Mower Fuel Tap – Location, function, and operation
First off, fuel taps are not fitted to all mowers, so you might be looking for something you don’t have. If your mower is a Honda or has a Honda engine fitted, it will certainly have a fuel tap.
So what is a mower fuel tap? A mower fuel tap is a valve; its function is to allow the operator to control the fuel supply to the carburetor by turning a tap on or off. It’s commonly located in the gas line between the gas tank and the carburetor.
They’re usually plastic, but older mowers may have a metal tap fitted. A fuel tap is also known as a fuel valve, shut-off valve, or gas tap. It’s sometimes marked with an arrow to show gas flow direction. Some larger mowers will have a fuel valve solenoid that automatically shuts off fuel when the engine is shut off.
This post should have you covered on fuel tap location and use; if, however, you need video help, check out “Mower gas tap video”. It walks you through locating and using your mower gas tap. The video library has a ton of other useful mower repair videos too.
Where Is The Gas Tap?
First, I should point out that not all mowers will have one fitted. Fuel valves are sometimes incorporated into the carburetor, but mostly they are somewhere along the fuel line. To find it, follow the fuel line from the bottom of the fuel tank all the way to the carburetor. A fuel tap will be in an accessible area along this fuel line (If fitted).
Where? – It’s fitted between the gas tank and the carburetor, somewhere along the rubber fuel line. The fuel valve isn’t fitted to all mowers.
Valve – The gas valve seen here is made from plastic, but some are made from metal.
Walk-behind mower tap location
How To Use Gas Tap?
Gas “Off” – The gas tap is seen here in the “Off” position. Some valves will have an on/off symbol.
Gas “On” – Tap seen here in the “On” position.
What Is A Fuel Solenoid?
A fuel shut-off solenoid is an electrical valve, and it’s fitted to some walk-behind mowers and most modern Tractors, Ride-on, and Zero turns. If fitted, it will be fitted in the fuel bowl at the base of the carburetor. You’ll easily identify it, as it will have an electrical connector attached.
What’s it do? – The fuel solenoid is controlled with the ignition key. When energized, its valve retracts and allows gas to flow from the carb bowl to the engine. When the mower key is turned off, the spring-loaded solenoid resets to its default position (see pic) and blocks the gas flow.
Where? – Fuel shut-off solenoid lives at the bottom of the carburetor and has an electrical connector.
When To Use The Gas Tap
Gas taps are really useful, and in the workshop, I make great use of them during routine maintenance and tune-ups. But they have some other important uses too.
Turning the valve off before starting any maintenance jobs is just good practice and will prevent fuel spills. Cleaning, removing carburetors, or just taking a fuel sample is so much easier with the valve. In the workshop, I use them all the time, especially when troubleshooting carburetor issues. When no fuel tap is fitted, I use a clamp to cut the fuel supply.
Inspecting the drive axle and blade or cleaning the deck will require turning the mower over. Turning the valve off before turning the mower over will prevent fuel from flooding the cylinder.
When fuel floods the cylinder, it can cause a few different problems:
- Hydro-locking the engine – cylinder fills with gas which stops the engine from cranking
- Fuel can saturate the plug, causing a no start
- Fuel can spill onto the air filter preventing proper airflow
- Fuel can seep into the crankcase, causing a high oil level, and a smoky engine
We’ve all been there – put bad gas, diesel, and paint thinner …. into the gas tank. The fuel valve makes draining the fuel tank hassle and mess-free. Remove the gas line from the carburetor and place it into a container, and turn on the valve. Easy!
The valve should be turned off when the mower isn’t in use; this takes the load off the needle valve. Using a fuel stabilizer in the gas tank will leave you set for winter and make easy work of recommissioning in the spring.
Why not go all the way and clean the deck and coat it with WD40 or Teflon Non-Stick Lubricant – it protects and repels grass, moisture, and debris. When you need to inspect or clean your mower, if possible, lift it from the front (Handlebars to the ground). If this isn’t possible, then always turn the carburetor side up.
Check out the complete guide “How to winterize your mower.”
Transporting your mower by trailer can cause the carburetor to leak gas into the engine. When the gas fills the cylinder, it prevents the piston from moving, a condition known as hydro-locking. This happens because bumps in the road move the float needle out of its seat. This allows gas to fill the cylinder, wetting the plug and causing a no-start.
