Lawn Tractors

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Beer Belly

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2011
2,179
Connecticut
I'm about ready to start working on the Wife for a new Lawn Tractor. I'm looking under $1,500....at the top end I think I can sqeeze in a John Deere from Lowes/Home Depot....definetly a Craftsman Tractor would fit the bill.....are there other brands I should look at. I did have an ol' Cub Cadet 1320 Hydro, but by order of the Wife, sold it rather than replace a Deck Bearing ($250), and bouht a new Self Propelled Mower to cut about 110 foot by 300 foot lawn....but I hear the Cubs are not what they used to be.....suggestions ???
 

stee6043

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2008
2,648
West Michigan
I've got an HD version Cub Cadet that will be 7 years young this spring. I've had no problems with it other than one of the belt tension springs on the deck that's broken once or twice over the years.

I like the Kohler motor the Cubs come with. I love the twist off oil filter, side mounted. I think the JD's may get the same motorl? I've been pleased with Cub Cadet. I'll probably buy one again the next time. If you're going to buy a big box tractor (John Deer, Cub Cadet, Craftsmam, Toro, etc) they are all going to be about the same quality in my opinion. MTD builds them all overseas. If you want something US made with a little more quality you're going to spend a lot more than $1,500 if you want a new one.
 
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lukem

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2010
3,668
Indiana
If you're going to buy a big box tractor (John Deer, Cub Cadet, Craftsmam, Toro, etc) they are all going to be about the same quality in my opinion. MTD builds them all overseas. If you want something US made with a little more quality you're going to spend a lot more than $1,500 if you want a new one.
Pretty much tells the story. None are really head and shoulders above the rest because they all have the same internals. Not going to get a high quality new riding mower for $1,500.
 
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gzecc

Minister of Fire
Sep 24, 2008
4,615
NNJ
I'm about ready to start working on the Wife for a new Lawn Tractor. I'm looking under $1,500....at the top end I think I can sqeeze in a John Deere from Lowes/Home Depot....definetly a Craftsman Tractor would fit the bill.....are there other brands I should look at. I did have an ol' Cub Cadet 1320 Hydro, but by order of the Wife, sold it rather than replace a Deck Bearing ($250), and bouht a new Self Propelled Mower to cut about 110 foot by 300 foot lawn....but I hear the Cubs are not what they used to be.....suggestions ???
I personally would put the 1500 into a better quality used machine over the new lower end Deers and others.
 

jeff_t

Minister of Fire
Sep 14, 2008
4,202
SE MI
I bought a Gravely 60" zero turn last year from my local dealer, for $200 more than the Bad Boy from TSC. I got a much better mower, for just a little more money. Add the 0%/48 month financing, and it was a no-brainer. I know it's not what you're looking for, just saying don't leave your local OPE dealers out of the picture.

My local dealer, by the way, does a bunch of warranty repairs for TSC, HD, and Lowe's. They have work lined up forever. It isn't a huge place, and it's great to be on a first name basis with the guys there.
 

Badfish740

Minister of Fire
Oct 3, 2007
1,539
I have a 1989 John Deere LX170 that I was lucky enough to get for free from my FIL, but you can pick them up used for about $600-700 in good condition. It's not a full on "garden tractor" but a good quality 14HP lawn tractor.
 

ironpony

Minister of Fire
Jan 22, 2010
2,069
mid-ohio via St.Croix USVI
I personally would put the 1500 into a better quality used machine over the new lower end Deers and others.


this is my suggestion also. Preferably an older JD parts and knowledge readily available, Cub has switched hands ,not sure of parts availabilty.
Also as stated above a ZT but probably not a reality at that price range.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,005
Sand Lake, NY
I bought an Ariens from hd about 3 years ago and it's been fine. It was built by Husqvarna in a factory down South (forgot the state).
 

smokinj

Minister of Fire
Aug 11, 2008
15,980
Anderson, Indiana
I bought a jd 135 from the dealer in 2006. It was 1800.00 then Only problem I have had with it is fuel pump. I mow 2-1/2 acres with it, snow plow and run an aerator 2 times a year.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,047
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I have a Cub Cadet that has had several issues from the start. It wasn't a low end model, it was the lower end of their GT's. I wouldn't buy another.
Similar story . . . not as tough as I expected . . . and when I mentioned this fact the Cub Cadet dealer where I bought it just said, "Should have bought one from the next step up."
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,708
SW Virginia
I recommend you look at features and construction rather than brand names. I'd look for things like cast iron spindle assemblies with grease fittings, quality parts at moving joints like steering knuckles and wheels, heavy gauge decks and blades, and good engines with pressurized lubrication and an oil filter.

If you're considering a JD you might want to check the dealer. The JDs sold in big box stores are not the same quality as those sold at dealers.
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,114
Northern CT
If you're doing any pulling, plowing, have lots of hills, etc, be sure to check the transmission for durability. Not so important for mowing a level lot.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,438
Philadelphia
I'm about ready to start working on the Wife for a new Lawn Tractor. I'm looking under $1,500....at the top end I think I can sqeeze in a John Deere from Lowes/Home Depot....definetly a Craftsman Tractor would fit the bill.....are there other brands I should look at. I did have an ol' Cub Cadet 1320 Hydro, but by order of the Wife, sold it rather than replace a Deck Bearing ($250), and bouht a new Self Propelled Mower to cut about 110 foot by 300 foot lawn....but I hear the Cubs are not what they used to be.....suggestions ???
Sounds like it's time for a new wife.

