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Lawn tractors- low price like from big box stores

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Lawn tractors- low price like from big box stores

Old 01-09-2017, 04:21 AM
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Default Lawn tractors- low price like from big box stores

Just bought a place in the Black Hills to put our summer home. Front yard is about 1.5 acres with a slope and no other features (trees, etc), no need for zero turn etc.
Tempted to do it with a push mower, but I may not want to do that the 2nd time LOL. Walked by a 42" mower at HD yesterday for $1000... I know it's not even close to the best, but wondering what some of you have experienced. Can I get 2 or 3 good years out of one?
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Old 01-09-2017, 04:36 AM
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My grass is just a bit over and acre. Three seasons ago I bought an Ariens (rebadged Husqvarna) with a 22hp Kohler and a 46in deck. Paid $1500 for it and it has been flawless. Oil changes, air cleaner, fuel filter, sharpen blades every spring. It has definitely met my expectations
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Old 01-09-2017, 04:48 AM
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You shouldn't have any problem getting 2 to 3 yrs (if not more) out of it. I have a rough one acre. By rough, I mean roots, rocks, high spots, low spots, gravel. It really puts a beating on my mower deck components. Every year before winter I have to remove the deck and do some refurb on the deck over the winter. It's a Craftsman 42 inch rider with a 20hp Briggs and Stratton. I think valve seals are going in the engine. Bought mower new 9 years ago. I expect to get at least another year out of it.
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Old 01-09-2017, 04:58 AM
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I have a small craftsman riding mower that I keep at a property I own so I can run over there and mow the lawn. It's a cheaper mower and it's about 8 years old but I do have to repair something on it every year.

Conversely I have a hustler at my house and its turn the key and go.

There is a noticeable difference in quality of the mowers but I see no reason you couldn't get a couple years out of a cheaper one. You can keep it going indefinitely if you are willing to work on it and pay for parts if they are available. I know my cheap mower currently has a bead of weld over a crack in the deck.

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Old 01-09-2017, 04:59 AM
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I had a Husqvarna with a 22HP Briggs and a 42 inch deck. Ran it 9 trouble free years cutting an acre. If you have an acre to cut, go with a larger deck width tractor. Another 6 inches can make a big difference in time to get it done.
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Afishinado View Post
Just bought a place in the Black Hills to put our summer home. Front yard is about 1.5 acres with a slope and no other features (trees, etc), no need for zero turn etc.
Tempted to do it with a push mower, but I may not want to do that the 2nd time LOL. Walked by a 42" mower at HD yesterday for $1000... I know it's not even close to the best, but wondering what some of you have experienced. Can I get 2 or 3 good years out of one?
My concern is with the slope.

When looking at box-store riding mowers, most buyers get focussed on comparing engine HP and mower deck width. But the transmission is really the weak link on these and none of them have transmissions that will hold up well for years of mowing on a steep slope.

So, how steep is the slope? Slope can be hard to guage and to describe. But if it's something that, say, young kids could go sledding on if it were covered with snow, then it is probably steep enough to be an issue for the box-store machines.

The box-store mowers offer a good solution for some homeowners, but there are options out there that provide a lot more capability and durability. One of the big differences is in transmissions that are much more capable/durable on slopes, but these machiens also offer other capabilities. Yes they will cost more up front, but usually they will save you money in the long run. And shopping on the used market can open up a lot of possibilities even if the budget is tight.


Since you have some time before you need to begin mowing, why not do a little research and learn more about other options available?
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:26 AM
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I bought a MTD from HD and used it for 12 years, then sold it for $200 Then bought a Lowes John Deer and have had it for three years with no issues. Just like anything else, you take care of it, it will take care of you.
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Brad1 View Post
You shouldn't have any problem getting 2 to 3 yrs (if not more) out of it. I have a rough one acre. By rough, I mean roots, rocks, high spots, low spots, gravel. It really puts a beating on my mower deck components. Every year before winter I have to remove the deck and do some refurb on the deck over the winter. It's a Craftsman 42 inch rider with a 20hp Briggs and Stratton. I think valve seals are going in the engine. Bought mower new 9 years ago. I expect to get at least another year out of it.
These mowers are pretty decent for what they are. Sold under quite a few different brands, including Craftsman, Ariens, etc.

On those brings motors, really need to adjust the valves every 2-3 years. That's probably the only issue you have. Takes about 20 min to do total.
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ShellbackCVA59 View Post
I had a Husqvarna with a 22HP Briggs and a 42 inch deck. Ran it 9 trouble free years cutting an acre. If you have an acre to cut, go with a larger deck width tractor. Another 6 inches can make a big difference in time to get it done.
I have the same mower. It's just branded pullen pro. I treat the thing like crap leaving it outside and no issues.
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:40 AM
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I've managed to get 12 years out of a couple of these big box low cost mowers. Biggest thing is to make sure they stay covered up and don't let grass clippings sit on the decks. The decks are thin and will rot out quickly if exposed to elements; the clippings allow moisture to sit even when out of direct weather contact. I just use a leaf blower after each cutting. For 1.5 acres, you don't want to push a mower, been there done that and it ain't fun.
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:02 AM
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I had an acre & mowed the vacant 1.5 acres around me for 12 years with a 42" Murray hydrostatic. All in with a little trailer was about $700.

