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Craftsman 33' Mower?

Posted by jumpinjimmyb (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 27, 07 at 10:26

Are these new?

I'm still on my kick to get something bigger than a 21"/22" but I don't have the space to store a rider.

Anybody use one of these?

The Sears associate said they would be on sale and/or available through the "Club", so the price will come down (as it always does) so it might be a good buy.

Any experience with these gents?

Here is a link that might be useful: Craftsman 33


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

You might be surprised how much room one of these takes up. It is about the same as a tractor. My BIL has one (Troybilt, but very similar) and it takes up more room than my tractor.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Wow. I had no idea that it would take up that much room!

Does your BIL like his Troybilt?


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

He says it is a little hard to turn since you have to do it manually. He also said sometimes it misses a strip in the middle (blades don't overlap well and blade tip speed is a little low).


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I just purchased one of these but won't get it for a few more days. I do know that the blades overlap now by two inches. Also, Cub Cadet makes the same mower with an electric start and it is actually priced $100 less than the Craftsman.
I got my Craftsman on sale though for $999.99.
I'll try to let you know what I find out when I use it later this week.

Josh


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Please do - I am interested in this mower as well.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

O.K. I got my new mower today and am pretty happy with it! I wasn't able to test it out very long because my other half was in a hurry to go eat when I got home from work!
This mower doesn't appear to leave a line down the center (probably because of the 2" overlap) and made a nice clean cut. The grass didn't need mowed that bad, but what grass it did cut was mulched pretty good. I did notice a few places where clippings were left if you looked closely. I am anxious to see how this will perform when more grass is being cut.
It seemed to have plenty of power, and was surprisingly easy to handle. The hardest part was keeping it straight going sideways on the hilled part of my lot. When going down the hill, the mower would not go any faster than the gear allowed (Which is great news if you don't want to slow down a 240 lb. machine!) Since the engine does not have a pressurized oil system, it is not recommended to use on a grade greater than 15%. (There are several sides to this debate, so you can research and make your own opinion.) The mower had plenty of power going back up the hill and the engine never bogged down once.
The drive system seems fine for a machine at this price. Your right hand controls the blade while the left hand controls the self-propelled system. I found it easiest to just hold the blade in the on position at all times. That way I had a full grip on the machine when it came time to make a turn. When you let off the drive control, the machine will stop, but will still be able to turn. The front caster wheels work great when it comes time to turn. The rear wheels also can go in opposite directions at the same time when turning.
The mower has a deck clean out system and all you need to do is hook up a garden hose using the quick connect adapter that is provided.
As far as the size, I was surprised that it didn't take up that much space. It is actually only an inch or two longer than my SR4, and of course a little wider (Slightly over 33" counting the discharge piece.

Have a great day,
Josh


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Thanks for the update cubsfan!

Let me know how it handles the grass once it actually starts to grow!


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Any update on how this mower is working? Do you find mowing time is cut down considerably compared to a 21" mower? I'm still considering either this one (cub cadet) or the Billy Goat 33".


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Hello Again-

The weather has been horrible here but I did have a chance to mow the other day. I cut quite a bit of grass this time and the mower did a pretty good job. If you're are looking for a big machine to mulch perfectly with, this won't work good enough for you. I started out mowing with the mulching clip in, and the mower left a little grass on top of what was cut...nothing horrible, but obviously nothing as good as my Toro. I decided to remove the clip and just side discharge. The yard looked a lot better because of this decision.
When mulching, there isn't any grass that clumps up, the machine just leaves pieces laying on top that don't get mulched up (I am wondering if using blades similar to a gator blade would help this) The engine didn't bog down at all, and was very easy to start considering the size.
It did save quite a bit of time, and was pretty easy to get the hang of.
I am still very pleased with this mower, and as long as I mow as often as I should, I know it will do a great job cutting. I am really happy about how much time it did save me!!
If you have other questions feel free to ask.

Have a great day,
Josh

Jones (I would guess that the Billy Goat would do a better job of mulching but is probably twice as expensive.)


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Well, I think I'm about 90% sure I'm going to get the same mower as you. I have a couple hundred in gift cards to use at home despot, and I saw the cub cadet version there. I keep asking around though and every shop I go into the sales person says, "The blades have to be timed and if you hit anything they'll crash into each other ruining the deck." I hope that is just their sales pitch against the mower. I think it's a risk I'm willing to take. I'd rather get the billy goat, but the gift cards and zero % financing at HD are hard to pass up.

And actually, the price is about equal. Maybe a little more for the Billy Goat but not much.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Jonesb11 I have been using Troy Bilt 33" mowers for about 10 years now and the new Craftsman look very similar to them, I have ordered 2 of them from Sears. I have never had any deck damage from hitting anything. Once I hit a piece of pipe and the belt skipped a few teeth causing the blades to crash into each other messing up the blades, but not the deck. I just had to reset the blades by dropping the shaft and setting the blades perpendicular to each other and off I went. We have a lawn business and these 33" mowers are great to use on residential lawns, easy fit through gates and if taken care of will last years. Can't wait for these to come in this Saturday. One thing I really like about these type mowers is the way the deck is raised by the lever to adjust the height. That saves me a ton of time over the other type that use spacers. Not all of our lawns are the same height. They are easy to use also.
Mair


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I just was checking the mower out on the Sears site and noticed that they've knocked $300 off the price.
***It's currently $999, but the sale ends today.*** If you're getting one, today would be the day!!!

