I installed a new oil filter and put 1 liter of new oil in the engine, and will let it sit overnight and check for leaks tomorrow before I put another liter of oil in the engine.
I installed the new belt tensioner spring on the mowing deck. I greased the spindle bearings. I reinstalled the newly sharpened blades. I reinstalled the remaining pulley guard. I greased the front wheels, and the front steering spindles.
I topped off the oil a bit, I'm not going to change it until I figure out the leak. The oil has to be hot to change it anyway.
I installed a new air filter and precleaner. I attached the mowing deck to the tractor, and mowed the yard, which was VERY deep). Mowing went well, though I had to mow at max deck height and mow twice snce it was so deep (18" or so). I'd love to mow again this week to get to my usual grass height, but it doesn't look like mother nature is going to allow it.
I forgot to mention that all of the fasteners I've replaced on the mowing deck are now 316 stainless steel. The skirt screws are 1/4-25 flanged button heads. The pulley guard screws are hex head 5/16-18 with stainless washers.
Alas it has been raining most of the day so I can't mow today. Hence I put a second coat of paint on the underside of the deck pulley guards, and started working on the right side foot rest area. Like the left side, it had some rust under the rubber foot pad. I cleaned it up with degreaser, removed rust ahd loose coating with wire brush and Scotch-Brite pads on the die grinder, scrubbed and wiped with alcohol, then taped off the areas where I don't want overspray (esp. the brand new safety label between the footrests), I then applied a coat of primer.
I sharpened the mower blades.
I continued the rust protection work. I removed both of the pulley guards on the mowing deck, cleaned the insides and primed and painted them. I also removed the deck washing nozzles and primed and painted the areas surrounding the holes in the deck. I also touched up some other areas of the deck. Unfrotunately one of my cans of Cub Cadet yellow paint from last year doesnt' function, despite never being opened. The problem was inside the can, not the nozzle, so I wound up having to throw it away (no amount of fiddling fixed it). I'll have to buy some more.
I bought a new grease gun at Home Depot, a full-size Lucase industrial pistol=grip with extender hose. My old gun didn't have an extender hose, and I needed one to get at some of the fittings on the tractor with a little less effort.
I have a Fumoto valve I'd like to install to replace the crappy plastic oil drain mechanism that leaks. But I also have an oil leak somewhere else that I need to investigate and fix. If I'm lucky, it's the valve covers. If I'm unlucky, it's head gasket or something in the crankcase. Given the hours on the engine, nothing would surprise me at this point.
I separately removed the finger guard, center skirt and side skirt, and stripped, primed and painted them before reinstalling.
I ordered a new finger guard for the mowing deck. The original is bent. To be honest I have the thing since it tends to aggravate clogging in wet grass, but it does help protect the corners of the deck at the output. What I'd really like is just a thick piece of stainless steel. Maybe I'll sketch one up to get a quote from eMachineShop.
I sharpened the blades.
I removed most of the windshield washer fluid from the rear tires, since I know it puts extra load on the transaxle. It's worth noting that I need new rear hubs; the old ones are loose on the new axles (more lash than there should be). The old part number was 618-04228, the current part number is 918-04228. Direct from Cub Cadet, they're $23.30. From Weingartz, they're $26.99.
I also need a new reverse/ground harness, since mine is broken. The part number is 725-04791A. $12.99 at Weingartz.
I don't expect this to fix my problem. I believe my transaxle needs a rebuild. My transaxle is a Hydro-Gear 618-04270B. I suspect I need a new motor, part number 70331. The pump block is the same part, and it probably would be wise to buy both. I'm hoping that the bypass assembly and other parts are fine. The motor block assembly is roughly $60.
If the fluid solves my problem, I will refill again in a week with Mobil 1 20W50 (which I can get at Advance Auto Parts on Dixie). Right now I'm using Castrol 20W50, half conventional and half partial-synthetic (their "high-mileage" formula). I did this due to availability the night I bought the oil, and because it saved me a few bucks on oil I knew I'd be replacing soon.
