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Advice buying used mowing equipment


Truck, Trailer, and Outdoor Power Equipment Discussion, Repairs.

Questions on your truck, trailer, commercial lawn mowers, lawn mower, mower parts, lawn tractors, engines, edgers, trimmers, pole saws, aerators, hydro seeders, snow plows, chain saws, stump grinders??
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  #1  
Old 04-17-2009, 12:26 PM
srwilson
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Default Advice buying used mowing equipment

I have found a deal on a 2007 ExMark LZ25KC604 60" with 25 HP Kohler with 240 Hours. I have been offered this for $3000.00. It appears to be in great shape.

This is my first zero turn and I have been looking at Scags and ExMarks. What should I look for before I decide. I think this is a good deal. Any comments or suggestions appreciated.

Scott
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  #2  
Old 04-18-2009, 09:29 AM
SuperiorPower
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First, are you buying this from a Dealer or from an individual? If from a dealer, will they give you any warranty? Since you have been looking at new mowers of the same brand, how much would a similar one cost you new? Assuming it has no warranty and passes the test as follows below, I would pay no more than about 60-70% of new price similar piece of equipment. Do you know if $3000 is the lowest price you can get on it? Have you tried to get a lower price?

Here are some questions I am sure you already know the answers to, but for everyone's benefit I will post the questions anyway.

1, If you are buying from an individual, why are they selling it?

2, Was it used to mow their own yard only? or was it used for commercial use (to mow more than their own lawn).

3, Can you verify their answer to #2 without asking them directly or even indicating you are questioning their answer ("no longer need this big of a mower", or "decided to get out of the lawn care business", or..... Just think, “does their answer make sense?”)?

4, Do they have maintenance records? Will they provide these records to you to preview before the purchase? Will they provide these records to you with the purchase?

5. Can they tell you who serviced the equipment when it was serviced? Can you verify this?

6. If buying from a dealer, have they serviced the mower including sharpen the blades, check the belts, change spark plugs, Air Filter, Fuel Filter, and oil?

7, Have they ever serviced this mower before buying it?

8, Did they sell the mower new?

8, Why did the original owners sell it? (Again, think about their answer to see if it makes sense or not. Typically power equipment dealers are considerably more honest than car dealers but there are a few here and there that may still lie to you….)

9, Do they know if the owners were the caring type?

10, How does this mower compare in price to other mowers the Dealer is selling?

11, Will the dealer show you or tell you what the blue book value is for the mower?

12, Does the mower have an hour meter on it so you know it only has 240 hours on it or is this a "guesstimation"? (This applies to both Dealers and individuals)


Either way, look for these signs of wear, abuse or lack of maintenance:

A, What is the over all appearance of the mower (look for chipped paint, bent parts, etc.)?

B, Do the tires have any signs of being "plugged"?

C, Do the tires appear to have lots of wear?

D, Remove the dipstick to see what the oil looks like (look for black oil, is there enough oil, etc)? If you don't know what black oil looks like, pull the oil dipstick out of your car when it reaches 3000 miles after an oil change. Or, take a mechanic friend with you to look at the mower.

E, Check for loose parts (loose or missing bolts). This is a good indication this mower has been taken apart in the past or that the owner has been abusive with the mower/engine.

F, **Caution, it is recommended that you wear gloves while doing this part of the check up. Also remove the Ignition Key to prevent anyone from trying to start it while you are doing this.** Reach under the mower deck and grab a blade. Now try to move it up and down, checking for deck bearing wear. Also check for blade sharpness, dings to the blade's cutting edge, bent blades, and large deposits of grass underneath the deck.

This is just a list off the top of my head. If I think of more things to look for I'll post them.

************-
If you let me know what the model of the engine is (i.e. SV710, CV940, etc) I can tell you how often the engine oil is supposed to be changed. In typical cases it should be changed once per year or every 100-150 hours, depending on the particular motor. Knowing after how many hours the oil needs to be changed helps you know how often the needs to have been changed. It is recommended to change the oil at least once per year.
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Old 04-18-2009, 06:20 PM
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Eli great post.

Quote:
I would pay no more than about 60-70% of new price similar piece of equipment.
Is that based on the amount of hours it has on it or is that just a rule of thumb?

Also when you talk about black oil, I am thinking the black oil is a sign the oil has not been changed? If it has been changed you want to see oil that looks like maple syrup where it has some clarity to it?
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  #4  
Old 04-18-2009, 06:38 PM
SuperiorPower
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[quote=Steve;50049]Eli great post.QUOTE]

Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Is that based on the amount of hours it has on it or is that just a rule of thumb?
The reason I state that is simply because the mower no longer has warranty, has probably endured 2 years of use. Unless of courseyou can track good maintenance somehow, you have to expect that 30-40% of its useful and most trouble free life has passed. This is not to say that itwon't be a good mower for an additional 8 years (for example). It is jsut that after several years parts start to break and wear out, including deck bearings, belts, springs, pulleys, internal engine parts, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Also when you talk about black oil, I am thinking the black oil is a sign the oil has not been changed? If it has been changed you want to see oil that looks like maple syrup where it has some clarity to it?
Yes, Exactly. Probably a good all around rule of thumg is if you can see the oil it needs to be changed soon. If it is so clear you can't see it then the oil is likely new or almost new. If it is so thick it will barely drip from the dip stick avoid the mower like a plague.....

