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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought my first lawnmower in August 2006, after buying our house.
(a new craftsman push-mower)
it was used "half a season" in '06, then all season last year.
so it has "a year and a half of use"

this spring, it needs a tuneup and the blade sharpened!
I have never done this kind of work on a mower before, but I figure it cant be hard.
(I used to change my own oil on my car.)

I googled a few basic pages for tune-up advice, and came across this one:

http://landscaping.about.com/od/toppicks/a/mower_tuneup.htm

I dont understand the need for the first step though:

Before performing a lawn mower tune-up, you need to warm up the engine. Put just enough gas in the gas tank to get your lawn mower running. Start your engine and let it run until it runs out of gas. Finally, now that you’re ready to perform the lawn mower tune-up, you need to take a safety precaution: disconnect the spark plug wire so that the engine can’t start accidentally.


why would it need to be warmed-up first?
not seeing the logic there.

so I think all the steps are:
(not necessarily in order)

1. drain and replace oil.
2. new sparkplug.
3. replace oil filter (if it has one)
4. replace gas filter (if it has one)
5. replace air filter (if it has one)
6. sharpen or replace blade.

I havent actually dragged the mower out of the shed yet to look at it.
I dont think it has all those filters, maybe just an oil and air filter.

anyone ever use one of these dremel attachments for sharpening the blade?

http://tinyurl.com/3pgafr

its supposed to be only about $10..worth it? or just do it manually with a file?

thanks,
Scot
 

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Yes, the logic is to have the motor oil warm so that it flows out easier. Since you are only talking a push mower, there won't be an oil filter. There may or may not be a in line gas filter, some manufacturers put them on, some don't, but they are nice to have to catch any crud that may be in the tank before getting to the carb. As far as running out the gas, that's just so that when you turn it on it's side, you don't leak gas all over the place. For the end of season, it IS a good idea to run it completely dry, that way no gas sits in the carb over the winter to get stale.
As for the dremel, no I haven't. I've always taken off the blade and bench sharpened them on a grinder. You can take it to any lawnmower shop and get an edge put on for around $5.00 (depending on how bad it is).

Good luck
 

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Ours was really old. I'd run it out of gas the last time I used it in the fall.
I'd sharpen the blade in the spring. It's not a hard task, even with a grinding stone in a drill. A hand grinder makes quick work of that. Then, if it didn't start on the 3rd pull, I'd take out the spark plug, clean it with a piece of emory cloth and put it back in. I'd knock the dust out of the air filter and if it looked too bad, I'd pick up another at Wal*Mart. I don't remember ever changing the fuel filter. The trick to starting it was to give it 3 quick pulls to get the rpm up, and rarely did it need a 4th pull. It had a briggs 5hp motor. After 10 years, I was still using it to do the steep slope that was hard to do with the Dixon.

Inherited a Troy-built tiller from Susan's grandpa, and the motor was about ruined. Took 2 spark plugs and a quart of oil to till the garden, so I had an 8 hp "Techumesh" motor put on it. First time I went to use it, I couldn't get it started for nothing. Looked all over for a choke or something. Just as I was getting frustrated and Susan decided I'd wasted more of "her" money, my 3-year-old said, "Daddy, what's this" and pulled out this little vane. I looked close and said, "Ah! Buddy Bear! You've discovered the trick!" From then on, it never took a second pull to start.
 

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Scot,
It only the middle of April, why are you cluttering your mind with these things now. You know we're not out of the snow season here in Rochester until at least the middle of May!!!!!!!!!
Dave
 

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I usually dump the old gas out of my mower in the spring and then add fresh gas. Better yet do that in the fall. Also, a major safety issue, do not touch the blade without first removing the spark plug. You do not want to be jacking on the nut that holds the blade on, and accidentally start the thing. That would not be pretty.
By the way Dave, I have already cut my grass twice in Lower Slower Delaware. The only thing that is not slow is the grass.
Paul
 

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The running of the engine has two reasons behind it....

