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i have an 18horse in my 448 for some reason when i mowed yesturday i had to run the choke half way or the motor would die. Where would be a good place to start looking for the cause to that problem. thanks in advance for your advice
 

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Remove the intake manifold from the engine. Remove the carb from the intake. Take the intake manifold apart and reseal the two halves. Install two new intake manifold gaskets and a carb gasket for good measure. Your engine is starving for fuel because it is getting too much air. That's why you have to close the air off that is coming through the carb.

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Dirt in carb (take the jets and top off, easy)
Junk fuel line (replace if you have never)
Plugged filter (install if there isnt one)
Float
Tank screen??
Leaking manifold (have used the permatex black)
 

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You've received a pretty good checklist of potential problem areas but I would add that you can check for air leakage in the manifold by using a propane torch (unlit). Just move the tip around the seam of the manifold and the connection to the block--if leakage is a problem the engine should smooth out when it sucks in the propane.
 
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