ShopTalk Sunday: Serial Failures Weekend

I know about accident chains having flown a hundred thousand miles, plus or minus a pee stop, in our own plane.

Part of the F.A.A. WINGS program includes the study and understanding of “accident chains” and how to break them.  Prevents falling “out of the sky.”

What’s not widely appreciated though is the accident chain’s evil twin:  Serial Failures.  Especially at home, especially when you’re rolling on a punch list before Ure’s spouse’s next hip surgery….

Scene Setting

Saturday morning, Peoplenomics was done, and I’d made the decision to skip breakfast and just work straight-through until dinner time.  Which was penciled in around 4 PM with a couple of dee-lightful  inch-and-a-half Porterhouse steaks.

Got the mower started, headed around to the front of the “tractor port” to fill ‘er up.  Everything was tracking…

As I made a first pass up alongside the driveway markers, I lazily watched as Elaine was prancing around the yard with her “reacher” and a bag.  Picking up a few paper bowls dragged from the cat feeding spot on the 180-degree room’s deck.


Suddenly, I felt the tractor becoming uncannily smooth running; quieter, too.

“Shit fire and save matches!”

Damn blade belt had come off.

On a three-bladed old Husky lawn tweezer, not the kind of thing to tackle in the driveway where the ants live.  So – cursing in the approved ShopTalk fashion, I drove around to the north side of the shop.  The one where I’d built that 9-foot square “lean-to” so I’d have a dry spot for tools in weather too hot (or too cold, or wet) for working in the open air.

It was clear what the initial fault was:  While I was eyeing Elaine, I’d not been watching where I was mowing.  A small stick, not more than a foot in length, had flipped up onto the engine belt pulley and had “power-pried the belt” off.

I found that failure…or so I thought

Bringing in the Big Tractor

Fastest way I have found to get under the lawn tractor is to maneuver the Big Tractor around and lift the front of the little one with the lift bucket on the Big.

#Except!  You’ll remember the Big Tractor has been down and was trussed up like a turkey to lift up the rotary cutter.  The final item I am waiting on is a large cotter pin to secure the castellated nut on the stump jumper pan.

There for, before I could get to the mower, the big tractor had to be un-trussed, the bush hog 3-point lift adjusted, and in less than 10-minutes, the lawn tractor was hanging in position ready for repair.

#Except!  Now I faced the screws that held the pulley power covers in place.  “Well, I’ll go approve some reader comments and give it a shot of Aerokroil (penistraighting oil, lol).

20-minutes later (because scheduled plans were already heading for the rocks) the covers were off and ready to restring the belt.

#Except!  In a senior moment, I couldn’t remember THAT magic formula.  So back to the office and 10-minutes later (cheat sheets are good) I was back in business.

Lowered the tractor and I’d fire up the lawn tractor for testing.  Started right up, but…oh-oh…. “Shit fire and screw the matches…”  A cloud of blue “belt smoke” engulfed me.

So, nose high again only to discover that there was now a piece of antenna halyard (no idea where that came from) wrapped around a shaft.  Off came the port-side blade, wraps were cleared…whew!  Finally ready to test-run and get this damn lawn item off the punch list.

#Except!   Try as I would, the lawn tractor wouldn’t start up.  “Skip the matches and fire…let’s get right to Oh Shit!”

Lawn Tractor Failure Chain

First suspect?

Battery:  About here, logic was starting to scream:  “Just toss the charger on it and keep it running to complete the lawn…”

#Except!  That didn’t work because the battery wasn’t getting enough “Oomph” to the engine to crank over.  No start, no joy.

Besides, I have a spare AGM replacement and it didn’t work either.

So the next failure-chain check was the starter solenoid:

No particular corrosion (*a fine layer of dirt to preserve the patina and well-used look, of course).  So I sat down at the controls with hopes high again.  It turned a little faster (or was that my imagination?)…

#Except!   It didn’t catch.

I figured as much.  I was ready to double-check the wiring to the starter motor…

But here, again, there was no joy to be found.

So, into the office again where the serious troubleshooting would be conducted next.

The Guilty Party?

Near as I could reckon, this particular engine, a Briggs and Stratton V-23 InTek, has a common issue of not turning over easily if the valves aren’t dialed in just so.

Between .005 and .007 for my model.

