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Country Discussion Topics
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Need a new lawn tractor - any reccomendations?
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Andrew Cheyne    Posted 06-28-2003 at 15:48:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Last Thursday, my 15 year-old lawn tractor finally gave up the ghost and I need to get a new one.I mow about 2.5 acres of lawn and only really want the tractor for mowing. I know most people say, "Get a Deere", but I thought I'd ask for some opinions.


Clod    Posted 06-29-2003 at 06:19:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
You may notice,,They mention wet grass? Some are better at that because.Under the deck it is made so that wet grass does not clog up and slow the cutters.I just saw the explnation down there.


Clod    Posted 06-29-2003 at 07:37:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
How to get rich? Corner the market on belt and bearing sales for rideing mowers.FYI..Use cotter pins on those hangersThey stay put.


Tom A    Posted 06-29-2003 at 02:44:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
I hate my Cub Cadet 3-series. Paid a bundle for it so it'd be the last one I'd ever get, and it has been a piece of trash. No help from dealer or Cub Cadet (just a snotty letter from Corporate HQs to contact my dealer). All-in-all, I wouldn't wish one on Saddam.

I bought a no-name from Central Tractor several years ago. Discovered it was made by MTD, and it is wonderful. Didn't cost much at all, and I've abused it something fierce and it just keeps running without complaint. 17 HP B&S engine ran for quite awhile without oil while I was gone on an extended business trip, and still purrs now. I would recommend that little cheapy over any other on the market.

Tom


Mark    Posted 06-14-2004 at 06:24:13       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I found a 4 year old Walk behind 8 hp Cub Cadet 36" for $450. All I know is the mower does not have dual bracks. I have not seen the mower yet. Found this thru a friend. I'm considering making a trip to look at. Is this mower worth the money and the trip?.


Jimbob    Posted 06-29-2003 at 05:53:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cub Cadet:
I do not know anyone who likes the Cub III (3000) series. For some reason the bagger does not work, engine backfires when shutoff & the deck is poor handling wet grass (plugs up a lot). The Cub Cadet II series is a better machine with a large acceptance factor & high ratings per owners feedback.


PhilJ    Posted 09-22-2006 at 17:25:13       [Reply]  [Send Email]
As far as backfiring when shutting down - My Cub Cadet did that every time I shut it off. I searched the manual no tips were found. Finally a dealer told me to shut it off at Full Throttle. The tractor has not backfired since going on two years now.


Ron,Ar    Posted 06-28-2003 at 18:56:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
Andrew, back when Murrays sold for about 395 for a 36 inch unit I would have reccomended it. Reason was that if you got 5 years out of it you could afford to buy a new one at that price every 5 years or so. Now I don't have a preference. Not too many years ago I worked for a Ford tractor dealer,sold everything from log skidders to lawn and garden equip. Found out then that most mowers were made by the same 2 or 3 companies. May not be the same now. Tip: if you replace the bearing and shafts in mower deck drill and tap the bearing housing for a grease fitting. Before you install the bearings remove the inward facing seal, both top and bottom bearing. Keep them greased. Mower deck is the weakest link in the life of a riding mower.


Jimbob    Posted 06-28-2003 at 18:35:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
I do not know your price range, but here goes for under $2K for lawn tractors-

I prefer John Deere L100 or L110 series. Nice machine with superior cut, good deck for damp grass & short 18" turn radius. The 42" deck is minimal width for 2.5 acres. Larger tires are good for traction on hills. These are light duty tractors.

Next, Sears by API or American Yard Products (now Electrolux) are good deals. $1400 or so will get you a hydrostatic trans, cast front axle & 18hp. Also light duty tractor.

Third is the Cub Cadet 2016, but a few dollars over budget. This is a heavy duty tractor with a drive axle. The deck is not as good for damp grass as the John Deere, but it is a rugged tractor overall.

Ingersoll 4000 or older 446. Too expensive new, but can be a real bargain used. Mower deck is ok, not as nimble as the JD L100 or even the Cub Cadet. This machine is about unbreakable. A 20+ year machine. Costs about $5200 new!

I own the Ingersoll 446 & John Deere L100 tractors.

I prefer B&S Intek or Kawasaki engines. Kohler is ok as well now that the lifter/air bleed issue is resolved.


