I have a Troy Bilt Bronco riding tractor, about 6 years young, with a Kohler Courage 20 (19hp) engine that is extremely difficult to start in temperatures below 40F. This is a persistent problem.
What is happening
When it is cold outside, I try to start it with choke on and the starter will spin the flywheel very well but it will just spin and spin and spin some more until I smell gas.
In contrast when it is warm out, I start the tractor and it starts in about 10 seconds of spinning.
I can get it started easily if I spray starter fluid into the carb but my father in law told me I will kill the tractor if I do that.
Once it is started it runs beautifully in all weather and even with old gas.
Some Info about the situation
- Battery is about 3 years?
- Oil is 10w30 per engine manual specifications
- Battery when fully charged is showing 13.4v on my volt meter
- Starter is only a year old (that obviously wasn't the problem)
- Replaced carb gasket earlier this year because engine was dying when going up hill. Noticed there wasn't a good seal and the gasket paper that was on there was ripped. Engine ran exceptionally better after I changed the gasket paper.
- Gas in the tank is almost 3 months old
Some things I tried
- I jumped the battery to my car when it was running. This has moderate success but it is still damn stubborn.
- I sanded all the battery contacts and starter contacts
- I replaced the starter a year ago when I last ran into this problem. No difference.
- I tested the spark plug and it makes pretty blue sparks on the engine block when the starter turns
- Carb gasket is less than a year as stated above
Some things I thought to try?
Replace/clean the starter relay? I am hesitant to do this. It is a cheap part but was mounted in such a ridiculous location that I have to remove 20 parts just to get to it.
Tighten the choke linkage? I read somewhere that if the choke plate doesn't close completely this can cause a cold weather starting problem.
Bring the battery inside overnight to warm up? Is the battery just cheap? It has always had this problem since the battery was brand new.
Drain the gas and try fresh gas?
Any other ideas that you guys would consider? I sold it to a guy who gave me some money down on it back in October but the weather was warm and it ran perfectly. I am afraid he will back out of the deal when he comes to pick it up and we can't get it started.