OT. Question about riding lawn mowers
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  1. #1
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    Default OT. Question about riding lawn mowers

    I have finally reached the age where a riding lawn mower is starting to look attractive. I have never owned one so please pardon my ignorance. I have about two acres in grass and everything else I cut with a bush hog. A lot of my friends have John Deere lawn mowers and more or less swear by them. I have also been told that there are differences in the quality depending on where you buy them. If you go to a JD dealer then you get the real deal. If you buy one from a place like Home Depot or something you get a lesser quality product. Is this true? I really don't need something that is going to last fifty years because I'm not. I want something dependable however. Thanks very much for any replies.

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    You would have to buy the commercial job to get away from the box store JUNK. Those JD's are pretty fair, but are not top of the line. 99% of box store junk is made by MTD

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    The Home Depot machines are scientifically designed to work well for a while, then have a massive failure at about year 10. Just long enough of a life that people think it's an OK machine for the $, and buy another. Buy the better one and you will have nearly endless service if you take care of it. Old used machines are an good option if you don't want to spend alot.

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    Much depends on the budget you have planned.
    We have 3 acres, in 1994 I bought a Kubota riding mower (3 cylinder Diesel), it still runs fine.
    However, I am a maintenance nut, so the Kubota has received good care.
    Frank

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    What you have been told is absolutely true. I have 1 1/3 acres of which 3/4 is in grass. Rest is house, etc. What is available at HD, Lowes and such is not meant to do the heavy use you will need, and if you do try to use it for 2 acres, it will take 1/2 day or more. Machine will probably last 5 or six years. Stay away from new Cubs, they are junk. MTD that owns the Cub brand has given up on the high end mowers.

    JD now has the entry level high end machines. Everything is either light duty home owner stuff or the BIG commercial machines. You also want a source of replacement parts nearby.

    I just replaced a 30 year old Cub Cadet 2182, 21 hp, 60"deck, with a JD 730, 24hp, 60"deck. Used, from a dealer with 180 hours, it was $9000 with sale tax. JD makes three levels of upper end machines, the 300, 500 and 700. Beyond that you are really into commercial stuff. Even though I didn't need as big a machine as the 730 for mowing, I have a need for snow blowing that the lower end machines a light on. Even with the 60" deck, it still takes 1+ hours to mow the yard.

    Tom

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    I'll recommend a Snapper. I have a "Forest Gump" Snapper riding mower - engine in the rear - and cut an acre each week with it. The mower is just short of 20 years old, running fine on it's second blade and battery. I just change the air filter, oil and sharpen the blade once per year. It starts at the first turn of the key. Snapper seems to be built better than HD equipment, but not to the commercial standards (or cost).

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    Thanks very much for the replies. Since I have never owned a riding mower,I am not dead set on getting any particular brand. I had a neighbor who had a Murray and he said it was a piece of junk. I will look into a Snapper on CL. I am not opposed to buying used if I'm not buying something completely worn out or a POS. I can fix most small problems but I do want something that my wife could use without hollering at me to fix this or that. ( She cuts the grass around the house and I do the bush hogging). Thanks again for the replies. If I don't get back to the forum for a while then don't freak out and think of me as ungrateful. I'm going sailing for a week and will get back to you when and if I return.

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    All you guys make me sorta jealous. My yard is the size of a (small) postage stamp, and 10 minutes with a push mower just about does it.

    LM

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    Quote Originally Posted by ifixcnc View Post
    The Home Depot machines are scientifically designed to work well for a while, then have a massive failure at about year 10. Just long enough of a life that people think it's an OK machine for the $, and buy another. Buy the better one and you will have nearly endless service if you take care of it. Old used machines are an good option if you don't want to spend alot.
    Our widow neighbor bought a Weasel Horse (MTD)from a box store. New and just outta the "box" the steering failed. A stupid assed spring pin to hold the sector gear to the steering shaft....fell out. Dealer repaired and delivered the POS only to fail 10 min. after she got on it and promptly drove it into the sun porch pillar. I took it apart (a real bitch of a job) to discover they reinstalled the old pin. Knowing it's a shitty design, I put a grade 8 bolt in it.

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    Has anyone had any experience with a Troy Built? I found one on CL that has a broken steering gear which doesn't sound too hard to fix and the price is right for me.

