need good reliable lawn tractor

askgj(7b)March 13, 2013

I know there have been many posts about what LT to buy - I've read them all and am confused as ever. This will be our first LT - we previously had a flat 2 acre with a lawn service but my husband wants to take over the mowing and make jobs like fertilizing (previously done with a push spreader), and hauling tools etc easier. We recently built a new home with approx 1 acre of lawn - mostly flat but with a fairly steep slope in one area. We plan to pull a wagon for bales of pine needles for the beds and possibly an aerator. We want something that is reliable - I keep reading on other forums that the cub cadets have lots of belt problems and are difficult to keep in repair. My husband is very good at maintaining equipment but we want something that is easy to maintain. Lots of people seem to like JD but I keep reading that they are very expensive and sometimes difficult to maintain. We are retired so we are also concerned about the budget to get what we need and keep it in top running order. We think we should be looking at 42-46" cutting decks and definitely want one that does a good job at self mulching the grass (bermuda). We appreciate any advice on models we should research further.

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The LT market is very competitive and brand pricing for comparible machines is within a couple hundred dollars of one another.
No matter what brand, you will find that they are all made by one of two manufacturers.
Consequently, you'll find they source the same engines and trany manufacturers. LTs will employ the bottom of the line transaxles from either hydrogear or tufftorq. Neither has a better or worse performance history over the other. LTs will have either a single or twin engine produced by B&S, Kaw, Kohler and possibly Yamaha , but foreign engines like Robin are making some inroads. Twin engines run smother, have preasure lub. and should have a longer lifespan. B&S engines have a reputation for some valve assembly issues and tend to need more valve maintenance. This isn't to say the others are trouble free.
Frames will very significantly with the majority being of 12 or 13 guage and some of heavier guage.
CR reviews LTs for mulching, side discharge and bagging performance and quality of cut.
I suggest that you look for quality of cut/mulching, V-twin, engine manufacturer and guage of frame (11 guage or less) in selecting a LT. If one doesn't stand out-you need to balance those attributes. Once you narrow it down to a couple models, google search for reviews. Pay attention to reviews on tractor forums and pay special attention to how long the reviewer has owned the machine.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:48PM
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Thank you Grass1950, I think concentrating on quality of cut/mulching is good advice and seems a good fit for what we expect. I'm surprised/curious that you say LTs employ bottom of the line transaxles.... I would have thought that would be true of LMs .... I actually thought LTs would be a big step UP...? Where do you have to go to get a good transaxle? One model that it seems we should look at is a JD x320....beyond that I'm not sure.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:52PM
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askgi -
Repost of Slammer's Buying Guide...

1. Carefully evaluate the size mower you need and buy at least one size larger, given gate and storage door considerations. Work with reputable Dealers who can provide product choice assistance, product predelivery prep and aftersale service at competitve prices.

2. NEVER buy a mower from ANYPLACE that will not let you test drive same or at least a similar model. Ergonomics are just as important as performance and capability.

3. DO NOT base your purchase on price or brand name alone! Do proper research and find all of the available models that fit your criteria and haggle, save, or trade to get the right equipment for the job. Do not compromise! Dealer support after the sale is also important.

4. Understand your property and it's impact on your choice of equipment. Mowing slopes, obstacles, future landscape projects, winter use, attachments, etc. can all have a significant effect.

If you follow these three tips you will end up a happy camper with just the right unit for the job. If you disregard this advice you may end up with one or the other of the following problems:

A. Buyers remorse. Stuck with a piece of junk or simply a unit inadequate for the task at hand.


B. A teed off spouse when you start shopping for another tractor just 3 - 6 months down the road because you didn't buy the right unit in the first place.

Enjoy the experience!

PS: just a personal comment- Cubs (the 2000 series) are the only ones around with shaft (beltless) drive; deeres have a strong rep on
being a value machine over time. A number of the posts made on such forums are sometimes overly critical of the product line in question and more a matter of personal frustration and venting... take all with a grain of salt. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:57PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Do not buy a Husky, IMHO! I have a YTH2348 that is less than 2 years old and it has been a problem from day one.

Parts breaking and falling off.

It broke again last night, wouldn't go forward or reverse. I couldn't see anything obvious in the darkening hours.

If it is the hydrostatic drive I think I have 1 month left under warranty on it.

When I get home, it will be another, work on the Husky afternoon.....

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 5:31PM
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My bad. We are suffering a terminology issue. My definition of a LM is a walk behind 3.5-6.5 mower, a riding mower is a sit on with rear engine and a LT is a front engine ride on like the JD 100 series or the Craftsman LT1000/2000/3000. It's not that your terminology is wrong, just different from mine.
A JD x320 is a well built solid machine with a good rep. I haven't investigated or researched any brand in almost four years. If I recall, the X320 uses the TuffTorq K58 transaxle which has a robust 1" axle.
Other brands in the same class as the X320 I believe would be the Kubota T series, the Simplicity Broadmore/Conquest, and possibly Husqvarna. Not to muddy the waters, but in that price range there are tractors with locking differentials which can be an advantage on a slope/hill.

All in all the X300 is a fine machine.

(FYI the low end Tuff Torq transaxle is the K46. I would look for a K57 or better (e.g. K58, K62, K66, K72) The low end Hydro gear is the T2, I would look for the G730. The K58 and the G730 are comparable just as the T2 and the K46 are comparable.)

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

This post was edited by grass1950 on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 18:08

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:04PM
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Wertach, what machine are you talking about when you say "Husky?" I'm not aware of a brand with that name. Do you mean the Tractor Supply brand called Huskee, or are you making reference to Husqvarna? The tractor supply Huskee is a MTD product, while Husqvarna is another major manufacturer of lawn and garden tractors. Husqvarna was formerly Electrolux, and American Yard Products (AYP), and Roper. The Tractor Supply Huskee is one of MTD's lower-end products. As to the Husqvarna, I have a 6-year-old LGT2654 which has been virtually trouble free. The word "Husky" doesn't identify your machine, and considering that you gave it a pretty hard slam, you should clarify what you're talking about.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 10:35PM
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12ga - he id'd the model as a yth2348 - google sez:
About 82,500 results (0.24 seconds)
Search Results

Husqvarna YTH2348 information from Consumer Reports ⺠... ⺠Lawn mowers & tractors ⺠Ratings
Get the latest information from Consumer Reports to help you shop for a Husqvarna YTH2348, including user reviews and a list of features.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 3:50AM
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