1. The warm the oil as others have pointed out...it pours out easier.
2. To drain the carburator of gasoline...cause you have to turn the mower over or on it's side to drain the oil in most cases. Spilling gasoline is not only a fire hazard....it a pollution hazard...and it kills grass real good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ah! ok..makes sense about the warm oil..thanks!

the gas tank is already empty..I store it empty over the winter..
I hate to add new gas just to warm up the oil, im not convinced its that important to warm up the oil..

how much gas would be enough to run the mower for only a few minutes?
I dont want to wait half an hour for the gas to run out! ;)


thanks,
Scot
 

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Scot..put a little fuel in the tank...like a cup. Then go cut your lawn...it'll run out soon enough...and you'll get some exercise too. I don't know of an alternative...but USING the mower uses more fuel than just letting it idle for a half hour.
 

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Those of us who use 20-30 year old LawnBoys (made in the OMC days) don't have to worry about such stuff.

Also, the new mandated "blended" gas with ethanol, check out the boat and motorbike forums. Do not store the stuff long, as it will seperate and you can have contamination problems supposedly. I run mine empty every fall.

For oil changes for those in fourstroke land, as pointed out, do just use a little gas (1/2 cup) for the warm up, not to hot, or you will burn yourself.
 

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You can buy a new blade for $11-$14. Some of the mulching blades [all recent Craftsman mowers have them]are difficult to sharpen on a bench grinder, but can be sharpened with the Dremmel or 4in angle grinder. Its easier just to replace the blade. When changing the oil, just tip the mower over with the oil filler tube on the down side. Pour out the oil and refil. The newer mowers do not have a removable plug on the bottom of the engine.
JimC.
 

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TUNE UP?

Why? I have found out, after extensive trips to the repair shop when my mowers would not work, and they continued to tell me it was the electronics, which was not really a lie, but a vauge truth, that by just changing the spark plug EVERY spring before the first mowing-O-the green, and mixing in some fresh gas, with the OLD....my mower starts with the first pull-O-the string every spring!:)

So really they were telling me the truth..kind of...because all they did for $50 each spring before was to change out my spark plug...now it costs me...what $2.50 for a new spark plug!

But remember to always sharpen the blade on the grinder every once and awhile.

Oil? I just add more...havent changed it much and I don't have to add much either....maybe someday I will get around to changing it...or maybe not..cause if it pulls EVERY first pull-O-the string every spring and oil registers on the dip stick...can't be nothing wrong with it..so why make it bigger then what it needs to be?

So now every spring my weed wacker, blower and lawn mower gets new spark plugs and new gas mixed with the old and each one starts every time I go to start it...and all three have a lot of years on them...blower 13, weed wacker 15, lawn mower 5 years....so before you spend money where you don't need to try changeing the plug every spring and mix fresh gas in with the old....cause the repair shops would love seperating you from your money..and it can better spent on your trains!:)

Bubba
 

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Scott, Please don't take this the wrong way, but you are already two oil changes behind. You should have changed the oil at the end of the first season and at the end of last year. I doubt if you have an oil filter or a gas filter. For most residential (4 cycle) walk behind mowers oil is circulated by the splash method. i.e. the oil is splashed around by the moving parts of the engine and lubricates the moving parts. That is why you must keep the engine oil level correct. If you have steep hills you can actually do harm to a "splash" type engine as the oil will pool wrong and not get splashed around. More expensive mowers may have a pressurized lubrication with an oil filter and an oil pump like your car.


There are also two cycle engines, as mentioned, where the oil and gas are mixed and there is no oil resevoir. That is what chain saws are as you can turn them any which way and the gas/oil mixture will still lubricate. You also don't have to change the oil, but they have been known to "polute" in the past and new standards are having to be met.

If you want your engine to last to it's potential you do not want the old oil and crud to sit over the winter. The oil is contaminated with acids and solid type crud can settle out and stick to the inside of the engine where it will never drain out. Yes, warm the engine oil first and get the loose crud suspended in the oil which will now be thin and flow better.

There may be a screen in the gas tank to keep out big crud but more than likely not. No way to really clean it.