Newer model ride-on engines have a fuel solenoid fitted which makes this condition less likely. Some models have a fuel pump fitted; these mowers are less likely to suffer from hydro-locking.
The fuel tap is especially useful when transporting your mower over rough ground or by car and trailer from one location to another.
The constant bumping around can cause fuel to flood the engine. This usually floods the spark plug and results in a no-start.
Can I Fit a Valve?
Yes, the easiest job ever. Order a fuel valve online; they’re a universal fit. Two types are common – straight or elbow and both are available in metal or plastic. However, they are available in different diameters depending on your gas line size; 1/4″ is more common. Choose the one that suits you best, usually the plastic straight flow.
1 Tool – Tools needed are gloves, rags, knife or sharp pliers, cable ties, or fuel line clamps.
2 Cut – Go ahead and cut your fuel line anywhere you have good access to work. If your fuel line is bad, now’s the time to take care of it.
3 Push On – Push the valve onto the fuel tank side of the cut fuel line first, and then put the valve in the off position.
4 Zip – Finally, fit your hose clamps or cable ties. I like cable ties – they’re fast but only single use. Now turn the fuel on and check for leaks. Nice work!
Are mower fuel taps universal? Mower fuel taps are universal. However, there are different diameter taps to suit different applications. Most mowers will use a 1/4″ ID fuel line, and the universal fuel tap is a push-on fit.
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Replace the Fuel Line on a Lawn Mower (How To Do It)
Whether your fuel line is damaged or just old, changing a fuel line isn’t as difficult as you might think. With just a couple of tools and a new replacement line, you’ll be able to swap it out in no time. I’ve put together a guide, which applies to both walk-behind lawn mowers and ride-on mowers, so no matter which you use, I’ve got you covered.
Why You Might Need a Lawn Mower Fuel Line Replacement
If you’ve driven your mower into a bush or two, then there’s a good chance you have damaged your fuel lines and need to replace them.
However, if you’re a cautious mower driver and your fuel lines need replacing, it’s likely because they have degraded with time. When fuel lines get old, they develop dry rot, causing them to crack and split and produce small, pesky leaks. And a lawn mower leaking gas is a serious hazard.
Dry rot is what most of us have to battle against when it comes to preserving our fuel lines. The recurring problem I face is splitting the line when changing my fuel filter. The old line loves to break just enough so that it can’t be used.
Other noteworthy reasons to change your fuel lines are blockages and poor fuel flow. Having debris in the fuel, such as grass clippings or fuel gum from aging fuel, could block your fuel line.
Whether you have snagged your fuel line on a bush or have a leaking, cracked line, you will need to replace the fuel line on your lawn mower.
Equipment You’ll Need to Replace Your Mower’s Fuel Line
Thankfully, lawn mower fuel line replacement only requires a couple of common tools that I’m sure you already have in your toolbox. So the only part you’ll likely need to purchase is the new fuel line. If you are unsure which fuel line to get, just take a section of your fuel line down to the lawn mower parts suppliers and let them help you.
Tools Parts to Replace the Fuel Line on Your Lawn Mower
- Fuel Line
- Handheld Snips
- Socket Wrench
- Flathead Screwdriver
- Marker Pen
How to Replace the Fuel Line on a Lawn Mower (Step By Step)
Now, you may be wondering if you should use the same steps for different fuel lines on your lawn mower. Yes, it doesn’t matter if it’s the fuel line between the tank and the filter or the filter and the fuel pump or any of the other fuel lines. So, let’s look at the steps you’ll want to follow.
Switch Off the Fuel
The first thing you will want to do is switch off the fuel. Once you remove a fuel line, the gasoline will free-flow out of the line. If you have a fuel cut-off valve, then simply turn it OFF. If not, then you’ll need to drain the fuel tank.
Remove the Engine Cover
Next, remove the engine cover so you can easily access the fuel lines. Take your socket wrench, remove the fixing bolts that support the engine cover, and set them to one side. Then, lift off the cover and set it aside.
Release the Spring Clips
To remove the spring clips, you’ll need to grab your piers. Pinch the clip’s prongs to open it and slide it to the middle of the line. I find that using a flathead screwdriver helps slide the clip along the fuel line. Next, you’ll need to move the clip on both ends of the fuel line to the center of the line.
