Originally Posted by Jono
Manual transmission... less trouble when they get old... Kohler engine..Like Eups... Mine's in a "Wheelhorse" that's 25 years oldish.. and still going strong... 3 blade deck and grass collector.. if yer fussy... I ain't... regular maintenance and they'll outlast you... avoid the "Cheap'n cheerful" types... don't last 5-minutes... second hand is the way to go..
Toro (used to be wheel horse) are the best IMHO, from the USA and the old ones are built to last. I have two. One from new 1995 and NOTHING has gone wrong. My neighbour had his 25 years and it outlasted him (no really!). The other one is the same model and purchased last year second hand.
Both are the same model and use the same desks and accessories (one has a rear collector). Both will cut 18" grass, thistles and even pick up horse crap!. I've had the cheap ones before and they are cr*p.
I even laid a 70 metre roadway (30 tonnes of scalpings) with one of them and a detachable front dozing blade.
BTW both of mine are hydostatic and had no problems with either. I prefer hydrostatic over manual any day.
Hope that helps