Having found the .006 gauge in the shop (properly stored in grease, a quick wipe and ready for action) I judged my next moves carefully.  Here’s the problem:

See that spark plug on the left?  I have every plug wrench in this quadrant of Universe…

#Except!  That one.

And that matters why?  Because to line up the valves, you need to pull the plugs and put a wrench on the top of the engine (removing more safety coverings).

Absent the right wrench…and having used my weekend allocation of foul language, I sat back and considered my plight.  Which had gone from a “simple” belt come off due to errant twig into a full-on Stephen King-like run-in with modern “value engineering.”

See how nicely that outdoor stainless table and cobble-welded concrete step table holds tools at the ready under the lean-to so I can mislay them anyway?

I took a break for a bite of leftover Teriyaki chicken.  All I needed to do was “get lucky” and my problems would be over.  The only major stumbling block visible is the possibility that it’s not valve adjustment issue.  Might be the internal compression release and now we’re quickly moving over into the “I don’t have time for this shit right now,” column.

But – no time like the present.  With the bite of chicken and a handful of semi-sweet chocolate morsels *(energy food) I was almost ready to sit down and tackle the valves.  Which I knew would make a terrible oily mess because I just topped the mower off with Royal Purple in the morning before start-up.  Spilling drinks is considerably cheaper.

#Except!  Time to Replace?

The rider of ours is about 15-years old.  I’ve already been through the starter once (replacing the nylon starting gear, too).  I also made a personal decision that if ever given the chance to fly a Briggs-powered ultra-light, I’d chicken out and walk, instead.

Then I started looking at what else was wrong with the old mower.  Came up with a list:

  • The seat is torn.  Nothing I did.  Just 15 years of incidental Texas sun-frying and that happens.  Big tractor seat has the same problem and it’s also in that 2004-2005 vintage.
  • All four tires leak.  I have kept them alive with goo and running the compressor before each mow…that’s a pain…
  • The transmission is getting a bit cranky, too.
  • Also time for another set of blades.
  • Oil change and filter wouldn’t hurt.

This would be on top of a new starter if needed ($70) and a new solenoid ($13) too.

#Except!  I still needed that plug wrench.

I started thinking about this deeply.  Despite being able to “afford” a new mower easily, it’s the point of trying to keep everything in tiptop shape.  At 72, will I live long enough to get 15-years out of the next rider?

Frankly, still pondering that.  But with rain due in this morning, maybe I will try on the valves before giving in to the “replacement urge.”

“Can I buy a $3,000 house upkeep tool, too, dear?”  Elaine was looking at me with one of her “Is she serious or pulling my leg?” looks.

Sure, dear.

#Except!  Late Saturday I found the spark plug wrench.  Even with no compression damn thing wouldn’t spin up.  Looks like a new mower is in my immediate future.

Whatever you want, dear…”  (Except….)

Dinner turned into pizza.  The steaks will play tonight.  Maybe with a new mower in view.

I had another serial failure this week, too.

Trying to move from an old slow HDD on my Linux laptop to a new SSD.

Same kind of thing.  Except code issues and things like MBR issues don’t seem to matter as much.

Even though we live on a large “lot” (29-acres), there’s still some long-term brain damage recovery from owning a home in a “competitive front yard” area for 15-years.  When divorced in ’87, was it?  I reveled in living on a sailboat which never needed mowing.

Lawns are a modern curse.  And I’m feeling a certain kinship with ancient flocks of sheep who suffered similar “serial failures” after many successful lawn mowings.  You know what happened next to them

Special 7:25 AM Update

W00-woo here.  I have always figured that I run 3-weeks ahead of Mercury Retrograde.

Just for the hell of it – I looked it up:  Sure and hell – Starts on May 29 to June 22.  So right frigging on track.


Everyone has an offset – have you kept track long enough in Life to figure out yours?

Write when you get rich,

42 thoughts on “ShopTalk Sunday: Serial Failures Weekend”

  1. I feel your pain George. My “big tractor” is a 50HP Mahindra with a cab. I love the tractor but this winter while plowing the drive it started to drip oil right under the steering wheel. After doing some research I determined that it was the power steering control valve that needed replaced. I am a bit of a tool slut myself but I did not have a steering wheel puller. I finally got the steering wheel off by using a bearing puller. Then I had to remove the whole dash etc. to get the the four hydraulic lines on the valve. Of course there is no room to do any of this! Trust me before that whole project was over I had used up my allotment of curse words for a month!

