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Discussion Starter #1
I recently moved to a house that we are renting and I need to get a push mower. I don't want to buy new, since I know I'll be moving again in a few years.
Any brands or models to look for or to avoid?
 

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I have a Craftsman built by AYP which is basically a Husqavarna that still runs great after about 10 - 12 years.

It has a Briggs 6.75 on it and the only thing I have had to replace was the gas cap that cracked. It had one of those black and yellow fresh start caps on it that was made to hold a little bottle of fuel stabilizer in it. The 2 halves of it split. It could probably use a new drive belt, but it still works.

Oh yes, one other minor annoyance with the engine is the auto choke. It starts fine with one pull warm or cold, however if you start it and turn it off again before say before a minute or so for it to warm up it is practically impossible to start. Not really an issue unless you start it and then remember you forgot to put the bag on it or something.

It has the variable speed self propel on it which is nice to have. Also can mulch, bag or side discharge.

The only 2 things I don't like about it are the front wheels lock on it once in a while if you try pulling it backwards. Basically you just have to learn to let it roll a hair forward after releasing the drive and it is fine. The other thing is the high back wheels. They seem a little wobbly since they are so big when turning it around. I probably wouldn't get those again as it seems like more of a gimmick than anything.

I don't use the bag often except for leaves, but rear wheel drive mowers are suppose to be better for bagging. I have noticed that if the bag gets heavy the front wheels loose a lot of traction.
 

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The bigger question, is where to get a used mower. I have have my share of used push mowers, and inevitably the decks give out first.

With my experience, and please take it with a grain of salt, and I have my asbestos undies on for this next statement, stay away from the B&S OHV engines. The L-heads, in either B&S, or any other brand are acceptable. Your best bet, would be to find a Honda, as that would eliminate the deck issue, and the engines are amongst the most reliable.

Some may disagree with me, and that is fine. Some folks prefer coke over pepsi, that's just life. You will probably pay a bit more for a used honda over some other machine, and they do not come up for sale on the used market as often.

That all said, the places to find pushers, would be of course craigs, local garage/rummage sales, and there is nothing wrong with what I call "picking." Cruising trash day to see if you hit the lotto. Even if it is not a machine you care for, it'll at least get you through for the time being.
 

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I bought a used Honda and now I'm selling my Snapper RER. The Honda is the best mower I've ever used or owned. But, you can find a serviceable mower at a yard sale usually for around $20. I bought on a couple years ago for trimming around the church and only had to give $10 for it. Still runs great and we work that poor thing. Weedeater brand w/plastic carb on it.
Or, as db pointed out there is always craigslist. Patience and diligence are the keys.
Hope you find something good! Let us know.
http://hartford.craigslist.org/tls/5104127158.html
http://newlondon.craigslist.org/grd/5041946438.html
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the advice! I figured Honda would be at the top of the list for quality. I have been browsing Craiglist, eBay and the local Facebook for sale pages, but haven't found anything that wasn't $100 or more.
The yard is big (1/2 acre), but the back has a lot of trees growing, so its mostly moss and not much grass.
I wouldn't mind finding a decent one that needed a little work to fix up. I'm good at that kind of thing! I bought my old Ariens snowblower for cheap because the carb was gummed up and it wouldn't run. It runs great now!
I'll let you all know if I find a decent mower.
 

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Each ad was the same story, ran great last year, will not start this year, not worth taking to fix, maybe you can.
My teenage son made some computer script that scans our local ads and sends him a message on his phone when they are posted. He's has a refined list of filters of things he has learned he does and doesn't want. I'm sure he wouldn't like me releasing these trade secrets. :) Let me just say he has done well financially. Yesterday me mentioned he has flipped over 75 mowers this season. He's going to be able to tell people that ethanol paid for his college education.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok, locally there is a John Deere JS 83 with bag, that doesn't run. There's also a JS 81 that goes with it for parts. All for $50. Sound fair?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow, someone bought up those 2 Deere mowers, fixed the complete one and is flipping it for $250 obo! haha, that's a quick fix and flip!

John Deere JS 63

I guess my search continues.....
 

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Here's a thought, what about a wally world $100-wonder....?

May not be the deck size that you want, and probably woefully underpowered, but for at least the next 3-4 years it should be a reliable machine.

A little more coin, and you can keep an eye out at your local home improvement box store, for returned machines. Buyer beware, who knows why some of these things come back. But the discount on a nearly new machine can be attractive.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It looks like even the cheapest gas mower at Wally World is $144. I figured I'd get a decent used one for less. I'll buy a new one if it's my last resort.
I used to have a Weedeater 20" mower that I bought in 2006 and sold in 2010. It worked. Nothing fancy, it just mowed grass!
 

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Avoid the flippers and keep an eye out for moving sales with small yards.
Look for something real common, parts and parts mowers will be easy to find and cheap. High wheels and drive wheels can be expensive to replace.
The old flat head Briggs and Strattons just work. I have a high wheel, front drive, AYP Craftsman with a briggs that is pushing 20 years old, and it's still going. I also have a newer version with a dead Tecumseh that I use for spare parts.
I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority but I prefer front drive for easier maneuvering and side discharge for easier cutting.
 

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get the second john deere or that last briggs. that jd will probably become your fasvorite mower, bbc rwd cast aluminum deck ohv kawasaki great mowers. if you can find a honda hr215 or hr214 those are awesome mowers, avoid the hra models they are great mowers but have a steel deck unlike the regular hr models
 

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Discussion Starter #16
if you can find a honda hr215 or hr214 those are awesome mowers, avoid the hra models they are great mowers but have a steel deck unlike the regular hr models
I found this Honda HR 216 not too far from me. More than I initially wanted to spend, but it seems to be well taken care of.
What is a good asking price? He said it's about 5-6 years old. I really don't know what it's worth.

Honda Harmony Lawn Mower
 

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thats a good mower, try to get him down to 125. only thing is the engine is a gcv instead of the gxv which means ohc instead of ohv and an aluminum bore instead of a cast iron. if you don t really care about that, they are long lasting and reliable mowers
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Awesome! I'll see if I can take a look at it today and talk him down a bit on the price.
I went today to look at new mowers at a dealer that sold Honda and Cub Cadets. They were pushing the Honda as a better mower, which I'm sure it is, but even the cheapest Honda was almost $400! Wow.
 
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