lawn tractor transmission problem

When a neighbor departed I purchased from her a Murray 14.5hp 40" lawn tractor.  The engine fired but the tractor wouldn't budge.  After some basic repairs I got it running fine and have kept it going the past 3 years.  Since I use it over rough ground it occasionally needs repairs - such as replacing shattered mandrels when the blades hit concealed rocks, beating out the housing from rock collisions and replacing the mower drive belt.  I now use my big tractor with a pto bush hog for the rough Read more [...]

seized engine repair

how I diagnosed and repaired a seized engine I heard of  a seized engine and hoped never to experience one.  And then my luck ran out.  Not really a matter of luck as carelessness.  At the Atlanta house I use a chipper/shredder for branches and foliage en route to the compost heap.  The shredder has functioned flawlessly since 2000, except for one bearing which was easily replaced. I regularly checked the oil level - by positioning the machine on level ground, removing the oil plug and Read more [...]

truck maintenance – changing the spark plugs

I have a  base model, no frills, manual transmission wind up window 2005 Toyota Tacoma pickup purchased new in 2005 for approximately $14k.  It now has 160k miles and, apart from replacing the tires, I have done all the maintenance work.  Which has been minimal - such as oil and filter (I always include a qt of fully synthetic oil), new battery, windshield wipers.  Because the miles are highway miles, the brakes have been rarely tapped and therefore have not required replacement.  And, these Read more [...]

gumption and the intermittent failure

If the South's summer heat and humidity bear any consolation, it is that I have to seek shelter in the house for much of the day and thus am able to extend my reading. I enjoyed the first third of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Pirsig but struggled as the protagonist ascended higher into the mountain and into rarefied philosophical issues for which I was not prepared.  Now in the last third of the book the running is easier.  His thoughts on gumption and practical issues of machine Read more [...]

shear bolts

When I first began using my tractor I did not appreciate the importance of shear bolts or patience. I have a Case 585 tractor, which was built in the late eighties and has a 60hp 4 cylinder diesel engine.  I needed to dig a small rain catchment ditch along the gravel driveway to catch rainwater as it streamed down the hill.  Georgia clay in summer is difficult to work, even with a pickaxe.  I decided to facilitate the job with a subsoiler (sometimes also called a chisel plow) attached to Read more [...]