Flooded john deere mower. 8 Reasons Why Your Lawn Mower Sputtering (Tips to Fix)

Reasons Why Your Lawn Mower Sputtering (Tips to Fix)

Is your lawnmower sputtering? If yes, you’re at the right place! There can be plenty of reasons why a machine doesn’t function properly. The same goes for a mower!

In this post, we’ll go through all the possible causes why your lawnmower might be sputtering. And, don’t you worry; we’ll be sharing how you can solve the issues as well! Let’s get started, shall we?

Moisture in the Fuel Tank or Fuel Line

Any moisture content in the fuel tank or the fuel line can cause problems in the engine. It will obstruct the ignition of the gasoline properly, thus, causing your lawnmower to sputter.

Your mower’s engine tank may contain water droplets from the condensation, or a loose gas cap or water droplets may be present in the fuel container before it even gets to the mower.

So, you need to regularly open the cap and check for the presence of water inside the tank. You can check for the presence of water by seeing whether the liquids are separating in two different phases or are of two different colors.

How to fix it?

If there’s a presence of water inside your tank, you can simply drain the old fuel out and pour a fresh lot of gasoline for the proper functioning of your lawnmower.

You should also be careful enough to safely dispose of the fuel that you have removed from the tank of the mower as it is highly flammable.

Clogged or Dirty Air Filters

It is one of the most common problems that cause lawnmowers to sputter. The mowers take the air from the surrounding through air filters and mix it with fuel inside the engine. So, if the air filter is clogged or dirty, it will affect the flow of air into the carburetor.

The dirt can also be accumulated in the parts that lead from the carburetor and the fuel filter that may cause the disturbance in fuel flow towards the combustion chamber.

How to fix it?

You have two options for fixing clogged air filters. You can either clean the air filters, or you can replace them with new ones. If you have a foam filter, you can clean it with a drop of dish soap and warm water. Remember to air-dry them before using them again.

But if you have paper air filters, you must replace them during the maintenance of your mower. You need to check the cap of the tank for too much air, and if any defect is seen, you should immediately replace it with a new one.

Spark plug issues

Any spark plug issues can make your lawnmower function poorly, make your engine difficult to start, run poorly, and eventually die. There are two parts in the spark plug you need to examine to find out the problems.

The first one is a firing tip where a metal bends and creates a gap between metals and electrodes. Here the metal bends might have deteriorated, or electrode tips may be rounded off, thus, causing the mower to sputter.

The other one is the porcelain housing which might be cracked, causing the lawnmower to degrade in its function.

How to fix it?

If the firing tip of your spark plug is causing problems, you can clean the tip with the help of a wire brush and reset the gap between metals and electrodes following the manufacturer’s specification.

However, if you are having problems with porcelain housing, you need to replace the spark plug with a new one. You can also replace your spark plug during every maintenance session for the smooth functioning of your mower.

over, try using a spark plug from a different company to find out if it works better than the original one.

A Dirty Mower Deck

If the grass of your lawn builds up in the mower deck, it may be one of the reasons why your lawnmower is sputtering. It usually happens when you have tall and wet grass on your lawn.

If you have a side discharge mower, the caked grass disturbs the exit hole, and the grass clumps instead of spreading evenly. If you have a bagger, it will have its limit of holding a certain quantity of grass, and if the quantity exceeds, then the extra grass will be spread on your lawn.

And finally, for the mulching mower, the caked grass decreases the space above the blades for the grass to be cut.

So, if space is reduced, then there will be degradation in the quality of the cut. This caked or built grass disturbs the intake and exit of grass, thus rendering your lawnmower vulnerable to sputtering.

How to fix it?

If you face such a problem, consider checking the underside of your lawnmower. However, before inspecting the mower, you must remove the spark plug with the help of a wrench for safety purposes.

Once you’re done, you can simply use a scraping tool such as a paint scraper to remove the excess grass from the mower deck, thus helping the lawnmower function smoothly.

Old Fuel or the Wrong Fuel

Fuel obtained from gas stations generally contains around 10% ethanol. As this fuel is cheaper than pure gasoline, many mower owners are drawn towards the fuel.

