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  #1  
Old 04-29-2013, 11:07 PM
rickpilgrim rickpilgrim is offline
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The Harbor Freight Predator engine deal

I realize most of us really don't use a 21" mower for much these days but around here there are people who like the lawn mowed with that and are willing to pay an extra $15-25 for that so...
Our Toro recycler/bagger 21's have techumseh and briggs that are getting weak so today we went to the local HF where the 173cc 5.5 hp vertical was on sale for $109 so we got 4 of them, plus they let me use my 20% off coupon so it was $87 each plus 20 for an extra 2 yrs warranty! So if one fails just bring it back, pay $18 and a new one is yours. Plus for the Toro its a direct bolt on, even the cables snap right in!
Has anyone else had any good or bad experience with the Predator Engines?
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:43 PM
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AustinLawnscape AustinLawnscape is offline
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Rick,

I just bought one of the Predator 173cc engines. I have a Toro 21in Commercial that came with a Toro/Suzuki 2cycle. The old pulley & blade adapter are larger than the 7/8 dia. of the HF engine. They appear to be 25 mm (they aren't 1 in. dia.) How did you get around that issue or was your crankshaft 7/8?

Thanks - Ed
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:51 PM
rickpilgrim rickpilgrim is offline
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I just bought one of the Predator 173cc engines. I have a Toro 21in Commercial that came with a Toro/Suzuki 2cycle. The old pulley & blade adapter are larger than the 7/8 dia. of the HF engine. They appear to be 25 mm (they aren't 1 in. dia.) How did you get around that issue or was your crankshaft 7/8?

I had junked out a Snapper some yrs back and saved some parts so I had a 7/8" bore pulley that was 1/8" larger diameter than the Toro OE, minor upspeed. I used an Arnold 7/8" universal blade adapter, ground a touch off the sides so it fit in the toro blade. The Toro blade had 2 extra holes, the adafter had 2 holes that lined up perfectly so I now have 3 bolts holding the blade. I used a full length 3/16' key and the old toro 1" pulley was the perfect length for a spacer to hold the drive pulley in place.

Now, our 21" commercial uses a completely different system. Ours has a steel cone under the deck with a bearing in it that the adapter fits into. For that I would seriously consider getting some 1/16" thick metal stripping, wrap it around the HF engine crank frome 1 keyway edge to the other. Slide the OE pulley on to hold it on. Make another strip 3/16" wide by 1/8" thick(or file down a keyway) and use that to compansate for the keyway difference and put the OE blade adapter on, make sure the blade bolt is tight. If you do that be carefull not to hit anything as our commercial has the key cast in the adapter and it could shear.
I do have a spare Toro/Suzuki 2 stroke that I pulled off a residental mower that ran good, but would need carb work as its been shelved since 2007. I would sell it realatively cheep.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:13 PM
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AustinLawnscape AustinLawnscape is offline
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I now have my old Toro 22040 commercial mower (formerly powered with the Toro/Suzuki 2 cycle) back running with the Harbor Freight/Predator engine. I used it the last two days. It's too soon to know how well it will hold up, long term but it's currently doing a super job as my trim mower. I was able to use off the shelf parts from the snapper dealer & a modified keyway. The Predator engine (& the toro) uses a 3/16 keyway but snapper uses a 5/32 key. Had to have a machine shop modify my Predator keyway into a 3/16 to 5/32 stepped keyway.

I found a guy on ebay that makes adapters to use the 7/8 crankshaft with a 1 inch pulley &/or blade adapter. He's willing to make one to allow using standard 25 mm parts from Toro parts, with the Harbor Freight/Predator engine (with the 7/8 crankshaft). I'm probably going to have him make one so I can go back to OEM Toro parts, if I have any issues. Time was the driving factor initially forcing use of the Snapper parts.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:36 PM
larryinalabama larryinalabama is online now
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Im interested in buying one for an old Snapper 21, if I have to buy extra stuff it may be cheaper to buy a direct fir Briggs????
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:28 AM
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AustinLawnscape AustinLawnscape is offline
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A factor for you will be the diameter of the crankshaft on/in your Snapper. If it's 7/8 diameter you're golden. That said, I paid $32.47 for the blade adapter & pulley. The pulley is the biggest expense, the blade adapter was $6.xx something. Thus far, everything I've found shows snapper uses a 5/32 keyways but the Harbor Freight Predator has a 3/16 keyway slot & keyway. The parts I was sold by the snapper dealer have 5/32 keyway slots. I went to a local machine shop looking for 5/32 keyway stock. They quickly checked & said 5/32 keyway stock isn't available. They offered to cut mine making it a 3/16 to 5/32 stepped keyway. FYI, I took the engine & all the parts, so they could fit everything to insure it would work/fit properly. They had to make one additional cut after they thought it should work. Taking everything to them to fit it all together saved a lot of wasted time & frustration.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:01 PM
larryinalabama larryinalabama is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinLawnscape View Post
A factor for you will be the diameter of the crankshaft on/in your Snapper. If it's 7/8 diameter you're golden. That said, I paid $32.47 for the blade adapter & pulley. The pulley is the biggest expense, the blade adapter was $6.xx something. Thus far, everything I've found shows snapper uses a 5/32 keyways but the Harbor Freight Predator has a 3/16 keyway slot & keyway. The parts I was sold by the snapper dealer have 5/32 keyway slots. I went to a local machine shop looking for 5/32 keyway stock. They quickly checked & said 5/32 keyway stock isn't available. They offered to cut mine making it a 3/16 to 5/32 stepped keyway. FYI, I took the engine & all the parts, so they could fit everything to insure it would work/fit properly. They had to make one additional cut after they thought it should work. Taking everything to them to fit it all together saved a lot of wasted time & frustration.
Sounds quite expensive???
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:07 PM
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AustinLawnscape AustinLawnscape is offline
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"Sounds quite expensive???"

It didn't seem so to me, but price is relative to who's paying it & the cost of doing nothing. I had a trim mower out of commission. I ahd to either borrow a mower, rent a mower, fix my mower, or buy a new mower. I paid less than $90 for the HF engine, paid less than $55 for parts to make it work on my Toro Commercial 21" mower. The Honda that the HF Predator is a clone of is about $400 & the Kawasaki is about $300-399 depending on where you price it (I found one new Kawasaki for $199 on ebay that had a 7/8" crankshaft & therefore the same issues as the Predator). Has anyone priced a new Toro, Exmark or Snapper 21" commercial mower lately? Talk about sticker shock!

Good luck with the project you are working on! - Ed
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