I realized it was finally time to break out the lawnmower. As I was unloading it, I realized that I didn’t run out the gas last fall. I started to worry that I may have mucked up the engine. I did a little research (as I tend to do) and there are a few potential problems with leaving the gas in over the winter. The most common comments online were about the gas going bad, especially if it is an ethanol blend which is all they seem to have in the midwest. I wasn’t terribly worried about that, as the solution is pretty simple. You just siphon out the bad gas and fill up the tank with fresh gas.
The bigger worry was that the carburetor had gotten gummed up. This is a bigger problem as I’d have to clean out the carb. It wasn’t too hard to find some articles on ways to clean out / rebuild a lawnmower carburetor, but I really didn’t want to have to go through that. While it was a fun project as a kid to rebuild our Chevy’s carb, I really don’t want to take the time to do it now, as fun as it may be.
So – I took out the lawnmower and held my breath as I pulled the starter cord. The first few pulls absolutely nothing. Around the fourth pull, the engine did turn over, but then died. the next pull the engine started and ran just fine. I figured once I ran out all the old gas, I’d do the regular annual oil change. I must have really had a full tank when I stored the lawnmower last fall, as I was able to mow the entire yard before the gas ran out. I’ll have to wait until the next time I mow to run the rest of the gas out and change the oil.
The other thing I’m considering is changing the blade. I would hate the spend the money to have someone else change the blade, as the mower itself wasn’t that expensive (around $260 Lawnboy from Home Depot). I saw a local hardware store was offering to do lawnmower “tune ups” which I included either sharpening or replacing the blade, but they wanted $90 for the service. I can’t see spending that much on a cheap lawnmower. When I looked through the manual, it look like you need to use a special torque wrench to make sure you have the tightness right. That’s another project on my list – finding where I can get the proper torque wrench at a good price, and then changing the blade. I’ve never done it before, but it can’t be too difficult. If I get around to doing it, I’ll be sure to post an update.