However, this ethanol-blended fuel is known to burn fast and, as a result, melt plastic parts. It might be the reason why your lawnmower is sputtering. On the other hand, if you’ve stored your mower for too long, the fuel in it might have gone bad, leading to a dysfunctional mower.

How to fix it?

Fixing the old or wrong fuel issue is relatively easy. All you have to do is replace the existing fuel with new fuel, and we recommend you to use fuel with as little ethanol percentage as possible, not more than 10%.

To renew the fuel, firstly, you have to locate the fuel tank and fuel line tank. Then, disconnect the fuel line using a pair of pliers and drain all your old fuel into a container. Remove the fuel bowl from the carburetor and clean it.

Connect the fuel bowl and fuel line, and finish off by adding proper quality mower fuel to the mower. Remember to check for any leaks.

Filthy and Clogged Carburetor

If you’ve been using the same mower for a while, the carburetor might have become filthy, and the gunky deposits might have clogged it. Such clogs might result in lawnmower sputtering and also cause the engine to die after starting.

How to fix it?

To fix this problem and prevent it from happening again, all you have to do is clean the carburetor routinely.

There are various carburetor cleaners available that you can directly spray into the carburetor intake. Doing so will loosen up the gunks, ensuring that they won’t clog the carburetor.

Carburetor Issues

If your mower carburetor is dirty, you can simply clean the gunk using cleaners. But there might be other complex carburetor issues that might even require professional help.

The carburetor combines fuel and air in such a way that it maximizes power while minimizing fuel consumption. If there’s too much air in the combination, the engine’s power degrades. And on the other hand, if there’s not enough air, the mower will consume too much fuel.

So, when the carburetor cannot balance between the two, your mower might sputter and eventually die.

How to fix it?

If you’re not experienced in fixing carburetor issues or, let’s say, you’re such a beginner in DIY lawnmower repair; we’d recommend you not to try fixing carburetor on your own.

We’d recommend you consider taking help from experts. They’ll know exactly what to repair and what to replace, which will save you a lot of headaches, time, and effort.

A Bad Gas Cap

Sometimes, the mower’s gas cap might be improperly vented. As a result, the amount of air getting inside the gas tank is so much that it causes a vapor lock. If that’s the case, it might be the reason why your mower has been acting crazy.

How to fix it?

Fixing this issue is quite easy. If you notice that the hole is restricted or the gas cap is damaged, you can simply replace the gas cap.


Finding out what might be the reason that your lawnmower sputtering can be tricky. However, we believe that this post has given you quite a bit of insight on how to check for the causes one by one.

The fixing part can be challenging as well, at least for some of the problems. So, if you’re not sure what you’re doing, we’d definitely advise you to seek expert’s help rather than trying to figure it out on your own, which might do more harm to the mower than good.

Let us know once you figure out the reason why your mower was sputtering! And, if you have more queries, you know where to leave the comment!

John Deere Tractor Turns Over But Won’t Start Troubleshooting Tips

If you buy something through our posts, we may get a small commission. Read more here.

It’s frustrating to find your John Deere tractor turning over but won’t start. The good news is you’ll need a few simple fixes to get it running smoothly again.

We’ve used numerous John Deere tractors and compiled common issues we’ve encountered here. Check this list our seasoned landscapers put together to help you get away from tractor woes.

Reasons Why Your John Deere Tractor Turns Over And Won’t Start Fixes

#1: Fuel Filter Problems

The fuel filter is essential because it ensures that dirt or debris doesn’t enter the carburetor and clog it. If your tractor wont start, check to see if the fuel filter is clogged.

You can do this by unscrewing the fuel filter and checking to see if there is any dirt or debris inside. If there is, you’ll need to replace the fuel filter.

#2: Low-Quality Fuel/Diesel

If you’re using low-quality fuel or diesel for your John Deere S100. this can also lead to your tractor not starting. It’s essential to use high-quality fuel because it helps prevent any issues with the engine.

Our professional landscapers recommend using premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 if you’re not sure what kind of fuel to use.

