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All I can say is, if your marketing strategy, or lack of one, is working for you and/or your neighbor great. If you want to get top dollar, and not less than half what you think something is worth, it is generally a good idea to put some effort into marketing what you are selling, so others can easily see it is worth twice what you are asking and feel like they are getting a bargain
 

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I don't think I have ever seen a comment on how expensive a $50 battery is. This is the dumbest subject I have ever seen on this forum.
It doesn't sound to me like he's not willing to spend $50 for a battery, he's just saying he's not willing to spend $150 on a $50 battery.

I was in one of two local Walmart stores near me here and only one store had one battery, some oddball universal fit dual terminal thing, way too big for any garden tractor. The larger store was sold out of all batteries. They still had the display racks, but no batteries at all. They had signs all over saying that due to Covid 19 the supply chains are 'interrupted' and therefore many items are no longer being stocked till further notice.
I've seen similar notices in super markets and auto parts stores. Several local auto parts stores are only letting two people in the store a time.
The local Autozone looked like business as usual except the fact that they had nearly doubled all the battery prices, which didn't matter because they didn't have a single battery.
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Batteries, particularly less common sizes have been scarce all year, even before covid. I'm not sure why but it seemed to start last fall here. Walmart sold out and never restocked over the winter, the Lawn and Garden sizes have been gone since last summer with no new stock appearing. The same with Tractor supply and Advance Auto parts stores here.
I also had trouble finding a deep cycle battery for my dump trailer this spring, I've been nursing a four year old battery all season and carrying a jumper pack and spare car battery just in case. All the affordable sources are sold out or just never got any stock this year. Sure i could go to a local marina or boat dealer and pay top dollar for some fancy name battery but that big dollar battery won't last me any longer than the cheap one from Walmart would. I did consider the fact that Walmart may be getting out of the battery business, but they didn't remove the battery racks when they ran out.

Maybe someone here has a 430 and knows what other sizes fit? I'm sure the OP could pass that info along to his neighbor.

Lowering the price will likely only bring out the bottom feeders who want it for free. I found that if someone wants an item they will come see it and make an offer, they don't just discount it because of a bad or missing pic in an ad. Someone hunting for something looks at each and everyone they can find. If I let bad pics bother me I'd never buy anything online.
Fancy professional pics are actually more likely to discourage me, that tells me I'm up against an educated seller who likely knows what he's got and isn't going to budge on his price.
What I see when I look at that ad and the pics is a decent looking older machine. I see where someone took the time to at least paint it well enough to preserve it. The tires look decent, not bald, not flat, not chewed up or painted over by some yahoo with a spray can trying to paint it on the cheap. What is re- painted looks decent. The grill has a few dings, but that doesn't affect its use and its more than presentable. The grill also don't look that bad, I couldn't find another one online that wasn't 'restored' and way more money with a perfect grill, in fact most are either smashed in pretty well or missing.
The deck looks to be pretty decent too, I went so far as to download and enhance the pics from CL, the deck shows no rust holes, just surface rust where the paint is worn off. by the looks of it, a wire brush, a pint of primer, and some JD yellow will make it look minty again. From what I see, the blades are near perfect, I don't see any tapered ends, no damage that I can see and no real rust. Just a typical deck that hasn't cut grass recently. My brush hog outback looks worse and its only four years old. It certainly don't look like a deck with issues to me. If it were all covered in thick scaly rust, then I'd be worried but the kind of rust I see is just surface rust on areas that get typical wear.
I'm also surprised that no one has contacted the seller either, that alone tells me that either no one here has much interest in a 430 or they're not yet truly a collectible.

To me, the 430 looks heavier duty than the 455, the classic mesh grill also makes it look more like a larger JD rather than a big box store mower.
 

