Author Topic: Help on Lawn Mower  (Read 747 times)

pstu24

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Help on Lawn Mower
« on: July 15, 2017, 10:36:19 AM »
My FIL dropped off a lawn mower at my house. I'm appreciative of his gift, although it irks me because I already told him I didn't want it. (He's the non-mustachian type who bought a high powered commercial snowblower for his single car driveway of about 200 square feet).

Here's the deets: the mower is brand new. Was purchased by his neighbor (also nonmustachian) ...used last summer... they lost the gas cap and decided they needed a riding mower for their subdivision lot... it was a 400 dollar mower and sans the gas cap is literally brand new. My question is... do I buy an old fashioned pushmower like I wanted to so I don't need to deal with gas? Will the old fashioned ones function well enough on longer grass? Can I even use the mower without the gas cap? Should I use both and just keep the gas mower for longer grass? It's just not my area of specialty... hence why I am here!

Lepetitange3

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2017, 10:50:00 AM »
I have no idea since we only have a push mower...$100 ish on Amazon.  But the push mower works just fine.  Is it a bit of a workout?  Yes...which we consider a bonus.  Honestly, if you have nothing to compare it to, it does the job. 

bobechs

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2017, 11:40:02 AM »
Why not invest in a gas cap?

That won't push off your FIRE date more than a handfull of seconds, I'm guessing.

HipGnosis

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2017, 12:11:33 PM »
DO NOT use the gas mower w/o a gas cap!!!
I didn't put the cap on well enough once when I was a teen.  I didn't see it vibrate off. I CERTAINLY saw the mower burst into flames!!!   The flames got BIGGER when ran the mower to the house / garden hose - because the running made more gas splash out! 

You whiffed the 'deets' (geezz).   How did he get it from his neighbor??   Does it have a bag?  How big is your yard?  Do you have room to keep it?   
It may be wise to keep it just to keep the peace in the families.
How would your FIL feel if you sold the mower? 

If you do keep it and get a push mower, be sure to put stabilizer in the gas - always.

BTW; A mower (or anything) that was used a season is not "new". 

Lepetitange3

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2017, 12:15:25 PM »
Sell it on Craigslist?  Get the push mower you actually want ?

pstu24

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2017, 12:46:33 PM »
DO NOT use the gas mower w/o a gas cap!!!
I didn't put the cap on well enough once when I was a teen.  I didn't see it vibrate off. I CERTAINLY saw the mower burst into flames!!!   The flames got BIGGER when ran the mower to the house / garden hose - because the running made more gas splash out! 

You whiffed the 'deets' (geezz).   How did he get it from his neighbor??   Does it have a bag?  How big is your yard?  Do you have room to keep it?   
It may be wise to keep it just to keep the peace in the families.
How would your FIL feel if you sold the mower? 

If you do keep it and get a push mower, be sure to put stabilizer in the gas - always.

BTW; A mower (or anything) that was used a season is not "new".

Sorry about whiffing!

What I mean is just that it is new in the sense that a new car with 15 miles on it doesn't count as new when it is off of the lot but is still in pristine condition. This mower still literally has the stickers on it. No evidence of grass or wear on it. The blade is still shiny. I'm guessing it was used less than a few pushes in aI'm seriousness. No bag but has the attachment if I wanted to purchase it. It DOES have a self propelled system though so you dont even push.

I think a quick gas cap makes the most sense though as I dont want flames! Or an explosion! And I think it would make sense.

Syonyk

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2017, 01:39:56 PM »
Yeah, running it without the gas cap is a bad idea.

Depending on how long it's been without a gas cap, you probably should wash out the inside of the tank to get any dust and grit out - carburetors do not like that stuff going through them.

I'd keep it and use it, but I also have a few acres to maintain, so the whole "Get a push mower!" thing isn't really an option here (and it's mostly weeds - I use my DR string trimmer a lot more than my mower).
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NEPA

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 01:30:43 PM »
I'm guessing the mower is self propelled?

I'd go with sell it and get a push mower. I have a 21" deck $200 push mower I bought new and mow a half acre, it does a great job and I get a workout every week. Uses barely any gas, 2 gallons lasted months.

