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  #1  
Old 12-24-2013, 11:51 PM
yankdownunder yankdownunder is offline
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Location: New Zealand [the other down under]
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Best 12-15hp vert engine [thinking about a repower]

Hello,
I've got a Husqvarna "Rider" [13h or 850-12] lawnmower. Very handy, well built [late '90s] that is doing a great job. I got it for next to nothing [$100] because it had an out of production mower deck that was rusted out. I built a "fabricated" deck for it that solved the lack of deck availability.
It is the biggest residential version of Husqvarna's "Rider" line. But, being a "residential" and older ['98], it has the flat head 12.5hp Briggs [does run well] and I was looking around for a donor engine for an upgrade to a little bit more power, OHV, fuel economy [petrol=$2.50/liter], and a bit quieter.
I mow aprox. 3/4 acre once a week, and so far it uses about 1/2 of a 7 liter tank to do this. That would equate to about 4 liters/acre.
First, how does this fuel consumption sound?
Second, what would be the "best" OHV vertical engine in the 13-15hp range be [so I can keep an eye out for a deal].
Third, I've got to replace the blades. Any opinions/suggestions. Gators, doubles, stock high lifts...
Thanks, John
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  #2  
Old 12-25-2013, 12:11 PM
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jkilov jkilov is offline
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The "best" OHV replacement would be a Honda GXV390.

It should use less fuel and outlive the mower. It's rated at 10 hp (net) which is more than your "12.5" Briggs was producing. Being a single cylinder, it should be easy to fit (check crankshaft dimensions) and get the cables to work.
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  #3  
Old 12-25-2013, 05:13 PM
yankdownunder yankdownunder is offline
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Thanks, I've got a Honda on my pressure washer [replacing a flat head unit] that got me on the OHV change over for small equipment.
There are not that many Honda powered mowers/tractors, so I was thinking of looking for a donor mower/tractor engine.
Most seem to be B&S, Kohler. I had a kohler [flat head] in my old Cub 125. Sucked the gas, but would always run and powered through most anything put before it. Reason I didn't repower that was that it had a double sided take off [one for power to wheels, one for PTO].
Any suggestions for commonly used engines in mowers/tractors?

Thanks, John
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Old 12-25-2013, 05:53 PM
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jkilov jkilov is offline
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I suppose it depends on how much you want to spend.

A homeowner grade Briggs will set you back $500 or so. These engines are single cylinder and you can order generic parts, say a muffler, charger coil or starter for them so fitting should be easy.

Kohler has some homeowner grade equivalents (Courage) but these have a bad reputation around here. Early models had a tendency to self destruct and I really don't know in what state of quality they are now.

Briggs also makes a commercial line called Vanguard but they only come as V-twins. A 2-cylinder engine is larger and might not fit your mower, it needs an exhaust system which is typically custom made, most have a fuel pump which needs to be hooked up, nearly all need an electric starter and associated hardware to start.

Personally, I would spend the extra money, save me the hassle and buy a Honda GXV390. It's a single cylinder, comes with a muffler and optional fuel tank and is easy enough to start by rope. This makes it a bolt-on replacement with next to no worries about electrics, fuel lines, mufflers and so on.

$800-$900 shouldn't ruin your budget and these commercial engines last 2000+ hours vs. a homeowner Briggs or Kohler which wear out after 400 hrs. If the mower falls apart before the engine (which it will) you can always sell a Honda GX with a minimal loss as they have good reputation.

One more thing, all prices are USD, I have no idea how many NZD this equates to.
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F-250 5.4 V8 stand. cab, tandem trailer
Ferris IS3100Z 61" L Kaw, Hydrocut 36" 13hp Kaw
Shindaiwa T3410, EB8520 Maruyama HT2300, MS047
Stihl FC85, MS192T, 041AV, MS200
Redmax HBZ2601

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  #5  
Old 12-25-2013, 07:31 PM
yankdownunder yankdownunder is offline
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"Kohler has some homeowner grade equivalents (Courage) but these have a bad reputation around here. Early models had a tendency to self destruct and I really don't know in what state of quality they are now."
That's the kind of information that I'm looking for.
I'm trying to avoid the pitfalls of well known [not by me] of known faulty engine history.
I've seen that B&S have OHV engines, but know little of their durability. Kohler has the "Command" line, is this more commercial?

Thanks, John
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  #6  
Old 12-26-2013, 04:36 PM
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jkilov jkilov is offline
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Yes the Command is a commercial engine, but they don't make single cylinder verticals any more. Briggs homeowner engines are mediocre at best, perhaps a tad better than Courage. But if you put 50 hrs on it per year, it should do just fine.

Mind I ask why you're replacing the flathead if it still runs? Fuel savings will be minimal and won't pay for a new engine.
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F-250 5.4 V8 stand. cab, tandem trailer
Ferris IS3100Z 61" L Kaw, Hydrocut 36" 13hp Kaw
Shindaiwa T3410, EB8520 Maruyama HT2300, MS047
Stihl FC85, MS192T, 041AV, MS200
Redmax HBZ2601

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  #7  
Old 12-26-2013, 07:08 PM
yankdownunder yankdownunder is offline
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It runs and runs well.
I put a 5.0 Mustang motor in a Ford Ranger.
Just a bit of Hot Roding. I'd like to be able to use less fuel, as petrol [as it's called down here] is $2.50/ liter.
Aprox 4 liters to the gal, that's $10/gal gas. So, some fuel savings would be welcome.
A bit more power would be nice. I don't do much heavy cutting, but it'd be nice to have a bit of power in reserve.
I cut the strip [between the street and fence] in front of some young guys two doors down [that gets mowed once a month, if that], because it looked untidy [and a good test of the deeper grass cutting ability]. The 12.5 pulled down to where the blades were not going fast enough to cut well. Slowing down fixed that, but if there was a bit more power, maybe higher RPM [though most of these engines are made to turn the same, like PTOs on tractors], it would've gone through like hot knife through butter.
So, if I know which engine to look out for, if one becomes available for good price, I could maximize performance and sell my good running flat head for $100.
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Old 12-27-2013, 06:00 PM
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jkilov jkilov is offline
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If you want good fuel economy Honda is considered best in this segment, followed by Kohler and Vanguard, whilst Kawasaki and residential Briggs would be the thirstiest.
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F-250 5.4 V8 stand. cab, tandem trailer
Ferris IS3100Z 61" L Kaw, Hydrocut 36" 13hp Kaw
Shindaiwa T3410, EB8520 Maruyama HT2300, MS047
Stihl FC85, MS192T, 041AV, MS200
Redmax HBZ2601

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  #9  
Old 12-27-2013, 06:34 PM
yankdownunder yankdownunder is offline
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Location: New Zealand [the other down under]
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Hondas have a very good reputation, and hence have commanded a premium price [at least down here].
So, I've been looking for a "diamond in the rough", or a brand/model that may be a bit less well known but a quality piece so I can scoop up a deal.
If I know which models to look for and which models to run from, I'll be able to search with a smirk.
I'll look for a Kohler Command or a B&S Vanguard or any Kawasaki if it's not too much, but it probably will be.
Any OHV will be way less thirsty than the B&S I/C flat head, and that'll be good enough.
Long life, less fuel consumption, quieter, more power, in no particular order.
This is a "wanna have" not a "gotta have", so no real hurry.
I'm trying to take advantage of research and diligence.
Thanks, John

Last edited by yankdownunder; 12-27-2013 at 06:42 PM.
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