Lawn mower engines


I'm in the market for a 21" or 22" self-propelled, front drive, walk-behind mower. The most commons engines are B&S and Honda, but models with the Honda engine (like some in the Craftsman lineup) cost about $60 more ($470 vs $410). I know this is a subjective question, but is a Honda engine that much better?
Tecumseh seem to be out of favor. That's what's in my 3-year-old Toro. Major complaint about the engine is the flimsy plastic tabs that hold the fuel tank, and it seems noisy.
Reason I'm going for a new mower is a bad gear in the axle transmission assembly. Nothing to do with the engine. Cost to replace the assembly is $70, but I might also have problems right at both front drive wheels, so I'm going with a new one.
Thanks,
Ray
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 27 Aug 2010 15:45:30 -0400, Ray K wrote:

The Honda motor is worth the extra cost as long as the rest of the mower is up to snuff.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Agreed. The Toro-branded self-drive mower with Honda engine has serious design flaws in the mower mechanism, but the Honda motor reliability tends to make up for that (or would, if only the manual showed users how to adjust motor speed.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

== Don't know about Honda, but the B & D motors will usually last about as long as it takes to save enough money for a replacement. Are there any good motors out there? I am so tired of the crap that is produced...do these people even test their products before dumping them on the market? I am having trouble with my B & D 21 HP horizontally opposed twin and am ready for another mower as well. ==
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Honda motors will last longer, you can get one for 399 at HD online. I think its a great deal.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The life of either engine will depend greatly on the maintenance you do.
Hank <~~~likes them both
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I spent twenty years trying to kill a lawn mower. I gave it the first oil change and then spent many years trying to kill it.
I'd ruther be fishing.
I went as far as trying to cut the grass off at ground level.
Oh, Briggs & Stratton engines are the cat's meow. I have post diaper experience.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ray K wrote:

Toro has the Recycler walk behind real wheel drive with a GTS B&S engine. Then there is Ariens, MTD, Lawn Boy, Snapper, Poulan, McLane rotary, Epic cordless, Some with B&S, some with Honda.
--
LSMFT

I look outside this morning and everything was in 3D!
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Tecumseh has gotten out of the small engine business.
Kohler and Kawasaki make good engines in addition to Honda.
All the manufacturers make different grades of engines, but I'd put any one of the above ahead of most B&S. YMMV.
Having said that, for intermittent, faily light duty use, any brand will hold up pretty well if you change the oil frequently, keep the oil level right, and don't let it sit over winter without running it out of gas first so the carb doesn't get gummed up.
One more tip for longevity. If you're frequently using the tool (lawnmower, tractor, whatever) on a slope of more than 10 degrees or so, pay what you have to to get an engine with pressurized oil system. You can identify these because they usually have an oil filter.
HTH,
Paul F.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Paul Franklin wrote:

My 12,000 sq ft lawn takes an hour to mow. Of that time, 10-15 minutes is spent on a 17-degree slope, 100 feet wide, 30 feet along the slope. Everything else is a very gentle slope. For the three years I've used the Toro mower, and the 7 years before that with another, I haven't had an oil problem.
My immediate problem is the front axle transmission, which has a gear with some teeth broken.
Ray
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 28 Aug 2010 08:27:45 -0400, Ray K wrote:

Can you just buy the replacement gear (rather than the whole assembly) - or source an identical* broken mower from freecycle etc. to take parts from?
* or "identical-enough" - check the part number as it might be common to all sorts of different equipment.
re. B+S engines, I'm happy with them in our mid-80s lawn tractor. Very easy to work on if/when something does go wrong. We've got about 90,000 sq ft of lawn, so it sees a fair few hours of run-time. The original engine finally died earlier in the year with a trashed* cylinder wall, but I merged the best parts from it with a slightly-larger engine sourced from a friend (that one had sat outside for a good 15 years, but needed little more than a good strip-down and clean). Problem is, of course, that I can't say that modern B+S engines don't have any quality issues...
* B+S did an "industrial" version with a lined cylinder, and I wish I could find one of those - if I could, it'd probably run for more or less forever...
From limited experience, I really don't like self-propelled mowers; all the ones I've used have been too heavy, and I'd much rather push a lighter, unpropelled one around. Best darn "small" mower I ever had was a 1970s Flymo hover one (did they ever sell those in the US?) - no fighting with it on the turns, and you could push it along with one finger. Just watch your feet! ;-)
cheers
Jules
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Lowes should be a lot cheaper than that. I just bought a 21 Troy Bilt/Honda RWD for $350. The FWD was cheaper but they don't do well climbing hills.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

About 1/4 of my 12,000-sq-ft lawn is on a 17-degree slope. Even with my FWD, I don't have a problem. Maybe it because of the large rear wheels; maybe it's because I push slightly upward on the handles, which forces more weight onto the front driving wheels.
My concern with rear drive is making an abrupt u-turn at the edges of the lawn. With my FWD, all I do is press down on the handle to lift the front wheels off the lawn, and then I make an abrupt u-turn. Seems to me that a RWD would fight me.
Ray
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have a Honda Harmony torn apart, sitting in the garage with the same problem, failed tranny. The engine runs great though, but the tranny shows you that Honda ain't all many think it is. The tranny failed after about 7 years use on a 10,000 sq ft lawn. The pros to the Honda were it's less noisey and the mulching cut was the best I've seen. I bought a Craftsman for $160 on Ebay 2 years ago. I'ts a quarter the price of a new Honda. Pros are that it has significantly more power and so far is running great. Cons are that it doesn't leave as nice a cut and it's a bit noisier. Recently the drive went out on it too. But, it just a broken spring that so far I managed to mend and will replace when I have to. That's an advantage too. It uses the variable speed belt/pulley type drive system instead of the tranny. New tranny for the Honda would have been $130 and having taken it apart, it's a very complex re-assembly. Likely I would get it back together and working correctly, but decided given the choices and costs, it wasn't worth the risk. Figured I might come across one on Ebay on the cheap one day, but so far, no luck.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Aug 28, 7:52am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:
" But, it just a broken spring that so far I managed to mend and will replace when I have to."
Women mend...men fix! ; P
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You let go of the clutch handle and make your turn. I am also not sure how the size of the back wheels affects the FWD. RWD works better for me. I have had both. I assume they have fixed this problem but the early FWDs were using RWD trannys and it was pulling the belt the wrong way causing early failures. The bushing on the input shaft wears out allowing the gear to unmesh. It was designed to pull the gears together limiting the chance for wear. (according to the manufacturer)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Not with a differential.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8/28/2010 8:33 AM, Ray K wrote:

My old commercial Yazoo rear wheel drive basically freewheels, allowing turns to be made with no problem.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8/28/2010 8:33 AM, Ray K wrote:

On my RWD the rear wheels free wheel. To make a turn I loosen up on the *drive* handle handle to stop it, push down to raise the front wheels then turn it. The inside wheel on the turn doesn't go backwards, but the outside wheel does turn forward. So there it is with the one rear wheel exactly where it was except heading the other direction, and the other wheel turning into uncut grass. It turns easier than one that is not self propelled. Where ever you are shopping just tell them you want to test drive it, even if it's only in the parking lot.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Come on over. I got some.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.