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Posted: 3/17/2002 5:37:27 PM EDT
I know this is way out there, but in a couple of weeks it will be time to mow here down south. My current mower is about on it's last leg, I have committed to not spend another dime on it. It's a Yazoo Red Rider that's 10 years old and has been a heap from day one. Have been looking at several different new brands, lots of them seem to be a rolling piece of sheet metal with the ubiquitous Briggs & Stratton engine. So what do you have and what do you recommend? My thoughts so far: Murray - inexpensive, but thin metals, somewhat cheesy parts etc. Wal Mart's mainstay, lots of returns parked in the Garden Shop! Craftsman - less expensive models very sheetmetalish with cheap controls, flimsy. More expensive deluxe line (red units) seem much much nicer, heavier metals, better engines, electric PTO, cast iron front end, etc. Deluxe models $2100- $2500. Excellent parts network. Simplicity - Expensive, but well built. Very limited dealer network. Cub Cadet - Nice, but very expensive! just a 16hp is $2600.00 John Deere - Nice, but get a second mortgage. More expensive than Cub, but not sure its any better. Could be paying extra for green color & name. Troy-Bilt. Kind of middle of the road, sold at Lowe's home improvement, they couldn't even tell me where to get parts if needed. (90 day wonder working sales that day.) So what do you recommend to buy or stay away from? Good or bad experiences?
Link Posted: 3/17/2002 5:48:05 PM EDT
I think Popular Mechanics reviewed 3 of them recently.
Link Posted: 3/17/2002 5:48:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2002 5:50:53 PM EDT by Kaliburz]
Look for a Saber. It's usually sold by Home Depot or Lowe's Hardware (use to be Eagle...here out west.) Saber is build by John Deere.... so it's a Deere w/ a different name. Might be cheaper. Been a while since I looked. My mower is a JD. Love it. Granted the deck is beat up from the rocks ....oppps.....wrong mower....that's the one I pull behind my 70hp JD tractor......
Link Posted: 3/17/2002 5:49:23 PM EDT
Hey, is Gravely still around?
Link Posted: 3/17/2002 5:51:50 PM EDT
I've had a John Deere for close to 8 years with pretty much no problems. I think they are a great tractor and wouldn't think twice about getting another one. Just my .02 CAPITALIST
Link Posted: 3/17/2002 6:09:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2002 6:11:09 PM EDT by seamusmcoi]
I'm going through the same decision making problem right now. I've been looking at the MTD built ones at home depot and lowes (they also both have higher end ones built by John Deere and stuck under differant names). I guess the big quesiton is whether or not the $1000 riding mowers are worth buying. Anybody had any luck with these?
Link Posted: 3/17/2002 6:20:06 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/17/2002 7:02:13 PM EDT
if you get a JD, stay away from the 0 degree radius models.
Link Posted: 3/17/2002 7:03:03 PM EDT
and get a kohler engine, instead of briggs.
Link Posted: 3/18/2002 4:12:19 AM EDT
We had a Ford that ran for 20+ years. I replaced it with a 20hp from Sears. My only gripe about the Sears is it's not really heavy enough for what I'm using it for. If you have a large nice yard it would be ok. If you mow fence lines and in some semi-rockie areas it's ......lacking. The mowing deck clogs with grass if it's too tall and your cutting it close so replace the standard mulching blades as soon as possible. All that being said I went with the Sears because of the availability of parts and someone to work on it. They seem to run just about $100 per hp new. If I had replaced my old Ford it would have cost about $6k. Sorry but I'm not gonna mow my place with a riding mower that's worth more than my truck.
Link Posted: 3/18/2002 5:37:28 AM EDT
As a golf course superintendent here I have one word of advice for you, TORO!
Link Posted: 3/18/2002 6:03:35 AM EDT
Definitely find a good small engine shop and buy used. Cub Cadet is now made by MTD. so i would think twice about a Cadet. John Deere is painted green for a reason, you'll find out when you buy parts. Briggs & Scrapiron and Tecumsapart engines should be avoided, look for Kohler, Wisconsin-Robin, and kawasaki. The older Gravelys are unbeatable and unbreakable.
Link Posted: 3/18/2002 6:18:53 AM EDT
Isn't the weasel that used to head S&W and signed the infamous agreement with the feds now the head of Murray? Do we care?
Link Posted: 3/18/2002 6:44:48 AM EDT
I currently have a Wisconsin-Robin on a Snapper and love it. I also have a 20+ year old (1976) Ariens that has had two motors in it's life. I have always like the simpler drive designs of a snapper or ariens. I would have to second the Toro recomendation. Although I have never had one, the commerial guys beat them to death and they still work, year after year. My opinion is to buy something of quality and take care of it. I "retired" my ariens to a beach house and it's still cutting 2 acres. It has only a couple of rust spots. I have replaced the seat & tires once, 12 or so belts and 3 or 4 drive disks. Brings a tear to my eye to thing how many beers I have consumed sitting on that thing, when not even running. Clean, Grease, Sharpen and change the oil.
Link Posted: 3/18/2002 7:29:31 AM EDT
You don't really discuss what you need the unit for (just cutting grass or more?) but what you want to do and the condtions of your yard really dictate if you need to spend for a premium tractor. Of the names you list, I'd recommend Simplicty and Deere and add Kubota. Cub Cadet has a big dealership near me (Well, they also carry Kubota)and they allways have a bunch of used Cadets. I notice they don't have used Kubota's, same deal with the Deere Dealer. They may have one or two used units. That makes me think a lot of people that buy Cadets are not happy, and trade them in. I don't think Cadets are what the used to be. If you have a Deere dealer nearby that is not bitter about the Scotts (Home Depot Deere's)or carries Deere's Saber line you may want to look at them. Deere's decison to sell a lower cost tractor through HD, and require their dealers to service them did not sit well with all of them. Some dealers are more torqued about it than others. From what I've seen the Scotts/Saber tractors seem to be an excellent choice vs a Murry or Craftsman unit. I was going to go with the biggest Scotts, but found a low time used Deere 345 with 54" deck at my local dealer. This turned out to be the minimum tractor I needed, since my yard is 3 acres that used to be a cornfield and it is rough as pig iron. Condtions like that require you invest in a premium tractor (Deere, Kubota, Simplicity, etc) or to plan on buying a new Murray every couple of years. If you have a nice smooth yard and only intend to mow, a Craftsman or Murray may give years of service at far lower investment.
Link Posted: 3/18/2002 8:28:29 AM EDT
I have an old Sears Craftsman thats been going about 20 years. Good parts availablity ( mowing stumps tends to bust up stuff underneath). Just now after 20 years starting to run out of parts at Sears. Maybe not the best but certainly parts availability count for something...
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