4.08.2013

Custom Lawn Mower Exhaust

Briggs & Stratton Quantom    This post marks a new season in Montana as well as the launch of a new landscape page on this site. With spring finally here and all the trees budding, it feels appropriate for me to revisit last year's landscaping accomplishments. I wanted to kick off the new collection of projects with something fresh that I knocked out this weekend.
   I finally solved a problem that had been bothering me for quite sometime. I have just under a half acre lot which is a fair amount to mow with a push mower. I enjoy the work, but I find that I pull a lot of exhaust into my path. I had spent a couple mowing seasons brainstorming ideas with my neighbors and was finally ready to act.
   We had distilled the problem down to the location of the muffler which is tucked in the side of the 6 HP Briggs & Stratton Quantum engine. It is just left of center and directly in front of me. This is not a problem for most grandpas with a small urban lot, but I haul ass when mowing. I walk a clip just short of a jog. This speed coupled with the muffler location drafts the hot fumes towards my airways which is not conducive for brisk exercise.

Feel the Heat
Super Modified Briggs Quantum
   Ultimately, I decided to make a reversible mod, as not to damage the engine block and ruin the mower. This model had the Lo-Tone bolt on muffler and there were no threads in the block. I shopped around for an adapter, but found nothing under $30.00. Because the experimental nature of this hack, I was not ready to spend that much. I opted to crudely make an adapter from a 3/4" floor flange. With the new flange mounted, I was able to thread on a generic "sausage muffler" typically used on go-karts and other small 5 - 8 HP engines. This combination puts the end of the muffler to the far left of the mower body.
   One big concern was how loud the new muffler would be. It turned out to be slightly quieter. So far so good, the first quick mow of the season resulted in very little exhaust inhaled. Altogether, this solution cost $12.00 and greatly improved the quality of my mowing experience. I have extolled the virtues of snow shoveling and the great physical exercise associated with it. Sometimes, mowing is the only rigorous workout I will get during a week.
   While on the subject of mowers, here is another trick I learned over the years. Mark the location of your low and high points for your wheel setting on the notches with a Sharpie marker. In theory you will change these setting through out the mowing season. This way you are not guessing what the wheel height was set on the year before.

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