My Tractor Forum banner

1 - 20 of 52 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello...Today is my first day on this forum and I want to thank everyone that helps me with valuable information for my lawn tractor buying decision.

Let me first say that when it comes to anything mechanical or otherwise, I am a total dummy. Do not put a tool in my hand, nor do I understand anything about this stuff.

We just moved into a different home and I have 1/4 to 1/2 acre of grass to mow. My property is almost entirely flat. Just one tiny incline from the end of the driveway to the road, but, really nothing at all. I DO NOT plan on using the lawn tractor for anything else except cutting the grass.

With that in mind, I must say that after reading so many different opinions on brand names, and the big box stores, I am totally confused. I was even surprised at the comments made to me in person today at a John Deere Store and a Simplicity/Snapper store.

First...I am not sure if I need a lawn tractor or something like a Snapper Riding Mower with he engine in the rear. I do not understand anything about single motor or V-Twin, what motors are better, if I need hydrostatic transmission and all or less of the features listed in the pile of brochures I have. In some instances, it will read like several brands have identical specs and features, but the prices vary a lot, along with many readers having different opinions of those same tractors with the same features.

One thing that shocked me today was when I went to this one John Deer store just looking at the LA series 135Se and 145. I will say that these were much more comfortable for me than sitting on the Simplicty or Snapper. I'm a big guy at 275 and on the Snapper and Simplicty I did not have much room between me and the steering wheel and I could not stretch out my legs at all. On the John Deer, tons of room

BUT...Here is what the John Deere guy said to me and I quote " You do not want to get a tractor in the LA series unless you want to replace them two or three times over the next 10 to 15-years. If you want the tractor to last because it is built better, you should buy the X300."

The X-300 is almost $1000 more. So what this guy is telling me is the LA tractors are junk, so don't buy one. I cannot believe this is what he told me. He made it sound like until anyone wants to spend more than $2500, all tractors are no good. I sure hope that is not the case.

In any event, any help you can provide based on what I described would really be helpful. With so many brands, plus those rear engine models, I am getting more confused by the minute. And are those tractors in Lowes from Troy Built just junk. It would be nice if there were a review that could pop in your lawn size, then tell you the engine size and deck size you need, then list the top 5 units to consider based on their past history, feeatures, motor type, etc.

Sorry for being so long winded. Thank-you for all your help.

Regards,

Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,515 Posts
First off-Welcome to MTF ! :) , on the new brands I'm not that all familiar with them. help is on the way so sit tight and someone here will chime in. It' your money being spent here and wish you all good luck on your new purchase. Please remember after you purchase your new Lawn tractor , do the maintance religiously. doesn't matter what you buy if you don't maintain it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
758 Posts
I suppose in comparison to the tractors like the (old, built like a tank) 318, the LA series are not the same amount of durability. I also think, properly maintained, that the LA series should do just fine on your property and mowing-only use (and doing things like continiously mow, do not shut down the blades multiple times...) I think the Deere guy "sees" more failures on the LA series because a LOT more people buy-em. And many might buy the LA series for a too large yard or too many hills or attachments..

You've done well if you are comparing ergonomics to a Simplicity rider and Snapper RER (rear engine rider which may be the most durable new machine in your price and yard size) but if the tractor don't fit you, then don't buy it. The other thing to consider is the dealer. If you do not feel comfortable with how a dealer is treating you, look elsewhere.
Given your ergnomic considerations, you may want to consider some of the used/older, but larger,tougher tractors to get into your price range.

I would not worry about single or Twin engine. More HP will just use more gas, you'll never notice the extra HP. Single may be a little more rough, but should have fewer moving parts. Hydro is easier to drive (accelerate like a car auto) but a 6 speed may last longer. Stay away from any "auto" that is not specifically a hydro. A lot of the features they market are not as important as they sound. (Would anyone be caught dead riding a Harley with a "step-through" frame?) Keep trying out the tractors and dealers and you'll find the right one for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Hello No-Time...Thank-you for the help to this point. To a person who has never owned a tractor or riding mower before, very informative information. I did neglect to say that I had a top price range of about $2100-$2200.

