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Mower won't start unless I put gas in the spark plug well

I have a Briggs and Stratton 4-cycle, OHV, self-propelled mower. It is several years old, we just got it from a friend. It worked the first few times we tried, then just woudn't start. I changed the spark plug and air filter. Still nothing. Then I pulled out the spark plug and put a little bit of gas in the well. It started and ran like a champ for an hour while I finished the lawn. I believe this is a carburetor problem, but don't know for sure and I am a novice repair guy who wants to learn how to do all this myself. What do I need to clean/fix/replace, and how do I do it?

Thanks so much.

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First off, I'd clean the carburetor. Take the bowl on the bottom of the carb off. You will see a float and a needle valve. Make sure the float moves and that the needle valve functions properly. Clean your gas line from the tank to the carb as well as make sure that your gas cap is vented, there are either a few holes in it or a washer underneath the cap. If it is not vented you will get a vacuum and fuel will not flow. Good Luck and I hope this helps.

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+ Good advice..

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