Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lawnmower repair

About six weeks ago, I told toomuchtexting it was time. That time of the spring season when the first yard cutting was needed. I told him to get started on the front yard as I started some spring cleaning of the garage.

He primed the mower a couple of times and pulled the starter cord 2 or 3 times. Nothing. I watched him give it three or four efforts and thought it best to let him work through the first starting since last December. But he couldn't get it cranked. Finally, I bailed him out. I primed the bulb seven or eight times and then proceeded to pull the cord...a lot. Between the two of us, we simply couldn't get the thing to start.

I was a little bit bent because I'd taken the mower to a shop for repair last fall. They told me it was a gummed-up fuel system resulting from all the additives in today's ethanol-tainted gasoline. They hit me up for about $35, and it lasted me through the rest of the fall's cuttings.

So I wasn't happy the mower wouldn't start less than four months and no more than a half-dozen cuttings since it was last repaired. Bottom line though - it wouldn't start. I took it to a different repair place where they told me they'd likely be able to squeeze in the repair amongst all their riding mower jobs.

My definition of "squeeze in the repair" and theirs differed significantly. THREE weeks later, I got a call from the shop. It started awkwardly with my answering the phone to hear Randall on the other end. Because of his mechanic-ese diction, I have chosen instead to refer to him as Goober. The conversation went something like this.

TMC: Hello?
Goober: Dissis Randall
TMC: Wait. What? You must have the wrong number.

Goober: Dissis Randall. Jee leave a lahnmowah here?
TMC: Oh...yeah...lawnmower. OK, now I gotcha. I was beginning to wonder...

Goober: Yer coal's rurnt.
TMC: What?

Goober: Yer coal. Its rurnt. Yain't got no far.
TMC: Huh? Oh! My coil!

Goober: Yain't got no far.
TMC (now in a Goober Groove): Its not firing. Correct. That's right. That's the reason I brought it in to have y'all look at it. But I thought it was supposed to be a gummed-up fuel line.

Goober: Naw, thats good. Butcher coal ain't no count. Yain't got ...
TMC: fire. Got it. So how much to fix it?

Goober: About a hunnerd. Sebbenty for da pahrt. Thirty to put it on.
TMC: Uh no. That mower isn't worth much more than that. I'll put a 'hunnerd' towards a new one.
Goober: Suit yerself. It'll be right chere. Come git it.

I had a Murray push mower for about 14 years. This Toro mower - that cost me twice what the Murray did - is only 5 or 6 years old. Yet, I was convinced I was now going to buy a new mower. But as I described my phone conversation with Goober to Ozzy Nelson, he started Googling 'mower coil'. Sure enough, we found the part on-line, and it didn't look like the effort to replace it would be that bad.

I visited site to site. Consistently, the part ran $25-30 plus S&H. Everywhere I searched, the part was significantly under Goober's sebbenty estimate - those crooks. On a what-the-hell search, I jumped to Amazon. There it was - $32 with free super saver shipping.

This morning, I launched, double-checked what I was supposed to do, made the switch in about 15 minutes, and was ready to give it the start test.

However, I had no spark plug. In checking my coal, I reckon Ol' Goob done left out that thar spark plug. Ugh. So to the big box hardware store I went. With today's fuel prices, I likely burned $6 in gas to buy a $2 plug.

I installed the plug, fastened the plug wire, primed the bulb, yanked once and - voilĂ  - it roared to life once again.

OK toomuchtexting - you are back in business. Wait. He's out of town this weekend. Crap. Oh well, considering I spent about $35 vs. $100 (or far more), mowing was a bit of a pleasure today.


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