John Deere LX178 Gas Starved Engine?


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John Deere LX178 Gas Starved Engine?

Donald I have 1996 John Deere LX178 15hp V-twin liquid cooled lawn tractor. It starts great and then stops like it ran out of gas. If I wait for awhile it will start and die the same way. I have taken the in line fuel filter off and blew in the line and it will bubble in the tank. I also blew in the filter and it was clear both ways. Can anyone help me out?
bontai Joe First thing to chek is loosening the gas cap. With an engine that dies in 10 minutes, it's usually the gas cap vent plugged and no allowing air in the tank to replace the fuel used. After a few minutes, the fuel pump can't pull against the vacuum created in the tank. If that isn't it, then it might be a heat induced ignition problem. Check for spark at the plugs right after it dies.
Donald I have taken the gas cap off. The engine starts and runs a few seconds and then runs out of gas. It seems like the fuel isn't getting to the engine fast enough. The spark and heat aren't the problem because it will start-up with no problem and doesn't run long enough to get hot.
bontai Joe Have you pulled the fuel line off at the carb and tried turning over the engine? Catch the fuel in a can and the flow should be continuous as the engine turns over. Could be a fuel pump problem, could be a partial blockage in the carb, could be a partial blockage at the screen in the bottom of the fuel tank, dirty fuel filter, and this is all assuming it's fuel related. I'd still be open to the idea that it's an electrical problem, such as a safety switch being activated by a short and cutting off the ignition. In short, it could be a lot of things and with a little time you can start eliminating them one by one.
Bruce Sounds like a weak fuel pump, to me. Here's what you do....: Remove the air filter cover. Lock the park brake and run the engine, until it starts to sputter. Have a can of WD-40 in hand, and when the engine is dying....spray WD-40 into the carb throat. If the engine will run, on what you are spraying...the problem is with fuel delivery..and not the carb! ie: fuel pump (since you stated the fuel line was clear!) Also,...remove the bottom of the carb bowl and inspect it. If it's full of gunk and varnish...clean it, and make sure the electric fuel shut-off solenoid is not varnished up and sticking closed. Clean with carb cleaner.
Chuck My LX178 seems to have a similar problem. I replaced the fuel filter and fuel pump. Fuel filter seems to run dry and the engine starts to sputter. Hooked up a gravity fed fuel system and at idle filter remains full, at high speed it drains the filter. I was wondering if the push rod for the fuel pump could cause this if it is worn or the cam that it works off of could be worn? Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly received as the grass is over ankle deep!
Robert Fisher same concerns? engine runs fine then sputters and appears to lose fuel pressure, replaced fuel filter, but notice it does not fill up, toggle choke and it will run, take off choke and it immediantly dies? Can anyone explain befor I replace everything and still miss real cause?
roboy same problem stuck float neddle valve take boel off crank motor gas should leak out if not check if not check float valve
tchuk I have the same issue. If I manually choke with my hand over the air intake the engine picks up and stays on. The moment I remove my hand or loose the appropriate seal it dies. I also have noticed fuel coming out of a thin short hose on the side of the carbuerator that was leaking fuel. What line is that and where does it go?
Jerry I had the same problem with my LX178. It turned out the caburator needle had broken free of the float. This allowed the needle to stick in the seat for a moment almost killing the engine (sometimes it did die) causing the engine to make no power. A new needle and attaching spring took care of the problem.
JIM I have had the same problem ever since I ran it out of gas. What's up? If I want to check the fuel tamk screen, how do I do that? How do I remove the fule tank?
Doug R I have a LX178 and it runs and mows fine for about 10 minutes then it will act like it is getting too much fuel (flooded)and it will die especially in taller grass. I replaced the plugs, new fuel and added Seafoam, and now it does not die, but will bog down and runs rich. I can keep it running by flooring it, but if I let off the gas it will die. It will start up immediately. Can the carb be adjusted, any ideas?
mike I read these posts with great interest because my hand-me-down lx 178 had the same symptoms, runs then after a length of time would stall like it had no fuel. After loosening the gas cap, changing plugs/fuel filter/air filter it continued to do the same thing. Fuel filter seemed half fuel. The solution for me simple...the needle in the carburetor was sticking. I took the bowl off, tapped the pin out that holds the float and the float and needle come out. I then sprayed carburetor cleaner in the needle hole and put it back together. Never worked on a carburetor before so I was hesitant but had nothing to loose. Just a simple case of gas that had gummed up the system a little.
Pete Hello,

Had the same problem. Would not stay running cold or hot unless I had the choke on. Removed the gas cap and used a blow gun with a rubber tip and blew into the vent hole. Not sure if that did anything but just in case. Then removed the carb and cleaned it very good. Also turned the engine over with the gas line disconnected into a can. Put everything back together and it runs like new! Told my neighbor and now I get to do the carbs on his pontoon...

dan I have had the same problems, so far what i have found that works is keeping the fan clean that sits between the gas tank and the tranny. problems started when i was cutting high grass, could'nt figure it out, ran for a bit then would sputter and stall, then would start but would have to hold the choke wide open to keep running. found that fan was caked with mud and grass once i cleaned it ran fine again, (for now) lol hope this helps
Jim_K I had a very similar problem of starting but not getting enough fuel. It turned out to be a adjustment from the choke cable to the carburetor. Hope this helps.
Jeff I have had every single one of the syptoms described in the above posts. I have found every one of them, every time, caused by the same thing. Dirty carb. Yep, you can replace the fuel pump at $135.00, the fuel lines at $25.00, The fuel cap, air filter and on and on. Replace all of them if you wish, it will still be syptomatic. The bottom line is this.....Mikuni actually used this carb on several applications. They inherently gum up and it is 9 out of 10 times in the float jet.
If there was a way to 86 the intake manifold and go to a vacuum sync 2 carb system for this motor it would solve almost all of the problems.....oh, wait, check out the nuckleheads who race lawn tractors, yes, lawn tractors. Nearly all twin cylinder racing tactors have been modified to have a dual carb system for maximum performance. What does this tell us? It says that the carb itself and the factory jetting is JUST barley adequete for the motor to run, not necessarily perform. We can sit and change jets, floats, bowls and mount an air horn on the hood and it will still suffer from a design flaw that requires constant maintenance. The best thing to do is to get familliar with the procedure to take the carb off. O
nce you have done it every year for the last 5-6 years you will have it down to about a 20-25 minute job. How do I know this? I've owned the same LX178 for the past 14 years and am a glutton for punishment.

Josh 90% of the time its the carb. Jeff above me is right on. bontai Joe said it best, it can be many things. But take it from someone who works on these things every day, just learn how to remove and clean the carb and main fuel nozzle, or pay me to.


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