New CVT transmissions. Any experience?

tuckermaclainJune 11, 2014

Looking for a rider to do my small yard, just for fun. It's just a 1/2 acre but pretty steep slopes. Had wanted an X304, but JD cheapened them with a K46 recently. Thought I'd need a manual because of the slopes. Thought about a Wheel Horse. Looked at the latest AYP Craftsman, and they have a new General Transmission built CVT. I demo'd it and it pulled like an electric motor up a steep slope. Pretty powerful. Never heard of this. Heavier duty than the one MTD licenses. Reading the specs, it's got a bit more torque than a K58. It will run cooler. It is more efficient. Mantaining it should be replacing the external belt. There seems to be no down side to it. The AYP tractor cost me 1,600, which is a lot less than something with a K58. Before anybody tells me how bad AYP is--I like it just fine. For my needs it is more than adequate. Just cutting a little yard and pulling a trailer with mulch or shrubs. Does anybody have any experience or opinions on this tranny that they'd share? I've used torque converters in other things (minibikes, snowmobile) and they were wonderful and easy to maintain. I have a suspicion that Tuff Torq and Hydro Gear are going to make some or lose this market. Hydrostatics are in comparison inefficient, expensive, make lots of noise, and need regular (hard to do) maintaining. I feel pretty certain that they are going to the dustbin of history with lawn tractors.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They don't look like much from the outside, but yet I've not had a problem with one. The manufacturer used to have an interesting website that gave you more details. Wave of the future? We'll see....

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 11:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I took delivery of my Craftsman (AYP) mower. 22HP Briggs twin. 4x anti-scalp wheels, and the new CVT transmission. $1,725 with tax/delivery. On my steepest slope, where I wouldn't want to mow side-to-side, the thing pulls like a truck even with a trailer full of dirt. Other tractors I have had that used a hydro would never do that.
Looking at this forum, it seems like every third tread is about hydro problems. And, considering that the K46 is usually built as a throw-away tranny, and hydrostats in general demand a lot of mnx and care, is anybody else impressed or at least intrigued by the idea of a torque converter type of transaxle? They run cool, last forever, and mnx is easy enough that even your idiot brother-in-law could do it. I don't see ever wanting a hydro in a lawn tractor again.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 11:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

well, MacClain... your testimony sorta reads a bit like those written back when the first hydros came out in L&G power eqpt... and those hydros were designed/built nearly bulletproof. Then came the "cost improvements" aka competition wars, BBS outlets, low $$ price point customers, planned obsolescence, ad nauseum...
The CVT's are a sound design principle - just how they will fare in the rough and tumble of OPE over the next cuppla decades is a good question.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 4:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

