which one do I keep?

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A guy from work gave me his old 94 Lawn Boy silver series mower last summer and I've been using that up until now. This particular one has the 4.5hp techumseh engine. It runs great and is fairly manuverable, doesn't use much oil either, and running hm oil in it has seemed to stop the crank seal from leaking. My only gripes with it are the wheels are about shot, it doesn't mow very even due to the bumps and dips in my yard and the offset front wheels, and if the grass is damp at all, the chute clogs up very easily. Sorry, no pics. A buddy of mine just gave me his dads old craftsman self propelled bagger. I'm not sure on the age, but I believe its atleast as old as the lawn boy. It appears to have a 6.75hp techumseh. Its been sitting for a couple years, but still starts on the first pull (w/ fresh gas in it). Blade and air filter look good yet, appears to just need an oil change and I will probably run some seafoam through it. Its in good shape over all, with a bit of an oil leak on the right side, I will try some Defy in it to see if it helps. I'm not wild about the front drive on it, and it definately doesn't seem as manuverable as my lawn boy, but I'm looking forward to trying something with more power and I like the fact that it bags or mulches. Heres a few pics. All in all, its in pretty good shape. I think I'm going to finish out the season with it and see how I like it. Which one do you guys think you would keep? I've always complaind about the lawn boy's power and the chute clogging, but it was free, and I've always been partial to old lawn boys. My only worry with the Craftsman is the durability of the front drive unit. I'd hate to get rid of the lawn boy and then have to sink money into the Craftsman. I'd like to keep both, but I don't think I'll have the storage space. Which ever one I get rid of, I think I'll give to my brother as his current mower is in real sad shape.
 
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Keep both, have someone mow the yard with you, get done faster, and still an excuse to have a cold one
 
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What I think of the Craftsman would get me banned from the board... The wrong way drive system is basically junk, teeth on gear inside the drive wheels are commonly worn out... Also the ratcheting drive mechanism often locks and prevents the front wheels from turning when you need to pull it backwards... I swapped a similar but newer '03 model with a B&S engine for a 1987 Snapper, figured it was worth far more as parts than the Craftsman would ever be... BTW you are certainly correct about not being very maneuverable, I felt like a drunk chasing a snake when I was using one I had... Only thing good I can say is the bagger performed fairly well but when was nearly full, caused the front to be so light it would barely pull itself...
 
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IMO you have two so so mowers. If it were me I would try and sell both and buy something better. Look for something with either a Kawasawki, Honda, or Kohler engine along with the features you like. Of the two you have I would take the lawnboy. I hate Techumseh. Had too many [censored] out on me!
 
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I would keep the lawn boy as it's more maneuverable and light weight. Though I "just don't get" self propelled walk mowers.
 
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You're not going to get enough for these two mowers combined to contribute more than pocket change to the price of something better. I've also had good luck with Tecumseh engines, although they will use oil as they age and wear. I'd keep both and use them for the next five years at least.
 
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Originally Posted By: dwcopple
FWD Craftsman are junk. Sell it, FAST.
I think it's the luck of the draw. Been a user of Craftsman mowers since we bought our house in 2000. 1st one (not self propelled), the owners left us - was an old one, still had the Eager series engine. Lasted 2 years until the wheel snapped off the deck (the deck sheared taking the wheel). 2nd one bought in 02 as a return, was OK for a couple seasons but the drive was going out by 2008 and then the engine wouldn't stay running. Replaced the carb once earlier in the season and decided enough was enough since the drive was going. 3rd one we have now - bought at the end of 08. Still working fine and I did have to replace a stripped wheel off it but other than that it seems to be doing OK. We also moved to another house in May that's right at 1/2 acre and it's been doing OK with it so far. Only issues with it were with the engine but I bought the extended warranty and Sears put a new carb in it (it was leaking) and a new ignition module (wouldn't restart hot).
 
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Originally Posted By: GumbyJarvis
Keep both, have someone mow the yard with you, get done faster, and still an excuse to have a cold one
+1 haha I say keep both. Determine which one runs better after a fresh oil change and tune up and use one for the bulk and if you have trees etc. you can use the one that doesnt run as well for mulching leaves etc. to clean up under trees.
 
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Originally Posted By: eljefino
I would keep the lawn boy as it's more maneuverable and light weight. Though I "just don't get" self propelled walk mowers.
Then you haven't used a good rear wheel drive with a REAL differential that allows maneuverability and can make turns with the drive engaged... Plus units that have variable speed drive(not just the throttle)will usually make enough speed that you'll get one serious exercise if running at the faster speeds... I have a Snapper I can't keep up with if it's at max speed...
 
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Originally Posted By: itguy08
Originally Posted By: dwcopple
FWD Craftsman are junk. Sell it, FAST.
I think it's the luck of the draw. Been a user of Craftsman mowers since we bought our house in 2000. 1st one (not self propelled), the owners left us - was an old one, still had the Eager series engine. Lasted 2 years until the wheel snapped off the deck (the deck sheared taking the wheel). 2nd one bought in 02 as a return, was OK for a couple seasons but the drive was going out by 2008 and then the engine wouldn't stay running. Replaced the carb once earlier in the season and decided enough was enough since the drive was going. 3rd one we have now - bought at the end of 08. Still working fine and I did have to replace a stripped wheel off it but other than that it seems to be doing OK. We also moved to another house in May that's right at 1/2 acre and it's been doing OK with it so far. Only issues with it were with the engine but I bought the extended warranty and Sears put a new carb in it (it was leaking) and a new ignition module (wouldn't restart hot).
If it's the luck of the draw, I'd say you haven't had very good luck.
 
