Bolens Lawn Mower 54K User Manual

Safe Operation Practices • Set-Up • Operation • Maintenance • Service • Troubleshooting • Warranty  
OperatOrs Manual  
Push Mower — Model 54K  
MTD LLC, P.O. BOX 361131 CLEVELAND, OHIO 44136-0019  
Printed In USA  
Form No. 769-03722  
(December 6, 2007)  
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Important Safe Operation Practices  
WARNING: This symbol points out important safety instructions which, if not followed,  
could endanger the personal safety and/or property of yourself and others. Read and follow  
all instructions in this manual before attempting to operate this machine. Failure to comply  
with these instructions may result in personal injury.  
When you see this symbol. HEED ITS WARNING!  
WARNING: Engine Exhaust, some of its constituents, and certain vehicle components  
contain or emit chemicals known to State of California to cause cancer and birth defects  
or other reproductive harm.  
WARNING: Battery posts, terminals, and related accessories contain lead and lead  
compounds, chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and reproductive  
harm. Wash hands after handling.  
DANGER: This machine was built to be operated according to the safe operation practices in  
this manual. As with any type of power equipment, carelessness or error on the part of the  
operator can result in serious injury. This machine is capable of amputating fingers, hands,  
toes and feet and throwing objects. Failure to observe the following safety instructions  
could result in serious injury or death.  
Thoroughly inspect the area where the equipment is to be  
used. Remove all stones, sticks, wire, bones, toys and other  
foreign objects, which could be tripped over or picked up  
and thrown by the blade. Thrown objects can cause serious  
personal injury.  
General Operation  
Read this operator’s manual carefully in its entirety before  
attempting to assemble this machine. Read, understand,  
and follow all instructions on the machine and in the  
manuals) before operation. Keep this manual in a safe  
place for future and regular reference and for ordering  
replacement parts  
Plan your mowing pattern to avoid discharge of material  
toward roads, sidewalks, bystanders and the like. Also,  
avoid discharging material against a wall or obstruction,  
which may cause discharged material to ricochet back  
toward the operator.  
Be completely familiar with the controls and the proper use  
of this machine before operating it.  
This machine is a precision piece of power equipment,  
not a plaything. Therefore, exercise extreme caution at all  
times. This machine has been designed to perform one job:  
to mow grass. Do not use it for any other purpose.  
To help avoid blade contact or a thrown object injury,  
stay in operator zone behind handles and keep children,  
bystanders, helpers and pets at least 75 feet from mower  
while it is in operation. Stop machine if anyone enters area.  
Never allow children under 14 years of age to operate this  
machine. Children 14 and over should read and understand  
the instructions and safe operation practices in this manual  
and on the machine and should be trained and supervised  
by an adult.  
Always wear safety glasses or safety goggles during  
operation and while performing an adjustment or repair  
to protect your eyes. Thrown objects which ricochet can  
cause serious injury to the eyes.  
10. Wear sturdy, rough-soled work shoes and close-fitting  
slacks and shirts. Shirts and pants that cover the arms  
and legs and steel-toed shoes are recommended. Never  
operate this machine in bare feet, sandals, slippery or light-  
weight (e.g. canvas) shoes.  
Only responsible individuals who are familiar with these  
rules of safe operation should be allowed to use this  
11. Do not put hands or feet near rotating parts or under the  
cutting deck. Contact with blade can amputate fingers,  
hands, toes and feet.  
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12. A missing or damaged discharge cover can cause blade  
contact or thrown object injuries.  
27. When starting engine, pull cord slowly until resistance  
is felt, then pull rapidly. Rapid retraction of starter cord  
(kickback) will pull hand and arm toward engine faster than  
you can let go. Broken bones, fractures, bruises or sprains  
could result.  
13. Many injuries occur as a result of the mower being pulled  
over the foot during a fall caused by slipping or tripping.  
Do not hold on to the mower if you are falling; release the  
handle immediately.  
28. If situations occur which are not covered in this manual,  
use care and good judgement. Contact Customer Support  
for assistance or the name of the nearest service dealer.  
14. Never pull the mower back toward you while you are  
walking. If you must back the mower away from a wall or  
obstruction first look down and behind to avoid tripping  
and then follow these steps:  
Slope Operation  
Slopes are a major factor related to slip and fall accidents, which  
can result in severe injury. Operation on slopes requires extra  
caution. If you feel uneasy on a slope, do not mow it. For your  
safety, use the slope gauge included as part of this manual to  
measure slopes before operating this machine on a sloped or  
hilly area. If the slope is greater than 15 degrees, do not mow it.  
a. Step back from mower to fully extend your arms.  
b. Be sure you are well balanced with sure footing.  
c. Pull the mower back slowly, no more than half way  
toward you.  
d. Repeat these steps as needed.  
