Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lawn Mower Maintenance Part 2

Hey everyone! So I'm back with part two of my lawn mower maintenance. Say "hello" to my dear father in law (DFIL) Bob! As I mentioned in Part 1 we almost tossed our lawnmower when it wasn't working and thanks to my neighbor and DFIL I  decided to fix it myself. So, it was the last mowing of the season and a gorgeous day so I asked my DFIL to come over and help me get it ready for the winter. I really wish I would've video taped his lesson because he was awesome and added so much history and reasonings behind each thing he did. :( We have so much to learn from people like him, that we don't always realize it till it's too late. This is the way people of his generation took care of things. They were major Do-It-Yourselfers. I hope to get to this point, but for now, I'm a work in progress and I'll take my lessons from him while I can. SO, let's get to it!

Here are some of the tools he brought over. An old can filled with gasoline, a couple pliers and an old-timey oil can. It's pretty neat because it sounds like the oil can they used on Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz with the clicks. This oil can was Bob's father's who passed away in 1980 (the year I was born) and he had it since Bob was a kid.  So talk about taking care of things! He is the #1 most frugal guy I know. :)

 Okay, so first thing is first. You need to empty the gas tank. So What I did was use a small bungee cord to tie open the safety lever. You can use anything that'll work, string, rope, a dish towel...etc... Crank it up and let the mower run until it stops and the tank is empty.

Next we need some gasoline. Use an old container like this sugar container and pour a little bit of gas in it. The gas is great for cleaning things like oil.

Locate the air filter. Here is mine. Use a screwdriver and unscrew from the motor.

Remove the screw and put some place safe. My air filter has a sponge, some are made of paper/cardboard. You see those circles on the right? They should be yellow if it was clean...but they're black. So let's get cleaning!

Take the sponge out and insert into the gasoline to soak for a few minutes.

Check on it every few minutes squeezing out the oil.

Then we used a few paper towels (or an old rag) and dip it into the gas. This is for cleaning the air filter case. Clean it inside and out.
Also, wipe down the mower. This is just for appearance. But doesn't it seem to be that when things look nice, we tend to take better care of them? Bob said he wipes this down a few times during a season. 

Wow, that's some dirty gasoline!

See the sparkly clean air filter now??!! Why buy a new one??

Now, put the air filter case back together

Insert the screw that you didn't lose ;-) 

Screw the air filter back onto the engine.

Now it's important to oil the moving parts. Add a drop of oil to each wheel.

Spin the wheel so it gets lubricated well.

Okay now, onto the oil. Unscrew the oil cap and check the oil. Replace the top and tighten.

Turn the mower on its side. Locate the oil nut. On mine there were three nuts which held the motor to the bottom of the mower. There was one that was on the engine itself. This is the drain. I'd have never known had he not shown me. A lot of times there is a nut you can loosen. However this one was just a square hole. So we used a ratchet set without and attachment since it's square. Luckily I had the correct size. :)We loosened it up and removed the ?nut? Sorry I don't know what it's called. Okay, so the next part is not environmentally friendly, I know. So if you have a better method please let me know. We took the mower to a corner of my yard near a scrap pile of wood/weeds that we don't go near and turned the mower over and drained in on the ground. He said you can dig a small hole and bury it. There wasn't much, just about a cup I think. He has old school methods and for a lack of a better idea, I just followed his instructions. We also dumped the little bit of gas over there too.

Replace the ?nut? and tighten. Turn mower upright.

Lastly, we tied a grocery bag over the motor so as not to allow dust and debris to get in it during the winter months. Now we are ready to put in the shed for the winter! Now that the blade is sharpened and the oil tank empty all we have to do in the spring is put some fresh gas and oil in and crank it up! SOOO not hard, right!?? Take these tips and maybe your mower will last as long as his...33 years is a long time! Thanks for joining me on this adventure! Love to hear any tips, ideas or feedback!


  1. My FIL's name is Bob, too. He would totally teach me like this is he were here. Unfortunately he's travelling the country.

    What a great thing for him to share with you. And what a great thing for you to document and share with others. I'm sure there are many who will benefit from this. I know I did.

    Thanks for stopping by on my SITS day. It was a fun day for me. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

  2. Thanks for reading my post too! I hope your SITS day was Awesome!! It must be nice to be travelling the country...I'd love to do that one day :)


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