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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I've been looking to get a new tractor along with a snow thrower for it since this winter when my back started acting up. In addition to the snow thrower I'd like to put a Johnny Bucket on it to help move compost, mulch, and maybe a little gravel around. I garden a lot and think the Johnny Bucket will spare my back some. I currently have a Craftman YS4500 which I use for mowing(3/4 acre lot), but I don't really feel comfortable putting a Johnny bucket on it and getting a blower as I'm concerned about killing the tranny. I can be a little hard on equipment sometimes.

So, I was looking for something with a bit beefier frame and stronger tranny. Considered the higher end Husqvarna with the K66 in it and the Cub 2500 series. It looks like the Cub 2500 series is the best value for the money before jump to the next price level (5k for just the tractor), at which point it becomes too rich for my blood and a little ridiculous for my lot size.

Questions before I plunk down the cash:
  1. Have I missed anything in my search that falls into the price range of 3-4k and has a heavier duty tranny than the typical box store tractor?
  2. 2544 or 2542? I have a few places between garden beds where the space is 48" and a 42" will fit and the 44" will not (its 47" for clearance). This is a plus for the 42", but not a requirement. The 44" is a heavier deck, how significant is this? My 42" on the YS4500 sometimes forces me to ride the edge of a garden bed to get the grass completely, I'm thinking the 44 might help a bit in this area. I also note slightly larger front wheels on the 2544 (16x6.5 vs 15x6). Will they be any extra help in the winter or in other tasks? Will the deck size limit putting alternate tires on (ie will one size work better than the other if I want different tires) Anything else to sway me from one to the other?
  3. Wheel Weights: It looks like there are wheel weights for the 1500 and 3000 series Cubs but not the 2500? The dealer said there are only the suitcase weights for them. They are a LOT more for less weight(Is there a cheaper source?). Any opinions on this? Is this something I should not try to get the dealer to sell me(Ie could it void my warrantee)? Looking at the parts list for the 3100 it looks like the same rear rim is used so I think the 3000 series weights should fit. Others on this forum have pointed out that there are many options for 12" wheels. I just wonder if there is a good reason, other than making $ that Cub Cadet and the dealer don't offer wheel weights for the 2500 series? Is there some weakness in the tranny I'm missing? Lesser tractors, Cub's included, have the weights offered so it does make me wonder why the 2500 appears to be singled out this way.
  4. The Johnny Bucket, this ties into the wheel weight question as I will probably need some weight to counteract the bucket (anyone know for sure if this is a requirement for moving loose mulch and compost) Given the dealer may not want to sell wheel weights I'm thinking I may not wish to mention the bucket. Should I press the dealer on the wheel weights or just buy them elsewhere? Seems several people on this forum use them on a 2500 series w/o issues so they seem to be ok. My only worry is that if I have any issues at all the dealer may be predisposed to blame wheel weights and the johnny bucket.
  5. Snowblower: I don't intend to buy the blower just yet as I am not sure if I want the cub blower or a bercomac. Any opinions on the 44" northeaster Berco vs the 42" Cub? Ease of use, attachment, and quality are my main concerns as from reading these forums they both seem to work well. Ability to co-exist with the Johnny bucket hitch would be a plus, but I can't see how that would really work given they both seem to attach at the same point.

    Sorry for the long first post. Just trying to ensure I don't miss something before possibly buying later this week.

    Thanks!
 

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If you want a lawn mower to mow flat land your choice is fine, if you want to work your tractor with weight and attachments you will wear on this tranny. I will NEVER own another belt driven tranny. IIRR this is a spit case lite tranny with no bearings.

Scott
 

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Belt driven tranny????? The 2500 series has a shaft driven tranny.

AJ
 

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Belt driven tranny????? The 2500 series has a shaft driven tranny.

AJ
My bad, you're right. I was thinking of the 1500 series as there has been much discussion of a weak tranny.

I got out the manual and the 2500 and the 3000 series share the same tranny so I'd say there's no concern.

Scott
 

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:Welcome1: and enjoy the forum. I would probably go with the 44 deck and a Berco snowblower. If you decide later on a different tractor in a few years you can get the attaching parts from Berco for that tractor. Enjoy the hunt. slkpk
 

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1) Nope, you seem to have looked at the only contenders in that price range.

2) The main differences between the decks are that the 44" deck is a 3-blade, the 42" is a 2-blade, the 44" is deeper than the 42", and the 44" weights a lot more than the 42". So your cost to have blades sharpened will be different, and the ease in which you remove the decks will be different.

3) The 1500 series wheel weights fit the 2500 series as well. I have a pair on my 2544.

4) The JB may cause some warranty issues, but I doubt it. About the only thing I can see being a legit claim against the JB is if the front wheel bearing wear out prematurely. But you'd have to be using the JB a lot for that to happen, because you're limited to about 200 pounds in the JB anyway.

5) I plow, so I can't offer any opinions about the blower. Sorry.
 

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My bad, you're right. I was thinking of the 1500 series as there has been much discussion of a weak tranny.

I got out the manual and the 2500 and the 3000 series share the same tranny so I'd say there's no concern.