I reinstalled the deck, only to realize later that I had not positioned the PTO clutch correctly. Hence it pulled on its wiring and shorted against the frame, blowing the fuse that's near the back plate of the mower frame (i.e. a PITA to reach). It took me a while to find it and get a new fuse in place (glad it was ATC, I always have spare ATC fuses on hand).
I was able to do a quick mow, but didn't do any of the trimming. It was getting dark by the time I finished. I did expand the mowed part of the yard a little bit, to the east of the house. Unfortunately I hit something big and hard, and I didn't find what I hit afterward. I apparently missed something when I picked up a few weeks ago, but it probably bashed up one of my blades. I'll have to look at things next weekend.
I cleaned the underside of the mowing deck, then primed and repainted it.
I greased the deck bearings.
I installed new mulching blades that I bought at Weingartz.
I installed new pins to hold the front brush guard in place. I misplaced the originals when I put the snow blade on in the winter.
The disappointing thing about this coupler is that it's a cast part, and hence broke fairly easily. Maybe it's intended to be sacrificial, but at $90, I'd prefer to have a shear pin or shear bolt through the main worm shaft somewhere. It's not all that easy to replace this part, the snowthrower has to be removed from the tractor and partially disassembled. The snowthrower side of the coupler broke in half, and I've only found half of it. Which means the other half is in my driveway somewhere (buried in snow), waiting to give me trouble with the snowthrower or mower. :-( This side of the coupler is prevented from spinning on the main worm shaft via a machine key, which was still on the shaft and not broken. the coupler broke right at the edge of the machine key keyway, which would be expected. Of course I ordered a new machine key. The other half of the coupler is held to the right angle drive box output with a Woodruff key. That half of the coupler and the Woodruff key were still in place and appear to be fine, but you can't order just half of the coupler.
If I had time, I'd probably machine my own coupler out of a more robust material and use a softer machine key. Or replace the machine key with a shear pin. But I've got other things to do, including shoveling the front walk and driveway. And finding the other piece(s) of the coupler.
COntinuing to miss my old Craftsman 46" thrower. It used pulleys to turn the belt 90 degrees instead of a right-angle drive box, and didn't have an expensive flex coupler to break. If the impeller was somehow stopped, it likely would just cause the belt to slip. It was a much beefier unit than the MTD 190-032. I just found one for my mom this past weekend, and installed it on her tractor this week.
I drilled the holes in the dash for the LED holders, created the harness for the LEDs with current-limiting resistors, installed the LEDs, and took some pictures with the LEDs on. Very nice, though probably brighter than I want. I will probably add a current-limiting resistor to the hot wire that feeds them all to bring the brightness down a little bit.
I crimped and soldered receptacles on the pushbutton end of the headlight harness, and inserted them into the AMP sealed Mini Universal Mate-N-Lok shell.
I did all of the crimping and splicing for the relay bases near the right-side headlight, and plugged the base into the relay.
I soldered wires and the LED resistor to the headlight pushbutton, then crimped on the pins.
I installed the headlight button, then put the pins from the pushbutton into the AMP shell.
I plugged it into the shell that leads to the relay and headlight, and tested things. All is well; when I push the button to close its switch, the relay closes, the headlights come on and the pushbutton's LED lights up. I'm only running 10mA through the LED (it's rated for 20mA), but it's visible in daylight.
I ordered relays, relay bases and fuse holders from Eastern Beaver.
I'm looking at a few different tire options to resolve the traction issues on my yard. I like the Maxxis Ceros and the Maxxis Bighorn 2.0. For a little less tread, I like the Maxxis Turf Tech II. I also like the Carlisle All Trail.
I like these for tire chains that won't scratch asphalt: rubber tire chains
It took me 75 minutes to mow the bulk of the lawn. That's down from almost 240 minutes with the pushmower. Hooray for more free time!
I removed all of the clippings from the deck afterward, and washed the tractor. I did not use the built-in deck washing system, it doesn't look very effective to me. I was going to powerwash the deck underside, but there appears to be something wrong with my powerwasher (it's leaking fuel like a sieve). My normal practice is to use my blow gun to clear off clippings and the like, but at the moment it's a bit difficult to get an air hose all the way out to a clear spot in the driveway. I'll probably put a small air compressor in the detached garage to address this problem.