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Murray Lawnmower Starting Problems: Troubleshooting with Fixes

As the owner of a Murray lawnmower, you might have encountered situations when it fails to start. Murray is a respected brand, but even the best can have a bad day, even when properly maintained. Let’s learn how to troubleshoot a Murray lawnmower that doesn’t start.

Murray lawnmower starting problems:

Your Murray Lawnmower can fail to start because of a defective spark plug, a blocked carburetor, old and worn-out gasoline, sheared flywheel, a damaged ignition coil, and clogged filters. In addition, there could also be a problem with the ignition coil or the pull cord in the case of a self-propelled lawnmower. Issues with the starter or the battery could be the culprit for an electric lawnmower.

To fix your lawnmower, I have created some simple yet highly effective troubleshooting steps that will help you kickstart your Murray mower.

Causes behind Starting Problems in Murray Gas Lawnmowers:

1. Fuel Issues

Gasoline is volatile; hence when left in the tank for an extended time, it can get bad. Bad gas can get sticky and adhere firmly to the inside of the fuel lines. This can result in starting problems, particularly when you try to use your Murray lawnmower after the winter for the first time. 

Cheaper or low-grade fuel can cause the lawnmower to stall because of larger amounts of ethanol. Ensure the gas in your Murray Lawnmower is not folder then 1 to 2 months. If you plan on not using your lawnmower for an extended time, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas. And I recommend using High-grade gas. 

2. Carburetor Plugged with Deposits

One of the most common causes of lawnmower starting issues is the carburetor. A carburetor combines air and fuel to create a combustible mixture that powers the engine. Due to their narrow jets and ethanol in gas, carburetors easily get blocked by debris or fuel deposits.

If you notice problems with your carburetor, I recommend using a carburetor cleaner liquid and a thin metal wire to clean the deposits that (partly) clog the air and fuel jets and impede their functionality. Use the Lawnmower Troubleshooting tool for more help with this.

If the carburetor still does not work even after a thorough cleaning, ask a professional for help. 

3. Dirty Air Filter

When using your lawnmower, there are often a lot of dirt particles from your lawn in the atmosphere. This can result in a dirty air filter that needs to be cleaned. I recommend checking the air filter regularly and not waiting until it is really dirty.

A dirty air filter may not only overheat the engine but also affect the composition of the air-fuel mixture, which eventually disturbs the engine’s output.

4. Blocked Fuel Cap

Most fuel tank caps have vents that allow fuel vapors to escape and maintain pressure equilibrium inside the tank. When dust gets stuck in these vents, it can cause an increase in vapor pressure inside the tank, disturbing the fuel supply to the engine.

This is known as a vapor lock. Fixing a vapor lock is super easy. Open the cap for a while and let the pressures equalize. To prevent them in the future, make sure your cap vents aren’t blocked with dust.

5. Damaged Recoil

The recoil assembly aids the starter pulley to coil the starter rope correctly and rotate the engine when pulling it. When you pull the cord, you will notice clearly if it fails to recoil correctly. This can be caused by damage to the recoil pulley, or the cord might be jammed. 

Remove the recoil housing and visually inspect the recoil assembly to ensure the cord isn’t twisted or jammed. Be careful with the spring that is inside. When the recoil assembly is damaged, it must often be replaced entirely. If the cord is jammed, it can be fixed in most cases. But then the cord is damaged, I recommend replacing it.

Murray Riding Lawnmowers:

Most riding lawnmowers have a two or four-stroke internal combustion engine. Typically, starting problems in these engines are due to faults in the fuel line or the ignition coil.

1. Murray Lawnmower Does Not Start?

There could be various causes why your Murray lawnmower fails to start. Some of these reasons include: 

  • Carburetor: A clogged carburetor is often the culprit behind a mower that would not start. In a lot of cases this is due to bad fuel. It is essential to clean all the air and fuel jets inside the carburetor using WD-40 or a carburetor cleaning liquid.
  • Fuel Problems: Fuel problems can always be blamed for starting problems of a lawnmower. Old or bad gas, impure and low-quality gas, or gas with high amounts of low-carbon alcohols and esters impedes the ignition of a lawnmower. Replace old fuel and use high-grade gasoline for a better mower experience, and add fuel stabilizer when you store gas for more than one month.
  • Safety Switches: Safety switches and seat and blade adjustment switches might cause your lawnmower’s inability to start and move. Check if the switches aren’t engaged and are working correctly. You can use a multimeter for this.

