When I started this whole Hack A Week thing I posted an introductory video in which I stated I would be doing all kinds of projects. While most of them have been centered around electronics I have deviated into such things as Chicken Tractors and a workbench build.
This week I decided to share a project I’ve been working on for a few weeks. My landlord gave me a free riding mower a while back that had quit running. It had a list of things wrong with it. It needed a new battery, two tires had gone flat, the charging system didn’t work, the seat was falling off, the drive belts were cracked and most importantly, the engine would no longer start up and run.
Being as the engine is the heart of the machine I decided to tackle this problem first. The most common problem with a mower that won’t start is a dirty carburetor and the easiest way to check the condition inside is to remove the float bowl. It’s usually held on with a single brass bolt which also holds the main jet which meters the fuel. When I removed this one I found a lot of dirt and a faulty float and needle valve assembly. I ordered up the new parts directly from Briggs & Stratton online and received them in a few days time. After installing them on the engine it still wouldn’t run which meant something had failed mechanically. It did indeed crank over as if it had no compression, which meant that something had gone wrong with the valves. Time to pull the valve cover.
After removing the valve cover the problem quickly revealed itself. The rocker arms were both loose and out of alignment with the valves, which meant that the engine could not breath properly. This misalignment had also bent one of the push rods which was easily straightened. After a little tightening and realigning the valve train was back in working order. I re-installed the valve cover and gave it a crank. As you’ll see in the video it fired right up and ran fine! There’s more things that I fixed and I’ve documented them in the video along with the “hack” part of the project which is revealed at the very end.
So get comfy and enjoy 22 minutes of mower restoration… and as always, keep on hackin!