A few weeks ago, on a Sunday (garbage day) walk around our neighborhood, I came across a Craftsman 22" Self Propelled "Bob Villa Edition" mower. The owner was home and she said it was 'blown up', but I took it home anyhow.
I got rid of the old gas and it eventually fired up, but was hard to restart. Took apart the carb but it was very clean and very simple. On reinstallation, I could see there was a torn air cleaner gasket that was preventing the priming bulb pressure to get to where it belonged. Added a dab of RTV for one final use of that gasket. From then on, it started great!
The self-propelled function did not work because the plastic gears in the front wheels were stripped -- a common problem. Fortunately wheels (PN 180773) are cheap so I bought two on ebay. Changed the filthy oil with Citgo 5W30 Semi-Syn. Checked over the air filter and plug, tightened everything up, cut the grass and sold it on Craigslist on Saturday.
Next day, Sunday, and I stumbled across another mower! This one is was a Toro 22 Personal Pace. Was not gonna leave that sitting there!
It was filthy, did not have a bag and the the wheels were all bent up, but it fired right up after adding good gas and the auto-choke worked flawlessly. Self propel did not work so well, one of the wheel gears was stripped. Wheels are expensive on this model, but the gears are replaceable! So I replaced one gear with PN 115-4666 and also adjusted the cable. I had to replace one of the front wheel adjusters with a used part from ebay and had to drill a couple of new holes in the deck for the adjusters. The oil in this was filthy and brown-ish, like water had gotten in it at some point. But the fresh 5W30 looked clean after an hour of running. I did not bother to fix the electric start. Tightened everything up, cut the grass and sold this one on Craiglist. I really liked the Personal Pace, it is so simple and intuitive to use.
Had my hopes up for the third Sunday, but no mowers on the curb that day.