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Old 04-04-2012, 08:46 AM
 
25,627 posts, read 31,459,376 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg42 View Post
FWIW my whole 1/3 acre yard has a slope to it (rather steep in some spots) and I have a Toro bought when I moved here 9 years ago. Works pretty well, but this is the only self-propelled mower I've ever used so I can't compare the Personal Pace to others very much. I have been pretty hard on it, and it runs well. Has Briggs & Stratton 6.5HP engine. Damn thing still starts on 1-2 pulls reliably, pulls easily. Amazing to me with some of the old crap I used growing up. Part of me was originally kinda bummed I didn't get something with Honda power (I had to get it kinda quickly as the old owners left the grass kinda high, and there was a Toro dealer just up the street), but this B&S has been plenty good to me.

My neighbor wishes he fixed his old Honda (circa, dunno, 20 years old maybe) because he liked it better than his new Honda (circa 2-3 years ago now), heh. Just how it goes sometimes, don't make 'em like they used to and all. Not sure if that is true of the Toro 9 years later, but certainly the one I got then seems to be built well enough. I replaced the drive cable once, did it myself.

1/4 acre is borderline for self-propelled as others have said. If you have a LIGHT push mower, it might work. Otherwise that's going to get old methinks, even though, yes, the self-propelled mechanism adds a bunch of things to break and wear out. The Toro I have is really heavy, even with the cast aluminum deck (not sure it's even meant to be lighter than the steel ones). It'll never rust, but really, do I care if it never rusts? Will I be using it THAT long? Sometimes the drive setup feels like not the best, but this hill out back would be difficult for anything. Most of the time it works okay.

One thing that can certainly be mildly irritating: at least on mine it doesn't fully disengage the drive unless you nudge the mower forward with no pressure on the drive handle. If you don't do that, it gives resistance when you try to pull it backwards. I am used to it, and I don't really run around out there wondering what it would be like with a mower that operates differently, but I don't have a ton of obstacles that I need to back and forth around usually. For some that could be a deal killer. I don't think this behavior with the Personal Pace has changed in the intervening years.
Hopefully you are keeping up with the recommended maintenance. Most people dont even change the oil on their mowers much less all the other lubing and cleaning that should occur especially on self propelled mowers.
Nothing wrong with B&S mowers. In my experience they are much easier to repair if they break down.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:09 AM
 
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My 2-cycle Toro self-propelled bought in 1995 and given basic maintenance (or less) is still running strong today.
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,918 posts, read 21,241,387 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogdad View Post
Hopefully you are keeping up with the recommended maintenance. Most people dont even change the oil on their mowers much less all the other lubing and cleaning that should occur especially on self propelled mowers.
Nothing wrong with B&S mowers. In my experience they are much easier to repair if they break down.
Trying to keep it up myself yes, not sure I'm getting all the lubing, should probably double check, but some certainly (there are grease fittings on the back). I learned how to do the oil change from the top (not as big of a pain as I thought) and change out the plug and air cleaner and such. I can get the blade off. I had it into the shop for maintenance once but shied away after it cost $100! (Although I guess to be fair now if I buy a blade and plug and air filter and oil for the change it's pushing 40 bucks already.) Just needs to last another few years though because that's probably all I'll be in the house. (After I sell I probably won't need it.)
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:01 AM
 
25,627 posts, read 31,459,376 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg42 View Post
Trying to keep it up myself yes, not sure I'm getting all the lubing, should probably double check, but some certainly (there are grease fittings on the back). I learned how to do the oil change from the top (not as big of a pain as I thought) and change out the plug and air cleaner and such. I can get the blade off. I had it into the shop for maintenance once but shied away after it cost $100! (Although I guess to be fair now if I buy a blade and plug and air filter and oil for the change it's pushing 40 bucks already.) Just needs to last another few years though because that's probably all I'll be in the house. (After I sell I probably won't need it.)
Those are called Zerk fittings for grease guns. Use a general lithium based all purpose grease unless your mower calls for something different. Follow service schedules in the owners manual. You can probably find the manual on line if you lost yours.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
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I was also an authorized B&S, Tecumseh, Onan and Kohler authorized service dealer in the 1970’s. Then Onan and Kohler were two of the best engines; but B&S was the largest manufacturer of motors. What I especially liked about B&S was that they incorporated many standardized parts. I did not have to stock a very large inventory to service many motors.

Tecumseh, on the other hand, had many small changes. Part was because of the influence of Sears. It was just harder to keep parts in stock to cover all of their variations.

By the way; one of the B&S parts that was a blessing and a curse was their white metal flywheel key. Then; it was a $.25 item (if I recall correctly). When you hit a rock with the B&S push mower; you would shear or dent the flywheel key. The slightest dent, to this small part, would kill your spark - it is basically the only timing on these small motors. Unfortunately, for most mower owners; this part is inaccessible - you don’t have the knowledge or the tools. So, once you hit a good rock; your mower will not start. Tecumseh, on the other hand, had a steel flywheel key. It did not dent as easy. But, when you hit a good rock; it would shatter your flywheel. It cost a lot more to replace the flywheel. By the way, I do not know if it is the same today as it was forty years ago?

As a sales and repair shop; I loved the B&S flywheel key. Many people would be so tired of trying to start their old mowers; that all they wanted to do was trade it in on a new one. A $.25 part and a little elbow grease (including a blade sharpening and balancing) and I had a good used mower to sell.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:32 PM
 
8,158 posts, read 12,112,523 times
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They are expensive but I think Honda has excellent and quiet small engines. I'd get a Honda.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fisheye View Post
I used to be a Toro dealer back in the 1970’s. . . .

