Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Further Adventures From The Technological Fringe, or, How I Became A Country Gentleman

Behold the latest addition to the fleet.

It is a mid nineties (I think) Snapper self propelled electric start mower that came out of a garage where it had unaccountably taken early retirement. It was festooned with cobwebs, covered in dried up baked on schmutz, and it cost me a cool twenty bucks. For me it was a high stakes gamble.

After a short ride to the casa de Dougloid, in short order it had had what passed for engine oil drained. There is a school of thought that this stuff had escaped from the La Brea Tar Pits but nevermind. After a refill with the tag ends of several quarts of miscellaneous engine oils, it was time for the official test run.

I dumped a quart of Mr. Phillips' finest in the tank, selected the choke, reached out not really expecting anything, but it sprang to life on the very first pull.

After a half hour run and some inspection I shut it down, disassembled the rear wheel drive, and headed over to Bruce's for fifteen bucks worth of parts-a rubber tire and a ball bearing. On the return trip I picked up a quart of O'Reilly's best quality 10W30 engine oil and gave it another drain and change and treated it to a comprehensive scrub down and reassembly of the power train.

Since then we have mowed the back lawn twice, I sold the other mower to the neighbor for $25, and it has proved a tractable and efficient piece of machinery that is worth several hundred bucks, or so I'm told. Nowadays, mowing the lawn is about equivalent to going out for a nice walk with some good company, rather than a contest of wills. The electric start feature remains to be reassembled, but we will see if the battery can hold a charge long enough to do its work.


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