A "new" find, part 3 :)


Old 08-12-03, 07:38 AM
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A "new" find, part 3 :)


Ok, so there I am relaxing after a long drive home from work (I commute 44 miles a day), and the phone rings. It's my great uncle----he's given up on his cheapie 3.5 HP Briggs Fridigaire (AYP) mower that he got new in 1999 for $50 from a guy that buys damaged goods from Lowes and HD. He actually called me to tell me he borrowed the 1988 Craftsman AYP I use at my grandfather's---that was a 1998 recycle find which has run flawlessly for 5 years since I did some TLC to it after picking it from my neighbor's trash. LOL.

I got it running earlier this year when he complained it wouldn't start. I dumped out the fuel, gapped the plug and it fire up and ran great. LOL. He calls me yesterday and it doesn't run and he's going to throw it out. Of course I ask why.

After pleading with him to let me have a look, he said that he was hell bent on getting a new machine at Sears. Ok fine, I myself have a 1992 AYP Sears that runs great (because I maintain it).

I told him I want to learn from it and I'd bet I'd get it running as it's something simple.

My guess is fuel related, but of course I will check it out. I would suppose it has a Classic Series B&S 3.5 ( I know it's a 3.5 B&S). I will post more details when I find/get this machine over my place.

It just amazes me how folks get frustrated and don't let me at these things . I fixed it once already in ten minutes. LOL.

Anyone's comments are welcomed. I'm sure I'll find something dumb wrong it. This past spring, I simply gapped the plug, cleaned it, dumped out the old fuel and it fired right up!

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Old 08-19-03, 07:39 PM
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Thumbs up "Rally" around the Fridigaire :)


So, my uncle finally drops off this machine to me as he bought a new one at Sears. OK fine. I'm not letting this thing die.

Has a full tank of gas, and I pull, but no start. Hmmm. Shoot a little Gumout into the cylinder, nary a burp.

Noticed the pullstart cover was loose. (More on that later).

Checked the safety/dead man's bar. Seems to work fine. Didn't see any spark. Hmm, but that cover's loose.

Walah, spark plug wire is almost completely severed. LOL.

I move it aroud, pull the cord....and VROOOOOOOOOOM. Fires right upon one try .

Noticed that the thing races (like the governer has been messed with). Any ideas? Someone had a rope on it to hold it back

Mike: Maybe one of your scrap finds can donate some items for this one . I will keep it as spare.

Thought I'd post my "success" story. With a little TLC, this cheapie ain't so bad. LOL.
Old 08-20-03, 04:44 AM
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Hey Joe, I'll drop a coil in your box and that will have that covered. Sounds like it needs a diaphragm in the carb and/or a governor spring. Post the model number when you get a chance and I'll dig up some extras for you.....Mike
Old 08-20-03, 06:05 AM
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Thanks Mike----

I have the #s from the shroud on the notepad in the garage, so I'll post them here.

It's a 1999 era model. It was a salvage from a retired NYC cop that advertises in the local paper. He buys up salvage stuff from Lowes, HD and the like and resells it.

My uncle paid 65 bones for this with a bag a couple of years ago. It has spilled concrete on the deck which should wash right off. LOL.

Mike, drop me a line by e-mail and we'll catch up.

Thanks good buddy.
Old 08-24-03, 02:46 PM
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Hi Mike:

From the shroud:

Model 9D902
Type 2085 E1
Code 992165

(Means it was made on 2/16/99, the body a week later, makes sense).

Thanks again, good buddy.

Last edited by Joe_F; 08-25-03 at 04:16 AM.
Old 09-02-03, 06:59 AM
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Here's a funny thought .

I was in Sears yesterday and they already have snowblowers out there.

Took a look at them, and whattya know the "low end" 4 cycle 5hp/22" cut (the 2003 version of my 1979 for $500) is an MTD not a Murray! LOL.