There are two arguments about gasoline and storage. One- drain the gas and run the carbarator dry. Two - be sure to fill the gas tank at the end of the season (after you change the oil), put gas stabilizer in and run to be sure the carb has stabilized gas in it. I currently have 2 lawnmowers, two snow blowers, two leaf blowers, two jet skis, one weed trimmer, one garden tractor, one leave vacuum, one chain saw and one snowmobile. I use method one. I drain the tanks and run the carbs dry. In the spring I put in fresh gas and they start within a few pulls, usually as soon as gas gets to the carb. However the dealer for the newest snowblower suggested to use method two as he thought an empty carbarator would be susceptable to moisture and rusting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I did the "tuneup" last weekend!
turned out great!

I went to HD and got a new sparkplug, a new container of oil, a new airfilter..($10 total for those parts)

plus I got that Dremel blade sharpener jig thing. (which in retrospect probably wasnt really necessary)

I got everything home, replaced the airfilter and sparkplug first..very easy.
I left the plug wire unattached for the next steps.

I tipped up the mower on its side to unscrew the oil drain plug..I thought the drain was one of the bolts on the bottom,
a regular hex-bolt you can remove with a standard wrench..it wasnt.
instead the drain plug has a recessed hex-key opening, requiring and extra-large allen wrench or a special socket-set type fitting..
I wasnt about to go back to HD for that..
so I stuck a funnel in an empty motor oil bottle and just tipped the mower upside down, draining out the oil thorugh the "oil fill" opening.
(there was still no gas in the mower..gas was drained last fall, cap left loose all winter so any left evaporated away.
I didnt bother to warm-up the mower for draining the the oil..I chose not to believe in the necessitry of that step..)

the oil drained out fine..I let it sit for awhile to get it all out.
filled it up with fresh oil, checked the oil level, gave it a tank of new gas..

While reading the manual before gathering the parts, (to see if it had an oil filter or gas filter..it doesnt)
I discovered the mower has a "priming button" on the front of it..
never knew it was there before!
and never heard of such a thing on ANY mower before!
it said to press the button 3 times before starting the engine..
I did that, pushed the button 3 times, and it started on the first pull! :)

tuneup completed..(oh..and I sharpened the blade a bit too..the dremel attachment worked ok..but I could have probably done it just as easily without it.)

what does this "priming button" do exactly?
This is the first mower I have ever owned myself..
I mowed planty of lawns during my teenage years..and I mowed my parents lawn every summer I was home for college..
but then I didnt mow a single lawn for 15 years...until we bought the house..

thanks!
im pretty happy with the mower status..
I will make sure to change the oil every spring! ;)
(and I did check the oil level often..so even though the oil might have been "old"..the oil level was never low)

Scot
 

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Priming button makes sure there is fuel in the carborator bowl.
 

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Priming bulb forces a little dresh gas into the carb. Make one pulls starts MUCH easier!

Chas

(Who is looking forward to doing this on the tractor, trimmer, hedge trimmer, blower, and the two push mowers he has soon.)

((Actually the push mowers both need work so they'll go the repair guy))
 

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Pull string?



Oil splash?



Gas separating?



What the heck is all that stuff about?



Not me! I bought a Bolens electrical mower 3 years ago, and I LOVE IT. I'd rather flick the electrical cord out of the way once in a while than to ever have to worry about tune-ups or how the oil might not be splashing right on a slope.



I'm sick and tired of PULL PULL PULL PULL PULL PULL **sputter** **cough** PULL PULL PULL PULL **cough** **cough** **cough** **cough** **almost start** /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif PULL PULL PULL PULL PULL PULL !!!!CRAP I forgot to choke it!!!! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/angry.gif (choke on) PULL PULL PULL PULL PULL ---it starts!--- (choke off sloooooooooowly) And now it dies! START OVER. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/cry.gif



All I have to do is sharpen the blade on my bench grinder. I use a rear-bagger, but it has a mulcher attachment as well if you are into that sort of thing.



I'll never own a gas-powered mower ever again. This Bolens is more powerful than any gas-powered mower I've ever had as well!
 

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My Sears Craftsman mower was guaranteed to start on the first pull, every time... and it DOES!

Unfortunately, it ALWAYS dies after about 3 seconds and requires another dozen or so pulls to get it started again and again and again until it finally will run long enough to go mow the lawn.
 

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My next-door neighbor has to park his mower in the sun for 15-20 minutes to let it warm up...then it starts with only a few pulls.
 
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