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Lawn Tractor to Buy

Posted by chuckby z5NY (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 14, 13 at 15:40

I need to buy a lawn tractor. I mow about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 acres. Half one day and the other half the next day or two later. What brand or tractor should I buy? Is there any difference in tractors at Home Depot or Lowes vs the tractor store. Thanks for your help.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

Mownie allus loves this: time to trot the tried and proven.....

Repost of Slammer's Buying Guide...

1. Carefully evaluate the size mower you need and buy at least one size larger, given gate and storage door considerations. Work with reputable Dealers who can provide product choice assistance, product predelivery prep and aftersale service at competitve prices.

2. NEVER buy a mower from ANYPLACE that will not let you test drive same or at least a similar model. Ergonomics are just as important as performance and capability.

3. DO NOT base your purchase on price or brand name alone! Do proper research and find all of the available models that fit your criteria and haggle, save, or trade to get the right equipment for the job. Do not compromise! Dealer support after the sale is also important.

4. Understand your property and it's impact on your choice of equipment. Mowing slopes, obstacles, future landscape projects, winter use, attachments, etc. can all have a significant effect.

If you follow these three tips you will end up a happy camper with just the right unit for the job. If you disregard this advice you may end up with one or the other of the following problems:

A. Buyers remorse. Stuck with a piece of junk or simply a unit inadequate for the task at hand.

Or..

B. A teed off spouse when you start shopping for another tractor just 3 - 6 months down the road because you didn't buy the right unit in the first place.

Enjoy the experience!


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

I think you have me confused with somebody else.
I never had a problem with the Slammer Edict, or whatever else people want to call it..........even though some have said Slammer did not copyright it (rumored he only copy write it). Whatever, whoever, however it got here...................sage advice!
I just wish they had expanded/expounded more on the part about teed off spouse. Sure could use some additional info on how to avoid that one.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

"I just wish they had expanded/expounded more on the part about teed off spouse. Sure could use some additional info on how to avoid that one"

Simple, just say may I and take two giant steps back before writing the check.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

If i was going to buy a new lawn tractor, i'd buy a Craftsman from Sears. Parts are available, and they are easy to fix. I've had here to fix, several Troy-bilts', almost new, damaged by hard usage, which those models aren't designed for. Those machines didn't have transmissions as we know them. They had the two drive belt system, with the variable rate sliding pulley sort of transmission. Designed for mowing grass, and pulling a really light garden cart. (Not one loaded with concrete blocks, red bricks, or a load of stone or gravel.) One lasted 3 weeks, dragging a sled loaded with rocks, to drag the base paths at the local boro Park, and the other one coughed up its guts, from lack of maintenance.
(Oh, it ain't my job to check the oil! I was hired to drive it! If they are so concerned about the oil, let them check it!) Sound familiar? I have owned a bunch of Craftsman lawn tractors, and the all held up good, with regular maintenance. But, if you want to impress yer friends and neighbors, then go buy a more expensive make. At least, it'll mow grass as well as the cheaper models, like Craftsman.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

In a traditional tractor I'd find the closest Deere or Simplicity dealer and buy one from there. I'm partial to Simplicity's because they are durable and I like the striping. With the Deere you'll likely get a Kawasaki engine and with a Simplicity, a B&S Pro Series. I am NOT a Kohler fan......any model.

Heavier, more durable deck (and frame) on both....look especially at a fabricated deck if your lawn is bumpy.

Hydro tranny - unless you get a mower with a external filter and drain, you're stuck with a sealed unit hydro. This IMO is the biggest reason NOT to buy a Deere or Simplicity. You're paying a significant premium for a better engine, frame and deck. But if a Craftsman/Cub/Husq has the same'ish tranny as a Deere or Simplicity, is it really worth spending 2X more for the Deere/Simp?

If you're only mowing 1.25 acres of flat terrain, the ground is smooth, you won't pull carts or aerators (etc) and it's not going to be used in winter as a snowblower a Craft/Cub/Husq might do you just fine.

If you're like me and pull carts, aereate, dethatch etc. look for a brand/model with a heavier duty hydro....for me it will be a new Simplicity Conquest to replace my 17 year old Simplicity Broadmoor.....only because I now have 2.5 acres to mow and don't care if I impress the neighbors or not. ;)


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

  • Posted by larso1 So. CO Zone 5 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 16, 13 at 18:06

And if you don't mind a manual trans. with clutch, don 't blow off the Craftsman GT with the 6-speed manual transmission. You'll not have to worry about overheating a hydro trans or internal slippage and all the other problems you read about on here with hydros. It's a long proven unit and will take the abuse of heavy pulling, climbing steep hills, and operating ground engaging accessories.......

