New member/owner with questions

Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:51 pm

Ok, got a 154 with the farm I moved onto. Overall like it and seems to work well but have two things I'm unsure of and figured y'all might be able to point me in the right direction. I've done basic maintenance, greasing & maintenance as it doesn't look it has had any in years.

1) It seems to stall very easily when trying to mow (IH deck mower). We are talking just about any attempt to mow with the deck fully down causes it to bog down & stall. I have taken to mowing the grass tall which is fine in a field; but not so much closer to the house. With the mower off it seems to run pretty stable though it will stall easily if you don't let it warm up when starting (even when 80 outside) or going uphill sometimes. Any thoughts?

2) There seems to be substantially more rear-end gear "noise" in 1st than in 2nd (or 3rd though I can't get it to run in 3rd much unless on a flat/downhill open pasture). Not sure if this is normal or if there is an issue I need to be looking at.

Thank you in advance,


Re: New member/owner with questions

Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:15 pm

Start out with compression tests, dry then wet. Compression tests will tell you a lot about the engine's overall condition. Then complete the engine tune up. A fresh tune up will improve performance on a tired engine.

I mow tall grass in 3rd or 2nd gear with the despeeder/creeper gear engaged. I make the first pass with the deck fully raised. Second pass with deck lowered a bit. Had to use this procedure this spring when grass got way ahead of me.

The 154 is an outstanding lawn mower. It really isn't designed for mowing pasture.

Re: New member/owner with questions

Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:43 pm

I mow tall stuff and bush hog in L-1 with my 185, (same tractor as 154) .----medium stuff L-2 is ok!---BUT if you only have the 3 speed model, then any serious mowing is out.---the live pto is great but slipping the master clutch to cut is NOT good on the tractor!---Sounds like you have a typical 154 , they are cold blooded and must have 5 or 10 to warm up after starting. To do serious mowing you gotta have the 6-speed model, not the 3- speed jobber.
they are great little lawn mowers, but do have very low limits as to what they will mow! thanks; sonny

Re: New member/owner with questions

Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:37 am

Welcome to the forum from Arkansas. It sounds like you may also be getting a fuel restriction making it starve for fuel while pulling hard, so check that also.

Re: New member/owner with questions

Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:58 pm

Thanks y'all. Sounds like it just what it is though I'll go ahead and do some more looking into the engine/fuel.

As I said, it was part of the farm so not to stressed, would be nice to use for mowing around the house but otherwise thanks for the info.

Re: New member/owner with questions

Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:13 pm

Welcome fellow NY Cubber! I'm out in Buffalo, but work in Syracuse, so I get down your way every now and then. I have a site in Chemung and another in Chenango.

It probably just needs a good tune-up. Sounds like it's just not quite running as well as it should, and with the 59" mower deck, you need every ounce of power that the 154 has to give. If it's not blowing smoke out the dipstick when under load, then I'd say a set of plugs, wires, points, condenser, distributor cap and rotor. Then run some Sea Foam through a tank of gas, some in the engine oil, and pull the air intake off the carb, and squirt some directly into the carb wile runing at near wide open throttle. Don't do this indoors, as it will smoke like crazy, but it's good for the engine. Will clear out any carbon buildup.
Good luck,

Re: New member/owner with questions

Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:31 am

As a lawn mower, the 154 should be an expert cutting machine. Mowing a lawn (2-3" grass) should be able to be done in first or second gear (even without a creeper).
1) Make sure your tires are properly inflated
2) Adjust your mower so that the front of the deck is 1/4" lower than the back of the deck. (this ensures you are only cutting the grass once)
3) Make sure each mower deck spindle spins freely so the engine can spin the blades up easily. Grease spindles well.
4) Verify that your tractor is tuned up and running in top condition. Check timing and points condition, then verify fuel delivery system.

Re: New member/owner with questions

Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:02 am

5) Keep the blades sharp.

Re: New member/owner with questions

Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:26 am

Thanks Jim, Good addition.

Re: New member/owner with questions

Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:06 am

Adjusting the valves is an essential part of a complete engine tune up.

Re: New member/owner with questions

Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:55 am

Regarding your gear noise in 1st, this is kinda normal for a well used machine.
The usefulness of third gear is limited to a road gear application. Your tractor should be able to use third, but some clutch feathering will be needed.