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Make Smoke, Boil Water!
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I need to draw on the collective wisdom of the Forum. I'm back on Property Committee, and unfortunately the guy I'm following "knew everything" and couldn't be told anything. He was responsible for buying two Craftsman mowers in a row because they are 'made in USA', which I don't believe is true anymore. Honestly, he reminds me of the joke about the guy who had owned five cars in a short period of time and said proudly, "I like this car so much I've bought five of them!"

My attitude is a bit different. I always feel I have something to learn, and so here I am, looking for wisdom.

Here's where we are. I want to give you as much of the picture as possible so you can help me find something. We're having trouble getting volunteers to mow because the current mower is so awful for them to use. Fortunately it's worn out and is ready for replacement.

The Craftsman we have now is the biggest hurdle to people volunteering to mow. It's REALLY heavy, hard to handle, hard to start, and the self-propelling feature doesn't work all that well. Never did, is what I hear. I've heard a couple of people call it "a beast". The one before it was pretty much like it, and also didn't last at all.

So the church is on a full city block, with lawn areas on 3 sides. They're not really wide, but they're long. And the big thing is that the ground is somewhat steep, along one side. Most of our older members can walk it OK, but the mower has to handle well and really do its share of the work in getting up and down those hills. It also needs to be able to go at the pace of the person running it.

So can you folks help me find something good that will last, is easy to handle, starts easy, and the self-propelling feature maybe be variable instead of a big dog on a short leash trying to yank your arm off...?

Thank you all very much, and thanks in advance from our church members. This may take a few months to complete (Council has to sign off on it), but I'll let you know how it goes when I have news.
BTW, I may not respond right away as I have a new job and it's keeping me really busy.
 

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I don't know what your price range is, but I would suggest a Ybravo 25. You can Google it.
It is built to last.
Lee
 

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Blank Space
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$$$$ matters here. SP mowers can be had cheap, or they can get pricey. I've only had one SP mower in my time and wasn't real fond of it. But I did find that I preferred rear wheel drive models over front wheel drive. Main reason was cornering, detailing or any place I had to lift the front wheels for any reason. Lift the front, you lose the drive.
 

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I would suggest a Toro Super Recycler with Personal Pace. The cheaper Recyclers work well but don't free wheel backing up which makes them harder to handle and they don't last as well. The big thing here is dealer support, don't be tempted by the big box retailers. Look for a shop that sets up and services what they sell.
 

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A number of good suggestions! You don't give a price range so we don't know if you are looking for new or used. I will assume price is important and longevity as well. Being a Lawnboy guy but not being a self propelled guy, (although I have two capstan drive models), I would suggest one of the F series 3 speed models such as the 10515 from 1993, 1994, or 1995. Very reliable Walbro carb, aluminum deck, 3 speed, pretty much bullet proof. This era of Lawnboy produced some of the best and most reliable Lawnboy mowers and I can vouch for the fact that they are a pleasure to use. There are a couple of Lawnboys refurbishers out there and you may find one that have been completely gone through, maybe with a rebuilt or new shortblock, powder coated deck, etc. A mower such as this, with a little care, can last 30 to 40 years. Heck my wife is mowing with a D-600 series from 1975. Can't complain about a mower that starts first pull when it's 42 years old!! Anyway just a thought. Don't have to buy new and high dollar to get a quality mower that will last. Bill
 

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Bill makes an excellent point. One of the reasons I suggested the Ybravo is because you say you have slopes. Slope's will take their toll on spash lube engines such as Briggs or Honda. And since new two cycle engines are no longer available, the pressure lube Kawasaki is the next best thing.
But a nicely refurbished Lawnboy would also be a great way to go.
Sam at Graveyard Mowerz has a refurbished 22261 listed. Here is a link
https://www.graveyardmowerz.com/mowerz
 

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Thanks Lee! That was one of the refurbishers that I was referring to. The other was Lawnboy Rescue. Bill
 

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LBAD Victim
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958 Posts
I would look at a toro TimeMaster or Turfmaster. The turfmaster it the commercial version. 30" mower. The timemaster has a briggs 223cc motor, Briggs, and personal pace. The turfmaster has a Kawasaki fc180V engine, and no personal pace. Good luck!
 

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I agree with Roy M. about the Personal Pace Toro models. If you are going to have different people using the mower the Personal Pace is ideal. Rear drive and won't take off and leave the person flat footed chasing the mower. If they are older and walk at a slow pace as well if they are younger and want to get the job done and on to other things the Personal Pace works for both of them. You might even be able to find a used Lawn-Boy 2 cycle Easy Stride model that is the something except for deck design and engine.
 

