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Old 07-10-2009, 06:54 PM   #1
swami7774
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Default Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

My beloved Cub Cadet has died an ugly death, after 28 years. I'm in the market for a new tractor/riding mower.
Needs: hydrostatic, 38-42" cut, reliability, and--if possible--the option of adding a snow blade/snow thrower/etc. This tractor will be used around my home(1 acre of grass).
Just started looking today, at Lowes. Saw a JD BG20479 for $2000 and a Husq YTH20K46 for $1600. I noted elsewhere on this forum some favorable comments about the Husqvarna.
Is it a good buy at $1600? And generally, are there brands that you would recommend or recommend against?
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

what ever you do dont buy a ********
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

Unless something has changed last I heard Husqvarna builds the tractors for Sears or has Sears started using a different vendor for this? My nephew just bought a Husqvarna from Lowes. He bought the big one with a 54" deck. It just barely fits through his shed door. Seems like a nice machine. He had a Cub Cadet LT 1054 that he has had since after Katrina. He got it for free. They were throwing it away since it got flooded. He mowed with it for 4 years until the engine cratered while he was mowing recently. He bought the new one at Lowes since they were having a special with 10% off.
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolens 1000 View Post
what ever you do dont buy a ********
Okay, I'll cross that line off my list.
Speaking of Bolen, also saw a 13AM762F765 for $950. It's not a hydro, but boasts something called "shift on the go". What is that? A fancy way of saying "manual"?
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolens 1000 View Post
what ever you do dont buy a ********
Lame pointless response.

IMO all the brands you mentioned are of similar quality. Husquavarna does make Craftsman. You have to spend a lot more money to get a tractor to last the 28 years like the Cub did. Ingersol still makes a GT that can last 30 years but it costs 4 times the box store tractors.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

keep in mind that nothing in this price range can reasonably be expected to last 28 years like your previous machine! you would be lucky to get half that, more than likely less than 1/3.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidg View Post
keep in mind that nothing in this price range can reasonably be expected to last 28 years like your previous machine! you would be lucky to get half that, more than likely less than 1/3.
Noted.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidg View Post
keep in mind that nothing in this price range can reasonably be expected to last 28 years like your previous machine! you would be lucky to get half that, more than likely less than 1/3.
Please, do you really believe this?

I just sold an 18 year old entry level sears mower with 15hp kohler, hydrostatic drive and 42" deck. I was the second owner and it cut over an acre of grass for all that time. Trust me, the newer Craftsmans are no better built. If you maintain a tractor and store it inside when it is not in use, there is no reason it can't last for a very long time. I just bought a Husqvarna garden tractor and if I don't make 10 years or get bored of it, I will be extremely surprised.

Tell me what wears out in 8-9 years?



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Old 07-10-2009, 09:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

Swammi7774 - How you maintain it is as important as what you buy. Even the lower end equipment will give good service if maintained reasonably well. 28 years I don't know about that but even though the newer equipment may not be as well built for the lower price points it can still give good service. If all the naysayers had been right my MTD should have already blown an engine, burned out the tranny, broken the frame in half, given me halitosis and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Instead it has served me well for 5 years now. It has kept my 2 acres mowed, pulled heavily loaded carts, skidded logs and done a lot of work with the Johnny bucket. I haven't babied it but I do keep it maintained. All it has ever needed was 1 new set of belts, oil and filters. Yes you will get what you pay for - but that doesn't necessarily mean you won't get your money's worth if you maintain your equipment. I have to believe you know what you're doing there as even one of the older well built pieces of equipment wouldn't have lasted 28 years if not taken care of. The fun is in the hunt. Don't rule out any brand on anyone else's opinion. Look around, sit on as many as you can, see what's YOU like and don't like. If older used equipment is an option for you that may broaden your options for better built equipment that is in your price range. Most of all have fun looking and when you buy don't forget



Lil Red is still gettin it done!!!
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46" mower deck
Rear bagger
Johnny Bucket
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

Boy, I don't HAVE anything newer than lower 80s.
I have 2 low enders, a Craftsman II (that I just adapted a deck to- the new arrival) runs and cuts great, it is a 6 speed manual. And a Lawn Chief (can't get any lower than that) which I adapted a deck to a few years ago.
These are both manual trannys, I don't know how long the hydros last on the light weight cutters so I can't comment on them. But I used one for a while with a foot petal control and loved it.
Change the oil, lube the joints that move, clean out the crud from under the deck at the end of season.
If it were me and I was getting a new cutter, I would bedliner the inside of the deck after making sure the thing runs right. At a minimum- lightly sand (scuff up) the deck undrneath and lay a couple of coats of brush on rustoleum.
Deck go bad long before the rest of the machine.
You know, you might want to fix that old Cub for snow duty, that is what I do- dedicated machines.
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:40 PM   #11
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolens 1000 View Post
what ever you do dont buy a ********

Pretty weak post, I sure hope all your posts aren't so weak.


FYI, AYP builds the Husqvarna and Craftsman tractors. The Sears GTS 5000 comes with a serviceable Hydro-Gear G730 transaxle and nicknamed the "Excellerator" because it carries the highest forward ground speed on the market right now. Mated with a 54" deck it will cut my 2.75 acres in about an hour and leave a nice finish. I may have many complaints about my "********" but these are complaints from a guy who had to sell his "real" tractor and come down to reality (that is until he buys another "real" tractor)

All the consumer level machines are going to be roughly the same quality as far as the sheet metal goes, the price differences are in the Engine and the Transaxle... And you want the best of both, so they will last.
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:47 PM   #12
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

$1600 will not go far toward a new one.You will think your on a tin can and left a tank with anything in that price range.
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:47 PM   #13
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

I have to say this forum is the most responsive of any forum I've ever been part of. Great advice, much appreciated.
And yes, I'll post pictures when I finally buy a new beast.
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:59 PM   #14
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

This should sum up what I posted earlier about not buying a ********.
This was written by another member a while back.

