While shopping at Sams Club, I came across a Black Max push mower (powered by Honda) GV160 engine. Anyone have any experience with those? They look like this...
Made by "HOP" not familiar with that company...
It may an be OK mower but it's front wheel drive. Not something I'd opt for but people use them. It's equipped with a Honda.... good engine.
My concern would be, If you need service where do you go? What about warranty issues? Who is building this for Sams Club? Department store mowers are a crap shoot, roll the dice and hope all goes well.
I would rather purchase from an actual dealer of a specific brand knowing that I can obtain service from them.
The Engine is good. The rest of it is of very poor Quality. First time I used it the discharge deflector broke off. The second time i used it the rear skirt broke off and got caught in the blades and chewed it up. The third time i used the the control bar to engage the self-propeled function keeps coming out of the handle. Today the fourth time i used it one of the rear wheels broke off at the bolt that hold it on. Also one of the handle knobs is stripped out and will not stay tight. Also you might want to look real close at the repair parts manuel, there is no phone number or web site to contact anyboby. Just a mailing address. As if they do not want anybody to be able to contact them in regards to any problems the be having with their product.
Wow, I just used it for the 3rd time ever and the rear wheel broke off. The plastic around the wheel completely broke in half as I was walking along. I was on flat ground and the grass was fairly short, I was just topping it off really and the friggin' wheel broke off. I havent tried to take it back to Sams yet, Im sure that will be a treat.
parts diagram and listing---http://www.oscar-wilson.com/MANUALS/AYP/96144000500.PDF
a place to buy the parts-----http://www.doitbestparts.com/default.asp
I took my blackmax back to Sams and they gave me no hassle about returning my money, and the best part was, the sales associate said mine was the 3rd Blackmax to come in with a broken wheel. Sounds like a recurring issue!
One of the rear wheels fell off (plastic wheel) the 4th time I used the mower. I returned it to SAM's club with no problems...other than the standard lines and waiting at SAM's.
I also have had problems with the rear wheel breaking at the axle hole. Mine has broken when the mower is used on a bank where weight is put on one wheel or the other. I've replaced one wheel (after warranty of course) already. I've had the mower about three years now and the other wheel has broken. This is definitely poor engineering. There's just not enough material on the wheel at the axle interface. They need to design a more robust rear wheel. I haven't had any other problems other than this. The engine is very reliable but I expected no less from Honda.
No much mystery about this mower. HOP is Husqavarma Outdoor Products. THey get sold under thier own name at Home Depot and other places and by Sears as Craftsman. HOP is a division of Electrolux who makes lots of things including Fridgaire. At Sears and Home Depot the mower comes with a Briges engine And for more money the Honda. Decent mid level mower. Likely 1/2 you block using it under different names. Parts are easy once you know it is a craftsman.
I purchased my mower about 4 years ago. I too had one of the rear wheels crack where it goes on the axle. The plastic hubs are a poor design to handle the weight of the mower, especially when you mow horizontally on a bank. Rather than pay nearly $50 for a replacement wheel (my model had larger rear wheels than the ones in your photo), I bought a third party replacement with a metal hub for about the same money. Other than that, the Honda engine is very reliable. Documentation for the mower is not par with high quality organizations. The handle bar could use a re-design to ergonomically accommodate the safety bar which you have to hold to the handle to keep the engine running. Some padding on the handle where your hands go would also be an improvement.