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Riding lawnmower input requested


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#1 Chipster

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 10:55 AM

Well my old Toro is about done so rather than risk another season on it I've started to look around for a suitable replacement. I need something with at least a 32" cutting deck, but less than 48". So far I've read pretty good reviews of John Deere, Club Cadet, & Husqvarna mowers. I don't want to spend more than $1500 and would love to think I could spend less to get a lasting and quality mower. What I would ask of you is that if you have purchased a riding lawnmower in the last couple of years is: What did you buy, where, and how has it worked out for you? I am a bit concerned of buying from a big box retail store due to the possible nightmare of getting warranty issues dealt with in a reasonable time frame from someone who knows what they are doing. Thanks!


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#2 akirby

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:25 PM

Bought a John Deere 42” about 12 years ago. The basic one at Home Depot. No problems other than some rust on the cutting deck which was easy to fix. They have a great mulch kit. I’ve heard the others are good, too so I think it comes down to personal preference and price.
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#3 akirby

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:26 PM

I would recommend buying from a local dealer not a big box if possible although I never had a warranty issue.
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#4 Chipster

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 02:39 PM

I would recommend buying from a local dealer not a big box if possible although I never had a warranty issue.

I would tend to agree, but the Lowe's 10% discount for mil. vets. might be an incentive I can't refuse. I'll have do some homework for sure.


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#5 akirby

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 04:03 PM

I would tend to agree, but the Lowe's 10% discount for mil. vets. might be an incentive I can't refuse. I'll have do some homework for sure.


That’s worth the risk for sure.
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#6 t3amcha0s

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 09:28 PM

I do repair riding mowers for a living for Lowery Motor Service in Lewsiville, TX. I would recommend going back with Toro. John Deere, Club Cadet, & Husqvarna are all the same with different color schemes basically. What exactly is wrong with your mower you have now?


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#7 enigma-2

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 09:54 PM

There have been a lot of complaints about buting at Lowes. No one the can service them. I've also head a lot of complaints about the low end JD sold there. They have the John Deere name, but there cheapened up to compete with the less expensive brands. Cub cheapened up a lot after they sold. My local dealer carry the brand, but has a lot of complaints of the quality. (Not the Cub of old).
Personally I own a Simplicity Broadmore, but you're not going to get close with either a better John Deere or Simplicity for $1500.

The important thing to remember is, tractors of today are NOT the quality of 15 years ago.

If you want to go cheap, look at Craftsman (made by AYP). Especially when they are on sale.

There's another forum I belong to that has excellent advice, pros and regular owners. Maybe a better place to ask for advice as it's only about lawn tractors

http://www.lawnmower...quipment-Forums

Edited by enigma-2, 11 February 2018 - 09:57 PM.

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#8 akirby

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 09:26 AM

Even the cheap JDs are still pretty good. I had mine for 12 years, did my own oil changes and blade sharpening. The seat was a little cheap and the paint came off the mower deck so I pulled it off and repainted it. For the money it’s not bad. You can upgrade the seat.
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#9 IWRBB

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 09:45 AM

I paid about $2800 from a dealer for a JD LT180 with the bagger setup and the 48" deck back in 2003.  I've replaced a couple belts on it, and the seat is cracking in the corner, otherwise it's never had any issues.  I see no reason I can't get another 15 years out of it given the shape it's in.  If it goes 30 years, that's less than $100 a year to own it.

 

If you are the one using it, get a good one.  If it's your kid, they'll beat it up no matter what you buy.

 

Buy once, cry once.  


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#10 Chipster

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 03:21 PM

I do repair riding mowers for a living for Lowery Motor Service in Lewsiville, TX. I would recommend going back with Toro. John Deere, Club Cadet, & Husqvarna are all the same with different color schemes basically. What exactly is wrong with your mower you have now?

Well first off it's 24 seasons old and the tranny is about shot. The B & S motor is still strong, but the carb has a leaking fuel float which I dealt with by putting in an in- line cut off valve to prevent the oil sump from filling up with gas. Most all of the plastic hood is broken and / or is fractured causing it to run a bit hot because of disrupted cooling air flow. It is pretty much held together with bungee cords and the drive belt and tires are about shot. Other than the above it is in great shape!  ;)


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#11 IWRBB

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 02:29 PM

Well first off it's 24 seasons old and the tranny is about shot. The B & S motor is still strong, but the carb has a leaking fuel float which I dealt with by putting in an in- line cut off valve to prevent the oil sump from filling up with gas. Most all of the plastic hood is broken and / or is fractured causing it to run a bit hot because of disrupted cooling air flow. It is pretty much held together with bungee cords and the drive belt and tires are about shot. Other than the above it is in great shape!  ;)

 

I swear, you are describing the mower my neighbor had until last year.   Same fuel line cut off, same busted hood, same worn out drive belts and tires.  He just last year broke down and got a new JD from Lowes/HD.  His bagger setup is not as good as mine.  Just seems flimsy. 

 

Forgot to add, I made sure I bought a mower that had with anti-scalp wheels at all four corners.