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The 430 was last made in 92, I think. It cost $10,000 then. It was collectible/ very desirable, the day after they quit making them. You can buy a new SCUT for a little more now, 30 years later. There are guys that travel the East Coast looking for THEM. I understand not throwing good money after bad, I understand not paying $150 for a $50 battery. I’m retired and have no problem driving 8 hours, spending the night in a hotel, and coming home the next day. I’ll drive from MD to NJ just to try a new beer. But I’m not driving from MD to NJ to pay a premium price for a tractor that needs a battery. Maybe if he did what a lot of people do on eBay do, just say, if you hit the buy it now button, I’ll buy a good battery. I am a little surprised it only calls for a 440 amp battery. My 3 cylinder diesel, 20 hp, calls for 700 cca. Anyway, no one tells a big long story in a little blurb on a forum post. So, things just didn’t add up till more info was added. Now it looks like he has close to 3K into it. The flippers don’t want it, and it’s in a location that’s not conducive of very large GT sales. It’s a shame, it should sell in that range. My friends 430 looked worse but was turn key, drive it away and use it. It was pretty scratched up so he got cheap JD green paint and made it worse. He put it on FB on. Friday, I was going to look at it on Monday. Sold for $2800 before I could get there.
 

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Maybe RustyM’s question in his opening post has some real validity. Are they falling out of favor. My Dad grew up in the 1920’s. In the 70’s he wanted a Model A. Show quality cars we’re bringing 30-40K. You can find a really nice one now for 10-15 K. All the old guys that want them are about gone. Many guys that come here for questions on L series tractors were in diapers when they quit making the 430. I’m not a flipper, so anything I get takes up space. If I bought a 430, I would probably have to sell my 265, and it’s special to me. So, I’d need to get a deal on one. I would say the market is getting more narrow. I’ve also let stuff go fallow because I don’t need the money, so I let it sit. I’ve just started selling doubles of my chainsaw collection. I’m sending one to AR today, it’s like pulling teeth.
 

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Discussion Starter #105
Maybe RustyM’s question in his opening post has some real validity. Are they falling out of favor. My Dad grew up in the 1920’s. In the 70’s he wanted a Model A. Show quality cars we’re bringing 30-40K. You can find a really nice one now for 10-15 K. All the old guys that want them are about gone. Many guys that come here for questions on L series tractors were in diapers when they quit making the 430. I’m not a flipper, so anything I get takes up space. If I bought a 430, I would probably have to sell my 265, and it’s special to me. So, I’d need to get a deal on one. I would say the market is getting more narrow. I’ve also let stuff go fallow because I don’t need the money, so I let it sit. I’ve just started selling doubles of my chainsaw collection. I’m sending one to AR today, it’s like pulling teeth.
Funny you mention a Model A, I had a guy who grew up with my dad ask me if I was interested in his, he spent thousands on it in the 90's making it mint and all original, it was a frame up restoration, now he can't get $5,000 for it here. It spent a year in Hemmings, its been to various local shows over the past few years and no takers. He was only asking $7500 then. Model T's are even worse these days. I own my grandfather's pickup truck, it sits in the back of my garage unrestored but driveable as is. No rust, it made its way to me 15 years ago, a relative drove it halfway to me in PA from TN, I drove it the rest of the way home from VA. Most can't even drive the thing these days.I have trouble fitting in a Model A, they just weren't built for guys over 6ft tall or guys over 400 lbs. I can barely shut the door and get in, let alone work the pedals on the model A. My buddy has a four door cabriolet, its even tighter inside.
I've seen decent old, clean un-restored Model T's go for $3500, and restored T's go for not much more, I watched one go off at a local estate sale two years ago in NJ for $4,200, it was showroom shape but the auction just didn't draw any serious buyers.
Auctions are also dying though in that area, people get tired of sending things to an auction only to be told their collector car or farm tractor sold for $60. I can count on one hand how many weekly auctions are still in business from years ago, most have gone away long ago.
My Allis Chalmers 916 came from an auction, in turn key running shape, with a new battery, and fresh motor for $8.50. No one wanted it, there were a thousand people there and not a single shaft driven garden tractor broke the $10 mark, but they had no problem paying $400 to $800 for non running Craftsman and similar machines in all sorts of levels of disrepair.
Your comment about many buyers today were in diapers when the 430 was new may just have hit the mark.
 

