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21" Winter Maintenance Checklist

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Wolfie's L&L, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. Wolfie's L&L

    Wolfie's L&L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    Heres my winter servicing checklist for my John Deere 21". Any additions are welcome!

    -Take Off/Sharpen Blades

    -Scrape/Powerwash(??) Under Deck

    -Check Spark Plug-Change If Needed

    -Change Oil-10W30

    -Clean or Replace Air Filter

    -Lubricate Moving Parts

    One question: Should I or should I not empty the gas out of the tank?

  2. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    mine is...
    take off truck
    make sure no leaf leavings..
    put in shed....

    starts up in spring on 2 pulls, with a little prime, for the last 6 years. :)

    i do a good cleaning in spring though. it probably doesn't need it, but anything to get out of the house after the winter. nothing sweeter then the sound of a duraforce 2 stoke in mid march. :angel:
  3. sethsodsquad

    sethsodsquad LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Looks good Jason - except for a couple things.

    If you are going to powerwash your mower - just do it under the deck. Make sure that none of the water goes into the engine. After washing under the deck, start up the mower to make sure the engine still runs. Do the powerwashing when it's not going to freeze anytime soon either. (Oh, and lubricate AFTER you spray).

    Are you sure you want to use 10W30? I use SAE 30 so that it doesn't burn as much - also better for outdoor equipment that has different conditions than cars and such.

    I drain the gas out of the tanks in the winter. I siphon/pull the gas tank out and then run the mower so that the gas in the fuel line and carb are gone too. I think this is the best way because then you don't have to worry about the gas anyways.
    If you are going to leave gas in the mower, make sure to keep it topped off and add some fuel stabilizer.

    I also usually clean off everything else besides under the deck (engine and top deck) too. I just don't powerwash it. I take off the protective plastic pieces and use a compressor or shop-vac to get dirt, leaves, and grass clippings out.

    One last thing - check with your manual for the ultimate "winterizing" source. It'll have what the engine manufacturer wants you to do with it every season. If you don't have a manual, most manufacturers have owners manuals on the internet now.

  4. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    Adam, mine is take it off the trailer, put it in the garage, use it to mow my own lawn with next year. Next spring we are 21" free baby!!!
  5. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    if i did away with my 21's... i'd go from 80 down to 2 accounts. :rolleyes:
    the thing is, "I" did away with the 21's this year, but my worker didn't. :) i don't think i touched it until he migrated back home in October. :realmad: for the last few weeks, i've gotten refamiliarized with it. :help:
  6. bugspit

    bugspit LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 767

    add or replace the fuel filter.

    I add "fuel stabilizer" to the fuel tank and run it on my last mowing, then fill the tank full, clean and store.

    Leaving an empty tank will collect moisture.

    I also use anti-seize on the blade bolt after resharpening.
  7. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    the one that I have, which I haven't used in 5 months, I will:

    change the spark plug
    change air filter
    change oil
    sharpen blades and/or change it
    clean and wax the mower
    clean out under the deck
    check up on pull rope to see if it needs to be replaced
    run fuel stabilizer through it
  8. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    Only thing I do to any of my mowers is make sure they are greased well, add fuel stabilizer, and shove to the back to make room for the snow blowers. I do all the maint in the spring.

  9. arpat2

    arpat2 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 35

    Anti-Seize is some great stuff. I use it on almost everything.
  10. Empty the Gas Tank:
    Unused gas left in a mower over the winter can get stale, gumming up the carburetor and inviting rust. First, add fuel stabilizer to the tank, then run the mower to distribute it through the system. Turn the mower off and allow the engine to cool, then siphon excess gas into a clean can. ( You can put this gas in your car, provided it hasn't been mixed with oil.) Restart the mower and run it until it stops; repeat until the engine no longer starts and the fuel lines are empty.

    Disconnect the Spark Plug:
    Before continuing with the remaining maintenance steps, it's very important that you disconnect the spark plug to prevent the mower from kick-starting accidentally, which could lead to serious injury.

    Remove the Blade:
    To make it easier to change the oil and clean the underside of the mower, first detach the blade by unscrewing the bolts that hold it in place. Be sure to wear thick gloves when handling the blade. While the blade is off, take advantage of the opportunity to sharpen it

    Drain the Oil:
    If the mower has a 4-cycle engine, you'll need to change the oil. (Some mowers and most trimmers have 2-cycle engines, in which the oil is mixed with the gas.) Have a pan ready, and place a tarp under the mower to catch any oil that may spatter. Set the mower on its side with the air filter and carburetor facing up, so oil and residual gas don't spill into them. Remove the oil reservoir plug and slowly tilt the mower until the oil begins to drain into the pan. Replace the plug when all the oil has drained.

    Clean the Undercarriage:
    Use a putty knife and wire brush to scrape off the grass and mud caked on the mower deck. This prevents rust, clears the passageway to the discharge chute, and allows the aerodynamics of the deck to work as designed. With the deck cleaned, reattach the sharpened blade. Once you've finished and can turn the mower upright, fill the oil tank with fresh SAE 30 or 30-weight oil, and recycle the used oil at a service station. Don't use a thicker oil, such as 10W-40.

    Change the Air Filter:
    A dirty air filter keeps the engine from burning gas efficiently by restricting the air needed for combustion. If your mower has a paper filter, replace it with a new one, paper edges facing out. If it's an oil-soaked sponge filter, remove it, wash it out with soap and water, allow it to dry completely, and then add a bit of clean oil to it before putting it back. Clear the cooling fins of dirt and debris using a screwdriver or Popsicle stick.

    Replace the Spark Plug:
    Remove and replace the spark plug, using a socket wrench with a spark-plug socket, which has a neoprene lining to protect the plug's porcelain casing. Even if the old spark plug is in good shape, for a couple of dollars a new one will perform better and ensure a smooth start come spring.

    copied from - http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/knowhow/yardandgarden/article/0,16417,362721,00.html

    Also a good idea to check the owners manual for any other suggestions or tips for winter storage.


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