I changed a belt, the blades a few times, a tire or two... it always started and ran like a champ.

When I moved I left the mower for my neighbor - 6 years later its still running.
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:05 AM
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I have a Craftsman lawn tractor at my cottage, 1.2 acre mowed, sloped. It has a 17 horse Kohler engine and a Hydrogear transmission. That mower has worked just fine for 16 seasons. Hydrogear transmissions are better than the cheap TuffTorq transmissions I see in all the big box store lawn tractors.
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by fishknut View Post
I bought a MTD from HD and used it for 12 years, then sold it for $200 Then bought a Lowes John Deer and have had it for three years with no issues. Just like anything else, you take care of it, it will take care of you.
I was given an MTD by a guy about 10 years ago (he had installed a battery with the wrong polarity), he didn't want it back after I told him it was an easy fix. It was 4 years old at the time and has made it another 8 years, the only maintenance has been sharpening the blade. I thought I would use it for a few then sell it and get something better but it did everything I needed it to do. I finally sold it last year when I moved to a place where I really didn't need it and got 400 dollars for it.

Im thinking about getting a new one as I have a little bigger lot now and Im term between going cheap again or getting something better.
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by The Spit View Post
My concern is with the slope.
......................
So, how steep is the slope? Slope can be hard to guage and to describe. But if it's something that, say, young kids could go sledding on if it were covered with snow, then it is probably steep enough to be an issue for the box-store machines.
I don't think it's too bad, do you?
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:51 AM
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No... thats not too bad really. I like the Husqvarna stuff mainly because I had a great experience with their customer service on one that was out of warranty and had a serious failure of a hydro drive that they stepped up to the plate on. This is not a component that they make but they made it good.

Personally I use Toro stuff because I have about 5 acres to mow and much of it trees and beds that require a commercial level ZTR to do in a reasonable time.

But I had good results with Husky stuff.

I can tell you that you can go to your local dealer and get just as good a price on the very same level of mower and youll get better customer service and priority on fixing it if it ever needs be than your going to get at the big box store. They have no one to fix them and WILL NOT do anything but send you to a dealer anyway.

I can tell you that the main reason Husqvarna stepped up on my issue was the dealer. The dealer went to bat for me. Had I bought at a box store I would have been on my own. And lost.

Go price your model and do your research and then walk into your local dealer and give him a chance to match it or get close enough to it. He might do something like throw in the first service or give you the oil and filter. But in the end if you buy from him you'll be much better off. And you'll likely spend the same money. The dealer knows what the prices are at the big box stores and he has the same model and he prices it the same. Trust me on this.
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Old 01-09-2017, 07:24 AM
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My experience has been with Sears riding lawnmowers. I buy Craftsman 42" deck with whatever has the largest motor---19 to 24 HP and that's on sale. I get approx. 8 to 10 years on the machines before I replace them.

They're still running when I practically give them away but usually have other issues like worn brakes or mechanical stuff. but I've bought 3 for around 1500 in the last 20 years. One is still at the beach. The others I gave away. They may still be running.

The extent of my maintenance is replacing deck bearing, rollers and other minor parts upon failure. I change oil and blade belts. When I store the mower for a couple months at a time, I drain gas tank and run carb dry running the mower until it quits. The gas is out of the carb and bowl then. Batteries are another weak leak and need replacing every few years.
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Old 01-09-2017, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Afishinado View Post
I don't think it's too bad, do you?
.
Nice property!

There's some slope there, but it's not super steep. A box-store unit woudl handle that, but over time it will wear out (transmission) sooner due to the longish hill. How many years down the road, I couldn't say.

Do you have any other chores around the property that you plan to attack? Snow removal? Gardening? Landscaping? Cutting/hauling wood? If so, tell us about them. It may be you need nothing more than a basic riding mower to cut the grass. Or you might be well-served by a machine with more capabilities.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by The Spit View Post
Nice property!

There's some slope there, but it's not super steep. A box-store unit woudl handle that, but over time it will wear out (transmission) sooner due to the longish hill. How many years down the road, I couldn't say.

Do you have any other chores around the property that you plan to attack? Snow removal? Gardening? Landscaping? Cutting/hauling wood? If so, tell us about them. It may be you need nothing more than a basic riding mower to cut the grass. Or you might be well-served by a machine with more capabilities.
SNOW not again in this lifetime! Last week it was 4ºhi and -27º for a low one day... Nope..
New house won't even have a fireplace. I may do a little veggie garden, but that's about it. Going to look into planting some wildflowers around the trees.
We plan on tying our time up on the Harley's, fly fishing and off roading.
I will have some projects; small front entranceway porch, larger deck, probably covered and maybe a hot tub... That's where my head is, mommas may be different...
Kinda a shame, it has a 30x30 shop with 200amp service which I plan to do nothing with but store the toys in...
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:24 AM
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Okay, so it sounds like you just need a lawn mower. A box-store unit would probably do the trick. With that much grass, I would want minimum a 46-48" deck width.

If you want to take it up just a notch, and invest in something with a longer life-expectancy, you might visit a JD or Husqvarnia dealership and educate yourself about the transmission options offered.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:59 PM
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I have an MTD with hydrostatic that I got 17 years ago. Have not used it much for the past three years. Has been a great mower for a 1.25 acre lawn. Keep the oil changed and keep the blades sharp.
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