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SkiDooNick700

Which Lawn/Garden Tractor To Buy?

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Hey guys.

 

So I just bought a house this past fall and now spring is coming up here pretty quick.  I have a little less than a half acre of land.  It's pretty much an open space both front and back.  My lot is more or less a square shape, although a little bit wider than deep.  The previous owner used a garden tractor/lawn tractor (i'll keep using the term lawn tractor from here out as it seems garden tractors are higher end lawn tractors capable of heavy duty work, which I do not need) to cut the yard.  I am thinking I definitely want to do the same... doesn't really seem like something I want to push mow... would take a while just by looking at it.

 

I am looking to spend $2,000 or less.  Anyone have any recommendations on what to get? My knowledge is like nothing on these.   My grandparents have a newer Craftsman up at the cottage, it has been great but I believe they said it was $2500-2700.

 

When I bought my snowblower this past fall (shout out to the Toro 724 qxe - thing has been awesome even in 4 inches of wet sloppy snow), the guy was showing me a Husqvarna LGT2654 26 HP for about $1800.  I did a couple searches and videos on YouTube, people seem to like it.

 

Any thoughts from you guys?

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I bought a Cub Cadet Garden tractor. Not from a big box store but a Cub dealer. JUNK. $600 in steering repair about every other season for a $15 gear that eats every other part in the system and a bear to get at. Some bright engineer bean counter decided the it's a great idea to use an unhardened raw steel pinion gear against an even softer steel sheet metal rack out in the open under the tractor where dirt/sand and the like eat on it like ants at a picnic. All supported by the absolute cheapest spherical bearings your ever going to source.  Newer ones use PLASTIC gears. Oh and this is actually a step up from anyone's MTD built big box 'lawn' tractor. Mine cost twice you budget. Second Cub I ever owned and if I would have kept the first it would still be running. 

 

So here's a hot tip. Find and old nice well cared for or re-buildable Deere 314 or 318 or early, like 70's early, 18 horse drive shaft Cub or Wheel horse. Honda also built some nice water cooled inline multi-cylinder tractors of both 14 and 18 horse about 20 years ago. Actaully just about any major tractor manufacture BEFORE the MTD consolidation. The old stuff isn't full of plastic, cooperate greed and malice. Just say'n. 

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What Grumpy Bear said. Go to a local equipment dealer or search around on Craigslist and find an old JD, Wheel Horse, Simplicity, or whatever. You can find them for far less than a grand, and they'll still be running when all these new box store machines are in the junk yard, or recycling bin, or wherever.

 

I bought a 1992 JD STX38 several years ago for pocket change. Only replaced the shift fork and a belt over the course of 4 years. I needed a little bit more machine for 6 acres, so now I have a Woods zero-turn :cool:

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Make that 3 of us recommending an old one. Let me add one to look at -Snapper. If you can find an old one with the handle bar steering wheel and a 33 deck, grab it.

If you can't find old iron, buy a Murray from Wal-mart. Run it for 5 or so years and toss it. They are cheap, disposable mowers.

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Have to agree with the above..Try to find something older....5 years ago I bought a used 1996 Simplicity Sunstar GARDEN tractor...the best $2,000 I have ever spent, it had 670hours on it and it came with snowblower, cab , and large tow behind bagger...I use that thing all year long and as long as you treat it right , it will last forever, no plastic parts to wear out.

 

Look for an OLDER Simplicity, Deere, Wheel Horse, or Cub Cadet that was cared for and it will be cheaper and last a lot longer than any $2,000 NEW tractor will

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You can buy a 1970s garden tractor for a lot cheaper than a newer lawn tractor and get way more life out of it.

I have a 1970s Jacobson GT-14 and a 1978 Gravely 8162 rider...the Jacobson is a backup mower, light snowplow, and general workhorse. The Gravely is my grunt machine...snow plow, snow blower, backup mower, rotary plow and rototiller for the garden, etc...whatever implement I don't feel like walking behind on my Gravely C10a. Just the engine and transmission of the Gravely probably weighs more than some of these lawn tractors in total. I maintain three acres of grass in the summer and two (three with my elderly neighbor) driveways in the winter.

