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#4675264 - 02/23/18 09:34 AM New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips?
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
Received this ~ 10 year-old mower that has been maintained reasonably well, but not perfectly. I just moved from a condo and haven't had to maintain a mower since I was a kid, and that was just watching dad mostly - looking for some help.

The mower ran very well (except only on choke) when I started it for my mother-in-law this past summer. She's too small to push it around and the recoil-start is a bit much for her, so she's now using another mower and we get this one.

The known issues:

1. While slowly turning the blade by hand, there's a slight scraping noise. The blade does not look bent (it looks great, albeit dull) and it does not appear to be contacting the deck at all.

2. Fuel is of unknown age - it's likely from summer 2016. The mower took a while to start this past summer (after sitting for a year), but ran fine, albeit only on choke. There is no visible buildup or varnish in the tank.

3. Someone else took care of mowing for her, so the maintenance history is unknown. The person who maintained it is pretty handy, but likely not even close to BITOG levels

4. Oil is of unknown age. It's full on the dipstick and still amber in color, which is a good sign.

To-Do List:

1. I purchased new air and fuel filters, a new spark plug, and a new blade, as well as Seafoam spray and liquid. All have arrived, except the new blade. I can sharpen and balance the old blade for now.

2. I plan to dump the age-unknown fuel and add fresh, Stabil-treated gas, as well as add a shot of Seafoam.

3. I plan to clean the deck (top and bottom) as well as the gunky carb (outside only, for now), using SimpleGreen

4. The manuals says to use light oil at various points, but I'm not 100% sure what the best lube would be. I typically use 3-in-1 for bearing-type surfaces where additives aren't needed, silicone spray for pivot points, and/or dry-lube (graphite-based) for anything that is sensitive to gunking up and doesn't require a lot of lubrication. What do you guys think?

5. Oil change: Manual says that 10W-30 is preferred, but 10W-40 is shown in the chart as better or >100F ambient temp use, which is possible here, but rare. I currently have some leftover GC 0W-30, as well as new Edge 0W-40, though they might be overkill. Recommendations?

6. Once cleaned and lubed, I plan to add a spritz of Seafoam into the intake, then start and warm-up the mower, then introduce a few sprays of Seafoam in to distribute throughout the engine. Finally, stall the engine with a nice shot of Seafoam. Let sit for 30 minutes.

7. I'll replace the air filter right away, but I'm not sure about the fuel filter and spark plug. Should I run a tank or so of gas through before replacing these to prevent fouling?

//

Thanks in advance for advice. I'm not looking to overdo this. I simply want to get this mower to a known baseline, then simply follow the manual and good engineering practices from then on.







Edited by gathermewool (02/23/18 09:43 AM)
Edit Reason: Added Pics

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#4675281 - 02/23/18 09:42 AM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: gathermewool]
maxdustington Offline


Registered: 01/21/17
Posts: 634
Loc: Toronna
Forget the seafoam dude, that stuff is for noobs. If you want an additive put some B12 in the tank. Also you should probably spray the body of the carb down with carb cleaner instead of simple green.

Personally I would pull the carb bowl and clean the main jet. You could try to treat the symptoms with additives or just fix the problem. Sixtyfiveford has numerous videos on youtube regarding this.
_________________________
03 Jetta AWP/09A 200k kms
TGMO 0W20 "Legend" & Hella Magnet Filter

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#4675288 - 02/23/18 09:46 AM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: maxdustington]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
Originally Posted By: maxdustington
Forget the seafoam dude, that stuff is for noobs. If you want an additive put some B12 in the tank. Also you should probably spray the body of the carb down with carb cleaner instead of simple green.

Personally I would pull the carb bowl and clean the main jet. You could try to treat the symptoms with additives or just fix the problem. Sixtyfiveford has numerous videos on youtube regarding this.


I definitely agree. I haven't worked on a carb since college, though, where we had unlimited consumables and tools. I've watched videos, but am worried I'll mess something up and then have an out-of-commission mower when running some cleaner through it might be all that's needed. Thoughts?

