Lawnmower repair
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I had done lots of bad things to my lawnmower. I had shredded five trees with it. I expected it will breaks down at any moment.

One day, while doing lawn mowing, I used it to shred some waste vegetation. The machine stalled and was unable to start again. I could make it run a few cycles, but it will stall again.
An internal combustion engine unable to start could have three common reasons:

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No electrical sparks.

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No gas.

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No air.

So I cleaned the spark plug. I found the spark plug was covered with black soot. Black soot had proven there was incomplete combustion. It could be caused by insufficient air. Or it could be caused by worn out ring in the cylinder, or bad valves. I afraid it could be the second reason because of my bad treatment on the machine.
On re-installing the spark plug, my lawn mower worked like a chime. On near completion of lawn mowing, with only a few square yards left, my lawn mower stalled again. On re-inspecting the spark plug, I was very disappointed to find it had soot again. So I believe it could be a write off. I checked on news paper for a lawnmower sale.

Next morning, I wanted to give it a last chance for a simple repair before I shop for a new one. I disassembled the top cover. The first thing I saw was a rectangular metal box with only a single screw to hold it. On removing the box, I have seen some foam in it. The bottom of the box seemed solid with no holes in it. It was covered with dirt. I wondered what it was and left it aside.
The carburetor was below that rectangular box. I used a piece of clean tissue to plug up the hole to prevent any dirt to drop in. Carburetor is a device where the gas and air mix. It has some small pin holes where drop of gasoline enter the vaporize chamber to mix with air. If a combustion engine had been in storage for a long time, gasoline stored in the machine could form some crystallized deposit and plugged the pin holes in the carburetor. You are advised to run the engine dry of gasoline before putting into storage.

On further inspection, I found lots of grass and leaves caught between the gaps of the machine. Some of this vegetation had already decomposed to good soil. The butterfly valve lever was blocked by compost. I believe it could be the reason that I had no control of speed.

After clean up job. I re-assemble the machine. I did not work on the valves or cylinder because I felt that if it is the trouble, I should abandon the machine. I wondered where the air entrance is. On picking up that rectangular box, I intended to put it back into the machine without cleaning it. I changed my mind later and used a stripper to remove the greasy dirt on the bottom of the box. On removing the dirt, I discovered there are big holes below that box. The foam exposed. It proven that rectangular box is an air filter. The reason that I had thick soot on the spark plug was because of the air filter was clogged, caused incomplete combustion.

I happily cleaned the air filter and re-assembled the lawn mower. On first test run, it had same trouble as before. I removed and cleaned the spark plug again. The machine runs smooth with great power.

Our human life is similar to my lawn mower. We have done lots of bad things that we shouldn’t do to it. We thought we are hopeless and wanted to abandon ourselves. Don’t you know there is still hope? A little tune up could give us a new life; a very new life with great power that we could not imagine. Who is that great mechanic? Jesus.
 

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