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Old 07-28-2008, 09:57 AM   post #1 of 23
DaveS
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Default Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

Hi - new to the forum but been lurking a while.

I had a LT180 with 48" deck until 2 weeks ago when it was stolen. We are going through the insurance right now etc and searching for a replacement.

I have to admit I think the thieves did me a bit of a favour - the lawn tractor was 5 years old in February and it was starting to show signs of serious wear. Mowing 3 acres it would usually eat a couple of deck belts a season and the tranny was starting to make somewhat louder whining noises than it did new - it would struggle more and more to pull up slopes and would bog down in any serious thickness of grass (when we first had it, it would get through most thick grass no problems.) You could also feel the frame flexing in some spots - a lot of uneven/sloping ground in some places)

The first year we had it, I used a blade to try to clear the driveway - at 250 feet I think I was being somewhat over ambitious and I suspect that contributed to its premature wear.

We have a fair amount of trees but most significantly a big pond with grass sloping down to it and a big bank around it - in practice mowing across the slope rather than up and down it is the only way to mow some parts.

We have looked at all kinds of options (all new because the insurance company requires us to buy a new replacement)

- Kubota GR2110 - nice but that front axle looks weak and too many bad news stories about leaking trannies for me and it wont do anything more than mow really.
- JD X540 with HDAP tires + snowblower - probably the top of the list right now for the traction and build, but then I look at the frame etc and it is really an X300 with a liquid cooled engine and serviceable tranny.
- JD X720 - oh what I would give to own one - if leave the snowblower for now and carry on with the push behind it might be affordable. Certainly better built than the x500 from what I can tell.
- 2305 CUT - ruled it out because the higher Centre of Gravity would have meant adding weights, front loader etc just to keep it from tipping around the lake (ouch).

So - my first question is - how long should I expect out of a x500 series versus a x700 series - the dealer suggested 15 years mowing and snow blowing with the x500 before serious issues start to emerge. Is that realistic? What is realistic for the x700?

The second question is what sort of discount have people in Canada managed on a x500 and x700 - we have several dealers near us but they all seem to be bang on the same price. From what I can tell they take MSRP add huge set up fees then offer you a discount to get you back to just above MSRP - is that pretty standard practice? Any successful negotiating tactics would be gratefully received - I like our current dealer but this is a lot of money and I do like to feel I have had a fair deal at least.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice!!

David
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:03 AM   post #2 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

OK, well I have a 1944 Gravely, a late 60's Gravely, and a 1970 JD 112. Add to that my early 80's Ingersoll's, and that will give you a idea. And before you think otherwise, I am NOT easy on my stuff!!!


Eaven beatine it, you should get 10 years IMHO.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:37 AM   post #3 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

Hi

I had an X475 for 3 yrs. This is now the X700 model. These tractors are truely the top of the line in garden tractors. How long will a tractor last? That depends on a lot of variables. The biggest one in my opinion is to match the machine to the job. It is easy to abuse a machine that is too small. Be honest about what your expectations are for the machine. The X700 is a much stronger and heavier machine than the X500. I went through the same process when I bought mine. X475 versus GX345. I never regretted buying the larger machine.
The other significant factor to long lifre is proper maintenance. I traded in a 3yr old X475 with 180hrs on it. It looked like new and had never given me a single problem. You may be able to find a good used 700 series.

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Brian
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:20 PM   post #4 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
Hi - new to the forum but been lurking a while.

I had a LT180 with 48" deck until 2 weeks ago when it was stolen. We are going through the insurance right now etc and searching for a replacement.

I have to admit I think the thieves did me a bit of a favour - the lawn tractor was 5 years old in February and it was starting to show signs of serious wear. Mowing 3 acres it would usually eat a couple of deck belts a season and the tranny was starting to make somewhat louder whining noises than it did new - it would struggle more and more to pull up slopes and would bog down in any serious thickness of grass (when we first had it, it would get through most thick grass no problems.) You could also feel the frame flexing in some spots - a lot of uneven/sloping ground in some places)

The first year we had it, I used a blade to try to clear the driveway - at 250 feet I think I was being somewhat over ambitious and I suspect that contributed to its premature wear.

