Which small Engine is Better - Briggs or Tecumseh?
If you mow a city lawn and do it every few days this probably wont
even affect you. But I own a farm and mow heavy grass. Sometimes
it's a foot tall. Having had numerous push mowers, I have decided
that the Tecumseh engines are much better. When I was younger, it
seemed that every mower had a Briggs engine. Then I started to run
across mowers with Tecumseh engines. The last Tecumseh mower I had
was a 3HP model. That mower just went thru everything and rarely ever
stopped. Even when the blade was dull, it still kept going. I
finally destroyed it when I ran over some metal and bent the
crankshaft so badly the blade chopped the frame to shreads (because I
kept going). I just got another mower with a crappy Briggs engine.
Also a 3HP. Once again I got a mower that dies constantly, dont have
the guts to get thru even the lightest weeds, and takes me ten times
as long to mow. Considering both engines are 3HP, and the frames are
identical (meaning no powered wheels, etc), I will say the Tecumseh
has 3 times the power of the Briggs engine. And just for the record,
this new Briggs mower has less usage than that Tecumseh one had.
I already know that this POS will be going to the next auction. I
just cant stand these weak Briggs engines with no power and no guts.
Which do you prefer, and why?
That's like asking which is better, chevy or ford.
You are aware that Brigs (and probablyi Tecumseh also) build different
grades? Buy a cheap mower, you will get a cheap engine. If you really
want a good engine you will have to buy a better grade mower.
One with a Honda will outperform your Tecumseh or Briggs but it will
cost you. It will also still be running after the world ends. My
oldest one is over 25 years old and still starts first pull every
time...well I did have to pull 3 or 4 times last spring first time out
of the shed. All I have replaced is the sparkplug (once), clutch cable
(once) and drive wheel tires twice.
I agree. Just take care of it properly. I have found that 10W30 Mobil
1 synthetic oil is a great lubricant for air cooled engines. It doesn't
break down due to heat like conventional oils.
Harry K wrote:
I do this too. It's very cheap insurance, small engine parts &
replacement engines are disproportionately expensive.
Larger HP engines - Tecumseh Snow-Kings & up into The Briggs V-Twins
seem to really thrive on synthetic oil.
While I do agree you get what you pay for (usually). The Tecumseh
engine mower sold for $98. My uncle bought it for around $65 (after
the season sale). So, this was a cheap mower. Yet, it out performed
every Briggs engine mower I have ever used. If I had not kept using
it till it destroyed the deck, I would have now paid the $50 for a new
crankshaft and other needed parts. That mower always started on the
first pull and it would gnaw down 2" burdock stumps without killing.
This Briggs engine mower I have now dont have the balls to get thru a
thick clump of grass, and a half inch burdock stump kills it
instantly. I'll sharpen the blade, even though it's really not bad,
but I need a mower that can get thru this thick grass and brush and
not need to be restarted every couple minutes.
I should note that this briggs engine mower was a more expensive
mower, and it's newer. This also came from the same uncle. When he
went into a nursing home I got these mowers. He saved the receipts
and manuals for everything so I have all of that. The Briggs mower
was bought in 1997, the Tecumseh in 98. I have a feeling he could not
get the Briggs to cut his lawn either.
I think part of the issue is the way the deck is designed. This
Briggs engine deck clogs by the ejection hole constantly. I'm about
ready to cut a larger hole, which is not the first time I have done
You're (a)busing the wrong tool for the job--you don't have a lawn, it
sounds like an (unkept) pasture. If you insist on trying to use an
inexpensive lawn mower as a bush hog, you will continue to break cranks
and beat up decks (throwing more money and tantrums along the way).
Either get a brush-cutting-capable rig or fix the problem w/ the "yard"
is my suggestion.
I've Briggs-powered mowers on the farm that are 40 yrs old and still
operate just fine. There are others w/ Kawasaki and Tecumseh as well.
Each is suited (and used) for a particular task and the small push
lawnmower in particular, is not for mowing around the lots, etc.
I have a 27 year old Tecumseh in my riding mower that's only had oil, plugs
and filter cleaning. Have a 3.5HP Tecumseh in the shed that outlasted the
chassis it came in. The 4HP B&S Quantum that replaced it doesn't seem to
have any more power than the 3.5HP .All of them were made before mulching
mowers became popular. A mower with a blade for mulching might not discharge
well or so I've heard.
