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Old 03-24-2014, 11:55 AM
 
18,613 posts, read 16,925,511 times
Reputation: 10127

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Our old lawnmower may be dead even though we've kept it going as long as possible. Its about a 1980 Toro, a small 2.5 HP 19 inch model. It had issues with wheels, the handle and now the throttle and carb are a problem. The thing is, for a non self propelled mower, it was so light and easy to push that it was just fun to use. You could run with it. Duck tape and jury rigged parts have kept it alive but its a hassle.
About 8 or so years ago I bought another Toro. Its a 6HP non self propelled( big mistake its hard to push on a hill). It starts reliably and we've kept it serviced and it cuts pretty well. It just has this thing about shuddering in tall grass when it clumps under the deck. I don't like it too much for that reason. I bought it from a lawn and garden center and should have went to a big box store( and got a better price and the sales service couldn't have been any worse). Its a Tecumseh engine, I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it but it does have that little ball you have to push to prime the carb. I was never a fan of that, either.
The main mower is a 1991 Lawnboy, a self propelled commercial grade 22 inch that's a dream to cut with and is still going strong. That has a Briggs and Stratton engine which makes me favor that engine brand. We've taken over the lawn cutting of an elderly neighbor as a favor and that's why we could use another self propelled mower. Her yard has a steep front yard slope and the back gets heavy wet grass in poor drainage areas.
I'd like another Lawnboy but they've changed to Kohler engines. I have no experience with them. Toro has gone back to Briggs and Stratton.
I've read that Honda makes a good mower, although pricey. Then I've read that Ariens is good. Has anybody had experience with them?
I was almost thinking about taking a chance with a basic( cheap) push Murray or Craftsmen or Poulan mower but I'm not sure how light they are compared to the old featherweight Toro we have.
I'd like a mower that's good for the price, nothing fancy. If it would cost more, then I'd want it to last at least 10 years or so. Any recommendations?
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
13,996 posts, read 11,116,752 times
Reputation: 10328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy Tea View Post
Our old lawnmower may be dead even though we've kept it going as long as possible. Its about a 1980 Toro, a small 2.5 HP 19 inch model. It had issues with wheels, the handle and now the throttle and carb are a problem. The thing is, for a non self propelled mower, it was so light and easy to push that it was just fun to use. You could run with it. Duck tape and jury rigged parts have kept it alive but its a hassle.
About 8 or so years ago I bought another Toro. Its a 6HP non self propelled( big mistake its hard to push on a hill). It starts reliably and we've kept it serviced and it cuts pretty well. It just has this thing about shuddering in tall grass when it clumps under the deck. I don't like it too much for that reason. I bought it from a lawn and garden center and should have went to a big box store( and got a better price and the sales service couldn't have been any worse). Its a Tecumseh engine, I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it but it does have that little ball you have to push to prime the carb. I was never a fan of that, either.
The main mower is a 1991 Lawnboy, a self propelled commercial grade 22 inch that's a dream to cut with and is still going strong. That has a Briggs and Stratton engine which makes me favor that engine brand. We've taken over the lawn cutting of an elderly neighbor as a favor and that's why we could use another self propelled mower. Her yard has a steep front yard slope and the back gets heavy wet grass in poor drainage areas.
I'd like another Lawnboy but they've changed to Kohler engines. I have no experience with them. Toro has gone back to Briggs and Stratton.
I've read that Honda makes a good mower, although pricey. Then I've read that Ariens is good. Has anybody had experience with them?
I was almost thinking about taking a chance with a basic( cheap) push Murray or Craftsmen or Poulan mower but I'm not sure how light they are compared to the old featherweight Toro we have.
I'd like a mower that's good for the price, nothing fancy. If it would cost more, then I'd want it to last at least 10 years or so. Any recommendations?
Forty five years ago I was a Toro dealer. Times have changed and I am not familiar with Honda mowers (other than using my mother's). I sold other brands besides Toro. Back then I would go to the hardware show in NYC and buy 100 cheap push rotary mowers for $25 each (I sold them for $50). They were simple mowers with B&S motors. I had fewer of the cheap mowers return for service than I had Toros and I sold only half as many Toros. Sometimes simple is better. Also the cheap mowers had steel decks and the Toros had white metal decks then (I don't know what they have now?).