FLBiker

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2017, 02:06:34 PM »
Note: I have very little experience with gas mowers.  I inherited one when we bought our house, and I had a terrible time starting it.  Plus, read something about how gas kept in cans in a shed could separate or something.  Anyways, the whole thing seemed like too much trouble.

I bought a push mower (aka a reel mower) and used it for a couple of years, but it really struggled with our Florida "grass".  I bought a corded electric mower (~$125 on Amazon) and I LOVE it.  It's light enough that I can throw it (gently) into hard to reach places and it doesn't struggle with anything.  Came with a 5 year warranty.

pstu24

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 07:19:46 AM »
For my personal information, I am wondering if there are any "extra's" to know about with old fashioned push mowers? I just remember my grandfather having one and swearing by it for a few decades before he passed, and the entire time it was the same one ... just don't know what happened to it.

Meanwhile, I remember my own parents buying a new gas powered mower every few years it seems between them just breaking down, or the engine going, or the seals being busted ...

I have just under a half of an acre yard, but some of which is still a bit mossy (need to bring a few trees down to get sunlight in the backyard). So how long does it take to mow a quarter of an acre with an old fashioned mower? Is it just a component of "how fast can you walk?" Because I'm thinking that will be a lot easier. At some point, it might be easier to just walk out and mow with the old fashioned kind and would take less time than it would to even get the other one started!

Carless

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2017, 09:19:23 AM »
For a push mower - don't let the grass get too long or it won't cut properly.
-if the ground has divots it's a pain.
-will not cut even small twigs, so you have to pick those up.
-my SO hates the cutting noise of the one he owns, but some (new ones?) are nearly silent.
-Make sure you know how to properly adjust the blades for proper cutting contact.  Probably worth sharpening once a year.

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 08:15:16 PM »
What kind of mower?

channtheman

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2017, 04:52:14 AM »
I'd buy a cap and keep the mower.  Probably mention it a few times when relevant to said FIL to make him feel good.  People's generosity (whether desired by you or not) is probably the biggest way they can serve others.  For example, even if you tell people not to bring a gift to a wedding, you know a handful, if not most will probably still bring some sort of a gift.

To answer your question about an old fashioned gas less push mower.  My experience is that they don't do diddly for longer grass.  And certain types of grass don't do well with them either.  They primarily work well with short cut pristine grass.

405programmer

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2017, 06:09:59 AM »
I think a push mower with a powered blade is the best general purpose mower. I had a Reel mower for about 2 years but it's so frustrating to miss a tiny twig and get that lovely abrupt stop as the twig jams the blades. If you have any trees you have to spend more time picking up the tiny twigs than actually mowing your yard. Right now I have a old school self propelled gas mower. The self propelled doesn't work but it starts on the first pull and cuts evenly so I can't justify getting rid of it.

I hope electric mowers continue to get cheaper because that sounds like the best of both worlds! Less horrible emissions and powerful twig grinding ability!

Moustaches

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2017, 08:02:36 AM »
I don't like gas mowers because you have to buy and store gas, it can be high maintenance and you breath in emissions.  I don't like push mowers because they take much longer and don't cut tall weeds.  I use a corded electric mower and it is low maintenance, has no emissions, and cuts everything well in the shortest time possible.  The only downside is you have to turn it off sometimes when you need to reposition the cord - but you get used to it and it's easier if you walk in straight lines.  There are also cordless electric mowers with batteries, but you would have to charge them ahead of time and they are higher maintenance.
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Heroes821

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2017, 11:49:32 AM »
I'm not a lawn pro, but growing up and after being a homeowner we had several riding mowers (over an acre to cut), a self propelled push mower, an motorless old school blade push mower, and an electric push mower (no self propelling).

The motorless is great in the I want to follow MMM and get a workout and be awesome frugal sense but absolutely awful in the "most yards can't really handle a reel mower" sense.  You have some hills, good luck cutting it with that mower.  You have some thick weeds that grew a little too long and thick, yeah even sprinting wont let your blades spin fast enough to cut those. 

