Old School Snapper Rear Engine Riding Mowers

The first riding lawn mower I ever used was one of those Snapper rear engine riding mowers. These rear engine riding mowers were some of the most popular back when I was growing up and mowing my family’s lawn. These were old school machines that were much better than the push type that made for a long day mowing. Trust me, I have used both. And while these rear engine machines are nothing compared to the commercial machines I now deal with, they were the best option for my family back then.


Those Old Snapper Rear Engine Riding Mowers Rocked…..


Old Snapper Rear Engine Riding Mowers

My dear old Snapper…..

These mowers were built pretty tough for homeowner use. I don’t know how much commercial work you could have gotten from them though. The lawn care industry was not a popular business back then. Except for kids like me cutting a few yards here and there, there was not a big need for lawn care providers. People had more free time and did more yard work themselves. These rear engine riders were some of the most popular in my local area. They were not super fast. To be honest they were pretty slow! But once again, they were a much better option than walking behind a push mower.

Our Snapper rear engine riding mower was a “Comet” if I remember correctly and it lasted many years. I don’t remember my dad doing much maintenance on it either. We used it mainly for our own lawn so it was not like it was overworked. We probably should have sharpened the blade more often. But I was a kid, what did I know at the time?

These rear engine riding mowers had the option of an electric start or a pull cord for cranking. Ours had the cord and I certainly wished it had been an electric starter on many occasions. Pulling a cord to crank her up was not a fun thing when it wanted to be stubborn. It was a used machine when we got it, so it was not hot off the showroom floor.

One issue we had with our Snapper was the deck. It looked well built and for the time I guess it was. But I remember my dad having to hammer out the deck when it would get dinged, causing the blade to hit the deck. That was clearly not a good thing to have happen. He was pretty rough on our lawn mower, so that had something to do with the deck in constant need of “body work.” My dad never met a stump or rock that he didn’t mind hitting with that old lawn mower.

I still see these old school mowers every now and then. They may still even be in production. People have not forgotten them at all though. I talked to a buddy just the other day and he mentioned the same type issues with their deck getting bent up all the time as well.


Aah… Memories of Child Hood Mowing

We didn’t have giant zero turn mowers back then, but we did pretty well with the machines we had. There wasn’t a mower shop on every corner. There were not loads of online retailers to order lawn mower parts from….actually there was no internet at all! But we did the best we could with our old school machines. We worked on them as needed and asked for help from neighbors who were shade tree mechanics for more serious issues.

These mowers were tough overall as many products were back then. I guess that is why you still see them in use. They may look rusty, beat up, and worn out, but if they are still slinging grass, that says something about them. They are not up to commercial grade standards of today, but they would give many modern homeowner mowers a run for their money when it comes to longevity.

what about you? Do or did you have one of those Snapper rear engine riding mowers too? Is it still running? I would love to know if we share the same “good old memories”…..

As Always, Happy Mowing!

  1. Reply
    Steve Woodyard June 1, 2015 at 2:06 am

    i have one old school and it works great 8hp. Tecumseh need new bag for it were do i look ? ser. # 43001255 model # 25065 don’t know what year it is it was my uncles !

    • Reply
      Mike June 12, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      I have a 33″ Snapper rear engine riding mower. Hi-Vac. 15 hp. With normal maintenance and replacing the obvious parts that need replacing, it is going into it’s 21st year of service! If you don’t mind replacing plugs, change oil, clean air filter, drive discs, etc, you could be writing this review as well. If your old Snapper starts “slipping” on hills (even after changing drive discs), do the **following and it will turn it into a monster!! Editor, please print this ! It truly adds years of service to a Snapper owned by an already happy owner !

      On the back of your Snapper, you will see 3 round holes app 1″ in diam. Shine a light inside and you will see the round, aluminum drive plate attached to the vertical drive shaft. There are a couple of inset hex screws holding the plate to the shaft. Obviously you can’t reach these screws with a short “allen” wrench or hex wrench. Obtain a longer one or buy a complete set of hex sockets at Harbor Freight for less than $10. Loosen the two hex screws. Take a prize bar, stick it through one of the holes and place it on top of drive plate where it attaches to shaft. Lift up on lever end of prize bar and strike an upward blow on bar with a 4 lb hammer. After two of three strikes you should be able to shine the light inside holes and see that you have moved plate “downward” about 1/8″. Tighten hex screws. Happy motoring ! It won’t “slip” again for another 20 yrs !

