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Used Riders

3786 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Austen
My first time posting to any forum - please excuse any screw ups!
I need to buy a used rider. Am considering the following. All are late 80's/ early 90's unless noted and $350-$600. Thanks for you're comments & recommendations!

1. Troy-Bilt 14 HP Twin Cyl I/C B&S
Murray 14.5 HP OHV B&S I/C
Early 2000's MTD 18 HP Opposed Twin B&S I/C
MTD 15 HP OHV Diamond B&S
Craftsman 15.5 HP Kohler Command I/C
Deere Sabre 14.5 HP Cyl I/C OHV B&S
Poulan 17 HP B&S OHV Intek
Lowes MTD 18.5 HP B&S I/C twin cyl
2007 Troy-Bilt Super Bronco 19 HP Kohler Courage OHV
Craftsman GT 18 HP B&S twin side shaft heavy duty
1988 Deere 160 14 HP Kawasaki OHV
1992 Deere 172 14 HP Kawasaki OHV
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Welcome to the site, and to forum posting! :)

A lot of it comes down to the condition of the particular machine and how well it was cared for.

Out of the list you mentioned, I think I would stay away from the box store brands such as MTD, Murray, Troy-Bilt and Poulan, especially if it's going to be bought used. You will get a lot more quality for your money out of the name brands such as Deere especially and Craftsman, depending on the models. Like I said though, a lot of it really depends on the specific machine's condition and how it was cared for. You could find a really nice well taken care of MTD that looks almost new that is in better shape than a used JD.

I would pay a little more and stick with a name brand. Find one that is in nice shape that has been well taken care of. They are also easier to get parts for and the general rule of thumb is that you get a lot better quality out of them because they were built to last.

When you go to look at them ask the owner questions like:

1. Are you the original owner?

2. Has the machine been stored indoors or outdoors?

3. What maintenance has been done to the machine? How regularly was the oil changed?

4. Check the condition of the belts and blades. Look for rust in and around the mowing deck.

5. Test drive the machine and check it all out; PTO engagement, confirm is steers & drives correctly, brakes and parking brake works, starts and runs as it should etc etc.
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It's really subject to opinion, but the Kawasaki and Kohler are going to be a little step above the Briggs engines in terms of overall quality. I think you'll find the Kawasaki engines to be the smoothest and quietest running out of the ones you mentioned. The Kohler Command is pretty darn durable as well. Depending on the model B&S twin, a lot of them have had issues with the plastic flywheels keys breaking. The I/C engines have been around a while and I don't think you could go wrong with one of them either.
Unfortunately I do not have a list of specific Briggs engine models that have the plastic flywheel keys.

At the JD dealer I worked at, we seemed to always have one or two machines that were in for service because of broken plastic flywheel keys. 95% of them were in the v-twin Briggs engines found in the lower end L/LA model 'Deere tractors. Because we were a 'Deere dealer, we mainly only saw JD machines in for service, however, I know that some of these same engine models were offered in comparable machines of other manufactures as well, so this is why I bring this up. No, they are not that hard to replace. I'm sure it was only a thing between certain years and that Briggs remedied the design in future models.

My suggestion would be that if you find a late model machine that you like, more specifically with a v-twin Briggs, that you research (or post the model # and year here) and see what the consumer reports are on them. If there is a common issue like this with an engine, there won't be too much trouble finding it on the net.
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