Diagnosing Lawn Mower noises-leaks and wheels can be frustrating to attempt, it helps to have guide as to where to begin.


Diagnosing Lawn Mower noises-leaks and wheels can be frustrating to attempt, it helps to have guide as to where to begin. 

I have found this section of a much larger article covering many aspects of small engines to be very helpful. There is a lot of good information here regarding Lawn Mower noises-leaks and wheels, you may want to bookmark this page. 

Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Small Gasoline Engines and Rotary Lawn Mowers 

Version 2.39 (28-Aug-07) Copyright © 1994-2007 Samuel M. Goldwasser 

--- All Rights Reserved ---

Instant troubleshooting chart - most common problems and possible causes


The following chart lists a variety of common problems and nearly all possible causes. Diagnostic procedures will then be needed to determine which actually apply. The 'possible causes' are listed in *approximate* order of likelihood. 

While this chart lists many problems, it is does not cover everything that can go wrong. However, it can be a starting point for guiding your thinking in the proper direction. 

(Portions of the following from: Chilten, Small Engine Repair 2-12 HP, (1).)


About squeals and other animal noises


While some may describe the engine of an antique automobile as 'purring', this will not likely apply to most gasoline powered lawn mowers. It would seem that noise reduction is just not a high priority design issue with lawn mower engineers or marketing types. However, even if not exactly quiet, the sound made by a healthy mower should not be similar to that of a pig being tortured.

• A screeching or squealing sound may be the result of worn bearings or inadequate lubrication. This could be due to lack of oil (!!) or a problem with the oil distribution system (pump, passages, slinger, etc.). It could also be a problem with auxiliary mechanical parts - power take-off, front wheel drive, or a starter clutch that fails to disengage.

• Banging or rattling noises may be due to parts that have worked loose due to vibration or by being inadequately tightened (by someone else, of course). The entire engine may be bouncing around on its mount. Or, the flywheel, blade, attachments, or chassis parts may be vibrating. Even if everything appears secure, there is quite a bit of energy associated with an engine running full throttle and parts can work loose.

• A low frequency shuddering or vibration may be due to debris under the deck. Check for wads of matted grass, twigs, branches, and 3 foot logs, caught in the baffles or exit chute. Sometimes, globs of this stuff fall off and get slung by the blades with all sorts of associated strange sounds.

A combination of the above are also possible. For example, a loose flywheel could result in it scraping against the magneto yielding a sound like a cat being squeezed to death (or that of a first year violin student) but possibly only at high revs :-). Of course, a badly worn engine can also result in piston and rod slap and other mechanical noises as internal parts with excessive clearances whack one another.

A complete engine overhaul may be in order or just tolerate it and plan for a new mower when the final day arrives (or your neighbours take up a collection).

There are many Lawn Mower noises-leaks and wheels issues that need your attention

Lawn mower fuel tank leaking


Fuel tanks can leak for a variety of reasons including defects in manufacturing, abuse, corrosion, etc. However, before you buy a new tank, a couple of notes:

1. If this is on an Briggs And Stratton there are known problems with some models - check with your local small engine repair shop as it may be under a (hidden) warranty.

2. A tank that is filled to the top may appear to be leaking when in fact it is just seepage from the cap vent hole. It may even attempt to fool you into replacing the tank by appearing to come from the seam!

If the tank is truly leaking, DON'T use the mower and drain the gas - you don't want to take chances with a possible engine fire or worse.


Lawn mower too loud


Small engines, especially those on cheaper mowers are usually loud, no question about it. However, if yours sounds like it is about to explode or take off, there may be something actually wrong.

Obviously, if it is back firing every other stroke, you have a problem with the ignition timing, mixture, valves, etc. What this section deals with is just the normal noise assuming the engine runs properly - and how to reduce it. Else, you need to perform the proper maintenance first.

• Make sure everything is tight - it may be the engine rattling against the deck or something simple like that.

• Your muffler could be worn out - probably rusted out. Inspect it and if in doubt, just replace. They only cost $3 or so. Some lawn mowers discharge under the deck. This should reduce the noise level but the proper (probably spark arresting) muffler must be used or else you risk igniting dry grass or whatever as you mow!

• It may be possible to purchase an after-market quieter muffler - Note that for a 2 stroke engine, the muffler is particularly critical for proper operation and substitution may be more difficult.


Lawn mower wheels


Wheels tend to get banged about and damaged or may just become loose and unstable due to wear. Wheels and wheel bolts are readily available at home centres (or Sears for Craftsman mowers).

• If really frozen, the use of penetrating oil like WD40 or Liquid Wrench should permit the old bolts to be removed using one or two wrenches (sockets preferred).

• In some cases, adding some metal washers on the axle may help to reduce wobble on a worn wheel which is too loose.

• The best type use ball bearings and will outlast the mower but I wouldn't expect to see this on anything less than the gold-plated model! However, ball bearing wheels can be installed as replacements.

• Use of WD40 can help to ease the pain of switching the cutting height of lever operated wheels.

If the previous information was of help to you and you would like to view the entire article please click here .

By having a basic guide to Lawn Mower noises-leaks and wheels you may save yourself many hours of anger and disappointment when you find out that it was something as simple as water in the gas that been preventing the mower from starting.

This information may also save you a lot of money by not having to take your mower right away to a small engine mechanic. Remember when ever you are working on your equipment think safety first.

“Keep It Simple to Succeed” lets get out there and make our lawns healthy and green!

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