This summer, after years of using a gas-powered rotary mower, I impulsively decided to go green and buy a manual push mower for my small, urban yard. The Fiskars mower I bought claimed to be the best in new technology, and the floor model that I pushed around at the store certainly seemed both well designed and well built.
Of course, some assembly was needed, but with the clear instructions, the mower was soon together. I checked out the blade adjustment, and it was right on. The fit and finish seemed very good. I tried it on the grass and it cut beautifully. Above all, it was silent. In fact, my wife commented on how odd it was to see me walking back and forth in silence after years of pushing a loud power mower.
I finished mowing the front and back yards, then came back and decided to cut the backyard shorter. And there is was -- a squeak. Then another squeak. Suddenly, the mower had a persistent squeak. Annoyed, I looked the machine over, and in a few minutes decided that it was the front guiding wheels making the noise. Both of them.
The solid, plastic wheels were each attached to the mower frame with a through bolt and nut. After removing the bolt and sliding the wheel out, the monkey work was apparent. The bolt clamped a steel spacer between the frame cheeks and set the end play, while the wheel ran on the spacer as an axle. Both spacers were coated with a moderately thick layer of soft rust! No lubrication of any kind was evident.
A few minutes with a Scotchbrite pad and the rust was gone. I then reassembled the mower, using silicone brake grease as a lubricant, and the squeaks were gone.
Why a brand new mower got assembled with corroded spacers, or what situation allowed just the spacers to corrode while the rest of the mower appears pristine, is something only the monkeys know, I guess.
—This entry was submitted by Vern Klukas and edited by Rob Spiegel.
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