No, I don't work for Sears or have any stake in this. I just thought I'd let y'all know.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Well, I gave in and purchased the Cub Cadet version. I mowed the front lawn in about 15 min which took me close to an hour with the old 21" mower. This thing hauls! I tried to talk the Home Depot guy into matching the Craftsman price of $999 but he wouldn't do it.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

JonesB - how do you like the mulching? Does the deck perform well?

How about the controls? Are they comfortable and easy to use?


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I bought one today, and pick it up Friday from Sears. Got one for $999, the Craftsman Club price thru 4-28-07. That is $300 off of the retail price of $1299, so not bad at all!!

I had a 54" Craftsman garden tractor, and it was too much for my 1/2 acre lot with trees, etc. I also had a 21" mower, and that was too small for 1/2 acre. The 33" should be perfect, and walking behind will be nice. I do not care to sit on a riding mower, personally. I would rather get SOME excercise while I mow. I will post a review for anyone who would like to know how this mower is working. From what I understand, Sears has not made a 33" walk-behind mower in about 6 years.... Lookin' 4ward to using it :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Craftsman 33


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

So far I just used it to mow the front yard. And I didn't mulch. I was planning on doing the back this evening, but it looks like rain and lots of it. Then I'm out on business this weekend, so I might not get to the back yard until next week. That's gonna be bad! But I'll be able to give it a good test on some long grass. I'll update more later.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Consumer Reports tested the Sears 33" walk behind and gave it good marks, as I recall. They did say on the negative: a little hard to handle and as one could buy a riding mower for a few hundred more that seemed to them to be a better answer. Storage space not considered, as I recall, in the CR report.

Sears/Craftsman repair history is among the best too...the Cub may be the same machine, I don't know.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Went to look at this mower at my local Sears, but it was out of stock. The 12-year-old behind the counter said it was because they had been recalled, but he was unsure why. He said he was told about the recall during a regional sales meeting for L&G associates.

Has anyone heard about this recall and know what the problem was/is? I'm interested in the mower, but don't want to get stuck with something that's already having problems. Any help would be appreciated.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

btrotta -

There has been no recall on this mower.

Regards,

jim


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

My husband purchased this craftsman lawm mower with the intention of buying a bagger for it. Unfortunately the bagger listed to fit on the sears site under the product #33731 does not exist. Spoke to MTD who said the mower is new the only bag to fit is a cub cadet 19A-119-100 but there's a problem....This bag is not even in production yet.It's going back to the store. There is a sale this Saturday 20% off lawn mowers.Good luck. Anyone have a suggestion of us on a new mower choice???


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Buy a rider, your husband will thank you (the 33" push doesn't have a "drink" holder).


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Consumer Reports knew that the machine doesn't have a bagger, so this information has been know (somewhere) for a long time. But, it is reported to do a good job mulching, and that's better for your lawn anyway, and a good mulch looks almost as clean as bagging...with none of the work and expense of bagging.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Since I am considering this mower also, I called MTD as well. Seeing that Consumer Reports said it didn't have a bag, I was concerned, but found out this bag is now in production (the Craftsman one, not the Cub) and should be available to buy online soon.

Totally agree with Jerry nj that bagging is the right thing to do for the environment and all that. Sometimes I can't get to it and no mulcher would suffice, though.

I'm still considering this mower, and I won't get one until I can get a bag, which seems to be forthcoming.

HAPPY MOWING


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I just purchased one of these mowers today and I'm very excited to pick it up as of next Wednesday. I'll be sure to post my feedback on the mower once I get it in my possession and cut my grass. For comparison purposes, I'll be cutting just under a half-acre.

Make sure you are a Craftsman Club member as it saved me another $100 off the sale price!!

My biggest concern is if the handles to engage the blades and drive wheels will make my hands sore after a length of time or will become bothersome because of the amount they have to be lowered/squeezed in order to engage these features. I'll be sure to update as to the ease of use (maneuvering) and the handle pain (or ease).

I'll also say that the other posts on here really helped me out in deciding on this mower...thanks to all that contributed.

I would be interested to see if someone could post more of the info that Consumers Reports noted in their analysis.

Also, a gentleman who was looking at this mower when I was purchasing it was asking about tip speed...anyone have any idea what the tip speed is for this unit? A previous post only mentions that is it a low tip speed.

Thanks!


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

"Totally agree with Jerry nj that bagging is the right thing to do for the environment and all that."

Unless you are composting, I think mulching is far better for the environment since it decreases the need for additional fertilizer. I wouldn't bag unless my lawn had grown too high to mulch or I had a swimming pool that I didn't want to get grass in.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

As an alternative, I went to my local Cub Cadet dealer today to see their version of this mower. It's $1199, versus $899 (Craftsman Club price), but there are some differences. The Cub has electric start vs. pull, the Cub has a three year warranty vs. two, and the dealer is currently offering 12 month no payment, no interest financing. The interest is technically deferred, but all those deals are. Anyway, I'm not sure I've made up my mind, but I'm kind of leaning towards the dealer just because they've been very good to me with my current Cub Cadet, even though I didn't buy it from them. Also, she said the bagger should be out in May (I'm getting it in order to handle leaves in the fall) and she was guessing it would be somewhere between 230 and 300 bucks.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

tjcraftsman wrote: "Also, a gentleman who was looking at this mower when I was purchasing it was asking about tip speed...anyone have any idea what the tip speed is for this unit? A previous post only mentions that is it a low tip speed."

