Lawn mower review

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John Rumm

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Mar 28, 2009, 3:34:26 PM3/28/09
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regular readers may recall my asking for recommendations for a ride on
mower about this time last year. Since it is getting into the grass
cutting season again, I thought I might be helpful if I posted a summary
of the beastie I went for in the end...

Anyway, after phoning about a few places, found myself at a local branch
of Altons (machinery prices are ok, but I wouldn't buy plants there!).
Encouragingly they really do have a section of the shop with a banner
that reads "big boys toys" ;-)

Chatted through the various options and in the end went for a MTD
Lawnflite 703.

http://www.lawnflite.co.uk/703details.html

I bought it with a small 400kg tipping trailer and a mulching kit, and
after a bit of haggling managed to get the lot for about £1800.

This has a 13.5 HP B&S engine, and a 36" twin bladed deck. The drive
system is a single pedal variomatic type of affair that seems to work
rather well - a slight jerk on pulling away but then smooth control of
speed therafter.

Reasonably solid build quality and just large enough to squeeze my 6'3"
into without having my knees under my chin. (the seat does adjust back
and forwards a bit - but only about 4-5". Another 3" back would be ideal).

The standard mower has a large collection box and does a pretty good job
of collecting. Only had it clog about twice in total so far. It leaves a
nice finish with no scalping on turns etc. You do get stripes of a sort
- two per pass from the counter rotating blades. The only time I was
aware of a shortcoming in collection performance was in the autumn when
the grass was wet, and there were also lots of leaves - some leaf
residue gets left. Emptying can be done from the seat by using a large
tipping bar[1] that sticks out the top of the box. This works well
enough but can be a bit heavy if full of damp grass. There is no grass
full indicator as such, although you can reach back and feel the top of
the bag to get an idea of if there is any remaining space in it. If you
leave it too long then it basically just starts leaving a trail of
uncollected grass (which to be fair it will pick up later if you go over
it once emptied).

I also bought it with a mulching kit, which is basically an odd shaped
plastic plug on the end of a metal rod that you stuff up the grass chute
having removed then normal collection cowl; Its about a 3 min job to
install it - just requiring a couple of cotter pins be pulled to free
the chute. It has just enough power for mulching to work well enough if
you don't leave it too long - cutting every five days at the peak of the
season would be about right. The mower does have to work harder, and
gets through more petrol when mulching.

Economy is not bad however and I probably only used 60L or so during the
year, collecting and mulching in about equal measure.

The grass box can be removed and a towing bar extended. This works well
pulling the trailer, or a tow behind sweeper I added recently (good for
leaves and rotten windfalls from the fruit trees). The trailer also
makes a popular ride with the sprogs!

Only had one breakage in the season, and that was a main rubber drive
belt. I would put this down to operator error - it was probably a
mistake seeing how fast one could make it pull away from a standing
start! Replacement part was easy enough to get, but at an eye watering
£50 odd quid. (I think my comment about daylight rubbery was taken in
the spirit it was intended by the shop!)

So in summary, actually well pleased all things considered - would be
better at about half the price mind you!


[1] This is just about substantial enough to only bend slightly while
having the whole rig pull a wheelie should you drive under a branch that
is somewhat lower than the bar. DAMHIK!

--
Cheers,

John.

/=================================================================\
| Internode Ltd - http://www.internode.co.uk |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
| John Rumm - john(at)internode(dot)co(dot)uk |
\=================================================================/

Clot

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Mar 28, 2009, 3:47:26 PM3/28/09
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John Rumm wrote:
>

A snip

> The grass box can be removed and a towing bar extended. This works
> well pulling the trailer, or a tow behind sweeper I added recently
> (good for leaves and rotten windfalls from the fruit trees). The
> trailer also makes a popular ride with the sprogs!

Careful you don't do one of these!


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1574437/Nicholas-Soames-drove-with-children-in-trailer.html

Another snip.


John Rumm

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Mar 28, 2009, 3:57:13 PM3/28/09
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Its fun round the garden, but I can't see it replacing the car for road
use any time soon ;-)

Jules

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Mar 28, 2009, 4:36:04 PM3/28/09
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On Sat, 28 Mar 2009 19:47:26 +0000, Clot wrote:
> Careful you don't do one of these!
>
> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1574437/Nicholas-Soames-drove-with-children-in-trailer.html

How times change - fond memories here of riding in the grain trailers (or
on top of the combine itself) as a kid during harvest season :-)


Clot

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Mar 28, 2009, 5:10:47 PM3/28/09
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Readily appreciated; I've one of those T shirts. Most interesting one ever
(to me that is) was sitting in the boot of a 1950s Bentley with the lid
removed to monitor the condition of the towing assembly my father and I had
constructed to tow a trailer and yacht. Drilling the holes through the body
to locate the angle iron before the towing hitch was fun? Took hours. None
of those Nancy electric whizzmos.

Elfin Safety, Mr Plod and the CPS would have had a field day completing
their year's stats requirement in one observation!