My friend is a big box lawn tractor guy...he has had two Craftsman (one ate a valve and the other locked the transmission up). He currently has a Husquavarna 2554(?) with a Kohler Courage and a 54 inch deck...it has served him well, but he also mows a postage stamp on absolutely flat ground. The one thing I will credit the Husquavarna with is that they do have grease fittings in most places that should have one.

I have owned my Grasshopper (a $15k machine I bought used with low hours for $3k) since 2010...I have watched the neighbors on each side of me go through replacement lawn mowers three times in the time I have owned my Grasshopper. The one neighbor got smart, and bought a real John Deere the last time, they have had no issues with it since they bought it.

If you plan to be there for any length of time, buy something of quality...most of the newer "lawn tractors" are disposable. You will end up spending the same $$ in the end...

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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My vote would be for a used commercial walk behind with a 36-48in deck. You should have no problem finding one in good shape for $2k with a sulky so you can ride behind it instead of walk. They will last forever on your yard.

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Man, and I was wondering why when I was surfing some garden tractor forums last night, everyone seems to have old stuff.  The nice thing is my lot is basically flat so wear and tear should be relatively minimal.

 

I'll take a look online to see whats around my area for the older stuff. It sounds like a good alternative would be just get the Murray from Walmart for like a $1000 and run it til it dies.  I like to think that I take it easy on my equipment and don't give er hell when using it.

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Believe it or not most garden tractors are made from one or two manufacturers. The Aries - Sears- Husqvarna are the same. You can get a 42 inch hydrostatic drive mower for under 2K easy. Usually the gear box is the first thing to go. So hydrostatic is a must and makes life easy. The next thing is usually the mower deck. I usually get 15 years trouble free then the deck goes. I mow when it’s damp in the morning so no dust. I had a Husqvarna now a Aires. Same mower. My father in law has a Sears same mower.


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If all you are going to do is mow, then get a zero turn and don't look back.  Like stated above, check out Craigslist for a good used one.  Exmark, Huskey, Gravely, Dixie Chopper are all good brands.  Since spring is just around the corner, people will be selling but will be asking premium prices most likely.  Fall is a better time to by but that will not work now for you. 

 

 

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My Husqarvana hydro 42" is 18 years old and runs like the day I got it....bought it used with about 12hrs on it.   It's got the Kawasaki V-Twin super smooth engine with pressure lube w/filter.    I don't think they make them like this anymore.

 

I had to borrow my neighbor's Craftsman when mine finally wore out the belt in the middle of a mow.  What a piece of crap....I would never own a Craftsman mower.   And what a pain to put in reverse and then it won't cut in reverse...not sure if all new mowers are like that, but that sucks.     And it didn't have a mulching deck, so it was impossible to not get clippings everywhere.

 

For me must haves:

- Hydrostatic tranny

- pressured lube

- multi cylinder engine (24hp single cylinder engines are clunky)

- mulching deck

- able to cut in reverse

 

My next mower purchase will be Kubota diesel...I expect it will be my last!

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Another vote for old iron. In the long run, an old ‘70s garden tractor (not lawn tractor) will save you money as long as you find a good solid unit. My ‘64 and ‘72 Cub Cadets were built when they used steel and cast iron instead of  plastic and flimsy sheet metal. There were so many built that good used parts are readily available and the Cub Cadet dealers can still get a lot of parts new.

 

I will admit though, my zero turn sure is quicker and easier to maneuver. However, I don’t expect it to still be working when it’s 50 yrs old. 

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And let's not forget that many of the bigger names have a consumer version (your AYP/Murray) "lawn mower" and a more commercial version (the manufacturer's "garden tractor"), and the pricing difference is obvious...The better models are going to be north of $5k, the John Deere I was considering was north of $15k for one step above my Gravely in size and 4wd with a mower, blower, and plow.

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Gees guys he has about an 1/2 acre. My Husqvarna lasted 15 years hard mowing 3 acre bumpy hilly terrain. No reason to buy used anything. Zero turn, overkill big time. Next you’ll be telling him to buy a fifteen ft batwing.


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