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BrainStorm for fixing lawn mower deck

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 1st, 2020 9:04 pm
[OP]
Member
Jul 26, 2008
428 posts
470 upvotes
Montreal

BrainStorm for fixing lawn mower deck

To celebrate the return of spring, and my utility trailer returns from winter storage, I just had to go purchase some random mowers on kijji, $40 for 2 Husqvarna LC221RH.

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I am looking for something to replace my battery mower and looking for a cheap gas mower. The LC221RH is a beast of a machine compared to the mowers. I plan to give one away to a family member.

The engines run, but both have a similar issue the deck is starting to rust out / fail where the engine mounts. As we can see here the mounts have been repaired in the past.

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Close inspection shows the the mount point broke, cracked more from stress, motor vibration than rust.

Having never attempted a welding patch repair before, ( I have small flux core wire feed welder) I am wondering what the best approach would be for a fix.

My idea to distribute the vibrations on a bigger surface would be cut two rings out of .14 GA steel, ( that the thickness of mower deck) then weld each ring one on top side and other bottom side. I would have shop cut the rings

A local welding shop quoted my around $100 to fix one mower deck, seems high to me.
10 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jun 12, 2007
16028 posts
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London
Those machines look like they were run in a commercial setting. They probably see in one month of commercial use the same number of hours as a lifetime of residential use. This is probably why the deck stress cracked.

If these machines are being used in residential use, patch the holes with sheet metal. Then where the engine mounts bolt up, weld in some big/ thick steel washers to spread out the load over a wider area
Last edited by l69norm on May 8th, 2020 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
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Jul 2, 2001
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GTA
Why not just rotate the engine and drill new mounting holes?
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
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Paris
l69norm wrote: Those machines look like they were run in a commercial setting. They probably see in one month of commercial use the same number of hours as a lifetime of residential use. This is probably why the deck stress cracked.

If these machines are being used in residential use, patch the holes with sheet metal. Then where the engine mounts bolt up, weld in some steel large and thick washers to spread out the load over a wider area
When I worked in commercial mowing equipment 1 week was equal to a residential mowing season. Commercial mowers usually take better care of their equipment.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 6, 2007
8568 posts
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Kootenays
shabby wrote: Why not just rotate the engine and drill new mounting holes?
I agree completely. If you wanted to add structural integrity (not sure if it's really necessary) you could also fabricate a ring an inch or so wide around the hole and remount the motor rotated 30 degrees or so on top of the ring.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
3159 posts
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Toronto
If you can cut the steel rings (and paint them to prevent rusting) you can just bolt them through to sandwhich them in place. Then bolt the motor on in it's original orientation.

No need to break out the welder.
Member
Jul 17, 2010
308 posts
342 upvotes
Check the transaxial before spending money fixing the deck. Repack the grease if the gears look ok.
[OP]
Member
Jul 26, 2008
428 posts
470 upvotes
Montreal
bundy5555 wrote: Check the transaxial before spending money fixing the deck. Repack the grease if the gears look ok.
Yes, the rear drive works at least when I spin the pulley manually the wheels turn.

I started cutting out a template for the ring, I was going to go with two but one will be enough I found a very heavy 14 GA metal shelf in my shed that I can use for the rings. I just down know if jigsaw with a metal blade can do that type of type of job ?.

While I was working outside today my neighbor gave me his old mower that has seized engine (briggs and stratton) but the body is in good shape.

What do you know mower decks have universal mounting points !

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Engin the honda engine bolted right on. Removed and cleaned the carburetor. The throttle cable from the new body fit, same clip, cable length the same.

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That will give me time to use this hybrid mower, make sure the engine runs well while I fix the Husqvarna deck.

Regarding the advise of shifting the engine mounting holes , it would be possible but I will not be able to use rear drive as the bottom pulley system hangs off from one of motor mounts. I want to repair engine mount properly. This stuff is keeping my busy during the lockdown.

My ring prototype, It crazy how raw materials like 14 GA steel is expensive when buying small quantities and hard to find.
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thanks for the comments.
Member
Jul 17, 2010
308 posts
342 upvotes
you can cut your ring with an angle grinder. Do a rough cut with a cut off disc and finish the ring with a grinding wheel.
[OP]
Member
Jul 26, 2008
428 posts
470 upvotes
Montreal
bundy5555 wrote: you can cut your ring with an angle grinder. Do a rough cut with a cut off disc and finish the ring with a grinding wheel.
No way I'm going to try that the brute force method !

But .... great idea, add a custom jig there of a few examples of Diy jigs I found on youtube.

I am going to try making something like this, as I have two mowers to fix.

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[OP]
Member
Jul 26, 2008
428 posts
470 upvotes
Montreal
I did apply myself and started to fix one the mower decks.

Some of the damage :
- broken braket with previous failed welding attempt
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- One of the cracked mounting holes on deck.
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Long process of welding with a flux core welder, on which I have no clear understanding of wire feed and the limited voltage controls switch setting :
Button 1, Low / High ,
Button 2: Low power / High power.

Used my volt meter and measure 4 different voltage on the tip of the gun, something like 32V DC, 34V Dc, 36V DC and 39V DC. I suspect that if I would have mesure while welding the voltage would have been lower. closer to what I see of machines that have voltage setting of knob. They seem to go from 14 to 30 Volts

After lots of trial and error I finally caught on the proper sound of the flux metaling like sizzling bacon.
One of things it take a bit of time to get use to in welding is the ARC and the flying sparks everywhere.

My process was weld for 30 seconds and grind away for 5 minutes.
The deck metal thickness is about 18 GA, so whenever the gun when close to the edge it would burn off.

I patched various bits of metal in and tried grind everything off, every time I tired to fill a gap the entire area would just melt away.
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Bracket after my repair. You could not tell I spent hours trying fix this, I was not worth the time, except I in the end I had a better grasp of the process and understand why a real welder was charing me $100 for what seemed like a few basic repairs.

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In the end I wanted to make sure the motor would mount on the deck at the same level so I welded some washer on all 3 mounting points, then I went overboard and tried to putt down some extra beads and made it all freaking ugly. I this point I spent about 6 hours on this and couldn't care less of look of the welds.
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Side body was riped by blad I fixed big gap.
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All these Youtube video of guys fixing mower with 5 minutes of welding were not my experience.

I am looking for someone local that I would pay for 1 or 2 hours of basic training. I could at least valid that the welder I have works properly, my safety mask works properly etc.

During this frustrating repair my initial thought was my welder is junk. I should get a better unit, which of course the amateur will always blame the equipment when chances are it just a lack of skills and knowledge.

From what I understand its very hard to weld thin gauge steel with .30 Flux core and machines that has limited voltage controls. I found out about some tricks like putting a copper bar under my work to allow to weld gaps without burning through the metal only at the end, same with anti-spatter ,never knew that existed.

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