Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

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neilpilot
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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by neilpilot » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:39 pm

sco wrote:
neilpilot wrote:You can buy 100LL (100 octane low lead) at the nearest small airport, which often offer a self-serve pump. This fuel is usually posted "for aircraft use only", but it is definitely ethanol free. In my area it's about $3.50/gal.

Having said that, I use regular unleaded with 10% ethanol in my mower, and the vintage 1982 Honda just keeps starting on the first 1-2 pulls and running just fine.

100ll also has lead, and aviation taxes instead of road taxes collected... hence the sign...

I've hear it runs well though, at $5 a gallon average...
What you say is true, except the average for 100LL at a small airport self service is currently way under $5/gal. As I said, $3.50/gal here yesterday. Maybe $5 in California :happy
100LL is Low lead, and contains way less led than the leaded autogas that was in use when my mower was manufactured. The lead is actually better for some old engines, and will not harm your mower unless it has a catalytic converter :wink:

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:01 pm

neilpilot wrote: 100LL is Low lead, and contains way less led than the leaded autogas that was in use when my mower was manufactured. The lead is actually better for some old engines, and will not harm your mower unless it has a catalytic converter :wink:
That is not generally true. As lead is used mainly as an octane booster, it's actually not surprising that 100 octane leaded fuel generally has more lead in it than ~85 octane leaded fuel, unless other octane boosters are substituted for part of the lead.

100LL is low lead compared to older 100 octane formulations. It can have up to 4 times as much leads as the old 85-87 octane leaded auto gas though - 0.56 g/liter max. When lead limits in motor gasoline were first enacted, they were initially 0.29 g/liter max, then then dropped to 0.13 g/liter. Before that time, motor gas lead levels were about the same as the 100LL limit, but 100LL didn't exist, and the current avgas had about twice as much lead.

It can be better for engines designed for leaded fuel though. A lot of those functionally depended on lead condensing out of the exhaust and coating parts like the valves, which provided a continuously replenished, self-lubricating, sacrificial wear and sealing layer. There are fuel additives that can provide the same effect.

I'm not completely certain that coating has no negative effects on engines designed not to experience that lead deposition, but I'm also not aware of specific problems it might cause. Mower engines don't generally accrue hours very quickly though, so I wouldn't expect much trouble.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by sco » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:57 pm

neilpilot wrote:
sco wrote:
neilpilot wrote:You can buy 100LL (100 octane low lead) at the nearest small airport, which often offer a self-serve pump. This fuel is usually posted "for aircraft use only", but it is definitely ethanol free. In my area it's about $3.50/gal.

Having said that, I use regular unleaded with 10% ethanol in my mower, and the vintage 1982 Honda just keeps starting on the first 1-2 pulls and running just fine.

100ll also has lead, and aviation taxes instead of road taxes collected... hence the sign...

I've hear it runs well though, at $5 a gallon average...
What you say is true, except the average for 100LL at a small airport self service is currently way under $5/gal. As I said, $3.50/gal here yesterday. Maybe $5 in California :happy
100LL is Low lead, and contains way less led than the leaded autogas that was in use when my mower was manufactured. The lead is actually better for some old engines, and will not harm your mower unless it has a catalytic converter :wink:

It's $5 a lot closer than CA. Just depends on the size of the airport... yes it can be much cheaper at the small municipal ones that aren't trying to turn a profit

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by pfrank » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:40 am

There is no need to get ethanol free gas. Before you bring your gas can can to the station to be filled, put in gas stabilizer in the can. I prefer Pri-G. Now every time you fill your equipment, you are putting in stabilizer too.

At the end of the season just run the gas out of your lawn mower/snowblower/chainsaw. Remove the spark plug and some fogging oil in the cylinder. If you want, use a 1/2 wrench (for Briggs and Stratton engines) and drop the carburetor bowl to remove any remaining gas (for the four stroke engines). Never store any gas in the equipment. Even the ethanol free gas can turn into varnish. About 10 minutes worth of work at the end of the season and save you a lot of hassle and money in the future.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by neilpilot » Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:25 am

pfrank wrote:There is no need to get ethanol free gas. Before you bring your gas can can to the station to be filled, put in gas stabilizer in the can. I prefer Pri-G. Now every time you fill your equipment, you are putting in stabilizer too.

