I had a 1978 Ford E150 Econoline cargo van back in the early 80's. I was going to see the USA in it and had done some interior modifications to make it 'camper ready.' That never happened due to a motorcycle mishap in 1982. I kept the van anyway.
If you've had a van you'll know that you can reach parts of the engine from inside the cab by detaching a large plastic cowl. This is also a handy way to access your starter when the Bendix misbehaves and it needs a good whack with a 2x4. I had this problem one winter and when the 2x4 solution got iffier and iffier I finally had to rebuild the starter.
Jump ahead to present day:
My lawn tractor is 12 years old this year. I finally decided it was a good time to put some Sea Foam treatment in the gasoline and also change the oil on Thursday (perfect weather) and went out to the old shed to look it over. It wouldn't start so I put the battery on the charger and spent an hour removing the traction weights from the truck bed. I went back to the tractor and it started up almost immediately! I let it run a bit in order to let the additive run into the carburetor and then shut it down.I decided to do the oil Friday.
Friday the tractor wouldn't start: the starter whirred but it would not engage. I thought about this and thinking maybe the battery or solenoid was on its last legs I decided to put the charger back on and went about changing the sluggishly cold oil anyway. After getting the oil done the tractor still wouldn't start but just whirred. Okay... memories of the van flashed in my head and finding a suitable hunk of 2x6 (I had no smaller wood handy) I gave the starter some encouragement and damned if it didn't engage the flywheel!
Today I went online and looked up starter prices. The cheapest was about $35 with Prime shipping. The highest was an OEM B&S for $71 plus shipping. My next step was to hit YouTube and see what folks said about starter issues. Rebuilding did not seem a viable option but... seeing a starter pulled out and apart gave me incentive to remove the hood, dismantle the blower housing, and have at the now exposed starter assembly with nothing more than silicone lubricant, cleaning rags, and faith.
Suffice it to say that it worked afterwards. Will it work tomorrow, I don't know. For now I didn't have to replace a battery, solenoid, and/or starter thanks to watching other folks discuss these problems, as well as recalling my old van memories.
I don't have any pictures of this project so I give you our concrete bunny among Spring flowers!
...because every post needs at least one picture :o)