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I do think the 430 market is getting narrower, as stated above. They are old, the ergonomics isn't great, and their biggest claim to fame is they are built rock solid. Which is a big plus, but so are the newer tractors. The old classic Ag tractor market has also tanked recently. All collectables go in cycles, and maybe the 430's are beginning to ride the wave down. Similar to the two cylinder Deeres. They are cool, but the people that used them and fondly remember them are passing on. And the younger generations don't want to acquire "stuff", so they are not collectors of much of anything. Maybe that will change, I dunno.

I suspect there is an economy factor here too. Six months ago, I probably would have reached out to the seller of this tractor. Today....well, no one really knows is their job will be here tomorrow. Except for you retired guys! :) But I'm very much in cash conservation mode, and I can't help but think there are a lot of people like me out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #107
Retired guys don't know if their SS or Pension will be here tomorrow lately.

I see the same thing in antique outboards and bicycles, old Balloon tire bikes were the thing in the late 80's and early 90's, they slowly faded away, but are starting to make a comeback again with a new generation. Old outboards are dead, they peaked in the mid 2000's and fell away by 2012 or so. Now you can't give the old motors away.
The same with sports cards, they seemed to be gaining bit traction in the 90's but now there's huge collections all over for sale cheap. I've even seen guys dumping not so valuable cards in the recycling bins here. I do see people paying big money now for vintage clothes, old sports hats, and a certain few bicycle related items but the big crazes are all gone.
The problem I see with things like the 430 not selling next door is that no matter how old it is, its still a good mower that runs. I can't see why anyone is so hung up on it needing a battery. I'd be more concerned if it were missing a wheel or hood or something. Do you walk away from a deal on a used car because it needs a windshield? or new tires? or brakes?
Its all minor stuff that has little bearing on what your buying. Sure it detracts from the price, but no more than the item costs that it needs.
I wouldn't expect a guy selling a used truck to knock off half its value because it needs new tires, nor do I expect or want him to buy new tires because you know sure as **** that they're going to buy the cheapest *** tires they can find, in which case, in my mind, it would still need new tires.
If I'm buying something used, I generally try and figure out why the seller is selling it, I never want to deal with something that's been doctored up just to flip for a profit. Very few flippers fix things like they would if they were keeping them. Therefore I avoid sellers who flip tractors, the one's who have 15 tractors listed for sale, all at crazy prices.

With the prices I've seen on a few 430's up north just last fall and early this year, I sort of figured $3,000 isn't that high and I sort of figured he padded the asking price a bit because no one ever pays asking price. I've seen a few listed for $8500, that went up and were gone in a few weeks. A few popped back up minus their attachments for a bit less, a few popped up a thousand miles away being sold piece by piece. There was one last summer about 20 miles away that had been burned, the guy was asking $2500 firm. It apparently sold because I had emailed and asked him if it had a hitch, back when I had thought about buying the one next door. I wanted to look at one with a hitch so I can see how to make one. But the seller told me it sold. The thing looked like it had a major engine fire, the hood was a rag laying down over the motor, the battery had melted and dripped down the side of the tractor, and both side panels were gone. He told me he took $2200 for it. Who knows if that's true or not. That one had no deck either. I later saw it on youtube being parted out.

I could have bought it from him for $500 three years ago but I'd feel like I ripped off a neighbor at that price. If I thought I could make a few bucks on it, I'd buy it but right now it looks like its worth nothing as a running tractor, only as parts. The best I can do for him now is to tell him to part it out and sell the valuable pieces then junk what's left. He'll no doubt get pretty close, if not more than what hes asking. I just watched a hood sell for $300 on cl, and two back wheels sell for $165, a cylinder head for $400, the deck is worth at least $500, but likely would bring more, I see several used sets of injector nozzels for $100, $200 for a used pto clutch, $100 for the two side covers, $150 for the seat base, $60 for a lift cylinder, and so on. If half the thing sells in small pieces he'll make at least $3k. I see where a deck gear box by itself sold for $400 and used spindles are $75. I can see why someone paid so much for a complete deck. It would pay someone to just buy the thing if they needed the deck, and part out the rest on eBay. If you only sold the small parts it would still make money.
 