And yes, the Snapper rear motor riding mower, and John Deer LA-135 Special Edition have sat the most comfortable. I just read the length, width and height features and both are I guess what you would say more roomier, without that cramped feeling. If I ever did choose the Snapper rear engine motor, I would probably get the one that had the 12HP motor with 33 inch cutting deck compared to all of their other models with around 12hp and 28 inch decks. In a way, researching all of this on-line, from brochures and in person is a lot of fun and interesting, but, frustrating at times too because I do not know when to just say OK...you've read and researched all of this stuff for hours and hours....just stop and buy something.

Thanks again....I look forward to reading other comments.

Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,648 Posts
Welcome to MTF, Dave.
Buy the tractor that you're most comfortable in. Why suffer mowing a lawn when you're stuffed into a small tractor. If you're not comfortable, you'll keep putting off mowing the lawn.
I, too, picked up alot of booklets, sat in most every tractor I could find. Until, one day at a local yard sale, I sat in a nearly new mower, and talked to the owner. He just bought the new house, and had brought his mower with him from the old house. His new house has quite a few trees and boulders in the front yard, and his tractor could not fit between the trees. It was a 56 inch blade cut. He went out and bought a smaller 38 or 42 inch, that would fit between the trees. That mower was huge!
Another thought, where are you going to store the mower when not in use? Is there room in the garage for the 2 cars, the tractor, the trash, the kids bikes, etc?
I have a 5 speed, a 6 speed, and a hydro, but still haven't cut a blade of grass this year, so can't say which I'd prefer. The 6 speed 1984 Craftsman pushed alot of wet snow this past year. The 5 speed 'old' Wheel Horse has pulled a lot of weight in the trailer.
Do you REALLY need a tractor? I've got 1/2 acre and use a 22 inch self propelled rotary mower. Not really flat, no trees, but the mower fits thru a regular sized doorway into the storage shed. It fits into the car trunk real nice if it ever needs to go to the 'doctors'. A tractor is no small thing to move around, especially if the motor won't run or you got a flat tire.
Do you have any guys in the neighborhood that you could talk to, or even try out their machine on their lawn? Any tractor shops have a practice lawn you can try the different types on? Trying one before you buy one for big bucks could help you make your decision.
You could buy 'used', but then you have no gaurentee or warranty to fall back on, so if it broke, you'd have to fix it.
Try the machine out before you buy. Once it's delivered, it's yours, either good or bad. No returns.
 

·
AKA Moses Lawnagan
Joined
·
4,642 Posts
Definitely go with one that "fits" you. Maybe it only takes 45 min-1 hour to mow each time, but over a mowing season, that's a lot of seat time, so be comfortable at least. It's easy to say the LA series JD isn't going to last, but I don't agree. Most of us gearheads put our machines through much more than just going in circles on a flat yard, and for us maybe an LA wouldn't last. If ALL you plan to do is mow 1/4 to 1/2 acre, then an LA should be fine. Given your size,though, I'd go with the top end of the series, certainly no smaller than the LA 145.

If you can get a line on a used mower 3-5 years old that you can get a history with, you can move up a little and still remain within your budget. It might be more mower than you would actually need, but given your size, something like a GT225/GT235 from early 2000 would also fit the bill. They have around 16-18 hp, the 225 is a single cylinder, the 235 is a twin. Originally selling in the $3500-$4000 range, with 42-48 in decks typically, they can be had for around $1750-$2300 depending on condition, and are definitely tougher machines.

The other things mentioned are storage area and maintenance. Whatever you get, storing it out of the weather, and religiously maintaining it and keeping it clean, will stretch the life expectancy, just as it would a car's.

Welcome to MTF, and good luck in your search.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Hello Engine @ and KHodges...Thank-you for the valuable information. I have two options which are the garage or storage shed for keeping the tractor or rear engine riding mower away from the elements, even though not heated, our garage is quite comfortable, even in our nutty winters in Central New York State.

I plan to service the unit as required or even sooner, just like I do our cars, however, since I am not a handy person at all, I will have the dealer do all of the service requirements. Even though it might be hard to believe, I cannot even change the oil without doing something wrong.