Blade tip speed on all mowers is federally regulated by ANSI at 19,000 feet/min. This mower hopefully gets close to that, or else it's sacrificing performance.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Picked it up today....awesome mower....mowed right thru the wet high grass....mulching worked great, and so did the side discharge chute.....got mine for $999 via the Craftsman Club price. No problems, a little heavy, but I like the workout...did 1/2 acre in about 40 minutes....also the hose fitting to clean the blade and deck worked great!! Nice job Craftsman!!


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

OK, I finally got to mowing the back yard too. This thing is great! I cut my mowing time in about a third with this compared to a regular 21" Honda self propelled. Most people in the neighborhood have small lawn tractors, but this mower gets around much quicker than the tractors. At 1/2 acre, the yards are just too small to make a tractor worth it.

Someone asked about hands hurting to push down the levers... The lever to engage the blades hurt my right hand some, but the drive lever did not require as much force and thus didn't leave my other hand sore. I didn't get any blisters or bruises. Just a little sore for a few minutes after mowing. I'll take a slightly sore hand to cut my mowing time by so much.

I am very pleased with this mower. It is perfect for my yard.


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Pick-up or delivery

For those that have purchased this mower and picked it up, does it come assembled? How big is it and would it fit in the back of your average sport ute? Also, has anyone used it to cut accross a slope rather than up and down? Any issues there with tracking? Thanks in advance.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I have used it to cut across a slope and it does want to go sideways on you a bit. The slower you go, the more you have to muscle it. It was not too hard to control though, and I never felt like I was going to lose it. You just have to muscle up a bit more than a 21" mower. It's good for your arms anyways! :-)

Also, as far as fitting in an SUV..I'm not sure..Mine is the same length as my Toro SR4 and obviously wider. The height is also very similar.

Have a great day,
Josh


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I had borrowed my a truck to bring it home. So, I don't know if it would fit in the back of an SUV. It came in a crate, preassembled. Just had to tighten the handle down and attach the battery. Home depot said that they would have taken it out of the crate, but I figured that it would be safer in the crate. I think out of the crate it might fit in the back of an SUV. The wood made a nice bon fire!


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Thanks for the responses. Sears in the Boston don't have them on display. I went ahead and ordered one online and specified delivery. Looks like I made the right call. I'll post again when I've had an opportunity to give it a try.


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This 33' Craftsman rocks!!

"Just picked this up from Sears today for an awesome price of $999 via the Craftsman Club. Of course the day I picked it up it was 58 degrees and had just rained. The 1/2 acre I live on was wet, and was higher than usual because I was waiting on my mower to come in. I set the height to the highest setting, and put the tranny in 3rd gear. It cut through that wet grass like it was nothing. No clogging, no bogging, etc. This is a great machine for a home-owner or a land-scaping job. It is very easy to handle, and to turn. This is so much better than a lawn tractor. No more figure-8 turns trying to hit a spot in your lawn. No wasted time. It took me about 30 minutes to get a handle on it, but once I did, it was the best tool I have ever purchaased, bar none. Once I was done mowing, I hooked up the hose to the deck, started the water flowing, started the mower, and "wham" the deck was clean! What a nice option. I would prefer an electric start, but it does not have one. It did, though, start very easily. Not hard at all to pull-start. The 10.5 HP Briggs is more than enough power. My lawn never looked better....a must have!!!"


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

OK, I picked this beauty up yesterday and mowed my full yard with it yesterday. For anyone looking to pick this unit up, the wood crate that it comes in measures exactly 39" across...I didn't measure depth because it wasn't an issue. I have a Saturn Vue and I had 38" between the wheel wells so they had to un-crate it. After it was un-crated it was a breeze fitting in.

Assembly was easy...I just had to raise the handle and re-screw it in the upright position...then unscrew (reposition) and re-screw the gear shift bar...then determine whether I was going to mulch or do a side discharge...add gas and I was good to go. Took about 10-15 minutes. Then I fired her up on the first pull.

It definitely took a minute or two to get a feel for the mower and how it steered and turned. It turns on a dime in gears 1&2 and required an almost running turn if you want a zero degree turn in gears 3&4. You look like a fool doing it, but you can if you want.

My front yard is mostly flat and she handled like a champ using side discharge. At times your paths can appear to be wavy because the front casters meld to the ups and downs of your lawn so easily on their own...but in time, you learn how to correct this as you get a better feel for the mower.

My back yard is much thicker and longer with slight inclines. I slowed down to 2nd gear when I got to the longer patches of grass and it plowed right over it without so much as an issue. The rest of the yard I easily cut in 4th gear which moves you at a comfortable speed to get the job done. She took the inclines in the yard with ease and the speed stayed consistent whether I was going up or down my yard.

My overall yard is just under a 1/2 acre and it took me about an hour to cut it, but I would assume as I get better (and stop analyzing every stripe of grass I cut) I could shave more time off of that. The cut also looked very manicured and only left a few blades of grass here and there that were a little longer than the rest, but overall a beautiful cut.

I didn't get a chance to use the deck wash feature yet, but I'm excited to check it out and see how it works. It also stores easily, but moving it without the drive wheels engaged (when the mowers off) needs a bit of an "oomph" to get it going, but once it's going it rolls nicely.

My earlier concern about my hands becoming sore from holding down the drive control and blade controls were solved as well. I can say that my hands were a touch sore from squeezing and releasing the drive control handle often, but overall it wasn't bad by any means. I would also strongly recommend a tight fitting pair of gloves. The gloves really helped me with grip and avoiding blisters that may happen. The reason I say they should be tight is because I first used a pair of those general brown work gloves and they kept getting caught between the stationary handle and the handles you have to squeeze to engage.

