- Cleaning your mower
Clean your unit as often as possible, but minimize the use of water. Water
under pressure + detergent = corrosion and problems. Pressure washers clean great,
but they also put water and detergents into places that can be very detrimental
to your equipment. Use compressed air or blowers as much as possible. Also make
sure you grease and lubricate the unit afterward if water was used.
- Installing a spring
An easy tool to remove or install a spring is an old starter rope. Simply take
the old rope and make a loop at the handle. Attach it to one side of the spring
and slip the rope over the other end. Use the rope to stretch the spring and attach
it to the other anchor point.
- A faster, simpler way to remove old engine oil
You may want to look at some of the oil evacuation systems that are on the
market. Many dealers use these types of devices. They’re a lot like vacuum
cleaners. You stick the hose down the dip stick tube and suck the old oil out. Remember
to change the filter!
- Fixing a flat
Flats can be a problem. Some tire sealant may work great. Be careful about
how much weight this adds to the wheel. Do not use a sealant that makes the tire
hard. Keep in mind, the tire is your shock absorber on the unit. You may put excessive
load on the frame and drive system.
- Storing foam precleaners
Keep extra oil-treated, foam precleaners for the engine in a zip-lock bag.
The precleaner filters out most of the dirt and is reusable and inexpensive when
compared to the price of the paper air cleaner element.
- A tip for greasing the pivot points of your mower
Remove the tension from the spring-tensioned pivot points when greasing them.
This will allow the grease to be more evenly distributed.
- Corrosion prevention
Corrosion is inevitable—that's why you grease and lubricate your machine.
Don't forget about the electrical connections. At least once a year, clean and repack
the electrical connections with dielectric grease. Your dealer and many auto parts
stores carry this type of grease for the electrical connections.
- Types of oil
It's the quality not the quantity of grease that's important. Make sure the
lubricates you choose will do an adequate job. A short cut here to save a few cents
can really cost you in the long run. Keep in mind that many engine manufactures
recommend a certain weight of oil, and it may depend on the time of year. This can
make a big difference in oil consumption as well as the proper lubrication of the
engine. Do not use synthetic oil in the engine during the break-in period. If you
use synthetic oil, the change interval stays the same; however, most engine manufacturers
do not recommend the use of synthetic oils. The proper petroleum-based oil lubricates
the engine adequately.
- Storing oxygenated fuels
Be aware that oxygenated fuels have a shelf life of 30 days (fuels containing
alcohol blends or MTBE-methyl tertiary butyl ether). Mark the date on your gas can
when you fill it. There are also inexpensive testers to check your fuel to be sure
that it does not contain over the maximum 10 percent alcohol or 15 percent MTBE.
- Maintaining idler pulleys
To add a little life to your idler pulleys, try using a little spray lubricant
on the seals. Over time, water and sunlight can cause the seals to harden, shrink
or crack. When this happens, the seal no longer protects the bearing and a failure
will soon happen. The lubricant will help to keep the seal soft and resistant to
the weathering that can occur.
- Adjusting a new belt
Make sure to check the adjustment on a new belt, often. Check the belt three
times in the first 24 hours of use, and adjust it if necessary. During this time,
the belt is fitting into the pulleys. If the belt is allowed to loosen as it fits
in, you may spin/burn the belt, which drastically reduces belt life.
- Checking belt tension
A simple belt-tension gauge is a ruler and a fish scale. Simply hook the fish
scale around the belt, and pull. Use the ruler to measure the distance. On some
belts, we recommend a 1/2-inch deflection with 10 pounds of pressure. This means
it would take a force of 10 pounds to move the belt a half-inch. Be sure to consult
the operator's manual for the belt you're adjusting.
- Sharpening and balancing mower blades
Blade sharpness and balancing are important. Dull blades tear leaf tips, making
them susceptible to dieback and pests. A dull blade also increases the load on the
belts, bearings and engine. An unbalanced blade can cause vibrations and stress
to the cutting deck. Every 8 to 10 hours of use, sharpen the blades and replace
any damaged blades. Blade-balancing tools are inexpensive and readily available.
Consider keeping an extra set of sharp, balanced blades on hand.
- Using fuel stabilizers
As the season draws to an end, put a little fuel stabilizer in your gas. This
will help protect the fuel when it's slow, and ensure that the stabilized fuel gets
into the carburetor.