Thanks for the advice on the seating. Even though I still want to sit on some other models that I did not have time for today (Saturday), of the ones I tried from Simplicity, John Deere and Snapper, for some reason those John Deere LA-100 series had so much darn room. It's not that I'm this big overweight person, just that I am big boned and so far anyway, the John Deere gave me so much space from waist/stomach to steering wheel and tons of space when sitting and stretching my legs to the pedals. On the Simplicity and Snapper, I could not stretch my legs at all. They had to remain totally bent. EVEN THE SNAPPER REAR ENGINE RIDING MOWER HAD MORE ROOM. I do not know how this translates into anything, if at all, but on the three brochures I have, it says.

overall length overall width
John Deere LA 74.1 inches 52 inches
Simplicity Regent 71.0 inches 50 inches
Snapper LT 200 71.0 inches 37 inches

Being a novice at this, I assume all of these figures have to do with the deck and not anything to do with the room available in the seating area of the tractor.

Thanks Again

Dave
 

·
certified tractor nut
Joined
·
1,424 Posts
have you checked your local sears store their tractors are fairly decent quality and you will have numerous options that will fit within your budget plus you may be able to step up to a gt that is a little heavier duty but like others already said try your options and buy what ever tractor is most comfortable for you you will be happier in the end and with your intended usage for it just about any brand will do. on a side note the step through frame does make it a little easier to get on and off of the tractor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
309 Posts
Wecome to MTF. If you are most comfortable with the John Deere I say get that and don't worry about it not lasting. The dealers telling you not to buy the LA series tractors will be useless to in the future. Having to spend over 3k to mow less than an acre of grass is just nuts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks AMF and JimmyJo...After listening to the John Deere person and even the Simplicity person, (not that he was quite as bad) I began to wonder if I had to spend over $2500 just to mow between a 1/4 and 1/2 acre of grass. It might not even be that much because with my current self propelled walk behind mower, it takes me about an hour and 45 minutes. It just seem nuts to spend that much just to cut grass with it and nothing else. For that price I can continue to use the walk behind and even pay a personal trainer to help me get into even better shape.

Anyway, for those of you that I am driving nuts with all of my non knowledge questions and comments, I probably should have just asked a simple question from all of you such as

I have a 1/4 to 1/2 acre of grass to mow and will not use the tractor or rider for anything else. With that in mind, if I you were to take a

Simplicity, a Snapper Tractor or riding rear engine mower, John Deere or any other brand in a price range of $1300 to $2200, what would you suggest for my simple mowing needs.

I am enjoying reading all of the comments. Thanks again for all of the help.

Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,112 Posts
The LA series is a fine machine if you use it properly. Many people and to an extend dealerships see them as bad for that reason... so many more people buy them. Also, they are sold in box stores. Now, I work for a box store, I don't think the tractors we sell are junk, if you use them for what they were designed for, they are great low-cost machines.

HOWEVER, *most* people who buy products at box stores are MORONS. As I said, I work for one, I see how many morons come up to me wanting to buy the smallest piece of crap we sell for $900 to mow their 5 acre sloped land and ask "now do you sell a snow plow for that too?" This is the simple reason dealerships see so many failures with machines like the LA Series. People are idiots, and buy them thinking they're heavy duty machines because they say John Deere on them.

For your property, I'd say the LA series is a fine machine. You've already said you'd be using it to cut grass and nothing else. As for the Troy Bilts at Lowes... yes, they are junk. Steel front axles rather than cast iron, weak frames, horrendous tranny's, and just take a look at the "cutting deck" on them compared to the LA series. I sell plenty of the LA Series at my job, and many people seem quite pleased with them.
 

·
4K Poster!!!
Joined
·
4,503 Posts
I am admittedly biased towards Simplicity, I have one and love it. Did the dealer show you that the seat can easily be moved forward or backwards to suit the driver? Also, the spring tension of the seat can be easily adjusted to fit one's weight, and to slightly adjust the angle of the seat.
I would avoid the box store machines like the plague, but others have had good luck with their machines. Maintanence is the key, as well as using the machine the way it was designed to be used. It sounds like you could get by with a light duty machine, and it would last a long time if you maintain it properly.
You might want to consider the fact that you should buy more machine than you think you will need. You just might want to add a snowblower some day, for instance.
 