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The problem I see with things like the 430 not selling next door is that no matter how old it is, its still a good mower that runs. I can't see why anyone is so hung up on it needing a battery. I'd be more concerned if it were missing a wheel or hood or something. Do you walk away from a deal on a used car because it needs a windshield? or new tires? or brakes?
It's all opinions, I can only share mine. But if a battery means it can easily demonstrate starting and running. And also means the buyer can drive it on and off their trailer/truck, I think that counts for something.

I, personally, will consider logistics for equipment I want to buy. It doesn't mean you can't work around this, of course. But I considered buying a cheap non-running tractor, and did give some thought to the fact that I'd need to bring some sort of winch setup to get it onto the trailer, then would need to get it off again too. The end of the world? No, but it adds a layer of complication, anyways, vs just turn a key and go.

If I'm buying something used, I generally try and figure out why the seller is selling it, I never want to deal with something that's been doctored up just to flip for a profit. Very few flippers fix things like they would if they were keeping them. Therefore I avoid sellers who flip tractors, the one's who have 15 tractors listed for sale, all at crazy prices.
It's been said multiple times, forgive me for touching on it again. But this is precisely why I agree with the marketing-is-a-consideration posts that have been made, regarding the ad. Again, only my opinion. But I'm also leery of buying from flippers, or people with a whole bunch of machines in the background. I come away with the feeling that they're trying to get it just good enough to sell, and it might be a mish-mash of parts from whatever machines they had available. I've had a bad experience like that, and now stay away from machines that are changed-from-stock, for instance.

You know the whole story. But the pictures, which is what the potential buyer has for info, show other tractors behind it. As someone reading the ad, rightly or wrongly, that sets off "flipper" warnings to me.

Personally, I kind of prefer when it's the tractor the person owned, and hopefully they took care of it. And hopefully they just left gas in it over the winter, and that's why it didn't start, or something like that. So that I'm up against manageable problems.

When it's one of 10, and 8 aren't running, I wonder how much care the machine got, vs perhaps treated as something that works until it doesn't, then they switch to a different one. Or maybe they really know what they're doing, and if they can't get it running, then it's probably a bigger problem with it. A guy down the street from me fits this (that's not meant as an insult!). When he puts something by the curb, it's there for a good reason, and it probably really is toast. 'Cause otherwise he'd get it going.

This doesn't mean that the way I look at this stuff is correct. But I may not be the only one with this perspective, maybe other potential buyers are similar.

And even when I'm looking hard for something, I don't go driving around to see every listing. I try to find ads a reasonable distance away, so it's less wasted time and gas, if it's not what I want. I'm not retired, I'm not driving 8 hours and staying in a hotel to go check something out, personally :) For me, the ad needs to make it compelling enough to hook up the trailer and go see it.

Only my take on it.
 

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I think the issue is that the people that know what the 430s are all about are not biting for some reason. So if those in the know aren't going for it, the market is then geared towards those people that want to buy a working and running machine that will last them awhile. Maybe some will do research and figure out it is a tank and give it the old college try. Most I would imagine want to buy it ready to mow. It can be intimidating buying a machine that even looks like it needs work, let alone needing work.

With an abundance of machines out there and some people willing to part with a running machine cheaper just to get cash to get by.

I would bet money when it does sell, it won't be to an older guy who grew up with one of these or whose first garden tractor at their first house was this, but a younger guy looking for his first garden tractor. The less the buyer has to do upfront, the more comfortable they feel and more likely to buy.

Myself as an example, I just bought a 445 that looks great, but upon getting it home found 3 different leaks. Not sure if I would have walked or offered less if I knew. Turns out to not be that bad fixing things up, but if you're new to it, knowing you have to do something on day one isn't as comfortable of a feeling then having a ready to mow machine on day one. I think the seller has to show it's ready to mow. Having to buy a new battery, install the deck, it's a gamble to those that don't know the owner and are throwing down a few thousand. Esp if the buyer needs a machine right now.
 