(see link below)

Here is a link that might be useful: Craftsman Garden Tractor w/ Manual Trans


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

Most of the posts regarding hydro trans problems here and all around the net are from people who bought riding mowers and lawn tractors and used then like garden tractors.

Garden tractors with both manual trans and hydros are equally well suited for exactly what they were designed and equipped to do.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

  • Posted by larso1 So. CO Zone 5 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 16, 13 at 18:58

Never-the-less, you're paying a $200 premium for a hydrostatic trans in the Craftsman GT series (maybe more in others) and if you're OK with a manual trans, it's still a win-win situation due to simplicity, reliability, and replacement costs.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

never mind

This post was edited by justalurker on Tue, Jul 16, 13 at 20:35


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

".......Garden tractors with both manual trans and hydros are equally well suited for exactly what they were designed and equipped to do."

justalurker - I respectfully disagree with your statement above regarding hydro trannys. About 2 months ago I spoke at length with a tech from Tuff Torque. What I gleaned from our conversation is that there's really not that much difference between a K40/50 series (used on a brands lower end units) and a K60'ish series tranny. The 60 series are built stronger yes, but are still sealed units. Don't hold me to this but you had to get into the K70 Series (i.e. Simplicity Prestige) trannys to be able to change the oil and external filter.

I admit to being in the state of "analysis paralysis" when choosing my next tractor. What I can't answer is my own question of: "just how long should a tractor last?" My current 17 yr old Broadmoor is in great shape with the exception of the HydroGear tranny. It's just not worth putting $800 into a 17 yr old tractor though.

Just my .02


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

As I see the matket the TT K7x trans is the entry level GT trans currently offered in the JD X5xx and Simplicity series garden tractors. Currently enjoying a K72 I can say a K4x, K5x, and K6x are far below the K7x series capabilities. My K72 aloows for fluid changes but has an internal filter that is not routinely serviced and I'm not worried in the least.. Some K72 versions do have a serviceable filter.

I feel for you on your 17 year old Broadmoor. I bought a Sears GT a ways back that had a Hydrogear 3000 and immediately disliked that transaxle so I returned the Sears.

You got your money's worth out of your Broadmoor and you're not the only one that has an older something that today's repair costs will exceed what they feel is reasonable so you're joining a big club.

If you want or need a garden tractor then get one that is equipped as you like it. Like everything else today, better costs more, and it costs more than it used to cost 17 years ago. If the GT you buy lasts you 17 years we can have this debate again then.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

lurker - no debate desired on my part...just a good exchange of info!
No question a K7X series is a step above a K4X/5X/6X tranny. The Conquest I'm looking at has a K66 in it...more durable than a K5X yes but it's still not a 7X (Simp Prestige) where you can change the fluid. Personally I think if one can change the fluid in the hydro every year or two the unit should/could last as long as the engine and frame under normal homeowner use.
So I can buy 3 Cub/Husq tractors with a B&S engine for the price of 1 Prestige. I'm going nuts!! Arghhhhhhh!!!!!!!! :)

May I ask what tractor you have with the K72?


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

Always was impressed with the K66 until I used a GT with a K72. It is a night and day difference pulling weight or ground engaging. I thought I had seen a K66 with external filter so you might want to look under that Conquest.

JD X500 and it's just like my Toyota 92 4xd pickup... it cost way too much and is worth every cent.

And just like with my Toyota... not a big fan of the manufacturer or the local dealer but the product is well designed for its intended tasks, sensibly engineered, easy enough to work on, and parts will be available for a VERY long time if you need them.

I favor products where the manufacturer puts their own name on it rather than the marketer putting the specs up for the lowest bid and then putting the marketer's name on the product..

This post was edited by justalurker on Wed, Jul 17, 13 at 13:24


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

A JD X500 comes with a K7X tranny??!! I will have to take a closer look! JD now has some attractive financing offers which I would need to take advantage of. They didn't have any 6 weeks ago.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

All the JD X5xx Select Series has a K72. The models that don't have hydraulic lift and power steering have drain plugs but have an internal filter that is not serviceable.

The X5xx models that DO have hydraulic lift and power steering have a serviceable filter and drain plugs.

The base model X500 does nicely for me. Steers so easy even with the 44" snow thrower installed that IMO power steering is unnecessary and the foot pedal lift for the mowing deck is easy enough. Trans drain plug is a GOTTA HAVE but no serviceable filter doesn't matter to me.

