Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Refreshing the Rider

My brother and I worked on my riding lawnmower today. The wife said get the lawn cut or else but. the rider wasn't cooperating. She is a Sabre brand (made by John Deere) with a 15.5 HP motor and a 38 inch cut. It had a flat tire and a dead battery. So off to work we went. I dropped the tire off to be repaired and was told it couldn't be repaired. I either needed to have a tube put in or purchase a new tire. I selected the new tire.

I picked up the battery and left my wheel and old tire to be replaced. When I got home I installed the new battery. Here is where the fun began. She still wouldn't start! After getting her to turn over a couple of times she soon flooded. And she flooded good. Suddenly I had more gas than oil where the oil was supposed to be.

So I drained the oil (or should I say gas) and put some new oil in. While the oil was draining I figured I should check the spark plug. I carefully tried to pull the spark plug wire but, it was very stubborn and I had little room for my hand. Eventually I gave the wire a big yank and off it came. It came off without it's proper end that is.

Now, I had to repair the wire and put the terminal back on it's end. About this time my brother arrived with his electrical tester. After putting the plug with the fixed wire back in the tractor still would not start. At this point I put my camera away because my hands were getting too greasy. I should have left my brother to do all the work and then I could have kept on taking pictures. At any rate, we did many electrical tests on the beast including all the safety switches. There was a seat switch to test. A brake switch to test. The lever for engaging the blades even had a switch which we tested. Somewhere in all this testing we took a break and decided to come back to it with a fresh outlook.

My brother went home for a while and after some coffee I went back to the garage. At some point I figured out that I could pull the lever which engaged the blades about a quarter inch further down if I used some effort. Ah, this allowed the mower to start every time. It seemed as though it would not engage the safety switch unless some extra exertion was applied. Problem solved? Nope! It would now start every time but, as soon as the brake was released or the blades were engaged it would die. This didn't do me a lot of good. I called my brother with the new discovery and asked him to return with his tester.

My brother arrived and we tested everything we tested before and a few extra things were tested. We scratched our collective heads for some time and tried various fixes to no avail. In the mean time, we reinstalled the tire (which I had my wife pick up) and we greased some fittings.

We went back to concentrating on the lever which engages the blades and he eventually discovered it was a mechanical problem and not electrical in nature. He followed the blade lever down and watched it in action under the chassis. There was a long threaded rod under there with a spring on one end. This rod is what engages the switch when the blade lever is in the lower position. It took a few stubborn turns on this rod to give it the right reach. We started the bad boy now with much anticipation. She fired. I released the brake and she still ran. Now the real test. I engaged the blades. The blades immediately started turning and amazingly the motor kept going. Finally! My brother did note that soon, very soon the rod would need more work. It was pretty much at it's end of adjustment and the bracket that supports one end is almost worn through. I decide to save this for another day because if I didn't get the hay mowed soon my wife was going to hang me. Better to mow now, while I can, and tear it apart for further repairs afterwards.

For now she's back together. I still need to give her a good cleaning. I will try to mow the yard tomorrow and then I will clean her up good. Later (not too much later) I will have to work on the rod that's in such poor shape. Hey, maybe I can get my brother to do it so I am free to take photos for the blog.

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