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There are a lot of good opinions in this thread. It will be interesting to see what finally happens. On the battery, words matter. Think about how to market "cold, dead fish". That doesn't sound very appetizing to most people. But, sushi (sashimi really Sushi vs Sashimi: What's the Difference?) is held in high regard by many people.

Your neighbor doesn't want to spend $150 to sell something that he thinks is worth $3000. Not the choice I would make, but okay. The words used to describe the issue with the battery make it questionable that engine even works. If he has a method of starting it put something about that in the ad instead, ie starts easily with a jump.

I believe there are many hurdles to getting this sold in the condition and location it is in and the general environment due to uncertainty from COVID19. Maybe waiting a year for things to settle out is the better choice. It doesn't sound like he is going to get what he thinks it is worth now. Take the ad off. Figure out how badly he really wants to sell it. Do some work to make the tractor more attractive to more people, so not just bottom feeders find it interesting. Put some effort into the pictures and text for the ad. Maybe in the spring things will be different.

Anyway, keep us posted as to what happens. It has been interesting.
 

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I thought he said it starts right away with a jump? To me that's a running tractor. A $50 battery or $100 battery now still isn't enough to make that a no sale, or worse yet a no response ad. Those tractors in the back aren't green, I'd pretty much figure the guy just wasn't a fan of green tractors if I saw a ton of one brand and one odd brand for sale. The OP also said those are his tractors and not on the same property, so chances are who ever goes to see the thing won't even see any other tractors.
The worst ads I've seen are those that looked staged, they make me think DEALER or flipper. The one's with the tractor parked at some odd angle in a huge field on a sunny day all shined up. That just screams set up to me.
I'd rather see it the way it is, the way its being stored or used. All cleaned up usually means their hiding something. Like when you go look at a used car and everything under the hood is shiny with what ever goop they sprayed all over it to make look clean and to hide all the dirt and mask the oil leaks by making everything shine.
As far as leaks, I'd figure anything that's been around for 30 years has a few drips here and there. The last machine I bought leaked a quart a day, the guy said it was cheaper to buy oil than fix it. It needed a drain plug gasket. The oil light never went out when it started, but it had been running for hours when I looked at it. There was no motor noise. The guy said everyone told him it needs a motor. The wire was off the oil sender laying on an exhaust stud keeping the light on all the time. I found the machine on a forum that had a worst of CL post going, it was close so I went for entertainment. The guy was honest, he had no clue but it ran fine, worked 100% it just had a few nickel and dime items that needed fixing. They tore that ad up on that forum saying how the guy was trying to stick everyone with a machine with a bad motor. The thing had 2200 hours on it, its now got 7100 hours on it and works everyday. since I brought it home. The guy sold it cheap, less than half of what its worth fixed. I felt I got a deal. If I had bought a machine that was perfect, I'd have spent $10k more at the very least. Instead I got a strong, older machine that cost me under $300 to fix. if you count paying my guy to change the oil and to plug the sender back in.
Its a 30 year old tractor, who in their right mine would expect it to be perfect or like new for $2 or $3K? A new JD that size would cost over $14k and it won't be a diesel.
They get more than that for a big zero turn nowadays too. I've got a few neighbors who bought big machines too, but they have small yards that should be cut by hand. One guy has a 1/2 acre lot and he bought a JD X728 Ultimate a few years ago to mow the lawn with. He makes three passes and is done, the thing don't even warm up. His whole lawn is maybe 90ft by 20ft tops and a small piece in the back that he can't reach with the new tractor because the 72" deck won't fit through his 30" gate.

I'm also surprised no one mentioned the other type of seller on CL, the guy who grabs a pic of a nice clean shiny tractor off the web, to list and sell his rusty, smashed up, mess of a tractor knowing not a soul would reply if he put up a pic of the one he wants to sell. Did it ever dawn on those types that most people are so shocked at seeing the wreck vs. what you listed they run away?

