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BarryC

Extreme smoke, then engine failure

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BarryC

Something in one of these forums suddenly made me think of this. Back in 1993 I was mowing the lawn one day with the 2210 Landlord (with original engine- a Briggs 243431), and suddenly the engine bogged down really bad, and started blowing thick smoke out the muffler. I mean really thick smoke. It seemed like the smoke blocked the light of the sun. If I remember correctly it was white smoke, but don't quote me on that. Anyway, I remember disengaging the mowing deck and throttling down, and the smoke stopped and the engine sounded normal again. Then a few minutes later it happened again. I think it happened a few times, and then the engine stopped. It turns out that the rod broke.
So we bought a new engine, with all the correct numbers. Believe it or not the same thing happened with the new engine! So we got another new engine. I assume they gave us the second one under warranty, but don't remember. I know the price of the new engine was $679. The engine has been great ever since. I never did know what caused that, out of the blue.
Anyone have an experience like this with theirs? To me it was bizarre.
Thanks,

Barry

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TimJr

Well, a broken rod on its own won't cause any smoke.  A broken rod wouldn't cause smoke, then no smoke, then smoke again.  It would be fairly unlikely and very rare for a new engine to break a rod.  It would not be an easy warranty.  The likeliness of a truly defective rod is pretty small.  Maybe Briggs was a little more lenient back then, or someone at the dealership got "creative" with a warranty claim.  Either way, with the required digital pics and the almost certainty of the rod getting called back for inspection now, it would be pretty tough to warranty a rod without obvious casting flaws.  Any sign of metal transfer would get a claim rejected.

Now, maybe a piston ring broke, or a ring land broke?  But again, to happen on a new engine is extremely rare, let alone on an old engine and then a new engine to the same person.

Did the machine mow on a side hill?  Severely diluted and overfull on engine oil?  An extremely rich condition could dilute the engine oil and "make" more oil that wouldn't lube the crank and rod so well, plus the thin oil could get through the crankcase breather pretty easily.

Not trying to argue with your experience, but there are some details that could answer this pretty quickly if either engine was still around.  The crank and rod would probably tell the tale of why the rod broke.

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BarryC

The rod broke after the smoke happened a few times. We assumed it was the rod, because you could turn the engine by hand afterwards.
We have flat and level ground here, and everything had been normal prior to that incident. It was the strangest thing.
After the thick heavy smoke it went back to normal. Then the smoke happened again, and then it went back to normal, and it went through this routine a few times, then suddenly the rod broke. Just plain weird. But it was mind-blowing when this scenario happened all over again with the new engine. I just couldn't believe it.
There was no internet where I could ask people online in those days. It would have been interesting if these forums were around at that time.

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TimJr

I would guess that maybe if your billowing smoke was an indication the engine had consumed enough oil, it would have starved the rod/crank, then it would have started to seize at the rod journal and then break the rod.  At that point, if an engine was submitted for warranty, the first thing asked for would have been rod/crank condition.  There would have been metal transfer between the 2 parts, which is a direct indication of lack of lube - therefore not warranty unless there was something very specific and unquestionably defective in material or workmanship to qualify for warranty.  Or, someone wrote a good claim and got lucky it didn't get audited or parts called back.  The dealer would have gotten his wrist slapped and charged back for the engine.  Not sure, just unusual to repeat an odd symptom.

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