Time for a new mower...

Well, my 24-year-old Bolens lawn mower (old push-style, not even self-propelled) died on me today with a BANG. Obviously, something broke inside, valve, connecting rod, not sure what. After nearly a quarter-century of service I guess it's time for something new. I don't have the facilities to repair it, and it's probably not worth paying to get fixed -- money better spent towards sumthin' new.
My needs: - mulch mower (I do leaves with it, too) - self-propelled (I'm gettin' old, nearing 70!) - maybe electric start (is it worth it, those of you who have it?)
I did a quick web-review of Hondas, folks actually were so-so about one of their models (HRR216K9VLA), that's generally available at Home Depot, etc.
I might still consider it, but I'd like to hear what others might have to say. Should I consider other brands? Toro? Husqvarna? (sp) etc.?
What say you?
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On 7/9/2017 9:05 PM, John Albert wrote:

I bought my Honda from a Honda dealer, not HD so it may be different. I like it. That said, I've not used the other brands so I have no idea how they compare. I don't think you'd go wrong with any of th major brands.
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On Sunday, July 9, 2017 at 10:10:06 PM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I had a Honda Harmony HRM215. It was the best mower I ever had from the standpoint of giving the best mulching cut and being quiet. They used a double mulching blade, one on top of the other. It cut up the grass very fine, it practically disappeared and the cut result was the best I've ever seen.
On the downside, while I did get about ten years out of it, the transmission failed. I took it apart, unbelievable amount of disassembly required, all kinds of small parts, bushings, snap rings etc to take it off. The main bearing had worn out. It was $130 at the time for a new one. I probably would have paid that, but then there was the whole re-assembly mess. I've done a lot of work on all kinds of eqpt, but wasn't looking forward to that mess and getting it right. So, I bought a replacement Craftsman for $160 that someone was selling new, locally. It's still running fine. It doesn't cut anywhere as nice as the Honda, it's much noisier. On the plus side, it has more power to go through tough grass. And after about 5 years, the propulsion on it failed too. I investigated, the end of the tensioning spring had broken off and it was right there behind one cover with two screws. Put a cable tie on it and it's been working again ever since. Another difference, that Honda had a tranny with 3 speeds. The Craftsman has a variable speed drive, with a simple belt that slips. I like the latter much better, you can exactly match the speed you want. With the Honda, I only used one speed that was as close as I could get to the typical speed I wanted.
The Honda machine was designed better. For example the wheels had real bearings. The Craftsman, the plastic wheels just rotate around the steel shafts. Of course the difference is that the Honda cost a lot more. I got lucky, I found it at HD at the end of the season so I got a good deal. But normally, it was probably twice the price of a Craftsman if you bought them at regular price.
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On 7/9/17 8:05 PM, John Albert wrote:

Consumer Reports has a couple Best Buys for mulchers. HondaHRR216VKA $430 rear wheel drive ToroRecycler 20332 $360 rear wheel drive, Honda engine Both are multi speed. Single speed Best Buys: ToroSMARTSTOW 20339 $350 front wheel drive, big back wheels, Briggs engine Toro20377 $300 front wheel drive, looks like regular sized wheels, Kohler engine
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On Sun, 9 Jul 2017 22:03:33 -0500, Dean Hoffman

And be well advised to look carefully at the details - not just the "name" on the mower. My " Toro Recycler " had a B&S engine and was very prone to annoying clog-ups and the deck rusted out prematurely. The B&S engine was still quite good when I tossed it. It was not the self-propelled model. I replaced it with an old Jacobsen from an auction sale for $ 25. and I really like it - aluminum deck; ~ 4 hp B&S Quantum; 1 pull starts it ; no safety handle/bar ; ..while it meets my needs - it meets none of your needs ... I have never liked the extra weight of self-proprlled - my mowing is not 100 % straight ahead - a lot of back & forth areas - where I do not want to be pulling the extra weight. nor any extra maintenance / repair issues over the years. John T.
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On Mon, 10 Jul 2017 08:18:43 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

The self propelled feature adds very little weight to my ancient Yazoo BigWheel.
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Try to stay away from HD and Lowes anad such. Go to a local dealer. The box stores usually have the less expensive lines. Even if not that, if there is any problem with the mower you can get it serviced much better at the dealer while it is under warrenty.
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On 7/9/17 11:14 PM, Ralph Mowery wrote:

Beg to differ...if the less expensive model meets your needs and gets the job done for you, why pay more for bells and whistles you don't care about?
As for warranty service convenience...that's pretty much a non-issue. I mean when was the last time you heard about a leaf blower/chain saw/lawn mower, etc., needing service during the one-year warranty period?
At my local HD, if you sweet-talk one of the good ole' girls on the customer service desk, they'll usually take the broken one back and give you a nice new one-- with another year's warranty!
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The problem for me was the less expensive model did not meet my needs as far as lasting. It worked fine for several years, then the transaxel went out. Many on the internet had the same problem at about 300 hours, the mower had a run time meter.
That mower also was defective in that it would not run but about 100 feet. Being a riding mower and at the time I did not have a truck, the dealer had to come and get it. I doubt that Lowes would do that.
I did buy a weed eater from Lowes and could not get it started. Took it back and they did exchange it for another new one.
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wrote:

Because it's not bells and whistles we are talking about. We are talking about QUALITY. Some of the more expensive, better quality stuff actually has FEWER bells and whistles. There is blinged out crap, and there is good quality base, and there is commercial grade, in order of quality.