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#12 akirby

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 03:10 PM

I quit bagging years ago and just got a good mulch kit.  Never had a thatch problem (Bermuda).


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#13 Chipster

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 04:30 PM

I quit bagging years ago and just got a good mulch kit.  Never had a thatch problem (Bermuda).

My plan as well. I have it on my current mower and would not want to bag clippings. I have discovered that the Club Cadet has a 3 year warranty while the JD is only 2 years. I also discovered that Home Depot does not fix warranty issues, rather directs them to "authorized" warranty repair locations which in my case are only a couple of miles from my home, so no biggie.


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#14 enigma-2

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 06:10 PM

I have a mulches kit for my Simplicity, but can't use it in the spring when blue grass is going nuts. Works great in summer if I don't try to go too fast or mow wet(ish) grass.

From just a personal perspective, I don't like keeping a unit for too long, the new stuff has real advantages. Looks nicer ;-) and with the modern stuff, eliminates the worry of failure. I kept my last unit too long, 8 years, Briggs Professional, started it up on afternoon and went to full throttle. Turns out they use plastic parts for the governor INSIDE THE ENGINE. Have to remove the engine and tear it down to change. Had the dealer pick it up and he co u lfnt get the electric clutch off the engine shaft (welded itself on). I went down and verified it was welded on. Only way to get it off was to destroy it. Add this cost to labor and you can guess it's not worth to repair these units when the get old. Not like to old days when duct tape and WD40 fixed everthing.
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#15 Simon F

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 01:45 PM

If you have  a  small lot that you mow once per week, you can get by with a mower from Lowes,Home Depot, etc.  If you have acres to mow and/or is rough, you need a professional quality mower.  Based on the size cutter you said you were looking for, I would check out a small Gravely brand mower, I would also have to look at he Toro.  I think the Toro Z turn with the stearing wheel instead of the leavers is a very good mower for small lots.  I use a Gravely 52" cut and would use a 72" cut if I didn,t have so many trees and buildings on my acreage.  The bigger the cut, the less time spent.  During the season I mow 6-8 hrs. twice a week.


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#16 IWRBB

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 01:54 PM

I only bag when the leaves are falling.  


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#17 Chipster

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 03:02 PM

I only bag when the leaves are falling.  

You know it is in this instance that a mulch kit really comes into it own. The bulk reduction and rake reduction is great! It's hell on the blades, but since it is the end of the cutting season who cares as they will need to be touched up before spring anyway. There does seem to be one aspect to my model selection that I might have missed had I not done a bit of homework. It seems that both the JD & Cadet add a few "life longevity" features on their (for a lack of a better term) second tier models that cost a few hundred dollars more than there entry model. In the Cadet's case a couple of well placed grease fittings on the cutting spindle seem to promote a longer lifespan. I was amazed at the additional "safety" features on modern mowers over and beyond what in on my older mower. It seems like just reversing the mower with the blades turning requires all sorts of operator input and perhaps an act of congress as well... :rant: As I used to say in my previous lines of work "Safety sucks, but I don't want to die either!"


Edited by Chipster, 17 February 2018 - 03:03 PM.

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#18 akirby

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 03:58 PM

On the JD you just press and hold a button to keep the blades going in reverse.
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#19 enigma-2

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 04:07 PM

If your referring to the grease fittings on the blade spindles, they are not grease fittings. They are weep vents. If you look closely, there are no check valves in the top. (They just look like zerk fittings).

The reason is, in ALL mower decks, the bearings are sealed. It's not possible to grease them. If you shoot grease in the fittings, the only real value is to reduce the possibility of moisture rusting the shaft above the bearing.

I asked an engineer at Simplicity why did they even bother putting them in (as they serve no real purpose). He said that the customers (and some older dealers) demand they do so. Old wives tale, that the consumers believed that the bearings will last longer if they shot some grease in there. The reason they pulled the check valve out of the top is because there is no place for the grease to go, that it would build up and under pressure (these assembles go hot in use) the grease would put undo pressure on the bearings. With just an open hole the grease can escape when the assemblies pressurize in use.

As I stated in a previous post, my dealer also carries Cub Cadet. Immediately stared me away from it, too many complaints. Carry the brand as so many in the area are fans and devoted.

For upscale quality, Simplicity or John Deere. John Deere is top quality (not the big box models), and Simplicity has several nice features that a Deere doesn't; and excellent quality.

For an acre or lot, standard lot, Craftsman, especially when on sale. Made by AYP, represents best value in an intermediate level mower. Granted, AYP makes s dozen brands just by changing the color and label, Sears has their own standards and they will be there when you need service or parts.

Good luck if you buy at a big box store.

Edited by enigma-2, 17 February 2018 - 04:21 PM.

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#20 Chipster

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 04:42 PM

...Sears has their own standards and they will be there when you need service or parts.

 

Perhaps you mean the formally known as Sears? These days that purchase would be a real crap shoot!


Edited by Chipster, 17 February 2018 - 04:44 PM.

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