Scag Tiger Cub, rebuild or buy another mower

RDubbs

LawnSite Member
Location
York, PA
I am working on purchasing my grandparents small farm (~32 acres) it has about 2.5-3 acres of yard around the house that I was planning to mow with the tiger cub that the family was planning to leave with the farm. For the remaining acreage that would need the occasional mowing I was planning to get a compact tractor and a bush hog just to keep it managed. Now that you have my intended use, here's my question:

The Scag is a 2003 tiger cub with a 61" deck, STC61A-25KA, with a 25hp kawasaki ~1100 hours on the machine the machine has been kept inside anytime not in use an apart from being dirty looks like its in really good shape. I took it in to a local dealer to be looked at, just to have them recommend any concerns they saw. They came back with a pretty long/costly list of concerns. engine: new carburetor/intake (one cylinder doesn't work at idle), engine needs pulled and the sump resealed (pretty bad oil leak, I knew about this), oil cooler is damaged and should be replaced. Hydraulics: both hydro pumps are leaking and should be replaced (said they don't recommend rebuilding and provide no guarantee if they rebuild them). PTO: clutch needs to be replaced (not sure about this one, I guess its weak/wore out...). All in all between parts and labor we're talking an estimated $3700.

Here comes my questions, should I rebuild this machine? Is it worth rebuilding it over buying a new machine? For the engine specifically, if I'm going to rebuild the mower, should I actually just buy a new engine entirely, what's everyone's experience with these Kawasaki motors, would you expect it to last another 1500 hours?

***Notes to consider for my questions: I am very mechanically inclined and not afraid to try to rebuild anything... were I not a new father and trying to buy and renovate this farm and get my house ready for sale, it would be a little easier for me to just say, "yup, looks like I have another project..." but its going to be tough for me to make time to work on this, so I want to be sure its worth it. Also, when I say buy a new mower, I'd be talking about spending ~$6k for something like a Spartan not a new Scag, I don't have the funds for that, the problem I see with that is from what I understand those mowers use hydrostatic transmissions instead of pumps and motors like the Scag and probably won't hold up as long...

I am very much leaning towards rebuilding this machine as I'm expecting that over the next 18-20 years I'm probably going to only put another 1500 hours on it because that's all it has now and it'll be doing the same thing its been doing...

Sorry for the long read but wanted to try to give as much info as I could.

Thank you for any input thoughts y'all can give.
 

dbshelton

LawnSite Member
Location
Kountze,Texas
I am sure no one may agree with me but I bought a 25hp Briggs Commercial Turf for about $850 and installed it on my Dixie Chopper several years ago. I am happy with no problems so far. Run about 60hrs/year.
 

AlohaMowing

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Hilo, HI
My initial thought is to be skeptical of the dealer's assessment.

it has about 2.5-3 acres of yard around the house that I was planning to mow with the tiger cub that the family was planning to leave with the farm. For the remaining acreage that would need the occasional mowing I was planning to get a compact tractor and a bush hog just to keep it managed.

You do not need a Tiger Cub to mow 3 acres of lawn. Nice to have, sure, but a lesser machine would probably be fine. But the remaining portion might warrant some further thought. No doubt there is some of it that will call for a brush hog. But I only use my brush hog where I absolutely have to because I can cover 2 to 3 much land per hour with my Turf Tiger than with the brush hog. What is being done with the 28+/- acres that are not lawn? Crops? Pasture? Orchard? Forest? Fallow land?

If the frame is solid and rust minimal, this TC should be worth repairing. But the overall plan for the farm would influence decision.
 
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RDubbs

LawnSite Member
Location
York, PA
I am sure no one may agree with me but I bought a 25hp Briggs Commercial Turf for about $850 and installed it on my Dixie Chopper several years ago. I am happy with no problems so far. Run about 60hrs/year.

I have considered this option as there are much less expensive B&S 25hp engine options than a replacement Kawasaki. What did you do for an exhaust? most replacements don't have exhaust. Did you fab up something yourself?
 
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RDubbs

LawnSite Member
Location
York, PA
So I got off early today and picked up the mower from the dealer and while I was there had a chance to discuss further with the technician. Several of the things sound to me like they are not as bad as was originally presented to me.

Engine: oil leak could be primarily from the oil cooler that is damaged and should be replaced. The carburetor concern could be as little as the intake gasket or possibly a rebuild.

Hydro: the pumps are leaking but they aren't weak. He said if it was his mower he'd just keep an eye on the fluid for now.

PTO: clutch is noisy could possibly be rebuilt because it seems like it's just a bearing issue.

Apparently there are also a few spindles that are concerning on the deck.

At this point I'm leaning towards replacing the oil cooler and checking out the carburetor/intake and changing the fluids and looking into rebuilding the PTO and possibly replacing some spindles of they seem to need it.
 

Youngandfree

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
VA
So I got off early today and picked up the mower from the dealer and while I was there had a chance to discuss further with the technician. Several of the things sound to me like they are not as bad as was originally presented to me.

Engine: oil leak could be primarily from the oil cooler that is damaged and should be replaced. The carburetor concern could be as little as the intake gasket or possibly a rebuild.

Hydro: the pumps are leaking but they aren't weak. He said if it was his mower he'd just keep an eye on the fluid for now.

PTO: clutch is noisy could possibly be rebuilt because it seems like it's just a bearing issue.

Apparently there are also a few spindles that are concerning on the deck.

At this point I'm leaning towards replacing the oil cooler and checking out the carburetor/intake and changing the fluids and looking into rebuilding the PTO and possibly replacing some spindles of they seem to need it.
The PTO and spindles should be fairly easy replacement.
 

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