Briggs & Stratton VERSUS Tecumseh

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  #1  
Old 11-06-03, 12:00 PM
mcm
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Briggs & Stratton VERSUS Tecumseh

Hi,
I'm in the market for a snow blower. After doing a lot of reading on various review web sites and whatnot, I decided that the Arien's 724 was the pick of me -- however after attempting to find a dealer near me I have come away from that idea with a bad taste in my mouth (every dealer wanted well above MSRP..) So I started looking elsewhere, and noticed good reviews on craftsman models on eopinions.com. After perusing Sear's catalog, there are a couple of models that stand out for my price range/desired specs: A $750 (special) 29" blower with a tecumseh 9hp engine, and a $900 (special) 26" blower with a Briggs and Stratton 7.75hp engine. The only real differences between the blowers are the engines and the $900 model has a steel chute (very desireable.)
So, ignoring the power output from the engines (I believe 7HP to be bordering on overkill for my application) which is more robust? I have always heard good things about Briggs & Stratton small engines, in particular their OHV engines as in the $900 blower's case. Any opinions?
 
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  #2  
Old 11-06-03, 12:20 PM
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Go with Briggs and Straton all the way. It will last much longer especially if you maintain it!
 
  #3  
Old 11-06-03, 02:54 PM
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WOW, the elusive briggs versus tecumseh question. Well, you may get some very opinionated responses, but I will try my best to answer the question. Years back, tecumseh used to be well known for the block cracking (it wasn't only a rumor, it happened to me as well). And at the time, briggs was the engine dominating the market for comsumer lawn equipment. Then tecumseh made a comeback and started producing better engines and now they dominate the snow blower market while briggs is found on just about every riding mower under $2,000 and most homeowner pushmowers and various other equipment. Briggs is starting to get back into the snow blower market (they were in it at one time, but tecumseh engines were prefered for snow blower applications), however, you still don't see that many mowers with tecumseh engines. Some people still have their opinions on tecumseh from past experiences. Also, a briggs parts supplier can be found in just about every town, though most places that carry briggs parts also carry tecumseh parts. But keep in mind, both briggs and tecumseh have thier cheap and expensive models, so you might need to look at the features as well as the price. As for the over head valve question, yes they are prefered cause from what I hear, they run a little cooler, they allow the fuel to be burned more completely, and they allow better flow through the combustion chamber. The over head valve design is a little more expensive than the regular flat head design. From what I remember, I believe it was Joe_F who said that most craftsman snow blowers are made by murray, which is a low end consumer brand. But that's as far as I can tell you about snow blowers since I live in southern louisiana and I never saw one snow flake before, so I will bow down to the people up north on this one!!!!!
 

Last edited by mower17; 11-06-03 at 03:58 PM.
  #4  
Old 11-06-03, 05:03 PM
Joe_F
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Mower:

Sears supplies both "247" model prefix MTD made machines now as well as the "536" Murray made machines they are known for.

Some of the B&S engines have found their way onto the MTD made Craftsmans now.

My opinion:

I own both a 1965 and 1979 Sears blower. Both Murray made, both Chief powered. I wouldn't have it any other way. The Snow King has been the standard on just about every snowblower application for the past 40 years. Briggs doesn't have the clout here.

Tecumseh engines get a bad rap.

I wouldn't have my blower any other way
 
  #5  
Old 11-07-03, 05:36 AM
mikejmerritt
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These observations are based on what I see at my place day to day and I am not a dealer of Tecumseh, Briggs or anyone for that matter. B&S and Tecumseh find themselves fighting it out between them and at the same time making the move to ever changing EPA compliant engines. I think they are both moving to fast in this area but they have no choice given the 2005 deadline to produce an engine that you can breathe the exhaust. I believe the 2005 deadline to be right but may stand corrected and that date may only be for 2 cycle.

Both companies have these newer OHV engines failing at a wild rate from what I see. That includes the Tecumseh 5-6HP and the B&S 5-6.5HP as well as both companies larger engines. Far to many B&S OHV come in smoking lightly all the way to smoking so badly you can't keep a plug in them. If its not a head gasket its time for an engine. I have at this time four Tecumseh OHV 5-5.5HP engines on the floor, all four locked up. Whats up with that I don't know. Don't see the Tecumsehs smoking as much as the B&S but they loose their rods and sieze far to often. When I look across my engine bone yard its amazing how many nice new looking larger HP red top B&S engines there are with a few Tecumseh but given Briggs large market share that fits.

