OK guys, what do you think the best push mower is these days? My John Deere
has given up after about 15+ years. The Kawasaki engine was great until
today. Bad knock (started that last year) and it stopped. I'm not sure if
it is worth rebuilding.
The new JD mowers use B & S engines and, IMO, they are just not all that
durable. Any opinions?
I had a Cub Cadet years ago and it was crap after 3 years, a Craftsman after
4 years. Both were a long time ago.
How about self propelled reliability? It was subject to breaking in the
past, but may be more durable today.
I'm also thinking Honda. Never had one but they seem to have a good
JD with Kawasaki engine is good one. I still have it and after 14 years
it still works like new. Only thing I did was replace spark plug once,
oil change couple times, and sharpen the blades when needed.
Honda mower is pretty good as well.
They should. The price tag is a little over $400 for cheapest model. OTOH,
Reports rated Honda ahead of all others by a wide margin. Some other
brands, like Husqvarna and Toro, are using Honda motors. They ain't
I've had two JD rear drive rear baggers. I'm not sure what engine.
One I bought around late 90's and the other about 3 years later
because I'm stupid and didn't learn from the first one. One of them
was model JX75 or something similar.
I bent the crank severely on the first one when I hit a small stump
hidden in grass. Quotes to rebuild or replace the engine were about
the same....75% of cost of whole new mower. The crank was bent and
bottom bearings were toast. One shop said they might be able to
straighten the crank, but couldn't be sure it would work and wanted
50% of cost of whole new mower to try. Since it was busy season in the
shop, any repair was going to take 3-4 weeks during which times I'd
have to borrow or rent another mower...so I just bought another one.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. The self propelled transmission crapped out
about 1 month out of warranty. I bent the crank on this one too, when
it barely scalped a high root. This time it was bent just a little
and I've just lived with the vibration since I only use it for
trimming as I now have a tractor. I've had much cheaper mowers that
would not have even slowed down when hitting that root, let alone
bending the crank.
I suspect the issue is the style of blade clutch JD uses. It moves
the blade several inches farther away from the engine bearing than it
would be without the clutch, and this gives a lot more leverage when
the blade tip hits something.
I've concluded the JD's are overpriced , unreliable, and expensive to
I'd try the Honda if I were you. Or go the cheapie route and figure on
replacing it every 4 years or so.
Frankly, the cheapies are often a lot lighter and easier to
I used to go the cheapie route. They were always a pain in the neck and got
worse from there. I bought the Honda when we moved here; what a difference!
I haven't found that to be the case. The Honda is really easy to maneuver
around. I always hated mowing the lawn with my last Crapsman. This thing
makes mowing a much thicker (Zoyzia vs. Creeping Red Fescue) lawn a piece of
That's the JD I had, or I think so. Had the caster wheels up front, what a
POS! Had the self propelled go out on mine also.
Having worked for directly for JD some years ago, I should've known better
than to buy their junk even with the discount.
That's been my experience too. Bought a SP and it was nothing but
trouble and barely worked plus it made the mower heavy. Switched to a
cheapie and it was so much lighter and maneuverable. It also lasted
me 8 years and I never changed the plug, cleaned the air filter every
couple years, and changed the oil maybe once or twice. Replaced it
with a fairly cheap Sears/Husquavana but I actually liked the really
cheap old one better - it had a bigger bag and better suction.
My Honda is only beginning its fourth season but it starts first time every
time with just a gentle pull of the cord. The only thing I've had to do to it
was blow out the air filter and change the oil.
My neighbor [who works on lawnmowers and small engines] sold me a used
Honda for $150 7 years ago. It was probably a few years old when I
got it. Someone traded it in- he tuned it up.
I change the plug & oil every year and clean the air filter. It
doesn't know what the inside of a garage looks like. I throw a piece
of tin over it for the winter. It takes 2 pulls to start in the
spring. After that- 1 will do it. It has a completely different
sound than any other mower I've walked behind. More like a sewing
machine than a mower.
Don't know if they're built like this still-- But I'd give $150 for a
10yr old one if I needed a mower.
A lot of ppl still haven't experienced a Honda. Actually, an amazing
company. I've been involved with them since my high school days, when
they were flooding our country (US) with cheaply priced motorcycles.
I've owned a couple of their motorcycles and one car. I was also a
motorcycle mechanic at one time and have worked on a lot of brands,
The car completely turned me around. Till then, I was a died in the
wool Mopar man and totally disgusted with the Japanese quality myth.
By that time, I'd already amassed a garage full of dead Japanese
stereo and photo equipment that had barely made it to the end of
warranty before expiring. My '87 Honda Civic Hatchback was different.
Best car I ever owned.
