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Nick Jones

Non car rust repairs

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For my sins I'm currently chairman of our local parish council.  I not quite sure how it happened and I'll be alot more careful next time!

Anyway, it's a very small parish council with very few assets.  One "asset" is a 9 year old lawnmower, which is used by various "volunteers" to mow the churchyard.

Thursday I had an emergency email to say that a wheel had fallen off.......

It was duly brought around for examination and the cause was found to be as severe a case of chassis rot as I've seen anywhere....

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Wheel literally hanging by a thread.

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The big hole at the bottom is a design feature to allow an option side chute function (not used) and weakens the structure leading to flexing, cracks and even more advanced rot.

Complete replacement with an equivalent heavy duty machine would mean spending > £750 which is big money for us.  A new deck in the USA is $300 so would be at least that +10% here if I could find one.  So though mechanically fine the machine is BER by any sane measure.

But as you know I'm not quite sane........

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Most of the big rot cut out.  I got a strip of 2mm sheet rolled to the right diameter and rebuilt the whole side, filling the useless side chute hole at the same time.

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That's the big bit done.  Still several smaller areas to do and even areas that look ok are difficult to weld as full of pits and thin spots.

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Patching finished and given a quick squirt of zinc primer and then underseal (yes, really!)

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Four wheels on "my" mower again after a diversion to repair the snapped off swivel on the same front wheel that was hanging off.  I found a tin of Triumph pimento red under my bench - it nearly matches......

This mower, an American built Ariens, is just 9 years old.  The Honda mower in the background is mine - a hand-me-down from father in law about 20 years ago.  It's 35 years old and has done loads of hours.  It did have a bit of a resto about 5 years back and some smallish holes in the (aluminium) deck were welded up. I change the oil every couple of years and changed the spark plug this year.  Smokes like it's running on wet leaves when first started and drinks oil, but just keeps working.

I hope it might do a couple more years bt the PC are going to have to start saving up.  I've done my best but the rot has really got into that steel deck.......

Time would have been better spent on the GT6.......

Nick

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Nick,

I have a search on eBay for "ride on mower spares or repair", looking for one as a bit of fun - my grandson is a tractor fan!   Not found one yet at a price that objective justifies, but there are lots that an engineer of your calibre could resuscitate, probably for less work than above, and for less than £100.     There's a dealer in the South that sells on its part-exchange machines there - none right now and I forget its name.    I'd buy one of theirs, whiwhc look good value but for the added cost of transport to my Northern Marches.    Just an idea!

John

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That would be my normal philosophy John.  But we are not talking about my mower, we are talking about what is in effect a publicly owned machine bought with tax-payers money.  It's also used by various volunteers (or at least press-ganged persons) so there are liability issues.  For this reason it is serviced annually, at significant expense, by local "professionals".

This is the first time I've had a good look at the thing and although the engine seems cared-for and the blade is in good condition, the rest has been ignored and I found several problems that I reckon have been present for years.  The deteriorating condition of the deck should have been obvious at the last service, if not the one before (it was riddled with stress cracks), but no mention has been made.  We'll be using a different company from now on.

I am one of those who mows the churchyard.  Though I don't use this mower, I use my own ride-on to do a large section with no graves that borders my garden and we have a gate to give direct access.  Younger son used to do it but has lost interest now he has a driving licence!

This also reminds me that I have to give our ride-on a proper service and inspection as, if nothing else, the blades are very blunt.  This will mean working out how to drop the cutter deck off.......

First world problems......!
Nick

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