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Discussion Starter #1
Right now I have a 19 year old Craftsman 15.5hp tractor with a 42" deck. I have an acre of grass (less planting beds, driveway, house) and it takes me 2 hours to cut the lawn. I want to cut this down to a little over an hour.

Right now I am torn between the YTS4500 with 54" deck for $1999 or the GT5000 for $2699. I realize that the difference between the two is GT can use ground engagement implements.

Is it worthwhile to spend the extra $700 for this capability? My driveway is relatively short ~75' and I already have a snow blower. I want to put in a small garden 30' x 30' but I do have a tiller. There is a part of my property that I would like to grade and possibly install a radio controlled car track.

What implements are you guys using and are they worthwhile or should I rent a bobcat when needed? Overall, my entire property is only 2 acres, so it isn't like I am living on a 10 acre parcel.

Chris
 

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Mr. Haney
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If you have a seperate tiller and a snow blower and don't have any plans of using any ground engaging attachments. You can get by with the yard tractor, but I think everyone here agrees...Bigger Is Better:thThumbsU

Besides, you can sell the tiller and the snow thrower and buy them as attachments for the GT5000.:fing32:
 

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Get the YT...keep your tiller, it will do a better job than a breaking plow on such a small garden.

Both units will mow the same...
 

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The Magnificent
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Welcome Chris!

A 19 year old Sears mower! Outstanding.

Since you obviously take care of your equipment, the only drawback to the GT would be that you never wear it out, and never have a good reason to buy anything else.

FWIW, I had a DYT4000, and I could not get my acre down below about an hour and 45 minutes and do a good job. Also from day one it tended to blow grass everywhere. Never really happy with the cut.
 

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I don't understand why you would want to reduce seat time when the amount you reasonably can reduce is so little. The little bit of extra seat time is probably relaxing whereas the frustration of trying to maneuver a 54 inch deck around obstacles would undo all the therapy of the seat time.

My yard is has all sorts of obstacles and grade changes that even a 42 inch deck is too large for. The trend is toward larger and larger decks but unless you are mowing wide open spaces that are real flat, they would be more frustration than pleasure. When I finally wear this one out, I don't know what I will do since I probably won't be able to buy another 42".
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don't understand why you would want to reduce seat time when the amount you reasonably can reduce is so little. The little bit of extra seat time is probably relaxing whereas the frustration of trying to maneuver a 54 inch deck around obstacles would undo all the therapy of the seat time.
My yard is wide open with very few obstacles, think football field. I think my tractor is old and tired, I cut Friday and it would only take 1/2 a pass without bogging down in the thick parts.

My 4 year old like to sit in the seat with me, and after 2 hours, my leg is numb.

Since I need/want a new mower, should I consider a 48" deck instead of the 54" deck?

D-Dogg, all these mowers are around the same price, does the Husqvarna or Cub Cadet have a noticeably better collection system?

Chris
 

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The Magnificent
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Chris, my Craftsman had a 48" deck, and though my yard is also pretty wide open, I do have trees down either side which requires a little careful driving.

Wth that in mind, I avoided a 54" deck also. My new (23 year old) JD 318 has a 46". My grass was overgrown Saturday, and the Deere never bogged down at all. Did it in an hour and twenty minutes too.

Husqvarna makes the Craftsman tractors, and I see very little difference in the decks at a glance. I can't really speak to the Cub Cadet.

Having a similar yard to yours, I keep thinking of a cyclone rake or a chip-n-vac. I mulch most of the year, and pine cone and leaf time are the only times I sweep (no bagger).

Most of the non-powered bagger systems are nearly identical. The decks blow clippings up a hose and into a bag or hopper.

I know one of these days the Craftsman guys are going to come after me, but consider that for the price of the GT5000, you are almost at what a JD x300 would run, with a 4 year warranty. Of course a guy like you better get busy and have some grandchildren to pass it down to.
 

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The wider the deck, the less time needed to cut the lawn. But with the wide deck you sacrifice turning around, or driving between obstacles. You say your yard is wide open, so there's a vote for the 54". Just make sure it can pass between areas you have to cut. Clearance is the key.
 

