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I'm currently running a Deere 116 with the five speed Peerless 801-038B transaxle. My sights are set on a 430 someday, but for now I'm making do. I mow about an acre of lawn with the 46" deck, and have the snowblower (36"?) for the front of it.

I'm looking at buying an aerator. I've pulled a 48 inch aerator before with this tractor, but am aware that it's only a lawn tractor and not for ground engaging implements. I've also been browsing here, and came on an semi-epic thread about whether an aerator should be classified as ground engaging. I'm not looking to open that can of worms again....

I am curious however, how the strength of this transaxle compares to other transaxles that are out there in the lawn tractor category. Are there known issues with this one, is it bulletproof, etc? I know the disclamer is always out there that this one wasn't meant for heavy duty work (and aeration may/may not qualify as heavy duty) - just curious what sort of reputation it has.
 

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It isn't very strong as you will find out if you pull an aerator very long with it. This would be especially true with the plug style compared to the spiked disk style aerator. Roger
 

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You should roast the belt way before hurting that old gear drive axle. My 116 is an 84 model and was a beast until the engine let go, and I am mowing 4 acres.
Your mileage may vary but those were pretty good tractors, I wish I could find a cheap 16 hp Briggs to put her back in service.
 

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I have a failing 801 in my JD 160, likely from pushing snow and briefly towing a full-size trailer. The 801 IS a known weak link in the 160 line, at least (successor to the 108-116 line). I'm not sure whether an aerator would kill yours, I just know I can no longer pull a garden cart partially loaded with sand with mine ... As soon as I try, I get BAD gear noises... When I get time, I've found a spare I'm going to dig into (I THINK it may be toast too, but at least I can take it apart without having my main mower down...).
 
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