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#4675297 - 02/23/18 09:50 AM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: gathermewool]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
Also, take a look at the circled exhaust gasket. I'm guessing this isn't OEM crackmeup

I'm tempted to pull it and cut a new gasket out of what's left, but it's pretty soft (it might be mesh sandwiched in graphite gasket material, but it doesn't feel very sturdy).


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#4675401 - 02/23/18 11:23 AM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: maxdustington]
boraticus Offline


Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 2905
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: maxdustington
Forget the seafoam dude, that stuff is for noobs. If you want an additive put some B12 in the tank. Also you should probably spray the body of the carb down with carb cleaner instead of simple green.

Personally I would pull the carb bowl and clean the main jet. You could try to treat the symptoms with additives or just fix the problem. Sixtyfiveford has numerous videos on youtube regarding this.


What he said.

Open up the carb and clean the jets and galleries. Skip the snake oils they will do squat for your carb if the main jet is blocked. And having to run it choked indicates that it is. Clean the air filter, add fresh gas and oil, sharpen the blade and go to work!

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#4675407 - 02/23/18 11:29 AM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: gathermewool]
AandPDan Offline


Registered: 02/01/11
Posts: 898
Loc: MA
The scraping sound is likely the blade brake.

I'm with the above. Pull the bowl and clean the carb. A little B12 won't hurt either. I wouldn't drown the engine out. Not needed.

Put some fresh gas in and warm it up. Dump the oil and put in some fresh.

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#4675561 - 02/23/18 01:50 PM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: gathermewool]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
Thanks, guys. I'm not sure I agree that Seafoam is snakeoil; however, I'll take your advice and return them.

What makes you guys think B12 Chemtool is better? I don't typically use additives, with the exception of a FI cleaner with PEA (e.g., RL SI-1 or Gumout with Regane), so I'm not in the know.

I liked the idea of the spray, because it's also a lube, which I thought would be good for spraying into the spark plug hole, as well as the intake venturi prior to starting for the first time.

//

Blade brake: is this normal or abnormal? Should I hear this with the blade engagement lever fully drepessed (i.e., in the run position against the handle bar.)?

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#4675632 - 02/23/18 03:31 PM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: gathermewool]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
I'm having some trouble finding a carb rebuild kit (new gaskets, o-rings, washers, seats, needle, etc.)

I've been searching for "cub cadet cc550 carb rebuild kit". I've found a lot of links, but they all seem generic and not specific to the CC550 engine.

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#4675655 - 02/23/18 04:08 PM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: gathermewool]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
Disregard, found what I was looking for on partstree.com.

Rebuild kit: $32
New carb assembly: $57
2 Gaskets (not included in rebuild kit): $6
Shipping: $8

Since it's been a while, and considering I got the mower for free, I purchased a whole new carb to swap in. I'll dust off the cobwebs and rebuild the old one and have it ready as a spare to swap in.

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#4675746 - 02/23/18 06:02 PM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: gathermewool]
maxdustington Offline


Registered: 01/21/17
Posts: 634
Loc: Toronna
Originally Posted By: gathermewool
Disregard, found what I was looking for on partstree.com.

Rebuild kit: $32
New carb assembly: $57
2 Gaskets (not included in rebuild kit): $6
Shipping: $8

Since it's been a while, and considering I got the mower for free, I purchased a whole new carb to swap in. I'll dust off the cobwebs and rebuild the old one and have it ready as a spare to swap in.


Dude removing the bowl is literally one nut/bolt. Only running with choke on is the classic sign of a clogged main jet. You do not even need a new bowl gasket if you keep the carb cleaner away from it, which is not hard.

B12 is more of a solvent that seafoam. I think it would make a better fuel additive to try to reduce varnish or whatever junk the old fuel has left behind.
_________________________
03 Jetta AWP/09A 200k kms
TGMO 0W20 "Legend" & Hella Magnet Filter

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#4675811 - 02/23/18 07:06 PM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: gathermewool]
boraticus Offline


Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 2905
Loc: Canada
I don't use nor believe in miracle elixirs to do the job of a piece of wire and compressed air. You likely didn't need to buy a new carb.

I've repaired/cleaned carbs on 40+ year old machines with no kits or parts required provided the carb is carefully removed and disassembled. When you're miles in the bush and two hours from town and possibly two weeks from parts, you have to make do with what you have. That's why I try to preserve and reuse as many parts as possible.

