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View Full Version : Push Mower Lifespan and Reliability


Gr8WhiteNorth
11-12-2009, 01:02 PM
Due to a fire we lost all of our lawn maintenance equipment this fall. With an opportunity to start out fresh i was hoping to get other pro's opinions about what brands to consider for the small 21" push mowers. I use Ariens - 3 self propelled, 3 non-self propelled and we can only get 1 or 2 seasons out of them before they constantly break down.

So, what are your opinions on the following:

1. What brand of 21" push mower do you use?
2. How many seasons does it last?
3. How many months of mowing is your season?
4. Do you use self propelled?

Note: no info needed on anything but 21's.

Thanks in advance.

theminigardener7
11-12-2009, 11:35 PM
Not only do we use the Commercial Honda Lawnmowers (21"), EVERY gardener in the county uses them. They are self propelled, and have steel decks. The new models now how double blades, so mulching is an option. However in our county we all bag so I haven't tried out the mulching capabilities. If the machine is consistently and properly serviced it will last you at the least 3 1/2 years. But my friend's have had the hondas last them over ten!

PS. Our mowing season lasts all year (12 months)

Scagguy
11-13-2009, 01:05 AM
Exmark or Snapper Hi Vacs depending on if you mulch or bag. I have a 20 year old Snapper Hi Vac with a 2 stroke Wisconsin Robin on it. Can't find those any longer due to the EPA but the only thing ever done to the engine other than maint was to decarbon the muffler and exhaust port.

Blazerfb
11-13-2009, 01:34 AM
i'm a huge fan of the HRC, like it better than the exmark metro and toros and others. Just a lot of power, great mulching and bag. keep the blades sharp though! because there are two, when they dull they really bog down the motor and slow you down, i go with ten hour intervals, which isn't really by the book but easier. It is heavy but easy to get used to with the great self propel.

jvanvliet
11-14-2009, 07:57 AM
I own an X-Mark Metro 36, great machine but there are some places I can't get it into so I use a "Toro Recycler"; starts on the first pull; gear driven; turns cuttings into dust or you can bag it - doesn't do too well if lawn is overgrown.

cutterschoice24
11-14-2009, 08:36 AM
i own a metro 26 here in fl and use it on hotels and small back yards with the mulch kit and it does great for me i also have the hr x Honda not the commercial one but the one before it and it runs great no experience on the commercial Honda though.

mowerbrad
11-14-2009, 09:53 AM
I use a Deere 21" 2-speed self-propelled. It is over 20 years old (its the old silver deck ones). The only down fall is that it is a little slower and they don't make it anymore. If I had to relpace it, I would look into the exmark metro 21 or wait for the new deere 21 to come out.

Cuttinitclose
11-14-2009, 10:56 AM
.... or wait for the new deere 21 to come out.

Any insight on this? Couldn't find anything on Deeres sight.

Alan0354
11-14-2009, 12:00 PM
Due to a fire we lost all of our lawn maintenance equipment this fall. With an opportunity to start out fresh i was hoping to get other pro's opinions about what brands to consider for the small 21" push mowers. I use Ariens - 3 self propelled, 3 non-self propelled and we can only get 1 or 2 seasons out of them before they constantly break down.

So, what are your opinions on the following:

1. What brand of 21" push mower do you use?
2. How many seasons does it last?
3. How many months of mowing is your season?
4. Do you use self propelled?

Note: no info needed on anything but 21's.

Thanks in advance.


What model Ariens do you have, are they the lower non commercial models?

1993lx172
11-14-2009, 07:18 PM
Any insight on this? Couldn't find anything on Deeres sight.

I heard someone else on here mention that Deere was coming out with a new commercial 21" (that person heard it from one of their clients who works in Deere's corporate offices) but they gave no details. Deere is always slow on getting new stuff out on their site.

In response to the poster's question, I have an old Western Auto Wizard 22" push mower (was self propelled) that is around 34 years old and still has the original spark plug and blade on it. It smokes a bit but it still gets the job done. With these older push mowers, when the drive goes out many people just throw them away. All you need to do is remove some of the drive components and you still have a perfictaly good push mower.

N.TX
11-14-2009, 10:49 PM
1. What brand of 21" push mower do you use?
2. How many seasons does it last?
3. How many months of mowing is your season?
4. Do you use self propelled?

1: toro 21 commercial
2: Switched 2 years ago used and new and they are both going strong....only repairs were pull cord and a broken cable on the used one
3: Mowers get used about 25+hrs(actual mowing time) a week constant use about 7-8 months ...then mow leaves up another 1-2
4: They are 3 speed ( adjustment is down low which helps deter workers from changing the speed too often) We usually mow on speed 2 but it will mow just fine(weekly cuts) on speed three just about as fast as you can walk without running.

