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Thread: Small engine design rant!

  1. #11
    Site Supporter gringop's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
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    Central Texas
    It looks like I can't upload a pic of my mower so I'll just add a link to it.
    https://www.scotts.com/en-us/product...eel-push-mower

    I've used push reel mowers for years including a 20 old 14" Great States that was my first. I still have it and another newer 14" but this Scotts 20" is much lighter and cuts 20" wide instead of 14.

    I have a normal 1/4 acre lot with a front, back and side yard and as long as you don't let the grass get too tall, this reel mower works just as well as a gas mower. As long as I keep it adjusted and sharpened it cuts just as fast as my old 4 hp Craftsman gas mower. Sticks that get caught in the blades stop it dead but are easily dealt with. Cuss, kick the reel backwards to clear the stick and drive on.

    I'm not some super eco hippie, as a matter of fact, I've got my eye on a commercial grade Cub Cadet 250 at the local pawn shop, but for small to medium flat lawns, modern real push mowers will work very well.

    I sharpened the 20" Scott today, which involves using valve lapping compound to smooth off the reel blade faces and the cutter blade. It took me 15 min and now it's slicing through grass like butter.

    Like buttaaah!!!

    Gringop
    Last edited by gringop; 07-21-2019 at 03:14 AM. Reason: Frigging spelling.
    "No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth
    shut." - Sam Rayburn

    Majestyk Brand Melons, Edna Co.

  2. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Georgia
    I didn't know the hose was an option. Earlier this year I went to lowes and bought a brass nipple and a plug. This made it so when I drain the oil it doesn't run all over the frame.

  3. #13
    Member
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    Oct 2013
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    Georgia
    Quote Originally Posted by gringop View Post
    It looks like I can't upload a pic of my mower so I'll just add a link to it.
    https://www.scotts.com/en-us/product...eel-push-mower

    I've used push reel mowers for years including a 20 old 14" Great States that was my first. I still have it and another newer 14" but this Scotts 20" is much lighter and cuts 20" wide instead of 14.

    I have a normal 1/4 acre lot with a front, back and side yard and as long as you don't let the grass get too tall, this reel mower works just as well as a gas mower. As long as I keep it adjusted and sharpened it cuts just as fast as my old 4 hp Craftsman gas mower. Sticks that get caught in the blades stop it dead but are easily dealt with. Cuss, kick the reel backwards to clear the stick and drive on.

    I'm not some super eco hippie, as a matter of fact, I've got my eye on a commercial grade Cub Cadet 250 at the local pawn shop, but for small to medium flat lawns, modern real push mowers will work very well.

    I sharpened the 20" Scott today, which involves using valve lapping compound to smooth off the reel blade faces and the cutter blade. It took me 15 min and now it's slicing through grass like butter.

    Like buttaaah!!!

    Gringop
    I didn't know reel mowers were a thing. I remember seeing them on Dennis the menace but never seen one in person. I think it's probably due to living in a more rural environment. An acre yard is small around here. I think it's cool. If we had a small yard I would like a reel. No gas to go bad and easy storage. Looks like the only maintanace is keep the blades adjusted and sharp

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by DMF13 View Post
    I actually gave up on changing the oil in my push mower. Now if it's a little low I just add a little 5W-30 synthetic. The last full oil change was over 8 years ago with conventional SAE30. It doesn't really burn oil so it's still running mostly on that ancient SAE30. The darn thing just won't die.
    I can't remember the brand off-hand, but their new push mowers is a "no oil change" affair. You just top it off. Probably a good plan for all lawn small lawn mowers.

    My 20 year old JD LT155 has a little quick turn adapter that I connected a hose to.

    For whatever reason, the new JD zero turn has a plastic drain knob. Sure it's tool less but the old system was easier to use.

    That said, any Maryland people want an old riding mower send me a PM!

  5. #15
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    Aug 2014
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    Northern Virginia
    Quote Originally Posted by RevolverRob View Post
    If you have enough yard you need a power mower (as opposed to a reel-type or even a weed-eater), but not enough that you need a riding mower, wouldn't an electric mower make more sense? Seriously, an electric mower and two or three batteries costs slightly more than a gas mower. It's also so much quieter, smells better, and will never require an oil change. My mother uses an electric, rechargeable, lawn mower. She got a matching weed-eater. It can even hang on the wall in the garage, because the electric motor doesn't care of it's turned sideways or upside down or whatever.
    I live in a townhouse with a front yard that is about 10'x30' or so and a backyard that is about double that.

    After seeing my folks' Kobalt 80v push mower and chainsaw, and using the latter to cut down and cut up several trees (actual trees, not saplings or ornamental bushes), I decided that ecosystem was good enough for me. Prior to that, I used a corded electric mower and weedeater combo.

    Fast forward to last November and Lowes put the 80v mower with charger and two batteries on clearance for $175ish. I grabbed one. Then in Feb of this year, they put the 80v weedeater with battery and charger on sale for $75. I snapped one of those up too. I now have 3 2ah batteries and two chargers. I can edge and mow my entire yard on less than one battery, so I keep the other two batteries in storage as spares for when my active battery wears out.