At the end of the season just run the gas out of your lawn mower/snowblower/chainsaw. Remove the spark plug and some fogging oil in the cylinder. If you want, use a 1/2 wrench (for Briggs and Stratton engines) and drop the carburetor bowl to remove any remaining gas (for the four stroke engines). Never store any gas in the equipment. Even the ethanol free gas can turn into varnish. About 10 minutes worth of work at the end of the season and save you a lot of hassle and money in the future.
Agree with above approach, although I personally forgo any stabilizer since my fuel tank and carburetor bowl are essentially empty going into storage.

I would add the following 2 items to the above suggestion. Now is the time for that annual oil change, just BEFORE you run the gas out, so that the mower is not stored with acid-laden old oil. Also hose the underside of the deck to clean away any residual cuttings.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by parsi1 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:56 am

I also have a suggestion that has nothing to do with the performance of the engine, but at the end of the season after you finish all the above maintenance get your mower blade sharpened.
It will improve the cutting and mulching significantly.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by pshonore » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:38 am

parsi1 wrote:I also have a suggestion that has nothing to do with the performance of the engine, but at the end of the season after you finish all the above maintenance get your mower blade sharpened.
It will improve the cutting and mulching significantly.
Having a sharp blade makes the engine work less and is better for the grass which gets "sliced" rather than "torn". I think they've really cheapened the small engines. Who remembers when small engines all had a choke and a throttle as well as an adjustable carb? Chokes are gone, replaced by little primer bulbs that squirt a few drops of gas. (I suspect some of this may be due to emission requirements). I have a couple of 12HP Kohler engines, each about 30 years old and still running strong. They can still be rebuilt and will easily go another 30 years if necessary. A good rebuild job is not cheap though.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by GulfCoast » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:18 pm

Abe wrote:For what its worth: A few years ago, I was shopping for a riding lawn mower. I asked the shop manager at our local John Deere dealership about engines. He said they had to work on Briggs & Stratton engines all the time; he said they rarely had to work on Kohler engines.
Of course, that could also be because there are a lot more Briggs & Stratton engines relative to Kohler engines in the area.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by bcc1234 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:24 pm

I just bought the 179.00 Bolens mulching push mower from Lowes today! Easy to assemble. Put oil and gas in it.....one pull and I was off and cutting.

We have a small yard. Spending 400.00 + on a mower seemed like a waste. It got good reviews when I looked online.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by bob60014 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:05 pm

Not really. They are all made by the big 3, MTD, Toro and Troy Bilt. A Google search will show all the brands and parent companies.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by neilpilot » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:30 pm

bob60014 wrote:Not really. They are all made by the big 3, MTD, Toro and Troy Bilt. A Google search will show all the brands and parent companies.
Of course this isn't true.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by azanon » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:48 pm

OP - probably not, which is why I get a Honda with a Honda engine - HRX variant.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by Fletch » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:14 pm

azanon wrote:OP - probably not, which is why I get a Honda with a Honda engine - HRX variant.
+1 I'm on my second. First one lasted 20+ years. Second is over 5 and going strong. Both started on first pull. Cut quality is outstanding.
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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by JBTX » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:27 pm

I had a lawnmower repair guy tell me that Briggs and Sratton underwent some changes and the quality of their product isn't what it used to be. I have a walk behind mower with rear wheel self propel. I ended up buying a Honda because all the reviews were much higher in various sites. I've had it for two years and no issues at all. I have noticed that many of the lawn services use similar Honda models. The Honda models may cost $50 to $100 more than comparable brands but are well worth he price. I spent years trying to fix my old model taking it to repair guy a couple of times per year then I bought a used one that seemed to be in good shape and it crapped out in two weeks. I finally realized I was wasting my time and money and spent around $400 for the Honda and have not regretted it.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by JBTX » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:32 pm

neilpilot wrote:
pfrank wrote:There is no need to get ethanol free gas. Before you bring your gas can can to the station to be filled, put in gas stabilizer in the can. I prefer Pri-G. Now every time you fill your equipment, you are putting in stabilizer too.

At the end of the season just run the gas out of your lawn mower/snowblower/chainsaw. Remove the spark plug and some fogging oil in the cylinder. If you want, use a 1/2 wrench (for Briggs and Stratton engines) and drop the carburetor bowl to remove any remaining gas (for the four stroke engines). Never store any gas in the equipment. Even the ethanol free gas can turn into varnish. About 10 minutes worth of work at the end of the season and save you a lot of hassle and money in the future.
Agree with above approach, although I personally forgo any stabilizer since my fuel tank and carburetor bowl are essentially empty going into storage.

