel....
Anyway, let me know what you think about that.
And let me know if you have a part number on the bowl gasket or just a carb kit part number.
Thanks !
by Manage My Life
June 18th, 2012
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Manage My Life
OK. I finally had time to work on the mower again today. Here is where I am.
I drained the oil, changed the filter and replaced the oil with new SAE 30. I checked the dipstick and I do have the right amount in the engine. I decided to go with your idea and just clean the carb and not replace solenoid yet. I removed the carb again and took it apart. You were correct, it was just stuck and needed a bit of light tapping to get the bowl off. I did find some debris in the bowl, but nothing on the needle. I cleaned everything thoroughly with carb cleaner, then sprayed it again, then again for good measure. I put the carb back together (only problem is that the bowl gasket is a bit stretched looking and I believe it should be replaced, I could use that part number or the rebuild kit number for the carb if you have that) and then secured everything back on the engine. I put about a 1/4 tank of gas in, and fired it up. Cranked good, but smoked like a chimney from the exhaust. Had me worried so I shut it down, started to look like it was going to catch fire I had so much smoke. I let the smoke clear and checked everything for leaks, etc and could find no problems - so I fired it up again. Smoked alot second time, but not quite as much. I let it run for a while on low idle and then shut it down and let it sit for a while. Then I fired it up again and this time it smoked just a tad and then cleared - so I took it for a test drive and it ran great and mowed perfectly. I mowed for about 30 minutes and then parked it under the carport for about 15 minutes and then came back to it and fired it up again. It smoked a tad again, then cleared and ran great with no smoke and I mowed the rest of the 2 acres that i needed to mow with no problems. My question from today is this - what caused the smoke each time I cranked it - is this a carb adjustment problem or was the engine burning off the gas that was leaked into the crankcase when the float was stuck ? any ideas ?
by Manage My Life
June 18th, 2012
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Manage My Life
pull the spark plugs out and turn it over by the key,also go ahead and change oil and oil filter if it has one
by Manage My Life
June 15th, 2012
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Jerry C
I've attached the link at the end of this reply, I guess the system isn't too fond of me today!
by Jerry C Earned 317 community points in Lawn Mowers
June 15th, 2012
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Jerry C
Hello Blake,



Sorry the link did not work on the last post. We'll try again.



Yes, definitely change the filter too. I recommend always changing the filter when changing oil.

Here is a link to the oil filter

and should also be available locally and at your local Sears. There are several types of filters available.



The float bowl is a compression fit, the pressure from the fuel cutoff solenoid being screwed in holds it on. It is just stuck on most likely due to oxidized fuel, it'll just take a good rap from a brass drift or a piece of hard plastic or aluminum to get it off. Don't use steel, we don't want any sparks. A few smaller taps is better than one big hit, the metal on the bowl could be deformed from too hard of a hit. I have included a diagram of the carburetor and the direction to tap it off.



I have also included info on where to find the rest of the engine model number.



I think that you almost have this problem solved, great job! Please don't hesitate to reply, I'm happy to assist you.



Jerry C
by Jerry C Earned 317 community points in Lawn Mowers
June 15th, 2012
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Jerry C
Hello Blake,



Yes, definitely change the filter too. I recommend always changing the filter when changing oil.

Here is a link to the oil filter

and should also be available locally and at your local Sears. There are several types of filters available.



The float bowl is a compression fit, the pressure from the fuel cutoff solenoid being screwed in holds it on. It is just stuck on most likely due to oxidized fuel, it'll just take a good rap from a brass drift or a piece of hard plastic or aluminum to get it off. Don't use steel, we don't want any sparks… A few smaller taps is better than one big hit, the metal on the bowl could be deformed from too hard of a hit. I have included a diagram of the carburetor and the direction to tap it off.



I have also included info on where to find the rest of the engine model number.



I think that you almost have this problem solved, great job! Please don't hesitate to reply, I'm happy to assist you.



Jerry C
by Jerry C Earned 317 community points in Lawn Mowers
June 15th, 2012
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Manage My Life
Thanks again Jerry. I do appreciate all your help. I am planning on changing the oil. I called the parts store and asked them to round me up an oil filter, as there is one on this engine and I think it should be changed after this. I will get the oil changed before I fire it up again.
The mower has two model numbers - one is on the plastic cover on the Kohler engine itself ( here it states that the model number of the engine is SV540S ) - - - - - the other is on a sticker under the hood (the sticker also has relacement part numbers for various parts like the air filter, fuel filter, etc.) ( on the sticker it states that the model number is 13AV60KG ). And again, for verification, this is a troy bilt mower, 42" cut with an 18 HP Kohler Courage Engine. This was purchased in 2008, almost exactly 4 years ago, I remember this as it was my fathers day present from the wife and kids.
Here is my new problem (and I should have mentioned this in my previous post) - When I was cleaning the carb, I could not get the bowl off of the bottom of the carb and I did not want to force it. I sprayed everything I could get to thoroughly with carb cleaner, but I could not get the bowl off and I know how much corruption can get caught up i there, so I used up about half a bottle of carb cleaner spraying up i the jet and letting it drain back out....I have cleaned carbs on mowers before and normally when you remove the bolt at the bottom of the carb bowl, the bowl just comes right off. On this mower, I had to remove the fuel shut off solenoid from the bottom (which screws into the bottom of the bowl / carb ) and I assumed that the bowl would come right of but NOPE, it will not. I tried unscrewing it thinking it might have threads but didn't get anywhere and didn't want to force it and break it. Suggestions for getting the bowl off of the carb ??? Let me know. Thanks.
by Manage My Life
June 14th, 2012
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Jerry C
Hello Blake,



