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"OT" Rebuild or Replace

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  • #16
    One should also factor in the whole mower when making the decision to repair or replace. A lower cost commercial mower that is built by the OEM with an engine that is expected to last 1600 Hrs. will also be usually equipped with either a hydrostatic transmission, or in the case of a zero turn mower, a hydraulic pump and motors to reflect the end price point that the manufacturer is aiming at. Commercial mowers with engines that have a greater lifespan will also have major components that last longer and of course are priced accordingly to reflect that level of quality.

    At the number of hours on your machine you are approaching the point in it's life when repairs to other components and downtime are are going to be major factors in it's viability to remain a money maker for the upcoming season. If you are going to remain available to your existing or potential new customers on a regular basis you might want to consider a quick fix to your present unit while it still has some resale or trade in value.
    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
    Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

    Location: British Columbia

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Tonka View Post
      . . .What is a 9-13 rebuild?
      I was just lazy. That refers to your $900 - $1300 rebuild in your OP.
      Southwest Utah

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      • #18
        Correct me if I'm wrong, Tonka, but this appears to be a makeshift market survey. If that's the case, the people here are not necessarily using the same mindset as a landscaper.

        First of all, a landscaper who uses high end equipment may have backup machines to use. That may effect his choices.

        Second, unlike a fabrication shop, our landscaper does not lose business when he can't mow the lawn. He lets us know that his mower is broken (or I hear the rod break and see the oil puddle) and then he does the trimming and other things that week.

        Third, the money involved may not be as important to the guys on the forum, or it might be more important. Near Silicon Valley, everything is so expensive that I don't flinch at a $900 repair. My step dad in Oregon would have a heart attack if he got a bill like that.

        Fourth, we are people who tend to see value in repairing things instead of replacing.

        That does not mean that there is not a lot to learn from the folks here, just that there may be more market research to do.

        Dan
        At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

        Location: SF East Bay.

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        • #19
          I had a similar thing happen to me, a Gravely 42" zero turn with a Kawasaki 22hp gas v-twin that died an early death from overheating (even though the air cooling fan had been installed incorrectly at the factory, warranty denied because I used an unapproved air box to relocate the air filter away from the grass-catcher bags). The motor died during spring cleanup, so I bought a new Briggs&Stratton 24hp motor & exhaust and installed that, and am in the process of rebuilding the Kawasaki so I can throw the B&S engine in the trash (they SUCK, less than a month and it only starts if the engine is put on full choke). Internals of the Kawasaki engine seem/measure fine (crank journals, mains [no bearings, if it's worn you have buy a new block], cylinders) given that it overheated enough to blacken and melt/bend the oil dipstick and the plastic shroud over the engine where all it's bolt fasteners are. Heck, I think it even "seized" once, in that I was running the motor, stopped and turned it off to empty the grass bags, then went I went to re-start the motor, the starter couldn't turn the motor at all. But the next day, when I was going to go over to the shop I bought it from to get them to check it out, I tried it again and it fired right up.

          Anyway, I would also go for the used engine if it's readily available and then fix the one you have if it's a reasonable cost to do so. But if it's going to cost more than 50% of a new engine, I would just go with a new one and use the old one for parts.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by chipmaker4130 View Post
            Well, if its an easy swap, I'd start with the used engine for $250. If you'll have twice that in labor doing the swap then I'd do the 9-13 overhaul.
            Even better, put the $250 engine in and keep making money while you're overhauling the old one.
            +1 Keep your old engine for parts. That guarantees you'll never need another part

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            • #21
              Get back into game for 250, start rebuilding old engine when time/money allows, monitor market for sweeter/better (like dating?) with aim being good working primary, and solid backup ready to go.

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              • #22
                Personally I'd go with option 3:
                Have your engine rebuilt 900-1300.00 Price includes repairing worst case scenario(engine blueprinted to factory specs) 1 year unlimited hr warranty residential/commercial on workmanship.

                You can't afford the chance of downtime this time of year. You also don't want to focus your energy on finding a known good engine and installing it. Let a professional take care of that end while you go out an earn money. Every hour you spend in the shop or looking for parts is an hour that could be bringing in new accounts or servicing the ones you have.

                None of your customers wants to hear their job will be delayed because you have to take time out of your schedule to find and install an engine. Let the professional rebuilder take care of that while you go out and do what you do best.

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                • #23
                  So 1300 wouldn't be outrageous for what is offered for the money?

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                  • #24
                    Why would there be "good" used engines for only $250?

                    If it was an auto/truck engine I can see engines being available when the vehicle is wrecked or otherwsie not road worthy, but lawn mowers?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by DR View Post
                      Why would there be "good" used engines for only $250?

                      If it was an auto/truck engine I can see engines being available when the vehicle is wrecked or otherwsie not road worthy, but lawn mowers?
                      Engine was replaced in an older mower, then deck/frame rusted out the rest of the way.....
                      4357 2773 5647 3671 3645 0087 1276

                      CNC machines only go through the motions

                      "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                        Engine was replaced in an older mower, then deck/frame rusted out the rest of the way.....
                        1600 hours is not a lot of time on a commercial machine. It amounts to 40 hrs. a week for 40 weeks. That's like 2 seasons of what I would call light work. If the machine has been properly maintained I would expect at least double the number of hours currently on it. Some commercial manufacturers say their machines "average" 5,000 hrs. Personally I think that's a bit high, but 4,000 hours is certainly within the realm of reason.

                        I think the $900.00 to $1,300.00 is reasonable for a complete rebuild with a warranty. 15 years ago you could have bought a new twin cylinder water cooled engine complete with muffler and radiator for $1,100.00. Today the same engine is a little over $2,100.00. If you go to a competent rebuilder they will give you a price to remove and disassemble the engine for inspection. Once it's inspected they'll give you an itemized price for a complete rebuild. At that point they'll also give you an opinion as to whether or not you would be better off to rebuild or replace it. If they recommend replacement many times they'll give you a discount on the work already performed and the labor to install a new engine.

                        It's a tough decision, but in the long run I think the rebuilder has more knowledge and insight as to the best route to take. Given that a rebuilt should easily last the expected remaining life of the mower it would be my choice.

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                        • #27
                          If you do as Projectnut suggests you will be "down" for weeks while you get on the schedule, they remove the engine, parts are ordered, the OTHER parts are ordered, they do the work and re-install on the machine, etc.

                          Fuggetaboutit

                          Put in a used running engine on the machine and THEN have the engine rebuilt if you like.
                          4357 2773 5647 3671 3645 0087 1276

                          CNC machines only go through the motions

                          "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

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