15.5 HP Kohler Mower Won't Start

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15.5 HP Kohler Mower Won't Start

Bo Lasquis I have a Craftsman model 917.259591 mower with the 15.5 hp Kohler engine. I've had it since 1996 and it's always worked great. I had to leave it outside for a few months this winter due to some problems with my shed. When I got ready to use it this spring, it wouldn't start. It turns over but it won't run. When I spray starting fluid into the carburetor, it runs for a few seconds and then quits. I pulled the plug, cleaned it in my abrasive spark plug cleaner and gapped it to 0.040 (per the manual), I've drained and replaced the fuel in the tank, blew out the fuel lines with compressed air, and replaced the fuel filter. I ran the starter with the fuel line disconnected right at the carb and it is pumping gas just fine. I'm assuming it's getting spark since it runs on the starting fluid. Oh yeah, I charged the battery up to full charge and it's about a year old.

Any suggestions what I check next?



Joe Remove carb bowl & check for dirt/water in same(after shutting fuel off to carb)dump & cleanout bowl,check that main jet inlet holes are clear,check that float operates smoothly,without binding or sticking,with bowl off open fuel shutoff valve 1/2-3/4 turn to see if you get gas thru float needle valve(inlet may be plugged between where hose attaches to carb & float needle valve.I would suspect from the way you describe you have dirt or water(condensation-water being heavier than gas migrates to lowest part of system,usually carb bowl)blocking main jet in carb.One other thing to check,if you have a antibackfire sol mounted on bottom of carb bowl,make sure same is working,plunger should retract all the way into tube or sol body,if not you get no gas into main jet of carb(with sol off carb turn key to run & ground sol body,see if plunger pulls back)
Ron Try to start it then immediately pull the plug. If it's wet with gas you have an ignition problem, if not, it's a fuel problem.

I'll bet it's water in the fuel. Easy fix. Drain the tank. Pour 1/2 can of B12 Chemtool liquid - not spray - (any auto parts store; do NOT substitute) in the tank with fresh gas. Fresh means you buy it the same day. B12 contains MEK and acetone and will immediately absorb any water.

I use this trick on all my equipment. I let them sit for 7 months each winter with gas in them. In the spring, 1/2 can of B12 goes in, one or two pulls, and they start, every time.

Bo Lasquis Thanks for the great tips, Joe. I think you're onto it. I pulled the carb but I couldn't figure out how to get it apart. I blew it out by putting compressed air through the fuel inlet, though, and a bunch of gunk came out of it. I cleaned it up as best I could and put it back on and it started but didn't run very well. It surged up and down. I ran it around the driveway a couple of times and it got worse, so I shut it off. I'm guessing there's still some gunk in the carb. Any ideas how it comes apart?

I do appear to have a solenoid on the bottom of the carb. I'll check that once I figure out how to get the carb apart.

Thanks again.

Bo Lasquis Thanks, I'll try that. I always put fuel stabilizer in the gas cans when I fill them up. I'm wondering if my supply of fuel stabilizer is too old, though. I'll try the B12.
Joe Most carbs use the sol to hold carb bowl on,disconnect wire(s) to sol try unscrewing sol from bottom of carb,on some models you will see sol screwed into a large hex head reducer bushing,remove bushing,carb bowl should come off.
Bo Lasquis Very cool. That did it. There was lots of gunk in the bowl, on the float, and all around the jet. I cleaned it all out and checked the flow like you suggested, put it all back together and it's running like a top.

Thank you very much!


Donald I had that or a similar problem after washing my mower the first time. Water got into the start relay and rusted it to the point it wouldn't function properly. It would turn over but not fire or start.
Doug Anybody have a manual for this mower? I inherited mine from my father and the manual got lost.

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