I bought it with 120K on the odometer and proceded to commute 70-90
miles per day for the next several yrs. It was the Sport Injected
model (Si) and a total joy to drive. Got 36 mpg, would smoked any of
the old Brit roadsters I'd once owned on a road coarse, and reliable
as a brick. I finally sold it with 255K on an engine that still
purred and got 34 mpg. I replaced one starter, one muffler, one set
alt brushes, 2 velo joints and one tranny ($160!). It was 19 yrs old.
I've since had a lot of experience with Hondas. A very close friend
lived off one of their self starting generators for 6 yrs. It
provided all power and ran flawlesly the entire time. In CA, Hondas
are worth their weight in gold. Last longer than Mercedes and
Beemers, and are worth more at resale.
There are very few things in this world I will trust, hands down,
sight unseen. A Honda is one. Buy one and see why.
Add another vote for Honda. I bought one way back around 1980. I
have worn the rubber off the drive wheels twice (and it is getting
ready for the third set), replaced a clutch cable once, one new plug
and fuel filter. Change oil 1x year. I used it for mowing a very
large place, 2 acres some years.
Starting? Same here, 1 pull every time still except for the first
start in the spring.
I bought a new Honda about 15 years ago figuring the old one was about
worn out. It still sets in the the shed only having been used a few
times for trial.
One complaint I have is the gearing on the mechanical gear boxes. 1st
is too slow, high is a bit fast. The one in the shed is 3 speed. I
don't know what high gear would be used for, I can barely keep up with
it walking fast.
I also have the Honda rototiller.
They are 'spendy' but worth it.
The other day I started my 1985 lawnboy again, It been maintenance
free but I dont think they make the 2 strokes anymore. HD has Honda,
one for 350 non power drive I think, one for 389 online, I think thats
the best buy you can get, for another location I bought a Toro a few
years ago, its been fine except it clogs way to easy on damp grass and
I think ive always heard a bearing knock when I dont use 30w, it says
I can use multi grade but I should not hear bad bearings on a new
machine, if that is what I am hearing, im not sure. Honda at CR
magazine is top rated.
I agree about the lawnboy 2 strokes. My old one, 19 years, is still
out at our lake house. I had to fix the self propel transmission, no
parts needed, I just flipped over a bit that was broken on one side.
And replace the muffler. It's that version where the muffler/
expansion chamber is under the deck. They just eventually rust out.
I think I might have put a carb kit in it once. It still starts right
up. The deck is starting to be pretty shabby but hasn't fallen apart
My newer one at our main house is 8 years old now. I have not done
anything to it but it is and always has been finicky about starting.
Usually takes 4 or 5 pulls. They moved the muffler above the deck.
Long ago I had one of their really old ones. Back when they made them
with cast aluminum decks. That one was perfect. Indistructable deck
and maintenance free 2 stroke.
I'll miss the two stroke mowers. I mix one 2 1/2 gallon can of oil
and gas and use it in everything, mower, trimmer, edger, chainsaw, and
I found a guy that had a bunch of them as he repaired them and got a
new deck about 10 years ago, mine is push so I have little to break.
Its a great little motor, it is a commercial grade boat motor. Second
pull and it going on maybe 26 years. on 4 strokes i get about 10-12
My self propelled Honda is going into it's third season.
Easy to start but needs a couple of pulls.
Mulching cut is perfect and mower does not clog even when grass is wet.
I'm not real crazy about variable drive and having to use thumbs but I'm
more used to it after these few seasons but my right thumb is still
recovering from a winter sprain caused by a fall on ice.
Oil is easy to change and air filter is easy to clean. There is a fuel
shut off valve so you can over winter with gas in the tank but run the
carburetor dry. This is Japanese quality where they continue to make
things better instead of cheaper as done in the US.
Over the years, the first Japanese stuff into the US after the war was
crap but continued to get better and now are the highest quality. I
switched to their cars in the late 80's.
I have a 15 year old self-propelled, walk behind Snapper in the shed
that still starts on the first or second pull. I don't remember the
last time it was tuned up. I hit a stump with it during about year 5
or 6 and had to have the crank straightened and new seals installed.
I figured it was a short-timer then, but it keeps running just fine;
and still looks pretty good. We sold my in-law's Snapper rider in the
estate sale about five years ago, and that machine was our inspiration
to buy the walk behind. My wife and I have been married for 44 years
and it seems like it was was used by them or by the family during much
of that time.
Obviously, I don't have much of a problem with Briggs. We owned Toro
riders and push machines before the Snapper. Pretty good machines
until you start replacing parts - then VERY expensive to own. A
carburetor for the Toro/Honda costs about 2-3 times a Briggs unit.
Ditto other parts.
Like others have mentioned earlier about other upper-end brands -
Snapper isn't cheap. That is, unless it outlasts 2-3 of the Sears,
Murray or other lower-end machines.
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