Carry a fire extinguisher on your mower!

You might not think at the moment you need to carry a fire extinguisher with you when you are out mowing, but after you see how a $6,000 investment burnt up in flames, it might want you to change your mind. A member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum shared with us a story about how his Scag mower burst into flames while he was mowing. He wrote “My SCAG Tiget cub burst into FLAMES!! Model STC48V-19KAI bought in 2006. Today after about 30 minutes of mowing my SCAG tiger cub smelled like gasoline for a second, died 10 seconds later and then, after about 30 more seconds BURST into FLAMES and burned to the ground. This was used for my yard and had very low hours.

Scag mower fire

Scag mower fire

You dont know how it feels to watch helplessly as your 6 thousand dollar mower burns to the ground before your eyes. Water just made the flames worse (the fire department was spraying it). Must have lost a fuel line I guess somehow and had raw gas feeding the flames… dont know what sparked it since the muffler is on the back and the flames were, well, I guess everywhere on the engine…but seemed like a lot of flames between the engine and the seat.

It appears that mine just had a catastrophic gas line failure. I think that it might be possible to force the failure points of something like this to a place where the gas wont leak around the engine. Positive threaded gas lines would keep a line from just “popping off” and then dumping the tank contents onto wherever its pointed. Vacuum operated fuel petcocks could be used to shut off fuel flow in the event the engine quits.

Scag mower on fire

Scag mower on fire

These expensive commercial mowers surly have the headroom to add a few safety measures into the fuel deliver system.

Anyone have any recommendations besides call SCAG, my dealer, my insurance company (wonder if they will pay this much money for a mower)??”

Another member suggested “I would start with the Scag dealer. Explain to them what happened, BUT be honest with them IF there is anything that you know could have caused this. Don’t get irate with them because, a) they are only representing the manufacturer, b) they can be a great help to you to fight the manufacturer if you keep them on your side.

If the dealer tells you they can do nothing, ask for a telephone number for Scag or a Scag distributor representative. They may not give you contact info for their contacts (and I can’t say that I blame them). If they don’t, ask if they can have someone from Scag call you. Remember, don’t get irate because getting irate does not help you. Professional frustration at the loss of your expensive machine is to be expected and is completely different than being irate.”

Scag mower fire.

Scag mower fire.

He responded “I wont get irate…although I feel like I should have known about this issue before putting myself at risk. What if this had burst into flames close to my home?? I would have had to watch both burn while waiting for the fire department. I understand that engineering mistakes happen. SCAG should bear the cost to make this right. They are a premium commercial mower and I do absolutely expect superior service from them. In this case, there’s not much gray area. This mower was greased and oil changed by me and I wasn’t in the engine area tweaking bolts or messing with the carburetor. The mower only had about 50 hours on it and the only things I’ve done to it was grease it, change the blades this year and change oil and filter.

SCAG contacted me today…They want to work WITH my insurance company to an equitable solution. (whatever that means for me).

They are willing to sell me a tiger cat for 6200 + tx. I’m guessing that’s about $800 less than what most folks can get one for. Unfortunately, the price still puts me out 1K of insurance deductible.

So, SCAG has made a minor gesture towards helping me but nothing close to replacing the mower.

So, since I have to pay minimum 1K, and insurance will pay “replacement value” I’ll be buying up and into a different brand.

I’ll have the old 48″ deck probably still good to sell as well as most of the front parts of the mower…could be that drive motors are good too but will have to take a look.

Thanks everyone for following this. I consider the matter closed but would invite anyone to continue to post their experiences with SCAG or any other mower that may have an potential fatal flaw.

When its your business or your life on the line I think it prudent to do more and now I know that both are at risk and that the manufacture wont do much to back you up.”

There was quite a bit of discussion on this topic in the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. Please read up on it and always, ALWAYS carry a fire extinguisher on your mower.

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