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I have a 2012 D110. It now has 256 hours on it, and mows 2-3 flat acres, between my place and the neighbors'. Other than lube, oil, filters, and blades, it has had --0-- issues. The hood is scratched some from the low branches. I picked up a replacement upper hood for $26 on Ebay. When I get to cutting the offending vegetation, I'll swap that out. That's it. Belts are all original. I did replace the front wheel bushings with bearings as preventive maintenance.
Box store machines do last if they are not abused.
This one fits my "needs" - notice I didn't say "wants" - just fine.
You have 256 hours on the clock in 7 years and mow 2-3 acres at a time? Either you rarely cut your grass, or you aren't cutting 2-3 acres every week. 256 is still low hours, even for a box store. Everyone's comments is based on cutting weekly, sometimes biweekly if needed, for the entire season which is 7-8 months. If you are cutting 2-3 acres, that's 8-12 hours a month during the cutting season. You would be at close to 400 hours, if not over 500 if you are cutting 3 acres weekly. You are comparing larger acreage/less frequent actual use to the smaller/more frequent recommendation. That's not a fair comparison. The D110 works for you, great, but JD recommended the D110 for 1/3 to up to an acre for a reason. There is no doubt that because JD makes it, even the box store models should last some time, but come back here when you get into the 500 hour plus area. JD didn't recommend the D110 for over an acre for a reason. If you limited it to 1 acre, it would take over 15 years to reach 500 hours. If you triple that, you get there in 5, which is why everyone is saying "you get what you pay for" and the model shouldn't be expected to last more than 5 years at that usage. A box store model will not likely see higher hours as better models in the line up will.
 

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I'm basing the area mowed on data from the JD Mowerplus app. I have no illusions that the D110 is going to last as long as a true GT. Point is, the OP's mower was an exception at needing all those repairs at 147 hours.
 

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I'm basing the area mowed on data from the JD Mowerplus app. I have no illusions that the D110 is going to last as long as a true GT. Point is, the OP's mower was an exception at needing all those repairs at 147 hours.
What repairs beyond the damaged deck due to hitting a rock? Half the estimate was routine maintenance and it looks like he requested the pulleys to be replaced, it's right in the invoice. Belts go bad, especially with no maintenance being down to keep the areas free of debris (mouse nest). Belts break whether you paid $1500 or $6000 for the machine. Yes some get longer life out of theirs, but it all depends on upkeep. I wouldn't pay someone to fix a belt for me, but each of us has a different level of comfort with maintenance items. It's part of the cost of ownership. If you have to pay someone to replace a belt, that's the cost for you. But it's still just a maintenance item. That tractor probably would have lasted years at his usage level with a new belt.

The rest of the quote was due to the the rock damage, not exactly JDs fault there.

The point is everyone is saying to expect 5-7 years out of an entry level machine that is used beyond it's capacity. That's accurate if you look at JDs recommendations JD thinks 500 hours is the service life of the entry level units, that's why they recommend them for up to an acre, i.e., 15 year span. Nothing being said here is inaccurate.
 

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Everyone keeps saying "You get what you pay for"

If someone drives a crappy car into a brick wall, "You get what you pay for" ?
If someone drives a Ferrari into a brick wall, good thing you didn't cheap out, and the car is fine?
No, that makes no sense.
This is not a good example... neither car is designed to crash into a wall and not be damaged.

Why can't the D105 handle 2 acres?
It handled 2 acres like a champ for 7 years.

Then the belts broke and I hit a rock. (and I got a $1000 repair bill)
But, this has nothing to do with "You get what you pay for"
Broken belts and rock damage has nothing to do with paying $1500 or $15,000 for a tractor.

Why can't the D105 handle 2 acres?
It handled 2 acres fine for me, every time I mowed the lawn.

Buying a cheap mower had nothing to do with my problem.
The problem was that I hit a rock and needed belts.
That has nothing to do with acreage or "You get what you pay for"

Okay, so here's the deal with what you're asking. Every machine is a collection of parts, and the design life of these parts (the life expectancy) is based on the expected usage of the machine. A D series is classified as a lawn tractor (LT) and lawn tractors are pretty much just riding mowers shaped to LOOK like a tractor but are not actual tractors intended for doing "real" tractor things like grading a driveway or using a front-end loader. Nor for mowing acreage for years on end. Deere (and other manufacturers) expect that most LT buyers will only be cutting the typical suburban lawn, hence they recommend the tractor only be used for mowing a 1/2 acre or less (I am just guessing at that value but it's probably close) and because of that they design the components such as drive belts, spindles, blades, etc to last several years only handling that amount of work.

For example, your D105 uses a belt to drive the transmission. It lasted you 7 years and failed around 147 hours. My Deere 332 uses a driveshaft to power the transmission and despite being 32 years old with over 600 hours on it (and that is not high hours for a GT), it has not failed yet nor does it show any signs of failing. The difference is that my 332 is a garden tractor (GT) and your D105 is an LT. A GT is built a whole lot more stout that an LT and if all you do with either one of them is cut grass, the GT will outlast the LT by far because the GT is not being pushed to it's limits.

In other words, just mowing grass with a LT puts the machine close to the limit of it's capabilities because that's ALL it was designed for, cutting grass. It's like towing a 2000 lb trailer with a base model Ford Ranger. Mowing with a GT is nothing as far as the tractor is concerned, it barely notices that it's doing any work at all. It's like towing that same 2000 lb trailer with a Ford F-250. Acre for acre, the GT will outlast the LT because it is not working as hard, even though both machines are accomplishing the same task. An example of this is the many posts detailing how people have burned out their LT hydro trans just mowing in hilly terrain. Meanwhile a GT would think nothing of climbing a hill while mowing, because it's built to handle pulling and pushing implements through the dirt.