When I was a kid of 12 years old in 1971 I remember my dad and I shopping for our first Bolens, a 1054. As I stood next to it the machine looked HUGE. He sat me on it and asked "what do you think?" I could hardly reach the clutch pedal, but I was hooked. He bought it with a mower deck and snowcaster. It was great and I still have it to this day.

Later when we got more property he felt that one tractor was not enough to mow the 6 acres of grass as it was taking a long time with the 1054. So we went out and bought a G14 with a deck and a set of 9' wide reel (gang) mowers for it. While it was nice and had more HP then the 1054, I still like the 1054 best. The Tecumseh engine and the hood bulge on the G14 just didn't do it for me. I ended up selling that one last winter.

Six years ago I picked up a 1256 with the Hydro trans. It helped cut the time for snowblowing my driveway in half as I did not have to constantly stop to switch gears as the snow got lighter (needed 2nd or 3rd gear) or heavy (needed low range, 2nd). But I find tilling is better with the 1054 and the geared trans.

A few years back my neighbor was teasing me that my 1054 was only 10 HP and he head a new craftsman 18HP tractor. I called it his riding grass cutter as those little things have the stamped frame, a battery the size of a small motorcycle and a transmission that you can hold in the palm of your hand. He didn't like me talking down about his tractor, and I didn't like him calling the Bolens "old".

One day we were both out cutting the grass. His riding grass cutter was a full throttle and struggling through the wet grass. He came over and watched me with the 1054 with my mower deck on it, and pulling a 3 reel set of Pennsylvania gang mowers (9 feet wide) and going up a hill in 2nd gear. His 18hp tractor was useless in the wet grass, but the 10hp Bolens was doing just fine.

He finally had to ask why it was so powerful. I just replied "It's a Bolens". What more was there to say?

Later that summer his Craftsman riding grass cutter trans went out and I fixed it (the trans was a die cast housing and the trans output shaft was on a small bushing). Weeks later the battery mount broke, then the mower deck welds cracked, then the lift arm, then the starter.


He finally asked me what I had replaced on the 1054 over the years and I replied "Oil changes, a spark plug, the belts and a battery or two. But nothing mechanical". He was not happy with his purchase. I stumbled on a ST160 a few years back and he bought it and has been very happy with it. I'm not a fan of that series as I like the tube and large frame tractors. If you can mount a front end loader to it, it's a tractor in my opinion.

But the older Bolens and their proud heritage is diminished by the new Bolens tractors sold at places like Lowes. Just as a joke I asked the sales guy at Lowes if:
1. "can mount a front end loader on on the 15.5HP model they had on the floor? he chuckled and said "No".
2. can I put a rear tiller on it? "no".
3. how about a larger mower deck "no"
4. does it have a real frame? "no"
5. does it have a cast iron transmission case?, "no"
he was getting frustrated so finally I asked him an easy one
6. does it come with a cup holder "yes.

There is something to be said for machines that run for over 30 years with virtually no mechanical failures. They were built to work, and to last. Maybe some of the others from the era were too. But I believe that Bolens had a good reputation back then as a work tractor, not a riding grass cutter.

I hope this wasn't another weak post for you guys
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:40 PM   #15
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Default Re: Best/worst lawn tractor brands?

Okay, we get that you are a Bolens Fan Boy.... But there is LOTS wrong with the post you referenced. Garden tractors today are quite different than all old GT's were.. Even the old Sears Suburbans were more beefy than today's models. But that does not mean a well maintained piece of equipment won't last and do it's job.

I can pick on anything if you want... I can pick on all of your bolens equipment.. Does it have a cast iron diesel engine with a cast iron mid section and a cast iron rear end? Oh it only has the rear end, that's right your bolens has a frame... Real tractors don't even have a frame, the engine, the mid section and transmission are the frame of the machine. My FEL ears went right into solid cast iron.. My FEL also weighed more than your whole bolens...

Does that mean your tractor is somehow inferior? No... It was just made to do light duty work.... Everything in perspective... The Sears GT's (not the lawn mowers) will pull a rake, pull a tiller, pull a plow, pull a ripper, throw snow, plow snow, yes you can mount a bucket on them (JBJr and the like) and they will move small amounts of ground. But at the end of the day, they are small toys, all of them and are meant to do smaller jobs or if you do a bigger job, it takes ten times longer than it would with a big tractor.

Riding mowers are what they are.. Their lot in life, is to mow up to an acre of relatively flat ground, that is all they were ever designed to do, and if used for that task, they will do it for a decade or more.

What did a top of the line Bolens cost new? We can do some "In todays money" calculations and I bet, they were not cheap when new, so if you want to compare dollar for dollar, I'm sure I can find something to compare it to....
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Diesel, 4x4, 62C MMM, SE Seat, Quick Hitch,
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That knockin, ain't a loose rod, Son!
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Former Fleet:
2009 Craftsman GTS5000 Excellerator - Sold
Photos

2006 John Deere 3320, FEL, Backhoe, 62 MMM - Sold
Photos

2005 Cub Cadet 6284D FEL, Backhoe , 70" rear finish mower - Bought back, LEMON
Photos
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