Swisher 44″ Mower, Good & Bad

Swisher 44″ “Trailmower. Model # T11544. 11.5 hp. I’ve been needing a mower like this for sometime now. Something to mow along my driveway and a small section of grass out at the main road, without having to hook up a big bush hog for 15 minutes of work. When Amazon had this on sale for $989 and free shipping, I went for it. It was advertised as a “Trailmower” and it turns out it isn’t. The owner’s manual clearly says, 44″ Finish Cut Trailmower. Amazon should have been clear on that.
Am I happy with it? YES, now I am.
I use a Honda Foreman 500 to tow this mower and it works good. But you can also use a golf cart, lawn tractor, or UTV.
Some problems “I” have with this mower are:
Height adjustment. 1.5″ to 4.5″ per the manual. That doesn’t work for me. By removing the rear discharge chute, I was able to lower the height adjustment rod and gain another 1.5″. Now my blades are about 6″ from the ground.
Grass collection in the belt compartment. I can’t believe how much grass gets into the belt compartment. The only solution I’ve come up with is to remove both covers and blow the grass out after every use.
Hard to start. The first few times I started this mower, it started on the first pull. But soon it became a real pain in the ass to get it started. I found that the neutral safety switch was out of adjustment and that was an easy fix. Maybe it wasn’t tightened down properly at the factory and vibrated loose. I’ll keep an eye on it.
This is the smallest engine they use on this mower. The 12.5 hp model was just too much money for me. I think this unit will serve my purpose and should last for years.
I hope you find this video useful.



40 thoughts on “Swisher 44″ Mower, Good & Bad

  1. I like it now that I've done a little modification to it. It's a lot easier to hook this up to mow along the driveway than hooking up a 10 foot bush hog for 10 minutes of work.

  2. does this mower mow good enough to mow your whole yard? I have a 2.5 acre yard and I just bought one today but it wont arrive for about a week

  3. If you got the same model (T11544 finish cut) it should work fine. I did a little math and at 2 mph it should take 1.4 hours to mow 2.5 acres, not including gas and beer stops. 2.5 acres = 108900 sq. ft. You cover 38702.4 sq. ft. per mile per hour. If you hit it at 3 mph you'll be done in less than an hour, minus any stops. Enjoy.

  4. Didn't read all of the posts so I'm sorry if I'm repeating what someone else has said.

    I've owned a 60" Swisher mower for 10 years and the term "trail mower" has been a constant source of confusion to a LOT of people since I've been looking at these mowers. Because of the shear magnitude of the confusion, I'm not quite sure why the manufacturers haven't changed the name/terminology.

    When it comes to Swisher, their terminology "trailmower" is actually referring to the fact that the mower is designed to be pulled, making it a "trailing mower" or "trail mower" (in respect to the machine pulling it). It doesn't mean that the mower is a "trail mower" as in "designed to cut trails"….which is what comes to most people's mind when they hear "trail mower".

    Swisher uses the terms "finish cut", and "rough cut" to refer to what the mowers are designed to do…..either cut a "finish" cut (as in mowing a yard), or "rough cut" for creating trails in the woods. I think most people that aren't familiar to this little "oddity" are left (as you were) thinking that a "trail mower" would be what they need to cut rough trails in the woods….which is absolutely not the case.

    As I said, don't know why this source of confusion has been allowed to go on as long as it has.

    Hope this helps to clear this up for someone.
    Stan Wilhite

  5. PS. A little word of unsolicited advice (and we all know how plentiful that is!)  :-).
    I'd be really careful in swapping positions (from using directly behind, to offset on either side). Reason being, it's very easy to forget where the Swisher is in respect to whatever you're pulling it with….and it doesn't take much of an imagination to realize what kind of damage that could do!  A nice 100K car would look a little unusual with half of a Swisher mower hanging out of the grill!  🙂 

    Enjoy your mower, I just swapped the original 13.5 hp B/S (with 1000 trouble free hrs on it) for a new 21 hp B/S and man….what a difference!
    Stan in N AL

  6. I am thinking about buying a similar mower. Can this mower handle mustard/nettle weeds ? need to maintain pastures to stay free of weeds ? Is is still working to your satisfaction ? any recommendation of further increasing the blade height?

  7. I have one of those ( Swisher Trail King 44 ) bought it to mow my 4 acre yard and using a riding mower to pull the unit, it has been nothing but a major headache since I got it. First it was a blade pulley tower bearing that went out causing it to destroy the entire pulley tower, then after replacing that, it started "eating" the drive belt faster than it took to replace it, and at 34 bucks per each belt, at the rate it was breaking the belts it would have cost me more for belts just for one summers use than I paid for the entire mower. The problem with the belt is due to the excessive back bend placed on the belt at the tensioner pulley by the way the belt was configured, causing it to crack the inside diameter of the belt and the constant bending around each pulley would cause the belt to start peeling until a piece of it would break out  about 6 to 7 inches long leaving just the outer most portion of the belt to carry the load UNTIL you hit  an area of tough grass then the engine would overpower the belt and cause it to pull completely apart.  The last and final problem was the engine, a junky B/S 10 horse counter balanced engine,  the first problem with it was the recoil rope pulley, it collapsed when attempting to start the engine, replaced it with a metal type pulley from an older riding mower I had, then what ended the life of this poorly designed piece of equipment was the internal counter balance weight that is connected to the crankshaft by a very flimsy connecting rod  broke at idle speed and punched a huge hole through the block and also destroyed the camshaft  and bottom oil pan of the engine. This unit was less than a month old and when used everything was checked, oil, gasoline before even starting it, so I know it was not due to any negligence on my part. It was solely due to poor design of the unit and also on B/S for coming up with such shoddy design of a connecting rod for counterbalance weight that weighed approx. 6 pounds and had a connecting rod for it that was less than 1/2 width and 5/16" thick at the crankshaft. That particular item could have been eliminated completely at assembly as the engine is mounted on a unit that the operator is not having to hold onto and absorbing what vibrations (if any) that would be associated with it running regardless of engine speed. I hope you don't encounter problems as I have with mine, it now sits in the barn waiting to be scrapped!!! After that headache, I bought a Dixie Chopper Classic 3360, 33 horse power with a 60 inch cut and it will cut anything that gets in front of it. 
    By the way I am in Ky too,  northern portion  half way between Louisville Ky. and Cincinnati Ohio