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Just tossing this out there...but if you have a wide open yard, and have a snowblower and Tiller, Id be all over a nice Middle of the line Z mower or something along those lines. Taken care of you will be passing it on to your 4 year old when he buys his first house so he can enjoy it for years to come.

Take a look at something like a Simplicity Javelin, or a ZT3000...good units, built to last.
 

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*chris*,

You've gotten a variety of opinions here, let me give you some of my experiences and opinions.

I bought a DGT6000 in March of 2005 primarily for its snowblower attachment, and got the 54 inch deck as a bonus. I got the 6000 because it was the biggest Craftsman available and I figured I would need it for the snowblower. My driveway is about 200 feet long plus a 20 by 60 parking area plus another 250 feet around the house. The 6000 is no longer available but the 5000 is basically the same as the 6000 but with smaller tires and, I believe, lighter engine/transaxle.

The 54 inch deck is very nice because it cuts such a wide swath and the 6000 is fast and powerful, but like others have said, it takes some getting used to because it tends to hit a lot of things like trees and rocks. What no one has told you is that because of these impacts and because the deck is so big and heavy, the attachment points to the tractor tend to get so bent out of shape that they won't hold the deck up any more without repairs (straightening).

The thing that surprised me was that the biggest thing to get bent was the actual tractor frame! The chassis sway brackets are about 1/4 inch thick and they are bolted to a frame that's only about 1/8 inch thick. The rear suspension arms, which the mower actually attaches to, ride on the sway brackets to keep the deck aligned and connected. The suspension arms get bent and so does the frame, because the sway brackets are tougher than either the suspension arms or the frame.

The deck also gets easily hung up when one side or the other goes up too high on ground variations like tree root balls next to the tree trunks. Being so big, the deck just doesn't have the flexibility to track over these obstructions. Grass also tends to build up badly under the deck so it needs to be removed and cleaned regularly. Washer fittings that you connect to a garden hose to flush the deck help but aren't perfect.

Even with these problems, I wouldn't give it up for anything! I have four acres, two basically flat with few obstructions and two with a house and many trees. It takes about four hours to mow as long as I don't let it get too long so I can keep my speed up.

If you're going to use ground engaging attachments, such as a dozer and plow to build your racetrack, you need to make sure the tractor you buy is heavy and powerful enough to survive. Craftsman tractors, even the GT5000 may not be capable of sustained use for heavy ground engagement although with care many users on this forum are happy with the performance of their machines. If you're going to get a Craftsman, the garden tractor is definitely the choice as it is stronger than the yard tractor both structurally and engine/transaxle wise.

If you're only after a mower, you can probably do better with one of the many zero turn machines available like Red says. They're fast and easy to operate. Decks over 60 inches are available to make mowing even faster.
 

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In terms of new mowers, it is a lot cheaper to upgrade now than realize you need the GT in the future. (as I think about how I could of saved a ton in the long run if I spent $600 more at TSC to get a shaft-drive CubCadet GT instead of my former cheaper MTD LT. I did not need a GT at the time, but then I moved to a bigger property...) The tougher hydro of the GT may result in a longer service life if only used as a mower, too.. The GT5000 hydro has the "ability" to mow at 7.5 mph, but that is a new feature and I've never heard any actual results.

That said you seemed to do good research and have a way to perform most tasks without needing a GT. That $700 could buy a you a (stronger) used GT if you ever needed to perform GT tasks in the future while still having your newer weekly mower...

I'm sure you'll love the 54" either way!
 

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As fro the wider deck....

Just yesterday I mowed the lawn at my Mom;s place..[well my sisters realy :(] and she has a Huskivarna yt with the 54" deck.. That yard also has a lot of trees. I thought it would be a pain, but you know... I liked it. With the tight steering, and the wide deck, I could get the deck closer to the trees. And under the pines it as nice becouse the side of the deck would get under it to mow, but yet I still kept out of the branches. SO unless the distence between the trees is to tight to fit, I say go for the big deck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just tossing this out there...but if you have a wide open yard, and have a snowblower and Tiller, Id be all over a nice Middle of the line Z mower or something along those lines.