I guess MTD beat out Murray on the low end grey ones. The green higher end ones are still 536 Murrays.
Old 09-02-03, 09:42 PM
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Joe, I have been meaning to ask you how you find all the thrown out equipment that you find. I can remember two things that I have ever seen at the curb, one was a craftsman mower except all that was left was the frame, and another time I saw a tiller which must have been at least thirty years old and was in harable condition. I was given an old Mac 110 chain saw so I do have a little toy to fix and play with but I am never able to find anything at the curb worth keeping. Where I live it is out in the country so most people will use very old equipment until it just won't work anymore but by then there isn't much left of it. Plus the city that I live in isn't very large and there is no metal recycling system, everything either gets put in the household trash or at the road to be picked up every few weeks. Even when I go to the local trash dump all that is there is old freezers and other large appliances, not a single piece of lawn equipment. How do you find this stuff??????????
Old 09-03-03, 07:09 AM
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At the curb. Sometimes even on my own block! I always have my eyes peeled on trash day.

I take walks every night out for exercise and you'd be suprised what I find thrown out. I always carry my car keys and am never a mile or two from my house at any given time.

NYC has a recycling program, but Joe_F has his own. LOL .

In that respect, I simply find most items at the curb that folks have given up on. I live in the NYC suburbs, so people here throw out and buy new. However, most folks throw out some decent quality stuff as most are DIY'ers to some degree. It's basically a free for all out there, and I have no "competition". There's one guy that drives around in a Mercury Grand Marquis looking for stuff, but he passes the equipment. LOL.

People say, "Just buy new". I surely can afford it. But, I enjoy the challenge of giving something a second chance with nary some TLC.

Imagine the look on my neighbor's face when I used the mower to cut my lawn which he threw out the night before. The actual problem? A jammed starter cord. I did some TLC and maintenance to it and use it without fail every week since 1998. .

I could list off my "finds" if you want. LOL .
Old 09-03-03, 08:28 PM
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Hey mower17, I know you directed your question to Joe but I have some thoughts that have helped me and may help you. I live in a fairly small town compared to Joe's area but the freebie stuff is everywhere if you know what your looking for it can turn into real bucks or tools for your use. Heres a thought that has worked beyond what you can imagine.... FREE multi state classified adds in a small paper and mine reads- Wanted: Dead or Alive-Your lawn mowers, weedeaters etc. running or not. Include anything you have an interest in. I have people who will bring this stuff to me AND unload it because I'm closer than the dump. Some I give a bit for but its always something good. I have others who call and want a shed or whatever cleaned out and we take it for it. So you don't think I have a bunch of garbage dumped on me heres what I did this day. Guy calls, says he doesn't want to drive into the next town to dump and would I "please" let him unload at my shop. I finally give in (yea right) and he unloads four riding mowers....yield....14.5 HP B&S (started right up) on a Sears 42", Husky hydro all wheel steering (nothing wrong with it but rear steering rod stripped and he said a shop wanted $400.00 for trans (ha ha), Murray 14/42, no deck with a late model Tecumseh OHV that the starter will bring $75 with a call and a Yard Machine that needed a wiring harness (so he said) that turned out to be neutral safety switch problem.

Point of this is you have the talent to gain from others lack of knowledge but you will have to reach out a bit further to get the contacts. Thats where the paper add would come in. When I was 13 I went around to every mower shop I could get to and hung around, helped with no pay and most let me take things home from their bone yard. In time as I got to driving age I had 6-7 guys calling when they would throw something out that I could use. I was no threat, just an eager kid who loved small engines. Now after 25 years working in the home repair trades and a couple of companies later I have returned to what I love. I now go around BUYING lawn mower shops, break them down into pieces and make out like a bandit. Fully half of the people that pursue me when they have a shop to sell were told about me by someone I met in my teens running between the shops. That guy I helped out by letting him "dump" at my place will bring $1000.00+ in a week or two and I'll still have half of the stuff. Hang in there and beat the bushes EVERY day and use what you know to turn their junk into your pleasure......Mike

Last edited by mikejmerritt; 09-04-03 at 05:19 AM.
Old 09-03-03, 10:19 PM
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Cool stories!

