Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mower Breakdown

I'm finding that fixing and maintaining equipment is an ongoing task. (Thank heaven I don't have a tractor or a combine!)  It's not something I enjoy, although by shear stubboness, I can usually figure things out. Today was a prime example. 

Just a little breakdown. The self propelled lawnmower stop being self propelled. Not that it is really all that self propelled, but the assist it gives making mowing far, far easier for me. Ok, the wheels stopped "wheeling". I looked for a grass clog. That sometimes happened when I was mowing tall grass with the previous  mowers. But the grass today was only 6" high, so I suspected some other cause. The wheels themselves looked fine, and they turned when I pushed the mower myself. I figured the next most obvious problem was the drive belt. Either it broke, or it popped off. 

(Propped up so I could access the belt drive.)

The problem was accessing the belt drive. On past lawn mowers, it was simple. In fact, the belt was so exposed that it often got a tangled clog of grass strangling it. But this latest mower had the drive assembly very well protected.....from grass & from my inspection as well. 

Propping up the mower, I tucked under to take a look. How to take this thing apart? Saw 7 bolts. I wasn't sure exactly which would be the best to remove, so without a repair manual, I took my best guess. 

7 bolts later, I got the drive assembly casing loosened but still couldn't see the belt. I could feel it with my fingers and determined that it wasn't broken. So it just popped off the pulley wheel. Guess I had the tension too loose. Contorting my fingers this way and that, I couldn't make any progress. Cursing didn't even help. Dang, dang, dang. Looking more closely, I spied 5 more bolts tucked down deep holes. Now I need to find a socket extension. Of course, one the right size was not to be found in the tool box. Searching various tool sheds, I finally found the right piece about 30 minutes later. Grrrr. 

(Above - At this point I could pull out the belt and determine that it wasn't broken, but I couldn't reach the pulley it should be mounted on.) 

With the right tool, it was a breeze removing the last 5 bolts. Now with a bit of prying, I was able to expose the troublesome belt. Yup, it was off. Thank heavens it wasn't broken! Looking at the exposed innards of the mower, I determined it would be a bear to actually have to replace a broken belt. Hope that doesn't ever happen. 

A bit of finger manipulating and the belt was back where it should be. 5 minutes later, the mower was back together and I was once again mowing. 

In all, this job took an hour. If I had had the tools and knew what I was doing, it should have been a 20 task. Live and learn. But now I'm prepared if this ever happens again. Of course, I wisely tightened up the belt adjustment, removing the excess slack. A bit of prevention can't hurt! 

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