Engine info........Jimbob    Posted 06-28-2003 at 19:14:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
The B&S Intek is a superior engine. AVS anti-vibration system, pressurized oil lube with full pressure oil filter. Extra large crankshaft bearings, high air flow cooling, etc. Far superior to many engines. No problems noted anywhere on the internet, been out for a few years.

B&S Vanguard. Best in class. It is manufactured by Mitubutshi in Japan, not B&S. Its a Commercial duty engine. Only a diesel is better as far as I am concerned.

Longest lasting engines to date per internet-

B&S 16hp I/C 1-cylinder valve in block type. It has logged 3800 hours & still ran good.

Kohler 'K' series 12, 14 & 16hp. 1-cylinder, valve in block design. I had one manufactured in 1958. Still ran good, original owner stated original.

Engine oil requirements-

Air-cooled engines are much hotter operating over water cooled engines & auto engines have an easy life as only part loaded with water cooling.

I would use synthetic oil after break-in. Synthetic oil has superior high temp lubrication properties and the lighter multi weights flow excellent at even -35 F below zero. www.amsoil.com has some very good 30wt synthetic oil for hot summers. Winter, 10W-30 mobile 1 is fine. Also note, not all oils are synthetic even when stated on the oil can. Some used 'cracked' oil (highly refined Dino oil).

Break-in is within 8 to 10 hours now due to extra fine cylinder honing and piston rings that seat quickly.

Engine operating tips-

Never operate a air-cooled engine less than full RPM after warm-up. The engine can overheat due to slow moving air over the cylinder air cooling fins. After a 15 minute warm up on an unloaded new engine, just operate at full throttle. This is not truw on small push mower aluminum cylinder engines. Break-in these engines as lightly as you can and operate about 200 to 300 RPM below maxinum RPM for best results.

My 2 cents.


Clod    Posted 06-28-2003 at 19:26:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
That was interesting..It is amazing to know that BS engine was nade in Japan.. Most,Like me think it was made in the USA.But the Japanese do make great stuff.( We once did)


Jeff    Posted 05-24-2004 at 19:39:31       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have a yazoo with a 18 hp wisconsin engine, I have a bad problem with it over heating. the engine was rebuilt less than two years ago and it looks like new. I already checked for mouse nests in the cowling. Can you help I hate to get rid of it I really like how it mows.


DeadCarp    Posted 06-28-2003 at 17:48:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
I recently inherited a 38" Murray mower, and that thing mows just fine so far - but if you like that Wheel Horse, i'd consider rebuilding whatever it needs. I paid $600 for my 12-horse Wheel Horse (& the snowblower that will throw bricks) about 1990 but i used it year-round and finally ate the needle bearings in the rearend by leveling dirt with a dozer blade. Surplus Center has rebuilt rearends for like $400 - well okay i'd be up to $1000 for an old machine but that's darn site cheaper than some tinny thing you'd get at the hardware store. The Kohler in it has new rings and its handier, safer and way more willing than my cantankerous B John Deere. :)


Old Sarge    Posted 06-28-2003 at 17:27:10       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I know I'll get slammed fer this BUT, I have a 17 HP Craftsman with hydrostatic drive, 42" deck twuin blades. I was stoopid and they only had the Briggs & Stratton engine so I got it. If they had had a Kohler engine I would have had it. The B&S now has a pressurized oil system similar to Kohler but my maint man sez they have a long way to go to catch up to Kohler's system. Oh yeah he services all of them for Sears.


Andrew    Posted 06-28-2003 at 17:50:14       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Any idea who makes the tractors for Sears? It's pretty rare that Sears actually makes any of their own stuff.


Yucca Bean    Posted 06-29-2003 at 04:10:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sears junk is made by annual contracts so it is whoever was low bidder on the item. That is the reason there is such a hodgepodge of parts numbers etc on Sears products and why You need the serial no. as well as the model when ordering parts.


Jimbob    Posted 06-29-2003 at 06:09:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sears are built by American Yard Products (API). This company was bought by Electrolux Corporation.

The mid priced Sears lawn tractors are considered better built over Murray & MTD products with a few exceptions (Cub Cadet 2000 series) per internet sites & general opinions of owners. Husqvarna entry level lawn tractor is actually a midpriced Sears (API) lawn tractor with a few upgrades. Husqvarna products are well accepted & perform excellent.

The Sears garden tractor series are a good quality rugged tractor with heavy duty transaxles, quality engines, solid frames, heavy guage mower decks & tough front-ends.