    BTW I have a John Deere X730 mower that I highly recommend. I have just under 300 hours on it and so far nothing but routine maintenance.

    Good luck.

    • I bought a used deer .. lawn were lucky the one I bought should have been yellow.. I put more money in that thing.. even Dear John Deer mechanics couldn’t get a clue.. gave it to the kids and they have dumped a lot of money in it.. never again I see the green and run..
      But I have a yellow cub zero turn rider and that has as much or more power as the green one had when it ran and it runs every time with a coffee cup holder and can holder..and the company mechanics assure me that they know how to fix their equipment.. we also have a Honda..that sucker you only have to pull a quarter pull to start..

      • When I purchased the Volcano Ranch here, there was a lot of tall weeds, fallen trees, and broken lava rock areas. The old Briggs push mower got thoroughly wrecked chopping that stuff. Bought a Honda self-propelled ‘open box/display’ model at the orange box store and never regretted it. Three years later it still starts on the first pull.

  2. Had the same model Husky only a newer vintage 2013, After 3 years of work for up close yard areas on the ranch I had alredy replaced the blade belt twice, one of the quills and had successfully bypassed most of the PITA so called saftey locks. “No safety lectures please”. When the engine started the no cranking issue you describe I also went to the valve adjustment item on the list but no help. I ultimately found that the PITA saffety locks included a switch on the clutch pedal. I had questioned what the hell that was for anyway since this is a hydrostatic drive. Determined that if I did not stand on the pedal as if trying to lock the brakes up at 100 mph the contacts were not sufficient to allow the started to engage at full power.

    At that point the machine was sold for 350 smackers to a fellow who buys up old riders and builds race mowers out of them. ISYK. Currently using an old Cub Cadet that is likely 30 years old. Best machine I have had in a long time.

    Best of luck to Elaine. Hope this upgrade goes smoothly.

  3. This just in –
    Calgary Pastor Artur Pawlowski Swarmed by Police and Arrested After Holding “Illegal” Church Service (VIDEO)

    My sympathies to Mr. Tyreman at the passing of his country. Wonder if he’ll make a video condemning things like this in Canada or would he demure in fear of being the next one kneeling in the middle of the freeway while being cuffed by the New Age Gestapo? This is how you find out just exactly how “free” you are but, as Christians, we knew this was coming all along.

  4. A huge ongoing serial failure is discussed in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:

    This article discusses involvement with the funding, rule-bending, and propaganda campaigns by US researchers and government employees in support of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Lab.

    It is beginning to seem like the professional community involved in this sort of research is incapable or unwilling to police itself, and sovereign states are taking advantage of the lapses of ethics and judgement. It is fitting that the Bulletin would publicly throw a big rock at the virologists. You have to wonder, is this how bioweapons will be deployed in plain sight in the future, with commercially compromised agents acting to cover up the mass murder, while using the weapons deployment to enhance their own political control (and not to mention lining their own pockets)? Biden needs to do the house cleaning that Trump didn’t.

    • “Biden needs to do the house cleaning that Trump didn’t.” Pardon me while I take a break from the Internet to roll on the floor laughing!

      • “As long as what is making the rounds in India stays there, Biden will not be under any pressure. If US cases start to look like what is happening in India, ”

        I asked someone I use to work with about this.. I said.. as long as the cases are falling and Biden cured covid.. why should anyone wear a mask.. his response was this. What has changed is how the information can be released to the general public…the cases are still coming in and we are sending them home..
        SO they are doing daily tests of the workers.. Now I suspect they need to go option 3 and open everything.. things won’t change until it is so blatantly obvious that they can’t deny that it is happening..
        then there is the smack your finger with the hammer thing.. want to draw the attention away from accidentally hitting your finger.. smack the one on the other side harder.. your attention is drawn away from the original one.. If Stu’s deciphering of Nostradamus is correct and we go into a WW3 then I think we will be to busy fussing over that to worry about the virus..

    • Somewhere deep inside the human psyche there exists the desire to dominate and destroy. It didn’t start with the monarchies, it’s been going on since we dropped down out of the trees and before that. Even the Off-Worlders that may have developed us had their own internal megalomaniacle tendencies that must have enhanced our own once mixed with whatever primate(s) they developed us from. Even the Angels strive among themselves or so we’re told. No wonder solitude is a prized condition for so many!