I've literally disassembled and cleaned dozens of carbs on all kinds of machines, from motorcycles, outboard motors, snowmobiles to OPE. They're not difficult to work on at all. Go online, find some diagrams for the carb, get the right tools, some Varsol (mineral spirits) and take your time.

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#4675880 - 02/23/18 08:18 PM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: gathermewool]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
Alright, alright, I get it! stooges crackmeup

To be fair, it's been a while since I've taken apart a carb, and even in college and out at sea the carbs were very well maintained. Most DG's were fuel-injected, anyway, so I didn't pay attention to carb maintenance. I.e., I'm a newb again and I'm treating this like my first time, popping my carb cherry again.

Might be the nuke in me, but it's ingrained in me to replace single-use fasteners, gaskets, etc. every single time, even if they look ok...with the exception of crush washers for things like oil and ATF drain bolts...go figure! shrug

Also, I've been unlucky enough to pull apart equipment (namely strainers, stacked-disc, plate-type heat exchanges, etc.), expecting things to be normal, and then I'm there without anything to refurb the thing i'm working on, cracked basket, torn gasket, broken cotter pin in hand... I pulled a compressor apart and the guide pins on the reed valves (I think that's what they're called; it's been so long) disintegrated! I didn't have a refurb kit, so I had to use red-hand and some metal shavings to get it working again - worked for the rest of the time it was in use! On the other hand, I made sure I had a rebuild kit for a large, pneumatic chain fall and I'm glad I did. The vanes were really worn and the springs were so worn that air was bypassing the vanes, so that it couldn't even lift the weight of the chain. A cheap rebuild kit and a few hours of taking my time and the thing was like new! Same with "broken" impact wrenches.

Kinda long-winded, and I definitely understand your points, guys, but I feel like I'm saving a lot over the cost of someone else maintaining or "fixing" this thing, so it's worth it for me to be overly conservative. Now that I have another carb AND rebuild kit on the way, the old carb will assuredly come apart super easily and be very easy to clean. I'll make sure to post up if that's the case and let you guys say, "I told you so!" happy

//

I ordered a 30-piece cleaning brush kit for $9, too. Anything else you guys recommend to have on-hand?

//

Forgot to mention: I pulled the fuel tank and drained the old gas. The tank was very clean and the filter, which is installed on the outlet nozzle, looked mostly clean - I expected it to look much worse and was pleasantly surprised. This leads me to believe the filter has been replaced relatively recently...maybe.


Edited by gathermewool (02/23/18 08:30 PM)

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#4676186 - 02/24/18 08:00 AM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: gathermewool]
AandPDan Offline


Registered: 02/01/11
Posts: 898
Loc: MA
The blade brake might need adjustment. Seems to me that most drag a little.

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#4676399 - 02/24/18 11:27 AM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: AandPDan]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
Originally Posted By: AandPDan
The blade brake might need adjustment. Seems to me that most drag a little.


Great, thank you.

I'm taking the Seafoam back now. I'll pull everything apart and clean it properly with carb cleaner.

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#4678112 - 02/25/18 08:16 PM Re: New-To-Me Cub Cadet CC550 - Maintenance Tips? [Re: gathermewool]
andyd Offline


Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 7142
Loc: Marshfield , MA
The main trouble I have when cleaning a carb is to hang on to the tiny springs, etc. My fingers are too big and clumsy. Regardless, I learned about carbs the hard way. Now, the first thing I try when a carb only runs on choke is drain the gas. Next, I add a few oz of B 12 and some fresh gas. Now run the engine, on choke if need be. After a few minutes, try to ease off the choke. This may take awhile but it usually works. A carb that refuses to run is usually corroded and needs a lot of work to rehabilitate. This only happens due to E 10 gas that has been left in a carb. In the old days, you just needed to clean out the crud and put it back together.
_________________________
'16 Camry LE STP synth 0w20 and STP filter. the Fridge

1994 Ranger ,the Rat, 5w30 dino, STP filter

'16 Camry SE, Valvoline HM 0w20 and OEM filter
Thick oil is better grin2

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