Prep the mower / deck for the season? What do u do?

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Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,856
Salem NH
Hello
This is a 15 year old Sears Craftman LT1000 lawn tractor.
Besides changing the oil, oil filter, gas filter and general cleaning, This year I changed the carb
https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads...ot-starting-up-quick-putrid-gas-smell.175286/
And the mower blades plus cleaned and lubed the mower deck.
I used the wire wheel to get the crud & rust off and some “Dry Moly” spray to keep the grass from sticking. Also a little light weight Anderol 465 Synthetic bearing oil.
The old blades are just dirty so maybe I can take the time to clean & sharpen them to swap them out for next year?
What kind do you have? What did u do & what do you use?
 

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kborndale

Feeling the Heat
Oct 9, 2008
375
LI
To prep the mower for usage I pull it out of the garage and pull the string a few times until it starts. I have had it since 06 and have never done anything except put gas in it and put a new blade on it a few years back. Its a Poulan Pro that costs less than $200.00. When it stops running I will just buy a new one, seems a waste of time to maintain it when it has lasted 13 years without touching it and costs so little to buy new.
 
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johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
4,046
Eastern Ontario
Clean the deck ,Sharpen the blades and check the belts
Fire it up check for bearing noise no noise good to go
If noise replace the offending jack shaft
 

Dobish

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2015
2,038
Golden CO
push it over the grass, but I just have a reel push mower :) I at least left it under the eave this year so it didn't get snowed on completely.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,209
Philadelphia
My mower is a commercial Zero Turn unit, but really, I just run thru the maintenance section of the owner’s manual. What that amounts to is basically:

Every year:
0. Wash it at end of season, it’s always muddy
1. Change engine oil and oil filter
2. 10 - 12 grease points (esp. mower deck spindles)
3. Remove, sharpen, balance blades
4. Clean under deck with scraper, while the blades are off
5. Clean or change air pre-filter (big dual stage canister)
6. Check all belts, hoses, and wiring
7. Remove engine cooling fin access panels and blow out with compressed air (air-cooled Kawi V-twin)
8. Clean any debris out of hydro pump cooler and oil cooler
9. Check air tire pressure
10. Put some stabilizer in the tank and plug in the battery tender for the winter, it sits in cold storage

Less Frequently:
1. Change spark plugs (200 hours?)
2. Change hydro oil and filter (500 hours)

My tractor isn’t used for mowing, but it also goes thru about the same, I just follow the schedule in the manual. From memory, that’s something like:

Yearly:
1. Change engine oil and filter
2. Clean radiator screen with shop vac
3. Clean radiator with compressed air
4. Grease a dozen points
5. Check water level in fuel separator (diesel)
6. Clean air pre-filter (another 2-stage unit)
7. Check air tire pressure and lug bolt torque (weighted tires)
8. Check front diff fluid level (4wd)
9. Check hydro level
10. Grease front-end loader

Less frequently:
1. Change engine coolant/antifreeze (2 years)
2. Empty fuel separator (as needed)
3. Change hydro fluid and filter (theoretically 2 years, but I usually do some work that needs it changed sooner)

I’m sometimes mowing well into December, but more often November. So, I always schedule this work for a quiet week in January or February, and also try to find time to grease implements and check all the various trailer tires, while I’ve got everything out and messy.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,681
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I have the same craftsman LT1000. Bottom of the line rider with a manual trans. Anyway, yes, every year at the end of the season I remove and pressure wash the deck. Then paint it with whatever I have. It's all about rust prevention. Right now it's white underneath.

Blades come off easily and multiple times throughout the year for sharpening.

There's nothing you can put on the deck to prevent grass from sticking.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,209
Philadelphia
One thing that bothers me with some new equipment is when I see statements like, “the transmission fluid is good for the life of the product, no changing necessary.” Well, then... what the hell is the design life of that product?

My tractor is 33 years old, still looks pretty good, and runs like new. I’d hate to buy a new one every fifth or tenth year, these things used to last the life of the owner.
 

