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#486000 - 05/14/05 07:29 AM Mower locked up tight as a drum
GreeCguy Offline


Registered: 03/21/05
Posts: 2688
Loc: Elderly County, Florida
Howdy fellow oilers:
Go figure this one. Got my mower out today to cut the grass. Checked oil - no problem. Filled tank with gas. One pull on the starter cord and she fired right up. Ran for about five minutes and then locked up tight as a drum.
Now, keep in mind that just last Saturday I serviced said mower totally, changed oil, cleaned air filter, removed cowl and with compressed air blew out debris from air cooling fins, even greased the wheels.
After the mower had locked up, I disconnected the spark plug wire and tried to rotate the engine. It took some effort, but finally it started to move and eventually moved freely. While I haven't taken it apart, it seems that the piston or rings locked up against the cylinder walls. While I know this isn't a mower repair forum, I post for two reasons -
One: Sympathy - D*** but that was a good mower.
Two: Does this sound like an oil related issue? Not that I'm looking to sue anyone, (it was an old mower). I was just wondering if somehow, some way, the cylinder walls weren't getting oil.
By the way, it's still full of oil.
What do you guys think?

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#486001 - 05/14/05 08:29 AM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
obbop Offline


Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 2834
Loc: MO
Ya'll didn't proclaim how old the critter is. Those small air-cooled internal combustion units have a limited lifespan that is highly variable: some seem to last pert near a long time and udders give up the ghost relatively quickly. I've noticed the 500 hour figure mentioned here and there regarding the duration before potential problems such as yours MAY occur. Can not verify the veracity of that, though.

I believe a splash system is used to toss oil upon the cylinder walls. Could something have interfered with it?

Could a hunk of something become wedged between the piston and cylinder wall? See any scoring? Kids been playing with it? Munchkins can introduce debris.

Will be interesting to know if ye can determine the cause.

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#486002 - 05/14/05 08:16 PM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
eljefino Online   content


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 30851
Loc: ME
Take the spark plug out and see if it turns over any easier. Might be hydrolocked. Wierd that it happened as it did though.

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#486003 - 05/15/05 02:18 AM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
GreeCguy Offline


Registered: 03/21/05
Posts: 2688
Loc: Elderly County, Florida
We uns is a scratching our head and recollectin' mower to be about 7 years old, (I could be a little off if I didn't figure my gozentas co-rrectly). No, I haven't pulled the plug or the head, (I'm still too grief stricken). It's always run well with no problems until now. Little fella's haven't been near it as it lives in the shed under lock and key.
I'm going to cry some more now and watch Smokey and the Bandit.

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#486004 - 05/15/05 04:19 AM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
Schism Offline


Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 258
Loc: Ft. Morgan, CO
Had similar thing happen to a ten year old briggs equipped mower, worked one day, week later it was hard as **** to pull the cord, and got worse and just totally locked up. Trashed it and bought a near new(as far as hours go, but it was several years old atleast.) John Deere for $100 which just happened to have the same 5hp motor. I'd try and start it up again if you got it moving freely. If it is dead, well either go out and by a new mower, or just by a replacement motor, i'd probably just replace the motor, as it would probably be $100 or so cheaper, depending on what type of mower it is.

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#486005 - 05/15/05 06:23 AM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
eljefino Online   content


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 30851
Loc: ME
Also does this have a deadman brake? The things are spring loaded (towards "ON") and when the cable stretches wierd things can happen.

Usually though it'll still chug along and start blowing acrid smoke.

You didn't hit something, tweak the crankshaft, and now the blade is hitting the deck, right?

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#486006 - 05/15/05 07:09 AM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
1maniac Offline


Registered: 10/11/02
Posts: 576
Loc: Pittsburgh PA
Run over and large rocks, water or gas line shutoffs, drains, etc etc? and bent the crank? The deadman throttle idea is a good one also.

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#486007 - 05/15/05 07:20 AM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
kenw Offline


Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1979
Loc: Houston
once had this happen after mowing across a hill, evidently the slinger got dry on the slope, and bam! siezed up. A 3' jack handle on the blade couldn't budge it. This was WAY before deadman clutches and such.

Poured some oil in thru the sparkplug hole and let it sit for a few months until I had tired of borrowing the neighbor's mower...

Went to pull the blade off and the blade turned! Hmmm....

a few more turns and it got easier. Re-installed the same old plug, primed it, and it coughed and sputtered for awhile. But eventually it ran. Like a top and for about 10 more years until the shell disentegrated.

but that B+S engine was still humming along.

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#486008 - 05/15/05 07:38 AM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
Pablo Offline


Registered: 10/28/02
Posts: 47126
Loc: Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
I had the same thing happen on a B&S engine mower years back = plus I was able to free it up....it consumed oil like a mofo (long before my Amsoil habit). Eventually the rod went.....and it spun real freely!

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#486009 - 05/15/05 08:24 AM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
wileyE Offline


Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 1967
Loc: Kitsap, WA
Sometimes if the mower was tipped up the wrong direction (to service the blade) oil can leak past old worn valve seals in to the cyl's and hydralic it.

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#486010 - 05/16/05 06:34 PM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
GreeCguy Offline


Registered: 03/21/05
Posts: 2688
Loc: Elderly County, Florida
No dead man brake - took that doodlemahickey off several years ago, (I rigged up a switch with the cut off wire so I can shut the mower down easily rather than shorting it out with a screw driver like I've done on other mowers).
Nope - haven't hit any rocks, bricks, blocks, stumps, etc. Blade is not bent or jammed.
Prior to locking up, it didn't smoke, sputter or knock in any way. It just stopped.
I'm going to pull the plug today, pour in a little Marvel Mystery Oil, (which should work well, given this is a total mystery to me), and let it soak for a few hours at least. Who knows, maybe it's going through the "change of life," and I just "need to understand." Or maybe it heard I was looking at new mowers at Walmart the other day, (I was just looking).

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#486011 - 05/17/05 06:57 AM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
wileyE Offline


Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 1967
Loc: Kitsap, WA
Or maybe it heard I was looking at new mowers at Walmart the other day, (I was just looking).

quote:

yep, they get stubborn when you look at the younger cuter models. Give it a few days and it'll probably start right up! chocolate never hurts either

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#486012 - 05/17/05 10:14 AM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
GreeCguy Offline


Registered: 03/21/05
Posts: 2688
Loc: Elderly County, Florida
well fella's, it's time to sing:
"You picked a fine time to leave me Sally Mae.
Now that your gone, my grass will look like hay.
We've had some grand times,
mowin' round them sand pines,
you died, and now I must pay,
cuz grass cuttin's coming Saturday." (Kenny Rodgers would love it).

- just came in from the shop - decided to pull the head and see what's up. Cylinder walls on the mower are DEEPLY scoured. I have no idea what happened. Mower had plenty of oil AND it was clean. Motor was clean as a whistle on the outside as well, (no air blockage on the air cool motor). And it's not just one long scratch, (like something got sucked into the carb, i.e. bolt, screw, nut), scratches are all around the cylinder and like I say - DEEP.

I need candy and roses alright - to start courting another sweetheart.

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#486013 - 05/17/05 11:26 AM Re: Mower locked up tight as a drum
BlazerLT Offline


Registered: 08/15/04
Posts: 2366
Loc: Canada
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