***"torque converter type of transaxle"***
To be sure, the hydrostatic transmissions/transaxles you cite in your comparison...........ARE NOT torque convertor based mechanisms.
The variety of transmissions/transaxles found in outdoor power and lawn equipment are hydrostatic drive mechanisms, having a genuine hydraulic pump component supplying oil flow to an equally sized hydraulic MOTOR component.
The pump and motor are most often contained within a single housing or case, but that does not entitle them to "torque convertor" status.
The difference between hydrostatic drive and torque convertor is in the components.
Hydrostatic drive utilizes a hydraulic pump to create fluid flow.
The fluid flow developed by the pump is channeled to some type of delivery conduit to a control valve. It is the control valve that determines where the fluid flow will be directed to other hydraulic components. The components might be hydraulic cylinders (as is the case of a log splitter) or to a hydraulic motor (as in your typical hydro trans lawn tractor). The control valve also determines which direction the hydraulic motor will rotate.
A torque convertor is a highly modified "Fluid coupling".
Fluid couplings simply use fluid to (somewhat) connect a rotating power source member (drive member) to a rotatable power reception member (driven member). In fluid couplings, the ratio of input torque to output torque is theoretically 1 to 1 (1:1).
Fluid couplings have 2 members that deal with the fluid. The input power source member is called the impeller or input turbine, the output member is called the output turbine or driven turbine turbine.
Torque convertors have an additional member to deal with fluid flow. The additional member is called the Stator.
The stator DOES NOT rotate freely. The stator can rotate only in one direction because it rides on an overrunning clutch bearing.
It is the stator member that enables a torque convertor to "multiply torque" so that output torque is multiplied as much as 3 times more than input torque from the power source.
Graphically speaking, it works like this, using a common automobile transmission as an example.
At engine idle RPM, the torque convertor is unable to transmit enough power (torque) to cause the car to move because the fluid flow inside the torque convertor is insufficient to transmit the power from the input turbine through the stator to the output turbine. For this reason you are able to pull to a stop and leave the transmission in "gear" without killing the engine.
But, when you step on the accelerator, engine RPM increases and so does fluid flow within the torque convertor. The fluid flow caused by the input turbine TRIES to rotate the stator member in the opposite direction, but it can't because the overrunning clutch bearing holds it firmly stationary. At this point, torque conversion is taking place and torque output is greater than torque input, but still not great enough to overcome the mass of the car. As the engine RPM increases, the fluid flow volume will reach the point where the output torque is great enough to move the car, and then the output turbine begins to rotate and the car will begin moving. So long as the load factor of the car mass is very high, the torque convertor will remain in "torque conversion" and the stator will be motionless.
But, when the load factor of the car decreases as the car gains momentum and you "level off" to cruising speed, torque conversion tapers off and the stator begins to rotate along with the input and output turbines. When you let up completely on the accelerator, the stator then begins to rotate freely on the overrunning clutch bearing because the inertia of the car and its forward motion are at this point trying to "drive" the engine.
Most "modern automobile transmissions now feature a "lock up" torque convertor to make the connection between engine and transmission a "mechanical coupling" under "cruising conditions" to enhance fuel economy.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 10:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My bad. By "torque converter," I mean the type that is found on a snow mobile or minibike--like the old Rupp minicycles. A good contemporary example would be the "Torq-a-Verter." It has two pulleys connected by a belt. The pulleys change size with engine RPM. I assume you know how it works. The General Transmission model has the ratios changed by pressure on a foot pedal rather than input pulley PRM. This allows the operator to "shift" through the entire range at any speed. A wonderful, simple idea that will make the hydro obsolete in this application. The automotive torque converter is not at all what I meant. All of the problems associated with the complex and relatively finicky hydro are a thing of the past. Just 2 pulleys and a fanbelt to worry about.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 2:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you are referring to the Reeves drive pulley system, the most common type of CVT.

CVTS aren't the most efficient transmission out there, but they are a good economical solution. If the RS800 proves more reliable than the K46, I'll pick one up. I don't mind changing belts and pulleys.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 10:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Husqvarna website linked below, which I visited today, shows all those mowers with hydrostatic.
Do the mowers with CVT use the same rocker pedal arrangement? Since the blades need full engine speed, how does the operator select the ground speed with CVT?

Here is a link that might be useful: Husqvarna

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 3:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

***" how does the operator select the ground speed with CVT?"***
I must be missing something here. What would imply that the engine RPM would drop because of having ground speed controlled by a Continuosly Variable Transmission?
The deck system still uses a separate belt for its power.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Time and hours will tell if the CVT is more reliable than a hydrostatic. A viable alternative in any product line is always welcome.

Some people can break an anvil with a rubber hammer and while the K46 has its (minority) share of reported problems and usually from people who bought less tractor than they needed for what they do. Speaking to techs at TT I'm told that the number of complaints, warranty replacements, and parts sales for K46 hydros is a very low percentage compared to the number of K46's in the field and that, after all, is how they keep score. Sure, it'd be nice if those companies using the K46 paid an additional 50 cents or so to provide the lower case with drain plugs so the oil could be easily changed but then they'd need to add the external reservoir and that costs money too and the lawn tractor will cost more and the large majority of entry level LT owners probably would never change the oil anyway.

For me the K72 in my garden tractor is completely competent and doesn't act any differently when mowing or pulling a 600 lb lawn roller. I'm sure a K46 would leave its guts all over the lawn trying to pull that roller, but the K46 wasn't intended to do that yet I see people trying to pull lawn rollers, and a bigger lawn roller is better and only a few dollars more than a smaller roller, with entry level lawn tractors. After all, the roller will hook up to the lawn tractor so it should be able to pull the roller... right?