Then there's the ads with pics that were taken 30 years ago when what ever they were selling was brand new.
 

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Just because someone is asking $3,000 doesn't mean he thinks its worth $3,000.
If you walk onto a used car lot, do you expect to pay anywhere close to what's on the sticker? I usually start at about half of book value and go from there.
I can't count the number of things I bought over the years that were listed at some crazy price and got them for a fraction of the asking price.
Many were people who didn't have a clue what it was worth, so they shot high and let people make an offer.
If it were mine, I'd dump it in the river before spending $150 on a lawn tractor battery. These stores are gouging due to the pandemic. Batteries didn't all of a sudden become scarce and lead didn't jump up like the cost of silver, it went down because so many previous uses have gone away due to toxicity issues. Lead is at the lowest its been in over two years and its been dropping in stages since last year. Oil for plastics is also down from where its been in recent years.
There's no logical reason why batteries all of a sudden are gone from all the shelves.

Junk yards don't even want old batteries right now, a few won't even take general scrap, even for free. They have no outlet for it since China quit buying

I can understand deep cycle batteries getting scarce during a crisis,hoarders and preppers and those with solar panels might stock up on fresh batteries but not small lawn and garden batteries or regular car batteries for that matter. They're just not used in that way. Car sales are down, both new and used, so its not that either.
There's no other explaination other than their holding back inventory to get force the price up on batteries. Look what this whole mess has done to food prices. When its all over, the prices won't go back down, they'll just keep going up.
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Those tractors in the back aren't green, I'd pretty much figure the guy just wasn't a fan of green tractors if I saw a ton of one brand and one odd brand for sale.
Then you're giving it more thought and credit (benefit of the doubt?) than I would :)

The OP also said those are his tractors and not on the same property, so chances are who ever goes to see the thing won't even see any other tractors.
Unfortunately, people aren't coming to see it in the first place, though.

Please, rustymetal, don't take any of my comments the wrong way. They're not intended as a criticism of you, or your neighbor. I'm just sharing my perspective. Like many of us here, I've both bought and sold, so feel somewhat "qualified" to offer an opinion.

And for better or worse, I get my stuff cleaned up and looking nice before taking ad pictures (it never occurred to me that this might actually come off badly to some folks). "Curb appeal" is an expression for a reason, IMO. Personally, I'm baffled when someone selling something (especially physically-small equipment, like mini tillers that I was shopping for recently) doesn't take the 5 minutes to wipe it down and make it look better. It's a first-impression, you want that to be good, it seems to me.

Selling a tractor recently, I pressure-washed it, let it dry, and got pics from all sides, in the sun. They were thorough enough to let people get a better feel for the machine before having to drive out to see it. I showed the spare parts that I had, the paper manual, the bagger was attached in the pics, etc. I made it clear that it was ready to work.

Likewise, selling a little tiller, I cleaned it up, though didn't try to do anything about the rust. But same thing, showed it from multiple angles, gave some details on the machine, that it's ready to go, etc. Both ads were successful, fortunately.

Frankly, my "new" tractor was probably pretty dusty, before the seller prepped it for pictures. Based on looking under the seat rails, etc. And I'm very glad he got it looking nice, because I probably wouldn't wouldn't have given it proper consideration if it looked neglected and filthy in the ad. I don't think it actually was neglected, and it's actually in great condition. But if it was all covered in dust in the ad, I probably would have come to the wrong conclusions, and wouldn't have gone to check it out. And I would have missed out.
 

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Taking compressed air and a power washer should be common practice when trying to sell a machine. If pictures are posted after mowing down a field and you go and check it out, wouldn't you wipe grass off the deck to see if there is any rust on the deck?
I agree, it doesn't need to be as shiny as a new penny with a waxing, but no reason to leave debris, dust or grease marks on it. Shows you also take care of it.

I think the battery issue comes down to who is your buyer. Someone that loves 4x5 or any of the 400/420/430 can over look the battery. They know what to expect with a machine if that age.