      • Reply
        clarence thibodeaux August 12, 2016 at 8:58 pm

        What size allen wrench and what length?

      • Reply
        Bill Martin June 12, 2016 at 6:58 pm

        Incredible story Mike, Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      billmartin June 14, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      Sorry, I have no idea, but a quick search on Google gave these results:http://www.snapperpartsdistributors.com and http://www.partstree.com/parts/snapper?gclid=Cj0KEQjwzPSrBRC_oOXfxPWP6t0BEiQARqav2FuD5SmS6SjWNNqxoK3P77VqxYg0JIHTBSUIg0_LgPgaAlkE8P8HAQ. You could also try the official Snapper website and consult Customer Support:http://www.snapper.com/us/en/shop/parts-and-accessories/locate-model-number or search on Ebay. Good luck!

  2. Reply
    Nick September 7, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    I’ve got a old Snapper 30″ RER. The thing is a workhorse, I have around 1 acre I’m mowing- which is a little on the high side for this type of mower, but it handles it well and I’ve got some small hills with relatively high angles that I think would give a zero turn fits…so I’m actually looking for a 42″ version(no longer made) used to cut down some of the time…but the thing is indestructible…I love it.

    Tilting it back on it’s rear mounted steel tubes(by design) for maintenance is a brilliant idea. I do the blade sharpening without ever taking it off with an angle grinder.

    It’s a brilliant design overall IMO.

    • Reply
      billmartin September 8, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Yeah, I had one too, really awesome machine. Too sad they do not make mowers like that anymore:(

  3. Reply
    Andy April 1, 2016 at 7:25 am

    I happen to have one of these old school Snapper mowers and it was running when given to me. It does need some TLC but I’ll give it to anyone who wants to put the time into it to get it running again.

    • Reply
      billmartin April 1, 2016 at 10:59 am

      That is most kind of you Andy.
      Interested people can email me and I will forward all reactions to Andy.

  4. Reply
    bill p May 8, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    talk about tough,the early COMET 30 with cast iron hubs driven by pinion gear was a real tank,with brake bands on each hub,was an early zero turn mower.

  5. Reply
    Josh H May 27, 2016 at 12:49 am

    I have a 1960 comet 26 and it runs like a dream. Somebody took really good care of this machine before I got ahold of it and I plan on carrying on that tradition! Good read by the way!

    • Reply
      Bill Martin May 27, 2016 at 5:05 am

      Thank you for sharing your story Josh. Awesome to hear that red beauty is still going…..

  6. Reply
    liam June 21, 2016 at 1:59 am

    im trying to fix mine… found it back in the bushes about a week ago so pulled it out but there is a lot of maintenance needed.

    • Reply
      Bill Martin June 21, 2016 at 6:54 am

      Let us know if you need any help. I am sure my readers are more than willing to give you a helping hand on any DIY issue. Good luck restoring!

  7. Reply
    Kriss July 7, 2016 at 1:48 am

    I have a snapper 33 inch cut and a smapper self propeld
    Both made in the 80s
    I use them ony yard as well asy cistmers yards to.both have there baggers.i wpuld own any othet kind.they have never lete down.

  8. Reply
    Carol H July 10, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    I just bought a Snapper rear engine riding mower yesterday. It certainly is vintage. We found it on Craigs List and went to check it out. It is running very good. The only thing that needed attention was to adjust the brake cable.
    What I am wondering is what is the model of this one. I looked for a name or numbers on the body of the mower and I can’t find anything. I didn’t look under it. It has an 11 HP Briggs and Stratton engine. It has the push button starter. It looks just like the one in your photo at the top of this page. I have a photo that I will try to include too. If anyone knows the age, model and or number I would really appreciate it.