#3: Clogged Fuel Cap

A clogged fuel cap can prevent your tractor from running by restricting the airflow the engine needs. The fuel cap plays a crucial role in venting the tank and preventing pressure build-up.

Check for any clogs on the fuel cap and remove any debris. If it still doesn’t start, we recommend you replace the fuel cap.

#4: Inadequate Battery Power

If your battery doesn’t have enough power, it can keep your tractor from starting. Check if it needs to be recharged or replaced.

You can tell if the battery needs to be recharged below 12.6 volts. If it’s above 12.6 volts, but the tractor still won’t start, it might be time for a new battery.

#5: Inadequate Fuel

Not having enough fuel reaching the engine can keep your tractor from starting. Check the fuel level and add more fuel if necessary.

Consult an accredited John Deere maintenance services to look into its more technical aspects if it still won’t start.

#6: Fuel Contamination

Another possible problem with your John Deere tractor is fuel contamination. Be sure to check that there isn’t any water or other contaminants in the fuel tank to avoid further damage to the engine.

If you think there might be water in the fuel tank, drain it and refill it with fresh fuel.

#7: Defective Hose

A defective hose can also keep your tractor from starting.

Check all of the hoses for any cracks or leaks. If you find any, replace the hose as soon as possible. If your John Deere tractor is still giving you trouble, it might be time to call in the professionals.

#8: Fuel Injection Pump Problems

Fuel injection pump problems in your John Deere tractor could be because the timing is off or damages or leaks in the system.

Check the fuel lines for any leaks as they reduces the lifespan of lawn mowers. If you find any, tighten the fittings and see if that solves the problem. For damages, our experts recommend you seek a professional John Deere mechanic.

#9: Engine Problems

Based on our seasoned landscapers’ experience, damaged or broken piston rings are common culprits of this issue. Since piston rings help seal the air or fuel mixture in the cylinders, damaged ones can lead to a loss of compression.

We recommend taking the engine apart for users with some technical experience to check the piston rings for damages. Replace them as needed.

#10: Clogged Air Filter

A clogged air filter will prevent the right amount of air from getting to the engine, which keeps your John Deere tractor from starting.

To clean the air filter, remove it and tap it gently to remove any dirt or debris. If it’s still clogged, you’ll need to replace it.

#11: Wrong Throttle Operations

Wrong throttle operations keep your tractor from starting by preventing the right amount of air and fuel mixture from getting to the engine.

If you’re not sure how to operate the throttle, our experts recommend reading the tractor’s manual on how to self-repair. However, if you’re not familiar with the technicalities, consulting a professional John Deere mechanic prevents further damage.

#12: Wrong Starting Procedure

Novice mowers usually encounter this problem. John Deere tractors come with manuals to help users understand and follow the correct starting procedure.

We recommend doing your research or consulting a John Deere tractor representative if you’re unsure how to proceed.


Based on our experts’ opinion, John Deere [1] tractors are designed for more prolonged use with proper care.

If your John Deere tractor still turns over but won’t start even after following these tips, consult a professional when needed, avoid the frustration of delays, and get back to work in no time.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.

What Does Epoxy Not Stick To? Will it Stick to Paint, Metal?

Epoxy resin is a versatile and popular material used in various art, crafting, and DIY projects. While epoxy resin adheres well to many surfaces, there

How to Glue Plastic to Wood in 8 Ways

Woodworking often involves combining different materials to create functional and aesthetically pleasing projects. When bonding plastic to wood, choosing the right adhesive is crucial for

What Causes Carburetor Flooding

Carburetor flooding is a common problem faced by many car owners. When too much gasoline enters the carburetor, it overflows and leaks out, causing a dangerous situation where a simple spark can ignite a fire. In this article, we’ll explore the causes of carburetor flooding and how to prevent it from happening.

Understanding Flooding

Carburetor flooding happens when there is an excessive amount of gasoline entering the carburetor. This can happen when the float in the carburetor is damaged, the needle and seat are dirty, or there is a problem with the vent tube. It’s essential to identify the root cause of the flooding to prevent it from happening again.

