Pros: 1) Great design 2) Easy to maintain 3) Upgrades available
Cons: 1) Better OEM paint needed for corrosion resistance 2) Oil filtration needed.
I recently started a small engine rebuilding hobby and happened across an old 21" Snapper Hi-Vac mower at a my local dealer. I rebuilt a Honda 5 HP commercial engine and painted and replaced all of the belts and also the rubber drive ring on the deck. The rear axle bearings were o.k. and were not replaced. The front wheel and axle were slightly wobbly and were replaced with steel commercial wheels.
I also got a new blade with a high lift kit which is a series of plates bolted onto the 21" blade for better lift. I also got the commercial bag with enough capacity to fill most of a large plastic bag with just one time. This particular combination that I put together would cost close to $800 new from a dealer with warranty.
I have never used a 21" snapper before but have a very positive experience with the rear engine riders. We have two at our country place and one that is on it's third Briggs & Stratton engine. The transmission is simply amazing. The only parts that have ever needed replacement in the past 50 years on this mower are the belt and rubber/steel drive disk.
Anyway to test this 21" Snapper I let the grass at my house grow tall so that the cutting would be between 3" to 4." I wanted to use the fasted propulsion speed setting and use full width cuts to try to bog down this little mower.
No such luck..! For this test the mower did not even hesitate or slow down. I never had a plugged tube, or anything like that. Lifting the bag was the only way I could tell when to empty the bag as the mower ran strong and gave no signs of slowing down.
I rate this mower as simply awesome as I have never before experienced any 21" mower so strong and so fast as this unit. Maybe there are other more powerful engines, but currently I am very happy with this combination. I would highly recommend it to all who want a good mower that will last a long time.
I use a specification of 0.005" for the end gaps of the top and middle piston rings in this rebuild engine to allow for fewer hot gases leaking from the cylinder to the crankcase. You can tell the difference when you check the oil as the oil stays cleaner longer also. For reference the factory spec for the GXV140 end gap is 0.008" to 0.016".