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We're having a "common man olympics" where we do dumb things like "unload groceries in one trip" or "hang a picture straight without a level." I want one of the events to be "Start a cranky lawn mower." The problem is, most lawnmowers are easy to start after they have been started the first time, which means the person who goes first has a disadvantage. However, I did have a mower once that was consistently really hard to start. I had to be careful to never let it turn off until I was done mowing. It was actually easier to start the first time. Any ideas how you would go about sabotaging a mower so that it is hard (but not impossible) to start every time? Enough to make you break a sweat, say.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not about home improvement. – Niall C. Sep 15 '15 at 22:49
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    I think it will lead to interesting answers on lawnmower maintenance so +1. – Sam Sep 15 '15 at 22:51
  • @NiallC. Fixing a lawn mower is pretty-well established to be home-improvement related on this community (see diy.stackexchange.com/questions/7304/…, for example). Knowing how to break something just right can teach you a lot about how to fix it. – browly Sep 15 '15 at 22:52
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    Try loosening the plug just a touch, or remove the gasket from a plug - a reversible small compression leak. – Ecnerwal Sep 16 '15 at 0:45
  • increase plug gap, turn idle screw in or out slightly, adjust condenser . If you want to make each starting attempt almost equal remove the choke plate or lever (that will make them sweat). cover the air filter element with tin foil and poke 2-3 holes in the foil. Open the muffler and partially block the exhaust port with foil. Install a fuel shut-off valve out of sight along the fuel line and open it to trickle. I can write a few more if these aren't enough. – ojait Sep 16 '15 at 1:43

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