The caveat of the whole night was when I was done mowing I had no less than three comments from people in my neighborhood when they were on a walk that evening. One guy said under his breath to his wife "that's a really nice lawn mower"...I was glad to hear him. Another guy just gawked and one woman said how nice the lawn looked after it was cut!

Overall: Extremely pleased!


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

tjcraftsman -

Did you get the bagger kit?

I'm wondering how it does bagging, as I will be needing to do that probably 10% of the time.

Thanks


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I have a question about the hose cleaning system. I haven't used it yet because I was told that running the blades with the water will kill the bearings rather quickly. Anyone have any ideas about this?


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

water+grass+metal=rust
water+bearings=failure
hose cleaning system=sales gimmick


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

metal, you say:
"water+grass+metal=rust
water+bearings=failure
hose cleaning system=sales gimmick"

So you're saying that John Deere elected to use a feature on some of it's premium residential riders even though it will most likely cause premature spindle failure?? That's a tough one to swallow.

Not to mention Toro and Cub have been using a similar feature for a while.

I can't imagine any manufacturer would want to do that to their product?


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

You have more faith in manufacturers than I do : ) I wouldn't compare this deck with what JD puts on its "premium residential riders". I hope you are not calling the LA 130 and LA 140 premium riders. They put it on these models to "compete" with other mowers in this low end category. The Toro and Cub models you speak of are built by MTD, not known for quality or reliability.

By the way, do you think running the AC in your car is easy on the engine, yet all manufacturer's have them because the "public" wants it.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Ok, well, I use my Craftsman mower commercially on residential lawns and I have to say that so far, I have been really pleased with them so far. I have serial # 000001 so I think I have the first made. I just got it a week ago. I'm pretty sure you can add the electric start if you want, the sears site has the start available. Also, I was finally able to order the bag from the sears parts department. I just hope it's the right bag! it was $179 with shipping.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

"* Posted by jumpinjimmyb - tjcraftsman - Did you get the bagger kit?"

No, I actually didn't get the bagger kit so sorry I can't shed some light on that part for you Jimmy.

I can say that I have to agree with Jimmy as well on the deck washing feature. I cannot believe that they would advertise something that would cause their own equipment to fail if it were a sales gimmick. The comparison to AC in a car is completely irrelevant. I seriously doubt the public was pounding down the doors of mower manufacturers asking for a deck washing feature! Ha! Keeping people at a comfortable temperature is more than just a convenience...some people need to keep regulated temperatures because of health reasons, etc. A deck washer is "just plain nice" but no one would potentially die without it.

Also, I've given my lawn a second cut with this bad boy and am still very, very satisfied with it. My right hand did get a touch more sore from holding the blade control lever in the engaged position this time around...I think I'm going to rig something (maybe some Velcro) so I can keep it engaged without my hand squeezing it constantly.

I also used the deck wash feature for the first time and as the manual states...I started the mower and turned on the water then engaged the blades. It was rather impressive how easy it was to attach and it did a great job cleaning it out. That being said...watch your hands when you take off the hose attachment from the deck! I took a chunk of skin off my thumb when I pulled it off...it's located rather close to the top black plastic cover. Whew!

I also got yet another compliment from a neighbor on this mower. I'm not a bragger, but it's nice to see that people notice something as simple as a mower.

Oh, for anyone that owns this mower...keep in mind this comment from a review of the mower on Sears' website. Here is what a reviewer posted--"There is one problem and I have made Sears aware that the maintenance/service manual makes no reference to the grease zerks located under the deck and above each blade. Hopefully folks will catch this before over heating the bearings."

Remember to grease these when you grease your wheels or when your deck is off for blade sharpening. I actually haven't checked out where they are under the deck...but I have to assume since someone posted it, they are probably there.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Over the weekend, I just changed the oil in this bad boy after my first (approx) 2-3 hours of use. It was a breeze! No mess at all. I just had to un-cap the oil plug, hook up the clear hose that was provided with the manual, then twist the oil plug and the oil started flowing. Really nice and easy!

The only bummer is there is no real place where it tells you how much oil (even approximately) to put in for refilling. Both the mower manual and the Briggs manual just say to fill it until it's full! When I filled it back up I would estimate that I ended up using about 36-40oz of SAE30.

How are the experiences going from anyone else's experience? Any tips, tricks, oddities anyone has noticed on the mower?


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

The information on the oil refill is in the "briggs and Stratton" book thats included on the mower. It says 44oz. It's somewhere in there I promise. It's in very small print. The book doesn't talk about the mower at all since Briggs didn't know what that motor would be installed on, it is an engine specific book only.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I'll tell ya' Acer1...you've got a keen eye. That's good info to know and I appreciate it very much!


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

parkin acer1

Where on the Sears.com site did you see an electric start kit?

fcarp


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

fcarp63
If you go to the "Lawn and Garden" tab, then scroll down a bit and on the left side, where it says "Parts" Clink on that, then enter "88933" and the it shows up. 88933 is the model number of the mower, I don't know if its exaclty the same thing or not. I can't see why the Cub Cadet version could have one if ours couldn't. I still haven't got my bagger yet, and my customers are already tired of me mulching, I sure hope I get it fast, or else...


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

parkin

from what I see, it looks like they want to sell the individual componenets of the electric start (which by the way looks like a snowblower elec start, not a key start as I would have thought) as opposed to the whole assembly as one part.