Used oil that is still in good working condition, though it may need to be changed, is going to be about the same consistency as new oil, just not as clear. For the price of several quarts of oil and a new filter (probably less than $25.00), you can always afford to change the oil if it prevents a $500-$2000 repair bill for a new engine, short block, or rebuilt engine. And $500 is a VERY low price for rebuilding one. Short blocks (which is the route most shops are going today) can run anywhere up to $2000 or more depending on your engine.

Look at an oil change like an insurance premium......
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Old 04-27-2009, 04:49 PM
srwilson
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Default Thanks it was a scam

Thanks for the replys. Just wanted to update this as I saw it was on the blog. It turns out the guy I was dealing with was trying to pull a scam. Probably Nigerian. This mower was found on Craigslist San Antonio.

He had sent me pictures, model numbers and a storage company that was suppose to be storing the mower for him, Said he had to move to the UK and had left the mower with a secured moving company called SafeTransports in Amarillo Texas which is over 600 miles from Houston.

He advertised the mower being in San Antonio. He said SafeTransport would deliver the mower to me and give me 7 days to have it checked out before they would release the funds to him. he even was willing to pay shipping free and free pick up if I decided not to buy the mower. All I had to do was send a Money Gram to a guy at SafeTransports in the UK. Yeah Right!!!

None of this was mentioned when I first contacted him and before I posted this message.

I am a retired police officer and this brought up a lot of red flags so I asked for the serial number. Told him the bank needed it for the loan. He stalled by sending me the model number but later sent me a serial number.

I called Exmark and they told me it was a 2001 model and not a 2007 model. Exmark provided me with the previous owner, US Lawns out of Wisconsin. I called them and they told me they had traded in a bunch mowers last year and all had over 1500 hours on them. None were 2007 models.

I contacted the selller with the information I had obtained and guess what? He quit responding to my email. Email has even been turned off.

So buyer beware when dealing with used mowers. Never buy site unseen and make sure you are dealing with the owner in person. Call the manufacturer and check on the equipment. they will help you determine the original buyer and any service on the mower they have on file.

I ended up buying a new Scag.

Thanks again!

Scott Wilson
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:04 PM
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Thanks Scott for bringing this to our attention.

Do you have any advice for other lawn care business owners considering buying a mower from an online source?

What would be some of the do's and don'ts you would suggest?
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Old 07-24-2010, 01:52 AM
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ebay is the only ONLINE place to by equipment because they insure the integrety of every item being sold....just my opinion though
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polarisrider4life View Post
ebay is the only ONLINE place to by equipment because they insure the integrety of every item being sold....just my opinion though
I know ebay is a great site, and there are a lot of options there and way to protect your purchases, however let me say this to you all.

My dad bought 2 big diesel engines from a man on ebay, for a good deal, it was really a bargain for the 2 marine engines w/ transmissions

however in the shipping, the shipping company ran a forklift through one of the head covers, busted off a water pump, and broke something else as well, oh one of the manifolds, the shipper had pictures of all this untouched. You could clearly see the forklift sized holes rammed through the crate.. even though it was insured with the shipping company, they still however shafted us with loopholds.
They said since they didnt pack the engines in the crate, they werent responsible.
(The seller crated them for us)

What a bummer!


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And on the subject of craigslist, i see a lot of scams as well there, if theres not a phone number i assume the seller doesnt want to sell the item!

And Always ONLY buy it if you can see it, and talk to the owner in person!

Guys do not send any kind of downpayments/payments/shipping cost/ anything.

Even if u think it will save you 10k dollars (It wont!) It will cost u however much you send them.
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Old 05-24-2012, 09:29 PM
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a rule of thumb I use is look at his house, look at his garage and his cars and other equipment. This is usually a good guide to a well cared for machine, any used machine is a risk however if the guy is a hillbilly and his house looks like a dump I would turn away.
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:45 PM
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The first post here is similar to my must ask questions when buying any high ticket item used that is mechanical in nature (including cars). If possible do a quick general phone screening so you don't waste your time. If it passes the smell test, make haste. There are others out there looking for deals. In general unless new, I prefer to buy from individuals as dealers need mark-up and better used deals can be found.

1. How long have you owned it? Did you buy it new? If owned only for a short time be very cautious. Prefer original owner, in somewhat original/non-modified condition.
2. Why are you selling it? Should be reasonable and believable.
3. Are there any existing problems you are aware of, or things you have had repaired? If so who did it and when? Any major repairs? Have receipts? May I talk to the mechanic?
4. Who has done maintenance on machine? Records? Receipts?
5. Evaluate the seller as much as the item being purchased. Does he/she seem honest and open? Longstanding in the community? Have other assets? Doesn't seem rushed or pressured to sell? Will he/she look you in the eye and give a straight answer when asked a tough question? Will they give you a bill of sale stating there are no problems/issues they are aware of?
6. Evaluate the equipment top to bottom. Any parts need replaced? Belts, blades, pulleys, springs, paint, seat, overall appearance good? Deck good on top and bottom side? Tires good? Anything needing done should reduce price.
7. Never be rushed in making a decision it's your hard earned dollar you are spending. If someone is giving you the sales pitch be wary. If possible never evaluate in the dark. Even with a light, it's too easy to miss something.
8. If there is a particular item/model you are looking for, do your homework before setting out to make the purchase. Be familiar with potential and common problems of the item you are buying.
9. If you do really find the great deal, be ready to make the purchase on the spot. Have the means of payment in pocket. Really good deals aren't easy to come by and are easily lost. Remember your time is also valuable.

My apologies if anyone thinks I'm trying to hi-jack the thread...I'm not, just trying to add from my experience. Consider these thoughts additions to other good advice given here.
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