Monday, September 13, 2010


The mower started to surge and die last weekend and we weren't sure what was wrong. I suspected fuel somehow, though my sister-in-law swore that the fuel tank was full. The mower sat there for a couple days in the wind until I could push it to the garage.

My first step was the fuel line. I suspected a clogged fuel filter from the way that the mower sounded as it died, but I got a nice flow of fuel and managed to not spill too much. Since that was working, I suspected the spark plug. It was semi-buried under a metal cover, so I spent a couple days, minutes each day, working loose screws to get to the spark plug. I had to clean things off since there was a lot of accumulated dust and dirt, but last night I finally got a socket around it and got it out. I remember from working on motorcycles that it helps to show a spark on the plug. So I connected the plug to the wire and cranked the motor while holding the plug. Nothing.

So today was my trip to find a spark plug. I didn't want to go to Sears since it's so far, so I stopped off at NAPA first, and they had spark plugs. $1.88, so I got two, even though the last one has lasted 7-8 years and I won't likely need one, it wouldn't be worth the drive again. Of course, I had a moment of panic when the cashier said "are you sure it isn't the coil?" as I was chatting with him. I figured a $2 replacement was a good start, and he agreed, so I brought them home.

My first step was to hook up the wire and hold the plug. Not to self and everyone else: don't hold the metal part of the spark plug while cranking the engine. I got a shock, not a bad one, but a nice tingling that had me drop the spark plug and stopping the cranking at the same time. Spark working, so I screwed the plug in and attached a few of the screws for the cover. I then turned over the engine.

I had a moment of worry since it cranked without turning over, but it sounded like some spark was exploding in there. So I stopped, moved the throttle a bit and tried a few more times. It turned over and caught. Success!!

I proceeded to screw everything back down, and then it started again (the true test) and drove over to hook up the manure spreader.

A nice relief, and another repair completed.

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