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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by Exact Rototilling, Mar 14, 2013.
Four years ago???
3 years + got it when they first came out.
Nice deal Rob! I've been shopping around Raleigh here and I'm not getting a lot of luck on the whole discount thing.... I'd snap that price up w/ the electric start if I had the chance. I'm also wanting to pay w/ Amex to extend the warranty an extra year, but am OK w/ adding some $$ into the final price to cover the dealer's AMEX fees. I've just started talking price so hopefully someone will be willing to deal locally here. Trying to avoid buying at a big box store - rather stick w/ a local dealer.
I'd like to thank everyone on this site for the detailed comments and reviews that have been left re: the Toro Timemaster 30. A few weeks ago my Honda HRX217HYA began having some transmission issues. I took it in for a diagnosis and after an amazing series of faux pas' from the repair facility (a topic for another post) I ended up realizing it was going to need replacement because I didn't want to spend the $$ for a transmission repair. I've been very happy with the Honda and prior to that I had an Ariens self propelled mower for 14 years, so it's been almost 25 years with 2 mowers (as a homeowner, not commercial) and I was a little wary about what to buy.
I knew I would be happy with another Honda, but the promise of a wider cut and reduced mowing time seemed like a big draw to me. I have approx 15K sq. ft. of lawn. I have no idea if that is considered small/med/large, but doing it with the 21" Honda including running the blower and any minor trimming was taking me at least 2 to 2.25 hours it seemed. Grass is tall fescue (Raleigh, NC area). I have never owned or used a Toro mower. During high school, I worked with a commercial landscape firm and we did a fair amount of mowing for home and commercial sites, but this was many years ago (late 70's and early 80's) before there were such specialized machines available for this game.
I started my research by reading everything on here related to the Timemaster. Many of the comments about power and strength on hills were concerning, but my yard only has small hills so I wasn't too worried. I then stopped by a local dealer and asked if I could 'test drive' one across the parking lot to get a feel for the Personal Pace system. That seemed to go OK and I started shopping for price. There were several Toro dealers in the area (as well as multiple hardware stores that sell them) so I submitted requests for pricing to the two largest dealers. I was pretty disappointed that they came back with only minor reductions off of the typical list price ($999). One of the dealers offered to sell it for $975 but even when I stopped by and chatted with them they were not willing to do any better on pricing.
So - I ended up going to Home Depot (save the negative comments, I tried dealing with local dealers first). HD was willing to do a price match + additional 10% off, so I ended up paying $877.50 + tax. Add in HD's standard 30 day return period for gasoline powered equipment, and I felt like I was in nice shape with a low risk purchase. My reasoning was that if I ended up disliking it, I can take it back and buy another Honda. The mower was simple to unbox and prep for operation. Basically, just unfold the handle, lock into place, and snap the blade brake clutch contrl into place. Add oil, gas, crank it, and start mowing. Very simple! It took me a bit to get used to the personal pace system, but I think I am going to like it. I also like the speed of the mower. Very quick compared to the Honda. It has a few minor idiosyncrasies, but then again I think that is the case with most power equipment!
I can definitely tell a difference in time spent mowing. I mow approx 15,000 sq feet of fescue. I have no idea if you guys consider that 'small', 'medium', or 'large' for a push mower (feel free to give me your opinion!), but I know that with the 21" Honda, it was taking me roughly 2 to 2.25 hours on avg. After three sessions with the Toro, it's looking like I am going to be in the 1.25 - 1.5 hour range. That's a big difference and is exactly what I was hoping for!
I'll close this review out w/ various thoughts on the mower in terms of PROS/CONS, then post a few pictures comparing to the Honda HRX217.
## Definitely faster ground speed at top speed as compared to the Honda. I would have to almost jog to keep up with it at full bore.
## Cutting width (duh!)
## Engine Power - I find that the mower is sufficiently powered for my purposes. I am mowing tall fescue in NC at about 3.75"
## Personal Pace system
## Angle and location of the starter cord make cranking the mower a bit awkward. It needs to be an additional 45 degrees clockwise. Starter cord also seems unusually long (at least compared to my prior mower). I wish it had a mounting loop to raise it up to the handle area (again, similar to how Honda mowers are set up).
## Fuel tank size is really small
## As other posters have noted (and as I confirmed today), when it runs out of gas, you get NO warning! You are mowing, then you aren't - motor simply shuts down with no notice.
## Grass Catcher attachment/detachment process seems awkward. You cannot easily pull the bag upwards through the handlebar area, so you are left doing this weird action to detach it, then slide it backwards so you can get enough leverage to pick it up.