It's interesting to note that hydrostatics have been very well received in the short time they have been available in subcuts and cuts where they really work. Even die hard old timer tractor junkies I know who made the move tell me they would never go back to a geared subcut or cut.

While the RS800 may prove to be at least an alternative in an entry level lawn tractor only sporting 3/4" axles precludes it from use in a ground engaging garden tractor. Perhaps a future offering is a heavier duty version for GT applications.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Where I work, we ordered/bought a brand new Kubota CUT last year because it was one of the few that still offerred a geared transmission. I agree that heavy-duty hydros are the way to go for most uses. In our case, we wanted a geared tractor because we use it primarily for spraying, and the geared versions hold a steady speed much better than any hydro units (very important for sprayer calibration). But for almost all other uses, a hydro would definitely be more convenient.

I think the biggest issue with the K46 is that almost NO ONE in the retail business will tell you that it is designed for cutting relatively flat lawns ONLY and not really meant to tow anything (and frankly, other than dedicated dealers, most retailers don't have a clue). Thus, the consumer generally ends up making an uninformed purchase.

In my case, I purchased a K46 tractor when I lived on a flat lawn, then moved to a new house with a hilly lawn. K46 started showing problems at just over 100 hours. I've traded out the fluid for some synth 5w50 and it seems to be working again. Now my debate is to sell it while its working or run it until it drops'd probably run quite a bit longer for someone with a flat lawn.

In the meantime, I need to think about a new tractor. My lawn is a little to big for a push mower (takes about 2-2.5 hours with a push mower), but can't justify spending $3k on a GT that can handle the hills. That's where the CVT would be a player. If it is at least as capable/durable as the K46, and repairs mean I need to replace a belt and/or pulleys, it would be a real contender. Belts are a lot cheaper than a hydro rebuild.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)

I believe that CVTs have been used in snowmobiles and more recently in ATVs. I know Nissan uses them in automobiles. The only downside from an auto standpoint i've found is the towing capacity is terrible. In all cases, i've never heard anything bad about them. I figure they use them because they are probably cheaper then a regular auto transmission to build/maintain, but what do i know.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not sure I would trust Husqvarna's website - better to go to a dealer and see what they actually have - same with Craftsman. I don't know if their web developers are that inept or if they are just secretive about transmission offerings, but they sure aren't very forthcoming. If you can match up the Husqvarna with its Craftsman clone, you may be able to go to and find the exploded drawings / parts list for that model and possibly determine the transaxle.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 4:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Check the website below: RS800 replacement transaxle ($490) for certain Ariens, Snapper and Sears riders...actually, the only Sears rider listed comes up as a Canadian model. Some of the Ariens show up at HomeDepot, and have reasonably good reviews, although a few bad reviews on the transmission (again, no one really clarifies what went wrong with the transmission). What I was able to glean from it was that reverse tends to go out on these things, and possibly weak transmission mounts leading to bending of mounts and transmission subsequently throwing belts. We really need more in-depth info to determine if these issues are isolated, severe, or easily fixed by most DIY'ers...

Here is a link that might be useful: RS800 replacement transaxle

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

RS800 tear-down video

Here is a link that might be useful: General Transmissions RS800 CVT tear-down

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My earlier post evidently was not clearly stated. When I mow, I use full throttle to drive the blades at maximum design speed. But that does not mean that I always wish the travel speed of the mower (in miles per hour) to be at a maximum.
So how does the operator of a mower with the new General CVT unit control travel speed independent of the blade speed?
With hydro, it is done with lever or pedal which adjusts the output of the variable displacement piston pump within the hydro unit.
With a Nissan Altima, a continued full throttle run results in the CVT going to ever higher ratios resulting in ever higher speeds-- within limitations.
So the mower is not like the car.
With the General CVT, is it a pedal, lever, or ?? And how is reverse selected?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 8:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks as if this was posted by the manufacturer.

Here is a link that might be useful: General

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, from watching the videos and reading thru GT's webpage, I would say that the controls are very similar to a hydro, can either be a two-pedal setup for forward/reverse just like most hydro units, or can be a back/forth lever on the fender. However, I can't be 100% sure since I haven't seen one in the wild yet. But from website pics of Ariens models, that appears to be the case.

