Toro Personal Pace Recycler 22 in.
Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower
Briggs & Stratton Engine
Model #: 104M02-0010-F1
Parts List: PDF

Last worked one month ago.
Now, I pull and pull, but engine won't start (doesn't even sound like it tries)

This youtube video @ 2:53 is how my lawn mower sounds and acts. Later on the guy sprays some stuff into the engine and shows how it will start and cut off. My lawn mower won't even do that.

TL;DR: Aside from checking/changing the spark plug, is there anything else I can do or should I just figure out how to load the thing in my car and have it serviced?

Troubleshooting steps I've done:

  • Drained the oil and put new SAE 30 in.
  • Drained the fuel and put new fuel in (fresh from gas station).
  • Watched a youtube video saying use 13/16 inch spark plug
  • Looked up accessories for mower on Home Depot and was recommended 13/16 spark plug
  • Purchased the spark plug and a 13/16 spark plug socket
  • Tried to remove the spark plug with purchased socket and the socket was too damn big
  • Much shakes fist, very frustration
  • Plugged the spark plug wire back into spark plug and tried to start
  • Pulled a few times and back at square one

More troubleshooting with DIY users help:

  • I've verified blue spark by unscrewing the spark plug from the engine, stuck it back into the "lead" (the cable that was plugged into the spark plug), and pulled a few times.

I can turn it in for warranty but its heavy and I'd prefer to know how to fix this instead of having to lug it back to Home Depot and wait who knows how long for them to fix it. Next thing I'm going to do is see if I can at least get the socket right so I can check the spark plug. Local Home Depot does not sell the spark plug itself, gotta order it.

EDIT: while I was at home depot to get a new socket and some cleaner, the dude told me i needed to look at the spark plug in order to see which one it is. Turns out its an AUTOLITE 3924 in case anyone else needs to get one. Alts are the Champion 5/8in RC12YC and the E3.20

  • 1
    Unplug the spark plug lead, attach your new spark plug, and have someone have a good look at it while you pull the starter. If they can't see a spark, it's upstream from there and you should refer to BillOer's Answer. Otherwise, the issue is more likely in fuel delivery or a clogged air filter, but in my experience it's generally spark that's the issue.
    – John Lyon
    Sep 3, 2015 at 3:10
  • You can also hold the plugged in spark plug by the business end while pulling the starter. You should receive a pretty good jolt. Sep 3, 2015 at 22:22

3 Answers 3


We need to divide the problem in half. In the case of an engine we need to decide if it's not starting because of gas or spark. Too test the engine for spark your going to need an extra set of hands or some electrical tools. If you have help you can have some one hold the spark plug wire close to the spark plug while you pull the string. If electricity is getting to the spark plug you will see a spark jump from the wire too the sparkplug. IF you see a spark we can now trouble shoot the fuel.

The easiest way to check the fuel would be to buy a can of ether, that is what the guy in the video sprayed into the engine. If it runs for a couple seconds (or even acts like its about to start) then we know the problem is with the carburetor or fuel system in general.

If you complete these next steps please come back and +1 my answer(so I get a notification) and I will continue to assist you in trouble shooting. Regardless if it's spark on fuel the trouble shooting only get more and more complex from here. I would replace the spark plug and if that doesn't work I would look at calling Home Depot, they might even pick the lawn mover up for you. They are good people.

How to check for spark video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUOmsGiirTU

  • for checking the fuel, do i just spray into any hole I can find, or do I have to figure out how to open up the engine compartment/carburetor and spray it there? Or do you mean pour it into the fuel compartment/oil compartment?
    – anon
    Sep 2, 2015 at 4:24
  • 1
    Your going to want to spray it into the air intake or at least into the air filter.
    – Levi
    Sep 2, 2015 at 4:29
  • These two videos may help youtube.com/watch?v=upaWRxC-ydU
    – Levi
    Sep 2, 2015 at 4:30
  • youtube.com/watch?v=T6RFYLzmGkU
    – Levi
    Sep 2, 2015 at 4:30
  • 1
    @Mazura, Levi, this is great, i got blue spark, so it saves me a trip to home depot to buy a new plug. Looks like its fuel.
    – anon
    Sep 3, 2015 at 23:36

If it's anything like my Toro 22' Recycler, you'll have to take the top off and replace the igniter. There's a flywheel with a small (possibly neodymium) magnet attached to it. The magnet passes through a coil and generates current. In my case, that coil was bad. To come to that conclusion I first tested for fuel delivery, and after confirming that fuel was getting to the engine, I concluded there must not be a spark. It's been running fine since then. I could not find the igniter online and had to get it from a local lawn tool repair outlet.

Edit: I used a piece of card stock as a gauge between the magnet and the coil plates. It gave me a clearance of 0.008". I could not find out what the clearance was actually supposed to be, but 0.008 seems to have worked just fine.

Edit: Here's what the igniter (ignition module) and flywheel look like:
Toro Ignition Module Toro Flywheel

These are for the Tecumseh engine, so I don't know how they would translate, if at all, to the Briggs & Stratton engine.

  • @BillOer- Is the magneto the same as an igniter? They now sell electronic starters that replace the condensers under the flywheels. You can upgrade and installs easily. No moving parts, it sends 3 x as many spark impulses than the condenser, only 2 wires to connect and their cheap.
    – ojait
    Sep 2, 2015 at 7:01
  • @ojait are you saying if its the igniter, instead of replacing it, I can get an electronic starter instead? Or is a magneto just an upgrade to the stock starter?
    – anon
    Sep 2, 2015 at 13:52
  • @ton .yeung- yes. the electronic ignition takes the place of the old condenser and points. It's a super upgrade to any small combustion engine that don't use a battery. It fires a spark faster and more often so the engine starts easier. I installed one in an ancient Kioritz weed wacker and it started. Check this link for purchase: amazon.com/Oregon-Replacement-IGNITION-UNIVERSAL-33-053/dp/…
    – ojait
    Sep 2, 2015 at 14:50
  • @ojait, my Toro mower is about ten years old. I use the term "igniter" rather than magneto, because I'm only referring to the coil part of the whole magneto. In my mower, there is a permanent magnet attached to the flywheel. This magnet passes through the igniter (or coil) and generates a spark for the spark plug.
    – BillDOe
    Sep 2, 2015 at 17:11
  • @BillOer- Understood. What are your thoughts concerning an electronic component as a replacement to the points and condenser on small engines? Nothing to calibrate, no moving parts to maintain, easier starts... You would think this one solid state ignition item would be the holy grail of combustion engines, but manufacturers still use points and condensers on present models! makes you go "hmm".
    – ojait
    Sep 2, 2015 at 21:30

OK, I had the same problem with my Toro and my mechanically inclined BIL took off the air filter opened up the carburetor poured fuel directly into it and it started. I am not sure if this is how it was meant to be done, but I know it works. He also told me to start it once or twice during the winter. In Texas we have short winters so it won't be that bad.