I have been in small engines for 30 years and today if given the option of the B&S OHV 7.75 or a Tecumseh 9HP flat head I would go with the Tecumseh in a heartbeat and I am really a Briggs nut, or used to be. If I had to make a choice today on a machine that had to last ten years it would not have B&S or a Tecumseh engine. Honda has them beat in every area except price but all things considered the Honda, Kohler and Robin engines are great buys if you want quality.

I would hate to be faced buying a machine with a small engine today without some inside knowledge because it is VERY confusing and that is mostly by design. Do you spend extra bucks for an engine of proven worth and hope the base machine is up to the task or do you go with an affordable engine and hope it lasts as long as say the blower. If you go with the best engine it leads to a move up the scale to a better blower, say Ariens or Snapper, and now your in the 1500.00-2000.00 range which leads a poor guy back to Sears......Mike
 
  #6  
Old 11-07-03, 09:35 AM
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If you ask me, buying a used blower is the way to go. I can't see spending 1000 bones on a new one.

Shoot, if I've paid half of that over my lifetime of cutting lawns, blowing snow, edging the lawn, etc in my 32 years (including my grandfather's property and the machines I have there), it's a lot.

I can't see plunking down this kind of money on a new machine when a good used one will do. Ebay and your local classifieds are littered with these things.

Shoot, I went from no snowblowers in 2001 to having two the next year. I paid for one, someone gave me the other one.

I know with Mike Merritt's help the freebie that the previous owner gave me will be blowing snow this year and just for a giggle, I might run it up to the guy's house who gave it to me and give him a complimentary snow blow using my newly restored machine. LOL.

I've had Chief powered equipment since 1979 in my family and they have all performed as expected or better.
 
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Old 11-07-03, 11:57 AM
mcm
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Considering this information I think I'll wait until spring/summer and see what people are getting rid of used. There's definitely nothing in the papers in this area right now, and even less on Ebay for the area -- most sellers refuse to ship out of their immediate area, and a lot have high reserves -- I should be able to get by with the truck in 4wd, hopefully we don't get a big dump of wet snow.. My real problem isn't the driveway, but the massive wall that the grader makes on the edge of my driveway. I've had to hack at it with an axe before...
 
  #8  
Old 11-07-03, 12:41 PM
Joe_F
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I thought I saw CA on your location, do ya need one out there? .

There was a guy that worked for Murray and he sells "damaged" ones pretty reasonably on Ebay. His name is Sam. I believe he buys up the damaged ones and sells them off pretty reasonably.

I contacted him asking if he worked in the Brentwood facility and sure enough, he works in one of their TN facilities. Apparently they let the employees buy the damaged ones and this is what he does.

Not a bad idea. Some of the ones he sells to me seem like there's nothing wrong. Perhaps a store return. I don't remember his seller ID though.
 
  #9  
Old 11-07-03, 01:19 PM
Joe_F
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Thumbs up The Chief speaks...

I was just chatting with a guy from Tech services at Tecumseh sharing snow blower stories of machines which are Chief powered.

This guy I talked to had a 1971 snowblower that's 10 horse Chief powered. All his neighbors say, "when are you getting rid of that POS?"

His answer like mine, is "Never". Considering his machine is a 1971 and mine is a 1965, I'd say the Chief makes pretty good snowblower engines.

Long live the Old Chief .
 
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Old 11-07-03, 02:02 PM
mcm
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Dont take this the wrong way -- i'm really asking the question:

If Cheif engines are so great, where are they now? Who uses them?
 
  #11  
Old 11-07-03, 02:06 PM
mcm
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Originally posted by Joe_F
I thought I saw CA on your location, do ya need one out there? .
I live at 4000ft on the western sierra nevada slope. I would hazard a guess that this area sees 2-4 feet of snow a year. I know of one freak year that people talk about in legend around here, I think it was about 15 years ago, 4 or 5 feet fell in a week, and it was wet and horrible and busted up all the trees and took down power for weeks.
 
