I need a new mower

Joined
Sep 17, 2007
Messages
140
Location
Michigan
My 12 year-old Yard Machines push mower is getting tired. It has the Briggs 6hp Quantum engine which has been incredibly reliable--first pull start almost every time. I have done nothing more than change the oil, filter and plug. But it is burning oil (not leaving a blue fog), rapidly blackening but not truly fouling the spark plug. The emissions make me smell so bad I have to shower immediately after. It definitely needs rings, perhaps more. The deck is in ok shape, but the wheel adjusters are pretty wobbly due to a bumpy lawn. I have had to put new wheels on about every 2-3 years due to our rough lawn and plastic wheels. I tried the metal wheels with bearings and they were WAY too heavy. I figure I'm better off replacing the mower, and hope to find something <$400. I'm not looking for a self-propelled, as it adds another layer of complexity and weight. However, if the system were known to be extremely reliable I may reconsider. For reference, my lawn is ~7000 square feet. I mostly mulch. I'm looking at these: Yard Machines 21 in. 190 cc Walk-Behind Gas Mower Model # 11A-B96N729 Looks like nearly a direct replacement for my current mower. Pro: Similar to my current mower. Con: similar to my current mower. Unknown reliability of newer Briggs engines. Will wear out wheels. No deck wash system. Plastic front end??? Are big rear wheels ok? Husqvarna 7021P 4.40 Ft-Lbs Torque Pro: ball bearing wheels! Con: unknown reliability of GCV160 engine. I have a GC160 engine on my snowblower and it has given me some trouble. It runs well, but apparently has a finicky carb and easily gummed valves. As an ex master mech, it drives me nuts when a well-cared for engine doesn't perform. Another possible con: it could be expensive to replace the wheels if they are proprietary. Troy-Bilt TB130 Similar to the Husqvarna mower above, but without ball bearing wheels. It looks like the Craftsman mowers with a plastic front wheel assembly. PLASTIC?!?! Troy-Bilt TB110 Pro: inexpensive, has good reviews. Con: possibly under-powered? It looks like the Craftsman mowers with a plastic front wheel assembly. PLASTIC?!?! Husqvarna 5521P Similar to the Troy-Bilt TB110, but without the plastic front-end. I worry a bit about the newer Briggs engines, as they appear to be a mixed bag. There are multiple Craftsman mowers, such as: Craftsman 190cc* Briggs & Stratton Engine, Low-Wheel Rear Bag Push Mower 50 States Sears Item# 07137031000 | Model# 37031. What is up with the plastic front end? I looked at these in the store and was surprised to see that this part appears to fully support the front wheel assemblies. Looks like Yard Machines = these Craftsman mowers. I like the larger engine (same displacement as my Quantum), but the plastic front end and newer Briggs engine is worrisome. I'm not even sure I need a larger engine. I like the deck wash systems that some of these mowers have. Any thoughts on the various engines or other mechanicals of these mowers? I know it is only a few hundred dollars, but I'm thrifty and can't stand poor engineering. I know, "you get what you pay for," but I'm always on the lookout for the best bang for your buck. Many thanks, Bob
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2003
Messages
36,723
Location
ME
I couldn't be happier with MTD with OHV Chonda motor, presumably the 160 clone. It was around $160. I know its stamped deck collects junk by the rear wheels and is going to rust out there. I noticed MTD beefed up the handle attachment bolts over the last decade; maybe doing "wheelies" over obstacles won't break it as quickly. But the motor is awesome. I get three lawnmowings from a tank of gas instead of one from a briggs. The tank is actually evaporative emissions tight, doesn't stink up my garage. (Could be a law now.) Starts on first pull, elegantly ramps up RPM. Doesn't overshoot like a briggs governor. Only flaw is branches from shrubbery can get into the governor shield and rev it up when I'm scraping a bush. You can likely find this exact or similar motor on the better gear that you are looking at. It says right on it it'll take E10 fuel, which I have to suffer with.
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2004
Messages
14,505
Location
Top of Virginia
Avoid anything with a plastic front end. I like the Husqvarna. Ball bearing wheels will help if you're pushing. You will also appreciate the soft grips on the operator presence bail...small details like that add up to a better user experience. Every mower I have is self-propelled, and I've never had any problems with any self-propelled system I've owned, so I highly prefer mowers that move themselves (I also cut 3-4 yards per week). But I admire your preference to push it yourself; I don't think you'll find a better mower that fits your criteria than this Husqvarna. (I think you'll be pleased with the GCV160 engine. My own GCV160 is going on 10 years old now, doesn't smoke a bit, has never had any carburetor problems, and cuts many yards per week in what I would call heavy residential use. It's been flawless.)
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
8,859
Location
Texas
Very happy with my Toro Recycler personal-pace, Briggs powered. Still have the old Murray 3-in-one (1994, also Briggs powered) that it replaced- use it to mow the rocky/stumpy lot. If shipping weren't an issue, I'd buy that tired Quantum and make a "farm mower" out of an old 14-inch wheel deck I've got.
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2013
Messages
1,115
Location
Virginia
The best lawn mower we ever had was a self propelled, 5HP Honda. It's 11 years old and still runs like day 1 with nothing but oil changes and blade sharpening. I would buy another Honda mower in a heartbeat.
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2005
Messages
4,924
Location
Massachusetts
I wish I could help more as I've been using my Kubota W5019 that was bought in '86. I think if I had a decent deck, I'd buy a Predator engine from Harbor Freight for $99 and run it.
 
