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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all -

I'm a total newbie when it comes to tractors/riding mowers. I've used push mowers forever. But I've been thinking about getting a rider lately.

My yard is not big. Slightly under 1/2 acre. It does have a few failrly steep slopes though. My backyard is sort of shaped like a 3 sided bowl.

I've been doing some online research and found the Husqvarna YTH20K46 at Lowes. With a 10% coupon, this puts me right at where I want to be spending wise. Things I like about this one are the hydo transimssion, larger deck and the ability to easily mow in reverse, as I think I may end up needing that quite a bit.

Is this the best I can get for my money (under $1500)? Any better options out there? I'm pretty much clueless on this. Really I just want something that's going to do the job and last me a long time, with minimal problems.

:thanku:
 

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Im not sure what transmission that one has but alot of the lower end tractors might have a prob when it comes to hills most are meant for flat ground and mowing only my only concern would be the hydro going bad because of the hills . unless you are one of those people that cant even use a screwdriver without hurting yourself you would do alot better by buying used as you will get alot more tractor for the same or less as what you would spend on a new one then you wouldnt have to worry about those slopes so much . this is just my opinion but i would stay away from the hydro tractors in that price range as nice as it is to have i prefer gears because i have never had a problem with them and the craftsman i currently use is over 10 years old and has mowed almost 2 acres the whole time including the slopes i have in my yard
 

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USMC
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I would look for a good used GT just because of the steep slopes your talking about. Something like a JDGT, older Simplicity, Cub Cadet, Wheel Horse Case. slkpk
 

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Depending on cut width needed and If your set on new and want a tough built machine, look at a Snapper rer. Once you get past the quirks, they are one tough/well built machine. The baggers perform excellent and cut is nice and even.
I think an electric start 28" model starts at $1500.00.

MU
 

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If it has to be new, the biggest bang for your buck is a Craftsman GT. Any of the used one's suggested by slkpk are going to be much better than anything new in that price range. You can get a real good, used GT for $ 1,500.00.
 

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Retired Aug.31 2007
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I will go against the grain and tell you that for your size of yard, I thank the tractor will do fine.The hydro transmissions are not as delicate as everyone likes to put on. As long as you use it for what it was designed for it will do fine.
 

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Welcome to the forum. There is a lot of value in buying the RIGHT used garden tractor but there are often things that will have to be fixed on a used machine, often minor but sometimes major. Assuming as a newbie you don't want to deal with that, then lets think new for a minute.

The Husqvarna you speak of is made in the same factory as the Craftsmans, so look and see which has better specifications or features you like at that price point and buy which ever model it is. They share many components and will share attachments, baggers, etc as well. The new John Deeres in this price range aren't going to be better than anything else in quality, and I think you will spend $100-200 for the paint, although you'll get more of that back if you sell it later.

I am a little concerned about the hydro and your hills, but not enough to recommend against it. My hydro transmission is one of the best things about my Craftsman Pro, I would never go back to gear drive after using the hydro, it's way too convenient. I like the foot pedal drive, but many others like the fender control, that's personal preference. I like having my hands free for dealing with attachments.

In this price range you should be able to get:
42-50" deck, maybe even 54" but that takes more hp to run
15-24hp engine (probably a B&S Intek or ELS, or Kohler Courage or Command)
a LAWN tractor hydro transmission (NO ground engagement, light towing)
a lightweight frame, but look for one that's welded
cast iron front axle, don't buy the stamped steel axle Ariens or Troy-built
3+ gallon gas tank
a nice, cushy, sliding seat
Cruise control (useless feature)
Headlights

Things you probably/definitely won't get at $1500
Electric PTO (I would pay $100 more for this feature, some don't like it)
Power deck lift
Ground engaging transmission
A zero turn mower of any type
Shaft drive (thousands more)

One more thing. If you buy a member of the Husqvarna/Craftsman/Poulan/Ariens group, or a JD, there will be lots of used attachments out there to buy for them. Other brands will have less stuff on the used market. Buying used attachments is relatively safe because most of them don't have motors that could be trashed.

Good luck in your search. You can make your second tractor purchase a used one (once you start there's no turning back). Remember :wwp: when your done!
 

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Do you have some pictures of your yard?

Do you want an appliance to mow your lawn, or do you like to tinker?

Can you do, do you want to do your own repairs?

If you want to mow it and forget it, the new Husqvarna is the way to go. If you don't mind working on equipment or making minor repairs one of the used JDs listed above would be much better for the money.

