My Lawnmower Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few weeks ago, this mower was sitting out for trash pickup just up the street from here. A house had been sold and the last of the junk had been cleaned out. Whether someone passed away a while back, or just what the circumstances were, I don't know. The rest of the stuff was junk, but this mower wasn't, even though it might have looked like it to the average passerby. The shroud was off and upside down, the gas tank was tossed in one direction and the dipstick and tube in another, and one of the handle bolts/knobs was also tossed aside. I gathered up what was there. The intake, carb, air cleaner, engine control, and links and springs were all nowhere to be found. Still, I thought it had possibilities.

I did a little research and found that being a 131 90300 it was a 1973 model. The engine is several years newer. Someone had mounted the engine on a wooden collar, because the shaft was longer than on the original engine.

In the past couple of days I finally had time to work on it. I found that I already had all the necessary parts on hand to bring it back to life. Interestingly, the oil and spark plug were new. The ground wire for the coil had been cut, but I fixed that. I was quickly able to get it all put together and running like new. The engine is smooth, will idle down to a quiet purr, and burns no oil whatsoever. I am also very impressed with the quality of cut. Even at a slow engine speed and with a blade that I have not put a fresh edge on yet, the cut is very good. I only encountered one small problem. It had a rectangular muffler on it that looked fine from the outside but was rusted down low on the back side where it passed through the deck. It allowed hot exhaust to burn away a bit of the wooden collar. So, I put on the round side-exit exhaust and plugged the hole in the deck. A cap from a quart bottle of motor oil was a perfect, snug fit. I filled the wood in with some hi-temp red silicone.

I will be keeping watch for a pair of hubcaps to replace the two that are missing. A friend sent me a couple, but while the pattern looks superficially the same the diameter is a little different and so is the back side. Just another case of a company not wanting parts from older products able to be interchanged onto newer ones. I will paint the mismatched white wheel silver and call it close enough to chrome-plated like the others. The style of wheel is the same.

On YouTube there is a 1971 Craftsman mower and the engine is black with the orange deck. Seems like when they went to the red engine they changed the decks to silver. This may be a rather unique 'Frankencraft'. (Hey, I just finished reading Stephen King's novel 'Revival'. LOL) In these photos, you can hardly tell the difference between the color of the deck, which is more orange, and the color of the engine which is more red. It looks like a very integrated combination....very eye-catching.

I mowed the neighbor's yard with it today. It earned its first $20 in its new life.

Definitely a keeper!
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,016 Posts
Great save and keeper!! Looks great!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
Now that is one cool craftsman. True the colors look the same on here. That's a great story and great work on it. I agree, a mower to hang onto!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I ended up changing out the carburetor again. The new $17 ones that they are making for the old Tecumseh engines are generally very good, but once in a while you encounter a lemon that can't be fixed. The first one would leak no matter what I did. The second one seems to be okay. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Still haven't found a couple of matching hubcaps and a chromed wheel, so I put on an NOS set of wheels made by Toro that do not have the Toro name on them. But they are the concentric ring design, so it makes it seem like the mower is a cousin of my Toros. Will take some more photos in the near future.

I was looking at Sears catalogs from the 1970s on ebay and one seller displayed a page from the 1976 Spring and Summer catalog as seen below. The shrouds for that year seem quite large and the shape makes them almost look like electrics in a way. Still a nice design overall, though.

I am hoping to be able to get this other one that's not too far away from here. We'll see what happens. Looks like early 80s, but still retains a lot of the same design elements. Starting to get hooked on these. They are nice and they seem to be very scarce.
 

Attachments

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,359 Posts
Great machine! I really like the looks. It sure is retro!

It's really neat you're fixing it up and making all complete. Thanks for sharing the project here!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Kind of a rollercoaster of luck. Yesterday, the recoil rope broke. But today, I was checking Craigslist and someone had another vintage Craftsman out for the trash. Just 2.5 miles away, so I hopped in the car and zipped over there and grabbed it. It's a 1978 rear bagger. Also 20" push. Deck is orange. The engine is the very same design, including the gas tank except it is black. So, I am thinking that the red engine is 1979 or slightly later. It would be interesting to know which year Sears changed the engine from black to red.