We have a fair amount of trees but most significantly a big pond with grass sloping down to it and a big bank around it - in practice mowing across the slope rather than up and down it is the only way to mow some parts.

We have looked at all kinds of options (all new because the insurance company requires us to buy a new replacement)

- Kubota GR2110 - nice but that front axle looks weak and too many bad news stories about leaking trannies for me and it wont do anything more than mow really.
- JD X540 with HDAP tires + snowblower - probably the top of the list right now for the traction and build, but then I look at the frame etc and it is really an X300 with a liquid cooled engine and serviceable tranny.
- JD X720 - oh what I would give to own one - if leave the snowblower for now and carry on with the push behind it might be affordable. Certainly better built than the x500 from what I can tell.
- 2305 CUT - ruled it out because the higher Centre of Gravity would have meant adding weights, front loader etc just to keep it from tipping around the lake (ouch).

So - my first question is - how long should I expect out of a x500 series versus a x700 series - the dealer suggested 15 years mowing and snow blowing with the x500 before serious issues start to emerge. Is that realistic? What is realistic for the x700?

The second question is what sort of discount have people in Canada managed on a x500 and x700 - we have several dealers near us but they all seem to be bang on the same price. From what I can tell they take MSRP add huge set up fees then offer you a discount to get you back to just above MSRP - is that pretty standard practice? Any successful negotiating tactics would be gratefully received - I like our current dealer but this is a lot of money and I do like to feel I have had a fair deal at least.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice!!

David
David,

Welcome to the forum! Some of your assertions I'm not sure I would agree with, but before that, tell us a little more about your property. For example, how much of a slope are you talking about, and also, how much acreage are you cutting?
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:03 PM   post #5 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

DaveS:

we are glad to have you. There are lots of friendly and knowledgeable folks here at MTF, so enjoy all the different forums. Check out ”Active Topics” near the top left of the page for all the latest activity.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:08 PM   post #6 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

ENJOY THE FORUM!!~
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:51 PM   post #7 of 23
DaveS
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome!

The property is around 3 acres to mow with an additional 8 acres currently down to barley by a local farmer. I can't see us ever using the full 10 acres but there is scope for some vegetable gardening etc. The banking around the lake is somewhere around 30 degrees (worse in some areas but I already deal with that using a line trimmer rather than taking my life in my hands).
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:14 PM   post #8 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

Dave,

If the worst areas of the slope are covered with a weedwacker, then I would be thinking of what machine is the best for the "rest" of the 90% majority of tasks you will be doing. The X700 series would do a nice job, especially with the 62" deck (or 7-iron 60"). But to me, all that acreage says I would want a loader. Then the 2305 stands out. You commented about weights and loader needed for slopes with the 2305 isn't entirely correct. The 2305 is a pretty stable mower as stock. With the loader on, then you really need to pay attention to ballast (i.e., the weight box filled with concrete). I have the model superceeded by the 2305, the 2210, and I mow a pretty severe hill. I have the rear tires loaded with RimGuard (about 220# total) and I do have 1" wheel spacers, although I ran the tractor for two years without any issues.

With the 2305 you get advantages over the other tractors: diesel (you can get X7xx tractors with this too), 4WD, 3PH, Rear PTO, ROPS, and a larger platform to handle ground engaging equipment. A diesel X748 outfitted with all this would cost more than the 2305, and not carry nearly the same resale value.

I'd recommend you really get familiar with all the plusses and minuses of each model, and then when you've selected a dealer, ask him to bring out several models to test drive on your property. Then you'll be able to decide which machine is best for you.

Happy hunting!
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:28 AM   post #9 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

As noted it all depends on how you care for the unit to a great extent, I use my equipment, somedays pretty hard but take very good care of things maintenance wise and it really pays off, from the vehicles to the tractors and everything in between, I tend to get many more years of use than the average.

Personally based on what you have posted, I would opt for the 700 series in four wheel drive and if you need to hold off on the blower for another year. In your position I would get a 2305 as I can't see myself without a loader, the 2305 is pretty popular where I live for mowing and many have some pretty good slopes, exceeding the 30 degrees you have and mow with no issues. I didn't take the mower with my 2305 as I didn't want to be bothered removing the loader, and opted for a LA series and am very happy. Currently have about an acre to mow but when finished will have close to 2 1/2, will upgrade to a bigger mowing unit when the time comes.

