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Discussion Starter #1
I have an L120 that I bought new from Home Depot around 2003. I mow about 3 acres once or twice a week during mowing season and it has been very dependable so far and I have no complaints except for spindle bearing issues which as I understand am not alone there.My question is this, with 418.5 hours on the mower how many hours are too many for an L series price competative machine before I have to worry about it dying completly or being too expensive to mantain and repair. I am also interested to know how many hours people out there have on there L series tractors and what they think. Any input would be very appriciated thank you.
 

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The Magnificent
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Welcome to the forum!

Taken care of, this thing might hang around another 400+ hours pretty easily.

I've seen blown motors at 20 hours in this class of machine, and 1000+ hours with no problems.

Sorry for the vague reply, but that's just the way it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks D-Dogg for the quick reply. I am new to this forum and have been impressed with it.I think the L120 will work for now but with the size of my yard I am concidering my options to replace or keep limping along.
 

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AKA Moses Lawnagan
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The engine being the "heart" of the machine, and the transmission being the "muscles", are the two single most expensive parts of the entire package. If you aren't having any problems with them (engine starts and runs without smoking or missing, and doesn't make abnormal noises, and the tranny doesn't slip or leak, and puts adequate power to the ground and mower), then you shouldn't sweat stuff like replacing a spindle now and then, or a wheel bearing, or worry about the occasional body rattle.That's all routine wear and tear, and can be expected in varying amounts throughout the machine's life.

Once you start having to repair the engine and tranny, and those repairs don't last long, then maybe it's time to start looking for a replacement. It's sometimes difficult to justify a couple of hundred dollar or more repair on an older machine, but might be okay for a newer one. And to make it more complicated, "newer" and "older" mean different things to different people.
 

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The Magnificent
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Thanks D-Dogg for the quick reply. I am new to this forum and have been impressed with it.I think the L120 will work for now but with the size of my yard I am concidering my options to replace or keep limping along.
In that case, you need to find a 300 series JD for less than $2K, and start going over it getting it ready for the day your current mower dies.

316, 318, 332 (diesel) are all fine older machines which would cost $5K to $13K to purchase a new equivalent.

Then in the $2500-$5000 range, you have the 420, 425, 435, 445, 455 series.

Any of the above would handle 3 acres with no problems.

Or if all you want to do is mow, and you have a fairly flat lot, start saving for a good quality ZTR (at least $6000 IMO).
 

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my L130 has between 450 and 500 hours on it, i honestly can't remember exactly. a few weeks back it broke the axle for the 2nd time. i am still debating fixing it even though the axle is only 40.00. i have just reached the point where i don't know that it is worth it anymore. of course, i already have a X500 i got last year because i knew this was coming.
 

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I have a 2002 L110 which is now approaching 650 hours. The engine (Kohler 17.5 HP) and transmission have been trouble free from day one.

The deck has been fairly trouble free. I have replaced deck and drive belts, spindles, blades, idler pulleys, and tension springs. The front wheel bushings (and one front wheel spindle) also needed replacement. Most of these items have been pretty easy to repair, and the parts have been relatively cheap.

I have changed the oil and filter (Purolator 10241) every 25 hours. The engine has never used any oil between changes.
 

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I have read so many discouraging posts regarding the L series tractors here that it is refreshing to see somebody who has numerous hours and no real issues. I hope your posts provide encouragement to those contemplating a purchase or who are worried about their newer L series purchase. It does, however, make you wonder who is the exception and who is the rule. I hope you guys are the rule.
 

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More Liberty, Less Tyrany
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I have read so many discouraging posts regarding the L series tractors here that it is refreshing to see somebody who has numerous hours and no real issues. I hope your posts provide encouragement to those contemplating a purchase or who are worried about their newer L series purchase. It does, however, make you wonder who is the exception and who is the rule. I hope you guys are the rule.
Even the best designed machines aren't worth a darn if you don't maintain them.

I wonder how many people give a tractor a bad rap because the are lax in maintenance and then blame the machine? I see more attention to detail and maintenance by people who visit lists like this and are not of the

"I put gas in it and it goes.." mentality.

keeping up the maintenance is more than half the battle. I have 178K on one SUV, 125K on a truck, and run them more than 138 miles a day back/forth to work and never had a major issue. I can probably attribute lots of this success to maintenance.