The video also suggests a variator, so I assume input speed remains constant and output speed can be "variated" or changed as needed. Proper mowing technique is to keep engine at full operating speed for the mower blades, while travel speed is adjusted as needed by the operator. Everything from mower blade length to deck design and standard engine operating RPMs have been designed around this scenario, so I can't imagine the CVT would change it.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I went by Sears today. Turns out that the sales people are not especially well versed on the subject either. So after looking at the mowers displayed, both the sales person and myself now know more than before.
The two units on the sales floor in the store with the General CVT are among the heavier duty of the mowers offered. That may be a commentary on the expected durability of the unit.
The CVT has travel speed of 7.5mph. The control I saw is the familiar right foot rocker pedal. But it feels a bit different. It was not running when I operated the pedal.
Looking under the unit from the rear, the molded "plastic" housing for the differential ring gear is nearer the left rear wheel and the housing bottom is easily visible there.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 1:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Interesting! Did you get the model numbers for those tractors? I'd heard the "fast tractors" were the CVT models, but no confirmation of that. Doubly interesting is that the Ariens models listed as having the CVT are also listed as having a top speed of 5.6mph, so I wonder if they are geared down more or if there is a typo somewhere. Gearing down would be preferable for work in hilly areas.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 4:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Interesting! Did you get the model numbers for those tractors? I'd heard the "fast tractors" were the CVT models, but no confirmation of that. Doubly interesting is that the Ariens models listed as having the CVT are also listed as having a top speed of 5.6mph, so I wonder if they are geared down more or if there is a typo somewhere. Gearing down would be preferable for work in hilly areas.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gmatx zone 6

Tuckermaclain - Would you share the actual model number of the Craftsman mower you bought? I am looking for a new riding mower. Have bought Craftsman mowers for many years, but was concerned about some of the "new" features they are now offering. Liked your comments on the one you bought so would like to look at that one specifically.



    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ay Sears, some of the mowers now have a button to push for blade engagement-- as do some Husqvarna models I glanced at while at the farm store this week. I have never had a mower with electric blade engagement. It might be great but it seems to me to be a potential trouble source and the lever is not a problem for me.
Hope the CVT proves to be a durable drive unit. I am not planning to buy a new mower anytime soon.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Interesting website.

Here is a link that might be useful: Found this

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 9:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yesterday was in a sizeable, but not the largest, Lowes store in my area. Looked at the limited selection of John Deere and Husqvarna front engine riders on display. None of them had the General transaxle. But signage at one of the Husqvarna mowers boasted of travel speed up to 8 mph.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey all, glad to hear so much talk about lawn mower transmissions! If you're interested I have a link here to a white paper that goes into detail about the CVTs General Transmissions produces for riding mowers -- in this case, the GT RT 400 is the working example. (Full disclosure - I do some public relations work for General Transmissions in the U.S.)
If you have technical questions about the CVTs post them and I'll see if can get a company technical expert to respond! Here's the link:

Here is a link that might be useful: General Transmissions news page

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 4:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good enough intro Doug. This will be one of those threads that live on I'm sure.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 2:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Everything found at that link is already old news to me. I do not know any negatives about the GT RT 400. But there probably are some. No reason for me to disparage the unit.
My approach is:

"Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside."

Alexander Pope

Always I welcome the introduction of that which is better.
But the evidence to this point is not compelling for me. Too few posts by users who spent their own money to buy the equipment.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 2:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Any info on whether the RS 800 unit can be easily retrofitted into, say, Husqvarna lawn tractors manufactured over the last ten years that were originally outfitted with the TuffTorq K46 unit? I.e., are the transmission mounting points, control linkages and drive pulley in the same locations as other hydro units?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 11:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
larso1(So. CO Zone 5)

Hmmm, sounds like an opportunity for someone (uh, not me though :) to provide retrofit kits for the CVT trans into a K46 tractor, including mounting adapters and all necessary hardware. It could be called the "New Life Lawn Tractor CVT Adapter Kit." From there, it could explode into a business offering other retrofit kits to adapt multiple brands and models of engines and mower decks to popular lawn tractor models in order to keep "Olde Betsy" running for another 15 years. I could then foresee a new IPO trading under the acronym "NLTRCTR", much like GO-PRO cameras. Yes! I'm stoked! Whose willing to put up some seed money?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 6:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Larso1, that is kinda what I was getting at, except hoping the mfr. would take the bull by the horns here. If General Transmission would step up and make a retrofit available for, say, $400-$500 for the RS800 to replace worn out K46 units, they could hit a home run. If their units are reliable, word will spread fast and folks will not only be looking to buy retrofit units, but will be looking for the RS800 when it comes time to buy a new lawn tractor. As it is now, GT has a long row to hoe as far as getting word out on their RS800, and folks probably won't trust it for another five years or so...

