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Advice for a lazy homeowner with a Scag please...

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by leejp, May 8, 2005.

  1. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    I bought a ~10 year old used, manual start 48" scag walk behind from a friend last Fall. I've cut 2x with it thus far and have been very happy with the speed and results on my 1/2 acre lot.

    The previous owner is very handy and somewhat maniacal about the upkeep of his equipment. I received a box of maintenance parts (filters0 and tools (grease guns) and maintenance records for the mower. For homeowner use I am told the mower will pretty much last forever and I tend to agree based on the build quality of my mower. However, I do have a concern as the mower definately does not start as easily as my Honda (1st or 2nd pull every time)... The pull cord on the Kawasaki motor is takes ~2-3x the strength to pull and it takes anywhere from 4-6 pulls to start. I will do a tune up shortly (lube, plug, oil and air filter) and see if it improves.

    Additionally, The blades are original and will require replacement. I must say I am completely shocked at the number of options and opinions behind the options. The more I read on this forum the more I get confused. What's a good, reasonably inexpensive, general purpose, year round (including leaf cleanup) mulching setup for a lazy homeowner who is not into changing blades or blade setups 2-3x/year?

    Do I NEED the mulching plate and the under-deck kit for the mulching blades to have any effect or can I just leave the deck as is with side discharge? How much mulching effectiveness canl I expect to lose?

    The bagger I got with the mower is the metal grate one and will require replacement... looks like it's been banged around over the years enough so that a couple of welds have been broken and there are several holes. Is the mount mechanism the same for all Scag mowers or have they changed it since (this mower is 10 years old)? How do I specify the mount when I purchase the new bag? Is there perhaps less expensive, ighter bag good enough for a homeowner? I really don't think a $300 bag is needed for me...

    I need to get used to this mower and eventually come up with several mowing patterns. One thing that's affecting this is that the turning seems to be an "all or nothing. If I grasp the brake handle on one side slowly, there isn't a gradual turn.... just a very sharp turn (dead stop of that wheel) at the very end of the brake handle travel. Is this a characteristic of a belt driven model? I've been pumping the handle for gradual turns. What are the "pro techniques here"?

    And BTW... It is a blast cutting with this mower...
  2. rbeitz

    rbeitz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 138

    Well I'm just a homeowner but I do have experience with your model of Scag mower since I had one and used it for 7 years. Mine was a 1998 SW48 with a 14hp Kawasaki. It started with 1 or 2 pulls every time up until the day I sold it. If yours takes more pulls than that then you should definetely get a tuneup.

    I ran high lift blades on my mower and always side discharged. It cut the clippings up nice and small and the yard always looked great. In the fall the high lift blades did an OK job on the leaves. If the leaves were really thick I just double cut them.

    There are some aftermarket options for baggers. j-thomas.com has cloth bags starting at about $75. You have the classic deck so be sure to buy accordingly. The baggers for the newer advantage decks will not fit the classic decks.

    As for turning with a belt drive, your experience is typical. There is some adjustments you can make so that the brake will grab before it is at the end of the travel but you as you have learned you will have to pump the handle to make gradual turns.

    Good luck with your mower. Scag's are built really well and it should last you a good long time. Here's a picture of the one I had...

  3. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,023

    What weight oil has been run in this engine and what do you plan on putting in when you service it.
  4. lqmustang

    lqmustang LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 620

    I have been using a 48 belt wb commercially for over 3 years now, you have yourself a good machine that should last you a long time. For the bagger, I would recommend you go with a cloth bag, they are much lighter. I would also recommend checking with a dealer to see if you can get just the bag. For $300 that probably includes the mounting plate, which you should already have. I would definitely stay with the hi-lift blades. I have tried many different blades and blade combinations, and hi-lifts all the way across seem to work best for me. Granted, I do have the Advantage deck, so that could create a bit of difference. Don't forget the fuel filter on your tune up. If you still have starting issues after your tune up, might want to also check for good operation on the choke, and give the carburetor a good cleaning.
  5. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    Hmmm... I hadn't thought aboput that. I did consider going to a synthetic but will probably end up following the owners manual recommendations.
  6. iluvscag

    iluvscag LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 741

    Put a new kawasaki 15 or 17 on it. The new engine should last you for 12-15 years.

    Ohh yeah 12-15 years is based on a homeowners view.
  7. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,023

    I asked this question because some years back I had a brand new rope start unit that was hard to pull also,I called Kawasaki tech. support and explained the problem. I was told to drain the oil and replace with HD 10/30,That done the trick and thats what I've been using since.
    As far as the 5 or 6 pulls to get started,Check your throttle adjustment and make sure the choke is closing COMPLETELY. This Kaw. Is like a Honda Its harder to start if the choke isn't closing.

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