    Photo on Flickr, https://flic.kr/p/JZBkXc

  9. Reply
    clarence thibodeaux August 22, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    I was given one of those ‘Gump-Mobiles’ couple days ago. Owner kept it outdoors. Son and I had to drag it onto the trailer since wheels were locked, even with brakes off and in neutral. Wasps made a pin cushion of my hands which burned all that night, but the stings were free too. It’s a 28 in cut, 11 hp Briggs.Removed the battery and fuel tank. Fuel lines were brittle. Set mower on it’s hind end, nothing visibly wrong, as if I know what to look for. Looks like excess slack action in the brake/clutch cable. When I release brake, cable don’t allow it to come fully up. Engine don’t work, drained oil. Removed blade, will clean and paint under rusty deck. Will appreciate any ideas, pointers, ole Indian tricks, etc. Thank you.

    • Reply
      clarence thibodeaux September 26, 2016 at 11:33 am

      My ‘free’ Gump-Mobile’ Is still being worked on every other chance I get. I removed all rust under deck and painted it. Cleaned carburetor, waiting on new ‘O’ rings and intake gasket which I recently ordered. The gearbox leaks oil from rear axle rubber seal. After removing right rear wheel, found that the band was loose around the axle seal. After tightening the band it still leaks oil. Now waiting for new seal to come in mail. 11hp B&S engine feels like it has low compression but will try to crank it first when all parts come in before taking engine apart. I believe the lack of lubricant in the gear box ‘differential’ prevented the wheels from turning. This ‘free’ mower is a 2003 model. I’m determined to get it running again. They are work-horses, even mowing up-hill, they perform like champs. I know because I already have a 28”, older model, works like a locomotive.

  10. Reply
    Matt Donovan August 29, 2016 at 1:28 am

    My wife bought me a snapper comet, 1960’s something. We were friends in high school but finally found love. But for some reason she loves this damn mower. She makes me wear a cowboy hat with a boom box and play music outside our bedroom window. Then she come out and geta on. Saying I LOVE JOHN HUGHES MOVIE. 80’s rock… . LOL. love the 80’s. I got my girl though.

    • Reply
      Bill Martin September 2, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Beautiful story Matt, thanks for sharing:)

  11. Reply
    Joseph September 25, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    I have a small lawn and landscaping service and my main work horse is a snaper comet it’s only 10 horse but I’ve never seen a lawn or feald it won’t cut.

  12. Reply
    Kurt October 7, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    I bought a used SR1028 (aka 281014BE… 28 inch, 10 HP, series 14, Briggs, Electric start) probably 10 + years ago. It has been a trouble free work horse until this year. Other than oil changes, grease, blade sharpening, and a new Battery it hasn’t needed much.

    Early this season, the engine went into fogger mode. Crank oil stared sucking through carburetor and the engine starting banging like crazy. Not sure exactly why, but I think I fixed it by tightening the muffler (which had work itself very loose), replacing the air filter, and adding back a few ounces of oil.

    My theory is the lack of exhaust back pressure caused a valve to stick open, thereby pressuring the crank case, pushing oil into the carb via the crank vent, plugging the air filter with oil, which in turned help suck oil through breather. Only acted up once; has been running smooth ever since.

    Then, the latch to adjust deck height broke. Fixed it with bailing wire and ‘set’ it to always be in high position. Then, the shift lever broke. Have a new one on order, but won’t arrive till next week.
    Now for my story relative to this site…. A few years back I acquired an even older snapper (guessing) mid 70’s. Looks like the one pictured here with handle bars and tall skinny 3 bolt rear wheels. This thing has been sitting in my shed for years, only used maybe once every other year to bag leaves at my rental (15 minute job).

    With my primary snapper down, I pulled this one out of storage. Put in some gas, set throttle to choke, pulled the rope 4 or 5 times… Tecumseh fires, spits, coughs, bang, bang, dies. Realized gas cap screw was closed and opened it. Pulled one more time … engine fires and settles into a nice purr. Brought it home and used on my ¾ acre yard and it mowed like a champ. I didn’t even have to put air in the tires.

    Gave her a bath last night when done and was amazed at how well she cleaned up. Going to change the oil this weekend and get some pics of the ole girl to post here. She might just earn a cozy warm spot in my garage.

  13. Reply
    david willett November 2, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Yes I also have a old school snapper, it has the 8 HP engine. It was fine when they gave to me. Does anyibr k own how much they r worth. U can contact me through email. Willettdavid18@Gmail.com

    • Reply
      Bill Martin November 14, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Really, I have no idea what the old Snappers are worth. Anybody?

    Leave a reply

    Compare items
    • Total (0)