1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Riding Lawn Mower Advice

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by EJL923, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. EJL923

    EJL923 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Loc:
    Western Mass
    I was wondering what kind of experiences people have with their mowers and any recommendations they might have. I have a little over an acre of lawn. it takes me about 2 hrs to mow with my 32" mid 80's Ariens. Ive been staring at the usual culprits, JD, Husky, Cub Cadet, Craftsman. Ive been eyeing a Craftsman YT4000, thats out for a great price right now. it has a vtwin briggs, 24hp, 42" cut for $1490. On sale for $500 off. I just dont have any experience with the latest craftsman mowers.

    Any recommendations out there?

    Thanks

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,295
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    I have a two year old Craftsman YT something that has a 42" deck. I mow about 3/4 of an acre. I even bag it so that the kids don't track the clippings into the house. Cows love bagged grass clippings.

    It has, and I like, the big 19HP single cylinder Briggs motor. You don't need 19 HP, and you especially dont' need 24 HP so you don't need to worry about the 24 being not enough. I do have a fully manual mower with a clutch so if you choose a hydrostatic trans then maybe that will suck more power?

    I spend lots of time mowing. Too much really. The sub-1000$ mowers work fine. I don't think it really matters which brand you choose and I also have a suspicion that one company makes most of them.
  3. EJL923

    EJL923 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Loc:
    Western Mass
    Yeah, i forgot to add that the YT4000 model definately has a resemblance to the Husky right next to it. I am almost certain it is made by husky. Thanks for the input.
  4. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,076
    Loc:
    S.NH
    My father has a 12-year-old Craftsman, I have a 4-year-old Craftsman, and my buddy has a 3-year-old Craftsman, and they all run perfectly. Wouldn't hesitate in the least to buy another one. All are 19hp, 42".

    S
  5. Jaugust124

    Jaugust124 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Messages:
    371
    Loc:
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    Don't want to be a downer, but I bought a Craftsmen 2 years ago this month and have had several problems with it. First, it started leaking oil not long after I got it. When the tech came out he found out the factory hadn't sealed it properly so oil was dripping out and burning up on the motor. The tech fixed it easy enough and that problem was solved.

    Last year, the trans-axle went and that had to be replaced. They fixed it no charge, but the tech gave me a copy of the bill had it not been under warranty and it would have cost about $900 to fix it. I only paid $1100 for it. I want to extend the warranty, but they want around $450 for one year, so I don't think its worth it. I have actually thought about getting rid of it, but with the bagger, I have over $1400 invested and I know I would take a bath. I'm hoping that all my problems with this machine are behind me.

    I do have to say that Sears service department has been wonderful. They fixed everything with no problems or hassles. They have been great to work with.

    With all that being said, if I had to go out and buy a new riding mower today, I would probably go to a local, reputable, independent shop and buy a John Deere. By the way, this months issue of Consumer Reports rates riding mowers.

    I forgot to mention, I have the 20 hp Briggs and Stratton with a 42" cut and hydrostatic drive.

    I know my case may not be typical, but unfortunately I am now soured on the Craftsmen line of outdoor power equipment.

    Good luck.
  6. Beardog

    Beardog Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Messages:
    197
    Loc:
    NW CT
    I've had poor luck with craftsman gas powered tools, from push mowers to riding mowers. Burn oil, throw belts, poor build quality (my opinion). I like Simplicity for riding mowers, home tractors. Nice cut, and long lasting.
  7. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    2,051
    Loc:
    Northern CT
    I'm a Simplicity fan, but they are pricey. The good news is that they'll last almost forever, and be a pleasure to use. Quality costs money.

    From what I've read, the new Sears mowers aren't built well, except their largest - which is a Simplicity in disguise.


    Go to http://www.mytractorforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=14 Craftsman Forum to learn more, and ask your questions of guys who know their stuff.
  8. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    Find one made in the USA if you can. (just my opinion)
    I have 48" JD, 2005. Been good so far. Took deck off cleaned & painted the underside last winter.
    replaced a few bearings that sounded noisy.
    Any of them take maintenance & some TLC to last, some just take more.
  9. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,689
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    a word of caution. i have small engine shops up here that will not work on a craftsman anything. to much of a pia to get right. alot of the machines are built by the same company just slightly different specs. i bought a 4 year old murray wide body with a 42 inch deck. 8 years ago this month 16.5 horse briggs i/c motor. no trouble at all.
  10. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Messages:
    7,105
    Loc:
    Salem NH
    Hello

    My suggestion is the size of the cutting deck will save time! I really enjoy my 42" LT1000 over my 22" Sears push mower because I cut the grass in half the time.