The Medway Handyman

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Mar 29, 2009, 5:38:14 AM3/29/09
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"Mr Soames was filmed on New Year’s Day by West Sussex Wildlife Protection,
which monitors the Crawley and Horsham Hunt for any offences under the
Hunting Act."

Haven't these people got anything better to do?


--
Dave - The Medway Handyman
www.medwayhandyman.co.uk


Steve Walker

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Mar 29, 2009, 9:10:30 AM3/29/09
to
John Rumm wrote:
> regular readers may recall my asking for recommendations for a
> ride on mower about this time last year. Since it is getting
> into the grass cutting season again, I thought I might be
> helpful if I posted a summary of the beastie I went for in the
> end...

Only 2 questions :

0-60?
&
Will it Drift?


Clot

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Mar 29, 2009, 10:36:13 AM3/29/09
to

Quite!

Recently, a young relative of mine, working for the family company was
filling in as a landlord whilst the resident landlord was indisposed. My
relative's girlfreind was helping out at the bar, without pay.

A "husband and wife" come in, buy a drink and sit down. These are TSOs on
overtime on a Friday evening.

Later, what transpires to be a planted under age person is served, with the
TSOs as witnesses.

Next, four police and or mini police come in with hi vis jackets and
seriously traumatise the relative's girlfriend. The pub concerned has been
run by the family for the best part of 30 years without mishap.

The whole thing was set up just to keep folk off the dole and discourage
folk from working.

Drives me livid.

I've been involved in organising a local charity carnival on May Day for the
best part of 30 years without mishap. The local council now require us to
provide an A4 lever arched file (about 3 inches thick) of risk assessments.
All volunteers involved in running the event that have any involvement in
food have to have a grade 2 Hygiene certificate, no vehicles must enter the
field whilst the public are present, whilst setting up, any vehicles must be
guided by a pedestrian wearing a hi vis jacket, lights must be on and must
be limited to 5 mph.

B$$$$y hell?

The idiot employed by the council has no practical ability or sense, does
nothing creative and just keeps the unemployment figures down. Sheer and
utter madness.

It has got to the stage that we seriously thinking of not running the event
next year.


John Rumm

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Mar 29, 2009, 12:32:50 PM3/29/09
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about 2.55 seconds - with the aid of a cliff...

> Will it Drift?

Only in the snow ;-)

The Medway Handyman

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Mar 29, 2009, 6:49:26 PM3/29/09
to
Clot wrote:
> The Medway Handyman wrote:
>> Clot wrote:
>>> John Rumm wrote:
>>>>
>>>
>>> A snip
>>>
>>>> The grass box can be removed and a towing bar extended. This works
>>>> well pulling the trailer, or a tow behind sweeper I added recently
>>>> (good for leaves and rotten windfalls from the fruit trees). The
>>>> trailer also makes a popular ride with the sprogs!
>>>
>>> Careful you don't do one of these!
>>>
>>>
>>> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1574437/Nicholas-Soames-drove-with-children-in-trailer.html
>>>
>>> Another snip.
>>
>>
>> "Mr Soames was filmed on New Year's Day by West Sussex Wildlife
>> Protection, which monitors the Crawley and Horsham Hunt for any
>> offences under the Hunting Act."
>>
>> Haven't these people got anything better to do?
>
> Quite!

<SNIP>


>
> I've been involved in organising a local charity carnival on May Day
> for the best part of 30 years without mishap. The local council now
> require us to provide an A4 lever arched file (about 3 inches thick)
> of risk assessments. All volunteers involved in running the event
> that have any involvement in food have to have a grade 2 Hygiene
> certificate, no vehicles must enter the field whilst the public are
> present, whilst setting up, any vehicles must be guided by a
> pedestrian wearing a hi vis jacket, lights must be on and must be
> limited to 5 mph.

I'm a member of my local councils 'Fair Trader' scheme set up by Trading
Standards. I get audited once a year, have to have a written complaints
proceedure, a CRB check & £2 millon PLI.

To be fair, I do get work from being a member and the CRB check is something
I'd do anyway, but £2 million PLI is riduculous. Given the sort of minor
jobs I do £2m is way OTT, just increses my costs by £8 a month.

The odd thing? Nobody ever checks the standard of work. You could do a
complete shite job & still be a member.

meow...@care2.com

unread,
Mar 30, 2009, 3:35:02 AM3/30/09
to
John Rumm wrote:
> Steve Walker wrote:
> > John Rumm wrote:
> >> regular readers may recall my asking for recommendations for a
> >> ride on mower about this time last year. Since it is getting
> >> into the grass cutting season again, I thought I might be
> >> helpful if I posted a summary of the beastie I went for in the
> >> end...
> >
> > Only 2 questions :
> >
> > 0-60?
>
> about 2.55 seconds - with the aid of a cliff...
>
> > Will it Drift?
>
> Only in the snow ;-)

is it worth a link to here on the wiki?


NT

John Rumm

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Mar 30, 2009, 10:05:04 AM3/30/09
to

Why not create a lawn mowers article - enough stuff on them has been
posted here over the years. Could have a section on maintenance,
starting etc, plus sub articles for reviews. There were a few review
type comments on the thread I started last year IIRC.