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 8:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The percentage of K46 transaxles having problems in the field is insignificant for the amount of units out in the field or TuffTorq and every manufacturer that uses the K46 would have acted to rectify the situation and mitigate their warranty costs.

Almost every instance I have read of people having problems with a K46 is due to them using the K46 entry level transaxle to do more than it was intended to do and then complaining when it fails.

The K46 is speced to be in an entry level riding lawn mower for mowing limited area FLAT lawns with no inclines and VERY limited towing capability.

The CVT may be a viable option and time and users will tell if it is by us being paying beta testers, BUT the solution really is to use the right tool for the job and buy a rider/garden tractor with the capability to do the job you want it to do.

Consumers often break an anvil with a rubber hammer and them complain.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 11:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Justalurker, I'm with you on using the right tool for the job.

The point behind all of this discussion on transmissions is that it just rubs some of us raw that you have to buy a $3k+ tractor if you want the convenience of a hydro and have a hill to mow, or want to pull an occasional cart of wood. If you don't have a big bank account, your options are to 1) buy a good used GT and have the ability to wrench on it, or 2) buy a manual transmission (which is typically only available on crappy entry-level riders), and put up with shifting gears to mow around obstacles, etc. This is why so many of us are interested in something better than what the K46 represents. At the very least, the mfrs. could spend an extra $5 and make the K46 serviceable on the majority of these LTs. Is that really too much to ask? What is the least expensive LT out there that has a(n officially) serviceable K46?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 9:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yea, we're all members of a big club... the I don't like what stuff costs club... BIG club.

I don't like the idea of having to buy a $35k 3/4 ton or 1 ton pickup to (safely) tow around a Bobcat but that's just the way it is.

The only power consumers have is to vote with our wallets. Don't like K46 transaxles then don't buy them. When the sales numbers fall the manufacturers will reevaluate. BUT, since K46 failures are often due to people abusing them (using them for what they want them to do instead of what they are designed to do) and the failure rate is statistically insignificant the manufacturers stand pat.

A serviceable (oil changeable) K46 will not change its operating specifications. People would still abuse that poor transaxle and piss and whine when THEY break it.

CVT may be an answer or it may not. Time and we paying beta testers will see. I know that the CVT they offer in the current version of one of my cars SUCKS and I'll never buy one.

I know that I hated to have to spend what I did on my John Deere X500, but lo and behold it excels at every task I put in front of it and has never been out of service for a single second whether mowing a couple acres of rural lawn or blowing a couple or three feet of snow of my 100 yard uphill gravel driveway or towing a trailer full of anything. When I'm in the seat and the X500 is effortlessly doing its job I never think about what it cost me. When I do think about what it cost me I always relish the fact that I won't have to buy another one for the rest of my life... well unless I want a BIGGER toy.

I'll bet our Dads felt the same way when he spent hundreds of dollars on that 60's Wheelhorse or JD or Case that's still giving reliable service today. Sometimes you have swallow hard and pay the price to reap the rewards later down the road.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 10:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The crystal ball must be murky. I have never towed anything with my riders. No operator weighing over 200 pounds has ever been on one of them. Out of 4 hydrostatic units, 2 have failed. The overall sampling may not be large enough to be statistically significant but it most certainly is meaningful to me.
My yard does have hills. For parts of it, 42" is absolutely the widest deck that will work. That limits the size of the mower that can be used.
Those particular circumstances may not be prevalent enough to warrant the makers building units for such service. The mowers I have do not list the limitations about using on hills that keep being posted here.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 6:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My crystal ball is clear as can be and based on lengthy discussions with engineers and parts people at companies I can not name.

While your circumstances are not unique and are of particular importance to you it doesn't change the data on in warranty failures or the sale and shipment of parts for out of warranty repairs of those awful K46 transaxles..

