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When I went to order the parts, Barb asked if it was worth spending a hundred dollars on a nearly 15 year old machine. How long do these things really last? Of course, the answer is that it depends on how you take care of them, and what you're willing to do in terms of repairs before you consider it DRT. (Dead Right There).
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this kind of machinery ages in "Dog Years" -- about 7 times the rate of humans. Just like a good dog, there's some expense involved in getting a new one, then you spend that first year breaking it in, developing an understanding, and taking more time in its care than you will in the future. Everything goes great for the next five to seven years as long as you keep up on the basic maintenance, but eventually you're going to have some small medical problems. Its a good dog, it has treated you well, and there's no reason not to give it the extra care and a little money if that's what it takes. Later in life -- maybe at around 14 or 15 years old -- things start to get a little more difficult. Those repairs are a bit more difficult and replacement parts can be time consuming and expensive. Sadly, there will come a time when spending more time and money on it is just prolonging the outcome and adding only more pain and suffering to the relationship and it's time to move on peacefully.
This year I've had to replace a fuel line -- something that should be easy but takes a few hours because of the way it is routed -- and now I'll be replacing the friction disk, friction plate, clutch cable, and clutch cable spring. When the season is over and the weather warms up, I'll need to sand blast most of the painted surfaces and re-paint as well as reinforce the intake scoop's sides as they have gotten weaker with rust and bend too easily now. These things won't really cost me more than twenty dollars or so, and for now spending a hundred and fifty dollars to avoid spending a thousand is still a smart decision with this old dog -- after all, its still got a good reliable motor, and we've gotten to know each other over years. I'm not looking forward to breaking in a new puppy at all.
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