You have made a lot of headway! Great Job! OK, the fuel issue can be a real mess. First things first, drain the tank to stop anymore leakage. Drain the oil! A lot of people don't do this and the fuel usually makes it's way into the crankcase and seriously dilutes the oil and I don't need to tell you how terrible this is on the internal engine components. I would then go ahead and put new oil right back into it. Now, I have seen quite a few folks change the solenoid when they experience the leaky carb syndrome, but I would pull the bowl again and definitely check the carburetor float needle valve. I'll attach an image which will help you. This is usually the item that causes the problem. I would advise replacing the length of fuel line from the fuel filter to the carburetor and then with the float bowl off and the float and needle valve out, spray a little carb cleaner into the fuel line connector. I have seen quite a few tractors with this section of line prematurely deteriorating; it is assumed that new fuel formulations are causing this. Be careful not to lose the needle's seat that may be up in the port where the needle is inserted. I need a little more information off of the model plate on the engine to look up the exact carburetor kit and parts for you and to provide you with an image or diagram.



One more thing, be sure to put the shields back in place on the mower prior to running it for any extended length of time. They channel the air from the flywheel over the engine to cool it and it not in place the engine can overheat quickly.



Let me know what you find and please reply with the full engine model if you can.



Jerry C
by Jerry C Earned 317 community points in Lawn Mowers
June 14th, 2012
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Manage My Life
I stopped each time (about 4 times) that I noticed the smell and tried to figure out what it was, but couldn't see a problem. Sometimes the smell was accompanied by a small puff of smoke that would quickly go away, so I knew something was most likely going on that I couldn't see. I mowed about 1/2 acre front yard and it ran good the entire time....I decided to park it since it was getting dark yesterday evening after all this and came back out this morning to investigate what might be going on with the smell/smoke. I had parked the mower under the carport, and upon walking out the side door of the house I immediately smelled the strong scent of gas. I then noticed that the mower had a big 'wet spot' all around it on the concrete. After a few explicatives, I removed the air filter, the plastic is warped from the gas, and gas was dripping out of the carb itself. I removed the spark plug and slowly turned the engine and my fear was realized....gas came pouring back out of the carb. It appears that the (this is my best guess at this point) the solenoid stuck in the open position and gas continued to flow into the carb after I turned it off and has filled the crankcase of the engine. Obvoiusly I need a new fuel shut off solenoid, which I have called the parts store and ordered. I turned the engine over a few times manually and kept forcing out what I could as far as fuel/fumes. nothing comes out now when I slowly turn it over....but, what do I do to remove any remaining fuel from the crankcase, or should I just let it sit for a few days and then re-start with the new fuel solenoid ?
by Manage My Life
June 14th, 2012
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Manage My Life
Thanks for the additional help - here is where I am with it now - - -
I removed the air filter so that I could see what was going where on the engine and then traced the fuel line from the tank....the line goes to a fuel filter and then to the carb. There appears to be no 'pump'. There is a fuel cutoff solenoid mounted on the bottom of the carb bowl - this solenoid has a wire comming from it that I traced back to the coil. While tracing the wire I noticed that it has some "bad spots" on it where the outer insulation was damaged and I could see the wire - this happened where it was rubbing on something in a couple locations - so I cut off the bad part of the wire and replaced it with a new peice of wire and made the splices using shrink type connectors. i then removed the carb and the solenoid itself. I noticed when I removed the carb that I could smell 'bad' gas - you know, the terrible sweet smell that gas gets when it goes bad. That told me that most likely the solenoid had stopped working due to the bad wire. I cleaned the solenoid and carb thoroughly with carb cleaner and re-installed them, being careful to put gaskets back (one against engine and one on outer side of carb where the carb meets the inner part of the air breather cover that mounts against it. I put the inner air breather cover back on, then the outer cover went back on with a new filter w/ foam pre-cleaner that I had just bought. Remembering what you said about not having power to the solenoid when I bypass the electrical by jumping it, I put my battery charger on the battery, the jumped the mower off of the starter. WALLA, we cranked up - ran poorly for a few minutes, then leveled out. I left the plastic top cover off the engine (making sure that the oil dipstick was secure without the plastic top cover to help stabilize it) and I went about mowing grass to test it out. While mowing I noticed sometimes I could smell a strange smell, almost a burning smell.....
by Manage My Life
June 14th, 2012
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Manage My Life
if it has one it will be on the side,and also it will be round.its called a pancake pump,follow your gas lines
by Manage My Life
June 13th, 2012
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Jerry C
Hello Blake,



It's great to hear back from you. It appears that you have the engine cranking over now, it will just not fire up. I agree with Jones that this appears to be a fuel issue. I have attached an image showing the carburetor and the fuel cutoff solenoid. The first thing to do is to verify that you have 12 volts going to the solenoid with the key on. If you are bypassing the electrical system and jumping the starter on the starter side of the solenoid, there will not be any way the voltage can get to the solenoid. If the battery on the mower is charged, turn the key to run. You should hear the fuel cutoff solenoid click, but more importantly, you should be able to read 12 volts on the wire that goes to it.



