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Cutting grass? go "pro." #738636
06/13/18 9:03 pm
06/13/18 9:03 pm
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,590
Elburn, Ill. USA
I
Irish Swede Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
Irish Swede  Offline OP
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I
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,590
Elburn, Ill. USA
As this Rod & Tappet site is for general topics (and gripes) here is mine for today:

I just finished mowing my lawn. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Well, it WAS, until last summer. That's when my wife decided that at age 71 I was getting short of breath, and bought me a RIDING lawn tractor mower (last winter i had a heart pacemaker installed and no longer have that problem.)

I blame by friend and former boss Gary, for whom I worked for five years mowing lawns commercially, for showing me the difference between professional quality equipment and what I have had inflicted on me now.

Back in 1990 I bought a well-used 42-inch Ransomes "Bobcat" walk-behind mower, an excellent machine; did a quality job, did it fast, and was easy to repair ( I still have it, but need to get it flushed out and running again).
The lawn always looked like a city park, so beautifully uniform is the cutting job these mowers can do.

I just finished today's cut with the "Cub Cadet" lawn tractor. What a piece of cheap junk, and troublesome, too. It has so many moron-proof "safety features" that using it is a nightmare. It can't get into tight spaces (we have many trees and plants) and automatically shuts off the blades when it is put into reverse. Worse, if you get off of it to pick up or move a stick, IT SHUTS OFF. Then, it doesn't want to re-start without coughing and gagging before firing up.
Worst of all, it takes twice as long to get the lawn mowed, and besides, some of the close areas now have to be cut with a small push-mower, which means even MORE time wasted.

Gentlemen, when you go into a hardware store or lawn implement dealer, you will often see items advertised as "Homeowner Quality." Don't be fooled. This means CHEAP, AMATEUR JUNK. These "tractors" are, in my opinion, built to be sold to suburbanites and former apartment dwellers who now have lawns and believe themselves to be farmers or country squires. They want to give their butts a ride, when they would be better off getting exercise WALKING behind a pro-quality mower that will last them 20 or 30 years, and would have a better looking lawn in the process.

Well, thanks. That's off my chest, for now anyway.

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Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738646
06/13/18 10:33 pm
06/13/18 10:33 pm
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,393
Pennsyltuckey
ricochetrider Offline

Moto Mojo
ricochetrider  Offline

Moto Mojo
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,393
Pennsyltuckey
Ha ha yeah, I get it.

As a dedicated, life-long tool guy and former professional craftsman- and currently, as a union Entertainment Industry Professional, I can honestly say that if you want a tool, there are a couple options:

1: buy less expensive, or inexpensive tools.
1a: homeowner grade, call it what you will. Often made in a country known as The People's Republic Of....
You spend your money, get X number of unsatisfactory uses out of it. It breaks and you buy another similar grade tool. Repeat as necessary. Or until you learn your lesson.

2: buy the absolute best & heaviest duty tool available, regardless of cost.
2a: industrial, professional grade. This is the best tool you can possibly own. You'll pay more than for the lesser tool and it will likely last not only you a lifetime of pleasurable usages, but you may then pass it down to your children- and they may be able to pass it down to THEIR children. In today's market, it might not even matter where it is made. Excellent quality, industrial duty, durable tools come from all over the world.

Mowers...
just one more tool.
I "cheaped out" and bought an inferior "entry level" snow blower. Broke every personal tool buying rule in doing so. Regretted it pretty much immediately. First time it broke, I gave it away and bought a new one. Let's just say the new one should last for the duration of my lifetime.

:thumb


"It is no measure of health, to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738647
06/13/18 10:36 pm
06/13/18 10:36 pm
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,959
Laredo (South) Texas, USA
GrandPaul Offline
BritBike Forum member
GrandPaul  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,959
Laredo (South) Texas, USA
Been there, done that


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738650
06/13/18 10:42 pm
06/13/18 10:42 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,973
Greensboro, NC
Alan_nc Online content
BritBike Forum member
Alan_nc  Online Content
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,973
Greensboro, NC
I mow with a 1994 John Deere. Not sure which grade it is but It has lasted pretty well (Kaw engine).


Alan
Cleared m out....left only
59 BSA Bantam (Trials)
78 Triumph Bonny (UPS)
02 Suzuki GS500
Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738656
06/13/18 11:25 pm
06/13/18 11:25 pm
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,590
Elburn, Ill. USA
I
Irish Swede Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
Irish Swede  Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
I
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,590
Elburn, Ill. USA
Alan, my Bobcat mower also has a vertical-shaft Kawasaki engine.
I estimate the mower is 35 years old at minimum. In that time, the mower has gone through four tires, two sets of drive belts and two sets of blades.

