Need a replacement for my Mantis tiller

CincinnatiJuly 8, 2012

I have a two year old Mantis Tiller with approximately 50 hours of usage that is not worth repairing according to their authorized warranty service shop. If it were running, they estimate it has a street value of about $100. The tines are worn out and there is grease leaking from the gearbox.

I want to know if there are other options that are better than the Mantis. But Consumer Reports has not rated tillers, and I can't seem to find other viable alternatives other than the Stihl Yard Boss.

I wanted to be done with Mantis out of principle. but I don't want to cut my nose off to spite my face.

At minimum, my current tiller needs the following replacement items:

Tines ($70)

Throttle cable ($50)

Fuel System components from the Tank to the Carburetor ($65)

Carburetor ($63)

This is about half the cost of a new tiller. The shop will not guarantee that the tiller will operate after these repairs. Obviously they are unsure what the problem truly is.

What would you buy next?

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rcmoser

all of this is IMO, but mantis usually don't go south in two years. You either killed you mantis (no pre-ventive maintenance) or wore it out doing jobs too big for mantis. these things usually last 15 to 20 years?? with minimum maintenance.

can try electric, but even with them you still have to do tine maintenance, (clean up after use, involves cutting away any grass like twine that got wrapped around the tine shaft up by the gearbox which will over time cause it to leak all the grease out. clean up of tines and shaft (to prevent rust)relubing the shaft so you can get the tines off the next time.)( check for loose hardware (like gearbox cover screws).

IMO No matter what brand or how big you get you will still need to do pre-ventive maintenance or you will be in the same boat couple more years down the road IMO.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 10:43PM
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javert

Cincy - First, I think you got unusually short life out of your Mantis - they are generally good machines. There are at least two other good mini-tillers out there: Honda FG110 and Echo 9-inch. Each of these sell for about $350. The Honda has a 4-cycle engine, 2 year warranty. The Echo has 2-cycle engine, 5 year warranty.

I have an older Honda FG100 (6 years), and it's a good little tiller. Friend has Mantis 2-cycle, and it, too, is good. Personally, I prefer the 4-cycle engine. HOWEVER, if I were buying a new one today, I would give the Echo a close look.

Except for your bad experience with the Mantis, I think that any of the three brands mentioned here would be a good machine.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:47AM
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lbpod

According to the paperwork that came with my Mantis,
the tines are warranted 'forever'.
My Mantis is almost 10 years old and still works
like a champ.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 2:55PM
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romore_gw

FYI the Echo is a grey Mantis. I have to the other comments. That machine had to be subjected to very hard use to be completely thrashed in two years. It is designed as a garden cultivator, it is not a sod buster. Are you dealing with a lot of gravel? From what you are telling us I don't blame the service shop for wanting to wash their hands of it.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:34PM
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PRO
Steven Laurin & Company

Mantis is NOT a tiller . . . (IMHO), but a cultivator for use in already tilled soil. As was said, if you have used it to bust sod, I'm surprised it lasted 2 seasons.

I could recommend a real tiller, but that would derail this topic. ;-)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Cincinnati

I now agree with everyone's assessment that the Mantis is not a tiller. But I didn't know that when I bought it. Mantis told me it would break up my hard-as-concrete, high clay content ground that hasn't been plowed since God created the firmament. In the spring of 2011, Tilling that ground bounced around me and the tiller for two days. The tines are worn away. The gearbox is leaking grease. I originally thought the carb was fried because I used gasoline with ethanol. I bought a new carb but that didn't solve the problem.

Last fall, I used shovels to turn up chunks of the sod, and then ran the Mantis through the chunks. This spring I rented a full sized rear tined tiller and replowed the garden and broke new ground for other flower and vegetable beds.

Do you think that the Mantis can prepare the ground for planting twice a year now that it has been tilled? I've added quite a bit of organics to the clay soil each of the past three seasons.. Or would I always need to use a full sized tiller first?

I'm wondering if I should send back the tiller to Mantis at my expense for their assessment? Maybe they'd cover it under warranty. But by looking at it, I would kind of doubt it.

I think the tiller is shot. And I am unsure if they are going to honor the repair under warranty.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:29PM
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romore_gw

'Do you think that the Mantis can prepare the ground for planting twice a year now that it has been tilled? I've added quite a bit of organics to the clay soil each of the past three seasons.. Or would I always need to use a full sized tiller first? '
That is what it is designed to do. As far as a warranty repair, forget it.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 10:01AM
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javert

Sounds like you now have the soil in condition for a mini-tiller to handle bed prep for planting and subsequent cultivation. There are some small tillers available for less money than the three I recommended above, but it is my opinion that the additional dollars would be well spent.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 11:04AM
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wmbriley

I thought mine was DEAD....no start, and when it did run, no power and dies...cleaned out and rebuilt carb, all filters, plugs, and a fresh dose of fuel..
as to grease.....I was told by a MANTIS rep..."ok to use
a #1 or #2 lithium grease instead of the #0 as stated in the manual...it is a strrong runner now....
be sure to clean out the fuel lines or change them.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 3:54PM
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