At this point, i think it needs to be marketed to the person who has talked about upgrading their LT, their push snow blower, who wants to start a garden, who would have to haul firewood. Make it appealing enough so they at least reach out. Might have to spend $150, but if you can sell them on the ad and all the common maintenance areas are good to go, you could easily get most of that money back. I'll say it again, the deck needs to be on for this type of buyer. They can be sold on it, but it won't be blindly.

Perception means a lot in 2020 and for those born during and after the 80s. You have a few seconds to convince the buyers the machine is worth a.look. If it doesn't look like it will meet my needs in less than 10 seconds, I'll swipe to the next ad because there are plenty of them.

I hope the 430 goes to a good home for a good price to works for both seller and buyer.
 

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Also adding WHY the 430 is a great garden tractor, good engine, great trans, and built to handle your garden needs for years would be helpful, again, for the person who knows John Deere, but not the 430s. It would also give the person a reason to look up 430s and confirm in fact people are still using these tractors and for a good reason.
 

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Different people respond to different things differently, and to the same things differently too. It sounds like the seller is marketing to someone like the OP. That is a fine marketing strategy if there are a lot of people like that that want the item for what the seller is willing to sell it.

The problem is not everyone thinks the same way and not everyone can see past the other stuff in the pictures. Some people want a project, it seems this one is not that popular. Others want something they can use and don't care what it looks like. This tractor is not quite that, but with more of the story available to us now, it could become that with not too much effort. Some people just want to cut their grass. This tractor is probably too big and too used for most people like that.

The OP has found many bargains by looking beyond the obviously poor marketing in many ads. As a buyer, that is great and can be a great find. But as a seller, unless you just want it gone, it pays to market to as wide an audience as possible. There are probably no potential buyers of that tractor here, so trying to educate buyers on how to be better buyers probably won't help get the tractor sold. Maybe parting it out is the way the owner can get some money. Sometimes the parts have more value than the whole. As long as you can find enough buyers for enough parts, it can be a winning strategy.
 

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I would think that most people who are buying older machines are likely looking for for a 'garden' machine than a mower.
With modern zero turn mowers today, a tractor is no longer the tool for the job. A tractor is more a jack of all trades though. It can mow, plow up the garden, run a tiller, plow snow, etc. The one thing they don't do well is cut grass fast. I can cover more than four times the ground mowing on a Dixie Chopper than any tractor with a belly deck. Just about any decent zero turn will cut twice as fast as any tractor. But zero turn mowers are one trick ponies, they only are good for mowing grass, and mowing on smooth ground.

Several guys here have older 'garden' tractors at home, they are basically weekend toys that they use to do yard work, one guy has a JD316 with ag tires, wheel weights, a 3 pt hitch and an assortment of attachments. Every spring he plows up and plants about 2 acres with that machine. I would think that the diesel powered 430 would really make short work of jobs like that. He has a deck but he bought a Bad Boy mower a few years ago and the deck is leaning in the corner of his shed collecting dust now. He just got done making up a super quiet car style exhaust for it so he can plow snow at night without waking the neighbors.

Every time I've sold an older tractor, the buyers are older too, I've only once sold an older tractor to someone younger than the machine I was selling. In that case the guy was buying it because it was the exact make and model as the one his dad used when he was growing up.

I sold an old Gilson tractor tonight, the buyer was in his 50's, he showed up driving a minivan. The tractor ran, mowed, everything but it needed a battery. He came prepared with a jumper box. He fired it up, ran it around a bit and said he'd take it. He had it stuffed in the back of that van in 2 minutes. He paid me cash and was gone. He asked me if how many emails i got on the thing and was he the first to respond. I told him the thing was listed for four months. He was the only reply.
 