Out of curiosity, what is the 3 digit prefix before 88933?

thanks, fcarp


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

If anyone is interested after alot of research the bagger kit can also be ordered online from MTD and Cub Cadet part # 19a-119-100 or Sears #33731. They are all on factory backorder untill May 25th. No matter who you order from they will all ship directly from MTD around May 25th directly to you. So happy mulching untill the end of the month.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

After reading about this mower for a while it sounded more and more like what I wanted/needed, so I wandered down to my local sears where there weren't any on the sales floor, but I did spot one on the sidewalk outside the store.

I quickly realized this was a unit that had been purchased and returned after what appeared to be only one use. It was nearly spotless except for some dirt on the underside of the blade housing.

It was stickered with a price tag of $1039.20, which I realized was 20 percent off the list price of the mower. Sensing an opportunity, I called one of the sales drones over and pointed out the fact that the unit was being sold for more than the current sale price ($999) and asked him what we could do about that.

He said what do you want? I said give me the sale price minus the 20 percent and we have a deal. After a lengthy phone call to the manager, he finally got the approval for the deal. So I walked out of there with a nearly new mower, with the full warranty for $799.

The only thing better would have been if I had discovered the mower during the CC sale. Then I could have gotten it for $720. But I'm not complaining. I got a great deal on a great mower.

So far, I've used it 3 times, and I've cut my usual 2+ hour mowing time to less than 50 minutes. The cut has been really good and even. It mulches quite well, even today when I hadn't cut the grass in a week and it was very tall and thick. There were some clumps, even mowing in 1st gear. But I can't complain too much. It's my own fault. Had I mowed on Thursday like I wanted, it would have been fine.

Now if I can just find as good of a deal on a bagger when they finally come out, I'll be a very happy camper.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I live in New England, North Central Massachusetts. About 2 weeks ago bought the Cub Cadet 33' walk behind mower at my local Home Depot for $1137 (did not include bagging kit in purchase price).

I have used it twice to cut my 1/4 acre lawn in mulching mode only and I must say I am totally impressed with it's performance. I did a lot of deliberating on buying a mower like this in the first place and this forum, especially this thread, was very helpful. I didn't feel as if the 22' and lower decks would be a wise option and I couldn't break the bank for the higher ups. Just right for my needs, I don't have anywhere to throw bagging clippings in the neighborhood and I don't have a lot of time in my busy work schdule to devote hours on end to lawn mowing each week.

PROS: mulching capability is decent; drive power; ease of steering & turning; electric key ignition; deck wash works great.

CONS: heavy to manually move around without drive engaged; gear position switching lever is kind of vague until you get used to it; hand grip control levers are hard to keep pressed down while mowing; best for level yards with long stretches; not the best for small confined areas that need delicate attention.

Overall I am pleased, I know a smaller mower would operate needing a lot less muscle and I have no room for a sit down. This is a good mower for the total usabe 10,000 sf of lawn (total cut time yesterday was 50 minutes) and I don't mind the workout, I need the exercise for legs and upperbody. I anticipate my cut time to improve, of course I analyze my every move and haven't got my course path figured out yet. Will probably get the bag on order for the fall season to bag leaves. No regrets.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

THE BAG IS HERE, HERE'S a PIC OF IT... It's nothing fancy, but its a bag. Your supposed to unzip it everytime..I don't think so...

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture of bagger


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Hey all, I bought this mower today largely because of this thread and the user reviews at the Sears site. Yesterday morning I was at Lowes ready to plunk down $2k on a Deere rider that I relly didn't want...good thing I decided to do more research.

I have about a 1/2+ acre of thick, high grass. I'm currently using a Craftsmen 21" mulcher and it does a pretty good job considering it was a hand-me-down from my in-laws. But the 2.5 hours it takes me every weekend is just too much time. I thought I wanted a rider...after all, all my neighbors have Deere's and I though they were cool!! After my visit to Lowes, I came home and did more research about riders and found out that they can be a tad iffy and dangerous on hills...of which I have a couple. I also didn't want to get too lazy yet...as sometimes mowing the lawn is most of my excercise for the week ;)

So I found this thread yesterday, went to Sears after reading the whole thing but the mower wasn't on display. I went to sears.com and realized that the mower was on sale for $200 less than usual and the sale ends Friday.

So, today I ordered it and I'm picking it up when I get back from a business trip early next week. By that time I should have a nice tall, thick lawn to break it in.

We'll see how it goes....does anyone who has this mower have any updates about it??

Thanks.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I'm keeping an eye on this thread, as I have nearly a 1/2 acre myself with a significant slope. In a year or so I might look to step up from my 21" Snapper to a 33-36" mower. Can anyone provide a comparison of this Craftsman to a Sutech Stealth? That's also 33" compact mower, but with three blades and a different kind of drive system. I think the cheapest version of it sells for $1250, so it's close enough to the Craftsman to be considered competition.

Someone way up the thread already mentioned the Billy Goat 33", and then stepping up to $2k gets you to Quick 36 territory. That is more mower for sure, but it's also a lot more cash. I'm just interested in people's input. Thanks.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Well I'm finally getting around to posting my impressions and I have nothing bad to say. I have +/- 1/3 of an acre to mow, some flat some hills, and the mower does extremely well with both. It's possible to mow across a slope with some manipulating of the mower. The mulch feature works well, provided you don't attempt to trim a lot of length at once (>2"), and you run the mower on the fast setting as recommended. I cannot speak to the "washout" feature as I have not used it yet, but plan to in the near future. The large gas tank (holds a little more than a gallon) is great. I have not found the drive and blade control levers to be as hard to hold as some others have posted. Oil changes are simple and mess free. All in all, I'm very pleased with the mower, and have had many comments on the "landscaper like" quality of the cut. I too was considering the Quick 36, but decided I did not need that level of mower (price and build) with only one yard to maintain.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Thanks for the update outdoorguy, those are all good things to hear. I don't usually buy products 'blind' but this mower just seems to fit my situation perfectly.