<--- bought a 25 hp CUT with FEL, 72" MMM, and 64" snowblower, all at the insistence of his wife.
 
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PapaDave

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2008
5,739
Northern MI - in the mitten
Cub Cadet GT 1554 here, bought in 2008. Problem with a weak battery from the get go. Finally put a new higher CCA battery in it recently to fix that problem (I hope).
The other thing is the deck. It can be a bear to put on and take off. One of the spindle zerks broke off when I attempted to grease it, and the spindles are cast Aluminum.
Oh, and it won't start unless I choke it, no matter the weather or if it's warm or cold.
Other than those things, it's great.>>
If I had it to do over, I'd just get a Craftsman for $1000, and call it a day.
 
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nate379

Guest
Look for something used and get a ZTR mower. My yard and the neighbors would take me about 1.5 hrs to do with a garden tractor. With a ZTR it takes me about 40 mins and the job looks much nicer to boot.
I paid $1000 for mine, had 100 hours on it. Cub Cadet with a 60" deck.

The deck literally takes under 5 mins to take it off or put it on. It's just 2 pins and hooking or unhooking a belt.
 

PapaDave

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2008
5,739
Northern MI - in the mitten
You know, that's the thing with the deck. It's not difficult to do the hookup/unhookup, it's just a pain to get out from under the tractor, or get it back under.
I must be gettin' old.
 

greg13

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2012
905
CNY
I have to agree with some of the others, I would put a 30 year old cub up against any of the new junk out there in the under $2000 range.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,438
Philadelphia
I have to agree with some of the others, I would put a 30 year old cub up against any of the new junk out there in the under $2000 range.
I have to agree with you there... to an extent. I just sold a 50 year old IH Cub 123. Was built like a tank, waaaaayyyy heavier than anything of the same scale you can buy today, but little annoying things broke too often to make it practical for the sort of hours I was putting on it.
 

Hogwildz

Minister of Fire
I have an older Simplicity my father gave me after he got a newer one. I love these tractors. The deck set up is nice as iI think it floats differently then most others, and much less scalping happening.
They ain't cheap, but a nice used one would be what I would be looking for. Very well made machines.
 

Beer Belly

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2011
2,179
Connecticut
It's gonna be hard enough to convince her to let me get a Tractor, an old used one won't fly for sure. I'm leaning toward the lower end JD.....it's all probably gonna ride on financing:(
 
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MasterMech

Guest
I'm about ready to start working on the Wife for a new Lawn Tractor. I'm looking under $1,500....at the top end I think I can sqeeze in a John Deere from Lowes/Home Depot.......... ...........
................................but I hear the Cubs are not what they used to be.....suggestions ???
Dollar for Dollar, if I was buying a "box store" lawn tractor, it would be a Deere. They are hands down the best you can get for the money spent. I would absolutely insist on a hydro trans as well. The gear drive models offered these days are very light duty (not even bushings on the output shafts anymore!) and the hydros have proven to hold up better. The Deere units are also the only ones to my knowledge that use 1-piece welded frames. Take a look under some competitive units, if you see self-tapping screws holding the thing together, don't walk away, run.

Take a look at the D105 for $1500.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/203659663?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&storeId=10051&N=5yc1vZc5c0&R=203659663


Husqvarna would be my next stop. You can buy some pretty nice garden tractors built by Husqvarna in Lowes but you mentioned a $1500 price cap.

Cub Cadet is a mere shadow of it's former self. The writing was on the wall in the 80's when IH sold the line to MTD.
 
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MasterMech

Guest
If you're considering a JD you might want to check the dealer. The JDs sold in big box stores are not the same quality as those sold at dealers.​
Just to clarify, you can buy the same models at a dealer that HD/Lowes carry. If the model # is the same, it is the same machine. But the dealers will have the X300, X500, and X700 series machines that HD/Lowes do not have access too. But an X300 goes for around $3000 IIRC.

If a local JD dealer will cut you an acceptable deal I'd buy it there just to start that dealer/customer relationship on a good note. Smart dealers welcome the HD/Lowes customers for parts/service but some are still grumpy.::P
 

woodsman23

Minister of Fire
Aug 26, 2008
1,360
western southern tier of NYS
Cub Cadet GT 1554 here, bought in 2008. Problem with a weak battery from the get go. Finally put a new higher CCA battery in it recently to fix that problem (I hope).
The other thing is the deck. It can be a bear to put on and take off. One of the spindle zerks broke off when I attempted to grease it, and the spindles are cast Aluminum.
Oh, and it won't start unless I choke it, no matter the weather or if it's warm or cold.
Other than those things, it's great.>>
If I had it to do over, I'd just get a Craftsman for $1000, and call it a day.
I have a slt1554 and i agree the deck is a bear to get under the tractor, i simply drive it over the deck and hook it up. been a great mower and 54" deck makes short work out of mowing
 

festerw

Feeling the Heat
Nov 16, 2009
374
Cambridge Springs, PA
I bought a 26hp 54" cut Husqvarna from Lowes about 6 years ago only problem I've had is the carb gummed up from some dummy leaving the gas in it all winter.

My FIL bought a 46" cut Cub Cadet from TSC around the same time, he's been through 2 drive belts, 3 deck belts, spindle, battery and an electric clutch.

I'm not saying all newer Cubs are sub par but the build quality does seem to be suffering.
 
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