Dave Liquorice

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Mar 30, 2009, 6:01:24 PM3/30/09
to
On Sun, 29 Mar 2009 22:49:26 GMT, The Medway Handyman wrote:

> I'm a member of my local councils 'Fair Trader' scheme set up by Trading
> Standards. I get audited once a year, have to have a written complaints
> proceedure, a CRB check & £2 millon PLI.

Why does the TSO need members of a "Fair Trader" scheme CRB checked. Are
they employing children these days? If you did work elsewhere involving
children you need another CRB check done by that organisation. CRB checks
are not transferable between organisations... And it's not something you
can do either, it has to come from the organisation that is going to use
your services.

More work for the pen pushers and paper shufflers. I can sort of see why
the CRB check is set up as it is but I feel there must a better and more
effcient way.

> but £2 million PLI is riduculous. Given the sort of minor jobs I do £2m
> is way OTT, just increses my costs by £8 a month.

That depends, do a simple plumbing job at the top of a block of flats. One
of your joints fails a couple of hours after the occupiers go away for two
weeks. Lots of water then spends a while finding it's way deep into the
building structure before being noticed...

My PLI has just come through I think it's 5 million...

> The odd thing? Nobody ever checks the standard of work. You could do a
> complete shite job & still be a member.

Why am I not surpsrised, I guess they rely on people complaining.
--
Cheers
Dave.

Message has been deleted

Clot

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Mar 31, 2009, 8:10:41 AM3/31/09
to
Dave Liquorice wrote:
> On Sun, 29 Mar 2009 22:49:26 GMT, The Medway Handyman wrote:
>
>> I'm a member of my local councils 'Fair Trader' scheme set up by
>> Trading Standards. I get audited once a year, have to have a
>> written complaints proceedure, a CRB check & £2 millon PLI.
>
> Why does the TSO need members of a "Fair Trader" scheme CRB checked.
> Are they employing children these days? If you did work elsewhere
> involving children you need another CRB check done by that
> organisation. CRB checks are not transferable between
> organisations... And it's not something you can do either, it has to
> come from the organisation that is going to use your services.
>
> More work for the pen pushers and paper shufflers. I can sort of see
> why the CRB check is set up as it is but I feel there must a better
> and more effcient way.
>
Whilst I couldn't find any reference on the CRB site, I understand that
there will be another overarching Agency developed to ensure that multiple
CRB applications do not have to be made in the future!


John Rumm

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Mar 31, 2009, 9:31:04 AM3/31/09
to
damdu...@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

> On Sat, 28 Mar 2009 19:57:13 +0000, John Rumm
> <see.my.s...@nowhere.null> wrote:
>
>>>> The grass box can be removed and a towing bar extended. This works
>>>> well pulling the trailer, or a tow behind sweeper I added recently
>>>> (good for leaves and rotten windfalls from the fruit trees). The
>>>> trailer also makes a popular ride with the sprogs!
>>> Careful you don't do one of these!
>>>
>>>
>>> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1574437/Nicholas-Soames-drove-with-children-in-trailer.html
>> Its fun round the garden, but I can't see it replacing the car for road
>> use any time soon ;-)
>
> Did wonder when you mentioned having children in the trailer if doing
> so fouls some rule.

I am sure it must... probably why I mentioned it just to upset the
elf'n'safety nutters! ;-)

(To put it in perspective, at a max speed of 5 mph over level(ish)
grass, in a trailer with sides and back, one is going to be hard pushed
to do them more mischief than they can manage all by themselves on a
bike for example).

> Not sure at what point Garden stuff becomes agricultural machinery. My
> father having had to help dig the body of a nearby farmer out from
> under an overturned tractor was a bit of stickler for safety and
> would not let me ride until I was thirteen which ISTR was the age
> limit. This was 40+ years ago so it is no recent H+S zealousness.
> That was for a flat trailer,if you have sides over a certain height
> then I think you are okay but rules may have changed.

> In contrast to my fathers point of view one of our neighbours thought
> nothing of letting his Boy drive the tractor as soon as he was able at
> about 8 years old and by the time he was 12 was out in the fields all
> day on his own with a powerful tractor ploughing,rolling,harrowing

I remember staying with relatives on a farm some 25 or more years ago,
and being invited to go and help feed the cows. This basically consisted
of my young cousin driving the tractor up and down the field while his
dad broke of lumps of hay bale and threw it off the back of the trailer.
I can't remember if I was more surprised that said cousin was allowed to
drive the rig at that age[1], or more peeved they did not offer to let
me have a go ;-)

[1] He is younger than me, and I doubt I was even into my teens by then.

> etc. At times he should have been at school but his Dad reasoned that
> once he could read and do arithmetic the Boy was better off learning
> to run the farm than learn about old Kings or where Africa was. The
> Boy now runs a fairly big farm and an agricultural machinery
> contracting operation so maybe his Dad was right.

Could well be...

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