The Kawasaki engine has had three spark plugs, plus several new air cleaner elements and about twenty oil filters, plus annual oil changes. I can't kill it. That speaks loudly for the quality of professional-grade equipment.
It just continues running strong.

I rest my case.

Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738659
06/13/18 11:49 pm
06/13/18 11:49 pm
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,616
UK Berks
A
AngloBike Offline
BritBike Forum member
AngloBike  Offline
BritBike Forum member
A
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,616
UK Berks
Until it died
1928 hand crank ATCO sidevalve

Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738664
06/14/18 12:32 am
06/14/18 12:32 am
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,137
Sydney, Oz
S
Shane in Oz Online content
BritBike Forum member
Shane in Oz  Online Content
BritBike Forum member
S
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,137
Sydney, Oz
Cub Cadets with horizontal shaft Kohler motors (2000 and 3000 Series) are pretty tough.
The vertical shaft machines (Lawn Tractors, not Garden Tractors) aren't.

Cub Cadet was originally an International Harvester brand until Case-IH sold it to MTD, and their high end gear is still built like proper tractors.
John Deere stuff is apparently pretty good as well, and at least over here doesn't cost an arm and a leg (we don't call their farm tractors "dear Johns" just for the hell of it).

Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738665
06/14/18 12:47 am
06/14/18 12:47 am
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,307
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
W
Wilfred Offline
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Wilfred  Offline
BritBike Forum member
W
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,307
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
30 years ago I bought an Ariens mower, made in the USA and all it's ever had is a new rubber primer and starting cord. Starts first pull in the spring and all summer ( grass cutting season starts in early March and ends in late October or November on Vancouver Island ). Mind you, I do change the oil by draining it out the bottom ( rather than the professional way of turning the whole thing upside down and leaving sludge all over the inside of the engine ) every couple of years with new straight 30 and use only non ethanol 94 gas in it. At 77, I think it will outlast me and I'll leave it in my will.

I also bought a pair of Wilkinson Sword ( English ) stainless hand grass clippers 45 or 50 years ago and apart from repairing the wooden grips and the odd sharpen with a file they'll be in my will as well. Way cheaper than the alternatives.

Cheers, Wilf

Last edited by Wilfred; 06/14/18 1:00 am.

"It's about the ride..."
Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738669
06/14/18 1:31 am
06/14/18 1:31 am
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 3,642
Running from demons in WNY
Hillbilly bike Offline
BritBike Forum member
Hillbilly bike  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 3,642
Running from demons in WNY
We mow about 3 of 12 acres...My wife does the mowing using mostly an old Kubota small diesel tractor with a finish deck on the three point hitch...She also has gas powered trimmers and a small riding mower..I jump on the tractor maybe once a month...I dislike mowing very much...I would rather scrub the toilet bowl..


650 Triumph modified production LSR record holder 133.1 MPH... Twin 650 engine Triumph LSR that goes sorta fast...
Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738678
06/14/18 2:55 am
06/14/18 2:55 am
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,579
Illinois, USA
TR6Ray Offline

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TR6Ray  Offline

BritBike Forum member
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,579
Illinois, USA
Irish Swede, in spite of all the things wrong with a POS Cub Cadet, the two problems you mentioned are not among them. You need to sit down and read your owner's manual. You can back up with the mower deck running if you have done the little dance with the key and the push button. You also can get off the mower with the engine running, so long as you shut off the PTO, and set the parking brake before you lift your butt off the seat.

Ray


'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738679
06/14/18 3:29 am
06/14/18 3:29 am
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,836
Charleston SC
Ob1quixote Offline
BritBike Forum member
Ob1quixote  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,836
Charleston SC
I have heard of some safety switches that can be hardwired for ease of operation.
I guess some people disable the safety interlocks and simultaneously use their heads for something other than a helmet rack when operating the mower?

Or so I have heard...
Asking for a friend...

Last edited by Ob1quixote; 06/14/18 3:30 am.

When singing "Kung Fu Fighting" is outlawed, only outlaws will sing "Kung Fu Fighting"
Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Hillbilly bike] #738685
06/14/18 5:27 am
06/14/18 5:27 am
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 218
Hailey,Id.
B
bsawood Offline

BritBike Forum member
bsawood  Offline

BritBike Forum member
B
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 218
Hailey,Id.
The year I bought my house I was still recuperating from a badly broken foot, as in I can't walk yet, so I laid claim to a John Deere riding mower my dad had bought 2 years be fore he died.
Either that or hire someone to do my lawn.( Not a tractor but a dedicated lawn mower.) I ordinarily would never buy such a thing but since I have it I have learned to love it. Turns on a dime,
goes like stink. Mowing my lawn has now become a go-cart race instead of just something I have to do. I tear it up every now and then miss behaving but I just fix it when that happens and
I still have not reformed. Anytime I can make something fun,it's a good thing.
My wood working tools and my mech tools are a whole other thing. I have wood planes that cost $300, I have my Grandpa's 1941 wood lathe in near perfect condition. I see a lot of my
friends destroy their tools in a matter of a year or two. I have tools I bought 30 years ago that are still pristine and I use them all. I never have sold a tool,even if I was dead broke. I have them all.
If one breaks I fix it or have it fixed. I guess I'm a junky.

Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738700
06/14/18 10:27 am
06/14/18 10:27 am
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,616
UK Berks
A
AngloBike Offline
BritBike Forum member
AngloBike  Offline
BritBike Forum member
A
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,616
UK Berks
http://www.blmra.co.uk/howdiditstart

zmy mate lives in the village that this started in

Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: AngloBike] #738702
06/14/18 10:35 am
06/14/18 10:35 am
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 218
Hailey,Id.
B
bsawood Offline

BritBike Forum member
bsawood  Offline

BritBike Forum member
B
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 218
Hailey,Id.
I would show up for that if it was closer. Just driving it to the East Coast would take a bit of time out of my schedule.

Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738707
06/14/18 12:01 pm
06/14/18 12:01 pm
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,590
Elburn, Ill. USA
I
Irish Swede Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
Irish Swede  Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
I
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,590
Elburn, Ill. USA
TR6Ray, the processes you list are too much to go through just to back into a spot to cut a patch of grass, or to get off the mower to pick up a stick. That's my problem with this riding mower. It's unnecessarily complicated to operate for simple tasks. Plus, it can't maneuver tight enough to cut in a small circle; it takes two or three revolutions to completely mow the grass around any tree.

With the old Bobcat all I had to do is put it in neutral to walk away from it, or pop it into reverse and let it mow it's way out of a tight spot, maybe swing it side-to-side and cut additional grass as it does so.

I think the REAL reason my wife wanted the Cub Cadet is to do the cutting if I become unable to do so. That would make sense, but I fear what the lawn will look like if that has to happen.

I'll admit that using a professional quality mower - even an OLD one - has spoiled me.

Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738719
06/14/18 1:54 pm
06/14/18 1:54 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 293
The land of pleasant living
Z
Zimm Offline

BritBike Forum member
Zimm  Offline

BritBike Forum member
Z
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 293
The land of pleasant living
IH Cubs are good machines, but long in the tooth these days as MTD bought the line about 1980. I ran a used Cub 128 for about 15 years. Still have it, but its semi retired. I replaced it last year with a light commercial grade Cub zero turn and am cutting two acres of complicated (trees, buildings, planting beds & stuff) grass in about 75 minutes.

The 128 is slated for a new clutch and some other work. It will be used for carting and maybe snow removal as I have a 42" snow thrower for it that is pretty effective. Need to finish the shop first though. Too many projects at this new place.

Tom is right on about tool quality.

Last edited by Zimm; 06/14/18 1:54 pm.
Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738743
06/14/18 6:47 pm
06/14/18 6:47 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 2,663
New Hampshier USA
MikeG Offline
BritBike Forum member
MikeG  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 2,663
New Hampshier USA
I have two old Sears garden tractors that have served me well over the years despite the pressed steel front axles and frames, and the lack of any kind of safety switches. If/when they finally crap out I'll look for an older Wheel Horse.


1960 BSA A10
2007 Suzuki Bandit
1957 A10
(Used to be a Triumph here)
71 Norton Commando
17 Triumph Bonneville

Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738785
06/15/18 11:46 am
06/15/18 11:46 am
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,836
Charleston SC
Ob1quixote Offline
BritBike Forum member
Ob1quixote  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,836
Charleston SC
I love my Hustler Raptor 52 zero turn.
23 hp Kawasaki engine is stronger than really needed. Neighbor runs a lawn service, same motor on his 64 inch machine.

Had it a few years, only one problem came up, the starter solenoid failed.
I replaced it with an automotive grade part instead of the mower grade part.


When singing "Kung Fu Fighting" is outlawed, only outlaws will sing "Kung Fu Fighting"
Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738788
06/15/18 12:21 pm
06/15/18 12:21 pm
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,777
Central Virginia
Lannis Offline

Life member
Lannis  Offline

Life member
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,777
Central Virginia
We cut a lot of grass here, about 7 acres altogether including roads, banks, ditches, etc. We're hard on even a commercial mower.

Almost all of the big companies (Toro, John Deere, Cub Cadet, Husqvarna) have a cheap, stamped-steel, Made-in-China line of mowers at the lower end of the cost spectrum. (Kubota, Ferris and Gravely are notable exceptions). Unless you have a very small smooth place, these are hardly worth buying.

