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  • Terry Wigmore

Why I Bother With Trying It Myself (DIY Learning by Doing)

Updated: Jan 15, 2019

October 27, 2018

​I was trying to get the last grass cut of the summer in when my garden tractor started shaking and shrieking. I stopped, looked around the tractor and there behind me was the center blade from the 3 blade mowing deck on my Husqvarna garden tractor. "That can't be good," I muttered under my breath.

So began my next foray into YouTube videos and repair manual reading in order to learn about what happened and how to repair what happened. I wasn't convinced that I could repair the mower. This looked like a far more intensive repair than my modest belt repair and oil change endeavours. However, I decided it was at least worth an investigation before I called the local small engine repair fellas to pick up my limping tractor and do their own investigation and repair. It is the bill at the end of that process that I am a little reluctant to find joy in:)

I have 4 photos of the process I followed. YouTube has variations on this theme, and you really need to simply pause, poke around, and become comfortable with what you're trying to learn.

Below are some steps that I took and an explanation of why I decided to proceed this away.

Step 1. Finding the right teacher.

Read all that you can, and watch all that you can. Sometimes the YouTubers each use a different way of describing what they're doing. One person may sound knowledgeable, but but they come across as overly complex and a challenge to follow. A different person may use easier language and simpler steps. Find the teacher that's right for your learning style.

Step 2. De-constructing the problem.

Once I am fairly certain I have approached the knowledge I need to acquire to be successful, it' s time to get my hands dirty and poke around the device, developing a visual map of what the parts are and how they connect.

A) Visualizing the procedure is important to executing the steps.

B) Checklists for what you have learned and observed online, can help organize sequences of steps while listing all the parts can help clarify exactly what pieces you will be dealing with in the course of the repair.

C) Touching each part that needs to be disassembled is an important part of the learning experience. I find touching the parts helpful because it connects me, physically, to the device components. I find it helps make the mental images real. I touch the shape, the texture and the location (follow the parts tracing the shape and connection using your fingers)

D) Develop a strategy for remembering the way the part connects and relates to other parts in a sort of " the hip bone's connected to the thigh bone..." thought process that helps the memory embed the new knowledge like a mnemonic device (* do a google search for this term and discover the ways we can help our memory retain new information).

E) Draw your own sketch of the connecting parts, if you are able to learn better that way. The bottom line is to match your way of learning with the task you have to accomplish so that you will be successful.

Step 3. Practice Makes Perfect.

I usually try removing one piece at a time, and then practice putting it back in place. If I can do this a few times I am trying to help my fingers remember the motion, where they were, and how they moved to disassemble the part. One step at a time is always the way to go. If there are a few things that need to be done, but they can be done in any order, choose the simpler of the tasks first. Your success with simpler tasks will improve your confidence and lead to more success!

Step 4 Gather your tools and prepare the space where you will be working.

It is important to keep your workspace clean of debris and free from hazardous materials. Sweep the area, or put down drop sheets to keep the floor as clean as possible. Any part that accidentally falls will be easier to locate if the floor area is clean. Gather all the wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, sockets, pry bars, or hammer that you will need. When the tools are readily accessible, and you don't have to wander all over the basement or garage to locate your tools, the job goes a lot smoother.

Step 5 Do all the things you've been studying, learning, visualizing, memorizing, and practicing. Work slowly and leave yourself ample time so you don't have to leave your workspace with the parts all strewn over while you are in the middle of something. Interruptions may not be avoided, but the train of thought in a new repair process is easily derailed and sometimes difficult to put back on the tracks. Momentum, in the repair process works towards success. Let others know where you are and how much time you need so that you can manage the interruption that do occur. Set your phone to "silence" opr leave it aside while you work on the repair. Minimize your distractions so that you can focus on the task at hand.

Step 6 What you take apart, you need to put back together. Keep parts together that need to be reassembled. In my case, there were a lot of pins and clips. Keep the clips with the part that it clips to. I try to minimize the loose pieces by taping parts together or partially reassembling parts so I don't lose any pieces.

Step 7 Check and double check. Be sure you have connected all the pieces correctly using the proper fasteners. Check that everything fits well. If things seem slightly out of alignment, chances are it is not the right part or you re trying to attach something to the wrong place. Well-engineered pieces come apart and reassemble with precision. Don't force a part. If it was easy to remove, it should reassemble the same way. If it doesn't, that's a clue that it is not correct.

Step 8. Fire it up. Listen, Observe. If you have done it all correctly, it should look and sound the way it did originally. Now you can relax and take pride in a job well-done.

OK, off to cut my lawn with my newly repaired mower!


The mower deck removed from under my garden tractor

The old spindle assembly on my work bench

pulling the bearing assebly out from the spindle

What? I've lost my bearings...but wonder it was shaking :)

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