      • FOR n____,
        “As long as what is making the rounds in India stays there,”

        Scary ‘MOONSHOT’ pictures to see on those charts of India’s “CASES” and deaths now showing up in the World’s MEDIA. Damn, I should be scared shitless… just like that Chinese rocket about to fall out of the sky… oops, it fell in the water.

        All those beautiful web sites built to track and trace this flu virus… wow… AMAZING. How fuckin’ convenient !!!

        So, who’s doing the counting, who’s spreading the fear, and who’s stopping to use their damn heads to think about the agenda.

        Check my math… PLEASE !!! Also, since I’m thinking for MYSELF, which the US Dept. of Education has been eradicating for DECADES, please check my LOGIC too. Kinda drawn from the old joke told as we drove through America 50 years ago and asked, “How many people are dead it THAT cemetary?” answer – “ALL of them.”

        India’s population (Google says in 2019 it was 1,366,000,000). I postulate that in 100 years ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE WILL BE DEAD. If true, then each and EVERY YEAR for the next 100 years, a MINIMUM of 1/100th of that population will die. That’s 13,660,000 a year. That’s 1.138 MILLION a month. That’s 262,000 a week. That’s 37,424 EVERY FRICKIN’ DAY that MUST die (on average) if my LOGIC stands your test of truth. and I’m supposed to ‘shit my pants’ ’cause they counted 4,000 dead folks, YESTERDAY, and blamed the virus… AND EVERYONE’S SPREADING THAT NARRATIVE ??!!!!

        “When you are dead, you don’t know you are dead. It’s pain only for others.
        It’s the same thing when you are stupid.”

        Richard Feynman

      • Mmmm…Oanon … My posts were about the handling of the Wuhan Lab investigations, and what scenario might cause Biden to take action. That has very little to do with your post or your assertions. I don’t think Richard Feynman would have been impressed with your trivializing accelerating mass deaths, regardless of where they are. As for the specific assertion that my post was a scare tactic, I think that assertion calls your reading comprehension into question.

    • Another drug has been announced as a successful treatment for covid. This one may be harder to dismiss as “anecdotal” as it has peer-reviewed research behind it. I am wondering why it’s the Weather Channel breaking the story, unless the MSM is already trying to suppress it. I also was unaware until now that the TWC now seems to be owned by IBM, which, I believe, has been majority Chinese-owned for some time.

      Those are the caveats – here is the info:

  5. “Aerokroil (penistraighening oil, lol).”


    We use to make one.. benzene and number 1 lightweight cutting oil..
    Granted you can’t buy benzene anymore it’s only used in the oil drilling and tobacco industry ( )
    OM2 may be able to get a tablespoon of it.. mix it well spray on rusty nuts..make sure you wear ppe when working with this stuff.. this crap sucks but it will loosen rusted nuts in a heartbeat .. if you taste garlic wash really good .
    I use to keep a little just ffg or removing rusted items and cleaning the gum buildup from crankcase . .but have gotten rid of it a long time ago… ( the boss insisted)

      • Lol lol lol lol….
        Wanna hear a horror story……
        I was in one of my inquisitive stages of thought.. sitting on the throne.. a hot sweaty day.. nothing to read except a box sitting next to me on the shelf.. the wife’s wax kit… lol lol lol .. so I’m reading it..warm wax use applicator smear it on place paper pull… hmm that’s interesting . Well I hate being sweaty and scratching like a monkey.. so just how difficult could this be.. the boss does it. Right ,,if she can I can.. so after I’m done. Warm up the wax applied it. Put the paper on.. and OMG.. that wasn’t what I had imagined.. shoot.. dam what do I do .. I know wax melts with into a hot shower I go.. oh oh.. that wasn’t the brightest thing to do… call me a drooler I was as brilliant as a politician at the hog trough in the district of corruption.. .it melted alright but everything was stuck together.. fear real serious fear and pain lol lol you loose little willy and the twins.. how do you get out of this one…dam embarrassing..its funny now but never again.. and it’s one of those stories I don’t normally talk about lol.. like when I nailed the twins to my leg with a nail gun showing off to a bunch of beautiful young women at the cabinet shop lol lol lol..

