Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Nine Lives of Murray

(this post by Steve)

O.K., it's not a Murray brand mower but it looks like a Murray brand mower and that works well with the title of this post!

My dad gave us one of his spare riding lawn mowers about five years ago (thanks Lanny!) and, since then, "Murray" has been on track to, like a feline, have nine lives:

Life #1: it died the first time when both the drive belt and the mower belt shredded in quick succession. That was an easy fix, though, leading to:

Life #2: the starter died so I took it to a repair shop and they replaced that with a new one that lasted ONE WHOLE SEASON...what a value! The guy gave me a price "break" on the next replacement starter, which is going on year-2 (fingers crossed).

Life #3: a couple of winters ago was a VERY cold one indeed, which drove the mice to reside in various crevices of "Murray" where they also chewed through the sparkplug wires. Annoying, but another easy fix.

Life #4: Murry gets conscripted into warranty-voiding duties such as rotational brush-mowing of our old-field habitat. Two years ago this mowing ended up ripping the mower deck from the bracket that connects it to the mower itself. Excellent excuse to buy a welder, which I did. Harder fix, but it's holding.

Life #5: the next thing that the warranty-voiding duty did to Murray was stripped the steering gear so I had to order those parts and tear the entire mid-section of the machine apart to get them!

Life #6: more warranty-voiding duty (mowing woody fencerows) resulted in the hood hinges tearing free from the hood itself. After a year of holding the hood down with my left as I steered with my right hand I decided to repair this issue and literally used bailing wire! I hope that the engineer who designed a heavy steel hinge to attach to a heavy steel hood via plastic bracket did not go on to suspension bridge design.

Life # 7: see below:

Meet "Murray:

Poor Murray gets worked pretty hard. That, plus the inevitable ravages of time and rust equals: more mower brackets breaking free from the deck. I first tried to weld the bracket back on but the metal on the deck was too thin so...

...I had to fabricate some reinforcements from some strap steel I had laying around. The top of the bracket was still pretty solidly-attached to the deck so I favored the bottom of the bracket for reinforcement:

This may well hold for a couple of additional lives, we hope!

Thanks to Lanny for gifting Murray to us and thanks to Murray for withstanding 7+ lives of brutal warranty-voiding duty.

The lesson: with regular repair and maintenance a "cheapie" mower can be (ab)used and last for many years!


  1. LOL Holding the hood on so funny I had an accidnet with my old one and had to do Body work on it to straighten up some dents and such... I completely understand I have an old LOWE's Mower, its a Briggs n Stratton engine, 7.0 horsepower and still cranks but finally bit the dust after 16 yrs of service as the main drive bearing refused work for the second time as you say doing Warranty voiding work! We bought a new one its not nearly as Hardy as Big Blue and I dont think we'll get the same amount of service from it!
    I hope Murray Lives Long and Prospers for y'all!

    1. You are awesome!!! We love your commitment to keeping things going as long as possible. :) Those old machines are so tough. We hope ours keeps going for a few more!


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