Did you get the first mower off Honda's assembly line?<grin> My only
experience with Honda mowers is my friends. His threw a rod through the
crankcase last year, just out of warranty. I convinced him to take it back
to Sears and see if they would make it right. They told him it was still
under warranty and gave him a new one. Don't know if he didn't know when the
warranty was up or if they gave an extended warranty because of a known
defect or something else. Just pointing out they all can have problems. I
have an ST1100 and love it other than the, $30 each, proprietary headlight
As to the "first off the assembly line. Nope. I tried once a few
years ago to figure out just when I did buy it. I bought it on
recommendation from my neighbor who had seen one and had a Honda
tiller. Purchase was in early or mid 80s but I can't come closer than
that. So I may be wrong, it could only be 20 yoa. Then when I was
coming up on retirement about 10 years ago I figured it would be nice
to have a mower that would last through my 'fixed income' years and
bought another one. That one is still in the shed as this one just
won't quit. Smokes like a fiend when first fired up but then clears
up. Of course both mowers and the tiller I also have smoked at start
up from new. Dealer says 'nature of the beast' but can't give an
explanation other than a few drops of oil leaking past valve stems.
Since none of the burn oil I don't undersand it.
I dont work for Tecumseh. In fact I am retired but do small scale
farming because I enjoy it. But being a farmer, requires powerful
equipment. Practically anything can mow a city lawn that gets mowed
every week or more. I am just looking for opinions from others. I
can honestly say that the mower I have now is a royal pain in the ass.
It's got a Briggs 3HP, and it kills every few minutes on grass that's
8 to 10 inches tall. Yet, my 3HP Tecumseh mower would take down grass
that was 3 feet tall, and even chop off 1 inch thick burdock stalks.
It hardly ever killed. I spent nearly 3 hours yesterday mowing a 50
ft. piece of lawn with 8 to 10" grass, and must have restarted the
thing nearly 50 times. With that old mower, I would have done the job
in 20 minutes and restarted probably 3 times at most. I just got this
Briggs engine mower last week, actually it was given to me, but I left
it with a relative. I absolutely hate the thing. When I mow, I want
to mow, blast thru whatever needs to be taken down, and get the job
done, not baby the thing, and have to keep restarting even if I do go
as slow as I can. I know what works and what pisses me off. This
mower I have now is a "piss off". In fact I just went out to look for
another mower, and one with a Tecumseh engine. I have more important
things to do than piss around with a mower that dont want to cut the
lawn. This is probably the worst mower I ever had, but I have never
owned a mower with a Briggs eng. that had enough power for my needs.
On Wed, 02 Aug 2006 01:42:46 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:
I restore old (60s and 70s) garden tractors. Most have Kohler or
Tecumseh engines; a few B&S. They all have peculiarities. Ignition
modules, valve seats, balance gears. I prefer Kohlers.
--Andy Asberry recommends NewsGuy--
newer mowers have been regulated by the feds, design of discharge hole,
limit blade tip speed etc.
now all these make mowers safer but can adversely effect mower
heck new mowers have carb adjustements permanetely plugged so you cant
easily raiue engine speed.
this is why really old mowers were 2 or 3 horsepower and newer ones 5
or 6 hp and often dont work as well as old ones.
our federal governmment at work......
If you buy from the professional lines of equipment you bypass much of
the asinine "safety" nonsense. Of course you can also modify the
consumer units to fix the flaws if you're so inclined. I had to modify a
snow blower that was downright dangerous with the "safety" junk. The
"safety" clutch design made it impossible to have proper control of the
machine to change direction quickly to get out of the road if a car was
coming or to back up when you found the low stone wall.
Well, thats part of the problem with this Briggs engine mower. The
deck is pretty much round, and the discharge hole is way too small.
Then they got this spring loaded cover over the hole that is supposed
to push outward when grass builds up. I wired that thing wide open,
because it did not open as it should. Even with that wired open,
there is no place for grass clogs to escape. The blade is right there
and eventually gets bogged down. The "good" mower had an outward
extension and larger discharge hole. The grass could get away from
the blade, an came out easier.
This mower also runs too slow, and there is no adjustment since the
governor keep it slow. (I think I can bend the rods to increase
speed), and I know I can enlarge the discharge hole. I hope this
helps, but there is still a lack of power.
You don't mention the ages of the engines in question, but it seems at
some point over the years that engine horsepower numbers went the way of
compressor horsepower numbers i.e. grossly inflated.
I have a quite old Deere 110 riding mower with a Kohler 10HP engine that
from every objective comparison I can make seems to have more power than
the new mowers with "18HP" engines.
Both mowers are from the mid to late 1990's. The Teumseh I was able
to date to 97 or 98. The other one I could not date, but he bought
that one shortly before. I wonder if he found it tough to use too,
and is why he bought the other one...
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