How I almost burned my Simplicity Broadmor tractor down

I got my 16HP Simplicity Broadmor tractor out the other day for another season. As usual, I checked the oil, tires and the battery had discharged some over the Winter so I hooked my portable jump starter to it and fired it up – after a bit of sputtering of course.

I brought it over to my garage and put fresh gas in it plus some Sea Foam cleaner to help get rid of water and junk. I then went to work mowing for the first time this year.

About a half hour into cutting I saw a bit of blue smoke but just figured it was the rings or the valves as the tractor was getting older. I then saw more smoke and thought the Kohler engine was wearing faster than I figured.

I no sooner got done with that thought when a lot of blue smoke started coming out – the blue smoke you get when oil is burning “Shit! Shit! Shit!” went through my mind as I hauled over to the hose, grabbed it and flipped up the tractor cover just in time to see it ignite on the exhaust pipe. Well, I hit it with water and it went out.

In looking at the exhaust pipe, I felt pretty foolish, I knew the engine had a slow oil drip – I didn’t realize it was dripping down on the exhaust pipe where it had coated a ton of dirt and dust that then caked the pipe. In short, it was a fire waiting to happen and it finally did.

So here’s my message to all you owners of old trackers – routinely check your exhaust pipe periodically and see if oily “gunk” is building up and take the time to clean it off. I went to the local Autozone and bought a can of Gunk Engine Degreaser, let it sit and hosed it off a number of times until everything was nice and clean. I went through a full can and most of a second getting it cleaned up.

Behind the red wire for the carb you can see the exhaust pipe and still some of the crud on it.
Gunk Engine Degreaser did a great job. I followed the directions on the can and everything was gone after maybe 3-4 rounds of application and then rinshing off.


I got lucky is the short of it. The fire was small and the hose was very close by. The thing is that it could have all been avoided. Going forward I will keep an eye on the exhaust and not let oily dirt build up. I bought my engine cleaner at Autozone and you also have a ton of options on Amazon.

I hope this helps you out.

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