Only a few days this time...I'm in one of those modes today, where I've got some time to kill and feel a little verbose.
Lots of stuff has transpired in the last few days, but the important part is that the end result is better as a result. Namely, the fact that dad had a heart attack on Tuesday (the 5th). Long story short, all things are good and the timing of everything happened to be for the better. He did end up staying in the hospital for a few days after a short ride by helicopter to the cities. Ma and I went to get him on Friday, and he's finally convinced to make some changes. So, although the bad part happened, the long-term end result will be better because of it.
At first (this spring), I figured the problem was in the air filter. It was in very nasty condition and was replaced to increase air flow (I didn't think much if any air could get through it anymore). That didn't help much, so I replaced the spark plug. That helped initially (the problem didn't really start until the engine got warmed up), but the problem was still there. So, I figured I'd need to take apart the carbeurator and do some tinkering.
That's what I ended up doing today. After cleaning it up a bit and replacing it, the problem still existed (but was better). After some more inspection, I discovered the true cause of the problem. There's a spring which controls the governor (which is very difficult to see when things are fully assembled) which has become just a little bit too loose. The result is that it doesn't properly keep the governor steady, causing the engine to flood and run erratically.
So, after much tinkering, I was able to more or less successfully correct the problem, and the mower runs quite smooth now. There's a little trick to it (keeping it running well), but now that I know I've solved the problem, I will either deal with that or work on a fix for it some other time (by the time I was convinced it was running properly, the engine was far too warm to work on anymore). This is a Good Thing, because I was getting quite sick of dealing with the poor performance of the mower.
But, that wasn't the only mower-related problem I ran into. A few weeks ago I noticed that the riding mower needed to get a replacement fuel filter. I put it off, and after changing the oil last week, it was working just fine (so I figured it might have been a fluke)...so I just left it be. It wasn't long before it started acting up again. So, the temporary fix (I'll do a bunch of maintenance before I put everything away for the year) was to remove the fuel filter and clean it out with compressed air. That certainly took care of the problem, and things are running smoothly again.
We'll see what happens, but in the meantime...This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07