Pry Off the Fuel Line
You need to be careful when removing the old fuel line since they tend to stick to the lawn mower part as if stuck with glue. I’d suggest trying to twist them to break the seal first.
Next, pull the fuel line from the attached part, such as the fuel filter or tank. If it’s tight and difficult to remove, then take your flathead screwdriver and try pushing the line off at the same time as you pull.
Again, just be very careful since you don’t want to break anything when trying to remove the fuel line.
Remove the Spring Clips
Once you have removed the fuel line, you’ll need to remove the clips for later use. Using the same method as before, take your pliers and remove both clips from the fuel line.
Cut the New Fuel Line
Line up the old fuel line with the new fuel line and mark the length of line you need with your marker pen. Then, take your snips and cut the new pipe to the desired length. When snipping the line to length, try to get it as square as possible, so you get maximum contact between the line and engine part.
Install Spring Clips to the New Pipe
Take your newly cut fuel line and install the spring clips. Then, using your pliers, open the clips and slide them to the center of the line. This is the one stage of the fix that I always seem to forget, so take your time and remember the spring clips or you’ll be removing the fuel line again.
Slide on the New Fuel Line
Again, you need to be careful of the delicate parts to which you’ll attach the new fuel line. I find the best way to get the new fuel line on is to twist and push at the same time. Also, I look to see which is going to be the hardest end to install and start there.
When installing the new line, make sure that it’s pushed on completely to the point that it can not physically go any further. If you’re having problems getting the pipe on far enough, you may be tempted to stop short, but this could lead to future leaks, so be persistent.
Reposition the Spring Clips
Once you have the fuel line in place, grab your pliers for the final time and reinstall the spring clips. Make sure you position the clips correctly in the same position as they were before you started the fix. I like to use the old pipe as a reference since it likely has imprints of their old position.
Reinstall the Engine Cover
The final stage of the fix is to reinstall the engine cover. Using your socket wrench, install the fixing bolts and secure the cover back into place.
Test the Fuel Lines
Now that you have completed all of the steps to replace the fuel line on your lawn mower, you can go ahead and test for leaks. Refill the gas tank, or open the cut-off valve, and start your lawn mower. Allow the mower to idle for a few minutes, then check for leaks. You should have no problem if you correctly installed the new fuel line and clips.
Things to Be Careful of
A few things could cause you problems when changing your fuel lines. First, the inside diameter of the pipe must be correct. If it’s too small, you’ll have major difficulty trying to install it. If it’s too big, it’ll definitely have leaks. Additionally, it’s important to make sure the length is just right. If it’s too short, it could have poor contact with the engine parts. If it’s too long, it could create a kink in the line, which stops fuel flow.
My best advice is to change the fuel line like for like. This is where the guys at the mower store come in handy, and take your time when measuring the lines.
Preventing Dry Rot
Knowing how to protect your fuel lines from the cracking and splitting caused by dry rot is handy. Silicone-based spray lubricants are great to use on rubber fuel lines. This lubricant will protect your lawn mower fuel lines from the elements such as sunlight and keep them supple.
If you use a belt dressing on your mower’s drive and deck belts, you may already have some lubricant in your garage. Just double-check the label and make sure it can be used on the fuel lines. If not, then there are a number of products on the market that are available for your fuel lines.
About Tom Greene
I’ve always had a keen interest in lawn care as long as I can remember. Friends used to call me the “lawn mower guru” (hence the site name), but I’m anything but. I just enjoy cutting my lawn and spending time outdoors. I also love the well-deserved doughnuts and coffee afterward!
Should Lawn Mower Fuel Filters be Full?
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A fuel filter strains the fuel before it reaches the carburetor. Its purpose is to keep dirt and other particles from getting into the engine. Because the filter plays such an important role you have to make sure that it is properly configured. This brings up the question of whether the fuel filter has to be filled or not.
Lawn mower fuel filters have to be filled so air does not get into the combustion chamber. Air will cause the engine to overheat and misfire. If the filter is only half full, there also won’t be enough fuel for the engine.
The mower fuel filter is situated right along the pump that transmits gas into the combustion chamber. The filter has to be full so the engine burns fuel properly. If it is not filled or the fuel line leaks, your lawn mower will not start correctly, if at all.
Why Should You Fill Lawn Mower Fuel Filters
If the fuel filter is partially empty, fuel efficiency is reduced. There will not be enough fuel in the combustion chamber and this will negatively affect how your lawn mower works.