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I'm not impressed with the Toro timemaster mowers. They have cheap pulleys, bearings, and wheels/gears.
A standard 22 inch is more durable. Snapper still makes the old style design. Very durable drive system
Not impressed with the new briggs ohv models. I don't think they will last like the ones they are replacing.
Not a lot of great choices anymore.
 

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114 Posts
Steamguy figure out where Craftsman stuff is made?

Try this.

Look at the first three numbers on the Sears/Craftsman model number.

Match them up to the numbers on this list:

Sears Source Code Chart


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Sears Source Code Chart (Who Makes What for Sears)
The first 3 numbers in the Sears model number indicates who the manufacturer was.
Sample Model # 358.1111111 was made by Poulan
001 Stevens
002 Lemont Industries
071 Agri-Fab Corp
093 Ametek
002 Lemont Industries
101 Atlas Press Co.
102 Walker Turner
C102 Gilson
103 Sarlo Power Mower Inc.
103 Roper
106 Whirlpool
108 Covel Mfg. Co.
109 AA Engineering
110 Whirlpool
111 Watson Mfg Co.
112 Parks Tool Co. (Woodworking equipment)
113 Emerson Electric Co.
114 Pioneer Gen-E-Motor
115 Rixon
116 Matsu****a
119 Frigidaire
121 Dille & McGuire
122 Blair Mfg.
123 Yard-Man
128 E.T. Rugg
129 Mono Mfg. Co
131 Rally/Roper Lawn (American Yard Prod.)
133 American Yard Products
135 Skil/Bosch
136 Toro Mfg. Co http://www.toro.com/
137 Rexon
139 Chamberlain
143 Tecumseh (Lauson Power Prod. Co.)
144 Trane
145 Country Manufacturing 147 Village Blacksmith (Div. of McGraw Edison)
149 Amt
150 White Consolidated
C151 Berco
153 State Industries
155 Preway
160 Wisconsin Magneto
161 Nakajima
171 Vermont American
174 Caloric
175 Bissell
175 Ryobi
176 Murata
180 Lambert Corp.
187 White Consolidated
190 Pioneer
C 191 Homelite
S193 Makita Trimmer & Hedgers
198 Whirlpool
202 Gannon Mfg. Co.
204 Iona
214 Bissell
216 Phonemate
217 Eska Outboards Home
219 MTD MTD Products
222 Panasonic Video/Audio
225 Outboard by Chrysler/Force
233 Broan
234 Beard-Poulan (old Trimmers)
235 Ingersoll Rand
S236 Tanaka Tiller
C241 Homelite
241 Fimco
247 MTD-Modern Tool and Die (not MID)
250 J.I. Case
253 Gibson (now Frigidare)
256 Emerson Electric
257 Allegretti & Co. & Paramount (owned by Weed Eater)
264 Emerson Electric
268 Brother International
271 Kioritz Corp. - Echo
274 RCA
278 GE
278 Roper
281 Electro-Aire
283 Thomas Industries
289 Sharp
291 American Lawn Mower
292 Lennox
294 Tunturi
302 IBM
304 Funai
306 Belsaw
312 GTE
315 Ryan
315 Ryobi (not made in USA)
316 Ryobi (made in USA)
317 Makita
319 Hand Tools International
329 Inventa
330 Apple
328 McLane
329 Ametek
334 Commodore
335 Amana
336 Electrolux
340 Necchi
342 York
C459 MTD
351 Colovos Co.
253 White Consolidated
355 Roper Outdoor
358 Beaird - Poulan, Inc. (now part of Poulan Weed Eater) Poulan Pro - Outdoor Power Equipment
359 Bolens Products Div. Troy-Bilt outdoor power equipment for lawn and garden
362 General Electric
363 General Electric
365 US Lawn
366 Koss Eletronics
367 AT&T
372 Zeus Generator Co.
374 Diversified Products
378 Omark (Oregon)