  #12  
Old 11-07-03, 05:51 PM
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This would apply in my area, they may be used more or less elsewhere. Tecumsehs are just about everywhere except the riding lawn mower area. I can't think of a single company using say a 12.5 HP single on a lawn tractor at this time but go back 5 or so years and AYP, Sears and others used them some. Nerf Dog and Manco go karts use the 5-9HP, Generac generators has used them and may still but most seem to be Briggs now, Sears still uses them on many of their walk behind mowers and no doubt they sell more snow engines than anyone. JoeF and I have almost identical 1980 era Sears pressure washers and mine sports a Tecumseh and his a Briggs of the same HP so go figure on that one. BTW, mine runs like a new one and I have never put one new part on this engine. When I recommend the 9HP in a post above it is because this engine is of proven design and the OHV from both companies are still struggling....Mike
 
  #13  
Old 11-07-03, 11:20 PM
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I totally agree with mikejmerrit about briggs and tecumseh sporting this over head valve design. They seem to be not up to par when comparing them to say kohler which uses hydrolic valve lifters (this is something you find in automotive engines). But even kohler has been known to have problems with their hydrolic valve lifters, and when you look at some egines, for example, my grampa has a thirty year old murray riding mower and a thirty year old murray push mower, both with single cylinder briggs flat head engines. The only internal engine work that was ever done to anyone of them was when I had to file the valve stem down a little on the push mower's engine cause after all, thirty years of wear and tear will start to wear something out. However, that engine still starts on the third or fourth pull. You have to remember, over head valve engines have push rods and rocker arms which is two more things to give trouble. And as far as possible trouble goes, if a valve gets stuck open on a flat head engine, all you have to do is remove it and fix the problem, but if a valve gets stuck on an over head valve engine, it will hit the piston and do major damage. And as for why generac generators now have briggs engines, it's because briggs bought the portable line of generac.
 
  #14  
Old 11-09-03, 03:46 PM
Tcumcman
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Snow Engines, Etc.

Hi Guys,

THANKS for all your inputs. SnowKing has been a
HUGE success for Tecumseh, and their tremendous
successes in this part of the industry is...2nd to none.
The EPA emissions regulations has brought parody
into the engine industry, and FORCED ALL to "re-think"
how their engines are built/designed. Tecumseh seems
to be "content" with their "place" in the industry, and
probably will NEVER achieve an equal reputation with
competitive product known & recognized by all for it's
name and dependability. However....having said that,
you can DEPEND on Tecumseh continuing to make very
positive strides in the engine business, AND the hydro
pump and transmission markets out there. If properly
maintained....ALL engines are dependable. For snow
blowers....."Snow King's the Way to Go" !!! Best wishes
with your decision !!!

Tcumcman
 
  #15  
Old 11-10-03, 06:43 AM
Joe_F
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My sister just purchased a 1998 Manco cart for my nephew and it's a 6 HP Chief (Mike, she got the woman down from $450 to $375 from my suggestion, AND the guy delivered it to her. WOW!)

Every snowblower I have seen is Chief powered, from a top end Ariens to a "bottom grade" Murray that my neighbor owns. Even my uncle's 1980's 2 cycle Toro is a Chief 2 stroke.

I have recycled or own numerous mowers and pieces of power equipment. All are Chief powered but the 1990 Homelite Power Washer Mike talks about in his post. Both have an industrial style horizontal Femco (spelling??) pump. Mine is a 3hp Briggs.

Generac makes the "580" model prefix line of Sears Pressure washers and I believe Briggs owns Generac now, so that will explain why you see B&S on Generac stuff.

My uncle gave me a 1999 AYP/Frigidaire mower that he gave up on. B&S Classic on it, bottom barrel machine. The 1988 AYP Sears with the Chief 3.5 I have on it is much more durable (and someone threw it out...but I've been cutting grass with it for 5 years).

I guess you could say this is akin to a Chevy or Pontiac type debate or Chevy or Ford.

For instance, I see a ton of folks that put down Pontiac engines over Chevy engines. Fact is it takes really no knowledge to make a Chevy perform or last, takes some brain power for Pontiac to run.

Pontiac engines sometimes get a bad rap but I've owned them 23+ years and none have ever given an ounce of trouble. It's all in the maintenance!

Long live the Chief. I always buy or recycle power equipment with their stuff. I even told the Tecumseh guy, "Keep up the good work, and I'll talk to you when I retire. This machine will still be going".

Something to be said for a 40 year old machine that still runs like the day it was made
 
  #16  
Old 11-10-03, 11:46 AM
zekester
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My 1972 Yardman snowblower with a 6hp Tecumseh engine is still running strong. My garage has 50 feet of frontage that I have to clear after a snowplow goes through and piles it up in front of it. Hail to the Chief!!
P.S. I live in Wisconsin so it's been used a lot.
 
  #17  
Old 11-10-03, 07:59 PM
mcm
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You'll have to excuse me, I wasn't previously aware that Cheif was a synonym for Tecumseh. Oops :}
 
  #18  
Old 11-11-03, 06:12 AM
Joe_F
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Ya, because most engines have the Indian head logo on them.

