We have an awesome lawn mower. It just rocks.

Well, rocked.

It’s a Honda with hydrostatic drive so it’s self-propelled. We got it when we first moved to the house in Solon. It worked wonderfully until one day around three years in the drive stopped driving it. By chance Rick was mowing our neighbor’s lawn at the time. Rick lived on the end of our block and he had a business mowing lawns for various businesses and residences around us. He finished the job we started and we sent the mower off to Solon Hardware to get fixed.

We intended on mowing the lawn some more.

We really did.

Except having Rick mow the lawn was infinitely more convenient.

So it sat idle in the shed.

The we moved to Seattle. And it sat idle next to the shed.

A week or so back my boss mentioned he’s in need of a lawn mower. That, of course, got me thinking. I have an awesome lawn mower and he has a need. New this mower is around $800. I figure a 12-year-old one with low mileage has to be worth something. Maybe $100-200.

I filled it with gas and nothing. It wanted to start… but no joy. A sputter was all that I got.

Enter ether. It ran a bit. It really wanted to run. But it still didn’t.

That was last weekend.

Today I sat down with some carb cleaner and went to town on it. I took it off and hosed it down and reinstalled it. Now, as long as the choke was on it ran fine. Progress.

Then I found this video:


The thing I didn’t do was remove the bowl. It looked kind of foreign to me — like it didn’t want to be removed. The video showed it should be removed and clean out.

A quick look at the wiki page on carburetors got me going even more.

No problem. Go in again and this time tear in a bit further. My float valve was a bit different than the one in the video, but otherwise it was just the same. (My valve was captivated by the float and not just sitting there — just a slight difference in how it goes back together) Another generous rinse with the carb cleaner and things looked clean inside as well as out this time. I fiddled with the valve, float, pin combo for a moment until I figured out how they went together and it was off to the races.

Reassemble the lot under the light of my headlamp. I realize that the gaskets probably need to be renewed — they went together this time, but next time might be a different story.

It runs. It runs as good as new. Once it warmed up it got to a beautiful low idle just barely ticking over. Everything works like it ought to. The blade spins. The drive drives. The idle idles.


YouTube and Wikipedia for the win! I’m still no master of carburetors by any stretch of the imagination, but I can say that at least I fixed one!