By the way it is mainly a mulching mower....bags ok but mulches great ....if you were just bagging you might try a high vac mower like snapper

360ci
11-15-2009, 12:32 AM
Due to a fire we lost all of our lawn maintenance equipment this fall. With an opportunity to start out fresh i was hoping to get other pro's opinions about what brands to consider for the small 21" push mowers. I use Ariens - 3 self propelled, 3 non-self propelled and we can only get 1 or 2 seasons out of them before they constantly break down.

So, what are your opinions on the following:

1. What brand of 21" push mower do you use?
2. How many seasons does it last?
3. How many months of mowing is your season?
4. Do you use self propelled?

Note: no info needed on anything but 21's.

Thanks in advance.

1. - Craftsman 21" 6.25hp 4 stroke
- Lawnboy Silver series 6.5hp 2 stroke

2. - Going on SEVEN seasons for the Craftsman (10+ hours a week, 240hrs/yr), I just bought the Lawnboy (used) but it's in good shape and should last a while, it was used on a smaller residential lot previously

3. 5 to 6 months is the usual mow season depending on the weather

4. No. Self propelled systems add weight, complexity, maintenance, and for a few of my smaller yards, is a PITA to use. Exmark has a nice 26" Metro unit with 3 speed drive unit, but all the dealers want around $2100 Canadian for it *chokes!*


I'll add that my Craftsman was new when I got it. This season it started making a loud valve clatter when you inclined the deck/engine more than a few degrees. I removed the head, soaked everything in carb cleaner and scrubbed it off, checked valve clearance and cleaned the inside of the cylinder head (carb cleaner again). Installed the spark plug, new head gasket and it purrs like a kitten on steroids - just like new!

metro36
11-15-2009, 07:27 AM
I have two push mowers. One is a 1999 toro super recycler that was used as a trim mower and for small backyards all its life. It gets maybe an hour or two a week. It is pretty much shot so I replaced it with a 1995 toro proline with a suzuki 2 stroke. The mower came to me in rust covered pieces and I rebuilt it. It runs like top and cuts great. I would get a new toro commercial or if you are good with engines buy a used one and rebuild it.

360ci
11-15-2009, 09:21 AM
It doesn't take much to rebuild a push mower, that's for sure. the only thing I still might add (custom job) is a larger fuel tank. The Craftsman only holds around a quart, but I do get up to two hours of cutting time (side discharge) out of it, so it's very efficient.

MeanGreenGuy
11-15-2009, 01:56 PM
Cub Cadet 21" any good? has the 6hp kawisaki engine, its the model just under the electric start one, retails for 399.99.

Gr8WhiteNorth
11-15-2009, 02:59 PM
"What model Ariens do you have, are they the lower non commercial models?"

I use the commercial duty only. I don't do the mowing myself, but I can't see operator abuse being a factor on a push mower??? We perform regular maintenance, too. Just thought I should get a longer lifespan out of a commercial mower.

GLlawncare
11-15-2009, 03:07 PM
Cub Cadet 21" any good? has the 6hp kawisaki engine, its the model just under the electric start one, retails for 399.99.

It's a huge piece of crap, i mean it uses plastic wing nuts on the front wheels and port to attach the bag/ chute/ mulchine attachment!

MeanGreenGuy
11-15-2009, 03:11 PM
It's a huge piece of crap, i mean it uses plastic wing nuts on the front wheels and port to attach the bag/ chute/ mulchine attachment!

oh, thanks lol
Guess it isnt worth 50 bucks!!
looks kinda cool though, but looks dont make money unless its 5'3" and asian!

Triplex
11-15-2009, 03:37 PM
I don't know how what your employee situation is, but if you're afraid the machines will get abused, stolen, etc, maybe just get some cheapo box-store 21-inchers and expect to replace them often. One place I worked at did that, just cheapo Bolens/MTD and Murray 21-inchers, and they lasted a couple of seasons under heavy use. This was a golf course with a full-time mechanic on staff, so broken machines were less of a problem than they would be for a typical LCO.

Dodge2
11-15-2009, 03:56 PM
1. - Craftsman 21" 6.25hp 4 stroke
- Lawnboy Silver series 6.5hp 2 stroke
!

Same set up for push mowers that I have, both of them are great mowers and last a long time(unless you get the self propel system)

360ci
11-15-2009, 04:30 PM
Same set up for push mowers that I have, both of them are great mowers and last a long time(unless you get the self propel system)

Yes, I'm still surprised at the end of each season when I remove the fuel, add fogging oil and throw it into the shed for the winter. I sharpen and balance the blade every spring and it'll generally last the season. I change the engine oil with full synthetic before storage in the fall, and then again after about 1-2 months during the growing season. Until you remove the head (make sure you have new gasket to install!) and look inside, only then will you know what condition the mower is in. After some 500-600+hours of use, you can still see the crosshatch marks on the cylinder wall of my 6.25hp Craftsman push 3-in-1.