There are many problems that can arise from a half empty fuel filter. The most obvious is the lawn mower runs poorly. The blades do not cut smoothly, the engine stalls or smokes and requires more effort to start. Both push and rider mowers handle poorly with a half filled fuel filter.
Another sign of a half empty fuel filter is the loud noise. Your lawn mower will be noisier than usual because the engine is trying to draw more fuel but all it gets is air. The end result is a noisy, smoky engine that keeps stalling. This can affect all kinds of models including the Craftsman M105, so fix it as soon as possible.
The engine will also overheat and smoke due to lack of gas. Lawn mowers must have a specific gas and oil ratio to burn correctly. If the fuel filter is lacking, the ratio will be off and cause problems.
Signs of a Clogged Fuel Filter
The most obvious sign is a leaky fuel filter. But there are other indicators even if you don’t look at the filter itself. An overheating engine, poor performance or stalling engines are common indicators.
Engine problems can also be due to a faulty spark plug or something else, so the best way is to look at the fuel filter itself.
To find out if the filter is clogged, observe your lawn mower. Is it louder than usual? Is it overheating or there is smoke? If the answer is yes to any of these, turn the mower off.
Give the engine time to cool down and take off the spark plugs. Whenever you do any type of lawn mower troubleshooting, it is best to remove the spark plugs as a precaution.
Examine the fuel filter thoroughly. If it is dirty and leaking it will be very obvious. If it looks larger than when you installed, it is probably filled with debris and grime.
Remove the fuel filter so you can clean it. If there is only a bit of dirt, wiping with a piece of cloth will be enough. But if it leaks heavily and/or caked with dirt, follow these cleaning instructions. This method works with many types of lawn mowers including the Power Smart 209cc.
How to Clean a Lawn Mower Fuel Filter
Cleaning fuel filters is a bit more involved that say, cleaning mower bags. But if you follow these steps you should be done in a few minutes.You will need socket wrench to detach the fuel lines and protective eyewear to avoid oil spills getting in your eyes.
Step 1. Turn off the lawn mower.
Step 2. Take out the fuel pump fuse. Refer to your owner’s manual for its location. After removing it, allow the engine to run for a couple of minutes. Turn it off.
Step 3. Disconnect the fuel lines using the wrench.
Step 4. Remove the fuel filter. Tap it to remove residue and dirt struck inside. You can use a carburetor cleaning solution or plain water to spray the inside and outside of the filter. Let the filter air dry.
Step 5. Put the filter back on once it is dry, and put everything back in the reverse order of how you took them out.
Should You Clean or Replace Fuel Filters?
Metal filters can be cleaned with water or other cleaning solutions. Fuel filters made of nylon or paper have to be discarded. Once they leak or covered with dirt, replace them with new ones.
Paper and nylon filters are one-time use only but they are cheap and easy to replace. Metal fuel filters can be cleaned and reused. Replace if damaged however.
Your lawn mower manual includes information on what fuel filter it is using. In general though any metal filter is reusable. If there are signs of clogging of blockage, follow the directions given earlier to clean it.
The cleaning method will depend on how dirty the filter is. A piece of cloth will do if there is just a small amount of dirt. For moderate levels of dirt and grime, use water. You can wipe the filter with a damp cloth or place it under running water.
Do not use harsh chemicals or too much water. Unless the filter is really dirty, cleaning will take just a few minutes.
The next question you are probably asking is how often to clean lawn mower fuel filters. The answer is as often as necessary.
If your lawn mower exhibits any of the signs of a dirty fuel filter, clean it or get a replacement. If your mower is running smoothly then the filter is fine. You should still check it when performing lawn mower maintenance however.
When and How to Replace Lawn Mower Fuel Filters
Lawn mower fuel filters should be replaced after 200 hours of use. But you should replace the filter immediately if it is clogged up and the engine is having difficulty running.
If you notice symptoms of a clogged fuel filter, clean it following the instructions given in this guide. If that does not work or the filter is too dirty or damaged, get a replacement.
Water in Gas Lawn Mower: How to Get it Out?
To start working regularly, your gas lawn mower needs three essential elements, air, spark, and fuel. If you clean the filter periodically or replace it when needed, air won’t be a problem since it is always available. As for the spark, it is never a problem if you take care of the spark plug.
