I had my day planned as primarily working on the facade, but I decided to mow the lawn because... well, it needed to be mowed. I hadn't mowed it yet this year, so it was indeed pretty long. However, my yard isn't very big, and it doesn't take too long to mow.
When the mower runs.
Yes indeed, the first mow of the season with a mower that has a Tecumseh engine. I should have known.
It ran enough to make a couple of passes, but pussied out a bunch of times and finally just stopped. I know the Tecumseh carburetor well enough to take it apart and put it back together in my sleep, so I knew what was ahead.
Unfortunately, the two places that I knew of that had lawnmower parts have both closed for good, and the one that I did find closed their parts department at noon. Add to that the most ridiculous traffic on a clear Saturday, and I was on the road for two freakin' hours to no avail. I ended up figuring that if I could get a new spark plug and a bunch of carburetor cleaner, I might be able to at least get it passably running.
First, the air filter. This got liberally doused with carb cleaner and blown out with the compressor. Not ideal, but it will do in a pinch. Then removing the muffler, the top guard, unhooking the governor/throttle linkage, clamping off the fuel line, and removing the carburetor/intake manifold assembly. Spray-cleaning that as much as possible, then taking off the aluminum float bowl.
This is the fun part. There is a brass gas-feed nut on the bottom that easily clogs and needs to be cleaned. It's pretty straightforward, but it can be a pain. Spray carb cleaner in it, let it soak for a bit enough to dissolve the crap, then blow it out. Cleaning the intake jet and the venturi body is pretty much the same, as is the throttle body. Removing the float involves pulling the pivot pin without marring it, then pulling the float out without losing the needle for the gas inlet valve.
Clean, clean, clean.
Assembly is pretty much the reverse. I had to make a new intake gasket and put some high-temp RTV on the muffler, but that's just some patience required. Got a new plug at NAPA while I was out; the old one is probably fine, but it was only a couple of bucks.
Took another hour-and-a-half to wrangle that whole thing. Set 'er down, cranked 'er over a couple of times, and she started up. A little fitfully at first, but I manually opened up the throttle and ran it hard for a few seconds to burn off the loosened crap from the carb cleaner, and she started purring like a gas-powered kitten after a night at Taco Bell.
Then I mowed.
Total mowing time was maybe a half-hour. Total time from when I started was five hours.
Party thing tonight. I gotta go shower.