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TominDales

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My experience with B&S engines is that they last for years but are extremely noisy compared to, say, a Honda.
I agree. , I have a B&S 5.5 hp on Billy goat leaf sweaper - 15 years old and starts every time, but v noisy, you feel the piston moving... never been serviced works every time. Also an 8hp B&S on an ancient second hand Countax leaf sweeper (we have a leaf problem) , the Honda on the small lawnmower is quieter and of course ultra reliable. I once had a B&S on a Mountfield that needed a services when new, to get the carburetor tuned. It was a emergency purchase from B&Q after we moved into a rented house and needed something quick. It then worked fine for 15 years before I hit a tree stump and bent the shaft.

Artie
I would ask yourself, do you really need the expense, storage issue of a ride on? If you plan to mulch. Although its quicker and less physical effort than a non-ride on mower, you plan to cut down on the acreage, its only used for 7.5 months of the year, and if you are not picking up the grass that is the main effort with a non drive machine, I suspect you only have at most 1hr a weeks mowing on a non-ride machine. Although my old man at 89 has given up mowing and pays someone to use his heavy Webb, so you would be future proofing the task.:D
 

Fergie 307

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My experience with B&S engines is that they last for years but are extremely noisy compared to, say, a Honda.
B&S engines are really crude things, side valves and so on. Tend to be pretty reliable in the smaller versions, but anything over 5hp I wouldn't touch with a bargepole, and yes they are very noisy. The crude design and tolerances do make them very good at withstanding abuse, lack of oil and filter changes etc. Have seen some where the oil hadn't been changed for goodness knows how long and what was left was like treacle, and still they refuse to die. Look after one of the regular old 3.5hp ones even moderately well and it will probably outlive the machine it's fitted to. Hondas are superb but pricey. And as someone else said Tecumseh are a nightmare, very difficult to get them running properly and keep them that way.
 

murdoch

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Have you looked a toro time master for your size lawn? We have one for our garden which is 1/2 acre. Takes about 30 mins. Chose this over a ride on as there cheap to maintain and better around trees and tight spaces.


 

Terry - Somerset

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Until about 5 years ago I had a Mountfield with a B&S motor. A total pain to start and well beyond the arm wrenching ability of the good lady.

I know, electric start. Then became very aware that on ebay almost every s/h electric start motor was being sold as "excellent machine - just needs a new battery". Obvious really - spend 4/5 months over winter in shed, spring comes and the battery is buJJered.

So invested in a Honda. Not particularly cheap but easy one pull start every time.
 

D_W

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B&S engines are really crude things, side valves and so on. Tend to be pretty reliable in the smaller versions, but anything over 5hp I wouldn't touch with a bargepole, and yes they are very noisy. The crude design and tolerances do make them very good at withstanding abuse, lack of oil and filter changes etc. Have seen some where the oil hadn't been changed for goodness knows how long and what was left was like treacle, and still they refuse to die. Look after one of the regular old 3.5hp ones even moderately well and it will probably outlive the machine it's fitted to. Hondas are superb but pricey. And as someone else said Tecumseh are a nightmare, very difficult to get them running properly and keep them that way.
I think tecumseh are gone here. The side valve briggs in the old days were high stink, low output, high noise, but generally ran for a long time and something other than the core bits of the engine always took ours out (shafts, problems with the recoil, etc. )

I worked for a guy who owned a driving range and a bunch of adjacent land. Each year, he would buy the lowest power push mower, which would be a 3.5hp briggs and everything was fixed on it. We would kill it mowing things a mower never should've touched and he'd buy another one.

One year, one got punchless and I said to him "this mower just just nearly punchless and you're paying me by the hour, but it's getting obnoxious". He said "oh yeah? (this was a nice guy by the way, he wasn't contesting my commetns) is it out of gas? I opened it "no", then opened the fill plug, which he said he'd checked -the oil fill plug. I could only see a film of oil at the bottom of the crankcase. I guess we ran it hard and hot and it smoked most of the oil. I said "it's got gas, but it has zero oil in it!". He said "oh yeah?".

