Kawasaki 31 HP or Briggs Vanguard 32 HP?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Rockysquirrel, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Rockysquirrel

    Rockysquirrel LawnSite Member
    from SE PA
    Messages: 24

    I have decided on 61" Scag Cheetah and now I have to make a choice between the Kawasaki 31 HP FX850V or the Briggs Vanguard 32 HP 543777 engine. The Vanguard is $85 less than the Kawasaki so cost is not an issue. Does anyone have any experience with these engines to be able to do a good nut and bolt comparison.
    I have always owned Kawasakis and have had no complaints. The one think I like about Kohler is the hydraulic valves that require no adjustments but neither the Vanguard or the Kawasaki have this. I have heard that Briggs can not shake a bad reputation from their other engines even though the Vanguard is made in a partnership with Daihatsu which is owned by Toyota.
    Some of the items to consider are:
    1. Parts cost and availability
    2. Ease of repair
    3. Durability and life expectancy
    4. Power and torque performance
    5. Fuel efficiency
    6. Known problems/issues
    7. Machine resale value with either engine
    Lastly, the Cheetah with the Vanguard does not have all of the EPA Phase 3 fuel tank junk since it was built before 1/1/11.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Messages: 4,358

    I would go with the kawi just on resale. I have a tt w/35hp briggs no issues but if a kawi was the same price range go that way.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,828

    I've owned lots of Kawi's and loved every one of them. I have had no serious comlaints about any of my Kohler's either to this point. I have not owned a Vanguard, but know others who do, and some swear by them, while others at them.

    I'd take a Kawi any day over either the Kohler or Briggs if given a choice. One reason is Kawi's seem to have more toque/power HP for HP over the other two engines.
  4. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    Hard call, with all the problems Kawasaki has been having with the newer vertical it makes me hesitate recommending it but I think the 31 hasn't had the problems some models have. I have two horizontal Vanguards that haven't given problems. If I went with the Kawasaki it would be for the brand name and resale, not because I thought it was a better engine. I like both. I think the new Kawasaki's all have a 3 year warranty? Not sure about what Briggs is offering. I can tell you if fuel is an issue get the Briggs. My Briggs sip fuel compared to my Kawasaki of less hp. Briggs uses 1.4gph or more in normal cutting. I have a 29 Kawasaki that uses 1.8 gph at the best and often over 2 gph.
  5. Poontamer

    Poontamer Banned
    Messages: 86

    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. Lordtimothy

    Lordtimothy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    I would go with the Vanguard if you plan on keeping the machine till it falls apart. If I remember right it uses fewer gph than the Kaw's. It is a rock solid mowing fool of a engine. If you plan on turning over your machines every so many hours go with the Kaw for resale.
  7. uwharrie

    uwharrie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Kawasaki wins on parts availability and resale value. The other items should be close.
  8. TheOctagon

    TheOctagon LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 453

    I would say parts cost and availability would be very similar between the two.

    Repairs would be similar as well

    I would give durability and life expectancy to the Vanguard. both have a 3 year warranty vanguard was first to offer it.

    Power, Torque, and Fuel efficiency all go to the Vanguard, I would run a 32vg against a 31kawi any day.

    Both seem to have a proven track record. Resale will probably go to the Kawi just because of name.

    I would go with the Vanguard just because of it not having the emissions crap on it.
  9. Razorblades

    Razorblades LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    the only reason that I might go with a kawasaki 31 over the vanguard 32 is for a possible slightly better resale, although the Vanguard engines are getting a better and better reputation every year.

    As for the the torque/HP advantage, the fuel efficiency advantage, parts costs, the Vanguard engine wins in these categories.

    IMO, safe money buys the Kaw powered mower but smart money buys the Vanguard powered mower.
  10. Rockysquirrel

    Rockysquirrel LawnSite Member
    from SE PA
    Messages: 24

    Does anyone have the power curves for the 32 hp Vanguard. I have looked all over and I could only find the power curves for their 31 hp. The Vanguard website has a link to request them but there is the following disclaimer "Power Curves Note: only available to OEM customers on a confidential basis
    and for certain limited uses.
    " I don't understand what is so secret about them especially when Kohler and Kawasaki publish theirs. If the Vanguard has better numbers, you would think they would want to publish them.

    It sounds like the Vanguard wins on everything except being associated with Briggs and Stratton name.

    Does the EPA Phase 3 junk really make a difference other than increasing the fuel system parts from about 15 parts to 30 on each tank?

Share This Page