·
USMC
Joined
·
19,146 Posts
The LA series is an entry level machine made to mow lawns and maybe tow a lightly loaded cart. It will break down more frequently as will any other make in this price range as they are all made about the same. This is one area where the old adage "you get what you pay for" really comes into play. If you like something new and shiny every few years this would be the route to go. If you like to buy things and keep them until they wear out then I would consider the X300 series. If you take care of things and keep it stored indoors when not in use, blow it down when your done using it your chance of it lasting longer greatly improve. Anything mechanical is going to break at some point. With the entry level mowers you get to the point of how much do I spend and how much longer will it last before buying another mower.
With your limited mechanical skills I would be looking for the best dealer who is close by and will pickup/deliver and provide warranty service for you. Have you thought about a lawn service? JD provides a home maintenance service also. Just some things to think about. :goodl: and enjoy the hunt. slkpk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
616 Posts
I bought a LA 100 5 speed manual lawn tractor 3 years ago and still haven't had any problems with it.I know 3 years isn't along time but I'm hoping that taking proper care of it,this lawn tractor will carry on for several more years.I use a self propelled mower for tight areas near the home and a few other places and my LA does the rest! fairly flat with some minor slopes 3/4 acres.Keep your ears and eyes open and don't wait for signs of a possible breakdown happening.I give my tractor a close visual after each cut to see if there is any potential problems growing.READ THE MANUAL and get to know your tractor!You don't have to know how to fix it but knowing your tractor will help it last a long time before problems arise.I have lots of so called cheap stuff around here!But i take care of it! USE IT FOR WHAT IT WAS INTENDED FOR and most of it has given me many years for good service and still in service.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
16,496 Posts
You seem to have gotten a lot of good advice so far--and at least--you did not run oput and buy the first thing--just because the grass is growing....

Another thought on your maint,/transport to from dealer--how do you plan to do this?? Do you have maybe a neighbor or good friend--you trust, that can help with the maintennce at your place--could kind of show you, as they go along???

I had to slow down a bit here--after I re-read your second post again, because a lot of folks on here--fix/tinker/rebuild/buy-sell stuff all the time--and have a trailer or truck to transpost tractors with---so I forget, that not everyone knows what a "gearwrench" is....It's just kinds second nature with me, at least...

Good luck in ur search and let us know...per-use thru and read some of the JD threads also about specific items..
glenn
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,619 Posts
Clearly the JD dealer took a wrong turn in trying to upsell you to the X300 series. His point was that the X300 will probably last longer than the LA series, and that might be true. It sounds like the LA series fits your property and that may be the tractor for you. A bad dealer is a real turnoff though. Do you have another JD dealer nearby?

I will also put in a qualified word for the much maligned Craftsman line. Say what you will about Sears and their service and I can say plenty, if you shop on a "friends and family" discount night it's hard to beat the amount of tractor you get for the money.

Features:
I like the hydro transmission, very easy to use for you and others in your family.

Many companies have sliding seats that fit the whole family.

I like an electric PTO to engage the blades, but it is one more expensive part that might wear out some day.

Make sure it is easy to change oil and oil filter on your new tractor. Maintenance is the best thing you can do to make your tractor last, but if its a pita, you will be less likely to do it.

Remember also to consider the cost and ease of use of any attachments you might want, such as a bagger or snowblower.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Well, just got back again from sitting on different lawn tractors and the Snapper rear motor riding mower, model 3317 BVE which has a 17 hp motor and 33-inch cutting deck.

At least in my area, it is impossible to actually cut or receive a cutting demonstration. About the best I was able to do was to sit on each tractor/riding mower and get a feel of things, start the engine, listen to it run, and engage the cutting deck and forward speeds on the various dealers outside parking lots.

I had indicated earlier that I was considering the John Deere LA-135 Special Edition or La-145 or 155 models, the Snapper rear engine riding mower that I just mentioned above which is the 3317 BVE, and the Snapper 100 Series, 125 and LT 200 series, or the Simplicity Regent. I am open to Husqvarna too, even though I have not looked at one.

I did test the John Deere models again this morning and the Snapper. The Simplicity placed is closed today, so I will have to wait until Monday, because someone mentioned that on the Regent, the seat is adjustable and I want to see what that feels like. So far, the John Deere still has the best wide open room between me and the steering wheel and room to stretch your legs. The Snapper 100, 125 and 200 series were all tight fitting. I felt like I was kidnapped and held for ransom in a box, even though the Snapper rear engine riding mower had plenty of openness and was comfortable. the steering wheel might take a bit of getting used too.
I do not know a thing about transmissions, but many have mentioned about the weakness of this k-46? The simplicity Regent is not cheap. Even the 18hp, 38-inch cut Regent is about $2600 and it has that k-46 transmission.

