Re: 2013 John Deere D105
Just picked up this tractor as well.
Figured I'd write up why I picked it versus the comparables in case others are searching for the same info.
I was comparing in the $1499 range, I had a Bolens 14.5hp that Lowes sells before with the "Shift-On-The-Go" (which is a lie, its a straight manual) and wanted something bigger with an automatic function.
Models in the range:
Husqvarna YTH2042 $1499 (Home/Lowes)
Cub Cadet LTX1040 $1399 (Home depot)
Craftsman (same as husky above, just red)
What I looked at but didn't rank in the top 3:
Poulan Pro: sat on one, it might have been the twin to Bolens - quality is lowest it could possibly be and that was just sitting on it.
Troy Bilt: copy of the Poulan but in black. slightly better quality but nothing like the top 3
Ariens: didn't dig much into this one, they make good snow blowers but I wanted to have compatible accessories and never seen much for Ariens tractors. Possibly made my AYP which would mean its a copy of the above two.
These are just my thoughts when comparing, I'm sure people here will have different feedback and their X model lasted X years in the worst environment, yep.
So the top 3, what made the difference:
Service: I liked the Husky, but the one thing that set JD apart was the service. I was at Lowes and asked about the tractor the day before, they had to check to make sure they had one they could sell because they have to have a local JD dealer come out, unbox and do the initial setup on the mower. That's a level of quality you just can't find with the other mowers.
Transmission: The JD D105 specifically has a new CVT transmission, which get away from the Hydrostatic which over time needs filters and can have issues, the CVT is sealed, a belt on top drives it which (from what I can tell) looks easy to replace if need be. After driving it around it doesn't have that "whine" that Hydros have and it is extremely smooth, for me Hydros have a feeling where you have to build up pressure then they kind of jerk into motion. this one just gently moves the more you press the pedal and no extra noise.
Build quality: the JD and the Husky both sat the same, both had good quality - and what I mean by this is the how the hood sits on the frame (snugness), seat quality, the controls are more than a piece of steel with a plastic ball on the end of it (ala Bolens) they both passed this mark well.
SO by now your asking what happened to Cub Cadet? Well I'm a member of consumer reports, and unfortunately they gave it a really bad rating, in fact Cub cadets entire line was given the "brand with the most service issues" and that knocked it out of the line up for me - I don't need 'more' issues, which sucks because growing up for me it had a great reputation and now its owned by MTD/AYP and they have brought it inline with the Bolens/Poulan/etc lines for quality. It's like the monster that eats competitors unfortunately.
So for now, that's that. The Service and new transmission in the 105 made me jump on it, and after 1 cut, its been awesome. Set it up for mulching and with the stock blade I can't even tell any clippings were left on the lawn.
10 out of 10.