Monday, May 18, 2009

The Lawnmower that Cannot Die

My dad loves to tinker with mechanical things and has a car that is 22 years old and he keeps it going. I joke about it that he keeps the car on life support much past the car's natural age. He should just perform euthanasia on the car and allow it to gracefully die.

Well, I guess I am the same way with my lawn mower. I have a 22" Lawnboy that I got used for $25 dollar, 14 years ago. So I figure that the lawn mower is actually 30 years old. Every spring when I start it up for the first time, I wonder if will actually come to life. And sure enough, it sputters and coughs and comes to life. Over the years, the steel deck on the mower has been slowly rusting apart. I have re-welded on supports around the back wheels and last summer I bolted extra supports along both sides of the deck from the back wheels to the front wheels. (the deck was rusting so much that when I would push down on the handle to lift the front wheels, I would hear the blade hit the underside of the deck.

When I started my mower this spring, it took a significantly longer time to come to life, and I found that I needed to keep shaking it to keep it going. I suspect that sediment had built up in the carburator and that by shaking it, it loosened up the sediment and eventually enabled it to pass through the engine. Even through I finally got it to life, it is getting louder every hear. So much so that I am actually considering getting a quieter lawn mower.

Then I found out that my friend down the street had given up using her LawnBoy. She said that it would die on her in the middle of cutting the lawn. She was planning on getting another lawn mower so she was quite happy to give the LawnBoy to me (since she was also convinced that it did not work). I took it home, squirted some Rapid Fire into the carburetor, filled up the tank with gas and gave it a few yanks. Just like that, it started. But then after 2 minutes, it died. So I tried my shaking trick. I got it started again then I kept shaking it for a couple of minutes. Sure enough, it ran smooth after a couple of minutes of agitation. So after about 15 minutes of playing with it, it works as good as new. I felt guilty about taking a perfectly good lawnmower from her, so I gave it back to her.

I guess in my own way, I like to keep machines living much past their natural lives.

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