diy lawn

Drain the carburetor bowl on your mower

Use a wrench to turn the bolt on the bottom of the fuel bowl

There is no easier or more complete way to keep your mower in good shape than to remove the metal carburetor bowl. Let all that gas drip out, take the bowl off and look inside. I once did this for the first time on our snowblower the first season I was running it. To my shock and horror there was a small pile of black fragments sitting in there! It appeared to be bits of vulcanized rubber or a similar substance. I freaked out knowing that any debris in that area can affect a motor adversely (especially a small 3.5hp one). I cleaned it out and it helped a little. But what I really needed was a good new accurately gapped spark plug. Ultimately it was that spark plug that made a bigger performance difference than any other. But it never hurts to remove that bowl and wipe it out. For good measure I will leave a little bit of carburetor choke cleaner in the bottom of the bowl when I reattach it. That way anything that might form there will stay in solution until the following season when I first prime and start the motor. Doing this, I usually get one big puff of grey smoke out the exhaust until it warms up. Then everything is free and clear and runs great.

Even if you’ve run your equipment dry as part of your usual end-of-season maintenance steps, some fuel can remain in the bowl of the carburetor. If you don’t drain the bowl, you might see some of the telltale white residue and related corrosion associated with ethanol blends. Four-cycle engines in particular seem prone to the buildup, although two-cycle engines can also suffer from the problem.

via Tip of the Day: Drain the carburetor bowl on your lawn mower to protect the engine: Consumer Reports Home & Garden Blog.


Consumer Reports: Sharpen your mower blade

How to change a lawnmower blade
How to change a lawnmower blade

I own a very large metal file, and I use it to sharpen my lawnmower blade. Everything I’ve ever read about sharpening a mower blade indicated you don’t ever use power equipment. By that I mean something that spins at a high rate of speed with a sharpening wheel attached. The reason given is always the same. The steel used in lawnmower blades is hardened along the edges to hold the sharpness longer. When you try to resharpen the blade using a high speed spinning sharpening stone, the metal in the blade heats up. Sometimes it can heat up so much the metal turns color. When you see that color, you have effectively removed the hardening of the steel. It will now be just as soft as a wire coat hanger and not hold the sharp edge for very long. However today I read in Consumer Reports blog that they use a Dremel tool with a blade sharpening attachment. How is this different from your average cheap bench grinder? It’s hand held, but other than that, does it heat up the blade any less? I also have one of the electric drill attachments they mention in the article. I don’t use that tool for the same reason why I probably wouldn’t use the Dremel attachment, it’s going to heat up the blade as the sharpening progresses.

Another good sharpening option is Dremels Lawn Mower & Garden Tool Sharpener attachment about $8 is. Peter Sawchuk, our outdoor-power-equipment expert, uses this attachment at our mower/tractor-testing site in Fort Myers, Florida, where we check out several dozen models every year. “I see value in the attachment for homeowners,” says Sawchuk, noting that the nylon guide holds the blade at the right angle for maximum sharpness. In Sawchuks experience, the only drawback to the attachment is that it cant grind out major nicks. You can also get similar drill attachments for sharpening a mower blade. Properly clamping the blade in a stationary position and using two hands to guide the tool will help you get a uniformly sharp cutting edge.

fromĀ consumer reports