I anxiously await your long term review of the CVT you're getting ready to buy so we can all benefit from your experience.

"The mowers I have do not list the limitations about using on hills that keep being posted here"

Well, John Deere asks the question prominently in their Riding Lawn Equipment Product Selector...

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 7:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I guess my biggest gripe is that there is not much available between the K46 (which is probably adeqate for 80% of small homeowners) and the K66 (which is overkill for the other 20% of small homeowners). Yes, there are K57/K58 and other variants, but there aren't many of those around and they aren't much more than a K46. Worst of all is the difficulty in determining which transaxles are in which tractors, which seems to be getting more difficult every year. It's becoming a crapshoot. Then there are the Hydrogear transaxles which are uncommon enough that there is not much history/user reports about them.

It is for these reasons that we are holding out hope for something like the RS800. There's no doubt that the transaxles in these LTs are the weak link. I'm sure many LTs are simply thrown away once the owner hears that a new transaxle will cost half the price of a new LT, and with no parts requests are made to the OEM.

I would love to have a JD 500, they are awesome GTs, but I cannot justify the cost for my half-acre of hills. Btw, I had my K46 before I moved to this property, and am nursing it along on synth 5w50.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 10:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The market determines what customers want and manufacturers address those wants by pinpointing the most profitable wants.

When i or we (but not LOTS of us) find ourselves wanting a product in a particularly small slice of the marketplace we get ignored. Manufacturers can't justify the expense of design, R&D, and marketing for a small segment of the marketplace. It's manufacturing economics 101.

When I was a little kid all I wanted was to be a catcher on the neighborhood baseball team. Too bad, there were no left handed catcher's mits or left handed scissors for that matter. It was just the way it was. Now there are all kinds of left handed everythings because there is a significant market sector that is profitable enough for manufacturers to address.

It very east to find out what transaxles is in what L&G tractor... crawl underneath or look under the seat and read the label on the transaxle. If the pedigree of the transaxle is important to you then make the effort to look.

So we have entry level LT K46, upgrade to LT K58 increases axle diameter and axle torque, minimum GT K66 which is being used less, and the the full GT K72 transaxle. They get even bigger but that's $10K super GT class. Where's the hole in that product lineup? Now, if you're saying you want a K58 and only want to pay for a K46 then get in line behind all the rest of us who want more and want to pay less.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 11:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, it is getting harder to identify transaxles. I know Craftsman, for one, no longer identifies the transaxle under the seat. I know there are some Hydrogear transaxles out there, but I'm not sure I'd be able to identify one readily, or tell it apart from a K46 easily. It's also not that easy to crawl under a LT to identify the transaxle, you start getting weird looks from the salespeople and even weirder looks when they find out you're inquiring about the transaxle make and mfr. - lots of thin sheetmetal hiding that transaxle nowadays. Additionally, JD used to identify their transaxles on their website - they no longer do so. Why? I'm sure it took more cost/effort to delete that line of code then to just leave it in.

I'm not asking for a K58 at K46 prices. I'm asking for a K46 with external filter, filler and drain plug, for say, $30-$50 over the non-serviceable K46. That does not exist in today's market, AFAIK. You have to step up SIGNIFICANTLY in price (to GT prices) to get that option that probably costs the mfr. an extra $5 per unit.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 8:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Screw the weird looks...I'm spending money and I'll know what I'm getting.

JD continues to ID what trans is in every model L&G tractor if you look at the specifications.

I've always found that TT and Hydrogear transaxles either have a little metal ID tag on them or the ID is stamped into the case.

" I'm asking for a K46 with external filter, filler and drain plug, for say, $30-$50 over the non-serviceable K46"

When i or we (but not LOTS of us) find ourselves wanting a product in a particularly small slice of the marketplace we get ignored.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 9:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The John Deere site opens just fine for me. Then it does no more.

Here is a link that might be useful: Selector

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 9:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The JD selector can be kinda flaky from time to time.Seems they try to do too much with Java and scripts and there's way too many animations

I just go to residential products and navigate from there...

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 9:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

JD must've started posting their tranny specs again. They didn't have them posted a year or two ago when I was looking (and I looked HARD!), and I had remembered finding them in previous years. I had to go to the tractordata website to find what tranny they were using.

