Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Day of Mechanical Deaths

This past week was crazy with all of the celebrity deaths. While it's sad to hear about - none of them really touched home with me.

But then yesterday we had a run of mechanical deaths here on the homefront and these I'm feeling.

Yesterday morning I checked my email and as I was closing my email program my computer shut itself off. I rebooted and before the reboot could finish the computer turned off again.

The Island King ran some diagnostics on it and pronounced my mother board dead.

Damn.

He's found a replacement but it will be at least Monday before we can get the part and revive the old girl.

I mourned the loss and then decided to do something proactive and mow the grass.

I got the mower out, pulled the cord and the mower wouldn't crank. A few more minutes of cord pulling and cussing followed but the mower never would crank.

Damn. Damn.

The Island King had left for a photo shoot and I decided that this is a very simple gasoline engine and that there's no reason I couldn't fix it myself.

So I got on the Island King's computer (mine being dead and all) and started doing some research.

I found lots of really good videos and started with the spark plug. After an eternity of trying every socket thingie in the garage I found this really odd looking device that looked like it would work. I tried it and sure enough, the spark plug came right out.

Turns out the odd looking device is a spark plug remover gadget.

I cleaned the spark plug, found a gap setting tool (there was a picture of that device in one of the videos) set the gap on the plug and put it back in the mower.

Still wouldn't crank.

I watched more videos.

Next I went out and removed the air filter, cleaned it and put it back.

Still wouldn't crank.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

It was hot and I was filthy but I was determined to find the problem and fix it.

More videos.

It must be the carburetor.

That sounded simple enough but I couldn't figure out how to get the carburetor off the mower. I could see it but couldn't get to it.

Back the computer. All of the videos I found were of people removing carburetor's from different kinds of mowers and none of them helped.

Past damn now and into the really bad words.

I was standing in the driveway trying to decide if maybe I just wanted to get my gun and shoot a big hole in the mower when the Island King pulled up.

He convinced me that violence towards the mower wouldn't solve anything and then showed me a hidden bolt that had to be removed to take off a plate that covered the bolts that would release the carburetor.

Whew. Two more minutes and that mower would have been toast.

Not wanting the mower to suffer a gaping gunshot wound, the Island King immediately jumped in to help.

He'd removed the plate that blocked the carburetor and was about to remove the carburetor when his brother pulled up.

The Island King is a genius with computers and electronics but his brother is a genius with small engine repair so he immediately took over.

I got a beer, sat down in the shade and decided things were looking up.

His brother was removing the carburetor when a little corner piece flew off.

He'd broken something important.

So far past damn and other bad words that I'd need a sailor to tell me what to say next.

They tried to superglue the piece back on. They tried gorilla glue. They tried marine epoxy.

Nothing worked.

My BIL was quite embarrassed because he'd been making fun of me for trying to fix the mower and I just couldn't resist pointing out that he's supposed to know what he's doing and now he's turned my slightly sick mower into a dead mower.

I considered shooting him and the mower. The Island King pointed out - again - that violence isn't the answer.

So now we need a new carburetor. It was after 8 by this time so I went online looking for a carburetor. And guess what I found out? My mower is old and while buying a new carburetor sounds simple - it's not.

Who would have thought finding a carburetor for an old Briggs and Stratton mower would be so hard?

I think I've finally found one that will work.

I hope so because I'm out of cuss words and frankly the idea of shooting something is sounding better and better.
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