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61" Scag w/ 23 H.P. Kohler WORTH$$ ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BeckR, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. BeckR

    BeckR LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Does anyone out there have any experience with a Scag mower with the air cooled 23 H.P. Kohler? How does this engine hold up, what type of problems have you encountered, Is it too small for the 61" deck? Lastly, what would the going cost be on a mower like this with approx. 95 hours on it? Thanks for any help out there.
  2. ToroLandscaper

    ToroLandscaper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,177

    There is a member named Audrey i would ask him becouse he had a 23Hp with a 61" deck if im not mistaken
  3. BeckR

    BeckR LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanks, will do..
  4. Audrey

    Audrey LawnSite Senior Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 570

    BeckR -

    I have a 23hp Kohler with a 52" deck. It's a 2001 Tiger. I have had no problems whatsoever with the engine. I keep it very clean, change the oil religously, and keep the air filter clean. It runs like a top.

    I don't know the year of your mower. Mine rides rough unless the gound is smooth. It's built like a tank and can take it, but my kidneys can't.

    As far as the HP, it's a joke. Unless you will have optimum conditions such as no steep hills, will usually only cut when dry, don't let the grass get too tall, and have no desire to run 3 high lift blades at the same time, you'll be okay. :laugh: I can't tell you how many times I have cursed a string of oaths as I have sat there creeping along so the mower can take it. It just grinds me having to double cut acres worth every week. Also, available mulching times are very limited. You can only take a little off, and it had better be dry. I do not fault the deck at all, I fault Scag for putting a puny little go-kart motor on a tank.


    What I have done to help compensate for the lack of intestinal fortitude is run regular lift blades on the trim side and center. I run a high lift on the discharge side. This will give you a little extra vacumn under the deck while not killing your power completely in thicker/taller stuff. I wouldn't even consider doubles.
    I had also changed the pulley on the transmission gearbox. You can either change the three on the blade spindles, or just do the one. I went about an inch or so bigger. This will allow your blades to spin faster, as it in essence made those spindle pulleys smaller. In theory, it will help you with tall wiry weeds. I feel the Advantage deck lacks in this area. Also, it will allow you to cut at a faster ground speed as your blade tips are now faster. HOWEVER, be prepared to lose your torque. If you get caught in thicker/taller/wet stuff, you will sit and slog it out. You will need to double or triple cut. What a waste of time in my book... You will also put more stress on the main belt. I broke one doing this. $50 at the dealer. :hammerhead:
    I have since gone back to the stock setup to get what little torque I had, back. I just have to cut at a slower speed. In dry times the faster blade tip speed was great. As soon as it started to rain again, I became miserable.

    Mulching leaves works great. I just used the discharge cover plate and did not isolate all three chambers. Again, the drier the better. I have Gator blades. Blowout through the front of the deck is significant in very short/thin grass. You're going to eat a lot, hope you're hungry. I gave up mulching regular grass as I could not control the conditions of the grass and the results were mixed. I discharged only, until the fall leaves.

    I can't imagine a bigger deck with this engine. Oh man, you're going to suffer. :cry: I feel strongly that this engine is underpowered for a 52" deck. I kick myself for not going to the 27hp when I ordered it in 2001. IMO, I don't believe that I would have faired much better with that engine either. I still don't think it would have been enough. Stupid engineers. Give the darn thing some guts! :mad: Why they fool around and don't just go right to 30hp or so is beyond me. At least give me the OPTION to go there. What am I supposed to do with 23hp? Chase the kids?
    And they went to school to figure this stuff out? Boneheads...

    About a month ago I purchased a new Tiger. 35hp and 61" deck. Geez Louise! It's night and day! I haven't found anything that I can not cut well, or fast. I can't wait to catch that first live rabbit. I can not bog this motor no matter how hard I try. I have even piled clippings on top of tall thick grass and it didn't even faze it at full speed. I still don't know this machine's limitations. :)
    The new Tiger will also hold hills much better than the old. I wouldn't even think of taking the old one where the 2006 machine can go. I am positive it will flip. I really can't say enough good things about the new Tiger. The new deck is simply outstanding. I can only get it to clump by cutting in reverse. :laugh:

    I like my old Tiger, but less and less every day. What I see happening is I will wait until I see a HP increase with a Scag 52" deck, then I'll off the 2001 and buy another new Tiger/Wildcat. I don't want two 61" decks, and I will not fool around with a dinky motor some engineer slapped on there to meet a price point.

    As far as what the machine in question is worth, I'm not sure. I am GUESSING.....4K?? It's still a Tiger, with no hours. If you can pick it up for a a suitable price, can you afford an engine swap? How old is the machine? Is it in good shape? You can sell the 23 Kohler to recoup some of the cost of a swap.

  5. BeckR

    BeckR LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9


    Excellent post and thanks for the informative reply. That made up my mind real quick. I'll keep shopping until I find a bigger motor for the deck size.
  6. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    If in doubt always get more hp.
  7. Audrey

    Audrey LawnSite Senior Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 570


    Whoops..... this should read 25hp. There was no 27 offering for a 52" in 2001.

    My mind must have been stuck in the current shopping mode... :dizzy:

    BeckR - If the machine is in great shape and you can pick it up at a super price, maybe it will still serve your needs with an engine swap. I would imagine that you can't go too extreme, as the pumps and everything else are proportional to the engine HP.

  8. BeckR

    BeckR LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanks again Audrey.. I'll make an offer and see what happens. That wouldn't be a bad idea. Practically brand new condition.

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