Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mower Drama

Okay, so I haven't posted anything in over two months. I guess there is stuff I could write about, and probably will, but for now, here's what I was up to last night:

[WARNING: the following mower drama is rated Y-14. Some scenes of mower abuse may be too intense for younger or more sensitive viewers. Parental caution is advised.]

Last week, while I was mowing happily along, the 10-year old MTD suddenly started running really crappy unless I pulled the choke out, and then it died on me altogether, and wouldn't restart, which meant I had to do the rest with the ancient, 20", non-self-propelled push mower. Not cool.

I resisted the strong urge to set it aflame and push it into the busy street, and instead, rolled it around back till I could mess with it, which was last night.

It would run for about two seconds, and stop. Pulling out the choke didn't help. I knew it had to be a fuel delivery problem, because pulling the choke out had bought me a little time, and it would start, but only run a few seconds.

I replaced the spark plug anyway, just because, though when I pulled the old one, it was still in great shape.
Next, I replaced the fuel filter, because I could see it had some dirt in it, though I had verified that fuel was still running through the line (and all over everything) when I had it disconnected.
So, I had verified that fuel was getting _to_ the carb.

A shot of starting fluid yielded a start, and if I kept spraying, the mower kept running. So now, I knew the problem lay somehwere between the fuel getting into the carb, and getting srayed out into the throat. Probably a stuck needle or gummed up jet.

Sure, a carb rebuild would have solved the problem; but if I had to invest that kind of time and effort into a 10-year old mower, it was going to be time for me and Mr. MTD to part ways. I already had eyes on my next concubine: one of those sweet, sexy, zero-turn mowers.

I tried one last thing: I dumped about half a container of STP fuel system cleaner straight into the carb throat, and hit the starter. It blew smoke out the exhaust, and STP out the throat. I dumped a little more in, put the rest into the tank, and let it sit for half an hour.

I came back, fired it up... and it died in two seconds. I shot some more starter fluid into the carb, hit the key again. It sputtered to life, then started to die. I cranked the throttle back and forth to confuse it, and voila; it was running on its own. I let it run for a few minutes to run some of the stuff inthe tank through, and the stuff in the carb out.
Then I hopped on, dropped the blade, and made a few passes around the back yard, just to make sure it was going to keep running, and not quit like a little b7tch as soon as I dropped the blade, or tried to move forward.


Plus, I have killed every mosquito for blocks.

The End