Since moving from apartment style living to a home with a lawn, yard work has become an integral part of my monthly to-do list. I’ve got a good size lawn surrounding my home that usually needs a cut every other week. My lawnmower is a Sears walk-behind Briggs and Stratton push mower that I’ve had for about 3 years now. My gas trimmer is also from Sears and features a 32cc 2 stroke engine. Even with regular maintenance and recommended care tips as outlined in the manuals, both the mower and trimmer after about 2 years of faithful service began faltering. The mower was no longer running at full power and eventually the engine safety cable broke. The gas trimmer would start then quit. Pumping the trigger continuously was the only way for me to keep the engine running. I’m no engine expert, but was able to at least do the minimum troubleshooting on both the mower and the trimmer.

Check fuel lines for blockages
Replace spark plugs
Check air filters
Dismantle, clean out carburetor
Fresh gas and new oil

Even after checking and implementing these steps, the fuel line running from the trimmer gas tank to the primer bulb deteriorated and then the primer bulb cracked. On the mower, the fuel completely stopped flowing through the carburetor. Eventually I had to consider the following three options:

Professional servicing at a cost that would most likely surpass the original cost of the equipment
Replace both items with new ones which would make sense considering the potential cost of repair
Fix it myself

Feeling there was more to gain than lose, I decided to try and fix the problems myself. However, I still had the following concerns:

Where I would get the parts and at what cost?
Would it be worth my time?
Could I actually do it myself?

I had checked my local Sears store for parts but was informed that I would have to contact a special department for the parts I needed. I opted instead to check on eBay. As it turns out eBay is a great resource for small engine parts. I found every part I was considering replacing. For less than $ 25 I was able to pick up a replacement carburetor and engine safety cable for the lawnmower plus a new primer bulb for the trimmer. I also picked up replacement fuel lines and a gas cap O ring for the trimmer from ACE Hardware since it was slightly cheaper than what I could find on eBay. With the replacement parts in hand, and some great tips from do-it-yourself websites, I was able to successfully service the mower and trimmer. My lawn mower sounds fresh out of the box and the trimmer is finally purring normally again.

Toni C enjoys writing articles on a variety of topics. Visit his latest website http://easyroachcontrol.com for information on roach control products and prevention tips.

1905 Cadillac (San Jose Fire buggy)
This 1905 Cadillac once served as the San Jose Fire Department’s fire chief buggy.

When Golden Gate Backroads photographed it at the 2010 Palo Alto Concours d’Elegance at Stanford University, it was one of the more popular vehicles featured.

The concours, which celebrated its 44th year in 2010, is hosted by the Palo Alto Host Lions Club since 1967.

Classic, vintage and/or interesting vehicles are part of what makes the concours a wonderful event for families. A lot of automotive history is on display at each concours. Some of the vehicles are works of art and craftsmanship.

The 1905 San Jose fire chief buggy is just one illustration of that history.

With almost all of the vehicles featured, there is some information that is posted by the vehicle that explains its history. If not, owners are often eager to share the love of their cars, not to mention their vehicles’ histories, with passers-by.

As such, the buggy is an integral part of San Jose’s lengthy history, which includes its fire department.

"San Jose has a rich and colorful history spanning more than 225 years," states the department’s Web site, "from its founding as the Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe in 1777 to the present day high-tech metro city it has become."

San Jose became a city on March 27, 1850, when it received its charter. It was a milestone in California’s history because San Jose also featured the first capitol because it was the state’s first capital.

It didn’t take long for the city’s elected officials to understand the importance of fire protection.

"On July 11, 1850, the Common Council passed Ordinance 80 which established ‘fire limits’ within the city," the Web site notes, "restricting the use of vegetation and canvas for building purposes.

" provided for the appointment of four men to inspect fireplaces and stovepipes."
In a little more than three months, on Oct. 24, 1850, a fire flared into an inferno and burned for two days in the new city.

The inferno destroyed “numerous structures, causing great monetary loss to businesses and injuring two fire-fighting volunteers," according to the fire department.

Less than a month later, the council saw the wisdom in creating its first fire company: Eureka Fire Co. 1.

It also launched an effort that would lead to the construction of a fire house.

Obtaining equipment purchased would take a bit longer, however. Three years later, the council established the San Jose Hook and Ladder Co. 1.

As the automotive age dawned, the 1,100-pound Cadillac was featured. It’s no more than a contemporary low-powered go-cart or lawn mower. The two-speed’s 9 hp. engine cost of $950 new.
By glennfrancosimmons_ on 2010-06-27 18:52:47
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Taking a Lawnmower Engine Apart

I show you how easy it is to disassemble a small Briggs and Stratton lawnmower engine. It’s always neat to look inside things.