A couple of days ago, I mentioned that our riding mower had stopped.
It didn’t stop running. It stopped moving.
Of course, I looked around at anything I could see to try and figure out why it stopped. The only thing I couldn’t do is look under it, because we can’t see under there without lifting it or removing things, and it’s too heavy to lift more than a corner. It’s not something we can just pick up at one end/side and tilt, either, due to the design.
So I pushed it into the garage and left it. The plan for mowing still involves using the push mower to get into areas the riding mower can’t, so I saw no issue with letting it wait until the end of the month, when we were already planning to take it in for some general TLC.
Then I got an email from my brother. He had needed to pick up a ball hitch, so he’d bought an extra one for out riding mower. This way, we can use it to pull the trailer, when that’s all fixed up.
In my response, I mentioned what happened with the riding mower.
Well, my brother – being the awesome person that he is – decided to pop over today. They were already on the way when my SIL phoned us to let us know they’d be going straight to the garage, and not going to the house (practicing physical distancing for my husband’s health), to install the ball hitch and check out the riding mower.
By the time I realized they were here and joined my brother at the garage, he was already done installing the ball hitch. He had also given the mower a once over, and couldn’t see anything wrong. Since I was there, he asked me to give it a try, while he watched. So I pushed it out of the garage, first, then tried starting it.
It wouldn’t start.
Then my brother noticed I forgot to turn the shut off valve on the fuel line. 😀 He turned it for me.
Which is when he saw it.
The wheel was almost off the axle!!!
The back wheels are held in place by a bolt that runs through the axle, like a pin. We had to look at the other side to even remember what it was supposed to look like.
We propped the corner of the mower up on whatever we could find to support the weight, and my brother managed to hammer the wheel back on. Then he tried to make sure that the holes were still lined up.
They were, but the narrow screw he was using to check, couldn’t go through.
This was the culprit.
This was still stuck inside.
So, somewhere in our lawn, is the head of a bolt, and a nut, still on the other end of the bolt.
After much scrounging in the garage by all of us, my brother found another nut and bolt the right size, and got it on.
Once that was all fixed, he got me to test it out again.
The mower runs fine now.
Basically, once the wheel got loose, the mower acted as if it were in neutral, regardless of what gear it was in. When I stopped the mower to talk to my daughter, my getting on and off of it must have loosened the wheel just enough to trigger this.
Which is awesome, because if it didn’t have that fail safe, I would have kept on going right up until the wheel fell off, never realizing there was a problem. Just pushing it to the garage is probably why it was as far off the axle as it was. If my brother hadn’t picked up a hitch and decided to come over to install it, we likely would not have discovered it, until it fell off as we moved it around to load it into the van at the end of the month.
Neither of us had even thought to check the wheels as a reason the mower stopped moving. The only reason my brother spotted it at all, was because I’d forgotten about the shut off valve on the fuel line, and he turned it for me. That’s when he could see the bright, shiny, silver part of the axle that no longer had wheel over it. It I had turned it from my seated position, I wouldn’t have seen it. If it had been the other wheel, neither of us would have seen it.
Sometimes, it amazes me when so many tiny things line up like that.
The awesome thing is, my brother has once again saved the day! 😀 The riding mower moves again.
I also got to see my SIL for the first time in way too long. She is allergic to cats, so we were planning to visit their place for a change, when the pandemic lockdowns started and all such plans went poof. So it was really, really great to be able to see them both. I just wish it could have been for longer!
And for just a visit, and not to fix yet another thing. 😀