Do you find the mower heavy to manage on the hills and slopes? And, when you mention the 'fast' setting for mulching, doesn't that increase the speed of the mower? Or, is it just the blade speed?

Thanks in advance.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I too purchased it "blind" as I could not find a display model anywhere. The mower is not hard to manage on slopes with two exceptions, the one I mentioned about mowing across a slope (this will be true of any mower with free spinning front wheels) and the second involves 180 degree turns when heading down a slope, then reversing direction and heading back up while still on the slope. The nature of the transmission is such that the mower will glide after the drive is disengaged if the blade control remains engaged. A nice feature for 95% of situations. If you disengage the drive and blade control, the mower will immediately stop. As such, it takes a little effort to stop the mower and turn it up hill if you do not wish to disengage the blade control (I prefer not to). The speed setting for the motor does impact speed, but that is easily controlled by the transmission. You simply set the speed control to fast and then chose the gear that suits your pace. Again, I would highly recommend the mower. The only unknown is long tern durability. Only time will tell. Good luck.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

MattV21:

There is a Sutech on Craig's list for $425.00.

Looking at the pictures of the Craftsman and the Sutech, the Craftsman seems to be better engineered and more solidly constructed.

Fairyprincess

Here is a link that might be useful: Sutech link


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

fairyprincess, I think I saw that one. There's also a Craftsman here in St. Louis on craigslist for the same price. The one obvious advantage I would see for the Sutech is that it has three blades whose cutting paths overlap but that don't have to be "timed" to prevent collision with each other. This _should_ be an advantage, but of course is no guarantee. I'm not clear on how the two mowers' drive systems differ. It seems like the Sutech might provide some amount of drive assist during a 180* turn, which would be helpful, whereas the Craftsman requires full human power to be turned. Or maybe the Sutech just allows either inside tire to have its brake set so you can more easily turn around that pivot point, which would still be helpful. I'm not totally clear on that. It also seems like the Sutech may be a little more compact in size - especially front-to-rear. But I'm not really sure about that, either. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has used a Sutech, though.

Here is a link that might be useful: craftsman 33


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Had it for a few months now...

It's an awesome piece of equipment....usually run it in 3rd gear...if the grass is wet and/or a little high, I put it in 2nd, and it mulches w/ no problem...I usually keep the blade height at "4", which I have measured to be 4" high. It ALWAYS starts the first time I pull the pull start, which is unlike most mowers on the market. I changed the oil, using SAE30 oil, and boy was that easy, no mess whatsoever due to the convenience of the oil tube they provide you with. I liked it so much, that I convinced my dad to get one, which he did. I use it on 1/2 acre. I would recommend it for someone with a yard between 1/3 acre and 1 acre max. More than 1 acre would be pushing it, as this has a 33" deck. Thanks to Sears Craftsman for making a good product and offering it at a reasonable price of $999 via the Craftsman Club.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Ok, picked mine up today. we had to uncrate it to get into the back of the Explorer. Then, I had to get some boards to act as ramps to get it out.

But, when I did, it was was well worth the effort. I was away for the weekend so the grass was longer and thicker than normal...a bit wet too, we had showers earlier today.

Read the manual quickly, set up the handle and a few other small things, put gas in, set the height at at 4, pulled the rope and off we went.

I have always used a 21" so there were a few things to get adjusted to, like the pure size and weight, the power and the ZTR. Within a few minutes I was pluggin' away in third gear and handling back and forth rows quite comfortably.

I must admit it was a bit touigh on the inclines keeping it straight but I know I'll get used to it. And a few times I forgot to let go of the Drive Control in time and ran into a fence or a tree while trying to turn. Doh!

This was the first mow with this machine and I know that it would've taken me hours with the 21"...it only took about 1 hour total for about a 1/2 acre of thick, tall, wet grass. I took off about 2 inches so it didn't mulch great, but that's because of the length of the grass. BUT, it did plow right through and saved me tons of time.

I'll make another run at it on Saturday and I expect even better results.

Overall, this is a GREAT machine!


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

OK, I had my first issue with this mower. I've run it for about 8 hours now according to the LED indicator. Usually while I'm mowing, as long as I have the blades engaged it is relatively easy to push around. During the last time mowing Something happened and it requires a huge effort to get push with the blades engaged. This is the short pushes around trees and stuff. Anyone know what has happened or how to fix it?

I still love the mower. It has saved me hours.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I have a large wagon (44" between wheel wells) but don't know if I have the height to load this crate into my car (30" or so) -- does anyone who brought this home in the crate have a sense of its height? Thanks!


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Ordered mine on Saturday, I'll post my initial experences as soon as it arrives.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I have a question for you, bcw1969, where is this hour LED located? I looked on my mower and in the manual and it isn't mentioned at all. Is yours an older version, or is that some kind of option for the mower?

Thanks in advance.


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RE: Craftsman 33' LED?

Oops, theat last post was actually for jonesb11, not bcw1969. I didn't look far enough up the thread...


