NotTaR of small Gasoline Engines and Rotary Lawn Mowers : Comments on inexpensive lawn mowers     
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Comments on inexpensive lawn mowers

True or false?:

"Throw away mowers will always cost you more in the long run. Murrays and MTDs are bargain basement mowers, and you most definitely get what you pay for."

"The problem with Murrays and MTDs is that they use the cheapest engines and components available. If you manage to get the engine to last, the rest of the mower will fall apart around it. Remember, the reason K-Mart, Lechmere, Caldor, and other mass merchandisers sell these machines, is because they want you to come back every 2-3 years to buy a new mower from them."

"Murray is a bargain basement brand sold by mass merchandisers who want you to come back for a new mower every 2-3 years, and Tecumseh engines at about the same. :-( If you manage to get the engine to last, the deck will fall apart around it. On the bright side, at least they are cheap."

Some responses:

(From: Jan Hickman (janry@ix.netcom.com).)

Yea!! My bargain basement (cost under $100 when new) Murray is over 10 years old and I'm cutting .4 acres with it. You can bet when it wears out (if it ever does) I'm gonna buy some mega bucks mower!! But if you do take that bet, let me in on the other side of the action. Keep the blade sharp, the air filter clean, topped up on oil and they will run for a looooong time.

(From: Don Sterner (No@junk.email).)

Well, my Murray has a quality Briggs & Stratton engine which is still running fine. My problem is that the deck has rusted and is now a shell of its former self. There is barely enough metal left to hold the blade shafts in place. The mower is only 2 1/2 years old, but we do live on salt water (next to it, really). All of our property is well above the water line - the mower has never been wet with salt water. I've made it a practice to always hose the mower down after use and I keep it under cover when not in use. The only replacement decks I can locate cost nearly as much as a new mower.

Our previous mower (a Craftsman) was returned to Sears within 6 months after it had lost much of its paint and was covered with rust.

(From: BELJAN E (lvpy67c@ix.netcom.com).)

My MTD mower holds up fine, and I have the killer lawn. It burns out virtually every lawn mower's engine, whether it is Briggs or Tecumseh. I bought my MTD and it is a self propelled with 3.75 hp Briggs & Stratton Sprint engine. I would buy the same mower again, the problem is I probably wouldn't need to! The mower is so durable, it is unbelievable (I should note it is last years front cog drive which now is 4 hp quattro, and it is still sold with the 3.75 HP engine as Lawn Chief.) It survived a year and still doesn't burn oil! That is a major accomplishment. The only trick is to put Marvel Mystery Oil into the gas and oil. I also have a 16 year old Snapper and it still goes. Regardless, MTD is well worth it. You get a cheap mower that in my estimate unless you abuse it will last 5 years or more with good maintenance. $100 or so for 5 years of use (and it isn't hard to maintain them) is an excellent deal. A $600 mower could last less than that.

(From: Floyd Reed (floyda@ix.netcom.com).)

If you take care of amy mower, you can expect a reasonable amount of service out of it, usually comparable to the price. True, Murray mowers are cheaply built, but they build an awful lot of mowers... with different name brands. Most still carry a substantial warranty. As for Tecumseh engines, years ago they were the more expensive engine, placed on the more expensive machines. They were the only engine of this type and size to incorporate an actual oil pump. I never did care much for them as they liked to burn exhaust valves and blow head gaskets. The carburetors left a little to be desired also. They were good for my small engine repair business. I am out of the business now and have not taken one apart for a long time and do not know how they are being made today, but I'll bet if you take care of them and change the oil regularly as well as keep the air cleaner clean, you will receive respectable service out of it.

(From: Jan Hickman (janry@ix.netcom.com).)

My Murray with a 3.5 HP Tecumseh engine is over 10 years old. The only parts replaced have been the wheels, the spark plug once and the blade a couple of times. The lawn area I cut is approximately 1/3 acre. Will I ever buy a $500 quality lawn mower? Not as long as I can get one to last like this. And by the way - it's not luck, it taking care of them. I know several people whose bargain basement brands last several years and they all have one thing in common. They take care of them."

(From: Patrick J. McQuiggan (PMCQUIGGAN@cardinalfinancial.com).)

I've had a Murray since 1990. No problems whatsoever. Also 1/3 acre. Use it regularly. Follow maintenance advice. Engine is Briggs & Stratton 5 hp and it is self propelled. A bargain.

(From: Bijan Mobasseri (mobasser@vu-vlsi.ee.vill.edu).)

I am amused with the high power recommendations here: Honda, Toro, Snapper, Lawnboy, some costing $600. In 1989 I bought a walk-behind Murray for $99. This morning, as in all Saturdays, I pulled it out of the shed, gave it ONE pull and as always it started. It is still running on the original plug (Tecumseh engine) and the only thing I have replaced is one $5 wheel.

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