If the solenoid checks out, then verify that the fuel pump is working. Secure the fuel line that runs to the carburetor in a container that you can easily view and verify that it is grounded to the chassis. Crank the engine momentarily and you should see fuel squirting out of the hose and into the container. If not, either a filter is plugged or the fuel pump has failed. One note, many of these engines show a fuel pump in the diagram, but it is not there in actuality.



There is a number plate on the side of the engine upper blower housing. It has the first several numbers that you have provided and then there will be some more characters, probably with dashes or spaces. These are the numbers required to verify the correct parts. It would be great if you could find the full model number.



I believe that we are getting down to the root of the non running condition, we'll still have to figure out the electronics though. Again, Jones, thank you for getting Blake on the right track! Please reply with any questions and findings. I look forward to further assisting you.



Jerry C
by Jerry C Earned 317 community points in Lawn Mowers
June 13th, 2012
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Manage My Life
if you have spark and no gas its not gonna run,and does the plug foul out
by Manage My Life
June 12th, 2012
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Manage My Life
the old kohler,the fuel pumps ran off the crank,now there should be a round pump on the front side with gas lines.pull the line that is close to the front and turn the mower over and see if gas comes out.that will let you know about the fuel problem
by Manage My Life
June 12th, 2012
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Manage My Life
by the way, I also tried removing the 'kill wire' from the coil so that if one of the safety switches is bad then it won't kill the fire to the plug - I jumped it with that kill wire off and still would not crank. with that said I don't think the problem is a safety switch.
by Manage My Life
June 12th, 2012
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Manage My Life
Thanks Jerry. I have worked on it some this afteroon - here is where I am now - - -
I removed the cable from the bottom of the starter and made sure everything was clean and getting a good connection, then re-attached the cable. I checked all the wires behind the "dash" and all seemed in good shape and attached properly so it doesn't appear that anything is shorting out. I attempted to find all of the safety switches on the mower (still can't find the brake safety switch....but did disconnect the seat and "no mow in reverse" safety switches. I tried to jump it again and WALLA, it turned over and tried to crank. I thought I was home free, but alas it did not fire up. Tried a few times with a good 5 minutes in between so that i didn't overheat the starter. Still, no joy. So, i removed the spark plug wire and then removed the spark plug - the plug looks good, was changed last year and wasn't used much - then I put the spark plug back in the plug wire and layed the plug on the engine where it would get good ground - then I tried jumping it again to check the spark in the plug. I could clearly see the fire jumping the plug so the plug and coil appear to be good. I put the plug back in and reattached the plug wire and it occured to me at this point that I did not smell any fuel from the attempted crankings so I think maybe I had more than one problem here and now I am down to a fuel problem....the gas it good and is not old....the fuel filter has never been changed so I will remove and check that to see if fuel flows thru it or if it has gotten clogged somehow (that has only happened to me on an old murray lawn mower that my dad had used for 15 years) I am wondering though...does this mower have a soleoid or something on the fuel system? It appears like a standard gravity fed system, but I am not sure. To answer your specific questions about mower & engine model - - the mower is a troy bilt bronco 42" cut. The engine is a kohler courage SV540S - 2008 model
by Manage My Life
June 12th, 2012
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Jerry C
Hello Blake,

I'd like to assist you with your engine not starting. The question that I have is does the new starter even attempt to turn or can you hear a click when power is applied via the jumper cables? If not, I would use a meter or test light to verify voltage from the jumper cables. You should at least get a click or attempt out of the starter if there is voltage going to it.

I am also wondering about your ground. Where are you clipping the negative cable onto? There should be a good ground to the chassis, but if not, it would act as if there were no voltage to the starter. Have you attempted to turn the engine over by hand? If not, ensure the key switch is set to off. Remove the spark plug cable and by hand, attempt to move the engine by turning the plastic screen at the top of the engine a little. Be careful not to apply too much pressure to the plastic and break it. The test is not to turn the engine over, it is just to see if it is free and will move a little.

It would be great to get your engine's model number and the tractors model number. Please reply and I'll be happy to assist you further.

Jerry C
by Jerry C Earned 317 community points in Lawn Mowers
June 12th, 2012
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afritz afritz
I understand that your riding mower will not start. While you are waiting for an expert to respond, I have attached some helpful links below that may provide information to assist you with your question. Have a great day!
by afritz afritz Earned 1,258 community points in Lawn Mowers
June 9th, 2012
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