Also, as I posted earlier, I doubt that a lot of the K46 failures get back to the original oem, or even the retailer. I bet a lot of them just get tossed, and the manufacturer is none the wiser (I know of several people who have had problems that did just that, didn't even look for issues/remedies posted on the web). Therefore, I think the "small" number of people wanting something a little stronger is much larger than you (or the mfrs) think. OTOH, the more they break, the more new tractors they can sell, so why shoot yourself in the foot if there are no good alternatives for the end-user? THAT is why we are hoping that something like the RS800 becomes a reliable and less expensive alternative to what we are force-fed now. I still maintain that transmissions are the weakest link (durability and maintenence-wise) in all LTs across the board.

I understand the market, supply & demand thing. I realize they build for a certain profit margin, certain price points and failure/return rate (again, I think that is skewed in their favor due to lack of adequate data). You are right, they will not change until their is enough squawking from the end-users, or they have some venerable competition. I don't think the squawking will ever happen in large enough numbers, so I am pinning my hopes on the competition. Competition is always a good thing.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 8:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Curious about these new CVT transmission as well. In the market for a new rider and noticed the Home Depot Ariens and some craftsmen have the RS800 installed. And the John Deere d105 has the smaller version the RT400. Anyone using one and how have they held up? My yard has hills and don't think a Hydro would hold up for very long.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2014 at 12:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How does a rs800 compare to a k66?
I'm about to pull the trigger on the husky with the k66 and locking diff but I would love to save $1000 or so if the performance is similar.
I have/had a scotts 2046 until the k46 died on me. My front yard is one big hill so considering its age and usage it didn't do too badly. I can only mow downhill then I go back up my driveway. The driveway is steep enough that a std car has to be in 1st gear to go up it.
I pull a lawn vac, carts of firewood, etc....

    Bookmark   December 22, 2014 at 7:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If the tractors are comparable (you only mentioned the HUSQ) and there's a $1k difference in price between transmissions that should tell you something.

I'd give a GT class trans with a locking diff a big edge over a CVT.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2014 at 9:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd go with the K66 over the CVT at this point. The K66 seems to be a proven tranny. It is rated as ground-engaging, whereas the RS800 CVT may or may not be ground-engaging, depending on which marketing hype you listen to.

The RS800 CVT capability is supposed to be somewhere midway between the K46 and K66 based on advertising hype and available info. If that proves to be the case, it may be a very worthy transmission down the road - at this point, there just isn't enough real-world data to make any sound judgements.

I'd definitely stay away from the lower-end (MTD) CVT, as well as the unit used in the JD LTs until they come out with something much better.

Probably the greatest advantage to the CVT unit is that if you overload it, it will probably result in a burned-up belt, rather than an expensive tranny with toasted innards. But if those belts burn up every half-hour, there's not much point in it - death by a thousand cuts, etc.....

    Bookmark   December 23, 2014 at 8:56AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Want to rewire MTD 820 and bypass safety switches. Safety NOT an issue
I have an old MTD 820 and right now , when I turn the...
Ariens Zoom 2350 zero turn won't start
Model # 915085 with Kohler 23HP engine. Ran fine all...
Poulan XT 38 in. mower dropped a part
So, had my mower serviced for the spring. Cut fine...
Briggs and Stratton 25hp els OHV help!!!!
I got a this motor attached to a mover off a craigslist...
H&M Contractors
John Deere Or Cub Cadet?
I'm going to buy a new lawn tractor this Spring and...
Sponsored Products
Eangee Durian Uplight Green Accent Lamp
Lamps Plus
Louetta Rug 8'6" x 11'6" - GRAY
$1,069.00 | Horchow
Martini Mosaic 'Essen' Stainless Steel 12x12-inch Tile Sheets (Set of 10 sheets)
VIGO 48-inch Frameless Shower Door 3/8" Clear Glass Brushed Nickel Hardware with
Modern Bathroom
Modern Chrome 8 Square Rainshower Shower Head & Wall Mounted Arm
Hudson Reed
Beveled Mirror Rectangle
Grandin Road
Firenza Solid Brass Cabinet Pull with Scrollwork
Signature Hardware
Ingelside Floor Lamp by Dimond
$350.00 | Lumens
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™