Author Topic: Mower Oil Changes?  (Read 3701 times)

accolay

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Mower Oil Changes?
« on: June 05, 2017, 06:03:46 AM »
So I went out to change the oil in the mower and....there's no drain plug. I was confused so consulted the limited manual it came with. It says I don't need to change the oil. Like ever. But if I want to change it I have to drain it from the oil dipstick hole. But then a quick web search reveals that they make pumps to pump out the engine oil.

It all just seems kinda.....stupid.

GreenEggs

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2017, 06:48:37 AM »
What brand?

Is it a 2 stroke? 

sokoloff

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2017, 07:21:28 AM »
I change mine (every 2-3 years) using the same top-side engine oil vacuum that I use on the cars.

Realistically, for homeowner use, changing the engine oil frequently isn't likely to significantly increase the life of a mower, provided you keep the oil level correct.

NESailor

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2017, 07:51:00 AM »
What the poster above said.  It's a feature, not a bug.  They slowly burn the oil up and you just keep it level.  The other moving parts usually fail well before the engine gets too gunked up with oil.  Though if you get a nicer one, it will come with an external filter and a drain plug - my new Husky does ;)  So unmustachian.

Dave1442397

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2017, 08:41:19 AM »
I change the oil at the end of the mowing season. I have a Toro mower, and I just open the oil cap, then turn the mower on its side and let the oil drain into a plastic bin. It's such a quick and easy job that I figure I'll keep doing it.

sequoia

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2017, 09:40:43 AM »
What the poster above said.  It's a feature, not a bug.  They slowly burn the oil up and you just keep it level.  The other moving parts usually fail well before the engine gets too gunked up with oil.  Though if you get a nicer one, it will come with an external filter and a drain plug - my new Husky does ;)  So unmustachian.

I disagree. Every year when I change the oil, the old oil come out black and dirty. No way keeping the old oil in the engine, and just keep using it is a good thing - certainly can not be better than using fresh oil.

Yes, maybe without oil change the mower will last 7 years (I am picking a random number here), instead of 10 years with regular oil change - and 99% of consumer is probably ok with buying another one after 7 years. This is very unmustachian imo considering the cost of oil and time to do oil change.

Who knows what is the real end of life for mower, but I like my mower to last as long as possible.

I change the oil once a year, turn the engine on to warm it up, then turn it on its side and drain it. So far it has been 6-7 years, and no problem doing it this way. Take about 5 min in the fall before the mower is stored for good until next spring.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2017, 10:06:38 AM »
When I change my oil after the season on my mower with no plug, I just tip it on it's side and empty it as best as I can.

MilesTeg

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2017, 10:14:05 AM »
So I went out to change the oil in the mower and....there's no drain plug. I was confused so consulted the limited manual it came with. It says I don't need to change the oil. Like ever. But if I want to change it I have to drain it from the oil dipstick hole. But then a quick web search reveals that they make pumps to pump out the engine oil.

It all just seems kinda.....stupid.

Many mowers you have to drain the oil out of the fill tube. You have to tip the mower on it's side. Just make sure you don't tip it the wrong way as the oil will spill (internally!) into the piston/air intake/filter and you will have a giant mess on your hands.

Check with your mower manufacturer, though typically it's pretty clear which way to tip -- so that the oil fill cap is close to the ground.

accolay

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2017, 05:56:30 PM »
Many NEW mowers you have to drain the oil out of the fill tube.

I added that. I still think it's stupid that there's no drain on the bottom like older mowers. And to be clear, the manual said:
Quote
Oil does not require changing
The old mower I got rid of last year had lasted probably 20 years. I feel like not changing your oil is a new planned obsolescence feature.

Sibley

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2017, 08:13:07 PM »
Honestly, considering that I'm struggling to figure out how much oil to put in the stupid thing.... Need to look at the book for oil capacity, the bottle for size, and do some math. Either I got it just right, or I barely coated the bottom of the tank.

Never had to do this before, clearly. I'll worry about changing the oil later.

nereo

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2017, 08:28:17 PM »
...just an observation/thought
Suppose you mow your lawn weekly for 7 months a year (April 1- Oct 31st), and it takes you about 40 minutes each time.  Each year you add just 20 engine hours to the mower. Many people put that kind of time on their cars each week.

None of this is to say you should or shouldn't change the oil (or how frequently).  I'm just always amazed at how little actual use a mower can get that seems to be used "all the time".

Syonyk

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2017, 10:01:02 PM »
And how much better built and sealed is a car engine?

Seriously, "tip it on the side" isn't a big deal.  And a half quart of oil or something is cheap compared to having to replace a mower.

Those engines generally don't have replaceable bearings - it's just a polished bit of the case.  So when it wears out, you replace the whole thing (there's no way to replace bearings, though you could probably replace the rings if those wear before the bearings).

Change your mower oil, replace your mower air filter.  It's cheap.

nereo

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2017, 06:15:02 AM »
And how much better built and sealed is a car engine?

I certainly hope a car engine is built much better.  I just find it fascinating - a car with 'a lot of miles' might have 5,000 engine hours on it.  A 'well used' lawnmower might have 200.

agree on changing the  oil and filter each fall - takes 20 minutes and costs ~$8.

BTDretire

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2017, 08:12:23 AM »
I agree, it's stupid to not have an oil drain.
 I have a 21 yr old Craftsman rider that is on it's last legs wheels.
The engine still seems good, but I usually have to stop once and put one of the belts back on the pulley each time I mow. The steering has a lot of play in it, the teeth on the gear sector assembly are just worn out. Close to $100 to replace it. It's a constant chore to keep it going in a straight line.
 Last time I mowed I think I figured the levers/pedal are  releasing too much tension on the belts allowing them to come off the pulley. When I get energetic I will try to make adjustments to tighten things up a bit.
 But, I'm starting to look for a new riding lawn mower. I'm watching a 4yr old Kubota zero turn that is for sale, if it goes another week without selling I may swoop in and offer 75% of what they are asking.

