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Old Mower, New Mower
Old 07-17-2011, 07:34 AM   #1
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Old Mower, New Mower

A few days ago my 50+ year old Montgomery Ward died. The actual problem, the starter's bendix broke apart. Would have been an easy fix, but along with the totally worn out steering quadrant, a pie shaped metal piece with gear teeth on the circumference part, was no longer turned by the steering wheel worm gear.

Since it died at the end of the driveway, taped a large sign on it saying FREE.
Posted on Craigslist as well.. And described the problems. Withing 10 minutes there were 10 responses. By 6 PM three were willing to show up from as far as 60 miles away. To all I wrote first to show up gets the goods.

The next morning it was gone. No idea who got it.


Next morning at the greasy spoon I describe the tale to The Truth and Veracity League. A charter member said he know of a late model Troy Bilt with a bad carburator. After sufficient coffee was consumed, off we went to have a look. There were many shiny pieces of trim on the floor, a 17.5 HP Briggs looking good and a crankcase full of gasoline.

I said, to the fellow if you transport it to my house it is worth $150 cash on delivery. He made s call to the owner who was busy making a living at some j*b. Agreement was reached.

Yesterday the patient arrived.

I am truly fascinated a the fuel shutoff design, and exasperated at number of safety interlocks to keep morons and stupid people from doing harm to themselves and others. But it does have a cup holder and shift on the fly feature. What else would one need?

The fuel bowl is held on by a screw on solenoid which is supposed to shut off the the fuel flow to the main jet when the engine is off. Well the least bit of crud will jam it, resulting in all the fuel from the tank ending up in the crankcase. Lovely. The fools designing it failed to provide a weep hole in the intake manifold pipe to at least create a bypass and visible indication of something wrong. Also the MFG saved $1.00 at their cost for a manual shutoff valve.

Any whoo. Drained the the gas from the crankcase, chucked the stupid solenoid, cut to length a suitable bolt to hold float housing in place. Cleaned the orifices. Re installed bowl, add 1.4 Qt oil. Remove 5" diameter mouse nest from under cowling. Add manual fuel shutoff valve. Put in a good battery turn the key........... and nothing.

Now to examine and make user friendly the moronic set of interlocks that prevent starting.

You have to be sitting on the seat or it won't start. Got rid of that feature. Left the brake/clutch and blade safety switch. For now.
Hit start, fired up at full speed. Turned it right off. Well, we now have fuel, spark and air in the right combination, in the right place. I failed to notice the previous helper turned the idle adjust screw fully in, thus negating any speed control. Back out the idle adjuster to ballpark, re-start, sounds sweet.

Put back sheet metal decor, take it for spin. Runs good, get to the grassy area, engage blades. Lots of vibration. disengage, back to the garage.
Jack up mower's front, observe bent blade. Remove blade, straighten, sharpen, balance, reinstall.

Back to the grass, engage blades, smoooth. Try reverse, engine shuts off. WTF? Over.

Well, it seems, to prevent morons from running over little children while cutting grass going in reverse one must turn the ignition key to the reverse position, press a yellow triangle shaped override button, get a bright red LED indication, then can put gear select in reverse without engine shutoff.

Made short work of eliminating that feature as well.

Now it is useable. No wonder with all these stupid features the lawnmower shops are constantly fully employed. And get to charge 20 plus bucks for a solenoid.

//end rant.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:53 AM   #2
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Sounds like a fun project. A riding mower came with our present house--it was a 30+ YO "Dynamark" 36" and still had many of the safety interlock "improvements" you noted (but nothing prohibiting shifting to reverse, thank goodness). I also defeated most of those, deciding instead that the three more important safety issues deserving my attention were:
-- The gasoline streaming onto the hot engine from the cracked rubber gas line.
-- Opening the "hood" caused the gas line to disconnect from the tank, resulting in the same fuel spillage issue.
-- The erosion of a large part of the blade guard (rust and, I think, direct contact with the blade.

I finally got everything running and operating well, but my yard just isn't suited to a riding mower (too many hills and obstructions). So I gave it away to someone in exchange for help on a project. I asked him to sign a "not to be used as a mower, sold for parts only, does not comply with current safety standards, and will certainly kill you if you try to start it" note, which he did. I don't know if such a thing would really protect me, but it seemed the prudent thing to do.

B&S motors--models of simplicity and "just enough" quality. Sure, they are inefficient and pollute, but they will reliably convert gasoline into kinetic energy for decades with just a little love.

What I want now is a lawn mowing go-cart. Low seating, engine behind, very tight turning circle, and fun to drive. The idea has been festering for some time. I might end up with a go-cart with a mower deck beneath and some type of string-trimmer lash up near the front wheels so I can get into the corners, edges, etc. Or just four string trimmers (replace the nylon line with those rigid-hinged plastic cutter thingees). I haven't worked out how to back up--maybe carts have this? Obviously, the CSPC would firebomb my house rather than let this thing see the light of day, so I'm keeping mum.

