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Moaning about the Lawn
Old 1st May 2017
  #1
Moaning about the Lawn

Last week my lawn tractor went T.U. The engine was smoking and all the oil had leaked out. I refilled the oil tank and continued cutting the lawn. After 5 minutes of mowing, the engine stopped for no reason. I cranked it up again and in less than one minute the engine stopped again. I pushed the heavy tractor across the lawn unto the driveway and started the motor up. It seemed to be running fine so I went back to mowing. When I got to the backyard the bloody damn motor cut out again. After pushing the mower back to the driveway five separate times, I quit and called the John Deere service department. They picked it up and took it to the shop.

Today, about a week and half later, I decided to use the weed eater around the house. The grass was about a foot and half tall! When I finished, I decided to continue cutting the entire lawn with the weed eater. It was more work than I bargained for. It took me five hours! My back is killing me too! The yard is 21,780 square ft. Damn that was a lot of work.

When I was finished I had a missed call from the John Deere service center. They have to replace the fuel pump and the head gasket. With the repairs and the yearly maintenance, it's gonna cost me $ 612.00

Sux owning a home sometimes when stuff craps out on ya!
Old 2nd May 2017
  #2
I forgot to mention that I ran across a Queensnake hiding in the grass!

Moaning about the Lawn-queensnake.jpg
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Moaning about the Lawn-queensnake.jpg  
Old 2nd May 2017
  #3
Lives for gear
 
JayTee4303's Avatar
I got 19 years out of an STX-38. A little under 2 acres per cut. I knew she was done, when the oil thinned way out, rose UP in level after running, and fire came out the exhaust.

A head gasket may have bought another year but it was time for a change. Beginning third season with a D40, 48 inch deck. 21 horse, instead of 13, two cylinders instead of one, auto transmission instead of manual.

No issues so far, except one headlamp went out, first season.

Need to mow and weed eat now, but the same storm system that ate all my siding, shingles, and west facing windows, dumped half a foot of rain and the yard's half submerged.

Spring.
Old 3rd May 2017
  #4
A good friend seems to keep her local tractor repair place in business all by herself. Mostly small things but with up to 8 acres to mow her options are very limited. Belts, miscellaneous mechanical parts and blade sharpening are routine things she has to get done/replaced. The mower repair place comes to her house, picks up the mower/tractor, repairs it and brings it back. She is not afraid to wade in and work on the mower herself but she does not have the tools or access to the parts so this is her way of getting things done. Summers are always bummers when it comes to breakdowns and then there is winter and she uses the same mower/tractor as a snow blower.

I suggested that she not mow all of the 8 acres and she decided that it was a good idea and is letting some of the acreage go fallow for a while.

I feel for your problems...
Old 3rd May 2017
  #5
y'all got a lot more land than I!

My lot is 1/8th acre.

My weed eater has a brush cutter attachment that's a little spinning blade rather than a string. Far more dangerous, far more destructive to my fence line, far easier to knock down large sections.

If you've got like 8 acres, I assume it's fenced, why not put a couple goats out there and let them do the mowing for you?
Old 4th May 2017
  #6
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esldude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by donsolo View Post
y'all got a lot more land than I!

My lot is 1/8th acre.

My weed eater has a brush cutter attachment that's a little spinning blade rather than a string. Far more dangerous, far more destructive to my fence line, far easier to knock down large sections.

If you've got like 8 acres, I assume it's fenced, why not put a couple goats out there and let them do the mowing for you?
You mean something like this?


Because nothing runs like a Deere!
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Moaning about the Lawn-deere-goat.jpg  
Old 4th May 2017
  #7
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mbvoxx's Avatar
I've got 115,000 Sq Ft and am 10 years into my tractor. If I had to take it to a repair shop every time something needed fixing I'd never get the mowing done. So I am my own repairman and handle all repairs in my workshop, order parts as needed, and try to keep back up parts in the workshop for those that regularly fail from normal wear and tear. So far it's been mostly routine stuff, a bit of welding here and there, some metal fabrication, and of course seasonal oil changes, tires, and such. But I had to replace the rack & pinion steering assembly last summer, which wasn't that difficult...just had to get it up on jacks so I could work underneath with enough clearance. Also had to remove the entire body cowling to replace the transmission cooler last year. Again, not so difficult...just takes a bit of time to do it right.
As long as the engine and transmission are solid everything else is manageable.
Old 4th May 2017
  #8
To the OP you need one of these https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO0tPHl8KJo. You could get your grass cut in record time. 14 feet per pass...
Old 5th May 2017
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
To the OP you need one of these https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO0tPHl8KJo. You could get your grass cut in record time. 14 feet per pass...
That's an ingenious way to cut the lawn!
Old 6th May 2017
  #10
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DrJustice's Avatar
 

