Craftsman GT5000 26 HP 48 in. Hydro - Questions

amcarJuly 10, 2010

I found a used GT5000 garden tractor for sale. The model number is 917.276081.

Does anyone know what year this tractor is? Owner says it is an 2006, but wasn't sure.

Owner says that the tractor smokes when under full power and when blades are engaged. It started to do this recently. What could this be from? Would this be a major fix? Engine is B&S ELS 725.

This tractor is in incredible condition and looks like brand new. What would be a good price for this tractor, including a triple bagger? I think this tractor new listed for around $3k

Does anyone have any pros/cons on this particular unit or have any advice regarding the GT5000?

Is there anything that I need to be aware of or look out for or be concerned with, purchasing this used?

Any comments are appreciated.


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The first 2 digits of the code on the engine will be the year of manuafacture. I personally would be leary of that vintage ELS. If there are signs that dirt had gotten past the airfilter (their weak spot) it is not a bill you want to pay. When you test run it, do you notice the color of the smoke?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 12:44AM
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A peek at the last page of the owners manual for a different, but close, model 917.276080 shows the publish date of the manual as 06/14/04. So that model could be a 2004 or 2005. Sears is down right now, so I can't see the OM for your '081 model.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 12:56AM
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larso1(So. CO Zone 5)

If the motor doesn't have serious issues due to the smoke, I'd say about $900. The triple bagger costs around $450 new if memory serves me. It could have 240 hours of operation if it's an '04, and if he put 40 hrs. per year on it.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 1:17AM
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Sears got their scheduled maintenance finished overnight and the Searsdirect website is open again.
A look at the OM for 917.276081 shows the publish date for the document as 6/15/04, so my guess is the tractor is '04 or '05 year model. tomplum's suggestion to check the code number on the engine should help verify the approx circa of the tractor. The engine is a bit older than the tractor if engine is original.

The above URL will get you to the Briggs IPL.
The link below will get you to the Craftsman Owner's Manual

Here is a link that might be useful: 917.276081 OM

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 9:02AM
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Thanks all.

Any opinions, good or bad on this particular year and/or model?


    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 9:29AM
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That's a 2005 model, nice tractor as long as the maintenance has been done. Heat and dirt will destroy these engines in short order. Make certain that the engine is clean under the blower housing, and that the air intake and filter are pristine, as mentioned above. The ELS is also prone to the sump gasket failing, usually near the starter area for some reason. Barring that a nice tractor, expect to pay $1200-$1500 with a triple bagger, $900-$1200 without.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 11:26AM
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I had the tractor checked out and determined that it needed a new engine. Went ahead and got the tractor.

The new engine (27hp B&S Professional) came in and got installed earlier this week. Perfect fit, tractor looks sweet. Now for the questions:

1. Is there a way or a mod, to slide/move the seat further back? Already adjusted back as much as possible with the knob under the seat.

2. I notice that when the tractor is moving forward or backward and the brake is applied, it will come to a rather abrupt stop, unlike when stopping a car. Is this normal? With my old Craftsman, it would stop rather quick and not jerky, but with that tractor the shift lever didn't return to neutral, like the new design that I have now.

3. When shifting into neutral from either forward or reverse, the tractor seems to creep ever so slightly, either forward or backward, depending on which direction it was originally going. Is this normal or do I need to perform some type of adjustment?

4. Just curious if there is way to adjust the brake? Feels different to me than my other Craftsman, but that might be because of the new design? My other tractor seemed to grab right away when the brake was pressed.

5. What's the best/easiest way to level/measure the deck, just follow the manual?

Any comments appreciated.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 6:57AM
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take that 917 model # - go to sears parts web page - get manual - read - many of your questions will be answered in there.
you may have to fashion an adaptor to get that seat to be further back.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 7:20AM
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Your concerns about thye brake and neutral are simply your unfamiliarity with the hydrostatic drive system.
Hydrostat transmissions provide a good deal of "retarding effect" when the range and speed control lever is moved toward neutral, in fact, you need to learn how to "brake" the tractor by using the range and speed control lever INSTEAD OF the brake pedal for routine stops and slowing down. The braking effect of the hydrostat is so great, that the brake pedal can be ostensibly used for "parking brake only" duties.
Yes, some hydrostats try to "creep" in the last direction you were going if you use the brake pedal to stop. This is because the mechanism that works to move the tranny control toward neutral is not always going to "hit" the exact neutral point most of the time. You can try to adjust the hydro control to match the brake return mechanism if you like but there is no guarantee you will get them "synched". Better to just feel for neutral with your hand on the control lever or lock the parking brake down when stopped.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 1:41PM
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