Wondering about wild grapes

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mower Resurrection

A week or so ago my lawn mower died. The signs of its illness started gradually the last time it ran. It started right up on the first pull and I started to cut the fenced in yard (the dogs’ yard). It started to die down and then it quit. Pulled the starter cord again and it started right up but then started to run slower and slower until it quit again. I pulled the cord many more times and it would try to start but would die. Then it wouldn’t fire at all.

I am not a mechanic of any kind. My Father-in-law used to say that it was dangerous to let me pick up a tool. That wasn’t altogether true, I did know how to remove the valve covers on my 57 Chevy Convertible and adjust the solid lifters every couple of thousand miles, you know, with every oil change.

Anyway, I was brave and tried to find the most comfortable place to work. I found a shady spot at the bottom of the deck steps and went to work. Using my head for once, I laid everything down in the order that I removed it, screws and bolts and springs included. (See, I do learn from bad experiences.)

I managed to get it all apart. Well, at least as far as I was going to go. Here is a picture after it got it apart:

Took a short break for lunch and went back out to get at it again. Of course there was no more shade, so had to work in the bright sun. In the above picture, I was starting to loose the shade when I stopped for lunch. In the picture below, you can see the difference, all bright and sunny:

I couldn’t detect anything wrong or out of the ordinary until I took the carburetor apart. Inside were funny green crystallized deposits that crumbled into green sand like granules when I touched them.

I cleaned it all out, used an old tooth brush and paperclip, and sprayed WD40 through all the holes and the jet to clean them out. Here are a couple of pictures of the culprit:

I almost got it together and dropped a screw down inside and had to take part of it apart again to reclaim the screw. A minor setback that seemed worse than it was (grin). OK, got it together, filled it with gas and oil, and pulled the starter cord. I couldn’t believe it; it started on the first pull and ran like it was new. My Father-in-Law would have been proud of me, I am. . .


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  2. Maybe I will do that, Ben. Next time I run out of shade, I will move to where there is some. The parts and tools got so hot that I couldn't handle them. Had to put what I was going to use in the shade to cool off. Ouch, HOT!!!

  3. Well Done sir!! Now, since that job is finished.. Come on up and get mine going. Main thing is replace the pull cord.
    Her's a picture of it.. I'll hose it off before you get here. :-)

  4. It didn't look that dirty. It wouldn't feel natural to work on something clean.

  5. Glad you got the mower up and running again! Nothing like fixing something and not having any left over parts!

  6. You mean there aren't supposed to be left over parts? :o)

  7. I have heard of people doing what you have described but never knew somebody personally who had achieved such a feat. I take my hat off to you and if you listen carefully you will hear the sound of great applause and cheering. I have already mentioned your incredible skill to others here in New Zealand and as we speak they are putting all their broken down lawnmowers into a container... they should be with you by Wednesday. No pressure DD but the grass here is growing very fast...

  8. Hermit & SciFi, it was a surprise to me. Way back a few years ago, I did a brake job on the rear brakes of my Dodge Ramcharger and had parts left over when I put it back together. Drove it for years and it always stopped good. Still don't know where those parts went, but must not have been too important.

    TFT, thanks for the compliments. I don't usually get such acclaim. I will send you some grass killer to keep things under control until I can get to fix'n the container full of mowers. May take a super tanker full. You will pay for the return shipping, right? :-)

  9. Great job!! Have you ever watched the flying lawnmowers on youtube? People refer to them as retired NASA engineers with too much time on their hands!lol

  10. You lucky sum a gun. Had I took that thing apart, I would be at Walmart buy'n me a nuther one. Just kid'n, I knowed it was a dirty carburetor all along. Jist wanted to see if you could fix it on your own.

  11. My mower has started to play up recently. It starts, and goes, but after a couple of seconds it starts to surge. With the revs going up and down. And while it still runs okay, it makes mowing harder.

    I got in there last year and cleaned the carbi out. This worked well, but I think it's time to do it again.

  12. Nick, thanks and glad you stopped by.

    Fred, thanks and no, I have never watched the flying lawnmowers, but will do so.

    BB, why didn't you tell me in the first place :)

    Pip, glad you got your mower problem worked out. They seem to be a neccessary evil where ever grass grows.