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Help! Dad's engine blew up. Whose fault? Everyone's opinion wanted!


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06-01-09, 02:39 PM   #41  
Lawyers and such aren't going to get the grass cut and the shop may not give you a warranty past a certain date after the install. You can try and find blame but in the end you'll need a new engine. I don't work for this company and have no dealing with them other than having bought an engine from them several years ago, but there's a place called Northern Tool, when I replaced my Snapper engine it was called Northern Hydraulics. You'll get a much better price than that of a repair shop. I did the replacement myself because I trust two people, my wife and me. You might get something other than a Tecumseh if they aren't building engines anymore (that was news to me).

If you go that route, you have to make sure that there is oil before you start it. Most engines that are shipped are empty because of the gorilla factor.

 
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06-02-09, 07:20 AM   #42  
Posted By: flirty1 maybe to be on the safeside from now on when any one of us unscrews the drain plugs on cars or lawnmowers to use blue thread locker to prevent it from coming out. DO NOT USE THE RED KIND YOU WILL NEVER GET IT OFF WITHOUT HEATING IT. use the blue one.
I fiddled with the drain plugs again this morning and discovered that if the plugs are not in REAL tight, then they can back out easily. But - if you turn them in tight to that certain point of tightness, then it requires them to actually make a snap sound before they come loose.

I talked to my dad yesterday, after my last post, and he said that the oil was caused on the way UP to the yard, only. He said he has no explanation as to why the oil only made drops about every 1 foot apart from the garage, out 50 feet (not 25 as I said), where then suddenly a dual stream ensued from that point up to the yard 550 feet away. He then said the mower 'let loose' (unexpectedly of course, because he did not notice the oil leaking behind him)after only about 3 passes across the grass. And then he had to push the mower all the way back down to the garage, where the plug was discovered laying on the floor of the garage by a neighbor.

What I can't totally understand is how the oil did not coming flying out, right in the garage, and out to the 50 foot area. One theory is that the plug never came out initially as thought, but rather was loose the whole time, and became REAL loose out 50 feet, and finally fell out onto the garage floor after he pushed it back into the garage.

I also called up the repair shop, and the owner said he did get the ball rolling, as promised, but he is not really hopeful (because of Tecumseh's take over in December), but said it usually takes a couple weeks to get any feedback. So we will see.

I looked at that sludged oil that is on the cracked side of the engine block that eminates from higher up on the engine. I noticed that there is an intake filter that that at first I thought was the exhaust, but it is the intake. This intake filter also has thin oily film on it. I am thinking that somehow the way that engine maybe runs, perhaps when first choking to get it going, that there is maybe some kind of backfire effect that was maybe discharging this stuff OUT of the carb, maybe. I will not know for sure though, unless I take the top cover off the engine, to see if anything got past the top of the flywheel area. But from all indications of what I could see at various points around the flywheel, I doubt that. That is why I suspect something the way the engine fires off the way it maybe spits back out of the carb, perhaps.

I'm also going to call up that huge lawn mower shop I bought gasket/diaphram parts ($5!) for my mower, the other (that was a success BTW), and see what THEY charge for that Tecumseh short block. The repair shop billed it out as $500 plus labor. I could do that short block change out myself, if I can find some time.

 
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06-02-09, 08:05 AM   #43  
Posted By: richardv You can try and find blame but in the end you'll need a new engine.......... You might get something other than a Tecumseh if they aren't building engines anymore (that was news to me).
I just got off the phone with the large lawn equipment shop, and he said trying to get another Tecumseh may prove difficult. So I, coincidently, before reading your post, asked him what if I were to say put in another vertical engine. ? He said it may not be worth the hassle and expense since mounting may be difficult, and the pulley, and even the electrical has to be matched for the various safety and charging functions, he said. So I am going to call aound to these lawnmower guys who operate out if their houses, who do repairs and sell used mowers, what they might have.

 
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06-03-09, 07:45 AM   #44  
I talked to the witness last night. He confirmed all my dad said, without me prompting the witness first. He was the one who found the plug laying on the garage floolr where the tractor was parked.

HE believes the responsibility was with the shop who replaced the short block, with the 3 plastic plugs, to have made sure they were really good and tight.

I asked the witness, who is a knowledgeable small and larger motors mechanic/maintenance man, how the plugs came loose after several mowings, and not the first day after getting the mower back. He said he seriously doubts my dad had cause to undo those plugs, as he said the oil dipstick riser tube is large and says oil in bold print and almost jumps out at you and bites you, and is closer to you than the plugs which are way down low. And my dad said he never touched them, also. He (witness) believes the plugs must have been somewhat tight, but not tight enough, and vibration finally took it's toll.

He believes a judge in small claims court may actually see it that way, as opposed to dad tampering or defective engine from factory. He'd be inclined to challenge this in court.

...................................................................

Got off phone with supply shop. New short block will cost about $310 including delivery and tax, if it is still available.


Last edited by ecman51; 06-03-09 at 08:07 AM.
 
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06-03-09, 08:04 AM   #45  
No doubt he could also find an attorney willing to represent him @ say $175.00 to $400.00/hr.

 
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06-03-09, 03:00 PM   #46  
My earlier post was in haste. After discussing this further with my dad, and thinking this thing through more, we concluded that it be best to forget it.

