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Old 07-21-2009, 08:54 PM   post #1 of 20
Brange454
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Question How many hours are too many

I have an L120 that I bought new from Home Depot around 2003. I mow about 3 acres once or twice a week during mowing season and it has been very dependable so far and I have no complaints except for spindle bearing issues which as I understand am not alone there.My question is this, with 418.5 hours on the mower how many hours are too many for an L series price competative machine before I have to worry about it dying completly or being too expensive to mantain and repair. I am also interested to know how many hours people out there have on there L series tractors and what they think. Any input would be very appriciated thank you.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:58 PM   post #2 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

Welcome to the forum!

Taken care of, this thing might hang around another 400+ hours pretty easily.

I've seen blown motors at 20 hours in this class of machine, and 1000+ hours with no problems.

Sorry for the vague reply, but that's just the way it is.
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:12 PM   post #3 of 20
Brange454
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

Thanks D-Dogg for the quick reply. I am new to this forum and have been impressed with it.I think the L120 will work for now but with the size of my yard I am concidering my options to replace or keep limping along.
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:33 PM   post #4 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

The engine being the "heart" of the machine, and the transmission being the "muscles", are the two single most expensive parts of the entire package. If you aren't having any problems with them (engine starts and runs without smoking or missing, and doesn't make abnormal noises, and the tranny doesn't slip or leak, and puts adequate power to the ground and mower), then you shouldn't sweat stuff like replacing a spindle now and then, or a wheel bearing, or worry about the occasional body rattle.That's all routine wear and tear, and can be expected in varying amounts throughout the machine's life.

Once you start having to repair the engine and tranny, and those repairs don't last long, then maybe it's time to start looking for a replacement. It's sometimes difficult to justify a couple of hundred dollar or more repair on an older machine, but might be okay for a newer one. And to make it more complicated, "newer" and "older" mean different things to different people.
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:40 PM   post #5 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

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Originally Posted by Brange454 View Post
Thanks D-Dogg for the quick reply. I am new to this forum and have been impressed with it.I think the L120 will work for now but with the size of my yard I am concidering my options to replace or keep limping along.
In that case, you need to find a 300 series JD for less than $2K, and start going over it getting it ready for the day your current mower dies.

316, 318, 332 (diesel) are all fine older machines which would cost $5K to $13K to purchase a new equivalent.

Then in the $2500-$5000 range, you have the 420, 425, 435, 445, 455 series.

Any of the above would handle 3 acres with no problems.

Or if all you want to do is mow, and you have a fairly flat lot, start saving for a good quality ZTR (at least $6000 IMO).
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:59 PM   post #6 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

my L130 has between 450 and 500 hours on it, i honestly can't remember exactly. a few weeks back it broke the axle for the 2nd time. i am still debating fixing it even though the axle is only 40.00. i have just reached the point where i don't know that it is worth it anymore. of course, i already have a X500 i got last year because i knew this was coming.
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:57 PM   post #7 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

I have a 2002 L110 which is now approaching 650 hours. The engine (Kohler 17.5 HP) and transmission have been trouble free from day one.

The deck has been fairly trouble free. I have replaced deck and drive belts, spindles, blades, idler pulleys, and tension springs. The front wheel bushings (and one front wheel spindle) also needed replacement. Most of these items have been pretty easy to repair, and the parts have been relatively cheap.

I have changed the oil and filter (Purolator 10241) every 25 hours. The engine has never used any oil between changes.
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Old 07-22-2009, 07:47 AM   post #8 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

I have read so many discouraging posts regarding the L series tractors here that it is refreshing to see somebody who has numerous hours and no real issues. I hope your posts provide encouragement to those contemplating a purchase or who are worried about their newer L series purchase. It does, however, make you wonder who is the exception and who is the rule. I hope you guys are the rule.
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:09 AM   post #9 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

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Originally Posted by Grasshopper67 View Post
I have read so many discouraging posts regarding the L series tractors here that it is refreshing to see somebody who has numerous hours and no real issues. I hope your posts provide encouragement to those contemplating a purchase or who are worried about their newer L series purchase. It does, however, make you wonder who is the exception and who is the rule. I hope you guys are the rule.
Even the best designed machines aren't worth a darn if you don't maintain them.

I wonder how many people give a tractor a bad rap because the are lax in maintenance and then blame the machine? I see more attention to detail and maintenance by people who visit lists like this and are not of the

"I put gas in it and it goes.." mentality.

keeping up the maintenance is more than half the battle. I have 178K on one SUV, 125K on a truck, and run them more than 138 miles a day back/forth to work and never had a major issue. I can probably attribute lots of this success to maintenance.

