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post #1 of 19 Old 07-23-2019, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

I'm wanting a garden tractor as I'd like the option to use a snow plow and maybe a tiller attachment 1 day.

New true garden tractors ain't cheap and honestly I'm not sure which models support the options I'm wanting to use. I'm not against new just trying to not spend a fortune on one if I can avoid it.

There are a lot of good used ones I've found on facebook and craigslist. They seem more expensive than I'd expect for how old they are though. The more common ones I've seen are JD 212, 265, I've seen some x304s as well. I've seen some older sears, wheel horse models as well.

Anything you'd recommend or maybe to avoid as well? I have 2.4 acres with a very steep hill behind the house that leads down a very flat portion of the yard. Not a lot of items to mow around so I don't think tight turning is a huge need. What would you recommend and what would I be looking at spending.
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-23-2019, 05:37 PM
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

You can pick up what you need for $1,500, or you can spend $15,000. Its up to you. Do you want to spend time repairing said tractor? Or do you want it to go when you hit the key every time out?
Ariens, Bolens, Cub Cadet, John Deere, Massey, Simplicity, and many others made models that would fit the bill.
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post #3 of 19 Old 07-23-2019, 06:21 PM
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

Your source for information on LTs and GTs.

FYI, JD X3xx tractors are lawn tractors, and not suitable for your task list. The X5xx and X7xx are GTs. The older JD 3xx and 4xx GTs are also more than suitable, as well as a host of other branded models.

While the prices today for the GTs seems high, when compared to the value of the dollar at the time of sale, the older GTs cost just as much, or less. In 1976, I was making $6 per hour and a top of the line heavy GT cost 500 hours ($3,000), plus attachments. Today, I would be making $30 per hour, if I wasn't retired, and 500 hours would be a $15,000 GT, before adding attachments like a lawn mower.

Perspective is a wonderful thing.

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post #4 of 19 Old 07-23-2019, 06:51 PM
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

Welcome to the forum!

How steep is a "very steep" hill? Pictures would help, or a measurement of the actual slope angle.

Depending on how steep it is, you may need more aggressive tires, a locking differential, or maybe even 4WD (or a combination of those). This may be an important consideration beyond just finding a heavy-duty machine that can handle the attachments you want.

As was said, a sense of your budget range, and what kind of machine you are willing to buy (recent and ready to run? older and needs some work?), would help people make more-specific suggestions.
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post #5 of 19 Old 07-23-2019, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

I'll get pics next week. We are just about to move in. Very steep grade for a moderate distance. 15-20 elevation over 100 feet. That's a "ballpark" and keep in mind I'm going off memory so that's not good sometimes LOL. Smooth terrain overall but the grade is pretty decent for a person to walk. It won't have to mow a large portion of this but it will need to get up and down this mowing a narrow strip to keep it clean for us to walk. The rest of the yard is overall very flat. This steep grade I'd like to have a small garden hence the tiller.
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-04-2019, 11:31 AM
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Weathersbee View Post
I'm wanting a garden tractor as I'd like the option to use a snow plow and maybe a tiller attachment 1 day.

New true garden tractors ain't cheap and honestly I'm not sure which models support the options I'm wanting to use. I'm not against new just trying to not spend a fortune on one if I can avoid it.

There are a lot of good used ones I've found on facebook and craigslist. They seem more expensive than I'd expect for how old they are though. The more common ones I've seen are JD 212, 265, I've seen some x304s as well. I've seen some older sears, wheel horse models as well.

Anything you'd recommend or maybe to avoid as well? I have 2.4 acres with a very steep hill behind the house that leads down a very flat portion of the yard. Not a lot of items to mow around so I don't think tight turning is a huge need. What would you recommend and what would I be looking at spending.
Do you have a max budget? There are lots of used garden tractor models available that would suit your needs, but knowing the limit of what you are able/willing to pay would narrow the available field. The thing about buying used is finding implements for those models. Some implements will fit a variety of models over several years, while others can be model specific and hard to find if they aren't included with the used machine you buy. Be prepared to search, or to adapt implements that would otherwise not work. You also have the option of implements made by aftermarket companies, such as DR Equipment.

I would recommend something no less than 18 horsepower, with a hydrostatic transmission. Something as old as a 318 (1980's-early 1990's) would be a good choice, but be prepared to do some restoration of the mechanicals to make it reliable. Newer choices would include something like a GT 235-245, or GX 345 (early 2000's). Even newer would be the mid-size X5xx, similar in size to the GT/GX series, and then there is the large X4xx/X5xx/X7xx. Each step will increase the price, as they are both larger and newer, but they are also more capable.

Go to www.machinefinder.com, and look at what is available. This will give you an idea of what they look like, what is available for them, and price ranges. Then shop your local trade papers to see what's close to you.

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post #7 of 19 Old 08-04-2019, 12:20 PM
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

I'm in a similar situation right now, just moved onto an acre with about a quarter of it being a 15-ish degree hill. I had to a return a JD E140 that just couldn't handle mowing the hill, and just barely got up the hill without the PTO engaged.

