Honda Comercial Mowers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    What a day yesterday was for me. I own 15 Honda Commercial Mowers, all the same model, AND I have over $3,000 worth of Honda parts on hand.

    I am just absolultely sick and tired of these coming in broke down. Last week, while I was on the phone with my local dealer, I asked him who else besides me had fleets of employees running around without them using Hondas. He mentioned one company and it just happens I know this guy.

    So, yesterday morning, I call this guy and leave a message. He returned my call and he is the ONLY guy I know who has run BOTH the Honda and the Toros commercially with employees and can accurately compare the two.

    He HATES Honda. He's in the process of ditching them and going back to Toros.

    So, I'm sitting here thinking, between my mowers and my parts on hand, I've got nearly $21,000 worth of investment that I will completely lose if I make the decision to switch to Toro. I sure as heck don't want to be trying to keep spare parts on hand for two separate machines.

    Anyway, yesterday, I go in for my vasectomy and the Doctor's orders are to avoid labor for 48 hours and "take it easy". So guess what happens yesterday? Not one but TWO Hondas come in "this machine no function" within hours of me getting home. I haven't had time to fix my spares, but I can have two of the spares up and running in under 5 minutes.

    So, I'm out in my driveway working with wrenches, against doctor's orders, within hours of my procedure. Got them fixed, but My God these things SUCK!

    Finally, around 8:00pm my last driver checks in. He drops the gate of the trailer...Oh My God...not another one. Well, this driver has had it with Honda too. The transmission on his machine was slow...a problem he's encountered with my Honda's all season and he made the executive decision, without even talking to me, to go to a local dealer I don't even use and HE shelled out nearly $1,200 for a Toro. He just doesn't want to F*** around with my Hondas anymore.

    As he was leaving, he asks me to reimburse him for this purchase. I told him I will make that decision later this winter. If I decide to make the switch to Toro this winter AND I decide to buy the model he's purchased, I'll gladly reimburse him. Otherwise, it's his mower when the season ends. If that happens, I'll offer him a partial "lease" payment on this thing since my Honda isn't being used.

    What a mess.

    Lesson here: DON'T BUY HONDA COMMERCIAL MOWERS! THEY SUCK!

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  2. saw man

    saw man LawnSite Bronze Member
    from utah
    Posts: 1,021

    All personal opinion. I have had just the opposite experience with the Hondas and Toros.
     
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Saw man,

    Here are the bullet points of my decision:

    The hydro transmission: I've replaced 3 of these in the past and I have two that need to be replaced now. Each transmission is $300, plus my labor to install. Toro doesn't have a hydro tranny to fail.

    The blade clutch: When this fails, it's $100 worth of parts and I'm not even sure I'm replacing all the parts that NEED to be replaced. Granted, these last a LONG time, but they do wear out. Toro doesn't have this on their machine, so with Toro, I know it's a non issue.

    The wheel engagements: There is a dust shield that goes on the axle and it's supposed to protect the "sprocket" that engages the wheel when you push the lever forward. Once this dust shield fails, the sprocket gets dirty and rusty, the springs no longer push the arms out. I am replacing the entire wheel assembly when I replace these, along with the dust shield...all told, around $100 for both sides of the mower. The MAJOR problem is, these things only last about 1/2 a season at 140 lawns per week, if that. If the back tires are run through swampy mud, they can fail within days.

    Access to fail parts: This a HUGE one. On the Honda, if you want to replace the trans cable, the transmission, the clutch cable or the drive shaft, you have to remove and re-install the plate underneath. There are 9 bolts on this. Three of them have nuts on the opposite side and six of them thread diretly into the object behind. The real killer is, ONE of these bolts is completely inaccessible. It's right under the axle and I've tried everything I can think of in terms of tools...you can only turn this M'r F'r about 1/8 of a turn at a time. It's a 10 minute ordeal to get this bolt out and then another 10 minutes of patience to re-install it. I udnerstand a trans cable can be installed in 10 minutes on the Toro. On the Honda, it's a minimum of one hour for someone with TONS of experience. My first time was 3 hours I think. Additionally, when you go to re-install the plate, the odds of a misthread are extremely high if you don't go slow and really take your time and be patient.

    SLOW: Did I say slow? Yes. SLOW. When these f'ing transmissions start to fail, they get slow. Sometimes the cable is slightly out of adjustment, or it may be a bad tranny. Either way, when this happens, the first thing a worker in the field is tempted to do is try to ramp the engine RPMS' to get the machine to have a faster ground speed. A few weeks of that and then you have burned up engine too weak to mow grass and you're replacing the engine too.

    The Honda's just aren't suited for commercial use. They're horrible. They will not last an entire season without need for expensive repair (over $100 worth of parts on a single breakdown). In fact, just as I was typing this, another worker called, and I've got to get a spare up and running right f'n now.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  4. TSG

    TSG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 444

    Honda no longer makes their commercial mower
    so Toro all the way
     
  5. saw man

    saw man LawnSite Bronze Member
    from utah
    Posts: 1,021

    Toro does have a blade break and they do have a pulley that the bearings wear out. The cover for this also collects grass and will give you problems on blade engagement.

    I have no idea why you are replaceing Hydro trannys. This is something that doesnt fail very often, I think you may be doing something wrong.

    Not sure about a sprocket on the Honda, unless you are talking about the ratchet assembly. Those are $19 for each side. Toro has the same issue with their drive, you will be replaceing keys and thrust washers. It wont be as expensive but you will have same issues.

    I really believe that your crew is beating the $hit out of your equipment and you will have problems no matter what you buy. I was doing well over 200 lawns a week with the Hondas and never had problems like you are.
     
  6. saw man

    saw man LawnSite Bronze Member
    from utah
    Posts: 1,021

    Yes they do. Who ever told you that is lieing.
     
  7. TSG

    TSG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 444

    I was at my dealer last month.
    I wanted to purchase a commercial 21.
    The only ones available were last years that other dealers were not
    willing to part with.
    He also looked in his dealer manual and said it was discontinued.
    If he was lying or ignorant, they lost 400.00
     
  8. saw man

    saw man LawnSite Bronze Member
    from utah
    Posts: 1,021

    I have new ones in boxes. They also have a K4 model out which is the newest of the bunch. I sell them for $999
     
  9. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Saw man, when you replace that "ratchet", whatever you want to call it, it's the round thing inside the wheel with two spring loaded arms that engage the wheel assembly in one direction...

    I was replacing only this rachet last year as soon as I started making my own repairs. They were coming back in within weeks. You have to replace the dust sheild too. It's about $9.00. Plus, you either have to clean all the little washers and the inside of the wheel/tire assembly or you have to replace them. To clean these things out well, and get all the rust and dirt out, you're probably looking at around an hour. If you don't get them clean, they'll jam again in no time. I've decided to replace EVERYTHING in that chamber, so I'm replacing 3 washer, the roller (pin), the ratchet, the dust shield and the wheel/tire assembly. All told, around $55 per side, $110 per machine, total.
     
  10. S man

    S man LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,562

    Dfw, why not switch to w/bs or 34" ztrs. The exmark phazer does real well on my "push" mower yards.
     

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