Deere LA140 vs. Sears (Monster) MTS 5500 vs ???

lawnman0515April 15, 2007

I'm looking to purchase a lawn tractor w/ bagger. I do understand

that in this range, I am looking at a 10 year tractor. My price

range is $3000 or less. I have it narrowed down to these 2. Maybe

someone can enlighten me also on the warrantee pro's & con's as I am

confused by it.

Here is what my research has shown me:

Good points on MTS - Thicker 10 gauge deck, one deck scalp wheel in

the front middle, ELS 26 HP engine,

Good points on LA140 - More height adjustment points, mower deck

wash port, lumbar seat, soft grip steering wheel, mulching deck


Turning radius, electric pto and tire size are equal features on



Will the 26 Briggs ELS on the Sears be a lot more reliable than the

23 hp Briggs on the Deere?

Has anyone used grass catchers on either of these and can report

back to me how they worked? Airflow, plugging up, etc

Can anyone enlighten me on the hydro trans used on both?

I did notice a idler pully on the Deere deck that was really running

at a strange just looked weird.

To confuse matters even worse, I did also look at the lower end

Sears Zero turn models but am a little hesitant with having 2 low

quality hydro units on it and wondering about future repairs on


I really do appreciate any feedback as I am really stumped what to

do but may be leaning towards the MTS for its thicker deck.

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I began looking hard & researching about 5 weeks ago, & in less than a week narrowed the field to the John Deere 145(last year's model that corresponds to this year's LA140, avail localy from a JD dealer for $1999) and the Craftsman MTS 5500 you mention. BTW- the Sears website claims 11 ga thickness for the MTS deck, still feels substantially thicker than the JD 12 ga deck according to my unscientific "knuckle test". ;^)

Anyhoo- the local JD dealer's last year's models had sat outside all year, they're *still* out there, covered with dirt & dust. And just as I was about to buy the MTS 5500, which has the preferable TuffTorq trans(at least according to all the research I did) I found that some of the Sears Fairway FS5500 clearance models also had the same TuffTorq trans. The MTS is the replacement model for the discontinued Fairway. See the post below about "New MTS 5500 tractor" and my reply in that thread explaining details, & click the links included to see & compare both the MTS 5500 & the FS 5500. Bottom line, I saved lots of $$ by getting the Fairway, *And* still got the TuffTorq trans I wanted.

The ELS engine is only a small step up from the Intek &/or the JD version so far as I can tell. Biggest difference seems to be the air filter setup. Given equal care I would expect equal life & service, & don't really expect an extra few paper HP to make any real-world difference.

And btw- one of the big factors that decided me on the Sears was the thicker stronger deck. ;^) Lots of tree roots to run into here, plus the soil is so sandy that we wear mower decks out from the inside!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 2:23AM
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davidld(central KY)

These are both nice tractors. Having said that if we are about at the pricetag of the Sears GS6500 GARDEN tractor I think I would opt for that instead of either. The reason being is that the Hydrostat on the garden tractor is rated for use of ground-engaging attachments, and is therefore sturdier overall. This is especially good if you are constantly hauling around a heavy bagger full of grass. You can get the Hydrostat garden tractor with 26 hp for about $2500 on one of the periodic Sears sales plus the cost of the bagger, which should be the same..

The engines are all but the same thing. If you pressed me I think the MTS5500 is beefier overall than the LA 140 but either will go 10 years.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 7:47AM
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Thanks for the report unclestu. Yes, I do like that better built deck on the MTS. I sure wish I could try out both decks on my lawn though and see what gives me a better cut.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 9:40AM
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Hey davidld, you may be on to something here. The DGS 6500 (28748) is $2480 and it has the 26 hp Kohler Pro V-TWin. Hmmmmm......I'm assuming the 48" deck on the DGS would be the same as the one on the MTS??? I'm not crazy about the black color but I do like the idea of going with a heavier trans and possibly getting a few more years out of it.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 9:54AM
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If your into color buy the green and yellow one. If your interested in bang for the buck buy the black one (DGS6500). The decks on the 5500 and 6500 are the same and you can also get the DGS6500 with a 54" deck if your mowing a lot of area. With the DGS6500 you have true ground engaging capabilities. You can buy the tractor and bagger unit with tax for under $3000. If you time the sales right you can get it for less. When I bought my 2006 GS6500 The salesman gave me sale price plus 15% because I bought a bunch of attachments at the same time.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 10:35AM
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davidld(central KY)

If you are at that price level already, I don't think you will ever regret getting the model with the heavier duty tranny rated for ground engagement.

I wouldn't fool with the bagger until I tried using the mulcher and see how that goes first. I mulched practically everything grass and leaves last year with my Deere. My lawn looks great and I took a big load off the city pickup.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 12:31PM
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The Craftsman tractors you all are talking about look nice. I wouldn't have thought to look at them. Are they made by Husqvarna?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 10:30AM
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Who does service on Craftsman tractors? Not the Sears store, I assume...

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 11:43AM
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"Are they made by Husqvarna?"

Yes they are.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 2:29PM
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davidld(central KY)

All the Craftsman-branded tractors are made by the Husqvarna Group in the huge McCrae, GA factory and differ from the Husqvarnas only in cosmetics (paint, hood design).
Sears has their own tractor service connected to their appliance repair. They have serviced their own tractors for 50 years, perhaps longer.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 2:50PM
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From what little I know, isn't it proper to say that Husqvarna, Sears, and Poulon are all made by American Yard Products? Maybe they come out of the same factory, but I believe AYP is the mother company of all three.

Also, in the "for what it's worth" category, I've gotten far more than 10 years out of mower engines. Until I developed arthritis in my knee I was accustomed to walking my 1/2-acre front yard. I had two mowers, both Toros, one from 1975 and one from 1985. The 1975 3hp B&S lasted over twenty years, and the 1985 3.5hp 2-cycle with self-propulsion lasted seventeen years. I think those engines got more torture from use than does the 12.5hp engine in my Toro WH.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 4:03PM
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tenesseetoro: AYP is gone. 10 months ago Husqvarna AB was spun off as a separate company by then parent company Electrolux. Husqvarna produces Craftsman tractors under contract. If you go to the Husqvarna AB site
they talk about the transition and state that they are the largest producer of lawn/garden tractors in the world.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 7:27PM
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I went to go shopping for a mower while shopping at sears I found the mts5500 reduced to 1,999.99 from 2,699.99 while the salesman entered the sku number found it was once again lowered to 1,399.99 I couldn't load it in my truck fast enough.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 9:55PM
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i just bought the MTS 5500 after comparison shopping and thought for the money it beats the green ones. But now after reading robco's post I feel the 1999.00 I paid was maybe too much! Was the price he got a mistake or is the 5500 often on sale for 1399.00.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 8:56AM
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1999 would be a normal in-season price. You can get some crazy good deals on left overs when the snow is flying.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 10:18AM
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larso1(So. CO Zone 5)

I'd say that's a very unusual price for a model that's still in current production. That's the kind of price I'd expect to pay for a slightly used returned unit.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 5:54PM
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