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

cooleratthecoast - there's an hour meter on the Cub version, but not the Craftsman. I bet jonesb11 has the Cub


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

How are these at striping the lawn? Do you need to buy an aftermarket roller, or do they naturally do it? Was trying to figure out how to afford one of the commercial walk-behnds because I had not seen this Sears version. Thanks to all of you -- you probably just saved me $1,000.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Does anybody know the total width of this mower? I'm considering buying one, but I only have about 36 inches of room on the side of my garage...and even then I'd have to be very careful pulling in not to bang my car mirror against the mower.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

mprice78:

Went out to measure and found that the deck by itself is 35.5" accross. If the side discharge chute is down, it extends out to 45"

Hope that helps.

I still love this beast! Time savings make it well worth the price and possible storage challenges!


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

All of the 33 inch mowers - Craftsman, Cub Cadet and Troy-Bilt are made by Modern Tool & Die (MTD) in Cleveland and are the same basic machine with a few slight variations. I had one of the original Troy-Bilt when they were made by Garden Way in Troy New York and was a mulch only with no electric start. GardenWay went out of business and MTD bought the mower business but not sure who bought the great big chipper-vac (another good tool!) If you are having streaks with your mower, check the blades to make sure they are on RIGHT SIDE UP! Cutting edge wants to be down!

Question - is the bag worth while?


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I bought the Cub Cadet 33" mower yesterday from a very reputable dealer. He has sold over 50 of these mowers, and a lot of those were to landscapers needing a mower for gated yards and small commercial properties like gas stations. I bought mine for part-time commercial use. I mowed some of my own yard yesterday and love the quality of cut from the floating deck. Having no spacers or bolts to mess with to change the deck height is awesome. I'm thinking about building a grass/leaf catcher so that I can use this mower for fall leaf clean ups as I am using a Lawn-Boy 21" with bagger now. For just over $1000, this mower can't be beat by anything out there.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Andy2500 -

There is a bagger available. I bought it and it works OK. Cost is right around $130.

I really didn't need it until it was time for leaf cleanup, as the mulching performance is outstanding otherwise.

It attaches off the side of the handles and although initial setup is cumbersome, once it's on, it is easy to attach and unattach.

Good luck.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

For those of you concerned about gripping the handles and blade/drive engage levers, I found an easy way to do this without hurting your hands. Just rest your palms on the handles and use the weight of your arms, not your grip, to hold the levers down. This worked great for me. Does anybody know if the Cub Cadet bagger is any different from the Craftman? I don't really think the nylon bag with a zipper looks sturdy enough for how I will use my mower during the fall.


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2 key points, RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Howdy, couple of things to consider about what I am seeing in this thread.

First, i am glad to hear you all like it so much. My peception is that as a group you re far above the average user I would see here in Sd county (in terms of planning to maintain the mower and using it on a LAWN, not a field of weeds and brush :-).

You all might want to consider that techs may not carry any parts fo it at all, unless it get to be a common item. if that matters to you , stick a more common LT.

The other thing is about washing , nothing will convert die ahrd washers, but remember, just because a certain regime of washing and greasing seems to work ok for another guy dont mean it will work for your water supply.

In general washing is a bad idea, i would know, i have been fixing CMan Land G for 25 years. Kudos to you if you can do it with no problems-but it has caused problems for many people. FWIW repair of rust is excluded from the Repair agreement.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

The differences that I can see are the electric start and the hour meter. Right now there is a $200 price difference with the Craftsman at $999. Are there any other differences that make the CC worth 200 more? Does the CC also come with a pull cord in case of a battery failure? Since these mowers have been out for a while now, do we have any recent reliability reports?
Thanks


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

After reading this thread, it seemed this mower would be perfect for my needs (1/2 acre lot, mostly grass). Timing, as they say, is everything, because all Sears stores in my area were sold out. I did, however, find one at the local Sears Outlet Store, which was marked as "new." My visual inspection at the store didn't reveal any problems, so I bought it. It came with full warranty, so I figured I didn't have much to lose if there turned out to be something wrong with it.

It didn't take me long to find that something. Upon using it the first time, it quickly became apparent that the deck is uneven, cutting about 1/2 inch lower on the right side. I took a close look at the underside and it's obvious that the deck is bent -- as if it got dropped or somebody stood on one side of the mower.

Moreover, because the deck is not level, the mulching capability is virtually nil, since it can't keep the clippings in place long enough to mulch them -- basically they just shoot out the left side. And -- presumably because it won't mulch -- every time I hit a patch of relatively high grass, the blades just make a grinding noise and don't cut ANY grass!

So I called Sears and they're sending a technician out to look at it next week. (My appointment is anywhere from 8am-5pm Wednesday, so I have to be home the entire day waiting on the guy. Thanks, Sears, for having so much concern for your customers' schedules.)

I'll see what the Sears tech says, but in the meantim, my questions for the experts here are:

Is there any real way to adjust the "levelness" of the mower deck? If it's bent to that degree, can it be unbent? Or is it toast? Any recommendations?


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I sure hope that technician doesnt try to say that you hit something and caused this damage.
From your description, are you saying that you can stand on the deck and bend it?


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I don't think just standing on the deck would bend it -- it would either take a really big guy or some serious jumping up and down. But who knows what happens in the back stock rooms at Sears... all that and more, I'm sure!

I'll post the results of the service call, once it finally happens in 2 more days.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Quick follow-up: The Sears tech came today. Once he took the cover off the mower, it was obvious what the problem was. The deck hangs from 4 perimeter points. The front and rear points are attached to a horizontal bar, and the bar fits into a hole in bracket that runs from front to back. Somehow the bar had been knocked out of the hole.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed a small dent in the left side of the deck. My guess is someone dropped the mower on that side and the deck assembly got knocked out of place. At some point (either before or after a sale) someone noticed that the deck was not level and that's how it ended up in the Sears Outlet Center. The bad news is that it was still sold as "new" even though someone apparently had noticed the problem. Since there was damage, it should never have been marked or sold as new. At the end of the day, though, it's still my problem because, as they say, "buyer beware."