Carburetor Parts and Flooding

When experiencing carburetor flooding, the first thing most people do is adjust the float setting. However, unless the float is way off, that’s usually not the problem. Setting the float to specifications and leaving it there is best. Fudging the float setting is only covering up the real problem.

The float could be causing the flooding if it has a hole or crack that allows it to fill up with gas, making it too heavy and keeping the needle open. To test your brass or plastic float, heat up water just before boiling and immerse the float in it. The inside of the float will expand, forcing air out of any hole or crack. The smallest hole will show bubbles in the water.

The Nitrophyl float is solid but can absorb fuel over time, and the only way to test it is to weigh it with a gram scale. Every float has a different weight, so it’s crucial to use the correct one.

Additionally, move the float up and down to feel any catches. The float pin could be worn, or the float could be rubbing on the side of the float bowl. The Autolite 4300 and Rochester Monojet are especially susceptible to this issue because the float fills up the float bowl so much.

The most common cause of flooding is dirt in the needle and seat. Dirt from a dirty gas tank or fuel line can rush into the carburetor after cleaning it and starting the engine. If your gas tank has been in use for many years, consider taking it off and giving it a good cleaning. Most rebuilds that are returned as defective are found to have dirt in the bottom of the float bowl. Eastwood has a good tank cleaner and sealer.

Note that even with a fuel filter, you can still get dirt up to the carburetor. Filters can’t be too restrictive or they will cut off the gas supply. Also, make sure all the old gasket has been removed under the seat.

Fuel Pump and Flooding

The fuel pump is another potential cause of flooding. If you have an electric pump, be sure to have a regulator installed between the pump and the carburetor. Set it for 4-5 lbs as per your motor’s manual. New fuel pumps are especially suspect as it isn’t unusual to have them pumping at 20 lbs of pressure.

If your vehicle has been sitting for three or more months, the gas may have turned and coated the inside of the carburetor. You’ll usually smell varnish when this happens. We recommend using Ethanol Defense in all your engines. It helps keep ethanol from damaging your parts.

Now the float could be causing the flooding. It might have a hole, or crack allowing it to fill up with gas. That makes it too heavy and will keep the needle open.

To test your brass or plastic float, heat up water just prior to boiling and immerse the float in the water. The inside of the float will heat up and expand forcing air out of any hole or crack. The smallest hole will show bubbles in the water.

A Nitrophyl float is solid and the only way to test them is to weigh it with a gram scale. Every float has a different weight.

Move the float up and down to feel any catches. The float pin could be worn. Also make sure the float isn’t rubbing on the side of the float bowl. The Autolite 4300 and Rochester Monojet is especially guilty of this happening because the float fills up the float bowl so much.

What happens often is you clean your carburetor, then start the engine. Dirt from a dirty gas tank, or in the fuel line rushes up and into the carburetor. So if your gas tank has been is use for many years, consider taking it off and giving it a good cleaning. Most rebuilds that are returned as defective are found to have dirt in the bottom of the float bowl. Eastwood has a good tank cleaner and sealer.

Note: Even with a fuel filter you can get dirt up to the carburetor. Filters can’t be so restrictive that they cut off the gas supply.

Another thing to think about when it come to the needle seat. Any pressure on the needle (viton tip) while adjusting the float can damage the tip and gas can leak by the needle.

The fuel pump is another possibility. If you have an electric pump be sure to have a regulator installed between the pump and the carburetor. Set it fo 4-5 lbs as per your motors manual.

Has your vehicle been sitting for 3 or more months? The gas may have turned and coated the inside of the carburetor. You will usually smell varnish when this happens.

We recommend you use Ethanol Defense in all of your engines. This will help keep ethanol from damaging your parts.

So, as you can see flooding can be caused by multiple conditions. You just need to take one at a time and work through them. Seldom does a carburetor problem blamed on any ONE thing.

