I reported a few weeks ago that my lawn mower died. I rolled the blade over a big rock and bent the engine crankshaft. I followed Oppos’ advice and did what I could to bend it back. It lived for many more weeks, although with an annoying vibration. Today, the day I thought would be the last day of the mowing season, the engine finally seized. I almost finished the yard. Dang.

So, I went on the hunt for a cheap mower to finish up the front yard. My wife was pushing me to get a self-propelled mower, but I couldn’t justify spending $300. I found a return at Walmart and I haggled them down to $100 for a returned self-propelled Murray. Don’t knock the Murray - the last one cost me $50 and ran for eight years with minimal maintenance.

I figured the belt was broken and that only cost $12. I was wrong. When I figured out the belt wasn’t broken, I decided to go all the way and crack open the transmission case. This is what I found.

The only way this could happen is if someone held the transmission in gear while the mower was stuck. This mower has two safety bars which have to be held in place, one for the engine kill switch, one for the drive mechanism. I’m pretty sure someone zip-tied or taped the bars into place since both a zip tie and two different kinds of tape are on the control bar. Idiots.

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What truly amazes me is that Walmart will take back mowers for just about any reason. Our local branch had twelve used mowers in stock. The guy said people buy them in the spring, then return them in the fall after they were clearly used for the entire summer. Again, idiots.

The parts for the repair will cost me about $65. All in, I will have paid 50% of retail for a used mower with a brand new transmission. I hope this one lasts 8 years.