Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sold My Project Lawnmower

I was driving home from the hardware store a couple of weekends ago and saw a lawnmower with a "Free" sign on it in a yard. The mower looked like heck, but it had oil in it and compression so I loaded it in my pickup. It was a fun project to clean it up, paint it and get it running. I learned about Briggs and Stratton Pulsa Prime carburetors. This YouTube video from Mower Medic 1 shows what the carburetor looks like and how to take it apart and fix it. This PDF file is helpful too.

I used Dawn dishwashing soap and then Pinesol to clean out the carb, and the gas tank. Dawn and hot water to clean the foam air cleaner. I blew air on them out of a shop vac and let them sit in the sun to dry. I used a little screwdriver, some W/D 40 and then carb cleaner to clean out the metal fuel reservoir on the top of the gas tank because it had some hard to get to dirt/varnish that was stuck on pretty good. I used a fine piece of wire and then blew through them to make sure the jet and fuel pickup tube were clean. I took the carb off a couple of times and fiddled with it before it ran right.

I disassembled various pieces of the mower so I could wire brush the rust and flaking paint off and get it ready to paint. I let the wheels soak for awhile in hot water and Tide before using a scrub brush to get the gunk off of them. It took me awhile but it was a nice day and I wasn't in any big hurry anyway.

I posted this Craigslist ad on Friday night -


Bolens Lawn Mower 22 in 4 1/2 hp - $40 (North Everett)

Date: 2012-04-13, 7:17PM PDT
Reply to: your anonymous craigslist address will appear here

I've done the following to get this mower running and ready to go cut some grass -

Cleaned air filter, carburetor, gas tank, and spark plug.
Sharpened and balanced blade.
Changed oil.
Removed rust, gunk and flaking paint and applied a couple of fresh coats of Rustoleum paint.

I got this mower for free because it wasn't running and looked pretty rough. It looks pretty good now and runs fine. I think I have about 8 hours into it so I was thinking 5 dollars an hour for my time would be reasonable.


Got my first call in about 1/2 hour from someone who was apparently in a bar or some place with lots of background noise. She was talking to her hub/significant other and apparently some other people on a speaker phone while talking to me. The conversation went something like this -

"Hi This is Jack."
"Hey I'm calling about the lawnmower (sound of yelling, music?, loud thumps, breaking glass in background)"
"Oh good."
"Would you be willing to take less than 40 for it?"
"I don't think so the ad has only been up 1/2 an hour and you're the first person who's called."
"My husband likes to drive we'll come up from Olympia (about 90 miles away) tonight."
"That's a pretty long drive."
"You sure you won't take less than 40?"
"I'm sure."
"I'll talk to my husband."

5 minutes later...

"Hi This is Jack."
"My husband likes to drive."
"That's good."
"Yelling in background could only make out some of the words - if you don't mow that lawn tomorrow it's not going to get mowed...where is your house?"
"I live in North Everett near Providence Hospital."
"Is Everett North of Marysville?"
"No but it's about 90 miles from Olympia so with traffic it's going to take you a couple of hours to get here. It's about 8 pm now. How about if you come on Saturday?"
"My husband works on Saturday."
"We're going to stop at Nordstrom and someplace (unintelligible) on the way to Everett - is that okay?"
"No that's not okay - thanks anyway though." Thinking to myself - It's Friday night I'm not going to hang around (stay awake) waiting for you to finish shopping at Nordies and then haggle over a 40 dollar lawnmower.

5 minutes later...

"Hi this is Jack."
"I saw your ad for the mower. Do you still have it?"
"I live in Seattle and would like to buy it."
"My name is ___ and I can come Saturday."
"Sounds good - my address is _____ ."
"Okay what's a good time - early morning, mid morning, afternoon?"
"How about 9 am?"
"That works for me - do you want me to call before I come?"
"No." (Thinking - you sound sane and there isn't a lot of yelling in the background)

Guy showed up right at 9 am, started up the mower, he gave me two twenties and I helped him load it into his truck. Done deal.