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Discussion Starter #118
While I agree a zero turn is faster, its not for everyone. Most people don't want to be flying around at 15mph mowing their grass.( I know a few who would likely hurt themselves mowing with something that fast). The fact that a garden 'tractor' is such a universal tool is just why it'll never go away completely. On most zero turn mowers all considerations are pointed toward mowing grass, and really nothing else. They're not good snow pushers, they can't plow up a garden, they can't run a tiller, they can't drag a grader box.
Whether its got a 3pt hitch or sleeve hitch, a tractor is far more usable to the average homeowner and most take up less space in the garage.
I tried a larger zero turn a few times, I never liked the fact it didn't have a normal steering wheel or the fact that both hands had to be used all the time. For the guy who just wants to sit back and mow his lawn and relax, the tractor is the tool for the job every time.

I do agree that most who are looking for the older, larger tractors are most likely after more of a workhorse than a mower. If the one and only thing you need to do is mow the lawn, and your looking to get it done fast, then the zero turn is the right tool, but if your primary use is garden work or pushing show, or maybe even a snow blower, nothing beats one of the older bigger, garden tractors.
The sole purpose I have my Allis Chalmers is to push snow, I have no other use for it. While I do have a disc and plow for it, I've only used it a few times, and that was on my last tractor. For me, the AC is the right size, it gets places that larger JD won't, but I'm sure something like that 430 my neighbor has would do the same work with a lot less effort, and likely with a lot less fuel.
As far as the ergonomics I think the older models were far better. Foot controls are okay but not on rough ground, a fixed hand throttle or speed control is the way to go. I used an X700 series 4x4 a few times and my two main complaints were how hard it was to get on and off of, and the fact that it was nearly impossible to keep a steady speed over bumpy ground with the foot controls. Power wise and all it was fine, but they gave you no real stepping point to get up on the tractor and over the seat. It would have been easier for me to get my old self onto a horse.
The older machines have a firm floor board to step up onto, and there's plenty of room between the seat and steering wheel. Even at my size that 430 felt big. On the X700 machines I felt like I was wedged in place, unable to turn around or move making it hard to back up and maneuver in tight places. Worse yet, try keeping your foot on the pedal while trying to turn sideways to back up, it just don't work. I had a larger, newer Cub Cadet with foot controls, it was by far the most annoying feature that thing had.
I can't speak for a 455, but it looks smaller than the 430 to me as far as driver space behind the wheel.
 

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That's interesting. I'm coming from a geared LT, to a foot-controls hydro GT. I wanted foot controls, to allow easily steering while also changing speed around obstacles, etc. The geared machine, obviously, never really made that a smooth process, since you had to stop completely to change speeds

As it turned out, I found a machine with power steering, so I could have steered with 1 hand, while operating a hydro lever with the other. But I still like keeping both hands available for steering, and easily being able to change speeds whenever I need to.

So foot controls seem good to me, though my yard is smooth, so I'm not dealing with bouncing over rough terrain. But I've seen enough people say they prefer hand controls that obviously there must be something to them, and advantages. I've just never gotten to try it, but it's interesting to me. It had seemed like foot controls would be a good solution, keeping your hands available for other stuff.

Maybe some of the hand-controls appeal is being able to set a speed with the lever, and then leave it, vs needing to keep your foot in-place for an hour or so? With the size of my yard, this is never an issue, I'm done quickly :) But if you're just tooling around a field for a long time, I could see cruise control being handy.
 

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I have a small Cub Cadet that I use to mow a lot I own down the road, its roughly 1.5 acres. Its a bit rough, not at all manicured lawn by any means. The CC has foot controls, its super hard to maintain speed with your foot when your being bounced around. It would be so much better with my feet planted flat on the floorboards rather than trying to keep one foot on the pedal. To back up, I have to partially turn around to see, I generally turn to my right, which keeps the deck outlet in my view, doing so means I have to shift my weight on the seat which pulls my foot off and away from the pedals. If the pedals were farther back, it wouldn't be as bad but even at my size, almost 6ft 4in tall, I can't reach the pedal while turning to the right. It also goes fast enough where your bouncing around a bit in the seat, so you can't just stand on the pedal while mowing, I generally am mowing at 1/3rd speed at not quite full throttle.
I often wished they had put hand controls on that machine.
 
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