Hello, Everyone, I thought it might be fun to post some photos of the restoration work I'm doing on my Exmark zero turn mower. Before we get going, some background. The mower was manufactured in 2002 by Exmark, a zero-turn builder in Nebraska. It is a 52-inch cut Lazer Z HP powered by a 23 hp Kawasaki motor. I've owned this mower for approximately eight years. I bought the mower used off of eBay. It came from a town about 100 miles from where I live in Alabama. I had the advantage of not having to bid against a whole bunch of prospective buyers as one might find in a large metropolitan area. Consequently, I was the sole bidder on the machine, and I won it for the reserve price. I have forgotten just how many hours it had when I bought it, however, now, in October of 2015, it only has 551 total hours. I'm just guessing, but I'd say the mower had about 200 to 225, or so hours when I bought it. I paid $2,500. I seem to recall reading somewhere that this model mower had a list price of about $7,800 in 2002. The seller had several small businesses, and it was my understanding that he used the mower to tend to his properties. It never was used commercially in the sense of someone using it to mow accounts. During the time I've had it I've used it to mow my lawn and the lawns of six houses and two vacant lots, all of which I own. These nine properties are all adjoining, therefore, I have no need to move the mower about on a trailer. Although the mower has relatively low hours, especially considering its age, it has suffered a good bit of neglect practically all of which has been cause by me, the owner. Incidentally, I don't think anyone has operated it other than me during my term of ownership. Much of the neglect has been caused by, I hate to say it, ignorance and laziness on my part. And in addition to that, the mower has never been in covered storage, thus rain and the elements and lots and lots of sunshine have taken their toll on the mower. Amazingly, the mower has only required the replacement of the push-pull blade engagement switch and one new gas cap. I won't go into how I forgot to screw the cap back on and how it vibrated off. I will say I was impressed at just how far a gas cap will sail after mowing over it. The mower has had fairly regular oil and filter changes, greasing, replacement air filters, a battery or two and several sets of new blades. Despite the inattention and constantly being outside in the elements, the mower has never failed to start and perform except on one occasion when I had to replace the battery. Once a new battery was in, it returned to being ole reliable. It still has the belts and spark plugs it had when I bought it. I suppose it would not be surprising to know that the seat has probably caused me more minor problems than anything else on the mower. The vinyl, in the last year or two, has become stiff and much less pliant than it originally was. But the biggest trouble has been that the staples used to hold upholstery to the inside wood rusted in two. So a couple of years ago I disassembled the seat and replaced the wood. While the seat was apart I also made a weld repair to the backrest metal pan to fix a split in the metal. And as a quick aside, my background has been in newspaper writing and editing, and following that, I operated for 15 years a business that restored antique automobiles. Many of the techniques I learned while doing that are being used on this Exmark restoration. I have been thinking for a number of months I ought to tend to some of the neglected areas on my Exmark as a preventative measure rather than fixing things after they break. I decided I'd start by working on the mower deck. The spindle bearings are the originals and I couldn't help but notice the extra noise they were making the past several times I used the mower. Also, the blades themselves were dull and beat up, so they needed replacing. And speaking about the blades, I have found a great use for the old beat-up blades I used to throw away. Here's what I have been doing. Some time back I realized that the center hole in my Exmark blade was the same size as the hole in the blade on my Tru Cut push edger. When I discovered this I started using my metal-cutting chop saw to cut the old mower blades so that they are the exact same length as a never-used edger blade using the center hole as a point of alignment. The now-shortened mower blades last much longer than the edger blades I used to buy. How much longer? I'd say they last at least 5 times as long. Now, back to the Exmark project. Once I had the deck out from under the chassis, I started giving everything a good, visual inspection. Immediately I noticed that a spacer used to position one of the idler pulleys had a lot of wear. Further inspection revealed that the belt guide plate had a groove in it from where a pulley had ridden against it for quite some time. I already knew one of the five anti-scalp wheels had gone missing. There were several other things I found that either were a problem now or would become a problem in the not-so-distant future. Finally, I saw places, most particularly along some of the factory welds, where the powder-coat finish had flaked off and rust was beginning to appear. And this was just the deck. I'm going to need to think long and hard about the project I'm considering. Next time: My plan of attack.