Category Archives: Lawnmowers

Nothing Runs Like a Deere (except mine)

Nothing is more frustrating than a lawnmower that won’t start—especially a big riding mower than was running perfectly, and then all of a sudden just mysteriously decided to shut down. At least that’s the way it seemed this afternoon. Everything was going smoothly and then disaster. The big John Deere went down like a big buck with a bullet through its heart.

I got off the mower and made sure the belts were all in place. Then I checked the battery to make sure the cables were still tight and in place. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, I turned the key over and nothing—nothing but crickets chirping—the mower was stone dead silent. I had expended pretty much all my options, when I decided to look at the ignition switch from the backside. That’s when I spot the problem. One of the wires going to the switch had shorted out and part of the connector had melted. Problem diagnosed…but problem not solved.

The lawn tractor was about seven hundred feet from the house out by the road, so I knew I needed to get it a little closer to the house. I was not really worried about someone stealing it (remember it won’t crank), but I was a little concerned that it was about to storm and I needed to get the mower in the dry to work on it. So I clicked a little do-hickey over one the rear wheels that allows you to push the mower. I don’t know what it’s called but someone showed me this little trick the last time the mower broke down. I am not much of a repairman, but I have filed a few lessons deep in the folds of my brain.

I grunted and groan, pushed and strained until I finally got the mower back into my driveway. After a few more shoves, I was out of gas and about to make the journey into hyperspace on a dangerous fuel combination of summer heart and unrestrained anger. Did I mention that lawnmowers that won’t run frustrate me? Perhaps frustration is too tame a word for how I felt standing in the boiling sun in shin-high grass that will be knee-high by the time I get this “nothing runs like a Deere” running again.

I found my rather reluctant spouse and convinced her I desperately needed her to steer the mower while I pushed it. Finally we shoved it into the carport and I broke out my array of tools to get at the ignition switch. Nothing is simple. I removed the battery, the left and right side panels, and finally the shelf the battery rests on. Eventually after taking half the lawnmower apart I finally achieved my goal of getting to the ignition switch and the melted plug. No big problem—head to the tractor parts store and pick up a new switch, plug, and some wire connectors.

I wish this story had a happy ending, but the story is yet endless. After purchasing the needed parts and getting someone who understands the complexities of the wiring, the mower remains motionless. No combination of wiring seems to crank the machine. You can straight wire the thing and it will crank, but when you connect the wires to the switch—nothing but crickets chirping—nothing. After a couple of hours we quite, gave up, or surrendered—call it what you will.

Tomorrow I will get up and resume my battle with the Deere. Eventually it will be fixed, either by me or an expert to whom I will have to give an arm and a leg. But…it will be fixed or at least that’s what I’m telling myself tonight as I lay down to sleep still frustrated (well maybe really mad is truth).

What’s the point of this blog? Perhaps nothing at all, but nothing runs like a Deere when it’s running and I have to get this one running or my grass will go from knee-deep to waist-deep and then it really won’t matter then whether its running or not. So pray for me, and if not for me—pray for the Deere.