I also have to mowe something like the area that Synth Guru does, so lawn tractor it is. The property is mostly forest though, so no mowing there - and the moss is spreading, so with a bit of luck I may have less of those pesky lawns with time The tractor is a Jonsered with a single cylinder Briggs & Stratton, running on the 10th year now, without needing to do anything but change oil. Anyway, I'm with mbvoxx on this, maintain the tractor yourself - if you can keep a studio full of synths going, a little lawn tractor mechanics ain't nuthin'
Old 6th May 2017
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJustice View Post
I also have to mowe something like the area that Synth Guru does, so lawn tractor it is. The property is mostly forest though, so no mowing there - and the moss is spreading, so with a bit of luck I may have less of those pesky lawns with time The tractor is a Jonsered with a single cylinder Briggs & Stratton, running on the 10th year now, without needing to do anything but change oil. Anyway, I'm with mbvoxx on this, maintain the tractor yourself - if you can keep a studio full of synths going, a little lawn tractor mechanics ain't nuthin'
The tractor is very heavy, how do you remove the blades to sharpen them
Old 7th May 2017
  #12
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esldude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth Guru View Post
The tractor is very heavy, how do you remove the blades to sharpen them
Assuming you are talking about a lawn mower and not a large tractor, there are plenty of youtube vids showing how. You can release the deck and remove it without lifting the tractor. Then you flip it over, remove blades with an impact wrench and sharpen or you can sharpen with them on the deck with something like a large Dremel style tools. Though if not careful you may get the blades out of balance that way.

Alternatively some people use a rope and block and tackle to lift the front axle up using a large tree. Once the front is lifted well up just block it underneath and remove the blades.

Or for not a ton of money you can buy a lawn mower jack for the same purpose. I use a car jack to lift the front and sit the front axle on some car jack stands.

Most lawn mowers weigh something around 500 lbs. Lifting just one end isn't all that difficult.
Old 7th May 2017
  #13
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DrJustice's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth Guru View Post
The tractor is very heavy, how do you remove the blades to sharpen them
I made a ramp off a ledge in the terrain in the garden, using two solid heavy gauge planks supported at the other end by pieces of trunks of trees I've cut down. That makes for a comfortable room to work underneath the tractor. I changed the blades once using this setup. So yes, I've actually done more than changing oil, come to think of it, but changing or sharpening blades just didn't register as anything but dealing with consumables...
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Moaning about the Lawn-tractor_ramp.jpg  
Old 7th May 2017
  #14
Lives for gear
I feel your pain....

Old 7th May 2017
  #15
Gear Addict
 

I used to mow 14 acres a week (about 8 hours) at my old house and studio. now that i'm retired i use that same ztr to mow a postage stamp...takes me about a minute. now that's progress.

g
Old 8th May 2017
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Not how I wanted to spend $300, but I needed a new mower this weekend. Not sure why electric mowers all look like they came from the Fisher Price school of design...but bonus is it's a Transformer.
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Old 8th May 2017
  #17
It's a Constructicon!

Old 8th May 2017
  #18
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mbvoxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth Guru View Post
The tractor is very heavy, how do you remove the blades to sharpen them
I remove the mowing deck from the tractor, lift it up and turn it on end, lean it against a workbench, and use an impact wrench to remove the big nuts that hold the blades on. I also clean the underside of the deck at the same time, normally with a putty knife, and scrape off all the accumulated muck. I sharpen the blades with either a course file or a bench grinder, depending on how much sharpening is needed.
For general underneath work, with the mowing deck removed, I put the tractor on ramps or blocks.
A Floor jack is required for blocks.
Old 9th May 2017
  #19
Thanks everyone. I may delve under the hood and give a try. The annual maintenance expenses add up quick after several years.
Old 9th May 2017
  #20
Old 9th May 2017
  #21
Not to sound like Oliver Stone or anything but why in the hell do we have lawns in the first place? Pretty sure it's for the same reason we have basically no public transportation outside of metro areas in the US. It's a big scam which creates unnecessary industries for profit.

I've got a half acre I have to mow pretty much every week except for the winter and what do we do with it? Pretty much nothing except for the occasional croquet game when we have a BBQ party. I can understand having it for golf courses and football/soccer fields etc but other than that it's a useless waste of money and natural resources.

I also have to mow my mum's lawn and I also mow my friends lawn for a small fee because he has medical problems and I live right down the road. Sometimes I catch another side job here and there which enables me to make the AMS payments sometimes when I buy some gear. That's three I have to mow in a week.

I wonder what the total toll on people's pocket books and the environment is...

FOR WHAT?!!!!!!
Old 9th May 2017
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by plaid_emu View Post
FOR WHAT?!!!!!!
To tell kids to get off of it, of course.

Some people are into their lawns, some are into their gardens, some don't give a sh*t.