It's wet here today so I can't try it out after the repair but, once I do, I'll let everyone know if there's any problem.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I have the craftsman 33" mower and the only problem I have with it is the bagger. The way it is made you have to take the cute off each time you want to empty the bag and that is a real problem. I have found a very simple cure for that problem and if anyone needs help with that you can email me and I will furnish you complete details on how to cure the problem. It is simple and cheap...You can find all of the materials need to make the change at a local fabric store and it will only cost you about $3.00 for the materials.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I just looked at the Cub Cadet version and walked away very impressed, it looks like it is very well made, the fact that there are grease fittings on the blade shafts I like. It just seems to be built to last. I have a 1/4 acre lot with a number of trees, gardens, and a swingset. It takes me about 1 hour and 15 min. to normally mow it with my 21" Craftsman. I'm almost afraid of this being overkill, but there are a number of wide open spaces as well. How does this machine work as a trim mower? Thanks, Dave


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Final follow up to my previous posts... The deck being out of whack was the least of the problems. Once I was finally able to use the mower, it started leaking oil from the rear transaxle. Apparently it was cracked underneath. So after ANOTHER visit from a Sears technician, I learned that (for unknown reasons) that part is unavailable and can't be replaced. At least Sears was willing to take it back and give me a full refund.

Overall, it's a good but not great mower. Doesn't take long to get the hang of it. Power is good, cut is better than average, mulching is average. Watch your fingers around trees and obstacles... even though you can feather the clutch it's still wants to jerk forward and carry your hands with it. I'd recommend gloves.

I will not be buying another one. I'm going to look at the Quickie 32 from Better Outdoor Products. The reviews have been good, it has a hydro drive, and appears to be better made in every way. The only thing the Craftsman has over the Quickie is that it's half the price.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Is there a difference between the cub cadet bagger and the craftsman? where can i find a cub cadet bagger


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I have a lot of trees (maple and oaks) on my property. I presently use my 21 inch to mulch and then bag them. It takes a long time. I know I could buy a rider but space is an issue. How well would the craftsan or CC handle a first pass at mulching leaves then use the bagger to pick them up?


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I've had the Sears 33inch for ten mowing seasons and have enjoyed; but decided to give to friend and purchase the Cub Cadet 760 ES version. I had read on some site a few days back about someone had modified the drive lever from pushing it downward with palm to being able to pull it with fingers and fist grip like it is on the other earlier models. It looks like it could be done by arranging the cables differently. any insight on this??


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Is it possible to hook a sulky up to this mower?


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Does anyone have detailed info (step by step)on how to adjust the blade timing belt? I don't need to yet since I just bought(pro model 889980) it, but just incase. According to the manual you need to call sears tech.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I haven't seen these at my local store. Can someone please give the actual dimensions (LxWxH) for these mowers?

My doors on my shed only open to about 44" across, and it's only about 64" deep. Will this mower fit (even if I have to lift the discharge chute to get it in and out)?


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

It is about 67 inches from the front of the wheels to the back of the handles. I don't think it would fit in your shed without dropping the handle down. It 35.5 wide.

I just got this mower in April. I have used it about 8 times. It works great. Starts on one pull, no problems with mulching or anything else.


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Thank you all for this thread, helped me decide what to upgrade from my 21" Honda mower. Picked up the Craftsman 2 days ago, but have not used it yet. I have however started it, Oh Joy! Has there been any updates on bagging? I normally bag, but I will try mulching. If mulching, I will cut twice/week.
Thanks again


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

I wanted to bring this back from the dead to see what all of the owners think about this model including the last couple of posters who had just bought this mower last year. Are you still happy with it? Any maintenance issues or problems? Thanks!


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

like the last poster i am also interested in the results of the 33". mainly the yellow/black pro model,as i already have used last years red homeowner model with a broken cable(fixed)broken trans(fixed)broken deck(fixed)we were pretty rough on it but it still cut good. i would like to know if pro model is tougher besides the 2 hp engine difference


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

MTD makes these mowers, and they have been branded under the names of Craftsman, Troy-Bilt, White, Cub Cadet and MTD. I am on my second Troy-Bilt version. My first one came with an 8 hp Briggs, my current one came with a 9 hp Briggs. Both of the engines on my mowers had carb related problems from day one. I ended up replacing the 9 hp Briggs with a 13 hp Honda engine three years ago. The Honda engine is quieter, smoother and uses less fuel even though it puts out more power!
I've gone through two sets of mower spindles and one needs replaced again, mine do not have grease zerks. A deck wash is the last thing you want to have on these mowers, as the spindles do not hold up.
The transmission gave up all but one gear last year. Luckily it still has third gear, which is what I normally use anyway.
The bolts that attach the handles together near the top broke off on both of my mowers. I replaced the four bolts on both mowers with 1/4 x ? grade eight bolts. They never broke again.
The Troy-Bilt I currently have mulches great, I have heard the blades have been redesigned.
All in all these are good mowers, they need a better engine than a Briggs, and they certainly are not commercial duty mowers. For the average homeowner they should last quite a while as long as the engine holds up. Bob


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RE: Craftsman 33' Mower?

Mine finally died after 10 faithful years. Tempted to buy a honda engine but wondering if the transmission would last another engine.. After reading the last post I think its headed for the trash.


 o Post a Follow-Up

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