Step 2: Fixing the electrical system

I found three electrical issues with the mower.  First, the ignition switch was missing (along with the panel it had been mounted on.  Second, there was no electrical continuity from the switch connections to the starter motor.  And third, there was no spark being generated to the spark plug.

The electrical continuity problem was due to a bad wire between the starter motor and the starter solonoid (one terminal had internal corrosion), so soldering a pair of terminals to a heavy duty cable fixed that problem.

I found a "universal" ignition switch that fit the wiring harness, and that allowed me to turn the ignition "on."  That solved the  spark problem, although I also replaced the spark plug while I was working on the electrical system.

I was unable to use the ignition switch to engage the starter because of three heavily corroded safety switches on the mower.  Rather than trying to rig up three new safety switches, I bypassed these switches and wired in a push-button starter switch.   By the way, its not a great idea to bypass safety switches, but I will be the only person using this mower, and I always make sure it is out of gear when I start it, and its not powerful enough to be started with the blade engaged.

The original control panel was missing from the mower, so I fabricated one from the metal case from an  old computer.  Hey, I guess that counts as more recycling!
<p>Now that is a cool transformation. I like the ingenuity and care you took in the restoration process and the &quot;garage logic&quot; you show is something not seen now days. Reminds me of something seen with farmers back in the day when they could make something out of nothing and maintain it for years to come. </p>
i made teeth out of wood but this better
Nice! Most people would have just bought a new mower. I&nbsp;once went looking for a mower deck. I was going to adapt it for use with my snowblower's engine. Instead, I bought an entire riding mower otherwise destined for the scrap yard for $25. After I disassembled, cleaned and reassembled the carburetor, I&nbsp;used it without trouble for several years. When I&nbsp;no longer needed it (I&nbsp;moved)&nbsp;I&nbsp;re-sold it for $20. I was just going to give it to the guy, but he insisted I&nbsp;take something for it. Keep up the good work!<br />
It amazes me what people throw out rather than fix.&nbsp; Lawn mowers are a classic example -- when something goes wrong, they&nbsp;go &amp; buy a new one.&nbsp;&nbsp;Mowers&nbsp;will last for many years with a little care, but deteriorate rapidly when left outside to rot &amp; rust.<br /> <br /> I just was given a broken Xerox desktop copier.&nbsp; After $14 for a new fuser gear and 20 minutes of my time -- the copier is like new again.&nbsp; What would have headed for the landfill, is now in my office!
Yes, an engine needs compression, spark, and fuel.&nbsp; It also needs plenty of clean air, unless you consider that part of the fuel (when properly mixed).&nbsp; A dirty air filter will hinder the air needed for mixing with the gasoline.&nbsp; <br />
Phil, you are absolutely right.&nbsp; I had already blown out the paper element (which was relatively clean), and cleaned the pre-filter.&nbsp; Getting air was not an issue.&nbsp; I think someone had tried to fix the original carb on this mower, because when you re-attached the bowl, the needle was pressed into the seat, which prevented fuel from flowing.&nbsp; I don't know if it had the wrong float, or needle, or if the seat was not set in far enough.&nbsp; I decided to just replace the carburetor rather than keep monkeying around with it.&nbsp; Thanks for the comment.&nbsp; By the way, I've enjoyed your Instructables.
You did a good thing when you replaced the float, particularly if it might have been plastic.&nbsp; Floats can appear good but are actually heavy, or even leak.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Thank you for your Instructable.<br /> <br /> Thank you also for looking at some of my Instructables.&nbsp; <br />

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Bio: I enjoy taking a pile of junk and making something unusual out of it. I like wheeled vehicles, and currently own two motorcycles, two electric ... More »
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