I've put 50 hours this season on my L130 that sat for 2 years doing nothing before I got it and my only complaint that I haven't addressed as yet is the 2.1 gal fuel tank (this is coming with a 4gal from a LA series, It will fit) .
I added the adjustable drag links on the front to fix the toe-in problems and this is by far and away the best mower I have owned.

I would consider spindles as well as belts and blades a 'consumable' item and part of the cost of operating a lawn tractor.

Keep doing the maintenance, keep running it and start putting a few $$ away for that next tractor if you feel that you must. If you don't need to buy one then you have that money in the bank getting some (at this point in time.. meager) interest on it and you'll be ahead of the game if you need to find one. If a deal comes along like mine did (L130, 50 hours $350.00) then don't pass it up.

Don't go EXPECTING your current one to fail because it will always seem to live up to your expectations.
 

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The engine being the "heart" of the machine, and the transmission being the "muscles", are the two single most expensive parts of the entire package. If you aren't having any problems with them (engine starts and runs without smoking or missing, and doesn't make abnormal noises, and the tranny doesn't slip or leak, and puts adequate power to the ground and mower), then you shouldn't sweat stuff like replacing a spindle now and then, or a wheel bearing, or worry about the occasional body rattle.That's all routine wear and tear, and can be expected in varying amounts throughout the machine's life.

Once you start having to repair the engine and tranny, and those repairs don't last long, then maybe it's time to start looking for a replacement. It's sometimes difficult to justify a couple of hundred dollar or more repair on an older machine, but might be okay for a newer one. And to make it more complicated, "newer" and "older" mean different things to different people.
:ditto: Hit the nail right on the head!
 

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I have read so many discouraging posts regarding the L series tractors here that it is refreshing to see somebody who has numerous hours and no real issues. I hope your posts provide encouragement to those contemplating a purchase or who are worried about their newer L series purchase. It does, however, make you wonder who is the exception and who is the rule. I hope you guys are the rule.
Amen to that. All these entry level Deeres running into the high hundreds of hours w/ no problems with their 'entry' level trannies. This thread is a nice read.
 

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PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE is the key. My 96 Blazer just clocked 200,000 miles and my 98 Caddy has 117,000 miles. my JD110 is approx 32 years old and I am the second owner. The Kohler and the trans. are original. and have not been apart. Grease, oil, filter and lots of TLC have been the keys. (I hope that I have just not cursed myself and will suffer catastrophic mechanical failure of the fleet!!)lol!
 

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PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE is the key. My 96 Blazer just clocked 200,000 miles and my 98 Caddy has 117,000 miles. my JD110 is approx 32 years old and I am the second owner. The Kohler and the trans. are original. and have not been apart. Grease, oil, filter and lots of TLC have been the keys. (I hope that I have just not cursed myself and will suffer catastrophic mechanical failure of the fleet!!)lol!

100%. Couldn't have been put better! PJ
 

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:ditto: :ditto: :ditto: :ditto:

It is amazing how many people (present company included) start out with machinery like cars, mowers, and motorcycles with no real clue of the impact of poor maintenance.

Look at the young people who spruce up their cars with fancy paint jobs and decals, loud stereos, and high dollar wheels and tires. How many of them can tell you how many miles they have driven since their last oil change? How many have checked the plugs and plug wires or the transmission fluid levels? Yet, the engine and transmission cost more to replace than any other part of the vehicle.

I have been guilty in the past of failing to check and change the oil. When things broke, I took them to the shop and expected miracles.

As far as the L Series is concerned, I think there have been some lemons, but that is true of all machines. But I would not be surprised to see reports of L series tractors rolling over 1000 hours on this site in a few years, simply because the regulars here are passionate about their equipment and they keep the maintenance up.

Steve
 

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Maintenance? The majority of near-terminal failures on the L series tractors are almost always the transmission. There is no maintenance recommended by the manufacturer. They were made to be non-serviceable. Do all the recommended maintenance and that does not make one bit of difference to whether the transmission goes 300 hours or 1000 hours. What makes the difference is, if a fellow is mowing a flat city lot, or a city park, or a sloped acre and a half.
 

