View Full Version : Lawn mower engine question
07-01-2001, 10:03 PM
Hello there. I'm new, as you can see. :p
I have a question regarding push/self-propelled lawn mower engines.
I have been looking around for a good one, for a reasonable price. Today, I saw a Craftsman mower with a 6.5hp Briggs and Stratton engine, and another Craftsman with a 6.75hp Eager-I.
The 6.5 Briggs one was a bit more expensive.
I'm just wondering, what is so special about these Briggs engines, and how can they be more expensive than a higher HP mower?
NOTE: Thread should of been in Mechanic and Repair forum; I just noticed that now. Sorry.
The "eager" engine is really a Tecumseh if I remember correctly. You might try another brand of mower, but we're VERY disappointed with the cut of our Toro Personal Pace, we'd rather use a old "high wheel" mower, much faster.
07-01-2001, 10:30 PM
SMB, do you have any opinions on "Troy-Bilt" lawn mowers? I used a 5hp Briggs-powered Troy-Bilt and I was sastified with its cut/power, but those are really expensive.
Regarding Craftsman - I'm quite impressed with one of Craftsman mowers that one of my family members has, and I use to cut his lawn; so that's why I'm putting Craftsman as a "possible" choice.
But, what's so special about the Briggs that makes it more expensive than the Eager?
07-02-2001, 03:31 PM
Anyone else have good remarks on any 20-22inch walk-behinds? :D
Toro proline 21" Around 1k in price. This is the mower to have. You can get either 2 or 4 stroke engine. Both are good engines. I does not even compare to craftsman.
07-02-2001, 04:09 PM
The craftsman can not take the wear and tear like other commercial mowers. Look towards a commercial line...especially if this will be your main mower.
07-02-2001, 07:50 PM
Brandon-I wouldn't recommend anything other than commercial quality equipment. Toro Proline and Honda Commercial is what I recommend. I'm using Toro and I'm very pleased with the cut, as far as mulching goes. It's a mulching only mower so I've never bagged with it. Honda, I've heard, bags very well, but I don't know about the mulching. I'd get Honda next time if it's a good mulcher but I don't know.
07-02-2001, 08:05 PM
does anyone use the exmark 21"? and if so are you pleased with its performance?
07-02-2001, 10:26 PM
That Exmark 21" is really a Toro Proline 21" w/ the Exmark name on
it. Toro owns Exmark and this mower is the only thing that is
actually a Toro that is in the Exmark equipment line. I have the Toro
21" and its a great mower.
Is the Briggs an overhead valve engine? If it is this might explain
the price difference. Overhead valve engines are usually more
expensive than flathead engines (non overhead valve). ED
07-02-2001, 10:33 PM
Thanks for the advice.
Well, I'm not going to be doing many lawns. First, I'm only 13, if you read my information.
I'm only planning on doing a few neighbors' lawns down the street, that's why I have been sticking to mowers I've seen at Sears; instead of mentioning those enduring commercial mowers. I'm just talking about normal-use ones.
EJK, what's the advantage with an overhead valve engine?
07-02-2001, 10:44 PM
Overhead valve engines use less fuel,valves run cooler,and they
usually have a longer life than flathead engines. ED
07-03-2001, 02:05 AM
Brandon-If you're doing a few, that's okay, but you're going to want to expand sometime and the 'ol crapsman you will buy will depriciate so fast you won't be able to get squat for it when you go to sell it for another mower. Craftsman mowers and any other mower that is designed for homeowner use is not made for more than 1 lawn a week. I have a residential Toro that has held up great. If you're going to get ANYTHING residential, get Toro or Honda. They make great mowers and the resi ones are cheaper than commercial, without all the bells and whistles, but will probably last just as long if you're not going to go commercial. So, if you're not doing 20 lawns a week and you're not doing just 1 a week, get a Toro or Honda. Kind of the happy medium. Not crap but not expensive at the same time. Try them both before you buy. Then make your decision.
EJK-I've heard that the Exmark 21" is heavy. I haven't personally tried it, but some guys on here said it was. BTW, Most or all Exmark ZTR's are Toro's with Exmark logo's on them but the decks are a little different, that's about the only difference.