I do a lot of this sort of thing too. I had a guy call and ask if I wanted his old craftsman mower for $60.00. I went over, and it had a 14hp vanguard twin cylinder engine on it. Good deck, and other parts too. I gave him his $$ and he threw in a few push mowers and maybe a trimmer or two. I sold the engine (after replacing a bad coil...already had a used one) for $350.00 to a guy. He gave me the 15hp single that he was replacing. I built it and sold it for $300.00. Then, the guy that bought the vanguard comes by for something else, and tells me about two craftsmans in someones yard that could probably be had for cheap. Even offers to ride over there with me and show me, and help load them if I want them. Ok, it's quitting time anyway, so off we rode. I bought both mowers for $50 for the pair. I sold one of the frames for $50.00 (no motor), which recouped my $$, then sold a deck off of one for $75.00, and a starter off one for $60.00, and a muffler, and I tore down both of the engines to see how they looked. One was burning oil badly (you could tell by the carbon all over the plug and in the cylinder head). I noticed upon dissassembly that it had new parts in it. Someone built it without honing the cylinder, and the rings never seated. The cylinder was slick as glass. I honed it, cleaned it up and reassembled and installed it just an hour ago or so. It is going for $300.00, and I get the old engine that it is replacing. The stuff just keeps on mulitplying.

I also had a riding mower given to me...46" MTD Hydrostatic, 16hp opposed twin engine. The guy said the engine was locked, but the mower looked great. I sat it in the corner for a while, and finally I figured I'd look at it. Well, the starter gear was jammed into the flywheel. A $3.00 starter gear later, I had a great running mower. Sold it cheap to a guy for $550.00. I love getting stuff like that.
Old 09-04-03, 07:03 AM
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Thumbs up

I love to hear these type of stories. Please share more. No doubt, I have become a "salvage" guy as a result of this forum and guys like Mike.

Back in January of 2002, a neighbor of my coworker had a 1980 Trans Am in his driveway with no plates on it. I asked my coworker about about it, he said, "Nah, I don't think he wants to sell it".

A few months later Steve tells me, "Yea, that T/A is going. I told my neighbor about you. I think he'll give it to you".

Long and short of it, I got a running 1980 T-top WS6 Trans Am with a 400 Pontiac engine in it. The car's rough, but hey the price was right. It will bark the tires with a blip of the throttle and it has a raspy sound with the 4 chamber headers on it. That and the guy threw in a bunch of extras for it at no charge. I passed up another 400 Pontiac engine for it (slated for over 400 HP) because I didn't have the room for it .

Shoot, my neighbor who is a mechanic gave me an HP printer because it was double feeding paper. Five minutes on the HP website, I had the free fix kit ordered and a week later I had a great working HP1100 series printer. Free!

I look forward to more finds like this as time goes on. Thank goodness for me I have friends like Mike Merritt to support me in my small engine endeavors. Nothing makes me smile like a good find that I can fix with some TLC.

My two everyday cars, a 1984 Oldsmobile 88 and a 1989 Chevy Cavalier were both relatives cars and were freebies.

Bottom line: If you are known to be handy, people will give you stuff. Happens with me all the time.

Even my mother says to me "Every time I hear one of those mowers you fix start up, I think you're becoming more like Sanford and Son".

Just in case you wondered, I have the neatest garage and shed given how much stuff I have. I am selling some parts on Ebay from a car I parted in 1990.

I had the presence of mind to write the date and the VIN # of the car I took it from for easier identification later on . Back in the early 1990's, I used to get GM rear drivers every week for free.

There wasn't a version of the 1978 to 1988 rear drive Cutlass I couldn't build. The elderly gentleman that owned the '81 that I shared parts with and I had it all. We used to flop around how his car would look. We did it up like an '82, and planned to do it up like an '88 before he died.

We did install 442 rims on it, get it repainted and freshen up the 231 V6 before he left for Ohio.

Nothing like a good find. Bravo to all! Keep up the good work.

Mike: GREAT story!

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