This weekend, I tackle several machines that needed repair.
I was without kids, so I buckled down and tried to get some things done. Spring had sprung and (while I had mowed twice already) a couple of my tools were in bad shape. And by ‘bad’ I mean not usable for their intended purpose.
I started with the weed eater. The one my dad gave me was stolen in the move, as I had left it at the old house for trimming. Fortunately, I had horded my previous one, a Stihl FS38, the entry-level model. Unfortunately, I was unable to remove the head, as I had bashed the nut & shaft so much, that they were pretty well fused together. Last weekend, however, I found an FS85 at a second-hand shop. They had about half a dozen there, but they hadn’t tested any of them yet. With good compression, and a flexible primer bulb, I bought it AS-IS for $20. (Don’t worry, I paused so I could pretend to contemplate that price.)
I bought a new spark plug & air filters, and got a fuel pickup filter on its way. Tearing it apart, it was missing the pre-air filter, full of nastiness, and I broke the fuel line. All told, I spent about $17 on parts. Since they were a dealer, I went to see what the new equivalent model was going for these days. Typically, when I consider used versus new, I figure it should be half the cost or less. If something’s 80% the cost of new, I’ll just wait for a sale. You can imagine by glee to find that new, this model was $349! It was a lower-end “Pro” series trimmer. (This explained the strap, comfort throttle, clutch, and extra easy head.) Now my $37 weed eater runs like a champ!
Next was a ‘quick’ upgrade for my circular “Skil” saw. I had picked up a worm-drive ‘special’ gold edition for $50, and my Dad just happened to have a custom handle for it, which allows it to stand on-end. This handy little feature allows you to set it on the floor between cuts, and scoop it back up easily. The new one was painted up real nice, so it would be 4 quick screws.
After finding the right size, I thoroughly bent my hex wrench trying to free them. I soaked the screws with more WD-40, and headed to the ACE for some better wrenches. I cashed in a $10 off coupon, and came home with a full set of Craftsman hex wrenches. These broke the screws free, and I got them all out without further trouble. I cleaned the surfaces with my handy-dandy sanding brush, then put the new handle on. Two down, one to go!
I’ve stated that I’ve mowed twice this spring. However, both times were utilizing my John Deere riding mower. It has it’s “character” like a lot of my stuff, but it does the job… most days… after persuasion. Anyway, last season my push mower broke. The throttle cable snapped clean in two. I had been getting by using a zip-tie each time I mowed, to hold the throttle in place. I had vowed to fix it before using again, as this isn’t very safe or “cool looking.” I was tempted to buy new, but this one does run pretty good.
Unable to find replacement parts locally, and not wanting to spend $30 for a new one, I decided to engineer my own solution. Hmm, I’ve started parting out my old bike, so it doesn’t need brakes anymore… Rescuing it from the weeds, I made it work. The trick on my model was that the cable doesn’t actually move the throttle. The act of tightening the cable pushes the sleeve against the throttle. A couple clamps and some bailing wire, and I was in business.
Since I had it up on the table anyway, I thought I’d give the underside some loves. Woah, that was bad. I removed the blade and much of the caked-on grass clumps. Taking the blade to the vise, I tried to bend the flaps back into place. It was no use, this thing was done! Fortunately, another trip to ACE meant another coupon… $10 off, please!
The next day I fired that thing up and (with the new blade) it works better than ever. I had gotten 5 years out of the $50 mower, so I guess it had earned a new blade.
Anyway, it stopped raining again, so I guess I’ll go whack some more weeds!