07-03-2001, 02:15 AM
Lawnboy All The Way!!
no oil changes, great mulching & bagging, strong engine, lightweight
oh yeah, there not that bad price-wise
07-05-2001, 07:58 AM
But, I don't need a high-priced heavy-duty commercial mower.
At the MOST, 2 or 3 lawns a week. And, if they're small lawns, then why bother getting a heavy-duty mower?
I just feel that I won't need all of it.
In regards to that Briggs engine I was talking about - yes, it's an overhead value engine. It's one of those inTek models.
Apparently, the Sears Eager-I (Tuecumseh) has more features than the Honda or Briggs engine. ie. pressurized lubrication.
I'm glad I picked up this Mower catalog yesterday, I sure got a lot of information.
Anyway, I'm looking at the high-wheeled Craftsman mower, #37842. 6.75hp Eager-I, 21" cutting deck, front-wheel drive system, and it's a neat-looking Desert Gold color.
Like I said, I don't think I'll need much more, and for the price, I like it.
I know all of you have been recommending all of these commercial mower, but, honestly, I don't think I could save up enough until next Spring for a mower.
Thanks for the advice,
07-05-2001, 08:01 AM
Ok, I found out some information about that 6.5hp B & S powered Craftsman.
It had a ton of stuff on it, including a padded handle, and throttle control..
I didn't like it because it was rear wheel drive. I heard that it's difficult to maneuver with those, rather than front wheel drive.
It was a "limited edition" mower. As I kept looking at it, and looking at the Eager-I powered mowers, the limited edition mower looked like an old model or something.
Therefore, like I said above, I'm planning on sears #37842.
07-05-2001, 11:23 AM
This is my second year in business. When I started I felt the same way about 21" mowers. I figured it won't get much use, I can go with a homeowner model. So I purchased a homeowner grade Honda at the local Home Depot.
It didn't take long before it started falling apart. Broken wheel bolt, Handle falling apart, etc... Bouncing around on a trailer does more damage than mowing. The homeowner models were not designed for that abuse.
Later in the year I got a Exmark 21" with the 6.5 Briggs, and relegated the Honda to back up duty.
In the beginning I hadn't planned on using a 21 much, but now it get's used as much as my Lazer. I have a lot of postage stamp sized lawns with small gates. And the 21 get's the brunt of the work. Also I have some commercial properties with tiny strips of grass surrounded by concrete. These are bag only conditions, and they are too narrow for the Lazer.
You never know where your business may take you. And in the near future you may have jobs that require a 21. I'd recommend going commercial quality now, instead of wishing you did when the craftsman is down and you are getting backed up waiting for sears to fix it.
07-05-2001, 01:02 PM
Toro residential models will hold up great if you take good care of them and if you're not mowing 20 yards a week. I mow 3-4 lawns a week with mine and it's 7 years old. The Craftsman just can't beat that. They can't take more than 1 lawn a week, if that. They'll fall apart and you'll be spending more time and money in the long run trying to get parts and paying for them too. Sears has the worst customer service, over here anyways. My grandpa had a Craftsman mower that he bought to mow his lawn, kept on breaking and couldn't get parts. Mind you this was all in about 2 years after he bought it. Anyway, he got tired of that and went and bought a Toro. Good choice. They'll take a beating where the Craftsman would fail. Spend a couple hundred more a better mower. Toro will out mow any Craftsman, baggging or not. I've tried both and the Toro is king. About the rear wheel drive you were talking about. I HATE FRONT WHEEL DRIVE! It's the worst. You want rear so you can slide and keep tracking when you go to turn. It's kind of hard to explain, but since I stripe all my lawns, you have to go right back down the next stripe, and it's a 180 degree turn. So, to do that the easy way, rear wheel drive helps because when you're in like 1st gear, you can hold the bar down and keep the wheels turning, then, you just slide the back of the mower over to the next stripe. No scuffs or anything. Works for me. Like I said, get a Toro residential model or a Honda or Toro commercial. You'll be glad you did because I'm sure that people will be knocking on your door to mow their lawn once they see you down the street mowing somebody else's lawn. If you get that Craftsman, and you start mowing more lawns as you go on, say 6-7 lawns, you're gonna be in big trouble. You're gonna have to sell that sucker so it doesn't depriciate and buy something more commercial. I'm just telling you how it is and that Craftsman won't last. GO TORO!
