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Thread: Did I get the shaft?
11-11-2018, 09:45 PM #1
Did I get the shaft?
I just unloaded the biggest piece of crap the other day but may have gotten something just as bad in return.
I bought a Polaris Magnum 425 from a co-worker before I realized this thing was going to require a ton of work to get it going, although I estimated it would cost around $100 in parts to sort out all the bugs plus ALLOT of my time. He said the motor and trans were good but I realized I was going to have to clean the carb and brakes. And I am not 100% sure the engine is any good. Just something that fell into disrepair and was parked in a barn.
Not to mention I spent multiple hours sorting out the bugs on a running Polaris 300 Xplorer I had purchased prior.
So I put the thing up for sale on CL for $400 which was what I paid for it. But I'd take less just to get it out of my storage building.
So this guy calls me up and asked if I would be willing to trade a running Murray riding mower 15HP/42" deck for it. I told him I'd think about it.
I already have two riding mowers but you never can have too many riding mowers as backups. One day I was waiting on new spindles for my Husqvarna (Craftsman) so I got my Troy Bilt (MTD) out and discovered the float valve in the carb was sticking and it was running really rough. The pins in those plastic floats they are now using seem to be notorious for sticking.
So I had to take the carb apart on my backup mower, change the oil from where it had filled the crankcase before I could finish my yard. Nothing sucks worse having to stop and fix a riding mower or weedwacker when your trying to mow your yard and your pressed for time. And especially a backup piece of equipment at that.
I didn't want to borrow Dad's mower because if something that was totally not my fault broke on it, he would blame me just because it happened on my watch. Like that time the front wheel on his Snapper sheared off the hub. He blamed me for it but I'm sure when he hit that fence a few months prior and knocked the tire off the rim probably cracked the rim and it was just a matter of time before it broke.
So anyway I told the guy to send me a photo. I thought about it and said let's do the deal, bring it up here.
It's model 425014X92.
The engine starts easily but runs a bit rough until I engage the blade. I'm guessing the carb needs cleaning or a new kit. No big deal on that. It could be old/water contaminated gas. It may need a new spark plug. I know the air cleaner it dirty but removing it didn't make any difference. It doesn't smoke but worse case scenario it needs a valve adjustment which again is no big deal. All that can be fixed in a few hours.
I think it needs the brakes adjusting. It stops but takes a second or two before it comes to a complete stop. It may need new pads. I downloaded the owner's manual and it tells how to do it.
Otherwise it goes in all forward gears and reverse and cuts.
Just about everything that needs doing to this mower I could fix in less than a day without spending any big bucks.
I'm planning on using the hood as a canvas for flames like I did a push mower! I found a missing hood vent for $5.00 on Amazon.
Couple of questions. And I first apologize for not having the model numbers but I have a 15 HP briggs engine that threw a rod. That engine came off a 2001 Snapper. This Murray is a 2005. Any chance that the carburetor and starters are interchangeable on these two 15 HP engines?
One issue I noticed was that sometimes the starter spins but the bendix doesn't engage. I don't think the bendix is stripped. I think the shaft may just need to be lubricated.
As far as "loping carbs" or uneven idling, I believe this is due to worn throttle shaft. I've tried fixing carbs like this with new throttle shafts but never had any luck doing that. So I just thought if push comes to shove I could use the carburator from the circa 2001 Briggs engines on this 2005.
The 2001 engine has a black metal shroud and the 2005 engine has a red plastic shroud. I'm assuming they are basically the same engine, just a few cosmetic design changes.
And if push really comes to shove, I had a 15HP Kohler engine with a recoil starter I could use. That way I don't have to buy a new battery every couple of years. My yard is so bumpy I think that is why I have so much bad luck with lawn mower batteries.
11-12-2018, 10:06 PM #2
Re: Did I get the shaft?
You got a good deal on it, since you had a junker of a 4 wheeler...... You won't make a lot of money reselling the mower, but the value is more than the 4 runner in the shape it was in.....
That mower is in almost pristine condition in my opinion..............
Plus Tard Mon Ami ~!~!Briggs and Stratton Dealer, Warranty center for Tractor Supply Co.
11-16-2018, 02:53 PM #3
Re: Did I get the shaft?
The paint on the hood is dead for some reason. I've tried buffing it out with compound but so far no luck. The rest of the body looks fine. I think someone may have left this thing out in the weather. The plastic red engine cover is also faded a bit. But the seat and tires look great.
I haven't done any maintenance on the mower yet but discovered something interesting yesterday.
I was going to remove the spark plug to see what type it took when I discovered it was loose. I could shake it. It wasn't even hand tight! I turned the plug about 2 or 3 turns before it seated.
How's that possible? Looks like the engine would loose allot compression and not even start.
The plug is carbon fouled. This explains why the mower runs rough until I engage the blade. It's running too rich and I suspect engaging the blade puts a load on the engine. Also the next day after I got it, it was sputtering and blowing black smoke really bad. I couldn't get the engine to smooth out so I just cut it off but it wouldn't start. I thought, boy did I get screwed! But next day it started right up but was still idling rough. I guess it flooded out.
This tells me most likely it's the float. Or more like the pin that holds the plastic float to the bowel. I had this happen with my 17.5 HP on my Troy Bilt doing this after it sat over the winter.
This seems to be a problem with those plastic floats for some reason. The pin develops corrosion and the float won't maintain level. I've never really seen this happen much with brass floats.
I have actually fixed this problem on several small engines without even taking the carburetor off the engine. Just pull the fuel line off and the float bowel and spray carburetor cleaner through the fuel port, up through the jets and work the float. Hit it with some compressed air. And rotate the pin around with some needle nose pliers. But I wouldn't recommend removing the pin unless the carburetor is off the motor. it's a bit hard to install a float valve upside down.
The air filter is also really dirty. I can't even see through it. I figured that might be the reason the engine was running rich but I think it's the float.
The oil is not as dirty as I would imagine so maybe someone did take the time to change the oil on this thing. Other than that, I can't tell there was much maintenance done to this mower. My 17.5 engine has an oil filter on it but this one does not. I might check the valve clearances on it. It found it takes longer to scrape the silicone off the engine and valve cover than it does to actually set the valve lash.
As far as selling it. Most likely I'm going to keep it as a 3rd backup. You can never have too many mowers! Unless I can "trade up" for something else. Like this guy did:
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