## Owner's Manual could be a bit more detailed - particularly the B&S engine manual.
Even though my CONS outnumber my PROS, I think I will be happy with the mower. I need to use it a few more times to be sure but since I just overseeded the lawn today, it's going to be a few weeks before I mow again.
Thanks again for everyone's input, and here are a few pictures with descriptions following:
Timemaster as compared to the Honda HRX217
Overhead view of both units head to head.
Side by side view of both units.
Bag comparison - although it is hard to tell in this picture, the bag on the Timemaster is definitely larger than the bag on the Honda
Hour/Tach mounting (used guide posted by Oaknut in different thread)
Tach reading with blades engaged. May need to be adjusted a bit.
It took me a good while to get used to PP. But, now, it's like second-nature. I really like the system.
I think, some of the issue is no credibility with who you're trying to buy a mower from. If you had some recognition, they'd probably be more willing to work with you. When you choose the "biggest" and you're a homeowner, you become "just some guy". All three dealers I buy from have 5 employees, or less. All the owners/employees know me. My Toro dealer is ~45 minutes away and I could buy closer. But, they're really good to me and I'm loyal to them for it. If I'm there for a part, I usually buy expendables while I'm there. Yes, I could go to a box store and get them cheaper. But, it helps the dealer's bottom line and he recognizes my support of his shop. Therefore, he's quick to offer all he can. As mentioned elsewhere, I take them donuts or pizza when I'm in there......they got donuts, yesterday.
I have no problem pitting big retailers against each other. I used Sears' sale ad at Lowe's and got the same match, minus 10%. But, I'd never do that to a private entity. I want to have a working relationship with the most important people in the support of my business; mower dealers. Which brings up the pros/cons of your purchase from HD. You'll need dealer support, somewhere down the line. To me, paying the extra $100 would've been worth the beginning of a future relationship with a dealership. The payoff is not having a mower forever sitting in the shop's storage area, waiting to get worked on, because you didn't buy it from them.
I mow some pretty big places with my 30". I can't imagine using a 21"/22" on them. The finish of the 30" is so much nicer, I don't bother with the 60" on some. I had one customer question just that. I explained they pay for a quality of finish and the 30" does a better job, with that. When I pointed out how much nicer their yard looked than the neighbor's ZTR-mowed yard, they understood.
Electric start is so nice! Haha.
You do realize the handle raises up, straight vertical, right? That allows uninhibited access to the bag.
I use the 30" to bag de-thatch jobs. I don't find the bag situation to be inconvenient at all, with the handle down. I think, it's whatever you're used to.
I think, you will be, too. Seems the only unhappy owners are those who expect WB performance from a push mower.
Yep. Turn it up. Undoubtedly, you saw my RPM post over in the tach thread.
I took 4" off a tall fescue yard, last night, and the mower didn't bog a bit. If you typically mow at "X" speed and you have the RPM cranked up, you're going to get better cut performance with the increased airflow through the deck and increased blade tip speed. You'll have less bogging, since the mower is operating at its peak HP. It does make a huge difference, on this mower.
Well, the TimeMaster transmission has started leaking oil. I just got a second drive pulley that'll need replaced. Now, I'll need to get a seal kit, as well. Argh!
I have to agree with your pros/cons for the most part.
Like all of the "cons" I have with the mower, they are all more or less "annoyances" than true "negatives".
I absolutely agree about the angle of the pull cord. It's a minor thing and while not really an issue at all, it bugged me. I assume the engine was/is used on other applications and not specifically designed for this mower which would explain the weird angle.
Here's a simple solution for the pull cord angle.
Grab a ratchet and socket and remove teh three nuts that hold on the pull cord assembly.
Turn it and align the OTHER holes with the mounting bolts.
Reapply the nuts and tighten.
Awkward pull angle. To pull cord out in line with the way it exits the housing you essentially need to be standing where the handle is.
Pull that cover!
OK, the sticker is crooked now, but the handle/cord are better suited for pulling from the side of the mower...
Hey, that's better! Pulls straight out instead of off at an angle!
I was at the dealer this morning and seen this unit for the first time. At $1300 this unit should be in the mix with 30" units. Deck height easy and you get help turning. They say a couple big commerical guys are running them with no complaints. Anybody know about how it mows?
I seen someone with the same machine other day here in North Austin, wanna know what they were doing with it?
Turning wrenches. Had the whole thing apart. I didn't know the World Lawns were coming with the Honda's now though!
Well - I guess that's another reason to read this forum! I definitely realized that the handle adjusts to vertical - I have it stored that way right now in my storage building, but I just never thought about that as a step to use when removing the bag for emptying.