Chacha Mucha

The original deal for the property included an old 40″ riding mower that had seen better days. Underpowered, top-heavy, and just not really up to the job. After nursing it for a few years, and completely rebuilding the transmission and deck, it was time to step up to something a bit beefier for those quick-ish mowing jobs that involve grass, but not 4′ weeds – where Dino and the flail or chopper might be called for.

After entirely too much staring at Craigslist, a used MTD 2560 was located for sale nearby. This is a medium-duty zero-turn commercial mower, with a sturdy chassis and a 60″ cutting deck. More importantly, it’s fairly simple and parts are readily available. This is important, because mowing here is not like trimming the average front lawn and things take quite a beating.

It was cheap. Too cheap. And the seller was a retired Intel marketing executive. In his words “it just stopped one day”. I bet it did.

Some haggling ensued, because cheap is relative. Quite a bit, really. Still, it promised to be an interesting project, so a deal was eventually struck and the poor corpse with three flat tires was dragged onto the trailer for the trip home.

Even before it blowed up, it had seen some … indifferent maintenance; the seat was dead, a replacement safety switch had been bodged in, and the hub of the left drive wheel “welded” back together after being broken out.

The first order of the day was a new engine. There were lots of options, but the obvious choice was a 28hp fuel-injected twin from Briggs & Stratton. A little more power than the original at 25hp, but with the obvious advantages of instant-on starting and better emissions (since it has an oxygen sensor and runs closed-loop fueling).

Apart from the seat switch, the wiring harness was in good shape, so patching a new engine connector in wasn’t too difficult, and the fuel-injected motor started on the first try.

Some left-over LED lights make dusk mowing easier.

After replacing the very dead pneumatic front tires with a set of solid foam tires, the obligatory test driving commenced.

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Oh man, that looks like fun. Would have a huge grin on my face too.

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