Scag V Ride 2, 52", Vanguard EFI 37 - black smoke and dead on the second day of cutting.

curtiscowher

LawnSite Member
Location
Pennsylvania
Background:
Over the past few years, my brother and I have grown our lawn care business. So much so that for next season, we decided to make a huge investment - a stand on mower. Decided on the scag Vride after countless acclaimed reviews. I read up on the Vanguard engines and they seemed decent, many accounts speaking to their reliability. I thought the extra HP would come in handy on same thicker cuts. So I decided to go with the vanguard. Knowing it was briggs and straton's commercial line, I expected little to no issues.

Current Thoughts/Situation:
Day one of cutting went flawlessly, it was amazing. So much time saved with the new machine. I was absolutely thrilled.

Day two of cutting was a ******* nightmare. The amount of money we invested into this machine suddenly vaporized along with the black smoke and dead engine on the property. I swear I almost had a heart attack when this machine blew up. Engine sputtered a few times, started smoking, flame out the exhaust, and stops dead almost immediately afterwards. We called the dealer and they towed it out to their warehouse. It went in on Saturday (9/4) but the dealership is closed saturday through monday. Today is Tuesday; I am hoping we will hear some feedback or origin of the issue. I hope that it is something very obvious, and something that can be fixed without having a fear in mind that it will happen again.

It is now in my experience to stay far away from Vanguard engines. Go with Kawasaki, the extra HP was overkill anyway. If you guys have any advice or feedback I'd love to hear it. I'm really disappointed, regretful, and bummed out right now from our situation. Real turn of unfortunate events for us:/
 

Derwood

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
SE Wisconsin
I understand that sinking feeling you described. But if you bought it new from the dealer (sounds like you did from what you wrote) then it’s 100% covered under warranty. I would think at the very least, the dealer would be lending you a machine to keep you rocking until a new engine arrived. Honestly (assuming neither you nor your bro did anything wrong) I wouldn’t be surprised if he just gave you a new machine.
 
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curtiscowher

LawnSite Member
Location
Pennsylvania
I understand that sinking feeling you described. But if you bought it new from the dealer (sounds like you did from what you wrote) then it’s 100% covered under warranty. I would think at the very least, the dealer would be lending you a machine to keep you rocking until a new engine arrived. Honestly (assuming neither you nor your bro did anything wrong) I wouldn’t be surprised if he just gave you a new machine.
he did! I forgot to mention that. While it is in the shop, he lended us a tigercat 52", I must say i definitely prefer the stand on but this will do fine as long as we wait!
 

Gus McGee

LawnSite Senior Member
The extra hp may or may not be overkill depending on what you are cutting. For 60" mowers I find 26 HP to be sufficient if cutting well maintained lawns. Our 33 hp is the go to machine for cutting super juiced properties or first cut jungles.

It definitely sucks when new machines experience problems. Fortunately it is still under warranty and if your dealer is competent the problem should be resolved.

I have several machines that have Vanguard engines and I honestly have not had bad experiences with them. One bad experience shouldn't sour you toward the entire brand or that machine. If that machine gives you repeated problems going forward then maybe wanting to stay away from Vanguard would make sense.
 

tundraman

LawnSite Bronze Member
I am glad I have the Kawasaki 1000 EFI with 38.5 hp on my Gravely 672. Originally I wanted the Briggs but the new Kawasaki seems to be a great motor so far. Their older DFI was a nightmare. Does your Briggs have the oil guard system?
 
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curtiscowher

LawnSite Member
Location
Pennsylvania
Did you ever check the oil?
Yes. Dealer added oil before giving us the mower, but they did not put quite enough in so we added some SAE30 oil. We advised the dealer of this when he came to tow it out, and said it should not have been any problem. Said it can take a wide variety of oil. Wouldn't black smoke signal an EFI issue? I think grey/white smoke is usually related to oil
 
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curtiscowher

LawnSite Member
Location
Pennsylvania
I am glad I have the Kawasaki 1000 EFI with 38.5 hp on my Gravely 672. Originally I wanted the Briggs but the new Kawasaki seems to be a great motor so far. Their older DFI was a nightmare. Does your Briggs have the oil guard system?
I guess not? On B&S site under the vanguard efi 37 it states: "Lubrication System" -
"Full Pressure Lubrication System with Oil Cleaner". I do not see oil guard mentioned anywhere in it's specifications... I could be wrong though.
 

NickTF

LawnSite Member
Location
Laurel, DE
There's days where 50hp wouldn't be overkill. These are great engines, get yours attended to and go from there. I get where you're coming from as a solo operator cutting 24-28 properties a week on top of a 45-50/hr week job. It's very stressful when you're machines go down. Our local dealers refuse to push anything but the vanguard options now and for good reason. That said, nothing is perfect and there will always be some issues out there. Maybe yours has a issue with massively too much crank position sensor clearance or it got loose somehow. Excessive CPS clearance is a widely known issue but doesn't cause anything that bad unless something went bad with it perhaps. Best of luck and hang in there!
 

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