Go in to the dealers and look at what they are working on.Shit happens.

and it won't be properly assembled either.
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On 7/10/17 1:09 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Well of course commercial grade is better than consumer grade crap. What's your point?

Of course it does. But usually not during the one-year warranty period

Dude, if you need someone to assemble a string trimmer or leaf blower for you, you'd better hire a gardener lest you injure yourself ;-)
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wrote:

My point is if you buy junk, you can't expect commercial quality - and they DO make something in between.

Either it fails in warranty or it lasts for AGES, in my experience. "Infant Mortality" is the biggest failure rate.

What about a rider? I can assemble it and do it right. Guys who don't know one end of a screwdriver from the other? Not a chance.
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On 7/10/2017 11:32 AM, Wade Garrett wrote:

Years ago crappy chain saw oil pump failed and I took it to shop manufacturer recommended miles from here. Should have taken it back to HD and saved two thirty mile round trips.
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On 07/09/2017 07:05 PM, John Albert wrote:

http://www.troybilt.com/equipment/troybilt/tb130-xp-walk-behind-push-mower-tb130-xp-2017
It has a Honda engine and does a good job of mulching grass and leave in the fall. TroyBilt does make a self-propelled that I may consider when I get old, like 80. (nearing 70 in a matter of months).
My highly refined selection process -- I grew up near Troy and was familiar with TroyBilt rototillers. I think the lawnmower is actually made, or assembled as the case may be, in Alabama now.
It starts with one pull which is pretty light compared to some pull starts I've used. A self-propelled with a bigger engine might be a different story but then you've got to mess around with batteries. Using a tender in the winter will add to the battery life.
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wrote:

whatever brand ypu buy, do not buy the cheapest or most expensive. Don't buy from Home Despot - buy a Honda from your local Honda equipment dealer, or a Toro from your Toro dealer, or a Husky from your Husky dealer. Again, don't (generally speaking) buy their cheapest unless the dealer tells you there are lower priced models but he won't carry them, or won't recommend them, and will only sell them if at all, if you insist - then perhaps buy the cheapest he recommends. Tes, you MIGHT buy cheaper from the BORG - you MIGHT get the same product, but I can almost guarantee it won't be properly assembled, and you'll get NO service of any sort. Support your dealer.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca says...

I made a mistake about 10 years ago and went to a dealer for John Deere to buy a mower. They were selling the same one as the local Lowes did. Good thing I bought it at the dealer as the switch in the seat was messed up and it would only run for about 100 feet before cutting off. They came out and took it back and replaced the seat.
Where I messed up was that was the low end mower made for Lowes and such , even though it was over 2 times the price of the low end brands like Murry. Found out later when my transaxel went out that was a common problem at around 300 hours of the mower.
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On 7/10/17 10:13 AM, Ralph Mowery wrote:

Typical homeowner averages maybe six cut per month max, five month cutting season, an hour per cut so you're looking at about 30 hours per year of mower use.
It'll take 10 years to hit that 300 fail point, well past any warranty benefit!
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Not talking warrenty,but how long something lasts. I mow for about 2 hours at a time with a 48 inch cut mower. The mowing season is a bit longer where I am. Say 50 hours per year, that 300 hours is 6 years. A mower that costs over $ 2000 should last longer than that. Especially when buy what I thought was a major brand name like John Deere, and not low end like a Murry.
When I lived at a smaller place I had a riding Murry that lasted for almost 20 years and only got rid of it when I moved as it was not large enough to mow the larger yard. Only problems with that was replacing a few belts and keeping the tires pumped up. I did service both mowers every year as recommended by the factory as far as oil, lube and filter changes.
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On Mon, 10 Jul 2017 12:54:54 -0400, Ralph Mowery

You can make a pretty safe bet a NEW murry won't last that long - - -
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On Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:13:35 -0400, Ralph Mowery

You bought thecheep riding lawn mower instead of rhe better lawn tractor, or the better yet garden tractor, or best, their "compact tractor" JD cheapened their brand by putting their name on cheap crap to meet a pricepoint for the "mass merchandizers" It's biting them in the butt in a BIG way right now. Has almost killed Ariens too. Cub Cadet not far behind, alonf with Bolens.
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