I would add the following 2 items to the above suggestion. Now is the time for that annual oil change, just BEFORE you run the gas out, so that the mower is not stored with acid-laden old oil. Also hose the underside of the deck to clean away any residual cuttings.
I think the stabilizer does make a difference. I've had less issues with my leaf blower and weed eater since using it. I put it in my 5 gallon gas can when I refuel then I also put some additional in my one gallon gas / oil mix cans for the two cycles.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by sco » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:38 pm

pfrank wrote:There is no need to get ethanol free gas. Before you bring your gas can can to the station to be filled, put in gas stabilizer in the can. I prefer Pri-G. Now every time you fill your equipment, you are putting in stabilizer too.

At the end of the season just run the gas out of your lawn mower/snowblower/chainsaw. Remove the spark plug and some fogging oil in the cylinder. If you want, use a 1/2 wrench (for Briggs and Stratton engines) and drop the carburetor bowl to remove any remaining gas (for the four stroke engines). Never store any gas in the equipment. Even the ethanol free gas can turn into varnish. About 10 minutes worth of work at the end of the season and save you a lot of hassle and money in the future.

Ethanol Free gas is now 17 cent per gallon higher (here) and comes right out of the pump, what does stabilizer cost? If its available, I use Ethanol free and don't hassle with anything else..

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by JBTX » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:17 pm

I've looked around and ethanol free gas isn't available at all at gas stations in the DFW metroplex You can buy it at Home Depot but it is pretty expensive several dollars a quart.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by chuppi » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:03 am

I know you are discussing mover with IC engines but wanted to mention the corded electric mover that I got.
I got greenworks mover from amazon and it works great. I may have around 600-700sq ft of grass in two separate patches. It works fine. managing the cord is not very easy but I am fine with it. Everything else is great and i am not regretting my decision.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by iamlucky13 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:26 am

neilpilot wrote:
bob60014 wrote:Not really. They are all made by the big 3, MTD, Toro and Troy Bilt. A Google search will show all the brands and parent companies.
Of course this isn't true.
To the best of my knowledge, he's correct in principle that there are only a small handful of manufacturers. For riding lawn tractors, I'm aware of MTD and Husqvarna manufacturing for multiple different brands, and John Deere and Simplicity (Snapper) focusing on their own brands. I haven't tried to sort out walk-behinds or zero turns.

I think Toro is effectively independent, but not making lawn tractors anymore - just zero-turns and walk behinds.

Troy-bilt is an MTD brand.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by neilpilot » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:40 am

iamlucky13 wrote:
neilpilot wrote:
bob60014 wrote:Not really. They are all made by the big 3, MTD, Toro and Troy Bilt. A Google search will show all the brands and parent companies.
Of course this isn't true.
To the best of my knowledge, he's correct in principle that there are only a small handful of manufacturers. For riding lawn tractors, I'm aware of MTD and Husqvarna manufacturing for multiple different brands, and John Deere and Simplicity (Snapper) focusing on their own brands. I haven't tried to sort out walk-behinds or zero turns.

I think Toro is effectively independent, but not making lawn tractors anymore - just zero-turns and walk behinds.

Troy-bilt is an MTD brand.
And here I thought Honda still made mowers

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:43 am

badbreath wrote:Going to give you a tip MTD makes about 90% of the push or walk behind mowers. They due have different designs for different brands.

This is incorrect. While MTD does make under a number of different brands, they only make about 20% of all push mowers. Toro and Husqvarna also make about 20% each and Honda and Chinese make the rest.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:46 am

I would strongly suggest a Toro unit with a Kohler engine. They are, on average, the highest rated mowers just below Honda at much lower cost. They are far superior to B&S. Kohler is the market leader in commercial engines for turf.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by yatesd » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:15 am

Don't fool yourself...you never get something for nothing. Just decide how much this stuff matters to you.

Engines: Brand & Series
B&S different levels of quality- https://www.briggsandstratton.com/na/en ... gines.html
Honda- also has different grades- http://engines.honda.com/models/application/lawnmower

Mower decks: Steel, plastic (hi-tech), aluminum, etc.

