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I have owned a Champion R484 self propelled mower for over 4 years now. It still starts first time and runs like a dream . The only thing that has gone wrong is that the pull start rope guide(metal loop welded to the bolt through the handle) has come adrift. I just loop the pull cord over the plastic knob on the handle ! My mower has been used for well over 400 hrs as I have a large garden.So , just change the oil and clean the air filter every now and again and your mower will serve you well !
This is a good economical lawnmower, provides value for money and has the same body and engine as many others on the market costing more. Yes there does appear to be a problem with fuel starvation and the carburettor but keep it topped up with petrol, do not let the tank dry out for any length of time my mower starts first pull after having pushed the primer 3 times. If there is a shortage of fuel then it will not prime or start so best ensure the fuel is OK and the mower should start work well and give no problems
I purchased my first Champion self propelled lawn mower at a Focus store at the end of August last year.I have a large lawn which is approx.50x30yds.Having assembled the Champion I put in the required amount of oil & sufficient petrol to try it out.It started second time & after an initial gush of smoke ran very smoothly.I selected a suitable cutting hight & was very impressed with the quality of "Finish" left by the mower.It ran for about ten minutes & stopped.Checks showed that it had fuel & sparks but it proved impossible to start again.I took the machine back to Focust & it was replaced without fuss immediately. I assembled the second one(My wife filled it with lead free)& set off again to cut the grass.It performed very well indeed,problem cured!With incredible economy,it cut the lawn two or three time & then stopped dead again!The tank was about one third full & once again plenty of sparks were present.It remained dead untill it occurred to me that maybe the tank wasn't being completely used up.Refilling the tank cured it & it started immediately.The one I returned as faulty probably had the same trouble!Now I am quite happy to keep plenty of fuel in it,it seems to use less petrol than my antique cigarette lighter! Anybody else had this trouble? Kind regards, George Yallop
After another wet winter when the grass grows quicker than my hairline recedes, I thought it was time I replaced my Qualcast Concorde E30 (Deluxe!) electric rotary mower for a real mower. Something that wasn't an accident waiting to happen if you ran over the trailing electric cable, same cable still not long enough to reach the bottom of my relatively small garden without an extension lead. Something that could cut in wet weather and with a large collector box that didn't need emptying more than once per use. A petrol mower now that's what I needed.. Looked on ebay, but the petrol mowers I bid for at £40 seemed to go for at least £80+. After nearly giving up my search and going to Argos I thought I would look on loot.com. This was good as long as you restrict your search to those adverts that are more than a week old - you do not need to pay for privilege, unlike the 'hot off the press' items. This does mean that potentially that you are looking at the scraping the bottom of the barrel items! On the other hand it might just mean that nobody has discovered the gem perhaps because of the way the advert was written etc. I saw a Mountfield for £40ono, ideal. I was going to buy this from a chap who spoke with the strongest Scottish accent, I could not understand the majority of what said, so I thought I would let the goods speak for themselves. I drove 30 miles there to find that this elderly gentleman's hobby was fettling old mowers, he said that the Mountfield was readvertised after a prospective punter broke the starter string.... However this had been replaced and the mower was old but in good order, it was missing the collector box, vital if, like me, you are averse to raking up all the cuttings. I was shown several Qualcast Suffolk Punch mowers probably at least as old as the gentleman (or the Ark?), all repainted in that well known Hammerite colour - Army tank Salisbury Plain green. Despite h is kind offer of a cuppa tea after my journey I made my politely made my excuses and moved on. The next mower on my list was conveniently almost on the way back home, a Champion 434. The positive reviews I sawe on dooyoo earlier convinced me that it was a good make even though had never heard of it (the fact it was the cheapest petrol mower availabe at Argos had nearly put me off). Phoned up the seller to learn that he was emigrating and needed to shift the mower soon, this was good news. I was told the mower was 18 months old, but was probably older given a date of 1999 on the mower plate with manufacturers details. Never mind, paid £40 cash after brief haggle and he even helped me load it in the boot of my car (no cuppa tea offered this time though). No instructions but how hard could operating a mower be? Oil in one hole, Unleaded petrol in the other, squeeze teat three times to get her ready (steady on!) and start moving by pulling the throttle bar, stop by letting go and that's it. The 3.5hp Briggs and Stratton engine fired up first time when I got it home - after realising that the throttle bar needs to be pulled up at the same time as the starter lead is pulled, doh! The garden hadn't been cut since last autumn and even though it was drizzling the job could not be put off any longer. With the height adhjuster aty its highest setting it cut even damp grass really well and compacted it nicely into the collector box. The power of the engine took it across lumps and bumps with ease, the smell of petrol added to the attraction, maybe this was a reminder of earlier gokart driving experiences? It was a little noisy compared to an electrixc mower but if the job's done in 1/3 the time frankly who cares? All in all this mower made a tedious task fun, the mower appears durable and reliable - as it should be for something that weighs 20kg. I'm very happy with my purchase but I will advise if it decides to let me down .