If you're not in a hurry JD usually has a $500 off promotion on the X5xx series in the fall.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

Thanks for the info! YES...being able to drain the fluid is key. Changeable filter is not so important. The tech at Tuff Torque said the K66 didn't have a drain plug but I will take a look when the time comes.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

I can recommend one brand not to buy, I have nothing but trouble with a Husqavarna. Barely two years old, always shedded, not abused. Broke down 2nd day, numerous parts have fell off and broken. Wished I had gotten the Deere.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

Whip, sounds like you've had some really bad luck. I think you must have gotten a lemon. I'm curious as to which parts fell off your Husqvarna. I have two John Deeres, one MTD, and one Husqvarna in the lawn tractor category, plus an Economy in the CUT group; they range in age from 5 to 28 years. I don't recall EVER having a part fall off any of these machines. I have, of course, tightened a bolt here and there (primarily on gauge wheels) to keep things from falling off, but that's the result of proper maintenance activity. Sorry about your bad luck - my Husqvarna is now 5 years old, with 300 hours on it, and has been trouble-free.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

It would be helpful (and more accurate) to list at least some of the parts "that fell off".
Every OEM ships machines using the "some assembly required" method.
This facilitates handling and storage, and somewhat protects against damaged goods and pilfered parts at various stages in the journey from factory to consumer.
But this means that the LAST link in this chain may not be a trained technician, nor even a conscientious "follower of instructions".
This leaves open the possibility of some components not being installed using the correct fasteners or proper torque (what's that?).
Also, the final assembly should include a "check" of certain factory installed fasteners, but that probably NEVER happens in a lot of cases...................depending on who is doing the assembly.
I have seen outdoor power equipment being uncrated and assembled in "Big Box" stores by a team of outside vendors, who were just a bunch of high school kids under the "supervision" of an adult team leader (with questionable talent).
My point is: If you come to this forum because you might be interested in DIY repairs to your stuff...........you gotta learn to watch out for things that hold it together.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

Mownie,

You don't know what torque is? Then I'll fill ya in. It's what JAL likes to do to me as in "torque me off." :-)


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

Come on grass, you know you're not torqued too tight ;-)


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Torqueometer...tells you how fast your engine is turning.
Tiki torque....decorative patio lamp fueled with used motor oil.

This post was edited by mownie on Sat, Jul 20, 13 at 0:34


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

Did the OP decide on anything?


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

A consideration for a woman purchasing a mower. After many attempts to keep my John Deere lawn tractor running while I mowed my 1.5 acre yard, I simply put a cinderblock and a few bricks on my tractor seat and the mower seemed to work fine. However, this was very inconvenient, not to mention unsafe. I took my tractor in to my local JD dealer and explained that my mower would not continually run without additional weight on the seat. They could not find a problem with my mower nor offered me a solution. Then one Friday night, I became so frustrated with my new JD, I fired off an email message to JD.com and received the following response back from Laurie M., John Deere Customer Contact Center: "We apologize that you have been having concerns with the operations of your unit. The seat safety switch is tested with the standard of a 150 lb. operator. As you stated that you are only 100 lbs., you may find that the switch can be inadvertently tripped. We suggest that you verify the seat is pulled forward to the closest comfortable position in which you are completely in the seat with your back against the back of the seat. Now, I had another case in which the customer had advised for his wife, who was under 100 lbs, he had made a seat cover that had a pocket that hung over the back of the seat in which he added a cement block so the tractor would operate and he would not have to do the mowing. An alternative to this would require the unit be taken to the dealer and they can move and/or adjust the seat so that it would be adaptable to your lighter weight. This may make the seat less comfortable for a heavier operator. As this would be an after-market modification, there may be a charge to you for this service."


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

Sounds to me like a good excuse to eat bacon and ice cream.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

  • Posted by larso1 So. CO Zone 5 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 21, 13 at 15:20

.. or how about a ratchet securement strap over the seat cushion, and then a piece of thin foam on top of that for comfort. This is assuming you can route the strap below the sensor.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

Why not simply replace the sensor with one that has a lighter load range? Or why not simply disable it?
sitting on cement blocks to get more weight is hardly any safer than just by passing the weight sensor.


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RE: Lawn Tractor to Buy

Why not simply replace the sensor with one that has a lighter load range? Or why not simply disable it?
sitting on cement blocks to get more weight is hardly any safer than just by passing the weight sensor.


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