Re: Cub Cadet push mower reliability?

I think my doubts about the plastic baffle plate under the mower deck are well founded: after mowing my lawn twice with this mower, I peeked under the deck and there are already a couple of gashes in that plastic baffle plate that penetrate completely through it. The look like they may be caused by the plastic being bent against the tip of the blade, possibly by contact with some of the roots that I mow over. I have my doubts about the long term reliability of this mower due to these cheap plastic components. I don't think it's going to last as long as the 19 years I got out of my Snapper.
Gary wrote:

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Gary...
If you're going to subject your mower to falling limbs, fence rails, and mowing over roots that will get hit by as blade 3" off the ground, I don't know you should've bought any homeowner mower that I've seen. I've looked at Hondas, Deere, Cub Cadet, and quite a few others this week, and generally speaking, if you're spending under $600 the build quality seems to be pretty much the same, and there's plenty of plastic parts being used on all brands.
You might want to sell that Cub Cadet and spring for a $1200 commercial mower with an aluminum or magnesium deck and a direct-drive system. If you need it to be self-propelled, other than a Skag-Sulky type, I don't know if there's a good self-propelled commercial 21" cut mower.
The first thing you might want to do though is walk around your property with a double-action pruner and cut out any roots sticking above the ground. If they are too big to cut without damaging the tree/shrub (?) than why not do a little grading? Having roots popping up that high in your lawn would not only look pretty ugly, but it sounds like someone could trip and break a leg!
I was over a friend's house yesterday morning and watched him mow his lawn with his John Deere. He has the JS63C (I believe) which is a 3-speed self-propelled with caster wheels on the front. He bought it at the BORG for around $400 because it was the last one and they decided not to carry Deere walk-behinds any longer. It's pretty similar to the caster-wheeled Honda and Cub Cadet models I saw at HD and Lowes. After wheeling the thing around myself, I found the casters to be pretty neat around shrub beds. You do have a little learning curve with the turns though as you really have to push the handle sideways to use those casters to their fullest. I like a caster mower, even though it takes up another 10" of length it seems.
FWIW, ePinions has some pretty positive reviews on the SRC621 Cub Cadet. Didn't see one complaint about the oil drain issue though I'm sure you're right. I guess a lot of people are just dropping them off at the lawn shop and having them serviced, although I wondered if you could simply cut a hole in the plastic right where the drain plug is and make it that much easier to get at it?
Mike

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Gary...
I can relate to the problem of the roots because not two weeks ago, I decided that if I was going to start mowing (myself) again, I wanted a clean and clear path for me and the mower. I have one section of my lawn that runs thru two shrub beds and ay the narrowest point it's about 6 feet. Roots from trees and shrubs had been bulging out in this area for some time, and for whatever reason, the grass didn't seem to grow well there either.
So I practiced what I preached... went in and dug around the roots from edge to edge, and cut them back maybe 6" from either side, then added a few wheelbarrows of topsoil mixed with seed, and yup... I already have grass thick enough to mow!
We generally prune everything back above the ground so we can see the edge of the shrub beds, and dress them every other year with chips and mulch. So the casters wouldn't snag in my case.
Right now it's a toss up between a Honda at HD or the Cadet at Lowes. The cadet is a bit cheaper, and I might be able to get a discount at Lowes on a floor model. Have to see about that today or tomorrow. BTW, are you mulching or catching clippings? Just wondered if you liked the mulching as much as the people in ePinions.
Mike

