Petrol Lawnmowers - new vs old

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morqthana

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A thought on fuel - if anybody lives near a small airfield it might be worth asking if they'll sell you small quantities of Avgas UL91.
 

Fergie 307

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1960's Hayter Harrier bought about 25years ago from the dump, sorry recycling centre, for £5 if I remember correctly. Still going strong and much better made than its new equivalent. Only nasty surprise was the price Hayter wanted for the weird bearings they use in the front wheels. Easily fixed by turning the wheels on the lathe to take some proper sealed bearings. Trick is to look after it. Change the oil every year, and use the proper stuff. And use Super Unleaded. At the end of the season just run it till it runs out of fuel, then either put Aspen in it, or Super with a preservative. Personally I wouldn't leave it dry as you may find some of the gaskets and seals can dry out.
 

ian33a

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Totally agree regarding fuel - it goes off pretty quickly.

I buy a fuel additive and mix it with a can of petrol and this lasts most of the season. I made the mistake of not draining the tank at the end of last season and had to have the carb and tank cleaned out as the Hayter wouldn't work under load at the start of this season.

If you have a large garden and unless you really only maintain a very small section of it, mowing will start to become a chore. It's worth spending a reasonable amount on a mower and getting something with a decent width of cut and a large sized grass collection box, unless you plan to mulch everything. Obviously, the larger the mower the heavier it becomes and powered drive starts to become almost a must - especially on sloped or uneven ground.

I doubt £200 will get you much new with longevity. £200 will get you a decent enough used machine if you choose carefully.
 

niemeyjt

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As others have said, modern fuel is contaminated with ethanol nowadays - though there are rumours that UK and some other countries may revert to better fuels. There are fuel stabilisers you can add that may help - otherwise Aspen - certainly for leaving more than a month.

Another vote here for Honda engines. And an alloy deck if you can get it provided you don't fertilise the grass as the fertilisers can cause corrosion on alloys.

I also collect - then make compost mixing grass with manure and other things to stop it going sludgy. Then use on flower / veg beds.
 

Seascaper

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Hi folks

I need to get a lawnmower. I've got two "lawns" and a whole load of paths to cut. None of it is particularly flat, and it's not really a lawn as such - more just an area of grass! So no need for it to look like Wembley, no need for stripes, etc Up until not I've been doing it with a strimmer. And I might continue to use the strimmer on the paths. But for the two "lawn" areas it takes ages with a strimmer.

What are people's thoughts on old vs new? There are a few old Honda Izys about, and some old Mountfields and Kawasakis and similar. All around the £150-£200 mark. Not knowing much about such things, I'm not sure if I am better off with one of those or getting a brand new budget machine in the same price bracket.

Any thoughts from those more in the know?

Cheers
Hello,
The best mower I have ever had is the one I will be using this morning. It is a John Deere J series walk behind machine. I have had, Mountfield, Hayter, Husquavarna, Bolens etc and is streets ahead of any of them. They are often used by commercial operators, best features as follows, very easy to adjust height, vast height range, starts first pull always after months, one can select to mulch or not by inserting a simple plug, quiet engine, easy soft pull to start, large grass collecting bag, deck flushing point, heavy aluminium deck, handle folds down to take up less space in shed. Mine was a one owner from new machine, well looked after and only costs a couple of hundred. By contrast the Hayter cost £1500, was heavy, handlebars did not fold away, not easy to start, did not collect grass very well, often blocked and was glad to see it go. John Deere have the most amazing parts service,
one can order original stickers, and the smallest of parts so well recommended.
Regards
 

sawtooth-9

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See other conversations about reducing carbon and get an battery electric mower with a transferable power pack to a strimmer etc.

See other conversations about reducing carbon and get an battery electric mower with a transferable power pack to a strimmer etc.

Phil
Great !
But what do you do with the "dead" batteries ?
But the "good news" is you can charge them with coal , gas or nuclear power !
Of course, you could use solar panels ( life span about 15 years - from China ) or wind farms, But the environmental pay-back is not flash. Recycling these is a real con.
When will people finally WAKE UP to the brainwashing that's going on.
Let the debate ( respectful please ) begin
 

Richard_C

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Talk of petrol and draining at end of season makes me think. I years past, last cut maybe mid to late Oct, first cut the following March.

Last winter, cutting, albeit high setting, up to end of November and first cut was the last weekend in January, not just me but neighbours too. Machine laid up for only 8 weeks.

You still need to worry about E10 and moisture (I use premium these days, the extra cost for a few litres a year is marginal - E5 but still can go off) but the off season is shrinking.
 

