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New guy looking for first lawn tractor

2881 Views 24 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  johndeereowner
I am a new guy on here and this is my first post so I don't intend to sound too much like an idiot (can't guarantee that though). I just don't know much yet. Anyway, I bought my house a little over a year ago and have been mowing the lawn with a 20" push mower. The lawn part is around 1.75 acres of grass with plenty of trees (meaning 54 clumps or single stems). So, I have always wanted to get an older Deere riding mower and I am getting sick of push mowing that much area.

From the 10 - 15 or so hours that I have already spent searching, it seems that there are a lot more models and configurations than I ever really imagined in this size range of tractor. Primary purposes of use would be mowing, including some moderate hills, pulling cut down trees across the yard, pulling a lawn cart (firewood), hopefully be able to get a small dozer type blade to push around mulch piles, and eventually some ground engagement for a small garden. I don't have a ton of cash to spend, upwards of $1300 or maybe a little bit more if an excellent deal was just out of reach.

Is there some kind of Blue Book equivalent for these tractors? I would have no idea if a person was selling at a bargain or if I was getting hosed.

Also, I am fairly decent at small engine repair so I don't mind getting my hands dirty to fix some things up. It would be very important that the model still had replacement parts available though. (eg. I did see a Yanmar tractor with I think a 2 cylinder diesel for 1600, but can't find any places around here that sold parts for that thing).

Also, is there some kind of list of things to check over when looking at a used lawn tractor?

I know, lots of questions. I hope that somebody could please help me out a little bit here. I will continue to scour the archives though. Thanks.

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Well Consider a used Garden tractor
Here are some example's
Deere 318,322,330,332,420,430. The 318 is considered Deere's Best Garden tractor you can get it with either a 38,46inch or 50 inch mowing deck for About $1,500 used
Any IH Cub Cadet and even some of the MTD made Cub Cadet Garden tractors.
Simplicity Sovereign which is another Good used tractor
Toro/Wheelhorse 300,400 or 500 series.
There is a Grounds Manitenance Equipment Blue Book out there. I usually Buy one every year. There About $60.00 hope this gives you some Idea of what Brands to start looking at is the Used Brands.
as far as what to look over on them i can tell you what i check out and maybe others will add more : 1 overall apearance ,does it look well maintained or abused and neglected
2 look the engine over check the oil if its low or extremely dirty i quit there could be probs after purchased looks used but ok or clean and full ? start it and run it for a few mins to warm up listen for unusual noises or oil smoke then shut it off check oil again if it looks pretty dirty already i would walk away again because they probably just changed it hoping to cover their poor maintenence .
3 look for cracks in the frame obvious alignment issues that could mean front axle is bent check all belts fluid in the hydro if equiped, wheel bearings front and rear ,oil leaks from engine and trans .
4 try all controls to see that they work and feel as they should
5 check steering spindles tie rods steering gear ,bushings .
6 check deck for rust holes thin spots cracks bad bearings look at blades see if they look ok or are bent or nicked severely.
7 if that stuff checks out ok ask to try it out pay attention to noises under both idle mid and full throttle with and with out mower deck enguaged and vibrations with deck enguaged and not enguaged try every gear out or if hydro gradual increases in speed forwards and reverse to make sure there is no slipping or unusual noises jerking ect. finally see how it cuts and that you are comfortable on it and like the setup of all the controls ad how it steers and turns . also check either on here or with a local dealer about what implements are available for it and that the one you choose can handle what you want to do with it . some even though they have implements available should not be used for it because of reliability concerns
hope this helps out some good luck and happy hunting
:MTF_wel: and good finding, buying your tractor. slkpk
Not sure where you are looking but be sure to check craigslist, and

Welcome to the forum! :Welcome1: 1.75 acres with a 20" push mower gets old fast! Good luck with your hunt! :)

Good advice already given, so good luck with your search. :MTF_wel2: We are glad to have you. There are many friendly and knowledgeable folks here at MTF, so enjoy all the different forums. Click on ”Active Topics” near the top left of the page for all the latest activity. You can also register with other members from your state by clicking here:
:Welcome1: Marcus, you're lucky to have found MTF. The folks here can certainly help you;as you've already seen. Good luck in your search!
Here is a nice GT262 in Steven's Point for for $1,195.
I'd take a trip to the Steven's Point tractor; that way you could stock up on Point Special! :ROF
Thanks for the help so far everybody. That GT262 does look pretty nice but how would it compare to a 320? I went to school in Stevens Point, but not a huge fan of the Point Special, ok for really cheap beer though.

Is that a good price? Also obo and it is still there after 2 weeks. Looks like no headlights but not a big deal at all. What do you think?
Thanks for the help so far everybody. That GT262 does look pretty nice but how would it compare to a 320? I went to school in Stevens Point, but not a huge fan of the Point Special, ok for really cheap beer though.

Is that a good price? Also obo and it is still there after 2 weeks. Looks like no headlights but not a big deal at all. What do you think?
Just kidding about the beer! :) Condition and maintenance history -- if available -- are everything in tractors of this vintage. I would look for the best tractor, with the lowest hours, and with the most clear maintenance history, you can find. :)
The 320 was built on the same frame as the 240 thru 285 series that was built form 1988 to 1992. the 320 was basicly the same as a 285 But it had Hydraulic lift over the Spring assisted lift. The 320 frame went on to become the framwe and base for the 325 thru 355 and the GX325 thru GX355. The GT262 was built on it own frame it was in the entry level series of the Garden tractors at that time just above the GT242 which was a 6 speed gear and the GT262 also had a 6speed gear trans as well The frames for these GT tractor stayed in production until 2002 as the Saber & Scotts garden tractors. and 2003 as the JD G100. You can still get a headlight panel for the 320. Between the two once you have a tractor with Hydrualic lift you will never want to go back to a tractor with manual spring assist. You can still get powerflow baggers, tiller's, dozer blade's and snow blowers from Deere that will fit either model. So my vote is go with the 320. :thThumbsU
Thanks for the help so far with all the suggestions. Turned out that the 320 was sold long before I could get there to take a look.

However, tomorrow I am going to go take a look at a 332 with about 800 hours on it. It is supposed to be in excellent running condition with no rust but the water pump has a slight leak. They are asking $2200. Is that a fair price for something that otherwise completely functions correctly? Where is the water pump located on these machines?

I would absolutely love to have a diesel like this! Anybody have experience with this particular model that could give me some insight?
Welcome to MTF, happy hunting :)
Well, tonight I agreed to buy a 332! It needs a water pump and 1 new front tire but everything else works flawlessly. Eventually I will need to replace the rear tires as well, but they will work fine for now. Also came with a 4' hydraulic plow/blade and a bagger system. I am pretty pumped and will get it delivered here on Friday. Also there is really no rust on it at all, even the mower deck. Pictures will come after I get the thing.

Any 332 owners that could give me any tips on this machine? I only drove it a little bit but so far I am lovin' the diesel! I am now really happy that I didn't go to sears and pick up that ys4500 I was looking at.


Congrats on your new tractor. I think you made the right choice. I only wish I had one now... :wwp:
Were looking forward to the pics of it. slkpk
Finally got a picture of this thing. Need to find a new tire for the front yet, but also came with the hydraulic blade and a powerflo bagger.

Also any tips on how to flush the transmission and put new JD fluid in there?


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