380 Moto-Mower, Inc./Subsidiary of Dura Corp.
385 Jamac
387 White Rodgers
390 King-O-Lawn
401 Bissell
410 John Bean Food Mach. & Chem.
415 Char Broil
417 Stover Engine Works
426 Parker Sweeper
445 Melmer
452 AT&T
457 Code-A-Phone
C459 MTD MTD Products
459 Technics
464 GE
471 Bionaire
472 Dremel
473 Quincy Compressor
474 Sony
476 Coleman
480 Bose
484 Airtemp
486 Agri-Fab Agri-Fab, Inc. Lawn Care Made Easy
490 Indiana Steel
498 Didier Mfg. Co.
500 Briggs & Stratton Corp. http://www.briggsandstratton.com/
502 Murray Ohio http://www.murrayinc.com
509 Payne
517 Homelite/Jacobsen
521 E Z Rake Co.
523 MGM Technology
534 Clausing Lathe (Former Atlas Press Co.)
536 Western Tool & Stamping (Before AMF Lawn & Garden Div.)
538 AMF and or Murray
549 Midwest Ind
552 Cobra
562 Toshiba
564 Sanyo
565 Sanyo
566 Packard Bell
568 Panasonic
572 Dremel
575 Sharp
576 D & M (now Frigidaire)
580 Generac Corporation Generac Power Systems | The best backup generator for your home, business | Generac Power Systems
582 Clinton Engine Co.
583 Remington/Desa
586 Panasonic Office Equip.
587 White Consolidated
596 Amana
604 Digital Equipment Co.
610 Ohio Steel Fabrication Ohio Steel Industries
613 Consolidated Technologies
619 Arps Corp.
620 Enviro-Research
621 Bryant
622 Kelvinator
625 Ecodyne
626 Magnavox (Philips)
628 White Consolidated
629 Jenn-Air
636 Echo
639 King-O-Lawn
640 Cerwin Vega
647 Roper
651 O.M.C. Dist. (also Standard Eng.)
654 Mott
663 Air Cap Industries
665 Whirlpool
666 Kitchenaid
668 Echowater
678 Vac Appliances, LTD
680 Generac
683 Philco (Italy)
704 Royal
705 Canon
716 H.H.Scott/Emerson
719 Tappan
721 LG Electronics
723 Yamaha
733 Fairbanks Morse Engine Technology & Manufacturing | Fairbanks Morse Engine
739 Onan http://www.onan.com/
745 0 & R Engines
747 Litton
757 Brinly-Hardy Co., Inc. Brinly-Hardy Trusted Since 1839 | Brinly-Hardy Lawn and Garden Attachments
758 Emerson Electric
761 Whirlpool
767 Marvel
768 Technics (Matsu****a)
769 Mercury Clutch Division
773 Marantz
775 Johnson
778 Comet Industries
785 General Power (Magna America Corp.)
789 DefiAnce
790 Frigid Ire
791 Tappan
793 Ford
798 Speed King
809 AMF
815 Daewoo
831 Welso Inc/U.T.S.
832 Xerox
835 Roper
840 Friedrich
842 Haban Mfg.
846 Epson
850 Whirlpool (Chambers?)
854 White Farm Equipment Corp. (formerly Oliver) MTD Products
855 ILG
860 Eureka Company
864 Zenith
867 Climette
871 Smith Corona
879 Rheem/Rudd
900 DeWalt
900 Black and Decker Power Tools, Lawn and Garden, Accessories | BLACK+DECKER
911 General Electric
911 Roper
917 Roper Corp. (American Yard Prod. which is now part of Poulan Weed Eater) Poulan Pro - Outdoor Power Equipment
919 DeVilbiss
922 Original Tractor Cab Co. http://www.simpletractors.com
923 Hewlett Packard
934 Century Mfg Co.
C935 Black & Decker (Cordless Elect.)
937 Sunbeam (now Air Cap Ind.)
944 Canadian AYP Tractors, Mowers and Tillers (now part of Poulan Weed Eater) Poulan Pro - Outdoor Power Equipment
948 McCulloch
950 Laser (V-TECH)
C950 Noma/Murray
C955 Sunbeam
960 Caloric
973 Ryobi
987 Troy Bilt/Garden Way
988 Kubota
989 McCulloch
990 Ford
991 Lawnboy
2018 Furnas Electric (Reversing Switch)
7075 Prestolite Battery
7287 Emerson Electric
7296 Emerson
Back to Index
 