I really only spend on fuel (couple gallons a year), ant-killer, and sweat to maintain my lawn.
Old 9th May 2017
  #23
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DrJustice's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by donsolo View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by plaid_emu View Post
...
FOR WHAT?!!!!!!
To tell kids to get off of it, of course.
...


I take it we'll understand the attraction of that as we get older, and older, and older.....
Old 9th May 2017
  #24
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by plaid_emu View Post
Not to sound like Oliver Stone or anything but why in the hell do we have lawns in the first place? Pretty sure it's for the same reason we have basically no public transportation outside of metro areas in the US. It's a big scam which creates unnecessary industries for profit.
I don't know about scams but where I am (Queens, NYC), we're pretty tightly packed. I have a lawn. It's not huge so I don't need a landscaper, but all the houses have one.

Anyway, about 15 years ago, there was an influx of Guyanese immigrants into my neighborhood. I'm not sure if this is how they do it in Guyana, or maybe they just hate lawns, but like clockwork, the minute a Guyanese bought a home, the first thing they would do is cement over the lawn. I've never seen anything like it. Even the trees - every house here has a small lawn, a sidewalk, then another square of dirt by the curb with a tree in it. They'd also cut the tree down and cement over the square of dirt that the tree previously occupied, too. Half my block just became a sea of concrete.

Anyway, at some point we had massive problems - toilets backing up and sewers flooding. Apparently when the neighborhood was built, the sewer pipes were designed taking into account runoff into lawns absorbing a large amount of water.

Obviously this design worked for a century, but when the new residents cemented their lawns, the sewers here couldn't handle the sudden increase in water and it made a mess of things.

Eventually it was fixed by overhauling the sewer pipes and having housing inspectors fine the hell out of anyone who cemented their lawns. So I don't know about a scam, but here, we have lawns to help with keeping rainwater under control.

Of course the Oliver Stone in you might suggest that all of this is just so the city can fine homeowners...
Old 9th May 2017
  #25
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by plaid_emu View Post

FOR WHAT?!!!!!!
Because a big patch of dirt in front of your house drives the property value down.

And because it makes your wife happy.
Old 9th May 2017
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJustice View Post


I take it we'll understand the attraction of that as we get older, and older, and older.....
start here:
youtube.com/getoffmylawnrecords

I'm always happy for a new subscriber.

also, I've been yelling at the kids to get off my lawn since I was in my 20s.
Old 10th May 2017
  #27
Good points, but it also takes a helluva a lot of dough for keeping up the John Deere zero turn we inherited from my lady's father. I only service it every other year but it's expensive, along with the gas and time. Time = money kinda thing too. If I had my way I would just let it go but we live in a respectable neighborhood. At least I don't blow $1,000,000 a year living in some ridiculous place like the SF bay area. Don't know how some of you can do it in good consciousness. Our total household income is ~$30k a year with four people and three cats. Somehow we still manage to live comfortably in a beautiful mid century modern house which is way above water because we also pay on the principle every month. No need to eat out unless we want to. I cook most of the meals and also make my own wine!
Old 10th May 2017
  #28
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M.S.P.'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by plaid_emu View Post
Not to sound like Oliver Stone or anything but why in the hell do we have lawns in the first place? Pretty sure it's for the same reason we have basically no public transportation outside of metro areas in the US. It's a big scam which creates unnecessary industries for profit.

I've got a half acre I have to mow pretty much every week except for the winter and what do we do with it? Pretty much nothing except for the occasional croquet game when we have a BBQ party. I can understand having it for golf courses and football/soccer fields etc but other than that it's a useless waste of money and natural resources.

I also have to mow my mum's lawn and I also mow my friends lawn for a small fee because he has medical problems and I live right down the road. Sometimes I catch another side job here and there which enables me to make the AMS payments sometimes when I buy some gear. That's three I have to mow in a week.

I wonder what the total toll on people's pocket books and the environment is...

FOR WHAT?!!!!!!
Preach on.

I really think we have lawns for no other reason than farming is in our genes and historical make up. It would make so much more sense to plant a garden....
Old 10th May 2017
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by M.S.P. View Post
Preach on.

I really think we have lawns for no other reason than farming is in our genes and historical make up. It would make so much more sense to plant a garden....
Indeed. A few years back I tilled a **** ton of it for gardening. It's a lot of fun but also a lot of work. Still, it's really nice to have control over your own food. Knowing it's not sprayed with nasty pesticides. We use neem oil and also buy praying mantis oothecas, let them hatch and have their way with the pests. So awesome to watch those little green ninjas do their deadly work in the garden!
Old 11th May 2017
  #30
Today the beast arrived from the shop! It was a long week and a half wait and I've never been so happy to see it. I won't be moaning about the lawn when it's time to mow the grass again, in fact I look forward to it!

I didn't like the hefty repair cost but the engine looks brand new. The entire tractor and engine was pressure washed.
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