Renovationman

Member
Dec 5, 2017
49
MB
Do all the belt and bearing checks and don’t forget to check for CRACKS! If sharpening blades make sure they are balanced as close as possible. I still have my walk behind from 1985. Blade changes and deck reinforcement where the handle attaches to deck is all I have ever done to it.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,681
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
One thing that bothers me with some new equipment is when I see statements like, “the transmission fluid is good for the life of the product, no changing necessary.” Well, then... what the hell is the design life of that product?

My tractor is 33 years old, still looks pretty good, and runs like new. I’d hate to buy a new one every fifth or tenth year, these things used to last the life of the owner.

Lets not confuse utility tractors with riding lawn mowers. Some folks like to call their lawn mowers "lawn tractors" but we all know that a 500# mower is built a little bit differently than a 5000# tractor. There are some 33 year old riding lawn mowers out there but they were built much better than the typical mower.

I'm not the OP but it's pretty safe to say that this thread is about the 1000$, 10 year life, imported, lightweight, riding lawnmower.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,209
Philadelphia
Lets not confuse utility tractors with riding lawn mowers. Some folks like to call their lawn mowers "lawn tractors" but we all know that a 500# mower is built a little bit differently than a 5000# tractor. There are some 33 year old riding lawn mowers out there but they were built much better than the typical mower.

I'm not the OP but it's pretty safe to say that this thread is about the 1000$, 10 year life, imported, lightweight, riding lawnmower.

Good point, I was just venting.

But then again, my 12hp IH Cub Cadet 123 was over 50 years old when I sold it. The OPs rider is likely larger than that.
 
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mellow

Resident Stove Connoisseur
Jan 19, 2008
5,363
Salisbury, MD
I have a 1994 Woods zero turn with a kubota diesel. I am fighting the rust with Ospho and Fluid Film, seems to be holding it back so far.

My usual is to clean the deck then grease the spindles and check the belts then coat the bottom with ospho let that dry then spray on fluid film. Ohh yea also sharpen the blades.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,261
Palmyra, WI
Rust prevention -
I've been using Penetrol as a sealer and initial coat before primer paint. It's advertised as a paint flow controller, but look it up, there are multiple uses. It adds a semi flexible, slightly thicker layer that bonds to the substrate, in this case metals. It will soak into rusted areas and render those impervious to further rust.

Off topic, but old house restorers and boat builders sometimes will use it as a pre coat to further paint or finish layers. It soaks into compromised woods and renders those also impervious to water. I used it on some old windows that I had. The initial coats of paint pealed in about a month. Scraped it all, primed with Penetrol, then paint primer, then finish - its been 4 years with no sign of adhesion issues.

From their website:
"Penetrol, due to its low surface tension will penetrate all the way through this sponge (rust) driving out the air and moisture and completely saturate the rust right down to the unattacked iron or steel"

http://www.floodaustralia.net/products/anti_corrosion/penetrol-anti_rust.php
https://www.flood.com/products/paint-additives/penetrol-oil-based-paint-additive
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
92,815
South Puget Sound, WA
I clear off leaf mulch under the deck in the fall and a blade sharpening + oil and air filter change in the spring. I'm a believer in getting a heavy gauge deck. Our last mower was a Craftsman LT2000 with the heavy deck. After 16 yrs of service the deck still was in great shape with no serious rusting. The belts lasted 14 yrs. Our previous mower was the LT1000 and that thinner deck was much more of a problem. I had to have the pulley brackets rewelded and reinforced after just 4 yrs. of service. It only would go about 4 seasons on a set of belts.

I tend to mow late in the day so that all the dew has evaporated off the grass. That helps keep the deck cleaner and drier. The mower is garaged when not in use. This may be the reason rusting out has not been an issue for us.
 

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
3,283
Massachusetts
i have a 1998 murray 42 inch mower so it get used as the yard cleanup machine. get all the leave up in the fall then for it's last use i drop the deck to the ground suck up the sand at the end of the driveway so i don't have to sweep it and it sandblasts the junk off the deck then it goes into the garage and i run it out of fuel.

the spring time thing is change the oil clean the spark plug (only one cuz it's a 16.5 b+s ic motor ) lube all points that have a fitting install new blades because i usually hit something the year before if not sharpen them up air the tires gas it and go. i use it for towing a 4x8 trailer for moving firewood.