07-05-2001, 02:50 PM
Ok.. I'll have to look into Toro now..
Still no responses about Troy-Bilt mowers?
I love the one I'm using now, it goes a beating, and no problems.
They are rather expensive, though.
07-05-2001, 04:11 PM
Some of you older guys will love this. Just hear me out. This is my first post here after reading for about a week. I'm 3 months from being 16. I have a fairly successful lawn company with about 10 lawns. I've been mowing for the last 3 years starting with 2. I mow with a craftsman push 4.0 (around $120 on sale?) that my parents bought new 3 or 4 years ago. I trim with a .065 featherlite trimmer from wal-mart. I even have 40" Murray ($450, well taken care of, low hours. He orignally asked $500. I convinced him the battery was bad and he gave us $50!!!) for an industrial plant field I mow. Laugh now all you want, because I am to.
When I first came to this site I did searches about equipment to help grow my company. Alot of them seem to say you need to invest quite a bit of money. No doubt you would if you were considering jumping into it immediatly as a full time job. "You need a blah blah blah 36 inch Walk behind with blah blah." or a "Commercial blah blah". You have to remeber most of the people on here make a living mowing(plowing). Anyways I told my dad I was searching for a used 36 Toro(because we have a good dealer) gear floating walk behing with the Tbar. I told him I'd also like to buy an echo trimmer for $200. Didn't go over with him. He used to work with the city mowing cemetaries and other city properties full time, every day with Heck & Dorn mowers (sp?) He told me that once I get the demand for such a mower then I could buy one. I persisted to tell him this is what I needed. He asked me what was wrong with my mower. I said "The guys on the board says it's a piece of crap". He reasons "How long have you had it, 3 years". Yes. "Any breakdowns?". "Nothing except the loose wheel(fixed with lock washer)." Well your right dad. And the trimmer, he told me it cuts the weeds and cleans edges pretty good, why do I need a new one. I'm convinced. He's pretty good at keeping me grounded.
I work part-time(is that what they call it? I work basically every day at minimum wage) at grocery store stocking. This job I think is way harder for the money than mowing. In fact I figured up I make about $30 an hour mowing on average and the work feels twice as easy. I feel mowing lawns for $15 an hour is a what I'd feel is comforably mininum. I'm my own boss(except my dad), I don't have to lift 50lb. to 80lb. boxes up on awkard 8ft. stacks. I have to at least jog to each box when stocking. The only reason I keep it is for winter money. Here's another aspect that get's talked about alot. Scrubs and lowballing. Am I one? I don't think so. I'm a nice guy with a hard work ethic and just because I use a murray to mow doesn't mean my work isnt' quality. Also I charge less than the "big guys" sometimes, not more than by $5 usually. You know why because I compare the value of my dollar earned. I feel the work is easy and can justify charging less(plus I have no overhead - monthly payments). This also gets me more lawns which I want. More lawns = more work = more money, a simplified version of my work ethic. Good solid consistent HARD WORK PAYS OFF Several topics I have read have talked about souring the lawn care market and wanting people not to lowball as to raise the pay into area it deserves. Huh, is $40 an hour not enough to get on mower and drive it around. Sure there's expierence invlolved, but if your smart you figure things out fast. What seperates you mowing from the guy nextdoor, a couple of stripes? Just go to wal mart and buy some chain and a rod and loop it on the rod and mount. What about mowing straight? If you can't drive a car straight or back it out of the garage you shouldnt' be mowing. Find an object and mow towards it. It's not like we had to goto school for seven years with at LEAST $60,000 in college like lawyers.
Most of the young guys and startups on here mow low-end mowing jobs. It's not like they jump into mowing estately properties. If that was the case no one would want to mow the low end ones. It's part of cycle. How did some of you "pros" start out? With a brand new Dixie Chopper, huh? Wish my dad was that rich, but then again I probally wouldn't be mowing. :)
All I'm trying to say is there is a place for everyone and BRANDON do what your comfortable with.
