1st Post, help selecting lawn mower

lawnhackFebruary 28, 2010

Hi All, new here.

When I was a little kid my dad had a snapper self-propelled mower with a briggs and stratton engine on it. It had a bag, a real throttle and a speed control. I don't know what happened but I remember one day he said we were going shopping for an engine. I remember we bought a honda engine and he put it on the mower and I spent the rest of my years at home mowing with that thing. It ran and ran until I grew up and long since moved out. It still runs but knocks now.

What could I buy nowdays that would be like that? I bought a cheapie lawboy from walmart and the thing wouldn't start after one mowing, took it back and got another one, it lasted two mowings. I finally gave up on those green things and thought I'd go get a good used mower. I was in a hurry and went to a pawn shop and bought a 20" craftsman push mower with a Briggs engine on it. I thought it was going to be the ticket for a long time but it started getting harder and harder to start and then the starter broke and I went to the shop and a new one is about $45.

What is a real good lawnmower that will last a long time? It doesn't have to have a bunch of fancy bells and whistles. Self propelled would be okay, but I don't even mind pushing the thing, I would just like it to start when I want to mow the lawn. What should I be looking for, where and how much for something that works and lasts?


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Edit: The more I read on here maybe those wallyworld specials I had were not LawnBoys. They could have been YardMachines, Murray, or Weed Eater brand. I don't remember but they were green.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 2:50AM
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If you are looking at $125 mowers, they will be crappy no matter what brand you get. As you up the price , they all get better, this included lawn boy (which has a famous history btw) yard machines, etc..Bottom line, you get what you pay for. On the other hand, they don't make them like they used to. Read through these forums and you will see many people 'restoring' 40 yr old 2-cycle lawnboys. These run like devils and don't stop (EVER!)My motto: The cost of under buying is greater than the cost of over buying. It looks like you are living proof. You spent all this money, not to mention time. Cut your loss and go get a nice NEW mower from a dealer. Have him demo it in the store. Don't expect to pay less tan $300-$400+. Good Luck, let us know how it went.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 7:45AM
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I got my last mowers from Craigslist free stuff. The last 2 were premium mowers. A LB Silver with an OHV Tecumseh. A Toro 3 spd with a 4 stroke Suzuki. Both just needed a few bolts to be put back in order. Why people were getting rid of them is beyond me. I'm sure that the replacements will be disappointing.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 9:05AM
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A real good mower that will last a long time could be something like a Toro Super Recycler. Other companies like Snapper and Honda make mowers of comparable quality. Expect to pay somewhere around $500 for a good quality well built machine from any of the big name manufacturers. Such a mower will last for 3 decades if..... you take care of it by performing regular maintenance and keep up with repairs. Regular maintenance is not all that difficult to do at home. It becomes difficult and expensive if you defer it until something breaks.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 11:55AM
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We've become a disposable society, and lawn mowers are one of the best examples of the marketplace responding. I agree with others who've said that just about any mower will last several decades if maintained and stored properly. But most people don't take care of their stuff (I regularly pull and resell vacuum cleaners out of people's trash that were disposed of because they had either a full dirt bag or a broken belt) and the result is that quality and life expectancy have declined.

There's nothing wrong with a used mower IF you're the kind of person who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty and grab a screwdriver once in a while. There are relatively few mower problems that cannot be fixed with a few parts ordered from the web or bought from the local mower shop. But if you are going to end up sending the mower to the shop for repairs all the time, the cost of getting the machine fixed (labor) will easily approach the cost of a new mower.

If you want your mower to start easily every time, start with a new spark plug and air filter, and use only fresh gas at the beginning of every summer. All mower engines are very similar, and all will behave well or not so well depending on how they're maintained.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 5:28AM
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My dad gave me his old snapper mower he didn't use any more. It knocks real bad. The local mower shop said a new shortblock was $250 and a new engine $450. I think it's a GXV 120 4hp. I may try to tear it down and see what's wrong with it myself.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 9:03PM
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Great Thread with very good info Dudes ! I recently had to look for another mower since my previous unit began smoking pretty bad . Compression was also on the low side and the chassis and wheels were cracked and loose. Just plumb wore out . I sent a note last fall to either CG , Rolm or Rc (who ever is in Alberta)as to the Origin of the Manufacturer , Getting Old sorry , memmory is the 1st thing that goes lol . Anyhow the moral of my Story I picked up a White Outdoors 21 Mower with a B&S Quantum Engine from a Chum of mine who rebuilds and Sells mowers . $60.00 the previous Owner brought it to him to rebuild the Recoil and decided on a used Honda Self Propelled . I have used this unit all last yr. and it runs like a Champ looks like Brand New ! So hey Guys look around you never Know !

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 5:42AM
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Lawnhack: The cost of a shortblock is half the cost of a good quality brand new mower, so consider that you will be dropping a new engine onto a frame that includes other well-worn accessories. Wheels, adjusters, controls, carburetor, pulley, most plastic parts, etc., may be nearing the end of their useful life. Even if you do the work yourself the cost of parts plus your time will be considerable.

If the goal is to come up with a working machine that will run for a long time I would suggest that a new mower would be the way to go. On the other hand there is certainly a sense of accomplishment from completely rebuilding an old lawn mower, if you have the time and inclination.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 9:38AM
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