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Old 01-17-2019, 09:13 PM   #1
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Checking oil

I have an MTD 5/24 with a Tecumseh HS50 engine. It is late 80's or early 90's vintage machine that was given to me about 5 years ago.

The back story:
As of last winter, the shave plate and skid shoes were toast, the discharge chute was breaking off, the bucket was starting to rust through, and it was really hard to start and to keep running. Over the summer, rather than get a new one, I decided to rebuild it. I have NOT had a positive experience with small engines in the past...a real Midas touch... so this was going to be a learning experience for me.

Dismantling it was pretty hard because so many of the screws and bolts were seized in place, but I got it all separated. I sanded it all the way down to bare metal in most places and painted it with a few coats. I purchased new bolts and put it back together. That solved the rust problem.

As for the motor, I took apart the carb and cleaned everything and changed the oil. It now starts without putting any sincere effort in (first pull!) and the motor just sounds so much more powerful when I take off the choke. No sputtering here!

So now onto the (admittedly stupid) questions:
-Should I cover the bolts with anything (grease, WD-40, etc.) to keep the new hardware from rusting up? I don't want to lubricate them so they back off easily, but I'd like to be able to disassemble and repaint this thing again some day without putting in the same level of effort. I think I spent as much time cutting bolts as I did waiting for paint to dry.

-Is there some kind of trick to checking the oil level on a small motor like this? I pull out the dipstick, wipe it, and put it back in to test, but it comes out just looking like a random smear instead of giving me a remotely clear demarcation of how much oil is in there. I don't know if my eyes are going or if there's something different about small engines. It doesn't say in the manual what the right amount of oil is to put in, so I kind of guessed at it.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-17-2019, 09:43 PM   #2
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Re: Checking oil

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Old 01-17-2019, 10:43 PM   #3
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Re: Checking oil

This information may help if you haven't read it.
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Old 01-18-2019, 06:05 PM   #4
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Re: Checking oil

If you are checking the oil right after running it or right after adding oil you will get those smears or splash marks. Let the engine sit for a while before checking. I would think there should be marks -(level/hash marks or dots or something) on the dipstick if it is OEM. Whether the dipstick should be threaded in or just resting on the tube depends on the manual. The dipstick on my Tec motor is different from both the video and the Yard Works link.
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Old 01-19-2019, 01:24 PM   #5
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Re: Checking oil

I use Fluid Film to prevent rust, but it is also a lubricant. Maybe you could use some Locktite on the hardware to prevent them from coming loose.
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Old 01-28-2019, 02:24 PM   #6
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Re: Checking oil

If I have bolts that tend to get real rusty, I just replace them with stainless. Minor upcharge in price compared to the frustration of rusted fasteners.

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