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Lawnmower - to fix or to scrap

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by ramonbow, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. ramonbow

    ramonbow Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Messages:
    67
    Loc:
    S. Minnesota
    Greetings,
    Unfortunately we had a little trouble with our lawn tractor. Long story short is that our 12HP briggs and stratton blew the piston rod and scored the cylinder. The question I have is if it is worth fixing or do i just scrap it and look for a new one. I don't have access to professional tools to bore out the cylinder so i would have to find someone to do that. There does not seem to be any other noticable damage inside other than shavings everywhere. Any advice would be appreciated.

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  2. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I wonder if you could get a replacement cylinder, or maybe an entire engine from a mower that was trashed for other reasons...
  3. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    I guess it would depend on the value of the tractor and what you could replace it for?

    Gary
  4. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Look for a used motor, or try Harbor Freight for an Asian sub. Often repairing a blown engine costs more than it's worth, both in time and money, and there's a chance something else will go soon, anyway.
    Or, as mentioned, get another whole machine and part yours out.
    save$ likes this.
  5. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    Mine started acting up last year. I spent a few hundred trying to fix it. It would run for a while, then not even turn over. As I said, a lot of money only to end up getting a new one. This one turns much better, and I can cut the grass running in reverse!
    If you have the tools, time and talent, that might be different. I couldn't deal with the flustration.
  6. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    If you like the tractor and it's in good shape yet, find another flat-head Briggs to toss on it. Those engines are like fleas on a dog's back (unless you really need one now... :confused: of course.) most of the time . Doesn't have to be a 12HP either, any vertical-shaft flat-head should work. You could take advantage of your situation to upgrade the HP a bit.

    Another option, but usually more $$ is to short-block it. Short-blocking a flat-head will basically give you a new engine reusing the old carburetor, ignition and exhaust systems. Replaces every moving part in the engine and you can DIY with very basic hand tools.

    With that particular engine, I would not pursue re-machining the cylinder unless you just wanted to do it for the experience. There is a lot to getting the bore set-up correctly, much more than just having the tools. ;)
  7. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Mount Cheaha Alabama
    I'd be looking for a donor motor. The B&S 12-15Hp are in pretty much every box stores lawn mowers now. I see whole running machines around here for ~$150 typically the deck/pulleys are shot way before the engine quits. Sometimes you can get an even better deal on one that won't "start" solenoids/safety switches fail on the ones left outside.
  8. ramonbow

    ramonbow Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Messages:
    67
    Loc:
    S. Minnesota
    That is about the same story i have with this one. It worked fine with little trouble until around June. Then it seemed like i was fixing something on it every other weekend. Luckily it was mostly just small parts, $10 here and $20 there.

    Now for another question - if i were to find a good deal on another engine but smaller that 12HP would it get the job done and how small is too small? The last one never seemed under powered. This may be a dangerous question but how big of an engine is too big?
  9. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    The range is 8-15 HP on the flat-head I believe. 11 would be fine, 8 would even work if it was a small deck (38-42"). I'd say you're getting a bit big when you start wondering if a Chevy small block will fit on there.... >>

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