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Contractor mowers

Started by mr vip, October 07, 2021, 07:33:43 PM

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mr vip

Hi everyone
Advice please!
I've used almost every lawn mower sold as a contractors mower at one time or another in last 20 years.
I'm looking to replace my existing lawn flite pro's as they are the worst mowers I've ever used and fell apart within 6 months.
Any suggestions?
I would love to see the return of the old square hayter harrier 48 wishful thanking I know but they were a solid mower.

Thank you

Mick

Hi mr vip, and welcome to TGMF.

That surpises me somewhat as a lot of pro users prefer the Lawnflite Pro over the Honda. Fan assist to help with collection being a definite improvement.   

What sort of problems have you had, and what falls apart on them? 

mr vip

Hi Mick,
I've purchased 4 lawnflite 553 pro's
In just over 2 years.
The most recent purchase was March this year and both have had the roller bearings replaced and one gear box rebuilt.
Fortunately I kept the old mowers for spares which has proved very valuable!
The first two I bought in 2019 lasted a little over a month before both grass flaps were replaced and
In just under a year both gear box's failed.
In total I've replaced x 4 grass flaps,
Rebuilt 1 gear box and replaced 4 roller bearings.
Also what was very frustrating and annoying was when the mowers arrived on both occasions the governor valves required adjusting as they all come set on the lowest revs.

Mick

We've seen a few cases where the needle roller bearings seize up where the roller shaft passes through the splined gearbox shaft. This usually starts with some squeaking slowly followed by what appears to be a seized roller of gearbox, but it's just those needle bearings. 

We've sold a few of the COBRA Pro mowers which are the exact same KAAZ mower as the Lawnflite.

Have you considered a Toro Prostripe? They are a bit pricey, but very good machines. https://www.toro.com/en/golf/specialty-equipment/prostripe-560

mr vip

I know of another contractor who used KAAZ
Mowers and they lasted a good few seasons.
I'll have a look at the cobra pro.

GardenKit

Hi mr vip.
To be honest I have yet to find a rear roller machine that does not suffer from issues with the rear roller. The problem is that the bearings are close to the ground as the rollers are nowhere near the diameter of the wheeled machines and the bearings simply get too wet in damp conditions and rust sets in. The plain brass bushes of the old boxy hayter were brilliant, but the freewheels which act as a differential suffered.
I have one particular pro customer with a Kaaz who has continuous roller and gearbox issues due to rust, but he cuts low and in any weather. Another guy with a Kaaz who does the same work but chooses the right conditions has had no transmission issues in years of service.
Likewise, one of the guys keeps the hinge area of the grassflap clean and is on the original flap, but the other guy allows grass to build up in the hinge area. This stops the grassbox going fully open and flexes the steel which subsequently cracks.
The Kaaz, Cobra and Lawnflite Pro are all the same machine and IMO are probably the best you can buy, but they still have their problems and the transmission/roller repairs can be costly.

mr vip

Unfortunately we have to cut in all weather but the machines are generally kept clean.
I do on occasions spray the roller with WD40.

👍

steve potter

I have a hayter 579a which has been used for 6 months, three days per fortnight.
So far recoil spring on starter broke and last week the bbc cable spring snapped at the connection point under the blade.
Dealer told me both are wear and tear items not covered by the warranty so has cost me £120 on top of the £1200 purchase price.
Hayter useless as don't want to know so I now find myself talking to contractors and warning them about going anywhere near one of these and will continue to post on any review site I come across
Dealer has indicated service costs approx £160 but I cannot justify that as in my experience anything that breaks is not covered so no point in servicing as I could do it for third of the price
I hate this mower it has so many irritating design flaws but I could forgive them all if it cut wet lawns
This it most certainly does not do and have spent so much time scraping out the deck and jet washing the bag
I have spent enough time and money on this machine and have now come to the conclusion that it will be best to put it on eBay and buy alternative machine
Shame as in my garden career this must be my 20th Hayter 56 ( I still have some old 340's running) but will definitely be my last and as much as I want to buy British these are a domestic machine made out to be professional but do not fall for the hype
There are plenty of reviews on these mowers online so do your research


Mick

Hi Steve, and welcome to TGMF.

