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Is it worthy to fix a 9 yrs old mower.

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[OP]
Deal Addict
Apr 1, 2012
1163 posts
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SCARBOROUGH

Is it worthy to fix a 9 yrs old mower.

Toro Kohler engine, bought Brandnew in 2012. Did some maintenance as I am not an expert. Run last summer and won't start today. Checked/cleaned spark plugs, oil is clean, filter is iffy as soaked spilled gas. But it won't start at all, dead silence in engine. Just debating if I should get fixed by professional or just buy a new one. Your thoughts plz? Thanks
19 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2001
17016 posts
7354 upvotes
I am not an expert but I do not think it is often the mower itself requires a complete engine rebuild. Even a simple carb rebuild, tuneup and sharpening should be under $100.

That said, if the issue is dead silence it almost sounds like the safety bar is not engaging. I do not know the technical term, but you have the bar you have to hold down while the mower is running. If that is not properly engaged then the mower does nothing. Period. If you were getting spark and at least a little gas I would assume you would get at least a little engine "noise".

One thing that does wear out over time is the cable that goes from the safety bar to the engine. It can stretch over time and needs either replacement or tightening. With this cable you would experience the issue you describe.

This is a video that goes through what I describe:



Having a lawnmower repair place do this would be inexpensive.


In short yes, I would fix a 9 year old mower. Unless you are noticing issues with the metal frame of the mower rusting, the engine itself should last decades even with neglect.
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
14247 posts
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Markham
9 year old is not old. It's fixable just Google a bunch of vids to help you diagnose and repair it.

It you don't hear anything whatsoever after more than a few multiple pulls and priming, it's gotta be either no spark or no gas or plugged jets or...make sure you put some gas in the tank as well [I've had that "problem" once before LOL].

My go to advice is to put some Seafoam in there. Let it sit 30 min and try try try again. First start of the season always is a bit harder to start as well.

Good luck. I'm sure there will be others who will chime in who are more mechanical.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
Jr. Member
Oct 30, 2007
140 posts
99 upvotes
Vaughan
Did you leave gas in it from last year? If yes that could be the problem. Happened to me one year and since then I empty the tank and the then run the mower until it shuts off. The gas goes bad.
Temp. Banned
Jun 4, 2020
1634 posts
1657 upvotes
Clarington, ON
A carb on amazon is around 20 bucks. If you have spark, this would be my bet. Run ethanol free fuel and your problems should be lessened.
Jr. Member
Jan 15, 2010
186 posts
28 upvotes
Mississauga
I have a 15 year old Toro and last year it wouldn't start. I tried to troubleshoot; in the end, a small engine repair technician diagnosed a faulty starter.
Deal Addict
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Jun 12, 2008
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Ancaster
gr8dlr wrote: 9 year old is not old. It's fixable just Google a bunch of vids to help you diagnose and repair it.

It you don't hear anything whatsoever after more than a few multiple pulls and priming, it's gotta be either no spark or no gas or plugged jets or...make sure you put some gas in the tank as well [I've had that "problem" once before LOL].

My go to advice is to put some Seafoam in there. Let it sit 30 min and try try try again. First start of the season always is a bit harder to start as well.

Good luck. I'm sure there will be others who will chime in who are more mechanical.
+1.....9 years old is still new in lawn mower years. Especially with a top tier brand like Toro.
Deal Addict
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May 28, 2009
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Ottawa
spiderman6 wrote: Toro Kohler engine, bought Brandnew in 2012. Did some maintenance as I am not an expert. Run last summer and won't start today. Checked/cleaned spark plugs, oil is clean, filter is iffy as soaked spilled gas. But it won't start at all, dead silence in engine. Just debating if I should get fixed by professional or just buy a new one. Your thoughts plz? Thanks
I have a Kohler which i bought new in 2011. every fall i put in new oil and empty the gas. i only use Shell 91 octane gas as its ethanol free. tried it a few days back didnt start. sparyed carb cleaner still no go. wanted to replace the plug but with lockdown it would take a couple of days. found a fellow in the neighborhood who did a tuneupfor $50. asked him what he did and he said "trade secret". he seemed to be smiling but with masks couldnt confirm Smiling Face With Open Mouth. he said the plug is fine. I will replace that in due course as well. works like new now.
Sr. Member
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Oct 2, 2018
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Toronto
Gas shutoff valve perhaps, as part of my end of season I have to turn the valve to the off position and let run till it dies. Reverse starting the summer, turn valve on then prime and start.

That is my initial thought anyway.

