email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Saturday, September 5, 2015

New Soil Harder Than I Thought!

I got outside to prepare the bare front yard for new grass seeds, and the condition of the new topsoil wasn't as good as I thought!  It seemed loose enough when the contractor left on Tuesday, and I thought the track-tread of the spreader was light enough to not compact the soil, but I was wrong.

Yesterday, I realized the new soil had hardened like cement and there were deep tread-tracks embedded on it.  YIKES!  I sure can't plant grass on THAT. 

Well, I had expected to have to haul out my old Troy-Bilt Roto-Tiller anyway. 
Pony Garden Tiller
I did that today.  I hadn't used it in many years, and equipment that sits around unused for 5-10 years doesn't like to start up right away.  But I filled up the gas tank, checked the oil, set the lever to "choke" (that's a good thing, if you don't know), set another lever to "start", and pulled the starter cord. 

Nothing!  20-30 tiring pulls later, nothing!  No big surprise, but I had hoped to get lucky.  I'm no expert with gas engines, but I know some basics.  So... I checked the levers to make sure they seemed to be working.  They were.  I checked the spark plug wire.  It was firmly attached and clean.  So I removed the spark plug itself.  Naturally, my socket set didn't have the right size cushioned spark plug socket, but fortunately it is slightly raised (sensible design) and I could loosen it with a regular wrench. 

I fully expected it to be fouled with old oil or needing to be cleaned and gapped, but it looked perfect!  Damn...  One always hopes for easy problems to fix.

Well, whenever I have repairmen around, I watch them carefully.  The last time I had a guy here to get a different piece of equipment (lawn mower) running, he said the fuel line/carburator was probably gummed up.  Now, you can either take the parts off and clean them, or get them running sneakily and they will clean themselves.  He did a "sneaky". 

He took the air filter off  (exposing the carburator) and sprayed a (flammable) cleaning solvent into it.  It loosened a stuck part and the lawn mower started right up on the next try.

Well, I don't have any fancy cleaning solvents, but gasoline is a basic solvent for old gasoline.  I took the air filter off to add a little gasoline into the carburator.  But I sure couldn't just pour gasoline from a big 5 gallon can into that small hole when I only wanted about a tablespoon of gasoline. 

I could have gone back into the house and gotten an actual tablespoon.  But I like to be resourceful.  So I decided that the socket that didn't fit the spark plug would work as a small container if I kept my finger tightly on the bottom.  It took a little work to splash just a small bit of gas out of the can, but I managed.  Then dribbled it into the carburator.  Puttng the air filter back on I pulled the starter cord.  Nothing.  Damn...

A second pull, and I'LL BE DAMNED, IT COUGHED A COUPLE TIMES, TRYING TO START.  ANOTHER PULL AND IT STARTED...  I had to play with the choke lever for a minute, but it settled down running smoothly.  I could barely believe it! 

Since it was running, I decided to use it on the hardened soil in the front lawn.  More about that tomorrow...

1 comment:

Megan said...

Another great effort of creative problem solving combined with perseverance Mark!

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