      • OTFLMAO….Thanks RJ I loved it.. LOL LOL LOL… looking back I believe it was a little more intense than that it melted in the hot shower and flowed everywhere.. LOL LOL I needed a pry bar to get the cheeks apart LOL LOL LOL.. were I lucked out was no one was around to see me squeal like a politician LOL LOL LOL Its funny now years later but at the time I was in a full panic

    • Just in case, 50/50 acetone and transmission fluid(used is OK) will meet or beat Aerokroil, though it doesn’t come in convenient spray cans. Of course, it will remove paint too, but only if you want the paint to remain.

      If I needed a cotter pin in a hurry for a castellated nut, I’d have used a bent nail – preferably a long one to bend as far as possible to avoid coming out.. Not pretty, but it gets the job done. Then order a real cotter pin and a spare castellated nut.

    • I’ve got a can of Aerokroil. I also have a little bit of Blaster left. The Blaster was better than nothing, at the time I bought it. My late uncle, who was an automotive machinist and mechanic for 50+ years swore by Marvel Mystery Oil. I don’t know if todays’s MMO recipe is the same as that of yesteryear.

  6. Reading your column often gives me that feeling of deja vu since we’re the same age. I’ve got a 2006 400cc Arctic Cat ATV that we bought years ago to run around our 20 acres, but don’t use much anymore. A neighbor was interested in it, so I thought Id run it over to him. It’s been sitting for a few months and when I went to start her, she fired right up idled fine, but I couldn’t get the RPM over about 2000. Figured that even with the non-ethanol I run in my machines, I must have something gummed up in the carb. S-o-o-o, pulled off the cowlings and seat. During disassembly discovered that squirrels had built a nest clogging the air intake! Cleaned it out, new air cleaner element, and problem solved right? Put it back together and NO CHANGE! Grrr.

    Second Disassembly: took the carb off, disassembled, cleaned, reassembled and installed. I noticed the rubber hoses for vents etc. were rotted, so take even more apart and replace them.Since they are rotted off, spend hours on the net trying to figure what goes where.

    Finally put everything back together and Viola! It won’t start at all now (!?!?) Investigation shows I no longer have spark available. Figure I must have damaged a wire during previous 2 disassemblies.

    Third disassembly: Hand over hand wiring, checking continuity – no problems found. Battery is getting low now so I put a charger on, and it fires right up. Great, right? Charge for 12 hours, battery is full, but now it wont start AGAIN! – no spark; put the charger on and it fires right up (?) charger on, spark happens, no spark with charger off. I’m thoroughly confused. Replace coil as part of ‘just do something’ strategy – no change.

    After a lot of internet research, discovered these models have a problem with the flywheel magnets (glued-on) often coming off so the magneto stops working. Pulled appropriate cover off, (4th disassembly) and found only two magnets (out of 6) still attached, 4 in the oil pan). The charger would apparently spin it fast enough for two magnets to cause spark, but a battery wouldn’t. Ordered new flywheel/magneto kit (and puller, since of course mine wouldn’t fit) – $550 later (they are quite proud of those flywheels!) 4-disassembly and reassembly iterations, oil pan r&r, and with about 40 hours work, it runs again.

    My problem now is that it works too well to get rid of! LOL.

    • Lol. Storing our 4 wheelers in the feed barn isn’t the best idea but it’s the only option we have. Quite often we’ll start them up and have corn come raining out the bottom. Hasn’t happened lately, though, so I’m looking for a snake in the barn … to thank him/her.

      We beat the heck out of these poor Polaris machines rounding up the goats. The oldest is totally defunct and the one in the middle needs to have the rear suspension bushings replaced … at the least. Also need to pull the carburetor enough to get the drain hose on the bottom float valve replaced. Without it there’s gas dripping down on top of the cylinder. I guess it happens when the floats get stuck inside.

      Babbitt’s has been a good source for parts but ours are getting pretty long in the tooth and several parts belonging to assemblies I was looking at yesterday are no longer made – like the gas tank. They have parts for many other things, too.

  7. “Will I live long enough to get 15-years out of the next rider?” George, why worry about it or even consider it?

    I was thinking of getting a riding mower, to replace my “21 push” mower for my 80th birthday. Couple of years away. Might actually get a self-propelled mower this year.
    Of course I thought of ROI right away. Then sanity or insanity kicked in and I realized that at my age ROI doesn’t really matter. What does matter to me is living an uncomplicated life and a satisfying life. ROI no longer matters, but Quality of Life does.