The electric mower was probably my favorite push mower I've ever used (less than $200 at walmart good online reviews, but I forget the brand it was orange). Never bogged down even on knee high grass or wet grass.  The downside was I didn't feel comfortable plugging two extension cords into each other to go further than the 100 foot cords I already had. The yard I bought it for was perfect for that length,  but not my current yard.

Honestly if it's free, I'd just use it.  Don't make bad blood over the gift, gas and oil will be super cheap on it. When it dies get the mower you want.  If it's self propelled you'll probably save yourself 30 minutes to an hour of time from a motor less and you can use that time to garden or do something else active outside.

triangle

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2017, 02:56:56 AM »
If you have longer grass or a large yard I would thank FIL (a second time) and proceed to use it. But double check the manual about how much ethanol % can be used it in and otherwise be careful which gasoline you pour into the tank.

If you were asking about manual mowers then this thread would be of interest to you:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/does-anyone-use-a-reel-pushmower-to-mow-their-lawn/

ejmyrow

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2017, 11:50:51 PM »
Idea: make your yard into a food forrest and garden! Have a small patch of grass that you can use your push mower on when you want to sit on grass.

Carless

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2017, 02:39:27 PM »
We're doing this!  We're replacing the lawn with berry bushes.  Right now we have two blueberry hedges and some rhubarb and strawberries.  Lower maintenance than grass and much tastier.

rafiki

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2017, 09:02:08 PM »
Sounds like a  nice gift. Try it out and see if you like it, but buy a gas cap first.

You don't want to run it with out a gas cap - best case scenario your gas will evaporate quickly, dirt and clippings will get into the gas tank, and foul the carburetor. That would be real "un-mustachian" and waste a perfectly good lawn mower. Worst case scenario you could cause a fire as an earlier response pointed out.

Old fashioned motorless lawn mowers are a huge pain in the ass for anything but a very small yard. And if you skip mowing for a week it will be a bear to get through it.

You are probably best off with a cheap mower that isn't self-propelled, but the perfectly good free self-propelled mower is better then buying something else imo. It may not deliver the work out you are after, but if you still have energy you can always run around the block or do a few pushups or something.
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respond2u

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2017, 12:03:17 AM »
so I don't need to deal with gas?

I did my first lawn mowing in several decades this year when it became a choice between the lawn man and retirement.

Regarding dealing with gas, my lawn mower uses next to none on my suburban lot (30-45 min to mow). The 1 gallon I bought in March lasted through June. I only got 1/2 a gallon in the can when I re-loaded since gas isn't supposed to be stored that long.

For the gas, go to walmart (or where ever) and buy
 - one gallon gas can (a few bucks)
 - funnel (since the spout that comes with the gas can will pour it all over the place, a few bucks)
 - Sta-Bil Fuel Stabilizer (a few bucks)
Then go to a gas station and get 1/2 gallon of gas (about $1). I mixed the Sta-Bil in (a few ounces).

I also got a weedwhacker off amazon (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B011HX29H0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1, for $55). The first spool lasted 4 months for my lawn and replacements are fairly cheap. It's got a battery, and seems to do fine for my lot.

Like you, I got a lawn mower as a gift (powered). Since it hadn't been used in 10 years (literally never left the garage), I took it to the shop and they serviced it for $125 or so (normal annual service is ~$75 where I live, and you can find DIY instructions on youtube to cut that cost quite a bit).

The only thing so far I regret is not getting a battery powered blower when it was on sale at Target in Spring. It's really hot now, and sweeping afterwards is a PITA.

--

The question on whether to keep it or not is too personal, I think.

We had a reel mower when we were young and it was a chore and a time sink.

Gas mowers are loud, but quick. Mine (and probably yours) is powerful enough to cut through the pretty dense grass that I've left for too long (vacations), and it's self-mulching. I put on my sound-deafening headphones (and sunglasses, of course) and get to it.

Now that the minimum day time temps are in the 90s, I am really happy I'm not doing all the work.






Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Help on Lawn Mower
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2017, 10:16:55 AM »
It would also help to use ethanol free gasoline if you can find it.  It will save you trouble down the road.