I've put 50 hours this season on my L130 that sat for 2 years doing nothing before I got it and my only complaint that I haven't addressed as yet is the 2.1 gal fuel tank (this is coming with a 4gal from a LA series, It will fit) .
I added the adjustable drag links on the front to fix the toe-in problems and this is by far and away the best mower I have owned.

I would consider spindles as well as belts and blades a 'consumable' item and part of the cost of operating a lawn tractor.

Keep doing the maintenance, keep running it and start putting a few $$ away for that next tractor if you feel that you must. If you don't need to buy one then you have that money in the bank getting some (at this point in time.. meager) interest on it and you'll be ahead of the game if you need to find one. If a deal comes along like mine did (L130, 50 hours $350.00) then don't pass it up.

Don't go EXPECTING your current one to fail because it will always seem to live up to your expectations.
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:11 AM   post #10 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

Quote:
Originally Posted by KHodges View Post
The engine being the "heart" of the machine, and the transmission being the "muscles", are the two single most expensive parts of the entire package. If you aren't having any problems with them (engine starts and runs without smoking or missing, and doesn't make abnormal noises, and the tranny doesn't slip or leak, and puts adequate power to the ground and mower), then you shouldn't sweat stuff like replacing a spindle now and then, or a wheel bearing, or worry about the occasional body rattle.That's all routine wear and tear, and can be expected in varying amounts throughout the machine's life.

Once you start having to repair the engine and tranny, and those repairs don't last long, then maybe it's time to start looking for a replacement. It's sometimes difficult to justify a couple of hundred dollar or more repair on an older machine, but might be okay for a newer one. And to make it more complicated, "newer" and "older" mean different things to different people.
Hit the nail right on the head!
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:18 AM   post #11 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasshopper67 View Post
I have read so many discouraging posts regarding the L series tractors here that it is refreshing to see somebody who has numerous hours and no real issues. I hope your posts provide encouragement to those contemplating a purchase or who are worried about their newer L series purchase. It does, however, make you wonder who is the exception and who is the rule. I hope you guys are the rule.
Amen to that. All these entry level Deeres running into the high hundreds of hours w/ no problems with their 'entry' level trannies. This thread is a nice read.
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:33 AM   post #12 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE is the key. My 96 Blazer just clocked 200,000 miles and my 98 Caddy has 117,000 miles. my JD110 is approx 32 years old and I am the second owner. The Kohler and the trans. are original. and have not been apart. Grease, oil, filter and lots of TLC have been the keys. (I hope that I have just not cursed myself and will suffer catastrophic mechanical failure of the fleet!!)lol!
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:50 AM   post #13 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

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PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE is the key. My 96 Blazer just clocked 200,000 miles and my 98 Caddy has 117,000 miles. my JD110 is approx 32 years old and I am the second owner. The Kohler and the trans. are original. and have not been apart. Grease, oil, filter and lots of TLC have been the keys. (I hope that I have just not cursed myself and will suffer catastrophic mechanical failure of the fleet!!)lol!

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Old 07-22-2009, 09:50 AM   post #14 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many



It is amazing how many people (present company included) start out with machinery like cars, mowers, and motorcycles with no real clue of the impact of poor maintenance.

Look at the young people who spruce up their cars with fancy paint jobs and decals, loud stereos, and high dollar wheels and tires. How many of them can tell you how many miles they have driven since their last oil change? How many have checked the plugs and plug wires or the transmission fluid levels? Yet, the engine and transmission cost more to replace than any other part of the vehicle.

I have been guilty in the past of failing to check and change the oil. When things broke, I took them to the shop and expected miracles.

As far as the L Series is concerned, I think there have been some lemons, but that is true of all machines. But I would not be surprised to see reports of L series tractors rolling over 1000 hours on this site in a few years, simply because the regulars here are passionate about their equipment and they keep the maintenance up.

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Old 07-22-2009, 03:26 PM   post #15 of 20
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Default Re: How many hours are too many

Maintenance? The majority of near-terminal failures on the L series tractors are almost always the transmission. There is no maintenance recommended by the manufacturer. They were made to be non-serviceable. Do all the recommended maintenance and that does not make one bit of difference to whether the transmission goes 300 hours or 1000 hours. What makes the difference is, if a fellow is mowing a flat city lot, or a city park, or a sloped acre and a half.
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