I haven't owned every Craftsman out there but the one I use works just fine. Granted, it may not last more than 2 more years, but by then I'll have enough demand where it isn't time efficient to mow with the small 21" and perhaps I'll need a bigger trimmer w/ brush cutting capabilities. I probally won't be able to get $20 out of it either, but thats alright, look how much I've made. THE MESSAGE is: For the guys jumping in at under 10 lawns (rough number, you be the decision maker), dont' think you have to buy every piece of equipment out there or the best, or necessarily commercial. Save part of your money for equipment when you really need it down the road. Wait till you can't mow yards fast enough or another good reason before investing in a quality machine. That's when you should invest. Don't allow yourself to get caught up in moment and your reasoning made up of what if's. If you have a good HARD WORK ethic, you will succeed.
I bet this post raises some fire, but is there anyone out there that feels the same way?
07-05-2001, 04:31 PM
Also who says Murrays don't last. My mom used one (the cheapest model probablly less than $80 back then) for 14 years. We still have it. The only problem is the carb needs a rebuild(mostly the choke isn't working), but it still runs after awhile of tweaking. I'm going to look at it soon. My neighbors gave me a 3 year old murray that had been HEAVILY used for mowing our neighborhood(15 year to brand new houses, all over $115k). It ran fine but I tore it down, The main killer of Murrays is carbon so check oil often and change once a year and use thicker weight oil. With a hone, new rings, valve guides and cobalite exaust set up, this engine will last for many more years it was destined because carbon build up should be obsolete. I'm spending about $50.00 to have this done, but it's been a great learning expiernce.(I previosly had a small engine repair class at school). I HIGHLY recommend if your a serious mower with a few years under the belt, find a class at local JUCO or tech school and find out what makes your mower go. It could help you someday instead of having to pay someone else.
07-05-2001, 04:50 PM
they don't have any where near enough power to properly mulch or bag with for one,
Briggs&Stratton+Tecumseh engines ARE NOT made to handle more than a small yard ONCE a week ,trust me I've Gone Through THREE not believing this , the only difference between a homeowner model and a commercial is a commercial will have reinforced parts that the engine manufacturer sees a weakness in on the homeowner version .
Yeah they are expensive, BUT THEY ARE MADE TO LAST!!!!!!!!!!
Of the 4000+ members here in LS atleast half of them will have to agree with most of what i said,
The mower doesn't really have to say "COMMERCIAL" Or "HEAVY DUTY"
It's just the more you pay,, the More Reliable You Get.
07-05-2001, 04:53 PM
HEY MAN, recently I have expanded from 2-3 lawns per week to 6-8. I did this with a simple flier, I got 500 copies for about $20. I haveent used half of them yet. If I was you I would look for a used 32' walkbehind. I just got and its so cool. I got it for $500.
07-05-2001, 04:54 PM
Listen, a murray or craftsman are the same thing same company different colors, why say a problem is with a murray in general, it's always because of homeowner grade parts, if you swap out all the parts on it with commercial parts (including the engine) it will last just as long a $1000 out of the box commercial mower.
07-05-2001, 06:14 PM
Most or all Exmark ZTR's are Toro's with Exmark logo's on them but the decks are a little different, that's about the only difference.
Actually you have it backwards. Almost all of the Toro mowers are built in Exmark's plant. Exmark is owned by Toro but operates as a seperate entity. The Exmark rep explained the entire Exmark-Toro relationship in the Exmark Forum a couple of months ago.
07-05-2001, 07:06 PM
there is nothing wrong with getting started this way, i did the same thing when i was your age. (those were the good old days) you will soon realize, once you are on your own,( no financial support) "overhead" will jump into your life! then you will realize that you can mow more, faster, (which all traslates into more money)with a commercial blah blah blah to offset overhead expenses. by this time , you most likely have picked up some nicer lawns which necessitate nicer equipment and now you're into the eternal "what is better? guess i'll have to try one" haze that the rest of us are in!!! but... not to get discouraged, thats part of the fun of it, for me anyhow!