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snipped-for-privacy@hotpotato.com wrote: > Gary... > > I can relate to the problem of the roots because not two weeks ago, I > decided that if I was going to start mowing (myself) again, I wanted a > clean and clear path for me and the mower. I have one section of my > lawn that runs thru two shrub beds and ay the narrowest point it's > about 6 feet. Roots from trees and shrubs had been bulging out in > this area for some time, and for whatever reason, the grass didn't > seem to grow well there either.
I have put some fill over the roots, but they eventually come back (some trees like my maples like to grow roots on the surface. Also, another concern of mine besides the roots is pine cones, which I pick up but sometimes I miss some. With my old Snapper, these have wedged between the blade tip and the deck, going round and round until usually the engine stalled from the drag. The Cub Cadet has a similar 360 degree close clearance from the blade tip to the deck, but the rear part of this on the Cub Cadet is the plastic baffle which is only a fraction of an inch from the blade. I'm afraid if a pine cone gets jammed between the blade and that baffle the baffle isn't going to fare so well.
> > So I practiced what I preached... went in and dug around the roots > from edge to edge, and cut them back maybe 6" from either side, then > added a few wheelbarrows of topsoil mixed with seed, and yup... I > already have grass thick enough to mow! > > We generally prune everything back above the ground so we can see the > edge of the shrub beds, and dress them every other year with chips and > mulch. So the casters wouldn't snag in my case.
I trim my shrubs every year but still they've overgrown my edging, trimming too much at this point would leave no foliage on the sides. I suppose I could move the edging. Without the overhanging shrubs and sidehills I might have chosen the casters.
> > Right now it's a toss up between a Honda at HD or the Cadet at Lowes. > The cadet is a bit cheaper, and I might be able to get a discount at > Lowes on a floor model. Have to see about that today or tomorrow. > BTW, are you mulching or catching clippings? Just wondered if you > liked the mulching as much as the people in ePinions. > > I'm mulching, and it does a very good job at that, even in taller grass the clippings just disappear. The 6.5 HP engine has plenty of power for mulching (which I think requires additional power to chop the clippings more finely). I haven't tried side discharge or bagging yet (I usually bag only in the fall to vacuum up what leaves I miss while raking).
If you don't mind taking the mower in for oil changes or getting a pump to change from above (probably easier that way anyway, actually) then it's otherwise a pretty good mower. Not too loud, the only other minor wish is that it held its speed a bit better on hills. Time will tell whether the plastic parts (and even my 19 old Snapper had plastic parts - rear guard and side dischare chute - that had cracked) hold up well. The one I'm most concerned about is plastic under the mower deck, this seems like it could be easily damaged if I ever run over any hard objects.
One of my main reasons for choosing it is that it I wanted rear wheel drive and there aren't that many models with this. I also wanted plenty of power after my underpowered previous mower.
If you get a floor model be sure it's not damaged, for example drive speed is supposed to be adjusted only with the engine running but most likely people have yanked on the levers on the display model anyway.
Gary
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snipped-for-privacy@hotpotato.com wrote: > Gary... > > I can relate to the problem of the roots because not two weeks ago, I > decided that if I was going to start mowing (myself) again, I wanted a > clean and clear path for me and the mower. I have one section of my > lawn that runs thru two shrub beds and ay the narrowest point it's > about 6 feet. Roots from trees and shrubs had been bulging out in > this area for some time, and for whatever reason, the grass didn't > seem to grow well there either.
I have put some fill over the roots, but they eventually come back (some trees like my maples like to grow roots on the surf
> > So I practiced what I preached... went in and dug around the roots > from edge to edge, and cut them back maybe 6" from either side, then > added a few wheelbarrows of topsoil mixed with seed, and yup... I > already have grass thick enough to mow! > > We generally prune everything back above the ground so we can see the > edge of the shrub beds, and dress them every other year with chips and > mulch. So the casters wouldn't snag in my case.
I trim my shrubs every year but still they've overgrown my edging, trimming too much at this point would leave no foliage on the sides. I suppose I could move the edging. Without the overhanging shrubs and sidehills I might have chosen the casters.
> > Right now it's a toss up between a Honda at HD or the Cadet at Lowes. > The cadet is a bit cheaper, and I might be able to get a discount at > Lowes on a floor model. Have to see about that today or tomorrow. > BTW, are you mulching or catching clippings? Just wondered if you > liked the mulching as much as the people in ePinions. > > I'm mulching, and it does a very good job at that, even in taller grass the clippings just disappear. The 6.5 HP engine has plenty of power for mulching (which I think requires additional power to chop the clippings more finely). I haven't tried side discharge or bagging yet (I usually bag only in the fall to vacuum up what leaves I miss while raking).
If you don't mind taking the mower in for oil changes or getting a pump to change from above (probably easier that way anyway, actually) then it's otherwise a pretty good mower. Not too loud, the only other minor wish is that it held its speed a bit better on hills. Time will tell whether the plastic parts (and even my 19 old Snapper had plastic parts - rear guard and side dischare chute - that had cracked) hold up well. The one I'm most concerned about is plastic under the mower deck, this seems like it could be easily damaged if I ever run over any hard objects.
One of my main reasons for choosing it is that it I wanted rear wheel drive and there aren't that many models with this. I also wanted plenty of power after my underpowered previous mower.
If you get a floor model be sure it's not damaged, for example drive speed is supposed to be adjusted only with the engine running but most likely people have yanked on the levers on the display model anyway.
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< Snip >
Now that I've had this mower for a few weeks, I have to say that I love it. I was a little disappointed with some of the plastic parts, such as the plastic wing nuts that allow you to interchange the bag/side discharge, but that was easily remedied by a quick trip to the hardware store. Otherwise, it's much better than my old Toro, though I do have to admit the caster wheels took a little getting used to. I don't have the tree root problem, or much of that nature, as my land is fairly new...the only thing I hit on occassion is a sod staple left over from last year's grass installation. That just dings up the blade.
Time will tell on the reliability of it overall, but it seems pretty solid, other than the cheaped out plastic parts in places that I wouldn't put them. But then again, I'm used to a 1979 Cub Cadet 149 rider that still runs like brand new, so I'm a bit spoiled.
Thanks to everyone for their comments. It helped alot.
Greg
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