New mower 2.5 acres

Joined
Mar 15, 2012
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PEARL River la
New mower time. I put cam in John Deere only to spit threads out of valve adjustment stud. Cam was chinese clone and the compression release worked for 5 hrs then valves started coming out of adjustment. Took cam cover and turn throttle up only to watch cap and rocker go flying. JBweld nut only for it to backfire and spit it out again. Haven't pulled head but New engine is 800. Deck is starting to rust so time to replace. New one is over 2k for 42". All I can afford is self propel which comes in flavor of Troybilt, Craftsman and Toro Recycler. Toro is 22 with rear wheel drive and others are front wheel drive and 21".Toro looks better built although it has a Briggs motor. I looked at Honda with 160 engine but seems like problems with the engine. Land has 2 houses occupied, small park, garden, chicken coops etc so being self propelled I will be walking along instead of riding but if I can make it until vehicle is paid off in 2 years I should be able to do it. I was using reverse as much as forward on John Deere. What are your thoughts?

 
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Joined
Aug 20, 2003
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18,757
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NE,Ohio
thats a ton of lawn to push mow. with a 21" deck and moving slower probably take at least 4x as long.. and in the heat sore feet etc.

you seem handy how about a craigslist/facebook marketplace tractor my near 40 year old deere(s) have been pretty reliable 316/318
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
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Maryland
If I were in your shoes, I would look at the Toro Super Recycler mowers. Those are darn good mowers. I purchased one in 1996 or 1997 and it is still going strong. I did toss in a carb kit about 10 years ago and then replaced the wheels about 5 years ago. It has a B&S engine and it burns no oil. The only "problem" with the mass marketer Toros, is they are not as heavy duty as the ones you get at a local authorized Toro dealer.

Good Luck!
 
Joined
Jul 12, 2012
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Caldwell Idaho
thats a ton of lawn to push mow. with a 21" deck and moving slower probably take at least 4x as long.. and in the heat sore feet etc.

you seem handy how about a craigslist/facebook marketplace tractor my near 40 year old deere(s) have been pretty reliable 316/318
Can't afford a break down.
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
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5,433
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Midwest
Find an older riding mower for less than $500. Lots of lt133/166 lx178 etc around here for that price and with 2.5 acres, it’d take like 6-7 hours to push mow. Takes me a solid 45 minutes with 1/3 acre with my toro super recycler.
 

tiger862

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Mar 15, 2012
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PEARL River la
Just an update. I found intake lobe flat spotted along with lifter concave. If I didn't know better valve was to tight but actually it always ticked. The only thing I can think of is that I ran synthetic oil after new cam. Ran strong just noisy valves as it would get so loose after 5 hours I had to readjust. Compression release was still intact so that is a concern.
Head gasket was leaking compression as well internally not external.
Piston top is clean where leak was but dirty elsewhere so there is no carbon buildup.
Al in all a good decision to get head and cam ordered at same time.
I will run Briggs and Stratton SAE 30 instead of synthetic oil this time as that could be a factor in cam being destroyed.
I will put pictures later.
 
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Dec 19, 2019
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Muncie, Indiana
Could be a number of things that destroyed the chinesium cam, too much lift, improper material and/or improperly hardened, valves binding in the guides, etc. I doubt the difference between 10W30 and SAE30 is what caused it.
 

tiger862

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PEARL River la
Some of damage. Lots of metal in lower half.
 

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tiger862

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PEARL River la
Got it together. So much wrong information out there. It is running perfectly after a fight. Found exhaust lobe not intake damaged as well a stuck intake lifter. The only thing that makes since is lifters were incorrect causing them to jam. Compression release works now even hot with correct intake valve adjustment and exhaust is quieter as well. Had to readjust the governor to get rid of surge. Will run 20 hours and change over to full synthetic. In engine now is 30 oz of SAE30 and 18 oz of Valvoline Advance Synthetic 5w30 as I had an oil seal leak after I first started. Prelude was semi synthetic as well. Cut some grass as a test which it passed with flying colors.
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2003
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Hedgesville, WV
About 4.5 hours to mow 2.5 acres according to this calculator: https://www.inchcalculator.com/lawn-mowing-calculator/
That calculator says I can mow my 5 ac in 1hr 6min with an 80 in cut but in reality it takes me just over 3 hrs. If my lawn was a golf course with no obstructions and perfectly flat, maybe. I think they just calculate linear feet at your cut width with no overlap and going a constant speed. Not real world for most peoples lawns.
 
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