Well, I took your advice to heart, I bought this last night:




It says it will cut 2.7 acres per hour, that means I should be able to cut my lawn in around 30 minutes, woo hoo!

My trailer is only 60" wide, so I may need to remove the deck to bring her home.

I will keep my eyes open for an onld used JD GT or something similar to tinker with.

Chris
 

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Sweet! More time for tinkering......
 

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I won't reply to your choice of tractor but i would say PLEASE...PLEASE ...PLEASE NEVER mow with a kid on board. To many freaky accidents can happen. Down close to my sister a guy was hauling his kid when the kid fell off and went under the mower before it could get stopped...killing him with the blade. Now this guys stops everytime he sees someone mowing with their kid on, telling them what can happen. And this has happened more times then you think. I let my grandkids ride, but never with the blades engaged. Maybe put them in a wagon and pull them for fun when not mowing. Sorry but i had to say this...

Dur
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I won't reply to your choice of tractor but i would say PLEASE...PLEASE ...PLEASE NEVER mow with a kid on board. To many freaky accidents can happen. Down close to my sister a guy was hauling his kid when the kid fell off and went under the mower before it could get stopped...killing him with the blade. Now this guys stops everytime he sees someone mowing with their kid on, telling them what can happen. And this has happened more times then you think. I let my grandkids ride, but never with the blades engaged. Maybe put them in a wagon and pull them for fun when not mowing. Sorry but i had to say this...

Dur
I appreciate it, with my first son it started as tractor rides and now he rides for the entire cut. I have hundreds of hours on a tractor so I feel pretty safe since he is on my leg with my arm wrapped around him.

My wife and I have thought that this ZTR will make it easy to break this habit, I know my in-laws aren't happy.

Honestly though, with a 38 pound 4 year old, what difference does it make if you run them over with or without the blades on, the result will be the same...

Chris
 

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The Magnificent
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We've all done it, and had it done to us, and lived through it. I feel sorry for your sister's neighbor, durwood.

I have stopped riding my kids because of the noise hazard. Their pediatrician warned me that their ears are more tender than an adults. Seems he's a Deere guy too.
 

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I still remember back in the Late 80's sitting on my dads knee while he mowed with the new deere 318...The smells, the sounds, the vibrations..He'd let me steer or at least hold the wheel soemtimes, and my favorite was flipping up the little yellow toggle for the PTO...

He sold it after only 3 years of ownership, and some 18 years later, when I bought my own 316, and used it for the first time to mow, all those smells, sounds, and vibrations came rushing back to me..they were just like 18 years prior. I still get nostalgic sometimes when i mow with the deere and the air moves just right and a little exhaust and hot air off the engine hits me in the face...I swear there is no smell like that on any other mower ever built, it only happens on Deere 316's and 318's....

But my dad is still kicking at 58 years of age, and loves that old Deere...sometimes Ill watch him run it around and it's like a blast back in time.
 

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I was really waiting to see the responses to this post as I thought there would be some strong feelings about mowing with children on board. I just didn't know which way it would go.

I did a quick search and found that between 10,000 and 16,000 kids a year are seriously hurt each year in lawn mower accidents. (The numbers depend upon the research, but I doubt they are far off.) That's a lot of lost fingers, toes, hands, and feet. I also read that many of these accidents happen while a parent or another adult relative is operating the equipment. Just something to think about.

www.knowbeforeyoumow.com
 

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Discussion Starter #20
zuidema1;674020} [url said:
www.knowbeforeyoumow.com[/url]

Wow, reading those stories it seems like the safest place for a child while mowing is on your lap!

In regards to hearing protection, my son wears muffs and goggles when on the mower. He is used to this since Daddy has a lot of noisy hobbies (woodworking and welding)

I think the zero turn is a step in the right direction for me since I son more or less cannot ride with me, he can stay inside.

Chris
 
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