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    I have had the same Snapper 8hp rider for over 36 years and it still mows my back field monthly. Same motor, same tires, but it smokes a bit and is rusty as hell...sort of like a tired old Millwright.

    Stuart

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    i assume your "bush hog" is a rotary cutter? so you have a tractor. why not pull a finish mower?

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    With that much grass, don't waste your time with a riding lawn mower. Spend the extra money and buy a zero turn, you'll never regret it. There's a reason every landscape business owns one. Before I moved, my lot was 85'x320' and took over an hr to mow with a 54" rider. I sold that and bought a Gravely zero turn, 20min flat and done with mowing the front 2x. The cut/drive/ride is better and full hydraulic steering makes going around anything in the yard simple.

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    What about a small flock of sheep?

    Green (if you're tree hugger)

    Believe it a not, a few sheep scares the crap out of a lot of townies.

    Low maintenance.

    Cull a few lambs a year for your freezer.

    Serve home reared grass fed lamb to your friends and neighbours - that's stickin it to em on the host stakes.

    Jobs a goodun.

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    I have a New Holland, around 15 years old with 500hrs on it. It has been service free it's entire life. Having said that, I would NEVER buy another rider. I would get a zero turn mower, look at the all lawn services, they all use them for a reason.

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    My JD x500 is 5 years old replaced a few belts, deck rollers,one valve cover gasket
    280 hours and 3 sets if blades
    I cut about 2 acres of lawn some of which is Steep and uneven
    Love the diff lock and the full floating deck
    Great mower

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    Quote Originally Posted by crossthread View Post
    Has anyone had any experience with a Troy Built? I found one on CL that has a broken steering gear which doesn't sound too hard to fix and the price is right for me.
    Troy Built is owned by MTD - see comments on the Club Cadets. MTD buys them for the name brand and just paints them yellow, red, or whatever color they use for MTD's. An older Troy Built pre-MTD will be a better machine like the older Cubs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Behner View Post
    99% of box store junk is made by MTD
    Close, but not quite
    Husqvarna/AYP brands owned or made for:
    Husqvarna
    Craftsman made for Sears
    Poulan
    Poulan Pro
    Weed Eater
    Ariens lawn & yard tractors made for Ariens
    Ryobi lawn tractors that were sold at Home Depot
    Black Max sold at Sam's Club


    Snapper was bought by Simplicity. Then Simplicity was bought by Briggs & Stratton,

    So Briggs own or manufactures the following brands
    Simplicity
    Snapper
    AGCO outdoor power in U.S.
    Massey-Ferguson Outdoor Power in U.S. (MTD makes MF in Europe)
    Ferris
    Brute
    Murray. Murray Garden Tractors outside of U.S. made by Husqvarna/AYP
    John Deere Push mowers currently made by Briggs at Snapper plants


    MTD makes a lot of different tractors an equipment for all different manufacturers. Currently they make the Toro lawn and garden tractors since 2007. They have made snow blowers under the Frontier label for JD

    MTD Brands:
    MTD
    MTD Pro
    Bolens as of 2001
    White Outdoor as of 1981
    Yardman as of 1975
    Massey-Ferguson in Europe as of 2006
    Lawnflite
    Columbia
    Toro tractors as of 2007
    TROY-BILT as of 2001
    Cub Cadet as of April 1981.
    Scotts all wheel steer tractors

    It's a little dated, but gives you an idea. I've got to fix a tiller transmission. The manufacturer shows as "Frigidaire" on the tag. That was part of the 1988 buyout of AYP (American Yard Products) by Electrolux. They spun off both companies in 2006 with the Husqvarna brand. Just makes it fun finding parts.
    JR

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    Two acres for past 15 years with a Simplicity Broadmore 44". Lawn, Yard, and Garden Tractors '|' Simplicity

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    Try a front deck zero turn and I doubt you'll want a conventional setup, I'll never go back.

    Country Clipper Zero-Turn Mowers

    Edit: Missed this post.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobby Shop View Post
    With that much grass, don't waste your time with a riding lawn mower. Spend the extra money and buy a zero turn, you'll never regret it. There's a reason every landscape business owns one. Before I moved, my lot was 85'x320' and took over an hr to mow with a 54" rider. I sold that and bought a Gravely zero turn, 20min flat and done with mowing the front 2x. The cut/drive/ride is better and full hydraulic steering makes going around anything in the yard simple.
    Yeah, what he said.


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