May 12, 2010

Omens

Weather and scheduling have conspired to keep our lawn un-cut for a couple weeks. It was approaching the point where I wanted to hire a couple gun bearers with machetes to get a start on it.

We got a break in the weather last week and I headed out to mow. Fired up the mower, started around the edge of the yard, and when I tried to turn at the end, the mower didn't turn quite right. I looked down and was greeted by the sight of the right-front tire going *flap-flap-flap* ... Limped it back to the shed, backed it in, and started arguing with it.

Got out the hi-lift jack and raised up the front end - after convincing the jack to work, which took some careful application of expletives and WD-40. Pulled the hub covers - and found that the front wheels are help on by snap rings. I have no snap-ring pliers, so I tried needle-nose pliers instead. No luck. By this point I was tired and out of time to play with the tractor, so I left it up in the air and called it quits for the day.

The next day I ran into my neighbor and borrowed a couple of awls to try peeling apart the snap rings. No joy. Finally gave in and went to Tractor Supply and bought snap-ring pliers. Took those home and broke two of the four included tips getting the two wheels off. After all that was done, anyone who had the tires in stock or could mount them was closed for the day.

Fast forward to Monday. Went back to TSC, bought a pair of front tires, took the tires and wheels to Goodyear for mounting. Eventually got them back - apparently there is only one guy there who does tractor tires, and he was late for work. Took them home and put them on the tractor, and started to mow. With an interruption for a friend dropping by to pick up some things, I got about half the yard done before it was getting dark and chilly.

Tuesday morning, I headed out to mow late morning. I made two or three circuits around the yard and the mower deck started squealing. Shut it off, backed up, started it again, and it seemed to be ok. Finished the row, made the turn - and the noise changed. No longer cutting grass... turned the PTO off and on. It's disengaging and engaging, but the mower deck isn't turning. Shut off the tractor, look underneath. The mower deck has eaten its secondary belt. Lovely.

Drive up to the garage, swearing the whole time, and park the mower in there so I can pull the deck. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I got the deck off (SIX attachment points??), and made some phone calls. Since it was off anyways, I cleaned out the accumulated crap, and put on the new blades I'd picked up over the weekend - and found that part of the reason it was cutting so poorly. Someone had installed two of the three blades upside down, so they were "cutting" with the blunt edge.

I ended up taking the whole deck to the Deere dealer (45 minutes away), where they got me the right belt (and a spare), a spare PTO belt, and I decided that since I had the mower torn apart anyways, I might as well go whole-hog... so I got a new air filter and new oil filter. Stopped at the Mart of Wal on the way home and got a jug of oil.

Got home, finished draining the oil pan, pulled the old filter, pulled the air filter, and replaced things as appropriate. Got the new belt on the mower deck, but haven't put it under the tractor yet.

Tried to start the tractor... and the low-oil light comes on, and the thing won't turn over. At all.

I spent another hour or so futzing around with and swearing at it, and got nowhere. My google-fu is weak, so I turned to the #GBC gang for ideas... I've got some things to try tomorrow, and if that doesn't get me anywhere, I may just drag the thing out to the range for target practice...

1 comment:

mhaithaca said...

You should see if you can borrow some goats from someone to eat the lawn for you!