Same goes for mower decks between the two. If you trash a spindle bearing on your D105 you replace the entire spindle. On the 50 mower that I use with my 332, I can just buy a bearing for $10 and change it out. The spindle and hub are meant to last through many bearing replacements.

As far as eating a a rock goes... well, that's on you. Like I said originally, no mower deck is designed to eat chunks of debris like that. That's what bush hogs are for and even those can get tore up by rocks. Just like your example of crashing a car into a brick wall... no car is meant to crash and stay intact and functional.
 

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I still don't know where this $1000 repair figure is coming from, as I see something like $300 in parts, and $80 in labor. But maybe that's not the full estimate? After 7 years there is going to be some expectation for maintenance.

But I'll be honest, I don't think an X300 would have faired much better. You still would have had maintenance on it, and you still would have hit the rock. It's just you'd be looking at spending $1000 on a $3000 tractor and not think it was worth scrapping.
 

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Discussion Starter #86
Ok, thanks for the discussion.
I am getting more clarity on these issues.

It's about total hours, not acreage.
That is why they say D105 should be used for 1 acre or whatever.
It's not that D105 CAN'T mow 20 acres.
It's just that if you mowed 20 acres each week (which I bet it can do with no problem), it will wear out very quickly and appear to have died way too quickly.
Ok, That makes sense to me now.

I do not deal with the mower. The wife handles that 100% including the servicing.
In hindsight, all that stuff on the invoice was "blue sky" hooey and she should have asked what it cost to just get the mower running again ($50 belt)
I do not know the details of the damaged mower deck, but it was not even listed in the estimate.
The estimate just seems like a bloated dealership invoice, just like car dealers charging $500 to change an alternator belt.

Again, I don't know the damage on the deck, but besides that, I think wife scrapped the mower over a busted belt that was quoted at $1000 to repair.
Mower is at a weekend house that I rarely visit, so if it were my personal primary tractor, I would have done the DIY maintenance like oil, pulleys, belts, blades, etc.
I think the mower was perfectly fine, and could have lasted a lot longer than 7 years / 150-170 hours.

X300 would have had the same repair bill.
The ONLY difference would have been the cost basis.
$1000 repair on a $1500 mower = scrap it
$1000 repair on a $3500 mower = suck it up.

In a way, I am glad we scrapped it, since I would not be happy with paying $1000 to get a belt and pulley replaced
My main issue is the $1000 repair bill for what seems simple routine maintenance.
Next time, I will grab my tools and my laptop, and fix the tractor myself.
 

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Ok, thanks for the discussion.
I am getting more clarity on these issues.

Mower is at a weekend house that I rarely visit
This really changes the discussion. See if you can find a neighbor that will keep the lawn mowed for a reasonable price. Both your wallet and your marriage will likely benefit from it.
 

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Discussion Starter #88
Went to the local mower shop.
Ended up getting a Toro Timecutter Zero Turn

It was between the SS4225 ($2600) and SS5000 ($2800)
Toro V-Twin motor, 22.5hp vs 24.5hp
50" vs 42" deck (and bigger wheels)

For reference, 42" entry level tractor is $1600
$1900 for one with comparable motor (20hp+)
So, I think +$700 for total paradigm shift was a good move

For 2 acres, I would have gotten the 50" ($200 price diff is trivial)
But, wife felt intimidated by the larger 50"
(Harder to load into pickup, etc?)
So, we went with the SS 4225 for $2600

Wife mowed the lawn today and said it was way more maneuverable and faster.
She quickly got used to the controls and says she will get even faster on it
I also looked up the basic maintenance like removing the mowing deck.
Next time, I will be changing stuff like belts and pulleys and oil to avoid the $1000 repair debacle of the Deere D105.

Thanks for all the info on this purchase!!
 

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Went to the local mower shop.
Ended up getting a Toro Timecutter Zero Turn

It was between the SS4225 ($2600) and SS5000 ($2800)
Toro V-Twin motor, 22.5hp vs 24.5hp
50" vs 42" deck (and bigger wheels)

For reference, 42" entry level tractor is $1600
$1900 for one with comparable motor (20hp+)
So, I think +$700 for total paradigm shift was a good move

For 2 acres, I would have gotten the 50" ($200 price diff is trivial)
But, wife felt intimidated by the larger 50"
(Harder to load into pickup, etc?)
So, we went with the SS 4225 for $2600

Wife mowed the lawn today and said it was way more maneuverable and faster.
She quickly got used to the controls and says she will get even faster on it
I also looked up the basic maintenance like removing the mowing deck.
Next time, I will be changing stuff like belts and pulleys and oil to avoid the $1000 repair debacle of the Deere D105.

Thanks for all the info on this purchase!!
Congrats!
 

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Oh please, you used and neglected this unit for 7 years, and then ***** about spending $200 a year on it. Try getting a service to mow two acres for $200 a year!

You bought entry level, and did not take care of it. With some care you would still be mowing on it!
 

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Discussion Starter #91
Actually, after doing a little investigation I've concluded the D105 was perfectly fine.
The mower deck had become detached, which shredded the belts.
The shady dealer gave me a $1000 repair estimate.
In reality, all it needed was a new cotter pin and new belts.
We will not be returning to that dealer again.
 

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I hope you get many years of use out of the Toro, though maybe watch your wife's enthusiasm about the speed.

:ROF

I often miss my D160, I really liked that mower. Sorry yours met an early demise over shady dealer practices and a rock.

 
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