21" for very steep slopes?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GarPA, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    We have one property where we have almost 500 feet of very steep slope.
    My 36" w/b cant handle it, nor can the Z. My Honda 21 does not like being on this steep of a slope and stalls because of being a 4 cycle.

    I dont want a LawnBoy and I looked at the Toro website and it appears the Suzuki 2 cycle engine is no longer made(thanks allot California)

    Someone told me that the newer 4 cycle Toros are designed to be able to run on steep slopes without stalling or running poorly..true??

    Would like to hear your recommendations for a 21" that can handle steep areas....thanks
  2. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,924

    Why not the LawnBoy choice? Yes, the 4 cycle Toro may have a pressurized oil system so that it can work well on slopes, but it is very heavy. Look at the weights of a LB and a 4 cycle Toro -- probably about 80# vs. 110# (120#?), or something similar. For me, the lighter weight mower makes a much better choice.

    I have a LB Duraforce and a Toro 2 cycle Sizuki. For the tough terrain, the choice is easy. My 2 cycle Sizuki is lighter (about 105#) than a 4 cycle Kaw on the new Toro machines. For those of you are young and strong, perhaps the weight difference isn't any consideration. For me, I use the LB on those difficult slopes.
  3. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    Roger...I've never owned a LB so my only impression of them is from what I hear here on Lawnsite i.e more than a few people here are critical of them.(but I realize they should not be compared to a commercial 21)

    another reason is that I want a mower that can not only do the steep slopes, but that can also be a strong mulching mower primarly for use at my own house as I dont like using the commercial mowers on my property...too many planting beds )

    so I guess the bottom line is that a LB would be the right mower for the slopes, but I doubt I would like its mulching capability in spring at my property and a few other condo type properties....

    so how does your LB do Roger with mulching in spring?

    some guys say the new Honda's do a much better job at mulching than their previous models (of which I've owned 2 and they were helpless in spring when mulching). I also dont know if the new Hondas can run on steep hills.
  4. green-go

    green-go LawnSite Member
    Posts: 79

    For mowing on steep hills you need an engine with pressure lubrication system as Roger pointed out, or, of course, a 2 cycle engine. In almost all cases you can easily confirm whether or not an engine is pressure or splash lube (bad for hills) by whether the engine has an oil filter or not. Probably the most likely engine you'll come across with a pressure lube system on a 21 is something with the Kawasaki 180 (FJ180?). It's a good engine but it is heavy. A family member of mine bought an Ariens with this engine on it, good mower and engine but it is seems heavy as hell compared to your typical Toro Super Recycler or Lawnboy, although the Ariens is a heavier steel deck mower to begin with. I think the Ariens is about 110+lbs whereas a Toro Super Recycler with a Briggs is about 88lbs. Tipping up the front end of the Ariens to turn it is much harder vs. the Toro, the Toro almost tips itself up in comparison.

    If I was you I would at least look around for a used 2 cycle Lawnboy, they're great mowers. Some people hate them, I think it is almost entirely because of the staggered front wheel design. But they are great, lightweight mowers. Otherwise, finding 21's with pressure lube systems is kind of uncommon, most of the non-commercial mowers use splash lube engines.
  5. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    THanks Gree-Go....good engine info I did know about...do you know how the LB does when mulching in heavier spring growth?My Hondas have been almost worthless in spring unless I bag it
  6. mmacsek

    mmacsek LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 543

    Gary, I don't have experience with the LB in the spring but this is a great mower on hills. I have the Toro and the LB 2 cycles. The LB is light and has alot of power but the self propelled isn't as strong as the Toro. I just bought mine on Ebay and its the gold series. I have no experience with the 4 cycles. If we lived closer I would let you borrow it and test drive it. Matt
  7. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    I use the toro commercial with the Kaw engine (pressurized) it is fine. Way better than wacking the hill.

    It will occasionally try to tip, but its a 21. No big deal.

    Very good at mulching as well.
  8. Gizmo_019

    Gizmo_019 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 104

    GarPA - What kind of Honda do you have? I am lookin at getting a Honda, but I have steep hills to work with. How steep you talking about? The one I am looking at hhas the 4 cycle and it has the 3 spd tran with the mulch and back lever behind the motor, the model slips me right now. It's $600 at the Home Depot, but one of my dad's best bud's is the manager so I'm trying to work on that.

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