I miss the days were you could buy 19 inch mowers. At one time you could buy 16 inch push rotary's. They were great mowers for trimming up when you owned riding tractors and they were very light to push.

I did buy an Ariens riding tractor two years ago. Even mower salesmen/mechanics can make a mistake! I had never owned one so I thought that I would give it a try - I would not recommend the 20 hp rider to my worst enemy - poor engineering and cheap parts. It is not a riding tractor if you have a property with roots and stones. You cannot raise the deck high enough to clear and the spindles break easily - plus it has other problems.

I like the B$S motors for service over Tecumseh. Kohler used to make a very good motor - I don't have experience with them today.

I would suggest going either buying cheap or going to a dealer and at least try pushing the potential new mower on the showroom floor. See how heavy it is and how maneuverable. The high wheel mowers are a little easier to push - but many are heavier.

Good luck!
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:21 PM
 
508 posts, read 538,095 times
Reputation: 1398
I have a Toro that I bought about 5 years ago. It was an "easy start" model and I could actually start it at the time. Probably not now though as I have bad shoulders on both sides. It's a self-propelled model. It has been fine and made it easy for me to mow when I was still doing that. My son uses it now. I would buy it again. I don't know how you are evaluating "if it would cost more" - cost more than WHAT? I think I paid around $450 or $500 for this and it has been worth it.
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:37 PM
 
2,600 posts, read 5,721,606 times
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Get a rear wheel drive john deere, not a front wheel drive.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
13,996 posts, read 11,116,752 times
Reputation: 10328
Quote:
Originally Posted by need4speed2012 View Post
Get a rear wheel drive john deere, not a front wheel drive.
Both rear wheel drive and front wheel drive have their own advantages. The advantage of the front wheel drive is that you lift the wheels off the ground when you turn the mower - you don't have to worry about controls. The front wheel drive are great on the smaller, flat, lawns. If you want a mower with traction; then go to your rear wheel drive.


Both systems would not have been around so long if they did not both have advantages and problems.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Spring Hill, Florida
3,005 posts, read 4,647,984 times
Reputation: 3266
I have a 21" Toro Super Recycler with a Briggs engine. I bought it about 3-4 years ago in PA and brought it with me to Florida when I relocated. It's been a joy to own. Other than changing the oil and replacing the air filter, I've done nothing else to it besides have the blade sharpened, which the dealer I bought it from did for free for the first two years I owned it.

The "Super" models are only available at a Toro dealer (not a big-box store). It has a 5-year warranty - guaranteed to start along with full-coverage for the 5-year period also.

Their self-propelled system is the best I've ever used, very intuitive. My neighbors used to have a lawn service, but they kept raising the prices so the decision was made to buy a mower and start doing it themselves. I let them borrow mine before they got around to buying one, and they went out and bought a similar Toro.

The entire front lawn at my old house was a hill, and I had no problems mowing it with the Toro.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:43 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
27,625 posts, read 59,741,928 times
Reputation: 30701
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy Tea View Post
I was almost thinking about taking a chance with a basic (cheap) push Murray or Poulan
Any recommendations?
a basic (cheap) push mower...
whatever is on sale that week at the big box store with a B&S motor
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Floribama
14,078 posts, read 30,256,272 times
Reputation: 12690
So many brands now are made by the same company.

Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Bolens, Huskee, Yard Machines..... all made by MTD, just different colors.


AYP/Electrolux also makes Poulan, Husqvarna, Craftsman, and I believe some Ariens.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:05 PM
 
48,516 posts, read 82,383,611 times
Reputation: 18010
Frankly have to say I have had two Honda mowers( make sure their the Honda dealer grade) and they are great and most reliable I have ever used.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:27 PM
 
7,282 posts, read 8,606,442 times
Reputation: 11413
Until you get into the pricey range, not too much difference between. In the lower price ranges, the Craftsman have a super tight turning radius in the riding mower class.
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