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Repair information for the Pony 42, a Troy-Bilt brand riding lawnmower.

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Lawnmower won't start after oil spilled when cap was off

My lawnmower was tipped over & oil was spilled. Cleaned up oil, replaced oil, now mower won't start. Why?

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May be that oil got past the rings in the cylinder. This could’ve occurred when it was tipped over, or you may have overfilled it when you added oil.

First be sure the mower is not overfilled with oil. If it is, turn the mower up on the oil fill tube side, with a pan in place to catch the oil, remove the oil fill cap & allow the oil to drain out into the pan. After the oil stops coming out set the mower back on all four wheels. (I wouldn’t advise trying to use this oil in the mower again, by the way.)

Next, disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug, remove the spark plug & inspect it for evidence of oil in the cylinder (and to see if it otherwise appears to be in good condition). While the plug is out, (and without pressing the fuel primer bulb, etc.) pull the start cord several times (you might see oil being discharged out the spark plug hole). Clean the spark plug (or replace it) & reinstall it, then reconnect the plug wire securely.

Add new engine oil back into the mower, in increments, being careful not to overfill. Screw the fill cap back in place.

Ensure it’s got fresh gas, press the primer bulb a few times & give it a pull. If this solves the “won’t start” problem, expect to see a lot of smoke as it runs. It has to burn off the residual oil, so just allow it to run a few minutes, and the smoke should clear itself.

Good Luck.

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Thank you so much for this bit of trouble shooting knowledge. I had taken the carb apart on a briggs and stratton 450 series.(The mower wont start at all). Before doing any of that I checked the oil, which looks cruddy as !&&* and i looked into the fuel tank as well and noticed a decent amout of debris sitting on the bottom. I removed the air filter and the filter is just caked with oil or fuel or both. I removed the carb like i said and checked the gasket for brittleness which it was fine. Cleaned the fuel jet and the pickup etc. Pulled the spark plug and noticed it had a nice build of oil on it so i just burned the oil off and put everything back together...and didnt work.

My point is. I was lost as to where to begin trouble shooting but thanks to you i can begin again!

Thank you !


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Which side did it tip over on? If it tipped over on the air filter side, oil may have gotten into the airbox and clogged the filter. Gas or oil may have also gotten into the cylinder and flooded it. Remove the spark plug and pull the starter rope a few times to blow out anything in the cylinder.

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