2. Murray Lawnmower Starts but Then Dies?

You should troubleshoot and inspect the following components if your Murray Lawnmower stalls (starts and then dies). 

  • Fuel System: Check the fuel filter and the fuel lines for any kinks, breaks, clogs, or impediments. Clean the filter and the fuel lines if needed. In some situations, it makes more sense to replace them.
  • Carburetor: Inspect the carburetor for any debris and ensure the choke is in the correct position and working correctly for efficient fuel-air combustion. If the carburetor is clogged, clean it.
  • Ignition system: Examine the spark plug, ignition switch, and ignition coil for any breaks, damages, or defects. Ensure your spark plug electrodes haven’t worn out and are in good working condition. I recommend replacing them if you are not sure.
  • Air Filters: Filters need proper cleaning and unclogging occasionally to prevent the engine from stalling. Replace if the filter is emitting soot or densely colored smoke. 

3. Is Murray Lawnmower Smoking?

A smoking lawn mower is often a warning sign for something wrong with the engine, such as:

  • Fuel quality: Low-quality gas often produces remnants that burn rapidly, making the engine smoke and impairing the lawnmower’s functioning. Use the Lawnmower Troubleshooting tool to help fix the issue.
  • Oil level: If your lawnmower has an oil tank, excessive oil in the fuel gasket will burn and emanate white-colored smoke. Checking and keeping the oil tank filled three-fourths is essential. Use the Lawnmower Troubleshooting tool to help fix the issue.
  • Clogged Filters: A clogged air filter often causes a rich air-fuel mixture to enter the engine. Due to a high fuel content, the engine produces a large quantity of unburnt hydrocarbons in the exhaust, characterized by black smoke. Use the Lawnmower Troubleshooting tool to help fix the issue.

4. Murray Lawnmower Runs Rough/Misfires?

You might have experienced this while using your Murray Lawnmower; it suddenly misfires or runs rough. Specific causes of it can be: 

  • Spark plug: Misfiring is often caused by a faulty or damaged spark plug. Inspect, clean, or replace the spark plug if it seems damaged.
  • Ignition coil: The ignition coil can be burnt or worn out if it is too old. Replace the ring if it’s old or shows signs of burn damage.
  • Misplaced Flywheel key: When the flywheel key is sheared off, the coupling between the ignition coil and the flywheel is broken, and the spark timing is disturbed. Ensure you replace the flywheel key with an identical one, and check the timing.
  • Fuel system: Inspect for any damages, leakages, or blockages in the fuel lines or fuel tank. Effectively check and replace all faults. Use the Lawnmower Troubleshooting tool for more help on fixing this issue.

5. Murray Lawnmower Has A Dead Battery?

Almost all gas-powered riding lawnmowers need a battery to provide spark and ignition. If your lawnmower battery is dead, you should follow the steps below:

  • Tighten the connections: First, ensure all terminals and connections are clean and tight. That way, they will conduct the electricity correctly. 
  • Clean the terminals: If the terminals are not clean, you can use a metal brush to clean them. If that doesn’t work, you can use baking soda to clean the terminals from corrosion or silt residues. 
  • Test the voltage: Test the battery with a multimeter and ensure the voltage is above 12.7.
  • Recharge it again: If the battery voltage is low, charge the battery. Check and replenish the electrolyte solution inside if you have an older battery.
  • Replacement: If the battery still does not work or dies quickly after fully charging it, replace it.

Murray Self-Propelled Lawnmowers:

Self-propelled lawnmowers with a gas engine have similar problems as riding lawnmowers when it comes to starting. Here are some of the problems specifically faced by self-propelled lawnmowers.

1. Murray Lawnmower Engine Doesn’t Start?

– Problems with the Fuel System:

If your Murray Self-Propelled Lawn Mower doesn’t start, dirt and debris may clog the air filters or carburetor, which are part of the engine’s fuel delivery system.

