- Riding Comfort
- Mower Handling and Performance on Hills/Rough Terrain
- Quality of Cut
Today we’re going to take a look at the Poulan Pro with a 46″ deck and a Briggs and Stratton 20HP Intek V-Twin Engine. The model could be considered either a PP20VA46 or a 960460079. Poulan Pro is owned by Husqvarna so you will see a lot of Husky’s technology and appearance in this mower. It is what I would consider to be a pretty fast (and rough) riding lawn tractor and is a mid-range residential riding mower. I have personally used this mower on my 5 acre hilly/rough terrain property.
If you have a flat lawn to mow, I don’t think this mower would be too uncomfortable to ride. It offers a 13″ high back seat that is adjustable front to back so you can get your legs adjusted properly to the pedals. There is no cruise control on this model so you will be operating the throttle all the time. Personally, that is a non issue for me as even if there was cruise control I wouldn’t use it because I like to be in full control at all times. But something to consider anyway.
Now, if you have rough terrain like myself, and you try to mow fast, it is going to be rough. Like your kidneys are being detached kinda rough. Running a lower PSI in the tires doesn’t help much, if at all. You just have to take it easy where you know some rough patches are. On the parts that I know are flat, I can go full speed without too much discomfort.
The engine in this Poulan Pro mower is a Briggs and Stratton 20HP Intek V-twin 656cc motor. It provides plenty of pep for this mower since it only weighs 433lbs. If you mash on the forward pedal from a stop it will throw you back a bit. It is quite impressive power for a mower of this size/price range.
Two wing nuts hold on the air cleaner cover and are easy enough to remove and blow out the filter.
Changing the oil is also a pretty simple process. There is a quick connect on the right side of the mower (if sitting in the seat) that you attach a tube to and turn the plug slightly counter clockwise (about 1/8 of a turn) and then pull it out to start draining. The quick connect drain and oil filter are out in the open so you don’t have to remove any shrouds or cowling to get to it, which is nice.
There is a 2.5 gallon gas tank to allow you to cut for a reasonably long time. In my estimation I can mow 3 acres in about 2 or 2.5 hours using almost the whole 2.5 gallons of gas in normal height grass. (6 or 7″ tall)
You can watch the video below to get an overview of the engine. The engine on the right in the video is the style in this mower.
Something to consider with this engine is that if you are using it heavily on hills and steep inclines you may see pre-mature failure (before 400 hours) due to the engine oil lubrication design. It is using a splash lube system where the oil pump is really only pumping the oil through the filter but internal components are just relying on splashes of oil to remain lubricated. If you are going uphill or downhill constantly it is possible some parts are being starved for oil. If you only mow flat ground or very gentle slopes then you should not have a problem.
You get a two year warranty on the engine direct from Briggs and Stratton (2 years residential, 3 months if commercial use.)
Click here for the warranty details on the Briggs and Stratton engine
Mower Handling and Performance – Hills/Rough Terrain
There are some pretty decent hills on my property and this mower handles them fine *IF* it can maintain traction. Most of the time this is not a problem but if I am going up hill and come across a dip that I need to slow down for I sometimes start spinning the tires. Then you have to back down a little bit and give it another go with more acceleration.
I’ve gotten the mower stuck twice. Once was while mowing a ditch area that drains into a culvert. In all fairness to the mower I probably shouldn’t have been mowing that spot anyway. The other time I hit a pretty good rut that hung me up and I couldn’t get traction anymore. It was easy enough to push it both times. Just pull the pin on the back of the transaxle and it rolls real easy.
Speaking of the transaxle, it is mostly plastic, so longevity concerns do arise. It is a “Variator” part number 580486201. The price of a replacement pretty much means you are getting a new mower if it is out of warranty, in all honesty. It is a one piece factory sealed part. So far it has held up just fine through several hours of work on my property.
The Poulan Pro 46″ model has 20″ rear tires and 15″ front tires which I feel is adequate for this mower size. Overall width is 48″ so if you have to get this through a gate, you’ll want to make sure it will fit first.
The mower has a 16in turning radius which basically means if you were to drive the mower in as tight of a circle as you possibly could, the circle created in the lawn by the outer edge of the rear tires would be 32″ wide.
This means it turns relatively well for a riding mower.
Quality of Cut
This Poulan Pro 46″ mower actually cuts surprisingly well. I’ve cut grass that was at least 12″ tall by doing about a 3/4 overlap pass and it did fine without bogging down. The only time it bogs down is if you run over a lot of clippings you’ve already discharged.
Alternatively, there are mulching blades available for about $50: 46″ Mulching Blade Kit For Poulan Pro
Under this 46″ deck there are two blades that do the cutting via a belt drive series of pulleys. This mower is rated for up to 2 acre yards. (I use it to mow 4 acres regularly though, shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone.) You also have two anti scalping wheels on the front of the deck that do an OK enough job most of the time.
There is a lever on your left side that controls the spring assisted deck lift. It is super easy to change heights. It has a cutting range from 1.5″ to 4″ over 6 different positions. I usually cut on the #5 setting.
If you move the key back one spot after starting the mower that will enable mow in reverse, which I usually forget to do until the first time I have to back up and I can hear the clutch disengage.
All in all, it does provide a nice even cut.
The Poulan Pro 46″ Deck model does have a hitch on the back of it to use the normal accessories such as a broadcast spreader, yard trailer, weed sprayer, etc.
If you’re going to be storing this mower outside, I’d recommend getting a mower cover to keep dirt and debris off of it while not in use.
Overall, I like this mower. There are only a couple negatives so far for me, number 1 being the tires that keep going flat. I’ve even put some fix a flat in there and still, every time, they are flat again (RF and LR for reference.) I think it is that either the tire is not seated on the rim properly or the rim has gotten slightly bent from the rough terrain here. I have seen at least one other review that mentions this same thing as well. I have an air compressor (I use that to blow the grass off the mower when I’m done also) so it isn’t the worst thing, just inconvenient.
My 2nd complaint is the hood doesn’t latch and the hinge mechanism doesn’t wrap all the way around the bar in front. So you could easily remove the hood, the problem is that while riding over bumpy terrain sometimes the hood will bounce around, dislodge and cock over to the side. This is something pretty minor overall though.
For the power it offers, the size of the deck, and the price point I think this is a great bang for your buck mower.