Sears simply has lawn tractors at bargain prices. The 'bottom line' Sears lawn tractor I would recommend is any Sears product that has a cast-iron front axle. The cast-iron axle is an easy to recognize item on a tractor. The cast iron equipped Sears tractors are of better build quality over the entry models.


Clod    Posted 06-29-2003 at 07:27:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
My brother had three Sears eat up by 4 acres of yard in a short time.Not cast axle kind though. He bought those because he could get credit there.It is good he does not find this board to talk about mower quality.


Clod    Posted 06-28-2003 at 18:05:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have heard from a mower dealer,,A few years back Roper makes the rideing mowers for sears.But,,times have changed maybe.


Texas Al    Posted 06-28-2003 at 21:03:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
I think Craftsman riding mowers are made by American Yard Products. They also make Husqvarna, and the machines are similar.

We got tired of looking at our old Craftman 15.5 HP Kohler lawn tractor, so gave it away and bought a new LT2000, with automatic on the fender, 17 HP Kohler Pro, and 42" deck. It was on sale, and with 10% discount for putting on the Sears account it was $1240.

The old Craftsman was always a really good, reliable mower. The bearings on the deck are sealed on both the old and new, but they are vented and I never had any trouble with them. Only recently on the old one we had trouble with the deck mechanism disengaging the blades, but it appears to be a pretty minor problem.


toolman    Posted 06-28-2003 at 17:38:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
i got the same as you have sarge, only mines 20 hp , been mowin the lawn about an acre and the better part of a 10 acre horse pasture for 3 years now an so far it,s been a fine little machine.


RayP(MI)    Posted 06-28-2003 at 17:06:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
If you choose a conventional tractor, be sure to get a hydrostatic transmission, hydraulic lifts are great too!


Hal/WA    Posted 06-28-2003 at 17:04:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
You didn't say what you have now and how well it has served you. If you have had a high end mower, you probably won't be happy with a cheapie replacement.

I have an old White, which was made by MTD, that my Dad bought while he was still on the farm. When my parents moved to town, I bought most of their equipment including the White LT-11. My Dad was not too easy on machinery, but I had seen to it that everything got an oil change at least once a year.

The White is a low end machine, but it has served me pretty well. However the last couple of years I have had to weld up cracks in both sides of the mower deck and finally welded the steering arm to the king pin to keep it from coming off. The engine is tired, but with a new intake valve and a new connecting rod, it runs OK and starts easily. I now use 20W50 oil in it. The mower deck is only 32 inches wide and I have found that it is difficult to find new blades. One thing that I really like about the design is that the mower deck bearings are easily replacable with cheap bearings I can find almost at any auto parts store, unlike some designs that require the whole spindle assembly to be replaced at much higher cost. Unfortunately the whole machine is pretty worn out and I am tired of tinkering with it every other time I use it.

I suppose I will need to replace the White in the next year or so. I have looked at all the choices around here and they range from about $800 to more than $5000. I do like some of the John Deere models, but they are probably more pricey than I want to spend.

Since my old White has worked OK for me all these years, with its stamped front axle, non-hydrostatic transmission and general cheapness, I suppose I will buy something similar. But I would like more horsepower and probably a somewhat bigger deck (although I don't want it so big that the mower is underpowered). With the small mower deck, the old White hardly even notices tall grass. The other things I will look for are how easily and cheaply the wear parts can be replaced, and how well I fit on the machine. Oh, and I would prefer the least amount of plastic body parts possible.

I have tried a $5000 John Deere zero turn that a buddy has. It is a neat machine and would cut my mowing time down a bunch. But I really doubt that I could ever justify to myself spending that much on a lawn mower! Different strokes for different folks....


Andrew Cheyne    Posted 06-28-2003 at 17:21:41       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hal,

Thanks for the comments. The mower I currently have is a Toro Wheelhorse. I have only owned it for about a year. The last owner threw it in when we bought the house as he was moving to a new place. I thought that was a good deal at the time, but it's now just not worth fixing anymore.. esepcically since I'm not all that mechanically inclined.
As far as how it handles the mowing, it does a good job - 11HP B&S Engine, 42" deck. It'll mow in reverse, too, which comes in handy.
I am actually planning on keeping this tractor to learn more about engines when the I get the new one. I figure if I'm going to live in the country, I'd better learn a thing or two about repairing engines.