Congrats on the "new" mower.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:57 AM   #3
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You are having so much fun, I'd like to charge you $25 to mow my lawn. You won't find deals like this on craigslist, so take it while I'm still keeping the price low.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:21 AM   #4
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As an official "I really don't know what's wrong with it" guy who has ZERO mechanical aptitude or ability, I am absolutely impressed!

My John Deere still sits in the shed with all of the same safety shi* features that are really enough to drive a man insane! It is probably something really simple, but it just won't start....probably that itty bitty piece of trash you mentioned....but I wouldn't know a solenoid (actually had to check your post for how to spell it!) from a thingy majigy...

I was able to make sure that it was firing ; I did check to be sure that the gas was getting to (what I think is) the carburetor ; then I drained the tank and put in new gas .....even used the spray starter stuff and actually got it to fire once or twice....but then nuttin'....

....and it's STILL in the shed....

Sure does look nice though....and I am also VERY happy that I have someone taking care of the yard so that it is NOT a pressing issue....just a frustrating one!
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:36 AM   #5
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vacollector: try the ignition control module, its a small box that controls the firing. also check to see if you button for the power takeoff is engaged as that will keep it from starting. another safety feature.
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
What I want now is a lawn mowing go-cart. Low seating, engine behind, very tight turning circle, and fun to drive. The idea has been festering for some time. I might end up with a go-cart with a mower deck beneath and some type of string-trimmer lash up near the front wheels so I can get into the corners, edges, etc. Or just four string trimmers (replace the nylon line with those rigid-hinged plastic cutter thingees). I haven't worked out how to back up--maybe carts have this? Obviously, the CSPC would firebomb my house rather than let this thing see the light of day, so I'm keeping mum.

Congrats on the "new" mower.
Here ya go.
Go Kart frame - $100 (New Kensington)

Date: 2011-07-17, 10:10AM EDT
Reply to: sale-ydtdn-2498591126@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
Go Kart Frame Complete... Seat, belts, tires and frame in good condition. Just needs motor and tie rod end. Asking 100...

  • Location: New Kensington
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests


Now that is a fun project.
Hmmm, maybe in the fall I'll check Craigslist for cheap go-karts.

Backup? Maybe the Flintstones method.
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:29 PM   #7
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You are having so much fun, I'd like to charge you $25 to mow my lawn. You won't find deals like this on craigslist, so take it while I'm still keeping the price low.
No sweat, just bring it on over I'm close by in SW PA.
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:34 PM   #8
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We Troybilt fans make a major distinction between Troybilt products built by Garden Way Mfg. Co. which went bankrupt in 2001 and the Troybilt products manfactured by MTD today.
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:50 PM   #9
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We Troybilt fans make a major distinction between Troybilt products built by Garden Way Mfg. Co. which went bankrupt in 2001 and the Troybilt products manfactured by MTD today.
This is a great site that deals mainly with Troybilt tillers by Garden Way, but it may be of interest to you.


troybilttillerclub : TROY BILT TILLER CLUB - A place to exchange repair and parts Information
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by VaCollector View Post

My John Deere still sits in the shed with all of the same safety shi* features that are really enough to drive a man insane! It is probably something really simple, but it just won't start....probably that itty bitty piece of trash you mentioned....but I wouldn't know a solenoid (actually had to check your post for how to spell it!) from a thingy majigy...

I was able to make sure that it was firing ; I did check to be sure that the gas was getting to (what I think is) the carburetor ; then I drained the tank and put in new gas .....even used the spray starter stuff and actually got it to fire once or twice....but then nuttin'....

....and it's STILL in the shed....
Sorry, no idea. Somethings are obvious for experienced techie types when looking/listening/sniffing at the gizmo tractor, else just guessing. That is sorta what docs do when examining patients. They just know people mechanics/chemistry better than techies do. I have only seen a DEERE from 50 feet away. With that said, i'd remove the float bowl check for crud and obstructions in the jets.

Or a cheap trick is drain all the fuel, put in a shot glass of liquid wrench, or PB Blaster, then spray a bunch of carb cleaner to dilute it by about a half, then crank it for a while. Natchurally the battery needs to be fully charged, in your case via a charger.

Make sure all the safety switches crap are enabled and is able to crank and fire. If that don't work, say Help on the phone to some local enterprising Mr Fixit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeBrake View Post
We Troybilt fans make a major distinction between Troybilt products built by Garden Way Mfg. Co. which went bankrupt in 2001 and the Troybilt products manfactured by MTD today.
Afraid this is the new improved bent sheet metal version. Thanks for the Troybilt link.
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