I have owned my Champion R343 lawnmower for about a month now, having always previously been an electric mower pusher. However, as we moved into a new house recently and the old mower had packed in, it seemed like a good chance to get a petrol mower especially as the new gardens have much more lawn. Petrol mowers generally cost more than their electric counterparts, but if you have large lawn areas then they are far more suitable as you don't have wires trailing all over the place. I must admit to having cut through the electric cable of my old mower once previously, much to my embarrasment. Luckily I am still here today to tell the tale! The moral of the story is be very careful if you have an electric mower. Petrol lawnmowers are themselves not entirely safe either, the fuel is of course highly flammible and you have a large blade spinning around under there not to mention a hot engine, so be careful at all times. I opted for this particular model mainly based on price, it isn't the absolute cheapest as there was another one for sale in Argos for £20 less, I think it was a "Power Devil" model but it looked a bit "plasticy" to me so I went for the Champion, hoping it will last a good few years. I'm certainly not an expert on lawnmowers in general, but I would suggest that the amount you pay for a model depends on how big your lawn is and what standard of finish you want. My lawn isn't all that big and it's pretty much just an average "family" lawn with lumps and bumps, weeds and all. If you have an acre of land to mow then of course you go for a bigger model, maybe a sit-on effort and if you are trying to get a lawn up to the standard of the 18th green at St Andrews you probably want to pay for a more expensive model with a roller for those stripes. But I don't need that thank you, simply something which cuts the grass with minimum fuss and being easy to use, cheap and hopefully long lasting. Specifications: ============ The boring stuff first then, the techy bits. Cost - £99 from my local DIY store, "Focus Do It All" Engine "Briggs and Stratton" 3.5hp petrol engine, 4 stroke. Weight - approx 20 kilos Grassbox capacity - 55 litres I bought a box of bits and pieces called a "servicing pack" with my mower, this included the oil I needed (check the specification of any oil you use with the manual) gloves, spare spark plug and new air filter. All the bits I will need to service the mower for £10. They recommend you service the mower every year, you can do this yourself and it looks pretty easy from the manual and should ensure it lasts a long time. The mower runs on normal, unleaded petrol, and the consumption is very good, I can't give you a definite ffigure for this as I have only used the mower a few times so far, but a litre should last a few months. Obviously this depends on how big your lawn area is. Before you can use the mower, you need to get it out of the box, read the manual and assemble it. When I say read the manual I mean it as well - don't risk getting anything wrong as it can have dangerous consequences. When I say you have to assemble the mower, don't panic as you only need to put the handle and grass box on, no need to fit the engine together! This is where I had some trouble, as one of the instruction leaflets was not clear. To be fair to Champion I think this leaflet was added by Focus and is not standard, as their instructions in the manual are much better, but of course I used the extra leaflet as it was a larger diagram which I wrongly assumed would be clearer! The leaflet simply shows how to assemble the handle and join it to the mower, unfortunately it shows the screws in their wrong positions and the wrong screw altogether in one case. If you buy one of these and h ave any troubles, send me an e-mail and I can give you some advice. There is also a number you can ring for help, I had to ring them later on when I couldn't find the dipstick - no funny comments! The grassbox was easy to assemble a bit fiddly perhaps but once in place it started to look like a mower ready to go. The grassbox is quite large, 55 litres which will hold enough grass to complete a decent sized lawn without needing emptying before the job is done. For the record I consider my lawn a decent size and it is roughly 1500 square feet. So after an hour I eventually got the handle on the mower and then I searched around for the dipstick so I could put in the oil. You should never start any type of engine unless it's got oil in it and the manual says to be careful as the engines are shipped without any oil. So I quickyl located the oil drain with dipstick, but couldn't work out how to actually put the oil in there - a quick call to the helpline (2 actually as first time I couldn't get through) and I managed to find it. But I still found this part a bit tricky, there is a hole where it says "oil", but it didn't look like you could put anything in as the hole didn't appear to go anywhere. The hole is like a wide slot for a screwdriver, with a circle in the middle and two posts at either side. I tried to twist the poles to see if the whole assembly came away but no good. Eventually I worked out you need to put a screwdriver in there and twist, the whole thing does come away to reveal a built in dipstick type device and then you realise where the oil goes. What a dipstick! Being careful not to overfill with oil, I gingerly tipped a bit of the stuff in, checked the lel and repeated. The manual says the mower has a capacity of 600ml of oil, which is nice to know. Unfortunately I didn't know if there was maybe already some small amount of oil in there from the factory so I took my time fillin g it. Good idea to check the oil level every time you use the mower. So, oil in place it was time to fuel her up. The fuel was much easier to work out, unscrew the cap and pour in fuel. However don't do what I did and try to put 5 litres of fuel into a 2 litre tank! After leaving the mower to dry out for a while it was time for the moment of truth - would it