Looking for New Tiller Advice
We've gotten back into gardening after many years. Long ago we had a Troy Bilt horse model, which we now regret selling. This year's garden we put in with a used Craftsman rear tine tiller, whose transmission hopelessly siezed just minutes after completing our garden plot. The repair effort turned into a failure autopsy, and I now conclude the pressed sheet metal chain drive transmissions of the Craftsman type and its clones are basically non-repairable after a major failure.
So I'm looking for something with a gear type transmission like a Troy Bilt Pony. I saw that Home Depot is selling a Yard Machines 21AA40M1029 model with gear drive for $650. Looking at it I see what appears to be the petite gear drive transmission of a TroyBilt Bronco model. (apparently MTD borrowed this from the Troy Bilt line since they make both) Does anybody have any experience with one of these (good or bad)? It's a good looking machine but there are a few things that bug me. 1)no protective guards over the tine shaft seals, 2)flimsy looking sheet metal tine blades, and 3) the dainty looking transmission (compared to the Pony model). Will one of these stand up to years of use, or should I be spending the $400 more for a Pony model? We don't have a real big garden (1200 sg ft) right now, but we're having so much fun growing and eating the fresh organic produce, I got the feeling its going to be expanding!
Thanks for any experience or advice you can offer.