Quote from: steve potter on October 26, 2021, 09:21:37 PMand last week the bbc cable spring snapped at the connection point under the blade.

This should be covered under the warranty, it's not your fault the spring broke, unless you have over adjusted the cable..  Seen this a few times and can be caused by a failing BB clutch top pulley half.
 

Gregs mowing

Be interesting what design flaws the 579a Hayter 56 pro has.
Apart from the obvious grass net. Should be a box.
You can get a universal fit 22" Oregon red blade on eBay. Around £18. That helps the mower a lot in damp.

Best off with an etesia for wet weather and roller mower for the dry stuff.

steve potter

Thanks for the reply Mick and just to say that the new cable that was fitted has broken again in the same place after 3 hrs use
The spring seems so undersized to me but I am not an expert
The cable is definitely not over tightened as it's in its fully wound in position in the cable adjuster
It's going back into Briants this week to be checked over but as hayter are no longer talking to me Briants are going to speak to them on my behalf to see if there is anything that can be done to help
It may well be there is a problem with the clutch but seeing as that has not been touched since it left the factory I am unsure how this keeps happening
Briants have once again told me that this is not covered under the warrenty but their hayter repair guy mostly fixes the roller bearings that wear and this is done under the warrenty
They have no knowledge of any other contractor who has experienced this problem
I have asked Briants about the possibility of trading it in for a stihl so will see where we go once they have inspected it

Mick

November 02, 2021, 11:20:43 PM #11 Last Edit: November 02, 2021, 11:22:41 PM by Mick
Quote from: steve potter on November 02, 2021, 09:52:54 PMThanks for the reply Mick and just to say that the new cable that was fitted has broken again in the same place after 3 hrs use

Steve.  It definitely has a problem then..  I'd be looking at the bbc to see if it's starting to fail, the A spec ones do and they were getting replace under the Hayter warranty and now top pulley half is made of a copper infused material which is less brittle. 

The old A spec ones you can normally tell when they're starting to let go because the machine will develop a rattle as the top half breaks loose. This can make the actuator arm move back and forth rapidly, and either cause the cable failure, or even make that spring saw its way out the side of the locating hole, like the one I had a few weeks ago. As you can see in the image below, the hole at the bottom where the spring is supposed to go. ;)

A bent crank can also cause this kind of thing . 

steve potter

Thanks once again Mick
You are correct the mower did make a rattle noise when the bbc was released but it has done that from new so didn't think anything of it tbh
It makes perfect sense what you have said and I will mention this when the machine goes in to the dealer on Friday
I will update once they have seen it and the issue is resolved but appreciate your valuable input
Steve

steve potter

Hi Everyone  Just to update the situation with my faulty Hayter 579A. The machine was left at Briants last Friday and I spoke to them today and they have confirmed that the BBC system was indeed at fault as Mick had suggested. The repairs have all been carried out under warranty so no complaints from me. Briants lent me a Stihl 655RS to use for a month but I will return it when I pick my Hayter up next week. Briants have been very helpful with this matter and I have been using them for over 35 yrs and have no hesitation in recommending them. Most of the time they have priced matched Stihl products that are available on alternative websites and I always try to use them in case of any warranty issues.
Just a quick reference to the Stihl 655 RS which I found to be far superior to the Hayter in terms of grass collection in the wet/dry but some people may find it awkward to use with the reverse handle controls but after a few cuts I found it ok.
Have realised that there is no perfect roller mower out there as the way people use/transport their mowers will always differ and will suit one user more than another. Really the best way to go is to demo a machine for a month or so to get a feel before laying out large amounts of cash.
Thanks again Mick for your spot on info.

Steve

Mick

Quote from: steve potter on November 11, 2021, 09:39:01 PMThanks again Mick for your spot on info

You're welcome.  It's good to hear that outcome.  The new top pulley half of the bbc is made of a less brittle (copper infused) material so should hold up without issue.