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Make Smoke, Boil Water!
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thank you all!

That's a GREAT point about a battery mower, I had NOT considered it! I understand that it takes roughly a little less than an hour to do the mowing (Well, it would take less than an hour to mow, if that ...thing... we currently have was the least bit reliable), and yes, we're going to go NEW. Some of the used stuff over the years has given this job a "colorful" past for our volunteers. There were one or two that a couple of the guys swore that it was just junkers that somebody wanted to dump and get a tax write-off.

The Toro Personal Pace mower also sounds really good. I also was tracking the thinking about a Lawn-Boy, as i had spent some time working for a cemetery and had considerable mileage behind a Commercial. But - I have to consider the caliber of helper we have, and I just know it'd be less than a couple months before some, um, well-meaning person who won't read cautions, straight-gassed it.

I really do appreciate all the help, here. And our volunteering members also do appreciate your help. I got lucky with some computer time today; It'll be at least next week before I can report back on what's going on.

*edit: Just found out that the Stihl dealer two blocks away sells mowers. They have a reputation for being expensive, but maybe they'll give us a break. Would be good to deal locally. More stuff to find out!
 

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Don't worry about somebody 'straight gassing' a Lawnboy, the 2 strokes disappeared over 15 years ago thanks to the econazis.
 

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My job requires me to be on the road and I visit about 4 smaller cities mainly with populations of about 20,000-40,000. I've seen over a dozen different lawn mowing crews when I'm out driving from place to place. One thing I noticed is that I see the crews only use 1 of 3 varieties of for their push mowers and in this order of popularity:
1. Timemaster/Turfmaster/Exmark Toro 30" mowers
2. Honda (red engine, gray deck) 21" mowers
3. John Deere 14SB/JX75 Kawasaki 21" mowers

Now, this might be just what the pros like to use in my area of the USA.

Another thing to consider is which one of three ways are you mowing. This may also determine what kind of mower you are after.
A. Mulching with mulch plug with no bag, no side discharge
B. Mowing with side discharge (no bag)
C. Mowing with a bag
 

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Make Smoke, Boil Water!
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Discussion Starter #16
My job requires me to be on the road and I visit about 4 smaller cities mainly with populations of about 20,000-40,000. I've seen over a dozen different lawn mowing crews when I'm out driving from place to place. One thing I noticed is that I see the crews only use 1 of 3 varieties of for their push mowers and in this order of popularity:
1. Timemaster/Turfmaster/Exmark Toro 30" mowers
2. Honda (red engine, gray deck) 21" mowers
3. John Deere 14SB/JX75 Kawasaki 21" mowers

Now, this might be just what the pros like to use in my area of the USA.

Another thing to consider is which one of three ways are you mowing. This may also determine what kind of mower you are after.
A. Mulching with mulch plug with no bag, no side discharge
B. Mowing with side discharge (no bag)
C. Mowing with a bag
Great suggestion on the commercial style mowers! Unfortunately our Deere dealerships in the area think they have a license to print money and won't budge an inch on price. They're all owned by the same outfit, and I have never seen a network as uncaring and as unfriendly as these guys.

Oh, and our guys bag the grass... They can't get away with mulching or discharging into the street because the church is right downtown.

I got with our local Sexton, and he echoes you folks' suggestions on the Honda.

More research to do! I'll get back on this thread when I have more info...
 

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I sell lawnmower parts on eBay. My #1 best seller is Honda transmissions. Sell them as fast as I can find them. Just food for thought.
 

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I sell lawnmower parts on eBay. My #1 best seller is Honda transmissions. Sell them as fast as I can find them. Just food for thought.
I can attest to the honda transmissions. I had 15 or so honda in this year and last, various models. 13 of them had bad transmissions. Plus the Honda mowers all the models I have ever used are the worst cutting mowers I have ever used. Even with the fancy quad blades... They all leave a wind row trail of grass clippings. All of them did this.

My lawn is thick, and all the honda, when mulching left a trail of grass clippings. Looked awful. For fun I took my old 50-70's lawnboy bricks over it, with the tricut blades and they left it looking like a carpet.

Honda makes some nice motors but the cut and the transmissions are junk in my opinion.
 

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Make Smoke, Boil Water!
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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks, fellas!

I'm beginning to be convinced that our next mower should be a battery-powered one. Simpler for our Volunteers, simpler to maintain. Judging from the time it took for someone to actually do the maintenance on the current "thing", this is beginning to seem like the way to go. Plus, as a church, we're committed to "green", earth-friendly solutions.

(And yes, I managed to get some PC time tonight!)

And may I say again, thank you from all our volunteers and members. This forum is the BEST!
 

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Make Smoke, Boil Water!
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Discussion Starter #20
So here's an update to this thread. I've checked with the local OPE dealer, he will give us a very nice discount on anything we want to buy. Plus he'll do right for us on any service.

I have a poll posted for our volunteers to weigh in on what they'd like to use. We essentially have three choices: the Toro, like above (retail), or a Honda SP, and a Stihl battery mower (non-SP), both at a really nice discount.

It's going to take several weeks to hear from everyone, so this thread will go quiet again until I get enough input.

Thanks again for all your help.
 
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