15. Do not operate the mower while under the influence of  
alcohol or drugs.  
Mow across the face of slopes; never up and down. Exercise  
extreme caution when changing direction on slopes.  
16. Do not engage the self-propelled mechanism on machines  
so equipped while starting engine.  
Watch for holes, ruts, rocks, hidden objects, or bumps  
which can cause you to slip or trip. Tall grass can hide  
17. The blade control handle is a safety device. Never attempt  
to bypass its operation. Doing so makes the safety device  
inoperative and may result in personal injury through  
contact with the rotating blade. The blade control handle  
must operate easily in both directions and automatically  
return to the disengaged position when released.  
Always be sure of your footing. A slip and fall can cause  
serious personal injury. If you feel you are losing your  
balance, release the blade control handle immediately and  
the blade will stop rotating within three (3) seconds.  
18. Never operate the mower in wet grass. Always be sure of  
your footing. A slip and fall can cause serious personal  
injury. If you feel you are losing your footing, release the  
blade control handle immediately and the blade will stop  
rotating within three seconds.  
Do Not:  
Do not mow near drop-offs, ditches or embankments, you  
could lose your footing or balance.  
Do not mow slopes greater than 15 degrees as shown on  
the slope gauge.  
19. Mow only in daylight or good artificial light. Walk, never  
Do not mow on wet grass. Unstable footing could cause  
20. Stop the blade when crossing gravel drives, walks or roads.  
21. If the equipment should start to vibrate abnormally, stop  
the engine and check immediately for the cause. Vibration  
is generally a warning of trouble.  
Tragic accidents can occur if the operator is not alert to the  
presence of children. Children are often attracted to the mower  
and the mowing activity. They do not understand the dangers.  
Never assume that children will remain where you last saw them.  
22. Shut the engine off and wait until the blade comes to  
a complete stop before removing the grass catcher or  
unclogging the chute. The cutting blade continues to  
rotate for a few seconds after the blade control is released.  
Never place any part of the body in the blade area until you  
are sure the blade has stopped rotating.  
Keep children out of the mowing area and under watchful  
care of a responsible adult other than the operator.  
Be alert and turn mower off if a child enters the area.  
Before and while moving backwards, look behind and  
down for small children.  
23. Never operate mower without proper trail shield, discharge  
cover, grass catcher, blade control handle or other safety  
protective devices in place and working. Never operate  
mower with damaged safety devices. Failure to do so can  
result in personal injury.  
Use extreme care when approaching blind corners,  
doorways, shrubs, trees, or other objects that may obscure  
your vision of a child who may run into the mower.  
Keep children away from hot or running engines. They can  
suffer burns from a hot muffler.  
24. Muffler and engine become hot and can cause a burn. Do  
not touch.  
Never allow children under 14 years of age to operate this  
machine. Children 14 and over should read and understand  
the instructions and safe operation practices in this manual  
and on the machine and be trained and supervised by an  
25. Never attempt to make a wheel or cutting height  
adjustment while the engine is running.  
26. Only use parts and accessories made for this machine by  
the manufacturer. Failure to do so can result in personal  
sectiOn 2 — iMpOrtant safe OperatiOn practices  
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Check the blade and engine mounting bolts at frequent  
intervals for proper tightness. Also, visually inspect blade  
for damage (e.g., bent, cracked, worn) Replace blade with  
the original equipment manufacture’s (O.E.M.) blade only,  
listed in this manual. “Use of parts which do not meet the  
original equipment specifications may lead to improper  
performance and compromise safety!”  
Safe Handling Of Gasoline:  
To avoid personal injury or property damage use extreme  
care in handling gasoline. Gasoline is extremely flammable  
and the vapors are explosive. Serious personal injury can  
occur when gasoline is spilled on yourself or your clothes,  
which can ignite. Wash your skin and change clothes  
Mower blades are sharp and can cut. Wrap the blade or  
wear gloves, and use extra caution when servicing them.  
Keep all nuts, bolts, and screws tight to be sure the  
equipment is in safe working condition.  
Use only an approved gasoline container.  
Never fill containers inside a vehicle or on a truck or trailer  
bed with a plastic liner. Always place containers on the  
ground away from your vehicle before filling.  
Never tamper with safety devices. Check their proper  
operation regularly.  