I think that's cool! .

Since I like Pontiacs (I own three Trans Ams) and Tecumseh (I have probably 7 pieces of Tecumseh powered equipment), you could say I like Chiefs .
 
  #19  
Old 11-16-03, 04:38 PM
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I'm concerned about what a earlier post said about the OHV engines and the problems they are having.
Can anyone else add something to this?
Anyone know any links that talk about this further? I'm looking at a OHV model (Ariens 724), but now I'm worried that the used Toro 724 from 10 years ago (just a guess) for $375 that I passed up was a mistake!
 
  #20  
Old 11-16-03, 05:15 PM
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I have worked on an ariens riding mower that had an overhead valve briggs and it never had one problem with anything internal on the engine.
 
  #21  
Old 11-16-03, 08:11 PM
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On most of them, if you treat them right, they will return the favor. The thing about many of the old engines was that you could neglect them and not pay such close attention to details and many times you would still have a good running engine. Engines these days are less forgiving in general.
 
  #22  
Old 11-18-03, 03:54 PM
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Other than lack of proper care, is there a problem with OHV engines? Or is it just the fact you can't let them go as with older engines? This other post says there are problems. They can't be all lack of maintanence!
 
  #23  
Old 11-18-03, 06:23 PM
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There is no problem with OHV engines. The problem with some engines is lighter-duty parts and materials. The cheapening of some engines coincides with the introduction of some of the newer engine designs, which happen to be OHV. The fact that they are OHV is not the problem. Some flatheads were just as trouble prone. There are good OHV engines.

Engine manufacturers are faced with imposed regulations that force them to redesign their engines that have remained unchanged for the most part for decades. This costs money. The manufacturers have to spend this money on engineering and re-tooling, but they don't want to raise the prices up terribly on their engines. So, some have found cost cutting ways to build their engines. This normally means less metal, thinner parts, more plastic, etc...
That is not necessarily a bad thing. They still are good engines, and they have been made to stay within the average budget. If you want real heavy-duty, you have to pay for it.

Basically, new engine designs are not as sturdy and solid as old engine designs, whether its cars, boat motors, lawn and garden engines, or whatever. To compensate for this, we need to put more emphasis on engine maintainence. If these newer engines are failing at a wild rate, it is probably because most people are used to just running their equipment like it's indestructible. Many people don't change oil, they just add it when it needs it. They don't change the air filter until it gets so clogged that the engine doesn't run right (and they find a clogged filter when they try to figure out why it won't run). I think I can accurately state that MOST small engines have NEVER had the cooling fins cleaned. You could get away with a bit more of this kind of treatment on many older engines, but the newer engines don't tolerate it. The new generation of engines is forcing people to pay some attention to regular maintainence instead of neglect. With proper maintainence, they can last as long as the old ones, and sometimes longer, and treat the environment better the whole time.

I hope this explains it well enough.
 
  #24  
Old 11-19-03, 03:24 PM
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Thanks. It explains it fine!

They don't build them like they use to!
 
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Old 11-19-03, 10:46 PM
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Yep...in a nutshell!
 
  #26  
Old 11-26-03, 07:32 PM
jocelyn pouliot
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Cool

Hi guys .
I just wanted to add to all what was said here....that if a 10 hamster indian head snowthrower can withstand 10 years of Northen Ontario's James Bay 5 month winters and still go through it`s own height in snow, without skiping a beat, it`s got to be a good engine. . Then again, emissions are not the biggest concern in this neck of the woods
 
  #27  
Old 09-03-04, 07:39 PM
jahucal
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Exclamation BRIGGS& STRATTON VS TECUMSEH

I prefer not to mess with the BRIGGS because of thier carb problems,I would rather use the TECUMSEH!
 
  #28  
Old 09-09-04, 08:51 PM
sceptre
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hey guys i own a very old small engine. it is a 6B-H. from what info i can find it's between 1947 and 1953. the code does'nt make a bit of sense. the
engine is mounted on a dunlap frame with a wooden handle, this engine
usually starts the first pull. they do'nt make em like they used to....

you guys have a good one,
robert
 
  #29  
Old 09-09-04, 10:17 PM
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I've gotten a hold of an old snow blower with a 5 HP Tecumseh engine on it. Blowers of that size today use a 8 Hp engine and I agree that the machine is underpowered. I can't fault the engine though, it starts usually on the first pull even when it's below zero. You can move snow too, it just takes a little longer. My Briggs engines won't start that easy even when its warm outside.
 
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