Joined
May 16, 2011
Messages
593
Location
TX - TEXAS
Mowing with Toro Personal Pace for the past 4 summers. No problems so far. Walk behind with rear wheel drive, 6.75 Briggs with hose connection for cleaning the underside. 1 pull since the day I brought it home.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
5,250
Location
Southeast
I've lived with a few honda engines on OPE. the carbs are indeed finicky b/c they will clog on things you can't see. The fix I discovered was to just install an inline fuel filter. That, after I *finally* got the carb cleaned, was the last time I ever had any issues. I'd install the filter as soon as you know it starts properly when it comes home. The flip side of such finicky carbs? doesn't run lean, and yet just sips fuel. The low burn rate will surprise you.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
117
Location
Georgia
Honda: my 6 year old Toro 20056, super recycler with BBC was heading south with 165 well maintained hours. Broke the BBC cable last year, broke the BBC belt( $30) last month, and broke the BBC plastic housing lever again $42) last week. Plus the priming bulb was starting to not work. So I agonized and researched and bought a Honda HRX217 at Home Depot. I too wanted to spend $400, but got this for $599 with $30 off for opening a HD 6 month same as cash card. It seems like it has been raining all summer here in GA, but I had to try the Honda out today on wet grass. The Toro wouldn't go more than 20 feet without bogging down. The Honda stalled out about 5 times, on a 7000 ft Bermuda lawn. I really didn't think I would be this successful on the wet grass. The Honda blows away the Briggs for power, smoothness and noise. What else do I like?: miserly on the gas, ran it an hour and 15 minutes on a 1/4 gallon of gas; used a garden hose directed in front of the rear left tire to clean out the deck. When I turned it over, hardly any grass remained. The Toro had to be scraped clean. The Toro's personal pace system, even when new, didn't move out like the Honda: it hauls A$$! Very ergonomic set up for the self propelled paddles. Love the "clip director". Overall, a great buying experience, and a product that I absolutely have no remorse in buying. I can't wait to mow the yard again. It will be a piece of cake with dry grass. LOVE IT!!
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
117
Location
Georgia
Honda, and I will shut up:) I was trying to find out the fuel capacity for the old Toro, and went back to my manual. Nothing. I know it had to be twice the size of the Honda. The Honda manual is very detailed, lists specs and part numbers etc where the Toro didn't. Maybe not a big deal, but I see this kind of attention to detail throughout the product. Treat yourself to a self propelled mower, make it a Honda. You deserve it:)
 
Joined
Oct 27, 2010
Messages
1,766
Location
PA
Husqvarna Or Toro. My Kohler powered HU600F is the easiest starting, Most comfortable Front wheel drive mower I ever used. A close Second is my MIL's Toro personal pace Rear Wheel Drive.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Messages
19,687
Location
Sunny Florida
Got my 109 dollar wal mart big rear wheel el cheapo supreme in the shed. Started first pull this season, cuts like a bear and will simply be discarded if anything fails. Super lightweight is a plus for a trim mower.
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2013
Messages
2,035
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: GregGA
So I agonized and researched and bought a Honda HRX217 at Home Depot. I too wanted to spend $400, but got this for $599 with $30 off for opening a HD 6 month same as cash card.
Congrats, Hope you broke it in HARD!
 
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