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Repair or replace my Gravely 36" PRO? Is this too much?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lithnights, May 10, 2007.

  1. lithnights

    lithnights LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    I just discovered this site and I love it. You all seem to really know your stuff so I'm hoping you can help me out with my issue!

    I am a homeowner with 1/2 acre flat corner property with a couple trees/beds.

    4 years ago I bought a used Gravely 36 for $1000 from a local dealer and have loved it. I've been through 1 belt but that's the only repair outside of basic maintenance.

    I went to start it up last month and it wouldn't start. I always change the oil, blades, air/oil/fulel filters, empty gas etc as required so I was confused. I did what I could to fix it but ended up hauling it to my local dealer (honest place). They haven't given me an estimate yet but they did say it sounded like a blown valve. :dizzy:

    I do have the money budgeted to spend about $3K on a replacement mower but I wasn't planning on getting one for another year or two.

    My question is... no matter what the problem is, how much is too much to spend to fix my Gravely that I paid $1000 four years ago? i.e. when is it a replace vs. repair? $200 in repairs? $500? It doesn't have an hours counter so I don't know how old it truly is.

    Please help?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. stuffdeer

    stuffdeer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,617

    Well, Depending on what engine it is, you should be able to get a new engine for less then 500.
  3. lithnights

    lithnights LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    It's a Kawasaki FB460V 12.5 HP .....So are you saying it would be 500 for just the engine or engine and labor?

    So with that said, would it be worth getting a new engine for that price? I imagine mowers are similar to a car in that the engine is the most expensive repair? I just don't want to get into a situation where this mower is nickel and diming me...

  4. harryhomeowner

    harryhomeowner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 140

    Why not just sell it on Craigslist.org, take the $$$, add it to your seed money and buy a newer mower?
  5. heybruck34

    heybruck34 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 300

    I doubt you can get a new Kawi 12.5 for under 500 installed. I haven't priced just the engines in a while but I'd have to think 5-600 for parts plus $100 for installation.

    What else can go wrong with your current mower? Transmission? Spindles? Look at the overall condition (cracked welds, wallowed out bolt holes, etc) and decide if now is the time to buy new. You have the money budgeted- and you see the cost of your $1000 investment- $250 a year cost to you. That's not bad at all. There are some crappy riding lawnmowers that cost almost 1000 and don't last 4 years!

    I'm a homeowner as well with a Scag 48. I have $1200 in mine and have used it 5 years but several welds are cracking and my mower is a 4 digit serial number. So it's OLD. Engine is strong but I'm budgeting for the replacement just like you...

    Good luck in your decision. Let us know what you decide.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I'd say $800'ish would be a good upper limit for starters, just kinda an educated guess, but... I have a '98 Toro proline 48" that I've had since '03, also paid $1000 for it and just last year I replaced transmission and engine (total cost about $1000 too) but I know I'll get another 3-4 years out of it, so you kinda balance one with the other (yup, a new one's 3g).

    If you can get the model and serial number, that might help narrow down the age, most commercial-grade mowers are designed to last 10-15 years and that I always consider as well. I'd say an easy $500, if you've really had no problems and it looks like it will keep running...

    Also consider Kohler engines, there might be a difference of some $100's between the kawa and the kohler, both are excellent engines. But a valve problem is simple, usually only involves taking off the cover, might run you 1-200 or so...
  7. MTR999

    MTR999 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 145

    12.5 kawi is very durable but not much of punch in it, it is only single cylinder, you need v twin. I'd rather shop for a better used wb instead of putting more money in 12.5.
  8. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Messages: 1,657

    You're a perfect candidate for a http://www.betteroutdoorproducts.com/
    If you search for them here you'll find almost nobody that owns one has a bad thing to say (except that the step saver is on back order for weeks).
  9. lithnights

    lithnights LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    Wow, thanks for all of the replies..

    stuffdeer, I'm not even sure it is going to need a new mower, they simply mentioned a blown valve. If it does require a new engine, I will likely cut my losses and start looking for a new mower.

    Harryhomeowner, what you suggest is exactly one of my options. I'm just trying to figure out if I do as you suggest (sell and buy a new one) or fix it.

    heybruck34, the rest of the mower looks to be in pretty good shape from what I can see. You're right that $250 a year isn't a bad buy.. I'm just hoping I can scrape another couple years if I can..depends on the prognosis and estimated charges to fix.

    topsites, what you suggest about just the blown valve is what I'm hoping. I'm hoping it is simply a $100-200 job. That I can deal with.

    MTR99, what's wrong with a 1 cylinder? Do you all think I need more than that for my 1/2 acre lawn? What is the advantage of getting more than 1 cylinder? I can only go so fast walking behind it, right? Or does the extra power make for better cutting?

    Vikings, you read my mind. I have already searched this site for Quick 36.. I've actually read dozens of postings. :) If it comes to getting new, I will likely look that way. Or a Quick 44. If I do, you'll be getting a couple more questions from me about the different types I saw on their site. :laugh:

    Thanks all!!!!
  10. lithnights

    lithnights LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    Well the verdict is in and it's not pretty. The mechanic said that the valve was not replaceable (due to the extreme heat that built up thanks to the grass/paper nest the mice built) and that I was looking at a new engine (795 plus 200 labor) or a new mower. He advised that it may not be a great idea to put 1,000 into my 10 year old mower when I could get a brand new 36 Gravely for 2,500.

    So now I have to make a mower decision... although I think I know what I am going to get since I have been assuming the worst and thus researching the last couple weeks.

    I will post a separate thread to get feedback on my choices...

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