    Happy Mom’s Day to your Lady and enjoy some time off.

    • Amen Tinkerer, amen.

      If my son wasn’t roped into my farmstead, I would be very unlikely to worry about ROI either!

  8. Felt that pain, G. My 1996 Jeep has had nearly everything under the frame replaced to stop a “death wobble,” which hits at 65 mph. That last item has been purchased and awaiting the days off to finally replace it. Will it fix it? Who knows. We haven’t yet. Lol. Learning from the Jeep issue, we now have two riding lawnmowers, just in case!

    • “My 1996 Jeep has had nearly everything under the frame replaced to stop a “death wobble,”

      I can relate to that.. I had a leaking power steering hose.. I knew what it was.. took it to the mechanic .. they had just hired a kid out of mechanic school.. he punched it in the computer.. the computer said.. new steering assembly.. I get it back.. the hundred dollar fix was now almost a thousand.. the hose was still the same one.. took it back and asked.. why did he put in a whole steering assembly.. in the process.. of trying to fix it second time around.. he knicked the brake line.. now I had a small leak.. didn’t notice that one at first.. it wasn’t until I hit a busy intersection and didn’t have any brakes that I freaked out.. back it went.. this time I told the owner of the auto repair shop.. are you sure this kid can fix cars.. he said yes.. I said well tell him that the hose squirting him in the face is the problem.. and I have a brake leak now.. the kid goes and punches it into the computer.. ok.. I get it back a complete new master cylinder and the leak was worse I didn’t even get two blocks and had to go back.. I jokingly said.. you know winter is coming up.. you should be giving away caskets with the repair if he can’t fix it LOL then took the kid out and showed him the knicked line.. I said I am no mechanic but my suspicion is that is the culprit don’t pay any attention to what the computer says.. or maybe you can give me a certificate for a free coffin since you have to have steering and brakes in the winter time for sure other wise you will die..
      well the boss this time went with him and they worked on it together and it got fixed.. about four grand later.. it was the same thing with the air conditioner in the pickup.. the kids today are not taught to look .. listen… or observe.. they are taught that the answer is in the computer program..

      • And therein lies the loss of the USA. Competency and reasoning skills are lacking in the younger generations. For these reasons, I seek out the independent shop owners who know how to discern between the easily fixable and when to go with the advice of the computer. I’m so sorry it cost YOU so much to find this out.

  9. “Lawns are a modern curse”

    Lol cute story about the boss of my brother in laws. The boss had moved into a new home in an exclusive neighborhood.. but he wasnt to excited about having a landscaper do his yard right it was put on I’ll do it later list. The neighborhood had a housing committee and they started to bitch because he wasn’t following their rules on how the yard should look.
    Green with trees.
    This irked him so.. he had a landscape company come in asphalt the yard laid down astro turf and put artificial trees up lol lol.

  10. Oilman2 steers clear of benzene. All 4 of the guys I knew that used to handle it are dead – all before age 65 and all from cancers.

    I went through 2 lawn tractors before I threw in the towel. Instead, we got a 4 ft finishing mower to use behind a 1978 Kubota B6200 diesel we bought for $1200. The finishing mower was had for $75 as the seal was busted on the gearbox ($4.95). The Kubota needed a muffler and a good cleaning – been going for 5 years now. The finishing mower does have a belt, but it is dead simple to replace without even getting on your knees.

    We are about to finish prepping the Kubota for sale, as we want to reduce down to two tractors, so to keep versatility, we will be getting a bit larger Kubota (with a loader) to do the mowing.

    I hate Briggs&Stratton and have no real use for much else save Hondas for small motors. Our genset with a B&S motor lasted 400 hours of use, then dropped a valve. We got another – 200 hrs and then dropped BOTH valves. B&S is shite IMO.

    If I had to buy a yard tractor, I would probably bite the bullet and go for a Kubota ZT, especially if they make a diesel…

    • “Oilman2 steers clear of benzene. All 4 of the guys I knew that used to handle it are dead – all before age 65 and all from cancers.”

      I wish I had stayed clear of that stuff to even though I had a bottle of it for cleaning the engine crankcase of gummy buildup. Quarter cup in the oil run the motor for five minutes and it was clean .
      With all the medical issues I have that they suspect is from my past chemical exposure.

