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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been retired for about 9 years, which has been great. I have not worked since retiring, nor do I wish to go back into the work force.

However, I think my idle time might be driving my wife a little crazy, so I thought, what might keep me occupied from time to time? I enjoy servicing my and my extended family’s lawn mowers, so why not learn a little more about fixing small engines. Our local repair guy is very good but that means he is always extremely busy, which translate in to longer completion times.

So the question is what is the best way to learn. I checked the local community colleges and they do not offer any courses.

I have looked at YouTube videos on repairs, but found the repairs in the videos can differ greatly involving the same repair.

Most of our lawn mowers are Honda’s and I did buy the service manual, which had helped with several issues, but the manual lacks diagnostic information and how to actual do the repair(s).

So for those members who do their own small engine repairs, how did you learn?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
 

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Kohler Engine's university on youtube has some good general How To videos, as well as Ereplacement parts.com on youtube.
Iearned 98% of my stuff from Watching Taryl Fixes All, Mowermedic1,Bruce Pender and Donyboy73 on youtube. as well as reading through repair manuals.
 

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to be honnest, I learn from mistake, and I learn from doing stuff over and over again, I kind of have a gift to learn extremely fast how stuff work, Use your common sense, if it doesn't look right, don't do it. Most small engine work the same, exept for efi engine, so if it is a honda, kohler, briggs&stratton, or any other engine brand, it is will work the same
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I did watch a number of Bruce Pender’s videos and thought he did a nice job with them. I just watched one of Taryl’s videos and I think he did an excellent job explaining things, the camera coverage showed what needed to be seen and he even gave the part number information. I am looking forward to watching more of his videos.

Thanks everyone for all of the helpful replies.

P.s. when I plugged in what I was looking for into the YouTube search, Taryl’s videos never pooped up.
 

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Spend some money and buy some JD technical manuals
I needed some information on a diesel engined tractor & was very impressed.
I have seen text books with less information.
In particular the beginning of every section tells you the theory of what is happening followed HOW TO DIAGNOSE the faults and finally do the repair .
Most tractor style ride ons are the same
Three types of transmissions
1) manual gearbox
2) vari drive
3) hydro drive
and all of them are the same regardless of the colour on the hood .
Next to that MTD put out a series of books called "The Must Have Guide to Outdoor Power Equipment ".
There are 4 volumes.
1) walk Behinds
2) Lawn Tractors & Rear Engine Riders
3) Garden Tractors
4) Chore Performers ( Tillers , pumps, vacuums etc )
Books 2,3 & 4 are on the K & T parts Warehouse web site as a PDF for free & I forgot where I got vol 1 from .
They cover all of the repairs on MTD products till 2000 after which they started to print service manuals ( not very good )
Get through that lot and you will be an expert
I bought the repair run in 2012 with a sound knowledge of engines ( I play with vintage motorcycles ) but no knowledge of the rest of the stuff.

Of all of them the JD Tech manuals are the best value as they go through proper diagnostic proceedures in a logical order and these are universal so once you know how to look for what you should be looking for, fixing it is the easy bit which is covered in the various manuals.
Enjoy your retirement.
Get your knowledge up and in particular the jargon of the parts manuals and see if the busy local mower shop wants some cheap help one or two days a week.
The person I bought the repair run from took home repairs from the local mower shop that were all labour and few parts on contract which relieved the stress & reduced their back log at the beginning of the season.
After 3 years he launched his own business .
I do some overload for a couple of mower shops who pay me about 2/3 my rate and replace any parts I fitted.
If I just needed some thing to do to keep me out of the house it would be ideal .
also have a chat to the local tool stores & hardwear shops that sell power equipment but do not have a repair department about fixing their returns
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Again, glad to see everyone giving their thoughts. Thanks.

Question about ordering parts. For fun or perhaps practice, I was randomly looking up parts for my daughter’s Craftsman push lawn mower with a Briggs and Stratton engine. Found the parts I was looking up but when I got to the carburetor, the diagram had four choices 118, 118A, 118B and 118C. After studying the diagram, it looked like the different was the main jets. Also, all four diagrams listed different sizes for the float bowl gaskets. Now, I can figure out the gasket size I would need by looking at the old gasket, but not so sure about selecting the right carburetor out of the four choices. Does the B&S carburetor or jets have identifying markings?

Thanks Bertsmobile. My plan is to focus mainly on walk behind mowers. The hope is to be able to fix the family, neighbor and friends’ mowers. Just kind of a free service when time permits. Not looking for something that will get out of hand. Shooting for a lazy version of Youtube Bruce Pender.
 

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Except those made in China all carb jets are stamped with their size but you might need a 100x mag to read them.
Down side is there is no standard system so some are marked in micrometers, some in thou , both of which can sort of be measures while others are marked in flow rates .
If you looked properly at the parts book you will see the different carbs are used within a range of serial numbers .
For instance carbs for Californian models will be leaner than those for the res of the USA so will have smaller jets .
And check out your local veterans support .
Usually they have a system to do what the government is too stingy to do and repair veterans things for free .
Keep you out from under her feet and make you feel really good at the same time
 
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