I was never a great fan of Craftsman lawnmowers when I was in business. Part of the reason was because they consistently changed parts as part of their special improvements on their mowers. I had a hard time getting parts - of course; that was many years ago.
For someone who was "in the business" you sound like the people who shop at Sears and think that there is a Craftsman factory someplace in Iowa. FYI: there isn't.

For decades now, Craftsman lawn mowers have been made by the same company which is now Husqvarna. It was Roper and then became American Yard Products and is now owned by Husqvarna. I don't know how or why you could have a hard time getting parts: B&S parts are B&S parts. Husqvarna parts are Husqvarna parts. Yeah, sure. . . . the Husqy might have grey wheels and the C'man has white wheels but they interchange. The same is true for height adjusters, bags, cables, etc..

As for Sears going out of business any day now, they've been saying that for 20 years. Seriously, they have. It's not the #1 retailer any more but it still is the #1 appliance store, #1 lawn and garden store, #1 tool store, and #1 home fitness store. That's based on statements from their suppliers. Although we must ask, if Sears is #1 in so many categories, how can they be losing money?

The problem is that people don't want to pay for what Sears has to offer, customer service. Go to home depot and look at lawn mowers. Try asking someone some questions. You won't get any answers. Go to Sears and ask the salesman about why mower A is better than mower B. You'll get a fifteen minute explanation. Do the same with appliances. Sears has salesmen. Home Depot and Lowes have stock clerks. Better yet, go to WalMart and try to find out about treadmills. Ha!

The modern shopper thinks that price is the most important part of a purchase. It isn't.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:55 PM
 
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I have a 2.5 acre yard, in spring and summer about 3000 square feet gets taken up with my garden. I have been using a Husqvarna for many years, it is self propelled, and I have had no problems with it, it has been a dependable piece of lawn/garden equipment for over eleven years, when it finally dies, I will get another one.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:06 AM
 
7 posts, read 21,670 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
I would not suggest self propelled. The wheels just spin and do nothing. We have 2 self propelled mowers and we never bother to engage the drive.

I would suggest mowers with large rear wheels.

Otherwise, I do not think it makes much difference. Like someone said, just get the one you like the color. They all do the same thing about equally as well.
You probably have front wheel drive mowers. As the bag get heavy, the front loses traction which is baaaad. Rear drive is the way to go. Rear drive with big rear wheels is even better. However, you should avoid big rear wheels if you do extensive cutting going crosswise on a slope. Why? The the side load on the tall wheel causes premature wheel failure.

Rear drive does take some getting used to as you have to learn to disengage the drive when turning or backing up. "Oh, that's why I like front drive because you just lift the front wheels." Lifting the front wheels wheels while your front drive is engaged causes excess wear on the gears and causes wheel failure. Husqvarna and Craftsman both have a drive control system that uses triggers which makes it easy to control.

As for them all doing the same thing equally well. . . . not really. Deck and blade design have much to do with how well they cut, mulch and bag.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
15,895 posts, read 12,695,051 times
Reputation: 11938
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiley-X View Post
For someone who was "in the business" you sound like the people who shop at Sears and think that there is a Craftsman factory someplace in Iowa. FYI: there isn't.

For decades now, Craftsman lawn mowers have been made by the same company which is now Husqvarna. It was Roper and then became American Yard Products and is now owned by Husqvarna. I don't know how or why you could have a hard time getting parts: B&S parts are B&S parts. Husqvarna parts are Husqvarna parts. Yeah, sure. . . . the Husqy might have grey wheels and the C'man has white wheels but they interchange. The same is true for height adjusters, bags, cables, etc..

As for Sears going out of business any day now, they've been saying that for 20 years. Seriously, they have. It's not the #1 retailer any more but it still is the #1 appliance store, #1 lawn and garden store, #1 tool store, and #1 home fitness store. That's based on statements from their suppliers. Although we must ask, if Sears is #1 in so many categories, how can they be losing money?

The problem is that people don't want to pay for what Sears has to offer, customer service. Go to home depot and look at lawn mowers. Try asking someone some questions. You won't get any answers. Go to Sears and ask the salesman about why mower A is better than mower B. You'll get a fifteen minute explanation. Do the same with appliances. Sears has salesmen. Home Depot and Lowes have stock clerks. Better yet, go to WalMart and try to find out about treadmills. Ha!

The modern shopper thinks that price is the most important part of a purchase. It isn't.
Back in the 1970's Sears had mostly Tecumseh motors. Not only did they have the motors; I think they were part owners in the company. They put a lot of frills on their equipment – just to sell the new features. Tecumseh was bad enough with constant changes and Sears jacked it up a notch.

Don't forget that there were no computers for parts. I had a shelf full of parts manuals. I would call up the Sears parts desk and get women that never, ever, worked on a mower. I was very frustrated with the service and the long waits for parts only put me even farther behind on my repairs. I finally had a sign made for above my counter that stated that I wanted my customers to pick up their own Sears parts for me to work on their equipment. I would tell them what I needed to repair their equipment – but they had to deal with the part's department themselves. I had three different brand hand mowers and Gravely tractors that I was selling and I did not need the aggravation.

Yes; computers have changed the name of the parts departments since I was in business. But now you have the problem of a shaky financial structure. MNSBC predicted that the whole organization could file for bankruptcy. Perhaps the finances have changed since that prediction? I would not think it wise to buy if there is a chance that there might not be a parts department or the warranty might not be honored.
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