We put oil in it and I gave it no slack and we used it the rest of the summer. I wonder how long it ran on very low oil and then on no oil.
 

Spectric

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I think tecumseh are gone here
That name brings back memories, the two strokes were used on Flymo hover mowers and when setup correctly were easy starters and did they rev, really noisy and a plume of smoke.

One of my favourites was the big old Ransome with the J.A.P engine that had a kickstarter, remember fixing one used by a bowling club.
 

D_W

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When I was a kid, the tecumseh engines were popular. There were gobs of different companies still making engines and some of them made here, some japanese (onan, I think). Honda engines were all GX type back then and expensive, so they were not as common.

My first go kart had a tecumseh engine. I can tell you that if you open the oil cap on one while it's running, it'll shoot an almost perfect geometric cone of oil mist straight out (my dad did that and I was standing beside him as a kid). I can still remember how persistent the oil was on the top of my buzz cut head!! Mandatory in the summer back then - no such thing as "product" in the hair for most kids, but I got the tecumseh crankcase product.

They lasted a long time after that (briggs took over lawn mowers, etc) in snow blowers where as far as I know, the only difference was no air cleaner, and then at some point disappeared.

Not sure if the robin engines are still around, either, or if they're the same thing.

I do recall that onan engines were popular in big lawnmowers and one of them was a twin that oiled the low side only if you drove on a bank, and then when they stopped selling them, the older folks (the ones who know everything at the donut shop) would always chide us "better be careful with that mower - can't get those engines anymore!! They're out of business!).

Lawn boy were 2 stroke here for eons (that was the house favorite for push mowers where i grew up). Something other than the motor always killed them - eventually the government ditched the two cycle engines on push mowers and they went to four cycle and all of their customers abandoned them. It looks like someone bought the brand and now they paint cheesy mowers with it - far cry from the magnesium deck two cycle mowers from the old days. They ran like a boat motor and smelled like one.
 

flying haggis

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I think I may have found the perfect lawnmower. I want one, or possibly two.

when you need to have the mower brought in by chopper cause the hill is so steep is the time to just let the bl**dy grass grow

PS wonder why he goes backwards when he is spraying slurry...........
 

dickm

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That name brings back memories, the two strokes were used on Flymo hover mowers and when setup correctly were easy starters and did they rev, really noisy and a plume of smoke.

One of my favourites was the big old Ransome with the J.A.P engine that had a kickstarter, remember fixing one used by a bowling club.
If we are going down memory lane, don't forget the old round-headed Villiers 2-strokes from the 1930s! Our lawnmower had one "when I were a lad" and it had a super kick start, which it needed because when the engine was hot it was a son-of-an-unmarried-mother to start.
Anyone know why kickstarters disappeared? When wife and I got first proper garden in the 1960s, we were lucky enough to find an Atco with the sloping head 2-stroke engine which had a kickstart that she could use happily. Once we got a bigger rotary with pull cord, she just could not start it. Or that was what she claimed.
Villiers made a fantastic bigger 4-stroke engine, the 25 if I remember right. Pulled like a train and pretty much unkillable.
Happy times!
 

Spectric

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If we are going down memory lane, don't forget the old round-headed Villiers 2-strokes from the 1930s!
Villiers were the Honda's of there day, you found them in everything but now Honda has filled the gap, a sad insight into the demise of British engineering.
 

Viking

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Villiers were the Honda's of there day, you found them in everything but now Honda has filled the gap, a sad insight into the demise of British engineering.
The demise of some sectors of industry can not be blamed on engineering or design. Instead it was the mangement of many companies who failed to apply and reward the brilliant engineers and designers it already had. They also failed to attract the brilliant engineering graduates from our universities.
The famous designer of the Morris Minor and the Mini, Sir Alec Issigonis did not think or speak highly of industry management and he summed it up as follows: "A camel is a horse designed by a committee". Unfortunately the management of British Leyland failed to understand his wisdom, which ultimately brought their demise.
The engineering excellence of Great Britain was squandered for short term cost cutting and lack of understanding of new product development.
However the brilliant engineering minds found new opportunities in businesses like Formula 1 and racing development, Land Rover Jaguar, Dyson, Aston Martin and many others. They moved up the food chain.
BTW Honda is a very good engine but is losing market share to massive Chinese competition, being beaten on price but perhaps not on quality. For quality engines today try Kubota, Lombardini, Ruggerini, Kohler to name few.
Ferguson Tractors in Coventry was shut down by their American owners with no real justification. At the time they were also manufacturing gearboxes for the Japanese market, preferred supplier based on quality.
In my workshop the majority of machines are those made in Britain and Switzerland post ww2 such as Wadkin, Myford, Harrison, Aciera, Hauser, Alexander, Pultra and many others. They will all outlast me and can readily be repaired and upgraded. So the quality and heritage of British engineering lives on.
 