Starting a Flooded Engine If your car’s engine is flooding, there’s a good chance you’ll have to remove the spark plugs and dry them off. Leave the plugs out of the hole for a while to let the inside of the cylinder dry out. When starting an overly rich or flooding engine, hold the gas pedal all the way to the floor. You can also hold the choke valve open while cranking.

Be sure to have a fire extinguisher around in case of backfire. It’s essential to take safety precautions when starting a flooded engine, as a backfire can occur, causing a dangerous situation.

Very dangerous because so many engines and cars burn up because of a gas leak, or flooding. All the gas has to do is touch a spark and off it goes.

Which reminds me, anytime you are working on your engine be sure to have a fire extinguisher close by.

A customer spent years restoring his GTO and the 1st time he took it out for a trial spin, the carburetor flooded over and caught fire. Well, guess what? He didn’t have a fire extinguisher, or anything else to put the fire out. He had to stand there and watch his car burn. It made me sick just hearing about it.

When I talked to this customer he was just getting done with the 2nd restoration and was calling me for a carburetor kit. The carburetor was the last thing he had to finish the car.

Preventing Carburetor Flooding

Prevention is key to avoiding carburetor flooding. Here are some tips to help prevent flooding from happening:

  • Regular Maintenance: Regular maintenance can help prevent carburetor flooding. Cleaning the fuel tank, fuel lines, and carburetor can help keep dirt and debris from accumulating in the needle and seat, preventing fuel from flowing properly.
  • Fuel Additives: Using fuel additives, such as ethanol defense, can help keep the fuel system clean and prevent the gas from turning and coating the inside of the carburetor.
  • Proper Adjustment: Ensuring the carburetor’s float setting is at the correct specifications and that the needle and seat are clean and functioning correctly can prevent flooding.
  • Fuel Filter: Installing a fuel filter can help keep dirt and debris from entering the carburetor, preventing clogging of the needle and seat.

Carburetor flooding is a common problem faced by car owners. It can be caused by several factors, including a damaged float, dirty needle and seat, and dirty fuel tank or lines. Regular maintenance, proper adjustment, fuel additives, and installing a fuel filter can help prevent flooding. If your car’s engine floods, it’s essential to take safety precautions when starting it, such as having a fire extinguisher nearby. By understanding the causes of carburetor flooding and taking preventive measures, you can avoid this dangerous and costly problem.

Why Is My Lawn Mower Spark Plug Wet? (And How Can I Fix It?)

So you are here because you are asking why is my lawn mower spark plug wet?

flooded, john, deere, mower

It is a valid concern, as these small pieces of equipment are what essentially make your mower’s engine produce power by supplying the spark to ignite the mix of air and fuel.

If the spark plug is wet then it makes doing this A LOT harder!

Let’s take a look at what can cause a wet spark plug and how to fix.

Why Is My Lawn Mower Spark Plug Wet?

If your lawn mower spark plug is wet, then it will nearly always be wet with oil or without petrol. If it is wet with petrol it is often because either you have flooded the engine when trying to start it, or too much fuel is being allowed in the carburetor. If it is wet with oil usually either the tank has been overfilled, oil has leaked onto the plugs when it has been tilted or the piston seals are worn.

What Are the Symptoms of Wet Spark Plugs?

Let’s ignore the most obvious symptom of a wet spark plug for now (it feels wet…).

Beyond physically looking at, and touching the spark plug, there are a few telltale signs that there is an issue with your lawn mower’s spark plug:

  • Your Mower Is Difficult to StartThis is the most common symptom of a faulty spark plug. It isn’t properly producing the spark to ignite the air/fuel mixture and start the engine. It might take several pulls on the starter rope or turns of the engine to get your mower going.
  • Your Mower Isn’t Running ProperlyWe can all immediately tell when any piece of mechanical machinery isn’t performing to its optimum levels. It might keep dying out, spluttering or faltering. This could be because a faulty spark plug is causing the engine to misfire.
  • Your Mower is Consuming a Lot of FuelWhen a spark plug is faulty the fuel is not being burnt properly, thus the mower is less efficient and fuel consumption is higher. Often the fuel will emit an unusual odor as well.

