Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Black and Decker Electric Mower Model U-274 = 22" deluxe dual-blade mower, 10 amps, 5200 rpm Repair/Restoration


Let me start off by thanking the following dude for listing the Black and Decker models, including the First lawn mower ever made by Black and Decker.

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=101516319905979&topic=95

I wanted to pick up a cheap mower to let someone else have/use.  I found this ad in craigslist for a 20.00 mower that just needed a belt replaced.  I thought that would be really easy, so I went on a rainy night to check out the mower.  It started up fine and the motor sounded good, so I picked it up.

When I got the mower home, first I noticed that the deck was made of cast aluminum.  I am normally a big fan of cast aluminum decks, but the person I had in mind to give the mower would probably have scrapped the metal out on the mower for cash, instead of using it.

Next I noticed that the handle had been rigged where it broke on the bottom.  They sistered two pipes together side by side with two bolts.  It was crude but it worked, although the handle was angled out of shape when you pushed it.   So I went to work on the handle.  The pipes looked like one could fit in the other. Sure enough after cutting them off with a pipe cutter and some large hammer persuasion they fit together nicely.  At the bottom of one side of the handle was a mechanism used to stop the handle from flipping over to switch directions.  It is controlled by a bicycle brake cable that runs to the top of the handle from the bottom, where the handle broke.  Since the one side of the handle after being repaired was not to factory specifications, I flipped the mechanism over to the other side of the bottom of the handle.  Then I realized the deck had a unique stop feature that mated to the mechanism.  So I took the handle and flipped it around 180 degrees.  After a small amount of adjustment the mechanism was both releasing and locking the flipping action of the handle.


After that I looked at the blades.  For some reason the previous owner had flipped the blades upside down.  So the angled dull side was the lowest spot on the blade.  The straight cutting edge was the highest point.  Also, the blades were a bit rusted and dull.  I took them off using the manual's directions and sharpened them and wire brushed the surface rust.  Next I gave them a coat of black Walmart spray paint and remounted them.  BTW, I used a torque wrench to take off the rusty blade nuts.


Finally, I took the orange plastic cover off the mower to expose the belts.  The cover was taped on and all of the base mounting screws were missing.  It came off after wiggling it a bit around the motor housing.  The remaining belt had the marking ( Uniroyal 64175 )  I thought that should be easy to find on ebay.  I did a search and came up with only one hit.  It was for a bunch of parts for old black and decker mowers, including a belt set for my mower.  This was 19.99+10.00 shipping.   I looked on google and the next closest thing was for a single belt for around 16.00+shipping.  Since, I have a few mowers, I went for the ebay deal.  Now I am into this mower for 50.00.  Probably not the best investment.  Finally after about 2 weeks the replacement belt kit arrived.

In the mean time, I took the blade spindles off and noticed that the thrust washers were simply fiber shims.  I read somewhere that they needed to be soaked in light oil.  Also, the main bearings were needle bearings pressed into the housing.  Those I am guessing just need some bearing grease.  The bell belt pulleys for the belts were a bit rusty, so some more wire brushing and a coat of Walmart paint.   I put those all back together making sure the slop in the spindle axial direction was not too large.

The manual has a long description on replacing the belts, and I mostly followed it, although my motor mounting bolts would not fully come out, so I ended up sliding the belts under the end of the drive shaft and then putting them on like you would a bike chain.  I used the tensioner provided in the kit, but I am not sure that a small amount of pressure from my hand directly on the motor housing would have not done the same thing.

After getting it all put back together, I took it out for a test cut and it worked wonderfully. It cuts wider than my MM200 mower by 4 inches, which does not seem like a lot but adds up on a larger yard.  The dual blades seem to work like a champ.  They are offset slightly so they do not have to be synchronized.  I put the mower up on it's highest setting because summer is approaching, and we have not had rain in a while.  Looks like I might keep this one and ditch the other one.  BTW, the manual said to tighten the tension on the belts after running for 20 minutes.  My plan is to sell the extra parts from the ebay purchase and also, to post all of the documentation included in the parts kits.