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Originally Posted By: NateDN10
If it's the luck of the draw, I'd say you haven't had very good luck.
Considering each was under $300 I'd say I'm doing fine. In 12 years I've spent, say $600. What would that get me in something that may last 12 years? Sure, I could spend almost $7-800 on a top line push mower but would it last longer than an el-cheapo?
 

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Originally Posted By: TFB1
What I think of the Craftsman would get me banned from the board... The wrong way drive system is basically junk, teeth on gear inside the drive wheels are commonly worn out... Also the ratcheting drive mechanism often locks and prevents the front wheels from turning when you need to pull it backwards... I swapped a similar but newer '03 model with a B&S engine for a 1987 Snapper, figured it was worth far more as parts than the Craftsman would ever be... BTW you are certainly correct about not being very maneuverable, I felt like a drunk chasing a snake when I was using one I had... Only thing good I can say is the bagger performed fairly well but when was nearly full, caused the front to be so light it would barely pull itself...
Yep! I have a FWD Craftsman sitting in my garage with a dead trans, chewed up wheel gears, and wheels that sometimes lock up. The engine starts on the first pull, but the drive system is junk. It's too heavy to mow without the drive system, so I use my much older 3.5HP pusher instead. The Craftsman is not worth repairing.
 
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Originally Posted By: itguy08
Originally Posted By: NateDN10
If it's the luck of the draw, I'd say you haven't had very good luck.
Considering each was under $300 I'd say I'm doing fine. In 12 years I've spent, say $600. What would that get me in something that may last 12 years? Sure, I could spend almost $7-800 on a top line push mower but would it last longer than an el-cheapo?
Point taken. $300 for a mower is much easier to stomach than $800, even if you know the $800 one will last longer.
 
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I would definitely keep the Lawn-Boy. I have a very similar one. It's a 1999 Silver series that originally had a dead Tecumseh on it. You can swap a better engine very easily. Read about mine here: http://www.jnjhome.net/ope/kermit.htm Wow, I just looked at the date I have on that page: 2006. I can't believe I've been mowing with Kermit for six years now! The staggered front wheel design is intended to keep the cut even across bumpy surfaces. Compared with a "four-square" deck, the staggered wheel design just glides over roots and other surface "features". I'm surprised to hear that yours is cutting unevenly because of it; the deck is designed to produce the opposite effect, and it's been my experience that it does very well at that. Regarding the bagging attachment...staggered wheel Lawn-Boys are not the best baggers. I used to cut our grass as a kid with a late '80s or early '90s S21ZSR (which is equivalent to the later '90s Gold series). We would periodically bag the clippings and the chute would constantly clog because of the very thick and moist fescue we had in Virginia. I would recommend using it as a mulching or side discharge mower instead. You can very easily swap the bagging chute for the mulching cover (see an example on my website above). You'll also likely note how much quieter the deck is without the bagging chute on it. In my experience, the chute acts as a horn and conveys all the blade noise straight to your ears. Lawn-Boys are great machines. Even though you have the steel decl Silver series rather than the Gold series with its alloy deck, you can already tell that it's a higher quality mower than the Craftsman. They're light, they're very well balanced, and they're maneuverable. You can flick it around with your fingers almost. They're a joy to use in my opinion. If you could only keep one, I'd most certainly keep the Lawn-Boy.
 

afoulk

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Thanks hokie, that helps alot. I may wind up keeping both and see how it goes, was just hoping to give one to my brother and help him out, he's got an old craftsman on its last leg.i'm still tempted to get a bagging kit for the lawn boy though. We're going on vacation this weekend, so I think I'll let the grass grow good while we're gone and see how the craftsman does. I already hate the fact that I can't disengage the front drive without releasing the run lever. having a swing set and fence to mow around may make that one harder to use. Anyone know how much oil that engine takes?
 
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Most all small 4-cycles like this take 20 oz. of oil or so. You'll usually get about 1/2 quart out when you drain it. It sounded like you already have a bagging kit on the Lawn-Boy? I'm not sure I'd buy one for it if you don't have one now. As I said, they're not the best baggers; they really excel at mulching. I just bought a new bagging kit for mine off Craigslist. I used it once and it's back in the box. I think I'll hold onto it in case I get a different one where it's not so hard to install it (the Honda's large muffler on the right side almost interferes with the chute). I also don't remember all the blade noise with our old S21, so maybe the steel deck has more blade or deck noise.
 

afoulk

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No I don't currently have a bagging kit on it. My main gripe with it is if the grass is even a little damp, the side discharge opening will clog up after one or two passes up the yard. I make sure I clean the deck after each use, so that's not the issue either. I think its that plastic bar that goes around the bottom of the discharge opening that causes most of my issues.
 
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Originally Posted By: afoulk
No I don't currently have a bagging kit on it. My main gripe with it is if the grass is even a little damp, the side discharge opening will clog up after one or two passes up the yard. I make sure I clean the deck after each use, so that's not the issue either. I think its that plastic bar that goes around the bottom of the discharge opening that causes most of my issues.
Oh, I mis-read that as you were saying that the bagging chute will clog. I will tell you, if the side discharge opening is clogging, you'll have worse issues with the bagging chute. That plastic bar is a toe guard, so you don't stick you foot under there and come out with no digits. It's rather easy to remove. Many folks have removed it and found the side discharge performance to be much better. You may also consider putting the mulching plate on it, which essentially completes the circle of the deck and covers the discharge opening. The motor can bog if mulching tall grass, but it may be better than a clogged discharge opening and the issues that come with that. It sounds like you may also simply need to mow more often, or raise the deck height some.
 
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Ive got seveteen years total on two Tecuseh powered machines, $250.00 the pair, and I have 3/4 of an acre. Ive bought two plugs and one blade total over that time.
 
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