rehabilitating an old Jari mower

There’s a 4′ PTO rear deck rotary mower and a 2′ walk-behind rotary mower (‘the whippah’) in Five Islands, but we need a mower for Gorham, and I’ve never been really happy with the performance of the rotary mowers – they tend to clump up and tangle the grass, making it basically not worth it to rake it up and use it for mulch. So we’ve had our eye out for a sickle bar mower, and Dave finally found a moderately old (maybe 10-20 years) Jari on craigslist, a ways upcountry. They don’t come up too often, so I took a chance and made the trip up there. The guy who advertised it wasn’t the most accurate; on the phone he said the bar was between 3 and 4 feet, while it was actually 32″, and while it was advertised ‘as is’ he said the only thing wrong with it was a broken pullcord on the engine, while in reality the cutter bar was all rusted up and the drive system was in several pieces and decidedly not functional. But all the pieces were there, and I got it for $125, so I’m not complaining (much). A new walk-behind sickle mower (new, better quality, and with swappable attachments) is well over $2000.

Anyway, I pieced the drive system back together to where I think it will work OK, tore apart and wirebrushed the cutter bar, reassembled, and lubed everything up. The only remaining problem is the fuel tank – it had supposedly been drained, but it was absolutely filthy inside with dime-sized chunks of rust. We took it off and tried brushing out the little float bowl on the underside of the top with a toothbrush, but it became obvious that it was shot – the metal was perforated so badly that it wouldn’t hold gas. Surprisingly, the pullcord mechanism just needed a bit of cleaning out and it actually worked fine, and even more amazingly it started right up with a squirt of ether in the carb. We demonstrated that the fuel feed system was working by holding a shot glass of gas under the intake tube (don’t try this at home, folks), which gave us enough confidence to go ahead and order a replacement fuel tank (which will cost about as much as the mower). It needs an oil change in a serious way, and probably some other things will rattle loose and require loctite, but hopefully we’ll have a nice tool for orchard mowing and microscale hay making.


2 Responses to “rehabilitating an old Jari mower”

  1. Jari Mower rehab, rhubarb pie | Five Islands Orchard Says:

    […] is growing rapidly and Saturday was a washout, so I took advantage to make some repairs to the Jari mower that  I bought for $125 two springs ago.  It has worked well for us, but the carburetor has been […]

  2. Jari Mower RIP | Five Islands Orchard Says:

    […] am sad to report that the Jari mower bit the dust this weekend.  I purchased it about two years ago from a guy upcountry, and put several hours into getting it running well.  I […]

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