  8. I was thinking of this to mow a horse pasture. It would be nice to sit in the truck and mow, with the AC and radio going, and the bed for carrying any other yard tools and gas.

  9. I had the same problem with the neutral switch.  Mine was made in 2011, so I'm surprised they still let that defect ride thru to your model year.

  10. Thanks for the video, bought one used from a guy for $450 and it was like new. I think he had the neutral switch issue and couldn't solve it. Your video saved me a ton of $$. I'll have to look at removing the chute next, I also need more ground clearance.

  11. Good info – I use mine hard around my farm and it's been a great mower behind my ATV. I noticed Ethanol gas will eat through the gas line if it is not prepped before storing.

  12. I have an older model and cannot find blades.  It has a 44 inch deck and I lost the model and serial years ago.  It has been a great mower, came standard with 8hp which is adequate, but should have been larger with electric start, I changed it over.  Back to the blade problem.  The blades are 22" long with a "D" center hole that isn't very good, I have had problems with blades.  The other drawback is its' rear discharge shield drops down too far and I have modified that.  I also changed mine to a trailer hitch ball setup instead of a pin and hole setup.

  13. Thanks Nogga, very helpful. I just bought one for our farm and have mowed twice. Great info here, much appreciated.

  14. Made in China crap. Should have bought a good old Made in USA product. Our family has a Swisher from 85 years ago and still works like a charm.

  15. I bought one of these about 20+ years ago. It was delivered in the same type crate, but that was long before Amazon, so I paid shipping. I think I used it for about 10 years before it died. I mow about 4 acres, so I towed it behind my lawn tractor with the Swisher offset. It cut my mowing time about in half, and did a good job.
    Too bad you had the problem with the neutral switch, but it at least it was an easy fix once you figured it out. Still, you should never have had to fiddle with it.

  16. My brother and I used that same mower for two years on our family farm. The offset hitch is junk and it broke more times than you could count. Burned up afew belts also. Not intended to use for tall grass like in the video. We bought a small brush hog after the Swisher became a total piece of junk. Just like you said early in video it is a finish mower meant to cut your lawn.

  17. I loved the one I had. Neighbor did too. he went and bought one after trying mine out.  pulled it offset to the riding mower to double the cutting swath. Welded a hitch to mine so we could double up with 2 trail mowers behind the lawn tractor. measured cut was 120 inches! What I liked the best was the ability to do a counter clockwise zero turn around an object such as a tree. A second loop around the tree was required to get a missed strip between the two but both loops could be done at full speed. stopped using it when I got a commercial 72" zero turn with a much higher ground speed than the old rider.

  18. i love mine. i mowed 20ac in a day. went through 4 belts but the weeds were 2 to 4 ft tall. i towed it behind a 14hp craftsman mower. this lil thing is a beast.

  19. Folks considering purchasing a Swisher trailing mower should be aware of a few things. We have had one, same model as shown in the video, for a few years now, pulling it behind a 600cc Yamaha Grizzley. Tried it with a 180cc first – don't do it – you should have at least 400-450cc or you will mess up your final drive or transmission. We use it on several acres of horse pasture and it does a decent job when it works. Both axles have failed at the welds over the last three years, but were easy to get re-welded.
    These units have a great Briggs & Stratton engine, but the construction and engineering of the mower itself leaves a lot to be desired. As you watch the video, notice behind the cut off switch where the belt runs to the leftmost pulley that there are two bolts sticking up. These are to keep the belt from jumping the pulley when the tension is suddenly released. The innermost of these two bolts is in contact with the back of the belt the whole time you are mowing, with the exposed threads eating away at the belt. This is cheapo engineering, where some sort of pulley or flat metal bar should be and is the main reason Swisher uses a special Kevlar backed belt, which will still get eaten – just check the many complaints online.
    Service – there pretty much isn't any in my neck of the woods. I recently needed to get this unit repaired and checked the Swisher site and they listed 3 outfits, two of which don't exist and the other hasn't repaired Swishers since they signed up to do so in 2005. When I brought this to Swisher's attention they updated their site and now there are no repair facilities listed within 100 miles of Bellingham, WA. A quick check online will also show that Swisher customer service is pretty much non-existent also. I repaired it myself, including changing out that bolt with the exposed threads that was eating belts.

  20. I have had one for about ten years. Engine went on me, I replaced that. Just about every component has worn out or broke on me. I have welding and cutting equipment…THANK GOD!!!

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