07-05-2001, 07:13 PM
Buy the best you can affored at the time. If i where you i would go toro all the way, Toro personal pace mowers are nice. i have ran them for two years now, They have never been in the shop yet. just my advice
07-05-2001, 09:58 PM
Richard-Oops, my mistake! I thought Toro bought out Exmark. Guess I was wrong.
07-05-2001, 10:01 PM
The houses around here have very small lawns, so it's not that I don't want a commercial-grade quality mower, it's just that I don't need one! I could probably cut about 50% of the lawns here in less than half an hour, using a 21" walk-behind.
.. if I get the top-of-the-line Craftsman, I'm sure it WILL last a couple years, and by then I'll be looking into a bigger, better, and more expensive mower.
It's whatever I can afford now; then after time, I will expand, and get better equipment.
And what equipment I use most be mobile enough that I can just push it or carry it down the street. (carry a weedwhacker).
All of you guys are saying "get a commercial mower" or get a larger deck-cutting width mower.. but if I can get the job done even though I'll be wasting more time with a slower engine or whatever, then that's fine with me.
Like I said, the lawns around here are very small.
07-05-2001, 11:30 PM
BrandonGt I know how it is walkin down the street with your lawn equipment. I do it 4 times a week.
07-05-2001, 11:41 PM
Look at the Lawn Boy Silver or Gold Series Mowers with the big 2 Stroke engines, these buggers will last FOREVER, just keep enough oil in the gas! These mowers truely are commercial grade, and I am impressed at the quality cut and 2-Stroke power!
07-06-2001, 12:34 AM
Get a LAWNBOY COMMERCIAL 21 PUSH. It's not much more than homeowner crap & IT IS THE BEST 21 ON THE PLANET. Light, Light, Light, powerful, incredible side discharge, mulching, side bagging capabilities, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. I've been in this business 7 years & if I had to use only 1 mower for all our residential accounts it would be a LAWNBOY COMM.. Not as fast as a 36 in some circumstances but this machine CAN DO IT ALL if you're doing 21" or slightly larger suited accounts.
07-06-2001, 12:39 AM
Brandon I think you've got it right.
Acually the Commercial lawnboys have a nice cut, my neighbor has two silver pro commercial 6.5 duraforce engines, self propelled. $400, but I have talk to several people who say they've had small problems with them. Not the engine itself but the throttle control, drive system. Also you have to clean carbon/oil that forms on the exaust every now and then like all 2 cycles. If I was to get a mower this would be it. GoldPro series mainly because of the aluminum deck which doesn't rust and is lighter.
What I'm saying is to the math and the planning. I actually enjoy this. Set targets. Say you plan on mowing 17 lawns in 3 years. This would be a good oppertunity to buy a new mower because a wider deck will save time and effort. This also means you only need mower to get you by for 3 years. Okay you want something that has the power to mulch, get at least 6hp. You can find a craftsman for around $150 saving you as much as half I believe, and should last longer than that. A weeks mowing of my residential yards for me, not including taxes and insurance, and "Bettter Equip. Fund" you should be saving for. If you feel that your not going to meet the demand in 3 years and want the mower to last longer and play it safe move up to the better models...$300 is more than adequate for a mower for a few lawns that you want to last till you've saved the money and have met the "demand" for the better equipment.
07-06-2001, 02:00 AM
thanks for tha plugs jason_s & calvin!!!!!
07-06-2001, 07:11 AM
When we first started all we used were lawnboys. The engine design is simple and proven to last if you mix your oil correct. I would suggest looking into them. We don't use push mowers much now but when we do we have Lawn-Boy commercial grade mowers. One other question? Why are you so interested in a self-propelled? My thoughts on those are more expensive,heavier,and slower. Just a thought. Good luck with your choice.
Toro Personal Pace, more expensive, heavier, slower--useless unless your cutting really hilly areas or bagging.
For most of our push-mowing (maybe 2-3 hours a week), we use a 13-14 year old Rally large rear wheel, on it's second engine (FREE engine!)
But we can really move on with it! :cool:
07-06-2001, 06:06 PM
SMB-How is the Toro Personal Pace slow? I haven't personally used one but to me they seem a little hard to control, is that what you mean by slow? You have to push the bar down, seems kind of tough. I don't know about heavy, my Toro is just as heavy as the new ones and it's not that heavy. Just curious as to what you mean by those 2 statements. Thanks.
