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Looking for another mower could this be it?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Varsity L&G, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. Varsity L&G

    Varsity L&G LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 418

    Does the price look right? I know it has to be a belt drive.

    Toro Walk Behind Mower, 48 cut, 15hp, one owner, 5 years old. $600.

    What should the hours be?
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I have two of them, they're the model 30197 fixed deck gear-drive 15hp Kohler, excellent mower for the money but you need to look at it closely.
    Specifically, check the spindles by disengaging the blade belt, lift and prop the front end on your knee while you attempt to wobble the blades - ANY blade that wobbles means a worn bearing and it's 50 dollars per axle and they are a PITA to replace so figure $100-$150 per blade.
    ... For $600 if the whole mower is in good shape AND all 3 bearings need replacing, it's still a good deal... When I bought my '98 two years ago it was 5 years old, I paid $1,000 for it thou it did come with a velke AND a bagger AND it was in real good condition, one set of bearings after another went, they last about 1-2 years so it is expected and it's a Toro, they don't come cheap.
    I mean, Toro rules! You can even download the owner's manual from toro.com in pdf format and print it out and take it to Staples / Office Max and they will bind it into a booklet for you for like 5 bucks.
    Do this:
    - Put lever in choke position and see if it start with a half-arsed pull (it should, I can normally start my Kohler with my left hand).
    - Run it up to WOT and engage the blades - It SHOULD sound like a jet-powered industrial vacuum cleaner, I mean it's a real serious bad-azz sound, once you hear a 48" 30197 in good condition running, the sound is literally the sound of the fat lady singing 'the bs is over'
    - Put it in 5th gear and see if you can walk it at full speed. If you can NOT walk it without breaking stride, that is a +, you really need a velke to operate these fast machines.
    - Look for cracks in the deck. A 5-year old should not have any. If it does, they better be minor (less than 2-3 inches long) and it is a sign you have a year or two left... The mower will last LONG beyond this time but all the ooomph is gone out of it. No cracks means you have at LEAST 2 years.
    - See if you can curb-jump it. By this I mean drive it off a curb while HOLDING the front in the air, do not let the front drop before the rear comes down, the idea is to let it land on all 4 tires - It SHOULD land solid as a tank, very little to no clatter and a firm feel, perhaps a bounce but certainly if the mower is in bad shape you will know it - A fixed deck is all one piece, there should be no moving parts of the frame.
    - Not a sure-fire indicator but just for kicks, see if you can feel a snickety-snick feel while changing gears, both my mowers 'snick' nicely into every gear but if they don't do it, it's not necessarily bad thou the transmission may need a flush / fill ALSO it could just be the handle is bent a bit and rubbing, again no big deal.

    Yeah. the 30197 is a bad azz mower, for $600 I'd likely pick one up even if it was in bad shape, at least as a spare or for parts (the Kohler is a thousand-dollar engine when new, basically).

    Things NOT to worry about:
    - The blade belt comes off the pulleys when you disengage it. Unfortunately, unless it's a newer model with the one-belt design, this is normal (well it's a design flaw but it's the way it is).
    - At the bottom of the manual blade-engage lever, where it meets the transmission axle, it is worn: This is also normal and apparently never wears enough to cause a serious threat, they all do this.
    - If it sounds like a diesel when you first start it, the Kohler has self-adjusting valves which unseat themselves when the engine sits for a bit thus you hear the tell-tale dieseling of what sounds like low oil or a serious engine problem but if it does this, letting the engine run for 5, 10 or 20 minutes should quiet it down and this IS normal.
    - If it blows a bit of blue smoke when you first start it, SOMETIMES this is normal.
  3. LawnBrother

    LawnBrother LawnSite Senior Member
    from SW Ohio
    Posts: 867

    IMO Topsites generally gives sound advice regarding the toro wb's, and I would check all the items he mentioned. I would like to add that it is a good idea to listen for valve lifter noise coming from the engine; it would sound like a
    "tapping" noise and it is a sign that the lifters are getting worn, but if it is not too bad they might still last a while but keep in mind that a repair might be looming. That might be the "diesel" noise topsites is talking about, and if you do hear this sound, change out the oil with Motorcraft 10W-30 Heavy Duty Diesel oil and they should quiet down. With the price being as low as it is I am sure it has a ton of hours on it, so if you decide to buy it know that you will most likely be replacing a lot of little parts like springs and stuff as you go. With that said, if it feels good do it, toro WB's are great machines from my experience with them; they give a really nice cut and are rugged as hell. I would buy one for $600 even if I thought it only had a couple of good years left in it, as it will save you a lot of time and probably make you a lot of money. Good luck.
  4. Varsity L&G

    Varsity L&G LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 418

    I decided on another one I found. Sounded really good on the phone and was better after seeing it. 1.5 hour drive to get it though.

    Thanks Topsites :waving:

    So here it is.

    I think it is a floating deck. 44/14 #30175

    owned by a bed and breakfast that has 1.5 acres of grass.

    Used once a week since new.

    New deck and spindles last year. All records, manuals, and service book with it. Just replaced last year the clutch and drive belt. I noticed a nick in the deck belt after bringing it home. no big deal. Everything works great on it. mowed two yards so far after bringing it home, just had to try it out. I can not keep up with it in 4th. Cuts good, has gators and a spare set plus one extra blade.

    Paid 750$

    Here is a pic

  5. Varsity L&G

    Varsity L&G LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 418

    another view

  6. Varsity L&G

    Varsity L&G LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 418

    Last one..

  7. Varsity L&G

    Varsity L&G LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 418

    Those with exp. with these mowers.

    Could you tell me what I should get for spares like belts and such and if possible a rough cost of each?

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