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BigSix

Mice are Sneaky...Be Careful!

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BigSix
I have a 12 Hp. (vertical shaft) 38" deck, MTD I was given, in like-new condition, that I mow up on the Island. It's about 12 years old, and actually runs flawlessly. When I first got it, it had grass, etc..., around the cylinder, under the shroud, which I cleaned all out. This year, I mowed in fits and starts, never more than 15 min. at a time, due to all the winter debris. Well, when I finally ran it hard for, say 45 min., I happened to shut it down. Although it had been running fine, I immediately smelled woodsmoke, and upon popping the hood, saw smoke curling up through the flywheel screen. Fearing I had overheated it, I waited impatiently for it to cool down. There was no visible clue on the outside of the engine that the mice had been busy, but upon removing the shroud, I discovered a large, nasty nest all in and around the cylinder, complete with (roasted) nuts of the nearby trees. Apparently, I did no damage...I guess I caught it soon enough--it runs fine. So while this started off as a warning, more suitable for Spring, I have a question, as winter layup is coming: How Can I Keep The Mice Out of My "Tractor's" Engine? The garage it is in cannot be made rodent proof, not on my budget, that is. It takes a while to pull the shroud and clean the engine. Since they left no outside sign of their prescence, I guess I'll have to pull the shroud yearly, which I don't want to do. I'm actually considering driving the tractor onto a big, plastic drop cloth, and wrapping it up, like a giant sack. At least, I will be able to tell if she's been breached by the critters, in the Spring. Btw, this machine's engine is one of the quietest old-style (i.e., flathead) Briggs I've ever heard. The main engine shroud is coated with a thin, rubber-like paint, which I suspect quiets it more than one would think. Does anyone know what this product is? It might be an appreciated upgrade to our beloved machines. Thanks in advance, Peter

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PatRarick
Peter, It isn't a coating, it is a lamination. It is actually three shrouds, one inside the other. The inside and outside shrouds are metal with a plastic shroud sandwiched between. I know this is hard to believe, as the shroud sounds like plastic or rubber if you tap on it. If you look at the underside, where it is not painted, you can see that it is metal. If you scrape the paint off the top, you would find metal there, too. The purpose IS to make the engine more quiet. I'm not aware of any of the cast iron singles, even the last ones made, that were equipped with the laminated shroud. Too bad, because the DO make a difference. Pat

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JimV
This is going to sound crazy but they hate moth balls and camphor. You can smear some vicks vapo rub around were they are getting in and it will help. I would also put a few moth balls under the hood. good luck Jim V.

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BigSix
Pat: That must be something newer? This one is metal on the inside, but a plastic paint-like rubber that will peel off of the outside, leaving metal. It really felt like one layer of metal--not nearby to double check right now. But if what you're describing has metal on both sides, this is different. What you're talking about must be REALLY quiet. I like quiet..I like to save my hearing abuse for loud music and loud bikes/cars/boats/, etc.... Of course, I'm too cheap to own such high-perf. equipment, but once in a while I get to be around it. :) Jim: I forgot to say, I do use mothballs, but the Vicks I will try, as well. Thanks. I'm thinking if I do both, and put the tractor in plastic, if the little b------s DO poke their inquisitive noses through the plastic, it will smell like a gigantic, foul-smelling GASBAG, like some bosses I've had. ;) I didn't make clear that this tractor sits idle for 6 months at a time, over the winter, so it's not such an inconvenience to bag it. I like that I'll know if it's been violated, by the holes in the plastic--no holes, then I won't have to pull the shroud off. Rod--I hear ya, but remember, this is a vert. shaft engine, making it hard to wrap up the head. Doug: The cat idea would be great, if I stayed there all year. Much easier, too! It occurs to me that a vertical shaft engine must be quieter by nature, than a horizontal shaft, as much of the sound would be directed downward, into the tractor chassis, and earth--any takers on that theory? Peter

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Guest
Peter, Im another moth ball user....they really work for any critter, nothing likes or lives with them from mice to skunks to deer. A government trapper taught me that. its true. Hey how about getting a cat? Doug

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PatRarick
Peter, To my knowledge, the laminated blower housing is all that was done. At least it's all I've been informed of at the Briggs seminars. I have removed most of the paint from them to prep for repainting, and they sound just as "plastic" without the paint. After repainting with regular paint, they are still just as quiet. I doubt if you can see by looking at them, if they are laminated or not. I have looked for evidence of lamination before, and have never been able to tell by anything other than sound. Never know. I thought I was wrong once, but I was only mistaken. Pat

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MikeES
Mice don't like steel wool. Years ago (before shop and shed) my HB212 sat outside during winter. After snowblowing the mice would move right in. I ended up stuffing course steel wool around the openings (around exhaust, between cylinder and valve fins, and corners of shroud on head) and had no more trouble with mice. The steel wool let the air through and worked for winter. In summer I pulled out the steel wool of course. Also I have tried the ultrasonic units, and they are effective but only for about 5 to 6 ft. away. Good Luck! Mike S.

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HubbardRA
Peter, My buddy says to get RAMIK at a farm supply store. He gets it at Southern States. It is little green pellets, they love it, and it kills them dead. He says it is the best thing he has ever seen for mice. Rod H.

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