After striking a foreign object, stop the engine, disconnect  
the spark plug wire and ground against the engine.  
Thoroughly inspect the mower for any damage. Repair the  
damage before starting and operating the mower.  
Remove gas-powered equipment from the truck or  
trailer and refuel it on the ground. If this is not possible,  
then refuel such equipment on a trailer with a portable  
container, rather than from a gasoline dispenser nozzle.  
Never attempt to make a wheel or cutting height  
adjustment while the engine is running.  
Keep the nozzle in contact with the rim of the fuel tank or  
container opening at all times until fueling is complete. Do  
not use a nozzle lock-open device.  
Grass catcher components, discharge cover, and trail shield  
are subject to wear and damage which could expose  
moving parts or allow objects to be thrown. For safety  
protection, frequently check components and replace  
immediately with original equipment manufacturer’s  
(O.E.M.) parts only, listed in this manual. “Use of parts  
which do not meet the original equipment specifications  
may lead to improper performance and compromise  
Extinguish all cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other sources  
of ignition.  
Never fuel machine indoors because flammable vapors will  
accumulate in the area.  
Never remove gas cap or add fuel while engine is hot or  
running. Allow engine to cool at least two minutes before  
Never over fill fuel tank. Fill tank to no more than 1 inch  
below bottom of filler neck to provide for fuel expansion.  
10. Do not change the engine’s governor setting or over-speed  
the engine. The governor controls the maximum safe  
operating speed of the engine.  
10. Replace gasoline cap and tighten securely.  
11. Check fuel line, tank, cap, and fittings frequently for cracks  
or leaks. Replace if necessary.  
11. If gasoline is spilled, wipe it off the engine and equipment.  
Move machine to another area. Wait 5 minutes before  
starting engine.  
12. Do not crank engine with spark plug removed.  
12. Never store the machine or fuel container near an open  
flame, spark or pilot light as on a water heater, space  
heater, furnace, clothes dryer or other gas appliances.  
13. Maintain or replace safety and instruction labels, as  
14. Observe proper disposal laws and regulations. Improper  
disposal of fluids and materials can harm the environment.  
13. To reduce fire hazard, keep machine free of grass, leaves,  
or other debris build-up. Clean up oil or fuel spillage and  
remove any fuel soaked debris.  
Do not modify engine  
14. Allow machine to cool at least 5 minutes before storing.  
To avoid serious injury or death, do not modify engine in any  
way. Tampering with the governor setting can lead to a runaway  
engine and cause it to operate at unsafe speeds. Never tamper  
with factory setting of engine governor.  
General Service:  
Never run an engine indoors or in a poorly ventilated area.  
Engine exhaust contains carbon monoxide, an odorless  
and deadly gas.  
Notice Regarding Emissions  
Before cleaning, repairing, or inspecting, make certain the  
blade and all moving parts have stopped. Disconnect the  
spark plug wire and ground against the engine to prevent  
unintended starting.  
Engines which are certified to comply with California and federal  
EPA emission regulations for SORE (Small Off Road Equipment)  
are certified to operate on regular unleaded gasoline, and  
may include the following emission control systems: Engine  
Modification (EM) and Three Way Catalyst (TWC) if so equipped.  
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Spark Arrestor  
Average Useful Life  
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission  
(CPSC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),  
this product has an Average Useful Life of seven (7) years, or 140  
hours of operation. At the end of the Average Useful Life, buy  
a new machine or have the machine inspected annually by an  
authorized service dealer to ensure that all mechanical and  
safety systems are working properly and not worn excessively.  
Failure to do so can result in accidents, injuries or death.  
WARNING: This machine is equipped with an  
internal combustion engine and should not be used  
on or near any unimproved forest-covered, brush  
covered or grass-covered land unless the engine’s  
exhaust system is equipped with a spark arrester  
meeting applicable local or state laws (if any).  
If a spark arrester is used, it should be maintained in  
effective working order by the operator. In the State of California  
the above is required by law (Section 4442 of the California  
Public Resources Code). Other states may have similar laws.  
Federal laws apply on federal lands.  
A spark arrester for the muffler is available through your  
nearest engine authorized service dealer or contact the service  
department, P.O. Box 361131 Cleveland, Ohio 44136-0019.  
WARNING: Your Responsibility—Restrict the use of this power machine to persons who read, understand and  
follow the warnings and instructions in this manual and on the machine.  