It's just plain ssslllooowww. It's also hard to pull backwards due to the gearbox not always disengaging, you have to push it forward a little, NOT using the self propel to get it to disengage, or just use brute strengh and pull it back! The cutting and discharging quality also stinks in high grass, we've since upped the RPMs on the engine and that helps some, it was set awful slow. We'll probably only use it for bagging, and maybe about an hour more a week, but it isn't going to get used much, especially since we got our new 48" WB.
When I started out, I was using a homeowner Lawn Boy. It was a good mower but soon, bolts and nuts started to break and fall apart, wheels started to wear out, engines wouldn't start properly etc. In addition, I found myself slowing down as the day progressed with the push mower. So, I decided to invest in a self-propelled commercial 21". I purchased a John Deere with a Kawaski engine in 1999 and added a Toro 21" with a Briggs and Stratton in 2000. Both of these machines have been well worth their high price tags. First, I am never as tired as when I had to use the push mowers, especially in the summer heat. This translates to added productivity and sane evenings. Second, the OHV engines on these machines with their oil filters have lead to decreased fuel consumption, longer intervals for maintenance and much better performance in any cutting mode, especially in the spring. Third, the bagging capabilities on these machines, especially the Toro, have only boosted my productivity. Finally, both of these mowers cut much better than my residential Lawn Boy. The John Deere leaves each place looking like a manicured carpet and the Toro is right behind. In short, I definitely advise going with a commercial mower. They are more expensive up front but they will last longer, require less maintenance and produce better cuts. Besides, as you grow your business, you'll always have room for a 21" mower. Finally, how come you never hear people making the residential/commercial argument when talking about walk behinds and ZTR riders?
08-25-2001, 09:26 PM
somehow my dad wound up with ovr 65 thats rite 65 crasftman mowrs last season. he got them from sears and all had to b repaired by the way all of these were the new green and gray and gold mowers with the 6.5-6.75 eager engines and all that and they are nothing but trouble i hate them and will never buy them. they are soo cheaply made unlike the toros or jd or honda and lawnboys just look at the deck which breaks whenever u hit something the piece on the underside of the deck in the front will beak off causin the mower to not mulch well and the mower's engines are set on low rpms, with all the craftsman i have used and sold which is now over 100+ all would seem to push the grass down and mow over it leavin a horrible cut and baggin forget about it, i started with 2 lawns my own and a neighbor and i had many sears but i asked for toros and my dad got me 12 now i have 6 and have nothing but good things to say, why dont you look for a used toro in the paper or at a dealer i have an 84 toro selfpropelled that i got free (just had to replace a wheel bolt and tune engine) and i use it every day and i have beaten it to death the drive wheels are bald and get this it isonly 3.5 hsp and i have cut an overgrown property with grass knee high (1 foot plus) baggin of course and i didnt have to recut it. the torois great nd i didnt kno it had a primer till now and it starts first pull everytime and i still dont use the primer its really gettin tired now and i am gettin a new commercial toro along with my new toro z to go with my 36 toro all are great machines that is the road i took and i am much like u starting with 3 small yards and now have 17 1/4- 1 acre yards good luck with your bizz and mower choice
08-25-2001, 11:27 PM
Do you dislike periods?
08-26-2001, 04:23 AM
Originally posted by BrandonGT
Anyone else have good remarks on any 20-22inch walk-behinds? :D please do not buy a craftsman it will only last maybe one season if you pamper it not worth it
08-31-2001, 10:16 PM
usually, it depends on how big the engine is, and how powerful it is. i'm really not sure what to tell you. i'll try to find the mowers you talked about and i'll get some info on em.
08-31-2001, 10:21 PM
ohv intek engines are really good engines. i used a mower with an intek engine while i was mowing through tall weeds, and it didn't bog down. i would reccomend the mower with the intek.
09-01-2001, 12:53 PM
tried to wade through all that crap for the past few minutes. Talk about the blind leading the blind the wrong way!!
This may be a first, but...but... I'm..... Speechless!!
This is scary! Doesn't school start backup soon?
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