Black & Decker has a nice diagram of the parts but does not have the corresponding parts listed.  Most of them have been discontinued, but it would have been nice to see the descriptions, so I am including that in this blog for you as well.  Please feel free to ask questions or add usefull information.

Normally on BnD's website they have great schematics of parts and this is true for this mower 

except they forgot to include the parts list.  They sent it to me after calling them.  I have included it for your reference.
Also for reference are the instructions for changing belts for my mower and one other set.  BTW, I have a couple of extra kits and some extra parts.  Just comment and let me know what you need.





13 comments:

  1. Brian,

    You can thank me for providing that list. This particular model was originally introduced for 1968, and was superseded by the model 8040 starting with the 1971 model year.

    Blade tip speed of this machine is 14,975 fpm.

    ~Ben

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    1. i have the model U 274 22IN Cut i was wndering how much or if it was worth anything at all? thanks toby tobylawson2423@gmail.com

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  2. Have a U-174 that my father has passed down to me. It is orange in color, and has two steel brackets my pop fashioned on the front and back of the top handle to stabilize (plastic is in poor shape). Mows well, but does not have adjustable wheel height. I plan on adding a universal kit later (has the notches to do so), and would like to add a mulching blade kit to it, like the one below:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-OREGON-96-632-SUTECH-USU1G-2107-11-GATOR-MULCHER-3-IN-1-BLADES-3-BLADES-/150973162877

    I'm guessing I could have a machine shop chop these 12 1/8" blades down to the 11 1/4" size of the current blades. I note that the PDFs you mention in your post have a "Leaf Mulcher Attachment" listed (U-3320), but good luck finding that in the modern day!

    Look forward to your thoughts and comments. Can send a pic for posting if you let me know how you'd like to do so.

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    Replies
    1. Great to hear from you.

      I am not sure about the mulching blades. I usually just cut my grass often enough so that the cut grass decays easily. I would make sure they are about the same weight. You could probably cut the blades with a reciprocating saw, or a jigsaw with a blade made for metal. Put oil on the surface to be cut.

      I would love to add your pictures with the steel brackets. Send a text with your e-mail address to the number listed in the following craigslist post.

      https://post.craigslist.org/manage/3604451351

      Include Black and Decker so I know what it is about.

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  3. Would respond, Toyota, but looks to me the link you gave was actually for your Craigslist management of your actual Craigslist post. If we can try that again, that'd be great.

    I also don't know if the mulching blade set I'm looking at has the same mounting hole size and shape needed for the B&D, since I've never removed the blades. Do you have any idea what the hole size and shape of the OEM blades are?

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  4. Well, Toyota, my Gator 3 in 1 blade experiment turned into an expensive one; to have the blades cut down to size and the holes sleeved out on the blades was really more than the mower was worth. Having this done, once mowing with, I sealed the chute with duct tape and a piece of plastic siding, and...didn't mulch with a hoot! Matter of fact, the original blades leave LESS clippings with the chute closed than the Gators do! So...back to the originals, and my experiment is over. C'est la vie. Not a bad mower, but as my nephew noted, seems like it mows 12 inches at a time, even though it's a 22. Very strange.

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    1. Sounds like a fun experiment. Sorry it did not work out. I wonder if you oriented the blades correctly. Not sure what you meant by only cutting 12" at a time. Mine seems like it is taking a wide slice compared to my other mower that is only 19". Anyway thanks for sharing.

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  5. was actually looking for the bakelite and brush assembly for the u274. See it on the list but not available

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  6. awesome info! i just have to replace the belts on mine. works great!

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  7. We need belts and maybe some other. Do you still have anything?

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  8. My B&B twin blade looks pretty much like yours but is numbered 8015 not U-274. I need info re the bearings/sleeves for the two blade shafts. B&D say they do not recognize my Mod #.
    angiebobgarant@hotmail.com

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