Fergie 307

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Hello,
The best mower I have ever had is the one I will be using this morning. It is a John Deere J series walk behind machine. I have had, Mountfield, Hayter, Husquavarna, Bolens etc and is streets ahead of any of them. They are often used by commercial operators, best features as follows, very easy to adjust height, vast height range, starts first pull always after months, one can select to mulch or not by inserting a simple plug, quiet engine, easy soft pull to start, large grass collecting bag, deck flushing point, heavy aluminium deck, handle folds down to take up less space in shed. Mine was a one owner from new machine, well looked after and only costs a couple of hundred. By contrast the Hayter cost £1500, was heavy, handlebars did not fold away, not easy to start, did not collect grass very well, often blocked and was glad to see it go. John Deere have the most amazing parts service,
one can order original stickers, and the smallest of parts so well recommended.
Regards
I would agree regarding the Hayter. The early ones like mine collect really well, and the handle folds flat on top for storage. Heavy duty aluminium deck. From memory the only plastic bits on it are the front wheels. The modern ones are a very nasty mixture of thin pressed steel and plastic, cost a fortune, and don't collect well at all unless you are only taking off about a quarter of an inch. My old thing does a real Hoover job, and will pick up anything, leaves, twigs the lot. Has got the very agricultural B&S 3.5hp engine which is a bit noisy but still always starts well. Self propulsion works well on mine and has two speeds to choose from. I tend not to use it as the lawn is very flat, and pushing it up and down for an hour or so is probably the most exercise I get nowadays !
 

Fergie 307

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Just had a look at the John Deere, nice machine. When we moved into our house the garden was a jungle. A friend lent me a mower they used for contract work, a Stoic. This thing only had an 18inch cut, but massive height range and something like a 7hp engine. Side ejection from a really heavy duty aluminium deck. Made mincemeat of anything.
 

Terry - Somerset

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I used to have an old Mountfield with a B&S motor - always a pain to start.

I looked around for an electric start - then realised that most s/h electric start machines were for sale because the battery/starter failed.

I was advised to get a Honda (Izy). There is a decompression gizmo which I think is temperature operated - in summary starting is a gentle 1st or 2nd pull of the cord. No problems in 6 years so far.

Petrol - during mowing season, fuel is replenished sufficiently often there is no problem. Winter it is best to leave it empty - with the Mountfield starting was helped by a squirt of electric contact cleaner into the carb, after which starting was instantaneous and once warm, no problem.
 

Cozzer

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I bought a Webb 46cm petrol job a couple of years ago. Nice machine, but a bit fast for my legs!
Knowing that most petrol mowers suffer with carb problems eventually, my Webb has only had Aspen fuel in it from day one. Pricey, yes, but has done the trick.
Starts first time, every time.
 

fenhayman

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The Ethanol in E10 is hygroscopic, with fuel systems that vent to atmosphere like horticultural machinery where they use carburettors it is a bigger problem because the fuel absorbs moisture and that corrodes metal. With fuel injection and modern cars it is a problem but the tank does not vent to atmosphere and the fuel system is essentially sealed but it can be a problem. If the car is used regularly then the fuel is being used and replaced so not just sitting in the tank like say a lawnmower, E10 destroyed the carb on my Mantis rotovator!
If the tank does not vent to atmosphere and is essentially sealed, is a vacuum created as fuel is used or does something other than air replace it?
 

Fergie 307

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Where is this Aspen fuel available from? And fergie, I remember using a stoic, great machine.
You can buy it from Amazon but pricey though, or just Google Aspen fuel. They have a UK website so should be able to tell you where your nearest stockist is. Or any good mower and garden machinery place should have it.
 

Spectric

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If the tank does not vent to atmosphere and is essentially sealed, is a vacuum created as fuel is used or does something other than air replace it?
Before we went emissions crazy fuel tanks were just direcly vented to atmosphere which meant fuel vapours could just escape, on hot days in car parks you would smell fuel. Now the tank still needs to have the means to compensate for fuel expansion and draw off but it vents through systems designed to keep these vapours in check, charcoal canisters (EVAP canister) and valves control the EVAP system which prevent these vapours from getting into the atmposphere and the atmosphere having direct access to the tank, and yes just more complication.
 

Cozzer

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.... There are fuel stabilisers you can add that may help - otherwise Aspen - certainly for leaving more than a month.....
Aspen boasts 3-5 years storage without it degrading/separating.
I understand that the usual 4* unleaded stuff from your petrol station starts to "split" after as little as 6 weeks...
 

Jonm

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We've got a little under 3 acres in all. We don't cut it all by any means.
That is a massive area. First thing to decide is do you want to pick the grass up. I used to have a large lawn, 200 ft by 100ft and wanted to pick the grass up. Used a mountfield 21” and from memory it took about 2 hours to mow the lawn, it was a long time ago. Emptying the grass box is time consuming.

more recently I have used a Honda Izzy on a smaller lawn, which was great for starting and cutting, but it has a steel deck which needs looking after.

You have not said the actual area of grass but I would get something which drives itself forward and very big and robust. Work out the forward speed, with of cut allowing for overlap and work out how long it will take.

Ideally borrow a mower and give it a go to help decide what size you need. I did buy a modern hayter at one time, based on reputation, rubbish, replaced it with the Honda Izzy.
 

Jonm

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A relative has a very large lawn, they have an electric robot mower. Takes itself off to recharge and they leave it to do its stuff, does not pick the grass up but works tirelessly day and night and only stops to recharge its batteries which it does automatically. No personal experience of them. Your lawn may be too rough for it but perhaps a load of grit to level it up would do. If I had a large lawn and did not want to pick the grass up I would look in to one.
 
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