Right now I'm looking at a Cub Cadet XT1 50" deck with a K58 transmission for $3K vs. a Husqvarna TS 354D with a K66 for $3.5K. I've narrowed it down to these two mainly because that's what I've been able to find available, and $3500 is where my budget tops out. I wouldn't mind a used machine, but nothing has come up within a reasonable distance of me.
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-04-2019, 06:07 PM
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If you aren't afraid of going used, the John Deere 300 series are some really stout tractors. Ones like the 318 and 332 have power steering, hydraulics and are very heavy duty. The Cub Cadet 3000 series are also very heavy duty machines.

If you are looking for new, the Kubota GR series, Cub Cadet XT3 or John Deere X500 or X700 may be what you are looking for.

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post #9 of 19 Old 08-05-2019, 05:42 AM
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Weathersbee View Post
I'm wanting a garden tractor as I'd like the option to use a snow plow and maybe a tiller attachment 1 day.

New true garden tractors ain't cheap and honestly I'm not sure which models support the options I'm wanting to use. I'm not against new just trying to not spend a fortune on one if I can avoid it.

There are a lot of good used ones I've found on facebook and craigslist. They seem more expensive than I'd expect for how old they are though. The more common ones I've seen are JD 212, 265, I've seen some x304s as well. I've seen some older sears, wheel horse models as well.

Anything you'd recommend or maybe to avoid as well? I have 2.4 acres with a very steep hill behind the house that leads down a very flat portion of the yard. Not a lot of items to mow around so I don't think tight turning is a huge need. What would you recommend and what would I be looking at spending.
A lot of used Garden tractors you can get at bargain price. Youll get a lot of recommendations on this forum for 20/30 year old tractors. And they are fine, if you have ability to work on them and probably more importantly have time to work on them. But dont kid yourself, an older tractor, you are normally buying someone elses problems- expect to have to work on them. Another option is to buy a lightly used X5xx or X7xx series tractor that still has warranty left. To start, Id be looking at a X500 series tractor- it will handle all the tasks you are looking for. New one will run you 6K to 8K depending on which model you go for- a say two year old 500 series ( still would have 2 years of warranty left) will run you 5k to 7K depending on how many hours and warranty left

Advantages of buying new or fairly new- you will have dependable mower/ tiller/ snow plow option for next 20/25 years. Feel pain once and be done with it. And John Deere GTs hold their value, so if you decide to upgrade in few years, trade in value is outstanding

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Last edited by UpstateTony; 08-05-2019 at 06:00 AM.
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-06-2019, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard



Sorry everyone. We didn't have internet when we first moved in and just got hooked up.

I don't mind working on one but at the same time I don't want one I spend more time working on or more in parts. I like the older ones but if they are impossible to find parts for or prone to breakdowns I'd rather avoid that. For the budget I'm cheap mostly due to the fact I can get a jd 650 with a belly mower for 3400 in good shape as well as other compact tractors. I'd prefer a garden tractor but at the same time it is difficult pill for me to swallow for 6k for a garden tractor when a used compact can be had for 2k cheaper. With that said honestly I'm not picky I just want something good that when maintained will hold up well and handle the tasks I need.
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post #11 of 19 Old 08-07-2019, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

I found a JD 430 in running shape for 1200. Engine in decent shape and tractor is in OK shape as well. It runs and mows, slight leak around the PTO from what I gather from pics but beyond that by accounts a decent working mower. I'm a bit nervous buying used like this because I don't want another project as I have enough. I don't mind some repairs but don't want to spend more time working on it than mowing.

I'm also looking at the Husqvarna t354 and the cub cadet xt1-54 I believe it is, also the troy bilt bronco. I realize that's a wide price gap. I'd really like to keep the price lower than the husq but if that's what I need then that's what I need. I'mcurious about the 430 and if anyone thinks it is worth it.

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post #12 of 19 Old 08-07-2019, 03:26 PM
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

I'm really interested in what people say. All I know is the 4xx series seem to have a reputation of being pretty solid, heavy-duty machines.

But if you could get a CUT for a similar price to a new GT, that must be an awfully-capable piece of equipment for the money. I don't know if they become simply too-big for some stuff, though. Or maybe really-expensive to repair when something goes wrong.

Maybe having a CUT instead of a GT becomes the equivalent of getting a great deal on an 18-wheeler tractor, to tow your 30 foot boat It'll pull it without batting an eye, but maybe it's still not the ideal too for the job.

Either way, it's good to see that you have some options available.
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-08-2019, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

Well just found out the 430 is low on PTO fluid and it stopped mowing. The owner called someone to take a look and they said it was low on fluid and likely would be fine with being topped off but to confirm they would need to tear it down. I'm guessing that would be expensive to repair.

I've found a gt275 in good shape nearby so I'm trying to see if they have that still.
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-09-2019, 03:27 AM
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

Note that a GT275 is a really big step down from a 430, while the 430 is a relatively small step down from a SCUT in comparison.

Check the specs for both here.

Bob

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post #15 of 19 Old 08-09-2019, 11:03 AM
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Re: Need help picking a garden tractor for my yard

I would recommend a JD 210, 212, 214.....Wheel Horse 310, 312,314,414.......or a Craftsman GT 6000 from the early 90's with the Kohler Magnum engine.....you can certainly find any of these, sometimes with attachments, in good shape for $1000 or less. I own or have owned all of these tractors and they are all super heavy duty and can tackle most any job.
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