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Maintenance? The majority of near-terminal failures on the L series tractors are almost always the transmission. There is no maintenance recommended by the manufacturer. They were made to be non-serviceable. Do all the recommended maintenance and that does not make one bit of difference to whether the transmission goes 300 hours or 1000 hours. What makes the difference is, if a fellow is mowing a flat city lot, or a city park, or a sloped acre and a half.
True, however maitenance to those of us who go above and beyond also includes making sure the fins and fan blades are clean. I use a leaf blower to clean off my rig after every outting. If I notice gunk on the fan blades, I clean them off.

I always run WOT when doing anything besides sitting in the garage. Gotta have that fan spinning as fast as it can.

It takes me a grand total of 1 hour to mow - so I'm not running it for long periods of time either.

I also never mow in the heat of the day. In the summertime I'm usually out there around 6ish. Its not nearly as hot at that hour, and I'm mostly in the shade to boot. Heat is the number one killer of these transmissions - I see no reason to bake both myself AND the transmission. Plus, I get cranky when I get swampa$$.

Sure, none of this is in the manual. Hopefully it makes my trasmission last longer. I don't expect to have to replace it before I want a new tractor. If it doesn't last, well. Like I said in another thread I've got no problem downgrading to a Regent class rig and buying a new one every 8 years.

No problem at all b/c its significantly cheaper and for that price, I expect to have to toss it after awhile.
 

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Maintenance? The majority of near-terminal failures on the L series tractors are almost always the transmission. There is no maintenance recommended by the manufacturer. They were made to be non-serviceable. Do all the recommended maintenance and that does not make one bit of difference to whether the transmission goes 300 hours or 1000 hours. What makes the difference is, if a fellow is mowing a flat city lot, or a city park, or a sloped acre and a half.
Or is he/she just mowing with it or also using it like a garden tractor. A lot of hydro failures I am sure are from using the tractor beyond its design capabilities. Things like pulling large trailers, aerators loaded with blocks, etc. Someone just mowing a level suburban lot should get LOTS of hours out of one of these cheaper lawn tractors.
 

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I have to agree with you Carlos. As stated a hundred times before, you have to know what it's limitations are and work within those. Of course it always helps to change oil regluarly, so on and so forth. I think more dealers need to be more honest about what these mowers can do. I am even limiting my x320 to mowing only. I was told it would pull up to mower and passenger wieght. Plus JD lists all these attachments that you know add extra stress on trans...blade, aerator etc.
 

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If I'm going to spend more than a few hundred bucks, I go on-line and conduct a search of the product I'm looking to purchase. I'm not sure a tractor classifies as an impulse purchase (although I could see this the other way) but it definately warrants some looking into before making such a move.

You have to ask yourself some ???'s before pulling the trigger and regretting your purchase. I myself have been guilty of buying before researching and can say first hand that it works better the other way around.

I'm convinced of one caveat however, and it is that you definately buy one level up from what you think you need. This above all else, will reduce or eliminate completely any buyers remorse you may encounter. This stipulation is only good for about the first 9 - 12 months of your initial purchase - viewpoints are subject to change after that timeframe. :duh:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thank you to everyone for replying.I am glad to see that others are having equal success with their machines as I.While JohnDeere has been critisized in the past for the L series tractors I think JohnDeere is smart for building them if it were not for these entry level mowers alot of people would probably just end up buying something from the wal-mart lawn and garden department instead of spending the extra money for a Deere.I almost made that mistake but because of the L series tractors and the trips to the dealership for parts(spindel bearings) I am more aware of the service and pride behind the Johndeere brand and I will most certainly buy another JohnDeere and I WILL spend the extra money for a Deere(I have been eyeballing a 2520 in the showroom) Who knows if it were not for JohnDeere building these price competative machines I probably would have fallen into the rut of having to buy a P.O.S. from a department strore every year or so with the mentality of I just put gas in it and I mow. Who knows if that happend I might not have cared enough about my machine to want to write and talk about it and I might not have found this awsome site and this great group of people!
 
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