I am not trying to drag this purchase on, or make you do any research for me because I feel that I am just about ready to make a purchase within the next week. However, if you look at the choices below that I am considering, a novice like me can get confused because for the most part, all of the tractors/riders listed below on PAPER AND IN BROCHURES ANYWAY, have just about the same transmission, features and HP/Cutting deck size. The real differences are for the same or close to the same features, etc on paper, there is a wide difference in prices for those same or close to same features, specs, etc. Only experienced people such as all of you who have been kind enough to post, know what models or companies use cheaper materials and or workmanship that someone like me cannot disifer from the brochure or what the sales person leads you to believe.

You would think, which isn't always the case, that if the HP, deck size, transmission and other features are the same or close to the same, why pay $2600 or $2800 for the Simplicity or John Deere X-Series, when the Snapper Tractors or riding mower is $800 to $1100 less.

Sorry to write such long book reports. I will say though....I have and am still learning so much from everyone and I thank-you again. Whatever I get, I will have it regularly serviced by the dealer since I cannot do any of that stuff. One final question...Most of you feel it is wise to shy away from and extended warranty and or service maintenance program. Is that the case for everyone? Most of you are handy and can do many things to service your tractor including repairs. Do you have the same opinion of buying those for someone like me who cannot even take off a filter or spark plug without damaging the tractor or myself?

Thanks Again.

Dave

Simplicity Regent 18hp/38 with Kohler Courage & K46 Hydro is..........$2600
Snapper LT-125 LT-24/46 B & S ELS V-Twin with K-46 Hydro is.........$2049
Snapper LT-100 LT-23/46 B & S ELS V-Twin w/Foot Pedal Hyrdo........$1849
Snapper LT-200 LT 18.5/38 B & S Intek Single OHV K-46 Hydro.........$1999
Snapper LT-200 Lt 20/42 B & S Intek V-Twin K-46 Hyrdo..................$2200
Snapper 3317 BVE Rear Engine Rider B & S Intek 5-speed disc drive...$2099
John Deere LA-135 SE 22/42 B & S OHV V-Twin Tuff Torq T40J......... .$1999
John Deere LA-145 22/48 B & S OHV V-Twin...Tuff Torq T40J.............$2099
John Deere LA-165 24/48 B & S OHV V-Twin ELS Tuff Torq K46AC.......$2549
John Deere X-300 17/38 John Deere iTorque V-Twin.........................$2825
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
My Simplicity Regent 22/44 was only $2200 after tax a year ago... don't think the price has changed much in my area. And as for fit I'm 6'2" and 210lbs with plenty of room. Regardless of that, chose the "dealer" over the "tractor" that way if you have any problems they should be cleared up in a manner that benifits you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
I was in basically the same situation as you, with a little more yard to mow. I ended up with the Snapper LT125 (which has an adjustable seat BTW)

I got the 24HP model with the 46" deck (4 deck casters) for $1843 (that's including taxes, etc.)

I couldn't be more pleased so far, but of course its still brand new!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Hello drumdaddy...I was looking at the 125, but did not know the seat was adjustable. Thanks for letting me know. The problem is that I was only able to look at the 125 from the catalog because in a 50 mile radius, we have only one Snapper place and it seems like the only tractors they display are the first two models in the LT-200 series. That seat info is good to know. That might might things OK.

The price you paid is really terrific including the tax. Did you pay that price this year or last year? When I spoke to our Snapper place, I had to almost plead to get them to even lower the price a dime from the $2199 retail. Finally they said they would do it for $2,049, but that is a far cry from what you paid. You must have paid 17 something before tax. I always wondered how low they can go, even though they hardly lower the price. That is why i wish I had more confidence in Sears, because they knock off about $500 on every tractor all the time.

I have seen an on-line place called mowersdirect.com that has a couple of closeouts, I assume from last year. One is a 23/46 for $1599 and the other is a 24/52 for $1799. I think they are in the 100 series and not the 125's. It doesn't say except for a long set of numbers next to the model number space. It includes FREE shipping and NO sales tax. Sounds like a great deal no matter what, but, since I am not handy, I have been shying away from it, because knowing my lack of technical brain power, I'd get it off the delivery truck and never get the darn thing working. But, I might surprise myself too.

Thanks Again for the information.

Dave
 
1 - 20 of 52 Posts
Top