Rusty Deck

jjblancheAugust 13, 2014

We bought a Craftsman 6.5 HP self propelled mower about 15 years ago when our ride mower died. After the tractor was replaced the craftsman got little use, then about ten years ago we put it in the shed and there it sat.

Long story short we just had our septic redone and the guy suggested we cut the drain field with a push mower to limit compaction. I pulled the craftsman out of storage, drained what little old gas remained and changed the oil. While changing the oil I noticed the underside of the deck was caked with old grass. Peeled it all off and it's pretty darn rusty. The top of the deck has some bubbling in the paint as well.

I tapped the deck with a tack hammer in a few places and it still seems solid. Thing started right up on the first pull too and cut the drain field with no problem (about 30-45 minutes of cutting). The powered front wheels still work great too.

So I'm wondering how much life this thing might have left in it, and what indications I should look for that failure is imminent. I know everything but the deck is just fine/low hours, but the motor is pretty powerful and I don't want it to torque itself off the deck one of these days... I was thinking maybe stripping and repainting but by this point the damage is done. Don't know whether I should sell it off at the end of the season for parts/engine value or just keep it until it croaks.

This post was edited by jjblanche on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 3:30

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About the best you can do is check for weak spots and rust holes. I use a sharp straight bladed screwdriver and see if I can plunge it through the affected areas. You could also give a twist at the engine flange by the bolts. Many times too, the deck gets weak ahead of the handle supports. On one hand, I've seen decks that you seem to scrape a layer of steel off when cleaning the deck remain solid enough to use. On the other hand, the extremely long storage may present special problems. In theory if it isn't weak- you could clean it and use a product like extend or rust doctor to help.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 11:13AM
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Check at local lawn mower repair shops. They usually have a junkyard of old mowers that they use for parts. You might find the correct (or close enough) deck on a unit that has a bad engine. I just did this with a Honda mower. The used deck cost me $20.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 10:43PM
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