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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So far, so good with the new McCulloch 20hp 42" cut. Saw it at Sears, didn't know the chainsaw company made mowers. ha It was parked amongst the many Sears Craftsman mowers so it was easy to compare. I would have been happy with a Craftsman but several features on the McCulloch tipped the balance. And my wife was looking at it with me, she said she liked the McCulloch better than the Sears 46" cut we almost decided on, which was a little cheaper than the Mac. I could have stopped the comparison there since she approved. :ThumbUp:
Tale of the tape:
The Sears mower and the Mac had tight turn steering, they claimed 6" turn radius. That's a lot better than the long sweeping turns the old Deere required, and the neighbor's borrowed Cub Cadet's long arcs too.
The Mac's gas tank is under the seat, allowing for 3 gallons, the battery is next to the engine. Much safer arrangement, and a bigger gas tank than the Sears.
Speed control is the right foot pedal on the Mac, it's a lever on the fender of the Sears. Reverse is on the accelerator pedal of the Mac, just come to a stop and mash the reverse and it goes. Like most mowers, the engine will die if you try to back up with the blades going.
Engine is an Intek Briggs and Stratton V-Twin 20hp on the Mac, standard Briggs 21 hp on the Sears.
Both had spin-on oil filters and clear gas inline filters, my old Deere had neither. They both have switch-on headlights, as if I'll ever be mowing after dark. And there's an 'hourmeter' by the steering wheel to help with the maintenance checklist.
Mac has a parking brake, and a 'transmission disengage' to allow freewheel pushing. Took me a few minutes to get the hang of it but now it's easy.
All I had to do was fill it with gas, check the oil and the battery connections, reposition the wheels on the mower deck, inspect the blades and the belt, adjust the seat position and start cranking. It took a while to crank, since it was the first time, but seeing the gas flow through the clear filter let me know when it was getting gas. It cranked and ran smoothly. The 2-cylinder is much smoother than the Deere or the Cub.
5-year warranty. that's the extra warranty that costs a bit but it might be needed, you never know. Base price is $1599, saw it on Amazon for a hundred more. Yeah, the Sears one is cheaper but the Mac seems to be more to my liking, and that's important when you're out mowing in the Texas heat.
Mowing test:
Since Hurricane Rita came through in 2005 and blew down a lot of the trees, the places where the trees used to live have been infiltrated by some tough weeds that might be Bahia or Dallas grass, not sure. It's the clumps of fast-growing tall stalks with some long narrow green leaves at the ground. When there's rain, the stalks are easy to cut but when it's hot, those stalks make good hay and you have to run over them several times to get a smooth cut. It was hot and sort of dry yesterday, the first pass over those weed patches almost got them smooth, just took a second try to ge them smooth. When I slow down to a crawl over those tall weeds it only takes one pass. On the San Augustine part of the lawn it cuts smoothly in one fast pass. This Mac should be a good one for this lawn.
I tried the tight turn, it's pretty tight but I wouldn't call it 6" radius. Eyeballing the left side of the deck while cranking the steering all the way, I'd guess it would come back to the opposite mowing track about 12" apart, which is fine for the yard. Just swing around a little and it will be good. Way better than the Deere or the Cub. The front axle looks heavy, almost like an early 30s car axle.
Yes, it has a cup holder, I guess they all do now. My Dad said that back on the Missouri farm they didn't have cup holders and they just carried canteens if they thought they might get thirsty while running the tractor all day. So we should feel lucky nowadays. When I was small, they didn't have the enclosed A/C cabs yet, I got to ride on the combine a few times and it was really itchy with all the wheat husks flying in the air. That made the swim in the creek at the end of the day even more enjoyable. You can see the old family farm on Google Earth, quite amazing.
The Mac was fairly quiet with its 2-cylinder, and when the blades are running it's still not too loud. I mow a family friend's large urban yard with their old Murray 42" 17.5hp, it's pretty loud. But it has a spin-on oil filter, which is amazing for how old it is. it needs a shot of starting fluid to get it going, but once I starts it's strong and steady. And loud.
There you have it, fellow mowheads. Or gearheads. Friends, anyway.
If you're in the market for a new mower, there's the McCulloch M20-42T.
Anyone remember the Dallas Morning news' Drive-In critic, Joe Bob Briggs? This was his signature sign-off ---
Joe Bob says Check It Out.
 

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Thanks for the review! Sounds like you're enjoying the new mower. I hope it provides many years of service!:ThumbUp:
X2!! Hope it works very well for you!
 

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Cool glad its working out!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
After leaving it parked in the garage for about four months, I figured it should be cranked and driven around for a while. All it needed was a little shot of starting fluid and it cranked right up. Felt like I had just mowed the yard yesterday.
The Toro 22" took four pulls to get started, then it ran great and mulched the leaves easily. It's going to be a great mowing year. Hope everyone has fun with your mowers too.
 

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Cool, thanks for the update!

Do your machines have a fuel shut off valve? Sometimes turning the valve to off and running the gas out will aid in easier starting the next time if the machine is going to sit static for long periods of time but maybe you already do this.
 

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:ditto: Thanks for letting us know how your mower is working out! It's definitely a good idea to run out the gas before storage; it'll ensure that the mower will start just as quickly next time you need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It doesn't have a fuel line valve, but I could put one in. This far South, we'll be mowing until around Thanksgiving, then we might run it to mulch the leaves. It might sit only a couple of months until things start growing again. And my wife has driven it, she kind of likes to use it as a big go-kart. ;-) The seat adjusts by a lever so she can scoot it up easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hard to believe it's been three years since I got this mower. It now has 68 hours on its meter, doesn't burn or leak oil, no flat tires, still haven't mowed after dark with it. ;-)
Belt looks good, no cracks. Fuel filter looks clean, cranks on the first try with a little squirt of starting fluid. It has needed that little shot since it was new, so I'm not worried. And it gives me a chance to check the air filter each time before starting.
Next time I get ready to mow, I'll sharpen the blades and lube the steering points and suspension. Those tall weeds are still hard to cut evenly.
It's a good thing we have several water faucets around the house, and a little refrigerator in the shop with lots of Gatorade and water. The summer heat is brutal, even if you're just steering the mower. One of those wide straw hats helps a lot.
Have a happy and safe summer!
 

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Glad to hear it's served you well. I've seen this particular model sold online... But the closest almost exact brand that comes close to mind is the latest gen Poulan Pro. It looks almost identical to the Mac. Home Depot carries the Poulan these days, As it replaced the Ariens. Not sure why they chose to stop carrying Ariens.

Thanks for doing a followup and I've got to come see that rider sometime. I get out to Orange every other week to visit family as that's where I grew up. Along with Bridge City as well.
 
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