I just bought myself a Harrier 41 autodrive at the weekend.
Can anyone give me any tips on using/maintaining and any potential problems to look out for?
I mostly cut small lawns and wanted to offer customers the stripes that nobody here seems to do (from what I've seen) so this was the right size. My other thought was a Viking 545VR.
I guess that's not a pro-spec Hayter, I think they are only in the larger sizes? Domestic mowers are designed to be used, perhaps, 30 minutes to an hour each week during the growing season, so in commercial use it will be getting a lot more use than it should, not to mention being banged around in a van all day rather than tucked up in a warm, safe shed.
I've run Hayters, and apart from not being the most robust machines the only real issue was the engines wearing out; I have never broken a Honda engine, but the Hayters never lasted a season. With that in mind I'd suggest changing the oil fortnightly, and cleaning the filters every week at least. I use the mower about 20 hours a week on average as a one-man-band, and that's my maintenance schedule.
I looked at the 41 a year ago before deciding against it - Im instead looking at small 14in cylinder mowers for smaller gardens / gardens with narrow access.
I was advised at the time much the same as paul says - It will need alot more care to keep it running well than normal, as it is built for small bursts of use ever couple of weeks.
You will be using it more in 1 week than it is expected to be used in 4-5 years! Look after it well though, and it should pull through.
A bit off-tangent......I know someone who provides pure mow, trim & go services and he swears by having a sheet of high-ish density foam in the back section of his van. He keeps his two mowers in the back, strapped in on this foam. He believes it gives the mowers protection of the constant vibration and jolts....
Does it work ?, I don't know but he has had his mowers for a considerable time (allied I suspect by good maintenance).
Interesting as I've seen mowers bouncing around in small trailers and jolting back and forward on flat bed trucks ( local council are great exponents of this 'approach' ;-) and always wondered how long they last before breaking......
That's a good point about transporting mowers. I have it well-secured, and if it does stretch the elastic and bump into the side of the van it's only going to be gently and the Kaaz has the front bumper anyway. I don't bounce it over speedbumps, mostly for my own comfort! When I was part-time for a while I used a trailer behind my car, and can confirm that cheaper mowers don't survive this method of transport for long.
I think the big damage to my mowers comes from bumping over kerbs, up and down steps, that sort of thing. It's something that's a lot easier with two people, but a few repairs to the machine over a season costs less that a member of staff. I always replace my main mower BEFORE it is terminally worn out, and keep the old one as a spare, so it's not a problem if it's in the workshop for a few days.
I use a hayter 41 autodrive for my small domestic jobs. The older model. Not had any problems with it apart from changing the belt which was around £12.00. Just check your oil often and keep the cables oiled and tight.