      • The thing is.. you will do anything work with anything to feed your family.
        People that say .. Americans just dont want to do that. They have obviously never been in the situation of need and desperation been there done that. The good news is it was a temp job and I had a few that were longer term as well each using chemicalsthat are not used in the usa any more.
        One day I Got a call from an old coworker as I was sitting in a wheelchair at the clinic..he was going in for a bone marrow transplant.. and when he got there there were three others that we worked together all there for bone marrow transplants .he called to ask how my health was. I said it sucks . Many got pimpagus, emphysema, etc..
        They thought and was pretty sure I had pancreatic cancer.. neuro myelitis optica and many other conditions.since I scooped hot dirt they checked for heavy metal deposits as well.. everything is a mystery.. So for myself every day is a plus I had to learn how to walk all over again in the process of everything that happened..
        Respect the things you expose yourself to.. don’t stress and enjoy what you have show those around you how much they mean to you..the crap we see as important has no importance.. in the end the hospitals doctors and lawyers get it lend a hand to the child struggling..spend time laugh and give a hug to say I care..a few weeks after your gone life will move on.. develop the memories needed.. have a family home evening eat at the table as a family.. snuggle on the couch watching whatever..

    • “Oilman2 steers clear of benzene. All 4 of the guys I knew that used to handle it are dead – all before age 65 and all from cancers.”

      You know I got thinking about that OM2… you guys better make sure you have a good water filtration system in your homes… get a good water test that will detect benzene levels as well.
      I was thinking that in fracking benzene is used to get the oil out of the rock cracks I was thinking they used a gallon of benzene to a tanker load of water.. It was Originally illegal to use specifically in fracking.. but a clause was put in by the lobbyists and passed by congress making it legal to us.. so I believe that the Loophole is still being used there was a lot of commotion trying to get congress to close that but we all know it is about money and a few hundred million to some key players will keep it in place.. and you guys have fracking all around your aquifer.,fracking%20fluids%20from%20the%20Safe%20Drinking%20Water%20Act%2C ..
      like nitrics though it is a ways away but still in the aquifer.. my suggestion is if you are not filtering.. then you are drinking very small doses…
      because of fukishima disaster I won’t go to the PNW at all or eat wild caught fish from the PNW.. the dosage from the nuclear may be low in the fish but it like the chemicals I use to work with.. build up in your system.. then you have the levels of Arsnic.. because they changed the safe levels of arsnic and other chemicals when Jr. was in office.. I put in a really good filtration system.. it is spendy to begin with but worth the money.. I am confident I could filter sea water to drinking water.. benzene slide through the cracks.. which is why it worked great for loosening rusty nuts..

  11. George
    It was strictly by chance or Divine intervention that my neighbor across the street started cutting my grass and the grass of several other people next to his house.
    I was paying for a grass cutting service. It turns out that my neighbor has a new riding lawn mower and is bored!
    He also knows that I spend most of my money on caring for She Who Must Be Obeyed!
    I make sure that my lawn mower riding neighbor gets regular gifts of his favorite beer.
    I didn’t ask for this to happen but I am extremely grateful for this gift!!
    From my lips to God’s ears!!!!

    ps: Happy Mothers Day to all the Ladies who are mothers.

    • “my lawn mower riding neighbor gets regular gifts of his favorite beer.”

      I do that for my garbage hauler here.. a few times a year I leave a thirty pack of their favorite adult beverages beer for the men wine for the women.. ( with a note don’t drink and drive)

  12. You and me both…

    I’m looking at a new Toro “homeowner-grade” zero-turn powered by a Toro engine. I love my Deeres, but they’re pushin’ 50 and need ground-up restorations to keep from getting ground up by my yard. The diesel, which is my mower, lost its deck after first-mow this year. (Mower decks, irrespective design or quality of materials all eventually vibrate themselves into metal fatigue and fail.) I’ve two other decks, so no problem, right?


