Save The Scag - It is Now Toast - Literally
I have been a member on this forum for a while but mainly just lurked never really having much to say. I do not own a landscaping business but live on 10 acres that I mow myself. I have been the proud an happy owner of a Scag Tiger Cub model stc48-20CV. It has given me great service for the last 7 years. I was mowing this past FRI and smelled something like burning rubber. Got off the mower saw nothing and flipped up the seat. Then I saw flames licking up the front of the engine. It was still running! I took off my shirt and tried to beat down the flames. Needless to say that did not work. Hydro hoses caught fire and the fire started to climb towards the fuel tanks. I backed away realizing there was nothing I could do. All happened probably in about a minute. Dialed 911. Within about 2 minutes the entire machine was ablaze and the tires started exploding. The grass around it started to catch fire. I moved further back. Fire dept got there within a few minutes and put it out. It is pretty much completely destroyed. Needless to say I felt terrible and moped around the rest of FRI. Did the usual soul searching - should I blame somebody, file an insurance claim etc. Then I thought some more about it. The thing is I love that mower. It is built like a tank. This may be nuts and I don't really know if I can pull it off, but I am determined to rebuild it or at least try my darndest. Attached is a pic from the site where the fire happened. It looks like somebody dropped a bomb on the poor thing. I spent some considerable time yesterday (SAT) and today tearing everything apart. I am now down the the bare chassis. Had another neighbor stop by to see what all the fuss was about and he could not believe the steel in the chassis. He swears auto frames don't have steel that thick. Anyway I am going to sandblast the chassis and rattle-can prime it as a first step. Then I'll decide what to do next. I know there is lots of experience on this forum. I welcome any and all suggestions for how to proceed. I'm not looking for a pity party. I also don't intend to try to make it a museum piece or a souped up hot-rod mower. I want my scag back as close as possible to the way it was before!
Thanks in advance,
p.s. Hard lesson leaned: I will never again operate a machine like this without a class B fire extinguisher mounted to it.