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I picked up a murray rider mower. Engine was seized so I took it apart. Piston connector was obliterated, left a score on the cylinder near the block. Idk if i should replace the connector and gaskets or swap the engine. If swap, what type of engine should I aim for. Briggs and stratton 12.5HP

 

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I hope you realize the data tag says that engine is 24 years old. With the scarring on the cylinder walls, you can only hope the cylinder can be bored enough to take out the damage. The only piston size available from Briggs is .020 oversize (part #499958). It's a piston/ring kit for $94. The standard rod is also the only thing available from Briggs (part#490348) It runs $36. The gaskets/seals will run another $20. $150 in parts + the cost off boring.
https://www.partstree.com/models/285707-0113-01-briggs-stratton-vertical-engine/

A new 13.5HP Briggs Intek engine with a 2-year warranty is $423 with shipping
http://www.smallenginewarehouse.com/31R577-0027.html

Either way you go, once you've spent your $$$ and time to get it all back together, you've still got a 24 year old, single cylinder, Murray mower that's worth around $300.

Unless you can find another 12.5 Briggs for $150 and you consider your time is of no value, the math is not really working in your favor on this project:(.
 

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Look into a Predator engine from Harbor Freight. They may have one that will fit for considerably less than a B&S.
 
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