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are 208s rare?

5558 Views 40 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  woodpecker41
My 1997 425 is hard to start sometimes. When it's cold it turns over and over and smells like gas. If I pull a plug it's wet with gas. If I keep trying it will eventually start but I drain my battery pretty good. If it's warm it will usually start as long as I don't choke it at all. If I choke it even for a second it takes 30-40 seconds to start and then spits and sputter for 30 seconds. Sometimes it will surprise me and start right up. The common thing is I think is I smell gas out the exhaust. I replaced the plugs. Once it starts it seems to run good. I have read all the other 425 issues in the forum and I have not come to a conclusion to the problem.
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Today my 425 started after several minutes of cranking. It would sputter and quit, sputter and quit. Once it stayed running if I tried to give it throttle above idle it would get rough and almost quit. When I backed it off to idle it ran ok. After idling for a couple of minutes it quit. I cranked and it backfired once and quit. I cranked again and it started right up like it was normal. I gave it throttle and it was fine. I took it from idle to full throttle and back to idle several times and it was OK. I let it run at full throttle for several minutes and it never missed a beat. Does anyone have any idea what my problem could be? I think I ruled out the cam gear because it does run. It has the newer carb with the electric fuel shutoff. Coils? Stator? TDM? Ignition switch? Thanks.
How long has your machine been sitting without cranking it? perhaps bad gas?

just a thought.
The gas is maybe 3 months old. I ran 10 gallons through it over a couple week period in May doing some yard work with the loader. Once back then it sputtered at full throttle and I backed it off to idle for a minute and then it was fine. The parts guy at my dealer said it may be a short in the igniter box and it is running on one cylinder when it sputters. I am not fond of the 300 dollar price tag to see if that is it.
I just tried to start it and same thing. I pulled the plugs and had no spark either side. After about the 5th time cranking I noticed when I let go of the key the last two or 3 strokes had a faint spark. I did that a couple more times and same thing, a faint spark or two after I let go of the key. Then suddenly it was sparking while cranking on both sides. Then it went erratic and sparked some strokes weakly and some strong. Put the plugs in and had it sputtering in idle for a minute and then it quit. I'm frustrated.
Bryce -

Before you go throwing expensive parts at it , You should put a new Time Delay Module in it . Cheap and easy At about 25 bucks , plus they are notorious for going bad and causing problems such as you are encountering .

Then if that don't fix it , there are plenty of other things to look at before the igniter module . Pulser coils at the flywheel , individual High tension coils , Ignition switch . Forget about the stator having anything to do with the ignition firing though . Also plenty of cheap used igniter modules to be found on eBay and even here , if you place a looking for add in the classified section here on the site .

Hey Bryce,

I am having a similar problem on my 425. I tried changing the Time Delay Control Module which was only $20, but still no or weak fire. I ordered an new ignitor for $125 off $Bay. JD wanted $302.

Do a search with the Kawasaki Part # 21119-2120 and there is a guy selling NEW ignitors for $123.50. I am sure the ignitor will fix the problem. I checked everything else before buying the ignitor.

George of Buford
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Guys, If you want a new ignitor check these guys out. www.jegs.com or www.sparkplugs.com. Put in the part # 131800-0131 which is what the Denso part # on your original ignitor. I got mine at Jegs, but sparkplugs.com is cheaper yet. Same one you guys are paying way too much for.
I stopped at my dealer today and took a chance on the time delay module and it seems to have worked. Starts right up with barely a crank. I'm not going to hold my breath though cause I have gone short periods of time with seemingly no trouble. Anxious to here about George's problem and his new igniter box.

I got the ignitor but now my starter is bad. I am waiting to get a new one. Hopefully I will have time this weekend to install both.

George of Buford
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I installed the ignitor and it seems to have corrected the problem. I need to run it for a while since the problem seemed to heat related.

I also found a simple way to test the ignitor. There is a orange wire from the TDC module to the ignitor with a bullet splice, unplug it and connect 12V battery on the lead to the ignitor. This bypasses all the safety switches and relays so the engine will run until the battery is removed.

George of Buford
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Mine seemed to work fine when the engine was warm. It was a cold start where I did not get spark. Still funny how it would spark a couple times after I turned the key off. Maybe there are two routes through the TDM and only the delay side was sparking.

The time delay control module is designed to let the engine run for a few seconds after you turn the ignition switch off. First, it removes battery to the fuel shutoff solenoid in the carburetor so that no fuel is sent to the cylinders. Then it lets the engine run to clear fuel from the cylinders.

This eliminates that nasty backfiring so engines used to have.

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I have had 2. The problem is they were a cheapened 200 series without all the reasons you would have bought a 200 series for. Not a bad tractor but a marketing mistake by JD. You will not get rich buying and selling one. In this case rare doesn't directly equal value. Roger
Matt , if you want one for the "uniqueness" , go ahead & get one , but I think Roger nailed it . The gear-drive trans is a heavy , strong , almost antiquated unit but they designed a mechanical variator to "micro-adjust" the speed , say for optimal mowing .....but there's no variator on the 208. Supposedly , they eliminated it along with the ammeter , gas gauge , engine covers to compete w/cheaper Sears ,etc. models..........REALLY???? ELIMINATE features/selling points to increase sales ???

The guy who sold Deere that idea could probably work or the federal government .
I wonder how much they saved by eliminating the amp gauge and fuel gauge most of the cheap mowers deere made are hard to come by like the 208,60,70, and 130
Dave the only reason 208s were good for selling was the low price. They were about $1600 where as the next up 210 started at $2000 in 1978. People then came in the door and tried the tractor and liked the feel. Our sales guys would then have the customer test drive a regular variator 200 series and that most of the time ended up with a sale of a 210, 212, 0r 214. Other areas cut were tire sizes and battery. Roger
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