Author Topic: Mini Tillers  (Read 443 times)

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Offline Cut4fun .

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Mini Tillers
« on: July 14, 2014, 02:03:39 pm »
So what is the best built and lasting mini tiller built?   I'm talking using one for hours non-stop every other week.

What have been known problems etc.   

So is the Mantis 2 stroke all that and live up to the hype?  What about lower units on Mantis? 

Stihl MM 55 yard boss.  2 stroke?  Issues lower unit or motor?

Echo mini tiller, anything on them?



The bad on the ones I have had. The Honda FG100 4 cycle motor was great.  The Hoffco lower units were junk. Gave up after needing 3rd unit and yes kept grease in it.  There was brass worm gears in it.

The Craftsman Ryobi mini tiller. 2 years on lower unit fine. Weak crap motor IMO with laminated crank and stamped steel rod with steel pin into crank that wears oblong and let go.


I have my rednecked one going fine that was a back up. Just thinking of one for the long haul someday.

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Offline 660magnum

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Re: Mini Tillers
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2014, 05:21:01 pm »
I have the Echo and I think it is made much better around the tines than the one you were working on the other day.

Maybe I just bring it over some day and you have her give it a whirl or two?
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Offline fordfairlane78

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Re: Mini Tillers
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2014, 02:02:02 am »
Is the echo the same as the mantis? I know the mantis uses a kiorzt? Engine which is what echo has used for years. My father recently received a like new mantis with all the attachments but I don't believe he has put it through extreme use yet..maybe just a couple times per week but so far he is happy with it.
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Offline 660magnum

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Re: Mini Tillers
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2014, 06:11:24 am »
Echo is the Kioritz company

I think the Mantis roto tiller unit uses several different brand engines?
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Offline Cut4fun

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Re: Mini Tillers
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2014, 03:41:34 pm »
Yes Jim I would like to check your echo out closer.   Do you know what kind of lower units are on the echo?

I just read some feedback on stihl site about theirs and I will be passing on it now. Even the the lower units look built right.

Rocks have never been a problem when they got lodged in my others.   Last one talks about this.


MM 55 STIHL YARD BOSS bad feedback on the stihl site.  Seems to be the common carb issues like the 45 trimmer.

I bought this piece of equipment 4 years ago to utilize in small raised beds.....Worked pretty well the 4-6 hours I used the first year....Following summer, would not start....Was advised leaving untreated gas in unit over winter would foul carburetor.....Replaced carburetor and used approximately 4 hours during summer with no further issues.....Left fuel stabilized gas in unit....Following summer, would not start.....Advised leaving stabilized gas in unit was issued and to take unit and run out of fuel for winter storage....Replaced carburetor and used approximately 4 hours with no issues.....Ran unit completely our of fuel (even though I was taught never to run a unit out of fuel because it leans out the engine and is hard on it) and stored for winter.....Unit started this spring for tilling beds.....Used two hours but noticed a small gas leak around the carburetor.....Two weeks later just pulled out to use again for tilling a couple of extra beds and noticed that all of the fuel leaked out of the unit....Put more fuel in, noticed larger leak and gas line not holding pressure and will not start....Cannot see where leak is coming from but all lines are connected from tank to carburetor and lines look good......Unable to till my beds as needed and back to service store again tomorrow......
I have maybe 30 hours use on this unit and have determined this is one of the most unreliable pieces of equipment I have ever purchased..... Seems to work pretty well when running but I now hate the thought of ever needing to pull it from out of the shed to use....Never seems to work when needed.....I commented last year to the service store that I bought another name brand weed eater 6 years ago and have used approximately 6 hours per week, 9 months of the year for the past six years.....Always starts, performs well, and merely store in the shed at the end of the summer season without worrying about the gas to include adding any stabilizer or draining the tank or carburetor......I just set it against the wall and come back in the spring, turn on the switch, choke and crank a few times and it starts right up and performs well,,,,Never even replaced a spark plug, just weed eater line......
I will try one more service (and most likely a third carburetor replacement)....The next time needed and does not work will find the unit meeting a trip to the dump.....I will just have to chalk this one up to experience and knowing to never buy another Stihl product........


This tiller started leaking fuel and wouldn't start after only occasional use over 2 years and 5 months. The dealer wouldn't honor the extended four-year warranty, which I should have received because I bought the Stihl oil at the time of purchase.
This thing broke only 5 months outside of the two-year warranty. I only have a couple small raised beds, so it hasn't been used very much.
The dealer replaced the carb and coil and charged me nearly two hundred dollars. That's well over half the cost of the item when it was new.
This really is a low-quality tiller that isn't worth the cost and doesn't deserve the Stihl name.
It worked fine for tilling garden beds, but it's not even up to a homeowner level of quality.

poorly engineered
I bought my stihl in October of 2013, when it was on sale at my local dealer. last week April of 2014 I first set out to use my MM55 in the garden. My garden is very small, 200 sq. ft. but there are some rocks in it. Most of the rocks are small, but every once in a while there is one about 4 inches. Before I finished my second tank of fuel in a brand new tiller the gears in the head broke when they hit a rock. The customer service told me this tiller is not designed to work in soil where there is rock, which would make it useless to me as all my soil has some rocks. What has to be obvious is that the rock did not break the gear, but rather the engine did. The rock merely stoped the tine from turning. It was the torque of the engine that broke the gear. If the gear can not handle the torque of the engine then there should be a shear pin or someother design feature to protect the gears. I will take this to my dealer on monday and see if it is covered under the warranty, but i'm confident it will occur again as the engineering behind the design is flawed.

I've got the same issue, not that I have many rocks, but the tine/gears seem to be the issue. Curious, was this covered under the warranty? Thx





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Offline 660magnum

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Re: Mini Tillers
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2014, 04:39:24 pm »
The carb for one of these Stihls is like $28.95.

I have four Stihl 27cc weed whackers and have had to replace the carb in one and rebuild the carb in two others. This is when I first got them used. After repair I have not had to repair them again.
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Offline fordfairlane78

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Re: Mini Tillers
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2014, 04:13:25 am »
I asked my father if he had "hit" anything with his mantis & he said he has come into rocks & roots. He said they stopped the tines if the debri got stuck but he just cleared the tines & proceeded with no problems. Looking at the gear case it appears to be built well.
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Offline 660magnum

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Re: Mini Tillers
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2014, 08:17:35 am »
I was at the Stihl dealer last week and there was a Tiller there.

It had a 4140 series 27cc powerhead. It is the same powerhead (covers and all) just like on a straight shaft FS-55 bike handle weed whacker except it had a longer throttle cable.

The powerhead mounted just like the two tillers that cut4fun has at his house. The tines were made the same way also.
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That knowledge can live after us... and that "Pays It Forward".
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Offline KilliansRedLeo

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Re: Mini Tillers
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 08:53:07 am »
I have had the same Mantis for more than 20 years. Never failed me, however you MUST grease the lower unit at least once a year. There is a grease fitting (zerk) on the lower unit for this purpose.
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Re: Mini Tillers
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2015, 08:52:19 pm »
I did not know this thread existed.
  I work on those Mantis tillers all the time.   The Carburetors are what usually go bad on them.   I have seen one gear box go bad but the tillers themselves are easy to service and there are lots of parts available for them.   They are just another 2 stroke garden tool.
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