Good luck with your purchase and let us know what you decide.

Andy
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:37 AM   post #10 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

Dave,

In the forty or so years I've owned and operated power lawn/garden/farm equipment and tractors, I've decided there are two main factors involved in your question about life expectancy:

Taking excellent care of your machinery and providing better than scheduled maintenance.

Using the equipment as designed and not expecting it to perform tasks beyond its capabilities.

The JD 455 to the left is over ten years old. For all practical purposes it still looks, runs, and performs as it did when I purchased it new.

Buy a quality machine and take good care of it..........it'll last a long time.

Cheers,
dan
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Old 08-01-2008, 02:51 AM   post #11 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple95 View Post
Dave,

In the forty or so years I've owned and operated power lawn/garden/farm equipment and tractors, I've decided there are two main factors involved in your question about life expectancy:

Taking excellent care of your machinery and providing better than scheduled maintenance.

Using the equipment as designed and not expecting it to perform tasks beyond its capabilities.

The JD 455 to the left is over ten years old. For all practical purposes it still looks, runs, and performs as it did when I purchased it new.

Buy a quality machine and take good care of it..........it'll last a long time.

Cheers,
dan
PURPLE 95 IS RIGHT KEEP UP YOUR OIL CHANGES AND TAKE CARE OF THE MACHINE AND THEY SHOULD LAST AWHILE.
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Old 08-01-2008, 09:14 AM   post #12 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

Life spands so far
1961 Cub original
1965 Cub cadet 70
1970 Cub 106
1969 JD 112
1974 JD 140H3
1991 Ingersoll3016PS
1999 White GT2055
2002 Cub Cadet 2206
2003 JD X485
Mid 1970's Cub Cadet experimental rider
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No Major repairs Just regular maintenace on all them except for the Cub106 which most of it's electrical system has been ugraded. all of them still run strong and I know all the previouse owner's of the equipment built before 1991. They just wanted to upgrade to something newer. The Current X500 series Transmissions w/ Diff-lock are designed for Ground engaging which is a Uprgade over the X300 series tractor other then that they are a very similar.
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:47 AM   post #13 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

I agree on the maintenance part as being the key to longevity....and using it for its intended purpose!
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:33 AM   post #14 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

I really did keep up maintenance - oil and filter changes on schedule and greasing everything regularly plus air and fuel filter changes and cleaning out the deck above and below - I probably changed oil more often than expected according to the maintenance guide.

The parts that went were the unserviceable ones though - the tranny was sealed. I forgot to mention the bearings on one of the front wheels went as well - luckily I caught it quickly and it was just a simple change out of the bearing (gives you an idea how challenging the landscape is). I think this was more a case of too much property for too little tractor. Mowing the 3 acres would take best part of the day with the LT180 - the dealer did mention that they no longer offer the equivalent 17hp model with the 48" deck - I suspect that was not helping. It did not help that the previous owner said the grass was 2 acres but it turned out to be 3 - I quoted 2 acres to the dealer when I bought the LT180.

I am still leaning towards a GT rather than a CUT - one big problem we have is a lot of trees along the edge of the property - getting under them to mow is easy with a lawn tractor but that ROPS would be too high - would need to buy an after market folding ROPS or start cutting a load more branches off the bottom and I fear my wife would forget to fold the ROPS back up.

Went to see the Simplicity machines today just to add to my confusion.
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:07 PM   post #15 of 23
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Default Re: Realistic lifespan on a garden tractor?

Life span of a garden tractor?.... depends on the garden tractor. I have a Deere model 316 I bought new in 1979 (was a '78 left over) and have well over 2000 hours on it, maybe even 2500. I't mowed as much as 15 acres of grass a week, plowed snow, pulled heavy loads, and still runs well. It shows a few scratches, sports a replacement mower deck bought after 10 years of cutting a LOT of grass, but has the original splash lubed "K" series Kohler motor and original hydro. The Deere 700 series and 2000 series machines on your list I would personally expect to get 20 plus years out of. The X500 series I would expect to get at least 15 years or more with my maintenance routine.
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