Using older lawn mowers for your business can save you money in one way. You don’t have to pay a new mower price for them. But the downside to using them is they will break down more often than a new mower. So what do you do when your local repair shop gives you a price of $500 to replace the ignition coils on your lawn mower? Consider repairing the mower yourself, like this member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum did. Doing so will not only save you money, but teach you more about the mechanics of your equipment.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I replaced the ignition coils on my 30hp Kohler engine today.
I had a coil go bad and decided to change them both since it required a bit of effort to get to. Doing it myself saved me $300 in labor. I’m no mechanic so I took a few pictures first, just in case I couldn’t figure out how to put it back together. When I was finished I had no left over parts and didn’t even need to refer back to the pictures. Thankfully. When I initially took it to the shop, they said it would take 3 hours to perform. It took me 3 1/2 hours, so I did alright. It now runs like new.
Once the lawn mower got hot, it would start firing on only one cylinder. I had it tested at a local shop. When it got hot, it acted up. The mechanic used a tester to check it and said the coils don’t go out to often but this one did. This particular mower has 1,116 hrs on it.
The shop’s labor rate is $65.00. With that said, they told me it would be around $500.00 total for parts and labor. I couldn’t believe my ears when he told me so I figured this was a job to do myself.
I’m sure the difficulty of the job depends on the mower. If it were a newer model it would have only taken 5 minutes per coil being they are mounted outside of the casing or cover of the motor. I’m not a professional mechanic but I do a lot of my own repairs, clutches, spindles, etc. I promise you, with my mower it’s not an easy job. I had to take all kinds of stuff off just to get to them. I had no trouble getting the coils spaced right. With this motor they have mounting holes, you can’t adjust them. I simply took out the old and replaced with the new.
I have been cutting grass 15+ years now and this is the first time I had ever had trouble with a coil. Guess I have been lucky up till now.
My point in all this is, don’t be afraid to tackle major repairs even if you’re not an expert mechanic. Experiment and learn. Take pictures as you take things apart to refer to later when you are putting it back together. Over time, you will end up saving a lot of money.
A second lawn care business owner said “what kind of labor rate does your shop get? An experienced mechanic that has done it a few times should be able to do that job in about an hour and a half.
To test a coil you test voltage. I run a PET 4000 tester from Echo. The distance of the spark tells you voltage. Off of the machine you can test them with resistance but you would need a service manual for the correct readings.
An easy way to test an ignition coil is when the lawn mower starts acting up, pull one plug and see if it dies. Then pull the other one. Doing this will tell you what side is acting up. Also ignition coils go out all of the time, so don’t be too concerned if they go out on your lawn mower.
Another side note to this is I have found most of the problems with ignition coils comes from rust. Sanding the contacts down a little should help them start working again.”
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