start? If you do spill fuel, like an idiot like me, make sure you move the mower somewhere else and let everything dry out after mopping up what you can. My spillage wasn't too bad and it was outside so I was fairly lucky there. There is a little rubber "button" you squeeze to get the fuel to start flowing before you can start the engine up. Usually you squeeze this 3 times before starting, but after I had done this and pulled the starter cord for all I was worth I decided to read the manual properly this time. Aha, you squeeze the thing 6 times when you first use it! So another three squeezes and I pulled the cord - success the engine chugged into life! It's quite satisfying the first time you get this beast to start, maybe that's just a man thing? When you want to start the mower, as well as pulling the cord you need to hold a lever at the top of the handle. This is a safety device which cuts the engine if you lose control, when the lever is released the engine will die automatically. It's quite stiff to hold the lever for the duration of the mowing, but you do get used to it and safety is very important so I can't grumble too much. So off I go, mowing the lawn, it's harder than I thought for the first few yards. Then I looked back and realised the height setting was a bit wrong. You see this mower has 5 different height (or length) settings, depending on how long or short you want your grass to be. Straight out of the box, my mower was set to the lowest possible heigh, so I was in effect more-or-less dragging it along the ground. Looking back expecting to see some nicely trimmed grass, I had now got a nice line of mud, devoid of any greenery at all! I'd only recommend the lowest heigh if you are mowing a golf course green, it's not really suitable for lawns at all I reckon. There is no roller on this mower, so you wont get that stripey effect which some gardeners like to see. I then adjusted the height, it's very easy, just press a small lever near to each wheel, so it was now set to the highest setting. My lawn is quite bumpy and I think I read somewhere that the first cut of the year should be quite gentle. With the heigh raised up the job becomes much easier, but several areas of the lawn were untouched, some practise required here I think! My advice would be to try the heighest level first and then reduce it a notch at a time until you get the desired effect. Although this is quite a light mower as far as petrol models go, with large-ish wheels, it is still quite tiring if you are unfit like I am and have an uneven lawn with a bit of a slope. Probably not ideal for the elderly, maybe better to pay more for a self-propelled model. You need to be quite careful too if you have any fiddly bits in your lawn as it can be a bit unwieldy, you soon get the hang of it though. It takes me about 20 minutes to do the whole garden, not bad I reckon. As you'd expect for a petrol engine it's pretty noisy, but I don't feel like I need to wear ear-defenders. There is a label on the mower saying "98 decibels" if that means anything to you. Overall, for the price this is a good mower, you probably want to do more research if you are a keen gardener but for the average garden this fits the bill nicely. I'll be updating thsis review as time goes by and things develop. If you read this review and there is nothing added, then you can be sure that my mower is still going strong! http://www.briggsandstratton.com/display/router.asp ?DocID=67912 - This is the engine manufacturer's website if you want to know more.
After this years first attempt at cutting the grass with my old electric mower, I decided it was time for a change. My lawn tends to be wet and clumpy, and the ground never really dries out, so I wanted a mower with a fair bit of oomph. I scoped out the local shops, B&Q, Focus, Greatmills etc and I found the cheapest sturdy petrol mower to be the Champion R434 at £99.00 There was a slightly cheaper one, but it had a plastic deck and I didn't fancy the idea. The Spec: 3.5 HP engine by Tecumseh - I'd not heard of them, but it runs well and starts easily, so I'm happy. 16" cut - more than adequate for my needs. 5 heights (although you have to adjust each wheel) with the lumps in my garden I never go below the second lowest or I start ploughing. 55 litre grassbox is sizeable enough and it certainly compacts the grass in there well. It's a little unwieldy due to the size and weight, but I'm sure it's comparable to other mowers of this genre and you get used to it. It used to take me an hour or more to do my lawns if the grass was long, but this mower doesn't hesitate. Both lawns done in 30 mins flat. 6" clumpy grass - no problem at all. Starts without a problem, and seems to run forever on a teacup-ful of petrol. All in all a very good mower. Now the drawbacks: The instructions - not as clear as I'd like for a novice petrol mower buyer. The weight - 20 Kg or so - about par for the type of mower though. The noise - fairly loud - But again, about par for the type of mower. The oil filler - buy the qualcast oil with the flexi tube and it's fine - try it with a funnel and you'd have a problem as it's in an awkward position. To sum up - Excellent value for a very capable mower and it's a nice colour too! ############################################# Update to opinion 8/5/02 1 year on and The mower has been out of the shed a couple of times. it has been getting harder to start - the motor not catching on the starter at all... Took it back to focus, who got me to take it to a local mower repair shop. The repair guys assured me that it wasn't a common problem and it shouldn't reccur. 2 days later it was all repaired and running well again. It's now starting fine, but it's not running smoothly, so I guess it needs a service and a new can of petrol. (like it said in the manual). to sum up - it requires more maintenance than an electric mower, but I still think it's worth it.
Lawn mower with 41cm (16 inch) blade, 3.5hp unleaded petrol engine and 5 cutting heights.