Clean them with carburetor cleaner, and check that they work properly. Replace if needed. To prevent them from becoming blocked again, clean them with warm water. And any oily debris must be removed using a soap-water solution.

– Problems with the Ignition System:

A dirty or damaged spark plug is another factor in your self-propelled Murray lawnmower’s inability to start. Remove the sparkplugs and check them. Clean the spark plug with a metal brush, and check that the sparkplug distance is correct. Replace when needed. 

Murray Electric or Battery Lawnmowers:

Murray is a manufacturer that produces corded and cordless electric lawnmowers. Corded lawnmowers come with an extension cord that can cover up to 5500 ft2 of area in your lawn. Following are the typical problems that can occur with these devices.

1. Electric Lawnmower Doesn’t Start?

The following may be helpful to troubleshoot the following parts if your Murray Electric Lawn Mower doesn’t start:

  • Check the cord for breakage or other damage.
  • Check the power source for blown fuses or tripped breakers.
  • Examine and tighten the lawnmower’s connections and plugs.
  • Remove any extension cables.

My experience is that, in most cases, the lawnmower can be fixed by replacing a broken cable.

2. Electric Lawnmower Shuts Down?

There are three reasons why your electric lawn mower can stop working suddenly. 

  • The fuse is blown: Check with an other appliance if the wall socket is still working. If that is not the case, check the fuse. Remove the lawnmower before resetting the fuse. Check if the power is back on the socket. Then reconnect the lawnmower. If it fails again, remove any extension cords and try again.
  • The power safety switch has been tripped. Check the power safety switch on the lawnmower. If you do not know where it is, check the user manual.
  • The current flow is being hampered by resistance caused due to weak wiring. Check all the cables for any damage. If a cable is hot, this is a clear sign something is not ok with it.
  • The overheated motor has tripped due to a thermal cut. Let the motor cool down for 20 to 30 minutes before continuing, and check the lawnmower manual to see what to do.

Murray Battery Powered Lawnmowers:

Battery-powered lawnmowers by Murray are an excellent choice if you are looking for a good portable lawnmower that is not as noisy and requires less maintenance than its gas brother.

The following are the common issues that can occur with Murray battery-powered lawnmowers:

1. Battery-Powered Lawnmower Doesn’t Start?

Most Murray lawnmowers fail to start due to a discharged battery, a dirty battery connection, or a faulty starting switch. Sometimes, a loose connection might also cause this issue.

Battery issue

First, put the batteries in the charger, ensuring they charge fine and are full. If there is something wrong with the batteries, the charger will indicate this.

You can also test the battery with a multimeter and check if they are at the rated voltage. Be really careful not to create a short, as this may damage the batteries. And if they are Li-ion batteries, this could even lead to exploding them in rare cases.

Battery connection

Check both on the battery and on the lawnmower if the battery connection is clean. Clean them with alcohol and a toothbrush if needed. I recommend being careful with a metal brush, as this could damage them.

Starting switch

The starting switch could be another reason for the lawnmower not to start. To check the starting switch, first, open the lawnmower so you can access the starting switch. Use the continuity test on a multimeter (or the lowest ohm setting) to check if the switch is working fine or not.

Ensure you remove the battery first before doing this. Also, check the connections of the switch, and tighten them if possible. If the switch is faulty, replace it.

Other issues

If none of the above steps work, the only option left is to get the motor checked by a professional. It could be that the motor winding has been damaged due to excessive overheating. Check if the manufacturer covers the motor in warranty.

2. Battery-Powered Lawnmower Shuts Down?

If a battery-powered lawnmower shuts down during operation, the battery has probably run out, or the start switch has malfunctioned.

If this issue occurs frequently after fully charging the battery, replace it.

Another less frequent reason could be engine overheating and the thermal protection shutting it down. This is a protection in some lawnmowers that engages and shuts down the motor in case it overheats.

After letting it cool down for 20-30 minutes, it should be ok to use again. And in this case, set the lawnmower on a higher height setting so less power is needed to cut the grass.