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Assembly & Set-Up  
Contents of Carton  
One Lawn Mower  
One Lawn Mower Operator’s Manual  
One Engine Operator’s Manual  
One Bottle of Oil  
One Grass Catcher  
One Hardware Pack  
One Side Discharge Chute  
Locate the hairpin clip on the weld pin on each side of  
lower handle.  
NOTE: This unit is shipped without gasoline or oil in the engine.  
Fill up gasoline and oil as instructed in the accompanying engine  
manual BEFORE operating your mower.  
a. Remove hairpin clip from this hole. Using a pair of  
pliers, insert hairpin clip into the hole on pin closest  
to the bracket. See Fig. 3-2. Repeat on other side.  
Hardware Pack  
Remove any packing material which may be between  
upper and lower handles.  
Carriage Bolts (ꢂ)  
a. Pull up and back on upper handle as shown in Fig.  
3-1. Make certain the lower handle is seated securely  
into the handle mounting brackets. Do not crimp  
cable while lifting the handle up.  
Wing Nuts (ꢂ)  
Figure 3-ꢂ  
b. Insert a carriage bolt from the hardware pack into  
the upper hole on the handle mounting bracket.  
Secure with one plastic wing nut, also included  
in the hardware pack. Repeat on other side with  
remaining items from hardware pack.  
Figure 3-1  
b. Tighten star knobs to secure upper handle to lower  
handle. Make sure that each carriage bolt is seated  
properly in the handle.  
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The rope guide is attached to the right side of the upper  
handle. See Fig. 3-3. Loosen the wing nut which secures the  
rope guide.  
Place rear of the mower deck on raised blocks.  
Remove lock nut and spring washer from pivot arm  
assembly (on select models, these may be included  
separately in a plastic bag).  
Slide spring washer and wheel, with hollow side in, onto  
pivot arm and secure with lock nut. See Figure 3-4.  
Assemble the other side in the same manner.  
Grass Catcher  
Follow steps below to assemble the grass catcher. Make  
certain bag is turned right side out before assembling  
(warning label will be on the outside).  
a. Place bag over frame so that its black plastic side is  
at the bottom.  
b. Slip plastic channel of grass bag over hooks on the  
frame. See Fig. 3-5. All the plastic channels except  
center top of bag attach from outside of bag.  
Figure 3-3  
a. Hold blade control against upper handle.  
b. Pull starter rope out of the engine. Release blade  
c. Slip starter rope into rope guide.  
d. Tighten wing nut.  
Insert post on cable tie into hole provided on the lower  
handle. Pull cable tie tight and trim excess.  
Rear Wheels  
Install rear wheels as follows in Fig. 3-4 (wheels maybe already  
installed at factory, if so disregard this step):  
Figure 3-5  
c. Attach center top of bag from inside of bag.  
Figure 3-4  
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Follow the steps below to attach the grass catcher:  
a. Lift rear discharge door. See Fig. 3-6.  
Slide two hooks of side discharge chute under hinge pin on  
mulching plug assembly. Lower the mulching plug. Do not  
remove side mulching plug at any time, even when you are  
not mulching.  
Cutting Height  
Each wheel has a height adjustment lever to change the cutting  
height of the mower.  
Depress height adjustment lever towards wheel.  
Slide lever to desired position for a change in cutting  
height. See Fig. 3-8.  
Figure 3-6  
b. Place grass catcher on the pivot rod. Let go of  
discharge door so that it rests on the grass catcher.  
WARNING: Never operate mower unless the hooks  
on the grass catcher are firmly seated on the pivot  
rod and the rear discharge door rests firmly against  
top of the grass catcher.  
Side Discharge Chute  
Your mower is shipped as a mulcher. To convert to side  
discharge, make sure grass catcher is off of the unit and rear  
discharge door is closed.  
Figure 3-ꢁ  
Release lever towards deck.  
On the side of the mower, lift the mulching plug. See  
Figure 3-7.  
IMPORTANT: All wheels must be placed in the same  
relative position. For rough or uneven lawns, move the  
height adjustment lever to a higher position. This will stop  
scalping of grass.  
Gas and Oil Fill-Up  
Refer to the separate engine owner’s manual for additional  
engine information.  
Add oil provided before starting unit for the first time out  
of the box.  
Service the engine with gasoline as instructed in the  
separate engine owner’s manual.  
WARNING: Use extreme care when handling  
gasoline. Gasoline is extremely flammable and the  
vapors are explosive. Never fuel the machine  
indoors or while the engine is hot or running.  
Extinguish cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other  
sources of ignition.  
Figure 3-ꢀ  
sectiOn 3 — asseMbly & set-up  
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