Some lawnmowers have a shutoff valve, others do not.
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[OP]
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Apr 1, 2012
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Mine doesn't have primer mechanism
[OP]
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Apr 1, 2012
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Update: it's been fixed! Running great.
Senior neighbor helped.
Will explain, may help others in this situation.
He tested the plug if it has spark (connected metal wire with plug base and grounded to a metal) plug didn't go in the socket for this test. Then pulled starter, showed spark. Then attempted to put few drops of gas in socket, plug went in, tried starting, started and stopped immediately. Then did the same with little more gas in socket. Started and kept running. Now working fine. He said engine was unable to suck in gas. Once sucked from socket the channel opened and kept running as gas kept going from tank. I might have described wrong but that's what he said.
Thanks all for your response.
Deal Addict
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May 28, 2009
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Ottawa
spiderman6 wrote: Update: it's been fixed! Running great.
Senior neighbor helped.
Will explain, may help others in this situation.
He tested the plug if it has spark (connected metal wire with plug base and grounded to a metal) plug didn't go in the socket for this test. Then pulled starter, showed spark. Then attempted to put few drops of gas in socket, plug went in, tried starting, started and stopped immediately. Then did the same with little more gas in socket. Started and kept running. Now working fine. He said engine was unable to suck in gas. Once sucked from socket the channel opened and kept running as gas kept going from tank. I might have described wrong but that's what he said.
Thanks all for your response.
thx will keep this in mind. in previous years the first start in spring was always tricky and i spray carb cleaner. also put in ethanol free gas. mine also doesnt have the fuel shut off described above. A great feature than my snow blower has.
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
spiderman6 wrote: Update: it's been fixed! Running great.
Senior neighbor helped.
Will explain, may help others in this situation.
He tested the plug if it has spark (connected metal wire with plug base and grounded to a metal) plug didn't go in the socket for this test. Then pulled starter, showed spark. Then attempted to put few drops of gas in socket, plug went in, tried starting, started and stopped immediately. Then did the same with little more gas in socket. Started and kept running. Now working fine. He said engine was unable to suck in gas. Once sucked from socket the channel opened and kept running as gas kept going from tank. I might have described wrong but that's what he said.
Thanks all for your response.
Good to see it fixed. The fixer upper resellers lost an opportunity with "broken lawn mower". Make sure you thank the senior neighbor with something they like (beer or home cooked BBQ meal perhaps) because they are a good resource for you in the future.

There might be some think in that engine. Put some Seafoam into the gas and some into the spare gas tank to keep thing clean.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
[OP]
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Apr 1, 2012
1163 posts
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SCARBOROUGH
Supplementary question: worthy to spend 25$ in sharpening blades or buy replacement ones? Reason: are original blades any better than replacement or sharpening does better cutting? Do anyone of you do the sharpening on your own plz?
Deal Addict
Mar 22, 2017
1730 posts
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West GTA
spiderman6 wrote: Supplementary question: worthy to spend 25$ in sharpening blades or buy replacement ones? Reason: are original blades any better than replacement or sharpening does better cutting? Do anyone of you do the sharpening on your own plz?
I sharpen my own, it's super easy to do.

1. Buy a flat bastard file. Ten bucks, lasts longer than you will.
1b. Flip mower on its side, air filter should be facing up.
2. Remove the blade from the mower (make note of how it's attached and which way it's facing so you don't put it back upside down)
3. Easier if you clamp, but optional.
4. Run bastard file along each of the cutting edges until they're sharp. Not razor sharp, just somewhat sharp.
5. Balance the blade by hanging it horizontally on a nail. If it stays horizontal, you're good. If it dips to one side, file down the heavier side a bit until it's balanced and stays horizontal.
6. Reattach to mower, tighten firmly.

Good time to change the oil if you want as well - I like to do it every year since it only takes a minute, others like to do it a bit more rarely. Up to you!
Deal Addict
Sep 8, 2017
4387 posts
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GTA
If the blade is still in good condition, just a dinged and dull edge, then it is very easy to sharpen yourself.

Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2009
4310 posts
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GTA
spiderman6 wrote: Supplementary question: worthy to spend 25$ in sharpening blades or buy replacement ones? Reason: are original blades any better than replacement or sharpening does better cutting? Do anyone of you do the sharpening on your own plz?
I'm sure your senior neighbour can help you with that too. Blade sharpening is much simpler than troubleshooting not starting engine. After one time, you can do it on your own, it's easy. Just make sure to remove spark plug boot before touching the blade, and try not to spill gasoline everywhere when tilting the mower. 9 years is nothing. I have cheapo Walmart MTD mower from 2002 and it's still going strong, starting on the first pull every spring.
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 13, 2008
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I had a corded Simpson Sears Craftsman Electric Lawnmower from the 1980s ... used it until last summer when the gears slipped. The motor mechanism was still amazing but no good without the gears. It was too much to repair. Ended up selling it for $100 on Kijiji because some guy (from Peterborough) wanted it for the frame ... his exact same one had a frame falling apart due to rust. Said that he would swap the motor on the two and keep this one with the slipped gear as a backup.

I clean after each mow and lubricate the moving parts each fall before storing for the winter with WD40.

Ended up buying a new lighter Craftsman (also corded) from Lowes .. on sale (luckily).

Heard stories of people running over the cord. Never happened to me for 30 years.

The only knock on the new one ... the handle cannot swing around ... only unidirectional.

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