    So if you get a 42" deck you will cut your time down over the 32" deck you now have. Why not check into the 52" deck and cut your time down almost in half????

    26 HP 52" Zero turn radius!! Time is money. 1 hr vs 2 hrs !!
    http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_...21x00003a&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=07128007000P

    Attached Files:

  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,080
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    I'm running a similar Craftsman to Highbeam's but a few years older and with an 18hp Kohler engine. It has a pressurized oil feed and filter, which I'm hoping will extend it's lifetime. So far the mower has performed very well. I changed out the stock mower blade for a high lift blade from Sears. It works a lot better with the bagger. We use the clippings for mulch and compost.
  12. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    20hp on my garden tractor GT5000 and it's really not enough engine. Has a tough time in tall grass or snowblowing heavy snow.
  13. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Huh? What kind of shop is that? Most of the Craftsman stuff has either a B&S or Kohler motor, 2 of the most common brands for small engines.

  14. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,821
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    I have the Ariens version. It has a rear-mounted gas tank, which has more capacity than the one in front of the driver, but might interfere with any fancy hitch plans you might have (it did me). I got wheel weights from Sears cause there's nothing from Ariens. There's a plus for Sears for the parts. My machine was made in the Carolinas, I think, by Husky.
  15. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,443
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    I bought a cub- my model was one step up from the regular riding mower so that I could haul stuff around. I have had several problems with it- mostly electrical. If I could do it over I may have gone for a Deere.
  16. EJL923

    EJL923 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Loc:
    Western Mass
    I can always count on hearth.com for some REAL WORLD helpful reviews, keep'em coming!
  17. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,444
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    +1 . . . no electrical issues with my Cub riding mower, but I had several mechanical issues that I had to deal with . . . which I may have expected with a cheap riding mower, but not with a Cub Cadet.
  18. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,821
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Generally, if you want to do more heavy stuff, like ground engaging stuff, you need a "garden tractor", as opposed to a riding mower.
    If you could afford it, you'd have more future options.
    I was cheap.
  19. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Messages:
    2,380
    Loc:
    SW Virginia
    Many of the mowers I've seen mentioned here are built by MTD. I believe they make most of the mowers sold in the U.S.

    I think when it comes down to it you need to look at how the chassis and mower deck are built instead of getting hung up on names. The engine is the other big issue. The old B&S twins were rock solid but I'm not sure about the new ones. I have one that's running strong after 25 years. I don't really know enough about currently available engines to recommend one but I can think of some other features that I find really important (listed below)

    - Heavy gauge mowing deck
    - cast iron blade bearing housings, preferably with grease fittings (a must in my mind)
    - Lubricatable(sp) bushings on wheels (a must)
    - Cast front axle if with grease fittings at steering knuckles (probably only on the more expensive models)
    - Large diameter rear tires (bigger contact patch, better traction, less turf rutting)
  20. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,821
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Large diameter rear tires tend to go with the garden tractors, I think.
  21. REM505

    REM505 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Messages:
    98
    Loc:
    Chester/Lancaster county area PA
    I have a Craftsman 19.5 hp B&S. I do the work on it and I hate the engineering. From the gas cap you can't set down because it will fall over to the star bolts to the PIA deck pins its just poorly designed for any kind of maintenance.
  22. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,187
    Loc:
    cortland ny
    Don't know what kind of budget you have for one, but I for years have wanted a Kubota. My father had one and it was tough and awesome.
  23. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,026
    Loc:
    Western CT
    I think many shops have just chosen not to work on ANYTHING Craftsman or some of the other cheapo brands. It is just not worth their time - or the customers. The lawn tractor may be the exception but they keep the line drawn to an extent. Sure you can get belts or tires and that crap...
  24. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,352
    Loc:
    western southern tier of NYS
    i have a slt1554 cub 54" deck and 27hp and i love it. I mow 3+ acres and have had no issues with the mower, it is comfy and has cruise... the 54" deck makes quick work
  25. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,504
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    I have a Husqvarna that's been good , paid a little too much extra for the Kawasaki engine.( 3 acres)
    haven't decided whether I like the plastic bagger bins over the fabric ones or not.

    Brother has a Craftsman that is supposedly a Husqvarna and he's had good luck with his ( 1/2 acre)

    I inherited my father's Honda rider but it needs a carb , but that has a 38" deck and fits in my truck bed. The 42 inch Husqvarna doesn't.

    mytractor forum might have some pointers on Deeres and whether those quick turn models are a good idea or not.



    I'd rather buy from someplace that is actually going to do some servicing, unless you have a local guy that is good with engines.


    It's easy to get too big a rider, I wish 38 inch models were available the year I bought mine, but 42 inch decks were popular that year.

Share This Page