Brand: Warranty, wheels, b, controls, reputation, parts support, dealer support, gas tank size, protection (air filtration system, bumpers), etc.

Self-propelled?: Then consider drive system

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by yatesd » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:22 am

Bacchus01 wrote:I would strongly suggest a Toro unit with a Kohler engine. They are, on average, the highest rated mowers just below Honda at much lower cost. They are far superior to B&S. Kohler is the market leader in commercial engines for turf.
Kawasaki is also rated well. Toro & John Deere use them on some of their mowers.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by yatesd » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:27 am

yatesd wrote:Don't fool yourself...you never get something for nothing. Just decide how much this stuff matters to you.

Engines: Brand & Series
B&S different levels of quality- https://www.briggsandstratton.com/na/en ... gines.html
Honda- also has different grades- http://engines.honda.com/models/application/lawnmower

Mower decks: Steel, plastic (hi-tech), aluminum, etc.

Brand: Warranty, wheels, b, controls, reputation, parts support, dealer support, gas tank size, protection (air filtration system, bumpers), etc.

Self-propelled?: Then consider drive system
Oh, almost forgot...most important consideration with all the new safety features. Does your mower have a blade stop system? Otherwise, you will be restarting it every time something gets in your way (or tempted to disable).

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by Taz » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:37 am

One data point: Toro Personal Pace with larger Briggs & Stratton engine. Three years zero problems & one day it decided not to run for more than 2-3 seconds. I replaced the carburetor & it works fine. Just remember to securely reattach the governor spring.
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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:15 am

yatesd wrote:
Bacchus01 wrote:I would strongly suggest a Toro unit with a Kohler engine. They are, on average, the highest rated mowers just below Honda at much lower cost. They are far superior to B&S. Kohler is the market leader in commercial engines for turf.
Kawasaki is also rated well. Toro & John Deere use them on some of their mowers.
Agree. For commercial mowers Kohler and Kawasaki are 1/2 and no one else is close. Honda is good at small engines under 15ho and Briggs is a consumer brand. Never buy a unit with an unbranded engine, including Toro or MTD house branded engines.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by pennstater2005 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:52 am

I always try to go Japanese with my small equipment needs. Kawasaki engine on the riding mower and Honda on the push. Weedeater is Echo, also Japanese owned.
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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by pshonore » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:08 am

chuppi wrote:I know you are discussing mover with IC engines but wanted to mention the corded electric mover that I got.
I got greenworks mover from amazon and it works great. I may have around 600-700sq ft of grass in two separate patches. It works fine. managing the cord is not very easy but I am fine with it. Everything else is great and i am not regretting my decision.
I'm also very happen with mine. Its very light and easy to move. I was thinking of going with the battery option but I stopped by an electrical repair shop a few weeks back and was surprised by the large number of battery powered mowers awaiting repair.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by iamlucky13 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:54 pm

neilpilot wrote:
iamlucky13 wrote:To the best of my knowledge, he's correct in principle that there are only a small handful of manufacturers. For riding lawn tractors, I'm aware of MTD and Husqvarna manufacturing for multiple different brands, and John Deere and Simplicity (Snapper) focusing on their own brands. I haven't tried to sort out walk-behinds or zero turns.

I think Toro is effectively independent, but not making lawn tractors anymore - just zero-turns and walk behinds.

Troy-bilt is an MTD brand.
And here I thought Honda still made mowers
As I said, I was talking about lawn tractors specifically and haven't tried to sort out the manufacturers of walk behinds.
Bacchus01 wrote: Never buy a unit with an unbranded engine, including Toro or MTD house branded engines.
I was surprised to learn recently MTD has started putting their engines on some of their higher end (Cub Cadet) mowers. Interestingly, they now have a fuel injected model. I'll be curious to see how that works out long term, although I'm not eager to be one of those to find out first hand.