But just about all of these same companies have heavy, well-made, commercial-quality mowers too. Unless you're paying $7000 or more, you're not getting one of those, and it'll be $15,000 or more for a big 72" diesel.

We used a 62" cut 18 hp Toro "stand-behind" for 15 years (about 1500 hours). 1500 hours isn't a lot just as hours, but I've never been careful enough about mice. Mice will overnight build a nest in the cylinder fins of the engine, under the shroud, and unless you check every time, you'll end up overheating the engine and warping a cylinder head or dropping a valve, both of which I've done on both the old Toro and the Husqvarna 61" 23 HP Kawasaki I have now.

Replaced some starter solenoids, done a valve job, and replaced blade hub bearings.

When the grass has gotten ahead of us a bit (like it did last month when we had 10" of rain in three weeks), I often wish for more than 23 HP. I think my next mower will be something like a 35 HP diesel that won't bog down at anything I can roll through ...

Lannis


I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is really going to be upset.
Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738789
06/15/18 12:23 pm
06/15/18 12:23 pm
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 3,642
Running from demons in WNY
Hillbilly bike Offline
BritBike Forum member
Hillbilly bike  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 3,642
Running from demons in WNY
I mentioned my wife uses a 16 HP Diesel old Kubota compact tractor with a 48 inch Woods finish mower on the back...We live in a rural agricultural area where the homes/small farms are spread out. It seems all the neighbors all use large zero turn mowers powered by gas engines..I hear the loud wooshing sound they make as the machines move quickly making sharp turns...The Kubota is slower with the mechanical clatter of a Diesel and a subdued whirring of the PTO driven mower...The fuel burn of the Kubota is less than half of the zero turn mowers...Being retired, slower and less cost is fine grin


650 Triumph modified production LSR record holder 133.1 MPH... Twin 650 engine Triumph LSR that goes sorta fast...
Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738807
06/15/18 2:36 pm
06/15/18 2:36 pm
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,339
SE Ohio
No Name Man Offline

Life member
No Name Man  Offline

Life member
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,339
SE Ohio
All this mowing talk is whipping me into a frenzy to get back out there behind my 1960-something walk-behind Gravely. World's most dangerous mower. Safety features...hah! Plus, I get more exercise mowing than most people get exercising.


69 A65T
71 B50T
85 K100RS
54/59 A10SR
69 B44VS
71 A65FS
95 Trident
Too much moderation is bad for you.

Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738822
06/15/18 6:31 pm
06/15/18 6:31 pm
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,590
Elburn, Ill. USA
I
Irish Swede Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
Irish Swede  Offline OP
BritBike Forum member
I
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,590
Elburn, Ill. USA
No Name, as you most likely know, when you bought a Gravely, you bought more than just a two-wheel 'tractor," you bought into a SYSTEM, as Gravely had attachments and accessories to do almost any job.

I always like Gravely's front-mounted rotary mower attachment.
It was / is a real time-saver if you must mow under a rail fence, as you can extend the mower unit under the bottom rail. It elimates a lot of string-trimming with a "weed whip."

Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738824
06/15/18 6:41 pm
06/15/18 6:41 pm
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 3,642
Running from demons in WNY
Hillbilly bike Offline
BritBike Forum member
Hillbilly bike  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 3,642
Running from demons in WNY
My wife on the tractor mowing today....About a 1.5 quarts an hour of Diesel fuel with a manual transmission.....The wheat field in the background is our land leased to a local farmer..


[Linked Image]


650 Triumph modified production LSR record holder 133.1 MPH... Twin 650 engine Triumph LSR that goes sorta fast...
Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738825
06/15/18 6:52 pm
06/15/18 6:52 pm
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,836
Charleston SC
Ob1quixote Offline
BritBike Forum member
Ob1quixote  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,836
Charleston SC
I use a tractor like that with a 4ft bush hog to cut motorcycle trails, if the woods are right.
Working a tractor as hard as it can turn, twisting through the woods, makes great flowing motorcycle trail.
I also cut a few grass tracks with it, if the stubble in the farm fields or fallow weeds is conducive.


When singing "Kung Fu Fighting" is outlawed, only outlaws will sing "Kung Fu Fighting"
Re: Cutting grass? go "pro." [Re: Irish Swede] #738830
06/15/18 7:52 pm
06/15/18 7:52 pm
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,354
melbourne florida
B
bodine031 Offline
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bodine031  Offline
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B
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,354
melbourne florida
Went "pro" in 2015 when I retired. Wife got us a $60.00 a month service. They mow, weed wack, edge and leaf/clipping blow Its a wonderful thing!!!!

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