My Mentor and the Amazing PR Man (not to mention JH and his magic bag of tools) would be proud of me - I fixed the lawnmower, and it was more involved than simply changing a spark plug. Not much, but it required tools and some specialized reagents (carb cleaner), but most importantly, the courage to take a leap of faith and think I could actually fix a machine.
This has happened to us in the past, and one of the reasons they highly recommend not using gasoline that's too old. 30 days is what they say, though my Mentor thinks that's way too conservative. Either way, the first year I had the lawnmower, I slacked off on the maintenance and let the gas sit in the engine over the winter. The next year, when I tried to start it, it wouldn't budge. I took it in and had the carb cleaned, and it cost about $40. Bummer. After that, I properly drained the engine and used gas that wasn't too old, and it worked fine. Just the other day, however, I ran into a problem.
I would start the mower and it would die immediately. I was using it all week, and was even cutting grass an hour before, so it seemed strange to me. I contacted JH, who is a carb expert, and he gave me some tips. I also went online and learned that cleaning the carb fuel spout is not that hard. In fact, it's downright easy, though JH said to install it properly because it affects the flow of gas. I took out the bolt and cleaned the holes with a wire, but it didn't seem to work. I was ready to take the thing in when I also learned that it helps to spray the bolt with some carb cleaner. I went out and got a can (only to learn later I already had an industrial sized can in the basement) of carb cleaner, sprayed the thing, and voila - the mower started and stayed on. The only question is, what am I going to do with all that carb cleaner? Cars don't have carbs anymore.
Oh well, at least I feel like I earned a few points in my real man training by not only fixing the thing on my own, but having the guts to even try. I love when that happens.
Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mike Jones for the pic.