If you notice your spark plug is wet, then it stands to reason that it will have been made wet by one of two substances…

flooded, john, deere, mower

Why Is My Spark Plug Wet With Petrol?

If you are finding the spark plug on your lawn mower is wet with petrol, there are two possible explanations.

Reason #1: You Have Flooded the Engine by Excessive Use of the Choke

Overly using the choke when starting your mower will flood the engine with too much fuel and not enough air.

The plug will become fuel fouled as a result and not spark.

How to Fix This

If this is the problem you can either:

  • Remove the spark plug. Pull the starter cord a few times to get rid of any fuel from the cylinder. Reinstall the spark plug when it has dried out.
  • Remove the air filter and put some starter fluid into the mouth of the carburetor. The starter fluid should get the engine going, and then combustion process should dry the spark plug.

Reason #2: There Could Be a Problem With the Carburetor

If the above doesn’t appear to be the issue, then there could be a problem with the carburetor.

Often the cause here is linked to the carburetor float needle and seat. They might be worn out, the fuel float could be leaky, or something (such as dirt) could be holding the needle off its seat.

What then happens is too much fuel enters the float chamber and is passed into the carburetor.

Air pressure forces excessive fuel into the engine flooding the spark plug.

How to Fix This

If it is severely clogged, then sufficient amounts of air cannot enter the carburetor, which is then flooded by too much fuel.

Also refer back to the owner’s manual. Often failing to follow the correct procedure when starting the mower can be to blame.

#2: Why Is My Spark Plug Wet With Oil?

The other substance your spark plug is likely to be wet with is oil.

Usually, this will be due to one of three reasons.

Reason #1: The Tank Has Been Overfilled With Oil

If too much oil is poured into the tank, the crankcase can overflow, and the oil will leak onto the spark plug.

How to Fix This

Simply remove the oil cap and drain out some of the oil. The best way to do this is to use something like a turkey baster and extract the excess oil this way.

flooded, john, deere, mower

Reason #2: The Mower Has Been Tipped on its Side

Have you recently tilted your mower sideways to clean under the deck or sharpen the blades maybe?

If so, when you did this oil may have pooled up under the piston and either seeped past the piston rings or entered the carburetor via the air intake when the mower was turned on. From there this can cause the spark plug electrodes to become oily.

How to Fix This

You can remove the spark plug and allow it to dry, or clean it with carburetor or brake cleaner.

When you reinstall the plug the engine should dry out any remaining oil on the spark plug.

Reason #3: The Piston Ring Seals Are Worn

The seals on piston rings prevent oil from leaking into the combustion chamber.

If they become too worn, oil can spray onto the spark plug.

How to Fix This

Piston ring wear occurs when there has been excessive use of the engine. It isn’t an easy part to replace and will require an engine rebuild.

If you are mechanically minded you can try and replace the piston rings, but often it is easier and sometimes cheaper to buy a new mower.

Or if the mower is still running fine you can continue to use it.

Wet Spark Plugs and Two-Cycle Engines

Although most mowers these days are four-cycle, there are still some two-cycle mowers knocking about.

If you have a two-cycle engine, then a wet spark plug isn’t actually too much to worry about, in fact it is somewhat normal.

With two-stroke engines, there is always a bit of oil residue in the cylinder, and often this will make its way onto the spark plug.

The mix of fuel and oil that two-stroke engines burn is meant to leave a bit of oil behind as a lubricant.

Lots of excess oil in the cylinder of a two-stroke mower might indicate that you have added too much oil to your fuel.

How to Fix Wet Spark Plugs: An Overview

If you are having trouble starting or keeping your lawn mower running then there could be an issue with the spark plugs.

If they are wet then they won’t ignite properly.

Whilst sometimes water in the tank or injector leaks can be the cause of a wet lawn mower spark plug, this is very rare.

It will nearly always be wet with oil or with petrol.

Most of the time the problem can be fixed without a huge amount of expense. The exception to this rule is if the cause is worn piston rings.

But even then most lawn mower engines are built to last at least five years, so if your piston rings are worn you should hopefully have got plenty of use out of them by this point.