Anyhow, this rear bagger has one broken wheel, but two hubcaps exactly as I needed! The upper handle is missing. No decal remaining on the front of the gas tank. It does however have the complete original carburetor, intake, and throttle control. The engine is very dirty on the outside. Also looks like the recoil needs attention. I will be doing a clean-up and evaluation tomorrow.

In all of my research so far and hunting for images, this is the first one I have seen with the black engine identical in design to the red one. More pictures coming soon! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
Eager 1

Good find on the second one!! I also have a few of the Craftsman Eager 1. I think the one I have is red I am partial to Alloy decks. I also have Wards Alloy with a Briggs. A few Snappers I kept with Alloy decks. ton of Lawn Boys, Honda. If I remember correct most of the Tecumseh the primer did not work the best and if they still had points they would not start very well. I converted a few to electronic ignition. And I still do if I am keeping it.
I have also had a few of the Toro Whirlwinds. Very low deck. There is a few guys that like them so I sell them as soon as I get them.. :ThumbUp:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
These vintage mowers of any make or model and the stories that go with them and their resurrections is what I really like. A fun project and a learning experience as well. Very cool!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I think that the piston rod is broken. So, I will have to wait until I have more time to get deeply into this latest one. Might even end up putting a different engine on its rear bagger deck.

Meanwhile, I may transfer the black top engine parts to the 1973 because the parts include an original intake, throttle knob and faceplate, etc, that I did not have before. Plus, I like the idea of parts from 3 machines living on in one. I did that last year with my 1996 Mercury Grand Marquis. It has various parts from a 1995 and the seats and high-mount brake light are from a 1986. :ThumbUp:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I did transfer the engine top components. Turns out that the color is not black but gray. I actually like the color contrast better than the red. Also, the gray has 2 screws for attaching the dipstick tube to the metal shroud. I like that better. The red is slightly later and has only one mounting screw.

Looks better with the integrated throttle plate cover and knob. Really glad to have those hard-to-find parts as a finishing touch for the engine.

It now has a matching set of 4 hubcaps. The wheels themselves from the rear bagger were all white but slightly smaller diameter. So, unless I eventually turn up another 8" 'chromed' wheel, I will go with my original plan of a little silver paint.

I am going to get a replacement recoil soon. This one from the rear bagger is working for the moment, but just barely.

I will be on the lookout for a handle plate, or may end up making one.

Amazingly, I stumbled upon a site that has most of the old Sears catalogs archived. I have been saving the rotary mower pages from the 50s to the late 80s. The page attached here shows what the 1973 looked like when new with its original engine. I like mine better. :2th:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
I did transfer the engine top components. Turns out that the color is not black but gray. I actually like the color contrast better than the red. Also, the gray has 2 screws for attaching the dipstick tube to the metal shroud. I like that better. The red is slightly later and has only one mounting screw.

Looks better with the integrated throttle plate cover and knob. Really glad to have those hard-to-find parts as a finishing touch for the engine.

It now has a matching set of 4 hubcaps. The wheels themselves from the rear bagger were all white but slightly smaller diameter. So, unless I eventually turn up another 8" 'chromed' wheel, I will go with my original plan of a little silver paint.

I am going to get a replacement recoil soon. This one from the rear bagger is working for the moment, but just barely.

I will be on the lookout for a handle plate, or may end up making one.

Amazingly, I stumbled upon a site that has most of the old Sears catalogs archived. I have been saving the rotary mower pages from the 50s to the late 80s. The page attached here shows what the 1973 looked like when new with its original engine. I like mine better. :2th:
That is a great looking Eager-1 indeed! I wonder what the replacement engine's model number is? I know it is a 3.5 HP going by the decal I see. My guess is model 143.334142 from 1983 (TVS90-43068D).

~Ben
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top