The third element can be a huge problem if you have missed maintaining components for proper gas distribution. Actually, if your mower doesn’t work at all after you haven’t used it for a longer time, you should check the gas tank first. Perhaps the cause of the problem is water in it.
Why Water Occurs in Your Gas Lawn Mower
It is not rare that you have a problem with water in your gas lawn mower after heavy rains. The other possibility is that stored gas has picked up water throughout winter, especially if stored in a metal canister or in a location where it alternately warmed up during the day and got cold overnight.
That process usually leads to making a partial vacuum which pulls moist air into a fuel tank where it may condense and settle to the bottom. When you try to use your mower in spring, the first thing which will get into the tank is water.
Contamination of your mower’s fuel system by water may cause severe performance problems. Long-term damage of the unit can include corrosion in the tank, carburetor, and fuel lines.
How to Know if Water is in Your Gas Lawn Mower
Before you start getting panic and do anything, check the basic symptoms to become sure that water has got into the gas tank of your lawn mower. Knowing what to inspect may help you save your machine.
Since water is denser than gas, you may expect it to sink to the fuel tank’s bottom. The problem appears because your mower, as most of the models, probably draws gas from the bottom. Therefore, when you try to start the engine, water will be drawn into the carburetor before fuel and almost immediately cause the problem with starting.
If you haven’t use your mower throughout the whole season, there will be no enough fuel to go to the carburetor when you try to start the engine. The more water is at the bottom of the tank, you will face the bigger problem.
When the amount of water in the fuel system is not significant, you can start your engine without disturbing, but it is likely that surges won’t accelerate appropriately while increasing the throttle.
In some cases, it is possible that the engine dies under load over time. The only cure is to disassembly your mower and to dry all water which has accumulated on the bottom of the carburetor and fuel tank.
Running and stopping
In the case when there is just a small amount of water on the bottom of the fuel tank, you will be able to start the engine in the beginning. Since enough fuel come to the spark plug, the engine will start running smoothly.
However, the problem will appear when the engine keeps working as a result of the subsequent water uptake in the fuel supply. Then your mower may suddenly stop running. Sometimes it will be possible starting it again, but the same thing may repeat.
Fuel system damage
Always keep in mind that you usually may not spot the most significant damage before it is too late. If you notice any performance issues caused by collected water in the fuel system, check your engine as soon as possible.
It is the only way to see the engine’s structural and possible operational problems caused by water and prevent consequential damages such as corrosion or rust on time.
What to Do First?
When you decide to use your mower for the first time after the long, cold winter, you may face a few problems. If your mower begins to sputter all of a sudden or you notice smoke from the engine, you can be sure that the fuel in the engine is contaminated with some amount of water. Let’s see what to do in such situations.
Check the tank
Your first thought should be to check the gas tank. Since water sinks to the bottom, you need to use a flashlight to spot it. The best way is to bring your mower indoors and examine the lowest parts of the tank. If there is water inside, you will quickly notice visible, bubble-like globules of liquid in the gasoline.
Drain contaminated fuel
No matter what the cause, when water comes into the device, the crucial thing is to dry it out. So, you don’t have time to lose, and you need to react immediately.
Firstly, you should empty the gasoline tank. After disconnecting the fuel line, removing the diluted gasoline, and its depositing at a recycling station, try to dry the tank by using a small rag, compressed air, or spraying it with WD-40. Then, you should just reconnect the fuel line and to refill the tank with fresh gasoline.
Service the engine contaminated with water
If you have concluded that there is water in the tank and carburetor of your mower, you need to clean them. Don’t forget to remove the spark plug before you start working. Then, remove the carburetor, clean it, check the level of moisture in the combustion chamber, and add some engine oil to the piston chamber to coat its walls.
After cleaning and drying all parts of the engine thoroughly, you can add clean, fresh gasoline and engine oil and start your mower. Don’t worry if you missed some moisture parts. After running the engine, it will become warm and less humid spots will dry.
However, if you don’t have any experience with engine repair, maybe it is a wise decision to ask for professional help.
No matter if you have a reel mower, self-propelled lawn mower or electric cordless lawn mower, you need to protect them appropriately during winter. It is even more important to protect your gas lawn mower and its engine in which condensed water can quickly mix with fuel.
The only way to avoid every inconvenience is to store your mower in a protected place during winter. If it is not possible, buy a plastic cover and keep your machine safe.