MightyAl

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2017, 08:29:03 AM »
I usually do an oil change at the beginning of mowing season.  Cold weather causes the oil to form waxes which can cause problems.  I don't climate control my garage and in fact used to store my mower in the basement to get it out of the way in the winter to try to keep it from being out in the temperature swings.  Just the engineer and maintenance professional in me being obsessive.  It probably didn't help much at all.  Now that I have a zero turn that cost me a princely sum so I do an oil change every year at the beginning of the year and grease all the zerks. 

I have had my push mower for 10 years and it is still in tip top shape.

sequoia

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2017, 04:54:50 PM »
I usually do an oil change at the beginning of mowing season.  Cold weather causes the oil to form waxes which can cause problems.  I don't climate control my garage and in fact used to store my mower in the basement to get it out of the way in the winter to try to keep it from being out in the temperature swings.  Just the engineer and maintenance professional in me being obsessive.  It probably didn't help much at all.  Now that I have a zero turn that cost me a princely sum so I do an oil change every year at the beginning of the year and grease all the zerks. 

I have had my push mower for 10 years and it is still in tip top shape.

I change the oil after mowing season - in the fall. That way the mower is stored during winter with fresh oil. My garage is also not heated.

Fireball

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2017, 05:34:34 PM »
Given the low amount of use a typical mower sees, changing the oil is probably overkill. However, most only take something like .4L of oil so it is very cheap and can only do good. I've never changed the oil in mine and they lasted until something else went wrong, then it was cheaper to buy a new mower than repair the old one.

chemistk

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2017, 05:28:54 AM »
I think it all depends on how serious you want to get with maintenance - yes, mower engines are built to looser specs than car engines but they're also very durable as long as you give them even the minimum amount of care. Keeping oil level correct, sharpening blade, scraping grass off the deck, and keeping the air filter clean are all most consumers need to keep their engines running for a long time.

Case-in-point: my parents bought a Meijer brand mower with a B&S engine back in 1990, and it ran for 17 years without anything other than topping off the oil. In 2007 the air filter was cleaned (not even replaced), the spark plug changed, they bought a new blade, and they welded the deck back together. They still have that mower today, and it still runs (not perfectly, but pretty well given the circumstances).

Sometimes it's also luck of the draw. I knew someone who had a similar vintage mower who took it to a small engine repair shop to have it maintained and the engine failed on it sometime in the mid 2000's.

Bottom line - I wouldn't worry about it too much. And heck, if it breaks, it's a great opportunity to try out a manual push mower!

fredbear

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2017, 06:02:42 AM »
I change the oil on the snow blower annually, siphon out as much gas as I can, and run it empty before storage, so the leftover gas doesn't deteriorate and degrade the fuel system.  I also change the gear case oil, every 7 years or so.  Somebody did their best to design and build it.  Like a lot of other things including most cars, far more energy went into manufacturing it than it will ever use.  Making it last is the most environmentally sound thing you can do with it.  It's an engine.  It deserves respect.

nereo

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2017, 07:20:51 AM »
I change the oil on the snow blower annually, siphon out as much gas as I can, and run it empty before storage, so the leftover gas doesn't deteriorate and degrade the fuel system.  I also change the gear case oil, every 7 years or so.  Somebody did their best to design and build it.  Like a lot of other things including most cars, far more energy went into manufacturing it than it will ever use.  Making it last is the most environmentally sound thing you can do with it.  It's an engine.  It deserves respect.
Huh.  I read somewhere that running an engine completely out of fuel and leaving it that way is bad for the injectors and seals - as I understood it the basic idea is that those parts need to stay immersed in fuel to not dry out and crack. Fuel stabilizer was stressed with the tank somewhere between 1/8 and 1/2 full.

Can any motorheads here comment on whether this is actually true or not?

fredbear

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2017, 08:14:01 AM »
...
Huh.  I read somewhere that running an engine completely out of fuel and leaving it that way is bad for the injectors and seals - as I understood it the basic idea is that those parts need to stay immersed in fuel to not dry out and crack. Fuel stabilizer was stressed with the tank somewhere between 1/8 and 1/2 full.

Can any motorheads here comment on whether this is actually true or not?

Sir, I suspect you are right about modern car engines.  I would never run one dry.  (Did it with a diesel Sierra 2500HD and thumb-pumping the fuel rail back up to a pressure that would start it was a 1-trial learning experience.).  The snowblower - an older Ariens - has a carburetor and (so far as I can tell) conventional rubber in the fuel lines.  I don't know about its seals, but it has very few gaskets.  Ethanol-contaminated fuel is not good for regular fuel lines, and for years the small-outboard manufacturers advised you to find (somewhere) regular gasoline to use in them.  It may be that by now the small-engine mfgs have specified lines that resist the alcohol, but I'm not betting my unit's life on it. 

sokoloff

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Re: Mower Oil Changes?
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2017, 09:41:38 AM »
I've had good luck with two approaches with small carbureted engines. Running them completely dry and draining the fuel bowl. This is the easiest.

More a PITA is to fill the last tank of the season with aviation gasoline. This is a more stable gasoline that doesn't varnish like even pure (no MBTE) car gasoline does. It does evaporate leaving a small amount of the blue dye, but operationally, that seems like it's not enough to plug carb passages.