    My thoughts on the Kobalt 80v system:

    Pros:
    Powerful
    Capable for any homeowner needs.
    Even the smallest AH batteries have long life. Up to 3ah batteries are available.
    I would not feel "undergunned" using the 80v gear for your typical suburban homeowner tasks in a half-acre to acre lot.
    Straight shaft weedeater supports accessory devices (edger, blower, etc)
    Both devices are quieter than the corded versions they replaced. The chainsaw, which I've used but do not own, is obviously much quieter. A side benefit of the lack of noise is not needing hearing protection, which improves situational awareness (no family members "sneaking up" and being in dangerous areas)

    Cons:
    Really more than *I* need for my yard, but the smaller 40v versions were actually more expensive and don't seem to go on sale.
    The mower is heavy as hell (steel deck), making storage a PITA
    The weedeater is huge and overpowered like the mower.
    The batteries are expensive.

    At the prices I paid, I'd buy them again. However, if I was paying full retail, I'd give the 40v versions a closer look due to their suitability for my household needs.

    Chris

  6. #16
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Quote Originally Posted by gringop View Post
    It looks like I can't upload a pic of my mower so I'll just add a link to it.
    https://www.scotts.com/en-us/product...eel-push-mower

    I've used push reel mowers for years including a 20 old 14" Great States that was my first. I still have it and another newer 14" but this Scotts 20" is much lighter and cuts 20" wide instead of 14.

    I have a normal 1/4 acre lot with a front, back and side yard and as long as you don't let the grass get too tall, this reel mower works just as well as a gas mower. As long as I keep it adjusted and sharpened it cuts just as fast as my old 4 hp Craftsman gas mower. Sticks that get caught in the blades stop it dead but are easily dealt with. Cuss, kick the reel backwards to clear the stick and drive on.

    I'm not some super eco hippie, as a matter of fact, I've got my eye on a commercial grade Cub Cadet 250 at the local pawn shop, but for small to medium flat lawns, modern real push mowers will work very well.

    I sharpened the 20" Scott today, which involves using valve lapping compound to smooth off the reel blade faces and the cutter blade. It took me 15 min and now it's slicing through grass like butter.

    Like buttaaah!!!

    Gringop
    When I first bought our townhouse, I tried a reel mower. With the size yard I have, I didn't think a powered mower was necessary. What I learned is that while the yard looks flat, there's enough "texture" to cause problems with reel mowers. Also, if you let the grass get a fraction of an inch too long, it doesn't work worth a damn. After one season, I sold the reel mower and bought a corded electric push mower than Proceeded to use for 16 years before replacing it with a cordless mower.

    Chris

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by gringop View Post
    It looks like I can't upload a pic of my mower so I'll just add a link to it.
    https://www.scotts.com/en-us/product...eel-push-mower

    I've used push reel mowers for years including a 20 old 14" Great States that was my first. I still have it and another newer 14" but this Scotts 20" is much lighter and cuts 20" wide instead of 14.



    Gringop

    Received a Craftsman branded one from a relative, who bought it for $10 from a garage sale, as a lose the baby weight item. Was in their re-garage sale, because it "didn't cut well anymore". After a quick sharpening, I used it some in the evenings and even after midnight (long hours, due to others medical issues), and unless we get a lot of rain, it is pretty handy. (still have a gas mower due to rain)
    I DO get people either slamming on their brakes, or turning around, just because they have never seen anyone use one before.
    Had an elderly lady that lived close and used one of the wooden handle ones, that may have been as new as her house (1940's) to mow an acre and a half until she was 68, probably part of the reason she made it close to 90 and was in as good as shape.

  8. #18
    Member SecondsCount's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Utah, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by RevolverRob View Post
    If you have enough yard you need a power mower (as opposed to a reel-type or even a weed-eater), but not enough that you need a riding mower, wouldn't an electric mower make more sense? Seriously, an electric mower and two or three batteries costs slightly more than a gas mower. It's also so much quieter, smells better, and will never require an oil change. My mother uses an electric, rechargeable, lawn mower. She got a matching weed-eater. It can even hang on the wall in the garage, because the electric motor doesn't care of it's turned sideways or upside down or whatever.
    My concern about electric mowers is longevity, as in how many years can I get out of one before they become toxic waste in a landfill.

    My leaf blower and power drills are electric but I really dislike the way they sell replacement batteries for them. One of the drills cost $75 when new but the battery has died and they want $30 for a replacement. The other one is slowly dying and I have two attachments for it. Same deal on a replacement battery.
    -Seconds Count. Misses Don't-

  9. #19
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    Apr 2014
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    NW Florida
    Quote Originally Posted by gringop View Post
    I've used push reel mowers for years ...
    I used those when I was a kid and thought they were really good. I didn't have a gas mower until I was in my late 20's.

    A few years back I went back to a reel mower. It didn't work for me. I have some rogue grass in my lawn the mower wouldn't cut, and tweaking of blade height/cutter bar options or whatever the terms were, quickly sent me down an adjustment path I never recovered from. I used it for a couple of years and ended up back with a gas mower.

    It is awful how you have to turn the mower over to drain the oil on my gas mower. I'm a little over two years on my last oil change and was beginning to think I was heading for disaster, but seeing as a couple of you guys are at 6 and 8 years, and I'm using AMSOIL full synthetic, I don't feel that bad anymore. I expect I'll give the oil a change before the summer is over though.

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