I told him that if he pursues the legal route against that repair shop, that he would have burned one of his bridges and he can kiss any possibility of them ever doing work for him again, out the window.

And that if judges ruled in favor of the plaintiff, outside any warranty time frame, - WHAT time frame could the judge go by, if not for the warranty? And outside the warranty time frame there could be other reasons why failure occured, that perhaps can't be conclusively proven to be human error on the part of the last person who touched whatever failed. For example, maybe that mechanical device has some sort of vibration caused by something the mechanic never touched, that in turn causes something else to unscrew or fall off.

My dad agreed.

We will look for either another used rider, rebuild that one, for $425-450 complete, or buy a brand new one for maybe $1000 (I looked at some today that are like 18 horsepower, 6 speeds, 42 inch deck, for that...and B&G engine, this time).

 
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06-03-09, 04:01 PM   #47  
ecman I do sympathize with you and your situation but I do believe your newest discovery is best use of any effort you may choose to expend on the matter.

I would speak with the shop and they are likely to help you where and how they can, even cut ya a break where possible.

Good Luck

 
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06-04-09, 12:24 PM   #48  
My dad's away from the house for the day, so my mon went through the large tradin' post ad paper and said there is like nothing for sale right now in regards to good used affordable riders. Bad time of year to be lookin'. All the good stuff got scarfed up already.

I'm running out to our local farm and barn store today to look at their MTD brand lawn tractors. I drew turning radius drawings of the Ariens and the old Murray. The old Murray shows wheels can only point to about 11 o'clock, fully turned. While the rear engine Ariens is much better at about a 9:30 hour hand position when fully turned! The farm and barn guy said he believes the lawntractor turning radiuses have been improved since our 1982 Murray 11.

For $930 -99 price range you either get a 17 1/2 HP or 19 HP engine, 7 speeds, and a 38 inch or 42 inch cut. I also want to look at steering 'free-play'. The cheaper $1000 Sears had only about 1/2 inch free play while their $1800 model had like 2 inches! I don't want to be 'sawing the wheel' for $1800, would you?

 
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06-04-09, 10:09 PM   #49  
If it were my money, and I was going to spend 1K on a mower, it would be on a craftsman. I wouldn't buy an MTD/Bolens/Troy bilt/etc...


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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06-05-09, 08:00 AM   #50  
We'll take that under advisement.

Is it quality issue with the others? Poor reliability? Not as good of a cut? Not as good a warranty? I called up farm and barn just now after reading your post and he said they both have the B & S engine and have 2 year warranty.

 
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06-05-09, 11:23 PM   #51  
Quality and reliability.... value for the dollar.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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06-06-09, 11:00 AM   #52  
I was impressed how they improved the turning radius down to 16 inches! - and this matches the Ariens at the 9:30 0'clock position. But the Ariens should probably beat it out in tight turns based on fact the Craftsman has a 47 1/2 inch wheelbase and the Ariens is 37 1/2.

My dad may end up buying the mower from the guy 50 miles away who will deliver it. It is another Ariens, more modern, in "off the showroom floor" condition - only THIS time, with a 13 HP Briggs.

And it has big solid bagger for sucking up fall leaves, where with the Craftsman I think you have to pay about $350 or more to have that attachment. And that is what maybe sells my dad on the mint-condition used Ariens.

 
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06-06-09, 11:06 AM   #53  
I am not sure of you location and while I have not seen many Ariens, those I have seen seem to be well built a dependable however getting service and parts is not an easy task in this area.

Just some FYI...

Best o luck.

 
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06-10-09, 05:34 PM   #54  
Bought new used mower! Seller interested in Ariens and my 91 dodge!

Found listing on Craigslist. Guy drove it here for many miles for dad to see. Equivalent model to the current Craftsman LT2000 series tractor that sells new for about $1100. We got this used one for $500 including the delivery of it. 42 inch, 6 speed, 19.5 HP Briggs. My dad got to try it before buying. Very powerful he said! He bought it on the spot.


If we paid a tad too much for something used?, so what. End of all this searching and calling I have been doing lately. I get to see it tonight.

And here the guy buys and sells anything mechanical and saw my dad's shot-engine Ariens and he would like to buy it if he can find a motor for it. And he told my dad he'd also like my car, stored in that same garage.

 
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06-10-09, 10:12 PM   #55  
Glad it worked out. Sounds like a reasonable price if it's a good mower.


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06-11-09, 07:08 AM   #56  
Posted By: cheese Glad it worked out. Sounds like a reasonable price if it's a good mower.
We did decent -by luck. It is an older version though..... of I'd say the LT2000, which is about $1200 today. But it is old enough that the headlights instead of being the new type like todays cars have, that are smooth plastic with that modern bulb, is instead the older style that has the lines in the plastic lenses.

But it says on the mower that it is 19.5 HP. Twin. Turbo cool. Automatic transmission. Lifting up the hood it says these things: B & S i/c Platinum. And in bullets it says: longer engine life, smoother running engine, more fuel efficient, quiet package installed, dual element air cleaner.

The mower also has the rear deck wheels.

I tried to find the model number of this Craftsman, but cannot find it on anything exterior. ??. I want to get a user's manual for it.

 
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06-11-09, 02:50 PM   #57  
Look under the seat. Craftsman numbers look like: xxx.xxxxxx

 
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06-11-09, 04:09 PM   #58  
I saw a gas tank under there last night. I'll look again.

 
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