Clod    Posted 06-28-2003 at 18:02:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mister..You have a Toro,, I have one here.. I do not like it much.. There are some things online to help you.I might post them here later.


Randy    Posted 06-28-2003 at 16:14:28       [Reply]  [Send Email]
If you only are going to mow a zero turn might be good. Probably cut your time in half. That's what we use to mow now. That and 4' plus walk behinds for hills. Andrew, where are you located? The zero turns are a bit fun on steeper hills. My partner has a Scag Turf Tiger and I use a Toro ZMaster.
I think alot of them are the same. Can't be many manufactures of the hydros and such. Local dealer with a good reputation for service is always a good thing to look for. Most importantly take a few for rides. Can also hook up a vac system to zero turns as well as a few other things.


Andrew    Posted 06-28-2003 at 17:24:15       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Randy,

I live near Ottawa, Canada. I thought about the zero turns, but don't think I really need one for any area of my lawn. It is a slight pain having to go back and hit the spots I cant hit on one turn, but not worth the extra $$ for a zero-turn. I also dont have any hills (makes downhill skiing hard), so checking out the fun of the tractor on the hills wouldn't happen anyway. :-)

Andrew


Clod    Posted 06-28-2003 at 16:22:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
There are two more brands of the type Randy is talking about.Yazoo and Yamiha. They look good but expensive.I wondered how they would be on slopes.Randy answered that question.


Randy    Posted 06-28-2003 at 16:30:03       [Reply]  [Send Email]
The Scag is way better on slopes then my Toro. You end up learning how to do things a bit different with them. Can't beat the big walk behinds for slopes.
Years ago I had a Yazoo with the 3 wheels. You sit on the wheel that steers. Here's a hint for you, don't Armorall the seat. Where you sit goes around real fast when you take a tight turn. Don't ask, just imagine me taking flight!


Clod    Posted 06-28-2003 at 16:37:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
I see some Mexicans here with walk behinds that does the apartments.One wired skateboard behind the mower to save his energy. I am going look at the Toro awhile I guess.It eats belts at 54 bucks a whack once a month..


Randy    Posted 06-28-2003 at 16:41:31       [Reply]  [Send Email]
For years I used the walk behinds, even when I had a rider. Liked the exercise. Probably about 15-25 miles a day walking. Then as I got older I got a sulky to stand on. My knees just started to hurt too much from all the years of walking and being shall we say "husky."


Clod    Posted 06-28-2003 at 17:44:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi Randy,,Was off in shop..I try to make my efforts go to a machine control handle..There is more than enough exercise if I just do what I must.You can always find things to fix that use mussle power.Just find friends who move twice a month.Refigerators are great on two story apartments.


Clod    Posted 06-28-2003 at 15:59:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
I am working on a Toro..I always work on it..Dont waste your money.The belt is 130 inch long and 54 bucks. Look at the way they attach parts together.It would be nice to see bearings but the points of suspension should have more than a knife edge to last under constant viberation ..Wide hinge points= more metal bearing surface.Look at front axle..Is it stamped metal? Or nice thick forged or cast metal.If so good..Grease points? If not you loose money there..Steering..Most Gears on steering is stamped metal plates.A joke! What is wrong with an automotive type wormgear? Just remember,You can save at the front end of the deal and go broke at the back end.Belts on the decks along with the pulleys are often trouble..If one knows a well built rideing machine I hope to find out which it is..I like the kind that steer by the two handles but they are not cheap. Todays stress was caused by the Toro here I am repairing.


Andrew    Posted 06-28-2003 at 17:26:02       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Clod,

Interesting.. The tractor I want to replace is a Toro Wheelhorse. It does require a lot of work. I actually got it third hand - it has been with the house I'm at for a while, but I've only had it for about a year.


Clod    Posted 06-28-2003 at 18:13:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mister,As fpr most of the rideing mowers,,We could demand a lot of improvements. Light guage metals and sorry ways of hagingthe parts together..They are steamlined like a Stealth fighter..Mine has never reached MACH one.But the covers make repairs harder. You can look at the real tractors,,Even very small ones and get an idea of corners cut in building rideing mowers,Even the hydros on some brands.I could take a torch and welding machine and a few junkyard parts and build one that is useful and lasting.Also easily repaiable.Check the prices of parts.You can overhaul a 57 chevy cheaper.


Clod    Posted 06-28-2003 at 19:02:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
The guy who likes to know the motors.


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