Engines: Which one? Anyone have experince with these?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by InjuinRed, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. InjuinRed

    InjuinRed LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    The models of mowers I'm looking at have one of 4-5 eninges. I like the kawasaki engines the fx730 and the fx850. Recently I've looked a a scag tiger cat and a grasshopper that have the Briggs and Stratton commerical turf engine. The scag had a 30hp and the grasshopper 26hp. Anyone have any experience with these briggs engines? I just don't have a good feel on them and like the sound and feel of the kawi's. But the briggs engine mowers are significantly cheaper. the scag also comes with a Kohler command and the kawasaki engine. Any thoughts, advice, or suggestions?
  2. doublesharp

    doublesharp LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    I had a Grasshopper 226V that used a Briggs 26. Mower was an early production lemon that was nothing but problems. The Briggs had a bad oil leak and an erratic governor. It could have probably been fixed but I was fed up with it and traded it in at 160 hours.
  3. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Posts: 14,147

    I know that member Retrodog likes the B&S "commercial" turf engines, but I am not impressed at all. They are basically the old Intek engine with some fancier and more modern updates to them. B&S is still over rating their engines for HP BTW, so a 30 is more like 26 actual hp. There's a reason that the B&S CT engines cost less.;)

    I have an FX850 currently, and am very happy with it so far. I used to like Kohlers but my last two were such huge P'sOS that I will go out of my way to avoid one if I have a choice of brands on any machine I look at. There are others here who feel the complete opposite of me, like Pro Street Camaro, and that's fine. To each their own. You can only go off your past experiences, and his were different than mine with both Kawi and Kohler.
  4. InjuinRed

    InjuinRed LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    Ok here's what I'm look at feel free to praise or bash any of the machines or engines to help me make my decision....

    2013 Grasshopper 226v 61" w/ 26 hp Briggs & Stratton Commercial Turf Series V-Twin engine. Pressure lube with filter, and dry element with pre-cleaner.

    2013 Scag Tiger Cat 61" w/ 30hp Briggs & Stratton Commercial Turf Series V-Twin engine. Pressure lube with filter, and dry element with pre-cleaner.

    2013 Gravely Pro-Turn 160 60" w/ Kawasaki FX730 23.5hp

    One other thing to consider is a grasshopper dealer has a new 2011 61" 226v grasshopper left in inventory with a briggs engine for sale for $5800. Worth saving the $1k on the older one or are the new ones $1k better?
  5. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Posts: 14,147

    I'd take the Gravely for two reasons. One, they are a great company to deal with, and two, it is the only machine with a true commercial grade engine.
  6. retrodog

    retrodog LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,421

    I would definitely make sure the 226 is a new 2013. The 2011 had the old briggs designed motor and not the new 5 stage cyclonic filtering system. Night and day difference in motors... I am a huge cyclonic pusher. I put them on most mowers that have motor failures that did have kawa or kohlers on them due to the cost and efficiency. I have had a few lately with crankcase gaskets leaking oil due to a tooling issue at the factory is what I heard, but its a one day shop fix if it does happen it will be in the first 20 hours. I have had 2 erratic governors, but just popped them new ones in and happy campers so far...
    Obviously in this situation the FX kawa is sure a better motor than the cyclonic briggs, but does it justify the cost difference. The 160 looks like the better buy with the motor, but its hard to miss the high dollar tranny system on the GH for the price. The 226 is my best seller in the GH mowers, and its a big contender against all these other mowers with 3200 and 3400's transmissions... Its gonna take you driving them both around and deciding which one you personally like better, they are surprisingly night or day difference in feel of driving...
  7. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    I hope that no one feels that I am taking this thread off topic, because I think the answer to my question would be helpful for the OP, as well as satisfy my own curiosity:

    It seems that there are always some particular models from all of the engine makers that are frought with problems. For those like Retro Dog that see lots of engines come through their shops, what are some models that are problem prone?

    For instance, in about 2004 or 2005 I got a Vertical Shaft Briggs, I think a 23HP IIRC, that had oil consumption problems from the get go. Is this one of the dud model engines? What are some examples of the duds? I have a Kohler Command Pro 25 Horizontal Shaft on my GH. Is that one prone to failure?

    Hope this flushes out some good information.
  8. retrodog

    retrodog LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,421

    Honestly Larry, the Kohler commands are fine minus the "kohler tick" they have where you hear the valves distinctly (if it was a kawa or briggs I would simply adjust the valves to smooth out) until you have to much oil in the reservoir. That is the pickiest motor for too much oil in the market. I have seen many failures due to older people that cant see the dip stick good. We had a lot of 19hp kai kawa issues up until the latest motors after 09. Briggs els and single cylinders were the most seen in our shop, and surprisingly the few Hondas that went out on ztrs from here in town have all came back with little issues that turned expensive fast...
    I have seen some fr Kawasaki's overheat for nothing and melt internal components within 15 hours or so. Couple of kawa fx with rods sticking out the side. I have had some 23hp vanguard issues, but so far knock on wood haven't touched a 36 or 32hp yet...
    To be honest they are all good motors, and all have issues. Make sure your dealer is certified with that motor company before you ever buy a mower from them. You would be surprised, last survey that was done said over 70% of dealers are not certified to warranty all the products they sell.
    You get the Cyclonic Briggs, FS Kawasaki, or the Kohler Command and up you are getting a motor that has an expected lifespan on paper over 2000 hours, most are 3000. You step up to the Vanguard or FX Kawasaki and you are simply getting applications built for tougher situations. You go diesel and you will never touch a gas machine again..... I cant believe that most of you guys don't have diesels. Weight is an issue for some, but they make 1500lb diesel units now. To have over half the fuel consumption, half the issues, and more than 3 times the lifecycle I just cant believe it...... I have had diesel guys buy gas units over the years cause they see so many and end up taking huge losses for calling them useless due to their fuel bills. Most of the diesels out there get under a gallon an hour, we are seeing some with .7...
  9. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Posts: 14,147

    Good post bro!.

    Most guys on here feel that the extra cost of diesel fuel, even off road diesel, and the fact that the mower will wear out before the engine, plus how long it takes in actual fuel saving to get back the initial up front cost of the diesel doesn't warranty the added up front cost. I simply like the power and sound of a diesel, and would own one if I needed one, but I have a small CUT for those times.
  10. retrodog

    retrodog LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,421

    Ok, let me give it to you like this....in the most dramatic difference I know. Xp Bad boy Outlaw fx850 Kawasaki is $9100 with the grammer seat. 35hp Cat diesel bad boy is $12999 with the seat standard. The first gets 1.8 gallons an hour average, and the latter lets say .8 average. You mow average of 700 hours a year on that machine. at $3.50 a gallon that's $2450 a year. What if you had a fleet of 4 machines? That's $10000 a year. $3899 difference up front.
    If you look at a 460 gravely versus the Kubota diesel model $3110 difference with fleet discounts... idk to me if you keep the machine 2 years, its paying for itself and will command a bigger trade in....

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