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  #1  
Old 10-03-2012, 01:29 PM
DFWChief DFWChief is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Dallas, TX
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Want to Discuss a New walk-behind Mower

Hello. For 5 years I had a one-acre place in Dallas, TX, and mowed nearly year-round. 2-3 times a week for about 8 months, and less-frequently in the winter, often just mulching leaves.

I did this with a 2007 Toro 20057 SR4 super recycler. It has the Personal Pace propulsion.

I began having trouble with the transmission after about 3 years. I'd take it apart, looked ok, replace the belt, and it would go again for awhile. Finally quit working at all after 4 years. I took it to the Toro dealer, they said the gears had worn down past the point where they'd work, and this wasn't covered by warranty because it was excessive wear, even though it was in the 5-year warranty period. I guess mowing an acre puts a lot more time on the mower than a 1/4 acre lot.

So I paid $100 for a replacement drive system on E-Bay and put it in.

Now I have a 1/3 acre place. Much less mowing, but a lot more back-and-forth where I just push forward a couple feet and pull back a couple feet. I find the Personal Pace doesn't work so well for that, the rear wheels are often partly locked up when I pull back. Need to coast forward a bit to get them to spin freely, I found.

I didn't experience this on the acre lot with the original drive system. Partly because of the way I used it, and maybe I didn't get the new drive system adjusted properly.

The B&S engine also started giving me trouble. Wouldn't maintain power. There were no adjustments to the carburetor, so I put in a new one for $36 and that fixed that.

So I'm back in business with my 5 year old heavily used Toro, though the Personal Pace doesn't seem well-suited to the smaller yard.

I came into a little bit of money recently, enough I could splurge and drop $1,000 or so on a mower. I know that's totally unnecessary, but I really appreciate and enjoy using a nice piece of machinery, and something like that would make me happy if it worked well and was reliable.

First decision is self-propelled or not? With all the push/pull and maneuvering I do in this smaller yard, maybe a fancy mower with ball bearing wheels would be easy enough to move around.

Or maybe a different type of self-propelled that backs up easily. What's I've got my eye on after lots of Googling is the Toro 22197. Heavy duty recycler with a big Kawasaki engine and a different sort of self-propelled.

I've read lots of good things about this mower on this and other sites. With my long-winded explanation of my particular situation, what do you think about that choice? Is that going to feel like a well-built pro-level machine, not wear out on me in 4 years, and be nice and smooth doing push/pull a lot with this kind of drive system? Or the 22155 which has the Honda 190 and is push?

Thanks for any advice. Do you think there will be something new and gee-whizzy in 2013 that I should wait for? Might a get a little money off now that fall is here?
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:43 PM
macgyver_GA macgyver_GA is offline
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I would just go with the regular FWD Toro self propelled mower. They're cheaper too.

I've used both and prefer the regular self propelled much better. I Hate the personal pace.

Also, take a look at the hondas too. They're pretty nice. I'm thinking about picking up one in the spring as a backup/small area 21" mower.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:16 PM
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IS500Z IS500Z is offline
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With a 1/3 acre of lawn you will probably never really use the extra durability of the commercial Toro, but if it is what you want it will certainly do the job for you. You might also look at the higher end Hondas, namely, the HRX. They usually run about $600 from dealers around me. Some of the people on this board have used them in commercial applications with good success. Another alternative would be to go with a reliable push mower if you can do without self propel which sounds like a possibility since you have to maneuver around a lot of obstacles. I would look at a used Lawnboy two-stroke. Reliable engine and the older ones are very light and easy to push. They should run you less than $300 in good condition.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:53 PM
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cgaengineer cgaengineer is offline
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Look on CL for a use 32" walk behind...hydro or belt.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:54 PM
DFWChief DFWChief is offline
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Location: Dallas, TX
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Thanks for the responses. I wrote a really long post but didn't explain what I wanted. I'm looking for a mower that feels and operates like a fine machine. Like a Bridgeport mill vs. a Harbor Freight drill press. The Honda HRX was mentioned, and I know that's a well-respected machine, but the throttle and speed levers are too plastic-y and wobbly.

I went to the dealer after I wrote the first post and saw the Toro 22197, and it was a lot like I'm hoping to find. They also had ExMarks which I liked the look and feel of also. I see more positive reviews on the Toros, though.

So if anyone knows of another "well-oiled precise machine" that'll cut my grass, please chime in, thanks.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:19 PM
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IS500Z IS500Z is offline
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Toro owns Exmark, and has for some time, so you are largely choosing what color you like. For some additional 21-inch commercial-grade mowers you could look at the Honda HRC, the Ariens Pro or Classic, or one of the higher-end Snappers. It really depends on what you have in your area and which dealer you think you want to do business with long term.
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HOMEOWNER
Ferris IS500Z
Scag Tiger Cat 48-inch deck, Kawasaki motor
Lawnboy 10227 2T push mower
Stihl BG86 handheld blower
Stihl BR550 backpack blower
Stihl KM110R kombi system with lots of attachments
Stihl HS45 hedge trimmer 24-inch blades
Stihl MS260PRO
Stihl MS460
Stihl MS660
Echo SRM210 trimmer

Klotz SuperTechniplate
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:40 PM
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cgaengineer cgaengineer is offline
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Snapper commercial 21 is a good choice under $1000
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:40 PM
larryinalabama larryinalabama is offline
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I have a Snapper 21" that Ive run over 10 years 5 commerically and its still a "tight machine"
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  #9  
Old 10-04-2012, 12:58 PM
DFWChief DFWChief is offline
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Location: Dallas, TX
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Thanks again for all the suggestions. Here is a summary of some "high-end" walk-behinds I've been told about or found:

Toro Proline, also called "heavy duty" like model 22197
ExMark, owned by Toro, very similar machine
yBravo
Honda HRX or HRC
Snapper commercial
Ariens
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