I'll also mention that 80% of all mowing is side discharge, and I get the occasional overgrown lawn that I use it to cut through thick weeds, brush and grass to get a lawn back into shape. The only thing I was it had was a blade brake, so I can clear the discharge chute from time to time as long grass and weeds can get stuck, especially if they're damp or wet.

Dodge2
11-15-2009, 04:40 PM
Those briggs motors are durable, I was mowing with the craftsman near the edge of the creek on a property property I do when for a lapse of judgement I went too close the the edge and the whole mower fell in the creek with water over the engine( Which was runing for about an hour before) and it did no damage to the mower and that was about 10 years ago and it was like 6 years old then.

360ci
11-15-2009, 05:27 PM
Those briggs motors are durable, I was mowing with the craftsman near the edge of the creek on a property property I do when for a lapse of judgement I went too close the the edge and the whole mower fell in the creek with water over the engine( Which was runing for about an hour before) and it did no damage to the mower and that was about 10 years ago and it was like 6 years old then.

I have the Tecumseh engine on my Craftsman. i can't speak for the B&S engines, but knowingly if I get another push mower, it'll have one!

Dodge2
11-15-2009, 07:15 PM
But for snowblowers Tecumseh build the best winter engines. Summer, not so much.

360ci
11-15-2009, 07:19 PM
But for snowblowers Tecumseh build the best winter engines. Summer, not so much.

I haven't had a problem with mine until this year. It finally started letting off some valve noise if you tilted it more than 15 degrees (lifting up to go over curb for example). I pulled the head off (ordered a new gasket ahead of time), cleaned the carbon buildup off and checked valve clearance, which was good, reinstalled the head and it's been running like a champ since. Up until the end of this season, I was running Quaker State 4x4 semi-synthetic oil in it with great results. I threw in a quart of Amsoil 10W30 full synthetic four stroke for winter storage, so we'll see how it performs in the spring. I'm still shocked it's lasted me as long as it has without any problems.

I only wish parts were less expensive. One paper air filter alone runs $10.99 locally here, when in the US I can get TWO for that price! Arg.

Dodge2
11-15-2009, 07:27 PM
Got to love Canada!!! We over pay for everything.

360ci
11-15-2009, 08:00 PM
Got to love Canada!!! We over pay for everything.

I'm counting down the days I have left until HST comes into effect middle of next year. Arg. 13% on EVERYTHING instead of 5%.

clean_cut
11-15-2009, 08:50 PM
How about Toro's self propelled system? We've had a Recycler which has lasted over 10 years with not much more than replacing a the gears in the wheels 3-4 times, which seems excessive, anyone else have this problem?

Dodge2
11-15-2009, 09:52 PM
I just see the trans being a weak link, I like to keep things as simple as possible. I have a lawnboy gold insight that I use at my house only and love having a trans on it but I just don't see it lasting in commercial use. That being said I would love to have a commercial lawnboy/toro model with a trans but I don't see paying $1100 for one, and even worst paying $500 on a home owner model with a trans. So I just use $330 craftsman push which works great, and lasts about 80% of the commercial lawnboy( If its taken care of).

jiggz
11-15-2009, 11:49 PM
Lawnboy is the only smaller mower ive used.... home depot sells a piece of siht with a Briggs motor, for around 300 that is GARBAGE!!! so stay away... but if you go to an actually mower shop they have the Insight series. which starts out with the Tecumseh engine (( I have used these mowers on around 200 plus small lawns a week for 5 years)) and never had a problem..the only reason why they died is one hit a chunk of metal and bent the crank and the other had an oil leak and didn't have its levels checked.. so obviously it seized..from what i hear the ones with the honda engines are even better

with the Tecumseh they start around 400 with the honda 450 last i checked..

the only thing i dislike about them is there a little heavy, if your using it for a small mower that you need to bag well, its a good bet!! if your using it for a small light weight trim mower. you prolly wont like it

jiggz
11-16-2009, 12:00 AM
I Lied i also used a Murry Select 22" with a briggs and had it last me 4 years residential and 1 year commercial.. the only thing that went on it was the wheels to be honest..mechanically it was strong.. but i had extra cash so i bought new..

but yea strong mower and light as anything, bagged well!!

oops also forgot to mention our mowing season runs from mid aprial to mid Nov

360ci
11-16-2009, 08:06 AM
with the Tecumseh they start around 400 with the honda 450 last i checked..

New Tecumseh engines are a hard find as their plant closed late last year. Tecumseh is no longer in business. From what I remember reading they sold everything to another company (?). At least I can still get parts for my mower!

TheC-Master
11-16-2009, 09:06 AM
I prefer to get the good ones and have them for a long long time. People aren't going to generally "pick up" a push mower first, not to mention the high end ones are very heavy to begin with.