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Free Snow Blower

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Ok, we all know how much I love garbage piles on the curb. A couple weeks ago I found a snow blower in a pile of crap up the street and riding lawn mower across the street from that. I saw these piles on Easter as we were leaving to spend the day in Buffalo and I was amazed to find they were still there when we came back at around 9pm.

Once everyone was settled after the trip, I took a flashlight and walked up the street to check out the booty. The snow blower was old, but in many ways that's almost better; they just don't make stuff like they used it. I pulled the rip cord and it turned over and had compression, so there was a good chance the engine was in good enough shape to run. So I took a few minutes to figure out how to disengage the wheels and started pushing.

Free snow blower

Free snow blower 2

Free snow blower 3

I swear my life flashed before my eyes on that trip home. It was about a quarter of a mile walk, which is nothing, but both tires were low on air and there were chains on them! To make matters worse, one of the tires had significantly lower pressure than the other, so it was constantly trying to turn left while I was pushing straight.

After I got back to the house and over my heart attack I walked back up to the riding mower. This is the piece I was most interested in because I really would like a riding mower and I already have a snow blower, but the blower would be worth more in Rochester and I could easily sell it. Cosmetically the mower looked great. One of the front tires was totally flat, so pushing it a quarter of a mile would be near impossible. I turned the key and nothing happened. It was probably just a dead battery, but who knows. I checked the oil dipstick and it looked like there was no oil on it. This immediately made me think the owner ran it out of oil and seized it up. I left it there.

The next day after work I took a close look at the snow blower and it seemed to be in good condition. Sure it was rusty, but everything functioned. I pulled the engine 7 or 8 times and it fired right up. I can tell this blower is very old because the controls are totally awkward and unsafe. There's a lever to disengage the engine from the transmission, but it's on the front, so you have to walk around to access it. Then there is a disconnect between the transmission and the blower attachment, but again in the front. The worst control is the clutch for the wheels. This is a left hand lever that disengages when you grip it (like a motorcycle). When you let go it engages the wheels and the blower takes off at varying speeds depending on what gear you're in. So if you're blowing snow on your driveway and slip on some ice landing on your ass letting go of the machine, it'll happily keep going destroying anything in its path, including your house!

Later I found out my neighbor across the street snagged the riding mower I was looking at. He said he had his friend pull it with a truck to his house. I told him I thought it might have been run out of oil and looked again at the dipstick, but to my horror I saw it had oil on it! The oil was newish so it was very pale and under the harsh flashlight beam it was hard to see. The decision I made to leave that mower where it was is killing me; I guess I'll have to see if I can find one on Craigslist or see if my dad can find one for me.

Garbage picked riding mower

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