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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi. I just joined the forum. Very impressed with what I found here while googling fixes for this, but don't see this particular situation:

Engine stopped after operating normally for about twenty minutes. There was no deteriorating performance until the moment it stopped. Does not fire on many starting attempts since, both at the time while it was still warm, or later after cooled, except for occasional small bacfire on the cold start attempts.

Blade is secure. Fresh gas is in tank. Gas flows freely from outlet of gas shut off valve. Spark plug looks good, cleaned it, gapped it, have good spark. Have not cleaned carburetor, or carefully examined it for blockage. I'm going out to try that now. There was no obvious wet gas at carb inlet or on plug after several starting attempts. (perhaps i'm answering my own question here? Just summarizing eveything here makes me think this will be the problem and I was sidetracked by he red herring below.)

One thing seems odd to me, maybe it's a red herring. The choke butterfly valve stays open, even when the choke lever is pulled to On. (It's the Type 4, choke slowly opens by spring when the brake bail is held.) Odd that it doesn't close; also odd if this is the cause even though the engine stopped after it was well warmed up (approx 20 minutes of operation).

Side question: is there a neat way to remount the carburetor and gaskets, etc, after removing them. It was a frustrating chore to get everything lined up to reinsert the two long bolts.
 

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The choke needs to close for cold starts. If the carburetor was removed, then it was installed with the choke activation arm on the wrong side of the choke assembly.

The way I have found the easiest way to reinstall the carburetor is to start with the air filter base, install the 2 mtg screws, then the air filter base gasket (make sure orientation of gasket is correct for venting or carburetor will flood), then support bracket, another air filter gasket, then carburetor, gasket, insulator, gasket, heat shield, gasket and then mount to cylinder head. I stack everything on the air filter base and then install onto cylinder head. I also do this with the starter and engine shroud removed so I can see the top of the carburetor. Make sure you have the choke activation lever on the correct side of carburetor choke, so it will push it close when activated. Don't forget to install breather tube on air filter base, install all other mtg bolts and tighten everything down in place, then reinstall the engine shroud and starter.

I would also try a new spark plug, as even if a plug looks good and spark jumps the gap when you test out of the engine, it can fail under compression. Honda engines seem to be very sensitive to spark plugs, and I would suspect the spark plug as the cause of your original no start issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you, 30-Year. Got the choke arm on the right side of the choke now and guess what -- the choke closes and opens again!

I got a new spark plug too, but the problem remained unchanged. Then I cleaned the carburetor. No change.

There was a dent in the valve cover, very small so I didn't think it would interfere with valve operation, but eventually took the valve cover off, and saw the mark the inlet valve was making on the cover! Took out the dent. The mower started easily.

BUT ... Now it starts fine, and runs nice and smooth, but only slowly. It is supposed to run at operating speed only (no manual throttle control) and always did fine before the no-start problem arose. I can open up the throttle by pulling on the governor arm and bring it up to operating speed, and it still runs nice and smooth.

I can't think why the governor adjustment should have changed at all, but I did the static adjustment. (Non-adjustment, really, as it was still set right.) Then I took the carb apart and re-checked to make sure I hadn't left some dirt in there and made it worse. No change.

The only other thing I've changed, early in this process, before my first post, is I loosened the coil (thinking the gap looked large). I'm confident though that I've returned it to the same gap it was at before I touched it, as indicated by eyeball and by the marks the bolts had been seated on. The spark is good and white.

One other obersavation, the flywheel/blade brake pad doesn't touch the flywheel (about a .040 gap). If recall correctly, it did when I first pulled the engine cover off, but I might not have looked too carefully. Can't think how that would have changed in this process, either. And I'm surprised that there would be that big a gap, even if it was just regular wear. Mower is seven years old. Seems to me the blade turns longer after stopping the engine now, but maybe I just didn't pay attention before.

Would you recommend adjusting the running speed by adjusting the governor, or do you think something else is causing it to run slower than it was. ( Much slower, sounds like a good idle speed, and the throttle is barely off the idle stop at the carb.)

This is a GCV160A, Type 83A (a type that I do't see in the Honda parts manual), on a Husqvarna mower.
 

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While engine speed is limited by the governor, top speed is set by the governor tension spring. The spring may not be hooked up correctly or may have been stretched and is not applying the correct tension to provide the correct top no load speed.

As for the engine brake, I don't know. Even if there was substantial wear on the brake pad, it should not have that much clearance, as once it stops contacting the flywheel the wear ceases. I would check to make sure the cable is allowing the brake lever to fully engage and not holding it open.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
OK, Thank you, 30-Year Tech. I'll keep searching and pondering, and be back with more questions or a success report.
 
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