Toro also has their own engine brand now, although I found a rumor it's actually made by a Chinese motorcycle company called Loncin. Even their commercial brand, Exmark, is using them. They used to use Kawasakis and Kohlers.
Taz wrote:One data point: Toro Personal Pace with larger Briggs & Stratton engine. Three years zero problems & one day it decided not to run for more than 2-3 seconds. I replaced the carburetor & it works fine. Just remember to securely reattach the governor spring.
If this happens again, you might just try carb cleaner, and if that doesn't work, a carb rebuild before actually replacing it. The rebuild kits are usually about $20, and I think an hour or two labor charge if you have a shop do it. Also if you're not doing so already, at the end of the season, drain the tank and run the carb dry. Or top off the the tank, add stabilizer, and run it for a few minutes to get the stabilizer through to the carb.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by munemaker » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:05 pm

Personally I would strongly prefer a Honda engine over a B&S.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:09 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:
neilpilot wrote:
iamlucky13 wrote:To the best of my knowledge, he's correct in principle that there are only a small handful of manufacturers. For riding lawn tractors, I'm aware of MTD and Husqvarna manufacturing for multiple different brands, and John Deere and Simplicity (Snapper) focusing on their own brands. I haven't tried to sort out walk-behinds or zero turns.

I think Toro is effectively independent, but not making lawn tractors anymore - just zero-turns and walk behinds.

Troy-bilt is an MTD brand.
And here I thought Honda still made mowers
As I said, I was talking about lawn tractors specifically and haven't tried to sort out the manufacturers of walk behinds.
Bacchus01 wrote: Never buy a unit with an unbranded engine, including Toro or MTD house branded engines.
I was surprised to learn recently MTD has started putting their engines on some of their higher end (Cub Cadet) mowers. Interestingly, they now have a fuel injected model. I'll be curious to see how that works out long term, although I'm not eager to be one of those to find out first hand.

Toro also has their own engine brand now, although I found a rumor it's actually made by a Chinese motorcycle company called Loncin. Even their commercial brand, Exmark, is using them. They used to use Kawasakis and Kohlers.
Taz wrote:One data point: Toro Personal Pace with larger Briggs & Stratton engine. Three years zero problems & one day it decided not to run for more than 2-3 seconds. I replaced the carburetor & it works fine. Just remember to securely reattach the governor spring.
If this happens again, you might just try carb cleaner, and if that doesn't work, a carb rebuild before actually replacing it. The rebuild kits are usually about $20, and I think an hour or two labor charge if you have a shop do it. Also if you're not doing so already, at the end of the season, drain the tank and run the carb dry. Or top off the the tank, add stabilizer, and run it for a few minutes to get the stabilizer through to the carb.
Toro is made by a Chinese company, Londcin
Cub Cadet is made by a Chinese company, Zongshen

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by Taz » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:46 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:
Taz wrote:One data point: Toro Personal Pace with larger Briggs & Stratton engine. Three years zero problems & one day it decided not to run for more than 2-3 seconds. I replaced the carburetor & it works fine. Just remember to securely reattach the governor spring.
If this happens again, you might just try carb cleaner, and if that doesn't work, a carb rebuild before actually replacing it. The rebuild kits are usually about $20, and I think an hour or two labor charge if you have a shop do it. Also if you're not doing so already, at the end of the season, drain the tank and run the carb dry. Or top off the the tank, add stabilizer, and run it for a few minutes to get the stabilizer through to the carb.
Thanks for the reminders. I did most of your suggestions first :happy
Carb cleaner; changed plugs and air filter; drained and replaced fuel; replaced spark plug. When those didn't work I figured the last DIY step was to replace the carb. Parts on Amazon were cheaper than hauling it to a shop.
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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by BHUser27 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:03 am

Battery electrics have come a long way.
My last two gas mowers (Honda & Lawn-Boy) died pre-maturely and maintenance was a pain.
I now have an "eGO" "Powerplus" 21" self-propelled lithium battery powered mower going on 2 yrs.
Just clean it and sharpen the blade. Mulching is more than acceptable, but not the best I've seen.
It is super quiet. My neighbor bought the same one 3 weeks after I got mine.
I am *very* happy with this mower.

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Re: Does mower brand matter much if they're all Briggs & Stratton engines?

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:39 pm

Taz wrote:Thanks for the reminders. I did most of your suggestions first :happy
Carb cleaner; changed plugs and air filter; drained and replaced fuel; replaced spark plug. When those didn't work I figured the last DIY step was to replace the carb. Parts on Amazon were cheaper than hauling it to a shop.
I probably should have realized when you said to re-attach the governor spring that you did the work yourself, and therefore likely knew the same. 3 years seems fast to wear out a carb, though.

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