dickm

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At the risk of sending this thread off on another wild goose chase, it was probably not JUST management of "British" companies that led to the loss of manufacturing. Legally, companies are REQUIRED to make money for their shareholders, without reference to timescale, so management, particularly the financial specialists, actually did what was their legal duty, making (and still trying to make) immediate profit. The accountancy practice of discounting meant that money made five years down the line was effectively worth nothing. This is still used, even though most of its basic assumptions (high investment interest rates, high inflation) no longer apply. Money goes where it can make the best short term return, hence the fact that St James Dyson moved his manufacturing to the far east. He may be an ingenious inventor, but he's also a dyed in the wool capitalist.
Returning to the thread topic, a warning to anyone looking for small engine powered machinery, there are some remarkably convincing copies of Honda engines being fitted to some Far Eastern kit. I bought a chipper-shredder with what appeared to be a Honda engine, right colour scheme, right markings, but is actually just a copy. It works OK-ish, and if you need spares, real Honda bits fit perfrctly and greatly improve on them!
 

Spectric

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The demise of some sectors of industry can not be blamed on engineering or design. Instead it was the mangement of many companies who failed to apply and reward the brilliant engineers and designers it already had. They also failed to attract the brilliant engineering graduates from our universities.
Good old British management, always knew best. Some good examples, Ariel motorcycles had an overhead cam four cylinder motorcycle in the thirties but did not pursue due to cost and they could not see that it offered a technical advantage so stuck with OHV, had they pursued the design then perhaps the world of motorcycles would have been very different instead it took until the seventies when Honda gave us the CB750, although the Italians had built a few it was the Honda for the mass markets. Also what about after the war, Rootes turned down VW as a gift and so did several other british companies because they could not see a future for the Vw company or it's designs, they prefered the moggy, minx and such as they were "more advanced designs". Beetle goes on to sell fifteen million more than the mini and becomes a success as BMC, Morris and the rest hit the wall but although management had a huge chunk of the blame don't forget about the militant unions and workers, but again often provoked through bad management.
 

Trainee neophyte

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Sorry, got to buy a mountain first! ;-)
I've got the mountain - if only it wasn't covered in trees :-(

I do have a ride on mower - it is either Electrolux, Partner or Husqvarna, as it was made the year the brands were all changed. Makes it tricky to buy spares. I am considering removing the blades and replacing them with chain - anyone tried this?
 

artie

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VW as a gift and so did several other british companies because they could not see a future for the Vw company or it's designs, they prefered the moggy, minx and such as they were "more advanced designs". Beetle goes on to sell fifteen million more than the mini and becomes a success as BMC, Morris and the rest hit the wall
I know it's purely conjecture, but I wonder how many BMC Beetles would have been sold.
 

Devmeister

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Wow. I am a yank and I have to agree totally with the initial post. My last company did retail fitment. I was an e ginger and operator for very expensive german cnc machines. When our management took us in a different direction just prior to covid, I was concerned. Then covid hit. 50 years of profitable operation down the drain. My own shop had wood and metal capabilities. I have gone so far as to import wadkin from the uk. Currently working on exporting a 1944 wadkin lathe. The quality of wadkin, oliver, robertson, myford, kearney trecker and brown and sharpe is outstanding. The wadkin pk is the finest table saw ever made and the rolls Royce Merlin could not have survived without American machine tools. So the issues here are certainly valid and quite global.
 
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