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MTD Lawn Flight Help?

1514 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Sriskie
Yesterday, I took a little diversion from my lbad and picked up something completely foreign to me but I just couldn't resist. I have never used or even seen one of these working first hand but I just had to have it. The problem now is trying to get some info on it. The i.d. plate on it has some hand scribed numbers on it and I'm not sure If they're all there because there's a scrape out of it. Any ideas as to how old it is? There seems to be a bunch of adjustments on it so I suspect set-up on this thing is critical but I don't have a clue as to where to begin.

Any help would be greatly appretiated...:praying:



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I'd talk to oldgardentractornut myself, He is top dawg about reel mowers around here.
Wow, it sure looks to be in great shape. As clean as it is, it looks like it was well cared for and all the mechanical bits should be in good condition. Does everything spin freely on the reel?

You might try contacting MTD directly, they were helpful for me in the past with a 60s vintage lawn tractor I had, so maybe they could help you out with your reel.

Briggs and Stratton engines can be dated by the engine codes stamped on the shroud.

Not familiar with what all there is on your Lawn Flight, it would take a closer look at the details down around the side and back end, but the most important adjustment on a reel mower is the reel to bed knife set up. The most common adjustment system on the reel mowers I have involve two screws on either side that raise and lower the bed knife's front edge, changing it's relationship to the reel. Old timers tell me that they're set right when you could just cut a sheet of news paper with them all the way across the reel.

I love old reel mowers. I've got 5 old Eclipse brand, and 3 Jacobsens. The "wicka wicka" noise they make when cutting is just plain neat.
Thank you! I'll start there. :trink39:
Cool mower, Srisikie!! :)

You don't often see reel mowers with body covers like that as much, that is pretty cool. My guess is that it is a later built unit. It sure is in nice well preserved shape! Very clean. :fing32:

I second Bruce about looking up the year of the engine. This should give you an idea of when the mower itself was built. I would also contact MTD, give them your serial number and see what they can provide you with in terms of a date and possibly any other information like possibly an owners manual etc. If not, I would keep an eye out on Ebay for one.

Keep us updated and have fun with it! :) Have you tried using it yet or getting it running if it doesn't already?
Fiddled a little with it today but it has no spark. Cleaned the points to no avail so it looks like new points and condensor will be going in. Emailed MTD Canada with the model # 53-540-004 (I think) and the serial # 362264 so I'll have to wait to see if anything comes of that. Looking up the engine code (thanks bddbrn1) tells me it was built in '72 but I have no way of knowing if it's the original motor. The way the gas smells, it could be the original
Just a little update. Mtd Canada was nice enough to send me a pdf manual of a '72 reel mower but it doesn't look anything like mine...they didn't find a match for the numbers I gave them. I changed the points and condensor, flushed out the fuel tank, changed the oil, and it is now a runner. I think I've figured out all of the adjustments I'll need to make so I guess I just need to find out where I can get the reel ground. I'm pretty sure it's too rough to just lap it with some abrasive compound. There is slight play in the wheel bushings but everything else is nice and tight.

I don't know what it'll be like to actually cut the lawn with it but it sure handles sweet...very manuverable and natural feeling. :fing32:
Great! I can tell you, mowing with a vintage powered reel mower is a hoot. Once they're in motion they'll throw out a shower of mowed grass, and if yours is like the ones I've had the chance to operate, they'll give you a work out just keeping up with them.

Actually, this one seems pretty tame compared to some of the beasts I've seen on youtube. There is no clutch just raise the handle a couple of inches and away it goes. Let it go and it stops. I showed it off to my 68 year old mother and now she's thinking that this might be the right mower for her.:banghead3 Right now, when she cuts the grass herself she uses a self propelled "school bus" Lawn Boy I lent her but it's kind of clumsy for her small yard.
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