    I backed over the mule drive, getting the broken deck off, folding it into a crumpled mess (not the first time — takes about 5hrs and some welding to fix.) Okay, so I have another mule drive. I put it on and discovered the tensioning screw didn’t. I had purchased a set of split (thread-chasing) dies a few years back, from Thread Tool Supply, so a little Aerokroil and a few minutes of coffee and colorful language — I get it apart, chase the screw threads and run a 3/8-24 tap into the forging and — good as new… ‘cept it’s set up for a 48″ deck and the new one I have is 54″ (drag links need adjustment.) One link is 1/2-20 and requires a 3/4″ wrench, the other is 12mm-1.25 and requires (not a 17mm or 19mm, but m/l bastard-size) 18mm wrench. The only 18mm I have is a GearWrench, which (because of clearance) only ratchets 3-clicks (1/24 revolution) per stroke. Moving the link nearly 2″ was not fun.


    I fire up the tractor, engage the PTO, which slides into engagement like a 20yo Baja Bug that’s suffered too many 3rd-gear starts, and I get roughly half my front yard mowed, before the PTO seizes and the tractor shuts down.

    My neighbor lady has a son who’s a landscaper/lawn care full-timer. He drives an old “homeowner-grade” Toro ZTR. It just works, week after month after year, after year. He told me the commercial mowers offer little, over those homeowner mowers which feature Toro’s commercial grade engines, except price and status, so…

    The Deeres are going to be relegated to plow, tiller, snowblower, and cartage duties. The gassers have voltage-regulator and carb issues respectively, the diesel overheats and now has a junk PTO. I don’t have time to piss away 6hrs maintenance to mow grass for 3hrs any more, and I don’t have time to cobble a Deere together for a few hours’ use, only to rinse & repeat weekly. They deserve to get fixed properly, and I can’t do that when I’m attempting to use them every few days.

    I don’t have 3 large to spend on a new mower, but I figure at $20/hr and 150hrs of Deere-cobbling, the Toro will be a break-even before year’s end and I can use my old Ford for the field work — not nearly as fun as a hydrostatic Deere, but it’ll do the jobs, and it also, just works…

  13. Lol.. my grand daughter graduated college .. so she’s having her reception.( she starts medical school in sugust) Anyway she starts talking about having the kids pick dandelion’s for wine and how good my wine is..
    Anyway she asked if she can stop by for a bottle.. I tell her no more dandelion’s grandma just discovered the freezer is full of them and I have to start the batch..
    On my way out her aunt on her dads side stops me and asked if she could try it she needs a lift and likes wine.. well shes had a rough go of it and she’s family why not. So I have a bottle ready for her

  14. Entertaining chit chat at Ackerman as well . Light hearted approach to the greatest disaster in humanity

  15. Saturday was a loser for Husky owners all over, apparently. Mine dropped the mower belt first thing out of the barn. In looking to get it back in place, I noticed the right deck support had broken loose from the deck. Two welds broken, the third factory weld didn’t stick. Now I have the deck off, ordered a new belt, and talking to a neighbor about welding it back together for me. (My sheet metal welding leaves much to be desired.) The yard needed mowing yesterday, and by the time I get the Husky back together (and after a few rainy days) I’ll need to use the bushhog first.

  16. George,

    I was writing this yesterday morning, when “BAM”, a close lightning strike knocked out everything. Luckily no major damage, just reboot after the power came back.

    I have a Toro commercial zero turn, which was purchased in 2004. Have replaced the usual deck belts, anti-scalp wheels, and blades several times. Only major expense was one hydraulic wheel motor and pump, which cost $1400. Strangest thing that ever happened was stopped the mower to pick up some big sticks in my path. When I got back on the mower to start up, absolutely nothing happened. Checked all connections, etc.; then called the mechanic at the dealership. He quickly informed me that the deck clutch engagement switch had gone bad. Told which wires to jumper to start the mower to get it inside, since rain was coming. New switch, and off to the races. I mow about 11 acres of yard, sometimes twice a week. Mennonites that run the dealership keep trying to sell me a new mower, but this one works great. Besides the new versions aren’t made as well. Finally put new drive tires on mower this spring, since you could see the air in the old ones through the “dry rot” cracks.

    I use AeroKroil myself, but a few years ago a test was done with all major penetrating oils. Salt spray rusted 1/2″ nuts/bolts and a torque wrench to determine required force to remove. The 50/50 mixture of acetone and transmission fluid won hands down.

  17. If the boss is convicted it is new mower time, may I suggest one of the Cub cadet zero turns with the steering wheel. Can get them with Koehler or Kawasaki engines, they drive easily and are stable on hills. They can also mow faster so maybe less seat time if you’re already buying a new mower?

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