Chris
 

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Snapper Lover
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Craftsman. I think you can get better discounts on them over the Huquavarna's and they are basically the same. Tons of attachments and they will last for a very long time so long as you take care of it. That's the key to the cheaper mowers.


T.C.
 

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While there is no doubt you will get more tractor used, If you want to go new I'll defend the Quality of the entry level Deere's. While all the low-end LT's are "about the same" I think Deere does have better quality overall.

I suggest making a list of all Models/Makes and searching Consumer Affairs, paying close attention to the Dates associated with the complaints.

I drove myself half crazy trying to decide on a mower with pretty much the same criteria as yourself.

I myself think that JD does edge out the others in quality and design in this entry level tractor market....JMHO....:goodl:
 

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Does John Deere even have a mower under $1500, maybe a RER. My Sabre 17 HP 42" hydro was over $2000. Maybe if you go with a junk cheap standard transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all the posts so far. Here's some more info. I'm not very mechanically inclined. I can probably get away with changing the oil, but much more than that and I'm lost. :ROF So used & tinkering isn't a way I want to go. I want something I can buy and not worry about it.

All I'm going to be doing with this is mowing the lawn. I don't bag either, just mulch.

Here's some pics of the yard:







I guess the slopes don't seem that steep in the pics, but they sure seem like it when I'm pushing the mower up them ;)
 

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I've gotten many years out of a Murray Select with 21hp Briggs and foot pedal hydrostatic transaxle. It still mows great. All I do is change plugs, belts, blades and oil. I average 2+ acres of normal grass a week. I used to use it to mow trails and high fields and to pull a trailer holding about a face cord of wood at a time too. I got it as a "return" at Home Deport for $800. It was $1449 originally. No idea why it was returned. I've never had a single issue with it.
 

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The Magnificent
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Come down here to VA and hire Glockem or Midnitetr8n to find another $900 JD 318. Some guys have all the luck.
 

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Wanna-B Tractor Nut
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I'd definitely stick with a more known brand name tractor. when I was in my early teens my dad finally broke down and bought a tractor so I didn't have to push mow the yard. We were looking at Cub Cadets and ended up with Quality Farm and Fleet's finest Ranch King. My dad's reasoning behind it was "The CC is $6000, the RK is $2000, I can buy 3 of them if I have to and they should last as long as a CC. They are both made by MTD anyway, so they will be of the same quality, etc and they have the same Kohler motor" My answer to that was "Ok, so since a Geo Metro and a Cadillac are both made by GM, they are the same? Yes, you are right, you can buy 3 RK's, but you won't, you'll keep sinking money into it and it won't even be worth it instead of coughing up the money to get a tractor that doesn't need to be worked on." I kid you not, the RK ran good for the first year, MAYBE the second year but I don't think so, I think the second year (if not the third) I was already working on it. Oh, I just remembered, pulley's on the mower deck broke (plastic) within 90 days, and was replaced under warranty. But it still took a week to get the part and the grass needed mowing. But I think I've replaced just about everything on it except the motor. after a few years, the hydro selector screwed up and reverse just putzes along, I tore it all apart to adjust the threaded rod, and worked fine for about 5 min. I looked it all over and cannot for the life of me figure out what is worn out that it won't stay adjusted properly there is nothing to it really. It works fine if the fender is off, but it hits on the fender now and only crawls in reverse, I think a turtle passed me one time. Oh, and finding parts now is real fun that TSC bought out Quality Farm. Bottom line, make sure you buy something decent, new or not, you will end up working on it. Prolly your best bet is to find something a couple years old that someone is getting rid of cuz they need the cash, like a JD or CC or something. You will end up with more tractor for the same money and if it is a quality tractor it will be like new as far as maintenance.
 

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Snapper Lover
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Thanks for the pics. My and my neighbors ditch look just like that except more steep. A craftsman will handle that just fine. My neighbor has a 10 or so year old Craftsman in excellent shape and has mowed that ditch 1 to 2 times a year and never had a problem. I mow it with a 33" Snapper RER. If you look at a snapper stay away from the 28" for the hill. You will want at least 33" for the wider front. I had a 28 and have a 30 which have a narrower front end and they won't hug the ditch. I feel like I'm rolling over all the time. The neighbor's craftsman cuts wonderful too. After all these years of 2-4 acres per week the only thing he's ever replaced is one spring on the carb, belts and now a plastic pulley that is worn and allows the drive belt to fall off 2-3 times a season. Easy fix though. He takes care of it and I bet it has atleast another 10 years in it. He has an older 15 y/o craftsman that is running just as good as the 10 year old and looks just as good too!


T.C.
 
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