This tiller is similar to but improved over the 1983 Wards version that it replaces. I chose this model because I have used rear-tine tillers and cannot easily turn nor till to the edges of my raised-bed gardens. The specifications of this model matched
very closely to those of the tiller that I have been using for the past 40 years. I paid $430.00 for the old tiller in 1983. The new model was not much more expensive and included free-shipping via motor express. It arrived well-crated, filled with oil
and assembly was quick and easy.
The improvement made in this model is the ability to reverse, but at cost of greater complexity in the driving belt mechanism. I replaced the old tiller because, after 40 years service, the muffler bolts finally sheared in the head and the drive shaft oil
seal into the chain box failed. A few years ago the idler pulley failed but found a replacement of the same diameter at Jack's. With a little lathe work to reduce the diameter of the pulley flange, the replacement idler pulley returned the old tiller to
Repairs needed to return the old tiller to service would require a top-end job (in order to use the drill press to repair the twisted off muffle bolts) and replacement of the shaft oil seal requires rebuilding the chain box. I would rather garden than spend
the time making these repairs so I purchased the Huskqvarna model that is identical in size (12-26") and H.P. 5.0 as the old model. The design is almost identical to the old tiller.
The "lifetime" factory lubrication is in my experience good for maybe ten years before the seals in the chaincase and shaft begin to leak. Then you must service the tiller every year by refilling with gear oil for maybe the next twenty years. Evidently
the manufacturers define lifetime differently that I do...but maybe this one will last my lifetime, because 20 years will take me into my 90s and I expect my seals will start to go too.
Disadvantages, to my mind, is the added complexity of the motor controls versus the old model which had the sparkplug exposed with a simple shorting tab a simple throttle, and an easily adjustable carburetor. The mindless configuration of the new Briggs
& Stratton engine is not superior to my way of thinking.
The muffler and air filter in the new model are better than the old design, but the old one served perfectly well for 40 years so it wasn't too bad. Overall this is a good value tiller and should sell well to anyone having a mid-sized garden.