Cleaning a craftsman 42" riding mower

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Old 06-29-19, 04:59 PM
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Cleaning a craftsman 42" riding mower

My neighbor gave me a Craftsman riding mower. It needs the belts to be replaced on it. However, the mower itself is very dirty and nasty from grass cutting. I'm wondering how I could clean this lower up real nice before I start working on it? I'm not a fool so I'm not going to just throw water at it but please tell me the appropriate way for cleaning this mower so that I can clean the engine and not get water in it and ensure that the mower it's clean enough so I can do the work.
 
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Old 06-29-19, 05:16 PM
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Give us the model number. Send some pictures. Before you waste time cleaning it, does it start? Don't worry too much about getting water in the engine. I've used a power washer at a low setting and aim it at an angle. Don't spray the engine directly. If it's just dried up grass, remove the cutting deck. Turn upside down, remove the blade and scrap off the grass. On the body use soap and water. They clean up well. You might want to paint the deck. An air hose and compressor work well to grass out of those tight places. If the engine is grimey and greasy use a de-greaser and rags. Again don't worry about getting water in the engine. On the outside it will dry. Be sure the exhaust is covered and the gas and oil caps on. Then use the power washer or hose.
 
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Old 07-02-19, 09:28 PM
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Here are a couple of photos
 
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Old 07-02-19, 11:06 PM
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I just spray down everything with purple power cleaner and Pressure wash. It may not start at first with water on the plug wire and all but as soon as it dries it should be fine. Water won't hurt it.
 
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Old 07-03-19, 03:22 AM
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Step back and give us a picture that shows the whole tractor. Think I have same one and have used a pressure washer on the whole thing,
 
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Old 07-03-19, 04:43 AM
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I try and keep water away from my lawn equip and use the complessor with the extension wand, it will blast all that crud away!
 
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Old 07-06-19, 08:26 PM
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This is pretty thick, it needs help besides compressed air I think.
 
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Old 07-07-19, 03:38 AM
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What have you tried so far? I'd start with something like a 1" wide plastic putty knife that you can buy at any hardware store of big box box for around a buck or so, use it to knock off the gobs of clippings, lightly scrape the oil soaked clipping around the engine, then soap it good with a bucket of warm water and a household or laundry cleaner like Spic and Span or whatever you have on hand, or car washing soap if you have that, let it soak a bit, then rinse it off with a garden hose. You don't need to tape anything off or anything that drastic, just don't spray the air cleaner, switches, and like that. If they get overspray, no worries, just don't use the full force of the hose on them. If it needs more after you're done, Gunk engine cleaner works pretty good on oil leaks that went ignored for too long. Great idea to clean it before you start working on it; no sense getting any more grime on you than necessary, and it's a whole lot easier to make out all of the bolts, clips, or other things you may need to access for replacement of the belts and any other adjustments it may need. But don't overthink it because what you have is exactly what most mowers look like. Mine is 25 years old and still looks like it's in its' first season because although it usually looks much worse than that by the time I finish mowing, sans the oil leaks, I hit it with the leaf blower or compressed air when I'm done mowing, and usually hose it off every second or third mowing. But they don't have an automotive finish so do fade and whatnot, and decaying clippings trapped in various places can cause rust and corrosion over extended periods, so clean it as best you can, but keep in mind that it's a mower, not a show car or whatever.
 
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