Scott
Scott,
The 3000 series and the GT2500 series does not share the same tranny. The 3000 uses the GT BDU-21, while the GT2500 uses the GT BDU-10. I know both have cast iron rears, but the 3000 series has the stronger tranny.

http://www.hydro-gear.com/LawnGard/Transmissions/BD/UStyle.aspx
 

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Scott,
The 3000 series and the GT2500 series does not share the same tranny. The 3000 uses the GT BDU-21, while the GT2500 uses the GT BDU-10. I know both have cast iron rears, but the 3000 series has the stronger tranny.

http://www.hydro-gear.com/LawnGard/Transmissions/BD/UStyle.aspx

OK I can only go by the brochures by cub which only state HD Cast Iron Transmission.

I overwork my tractors and I should really buy a compact for what I use them for, 4X4 would be nice. We live on very steep hills here in E TN (mountains), in fact we have NO flat land and a tough soil. I looked at the 3000 series and had several discussions with folks and dealers and then decided to go with the older models as you just CANNOT destroy these rear-ends. I'd not buy a newer Cub for this reason, I don't think even a $4800 dollar 3000 would servive what I put it through. Basis of my comment.

For example I pull a box and rake to grade a 1400 ft gravel drive up hill routinely.

BTW I have destroyed three rears on lesser Cubs only mowing.

I think a lot of you guys look at these as "mowers", I do not, I expect and demand a lot of them.

Scott
 

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FWIW-

I just ordered two more sets of weights, I'll have 75lbs per wheel on loaded 26X12X12s, that's approx 200lbs per wheel. Weight at the wheel is not weight at the axle. I'd think that 400lbs plus a 200lbs man is too much to ask of these new trannies to be used that way all the time. Traction is always an issue. None of that takes into concideration a 250lbs implement or the pull of a full box of gravel.

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the replies. I'm definately going to wait on the blower unless getting it with the tractor saves me cash or something. I still want to see if there is anyway to leave either blower mount on AND the Johnny Bucket mount. That would be truly ideal. Second best is whichever is easier to switch over.

On the 2544 vs 2542, I'm still on the fence. There is definitely the convenience factor of being able to mow between a few garden beds that I have. Being thinner/lighter its probably also easier to remove/attach(anyone confirm this?). CCinCT can you comment on deck removal/reinstall as to the time/effort involved? Anyone know if the cut quality is different/better on one or the other? Basically I'm weighing a heavier/likely to last longer deck which might allow a bit better edging vs temporarily losing the ability to mow 3 20x4 ft long spaces between raised garden beds (until I move them, which could be a bit).

Do the larger front tires on the 2544, or larger front tires in general on tractors of this kind confer any advantage/disadvantage at all?

On the weight front I guess I'll see if the dealer will sell me weights for the 1500 series (190-784). Not sure if they still fit as a look at the parts manuals for that series shows the rear rim changing over the years since CCinCT got his. It looks like the weights from the 3000 series(190-412) will fit too as I recently got a message about someone doing just that. I'd prefer the smaller ones for ease of dealing with them. If they are sufficient for plowing I would think they would work for a blower too. In any case I don't want to spend 300$ for the 2 suitcase weights and holder without at least a somewhat convincing argument from the dealer. There are a few other dealers I can try if this one insists wheel weights are not for the 2500.

I do wonder if Cub not wanting to put wheel weights on this model might be because the tranny is capable of spinning them, but not strong enough to handle situations where you get wheel spin and then a sudden shock when you finally get traction. Either that or they want to give people a reason to move up to the 3000 series. In any case I seriously doubt careful use with them on when needed will hurt the tractor(opinions?).

Thanks again, I hope to have my decision friday or next week.
 

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Deck removal is the same for the 42 and 44. But the heavier weight of the 44 makes the last step (sliding it out from under the tractor) more difficult. I don't want to give the impression that this is a difficult task, just that the 44 does require more oomph to do it.

As for cut quality, in theory the 44 should give you a better cut. In reality I have yet to see a difference. The differences in cut quality usually come down to how sharp the blades are, and how much you're cutting at a time. If you go long periods between mowing and have to mow fairly tall grass, then the 44 is better at handling tall, thick grass. But each deck and lawn condition will require you to do a little experimentation to get a system that works for you.

If you're concerned about width, you could always remove the chute, or hook a bungie to it and lift it up when going through narrow paths. I removed the chute on my 44 altogether because it disperses the grass clippings better that way. The down side is that I tend to get more grass on the body of the tractor whenever there's a breeze.

Even though the rims have changed several times for the 2000/2500 and 1500 series, the inner contour hasn't. That's why most Cub wheel weights for 12" rims fit multiple models.

As for the 2500 handling the weight, that is not a concern. I have two wheel weights and four suitcase weights on all fall and winter with no problems. Plowed many times and the tranny never gave the slightest hint it was straining. I think Cub not listing them as an option for the 2500 is an oversight, not an intentional act on their part.
 

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NH Gardener,

I agree with CC on all counts - and as you already know I have a 2542 and CC has the 2544.
You will not have any more significant trouble removing the 2544 deck than the 2542. The 44" IS bigger, but you won't have any more trouble removing it. Cub makes removal of the deck so user-friendly that there simply is no reason to let that be a factor in choosing between the two.
Cub did not purposely leave the wheel weight option off the 2500 series. If your dealer is less than willing to order the appropriate one(or doesn't know right off the cuff which one to order) - move on. ( as you know, my dealer here, who knows AG equipment and his Cub line, knew which ones to order and ordered them without it even coming up as an issue - in fact, I didn't even know it was until you reported your experience).
The Kohler Command 20 and tranny "will" handle ALL the weights "plus" attachments. That's not even close to an issue.
Forget about the weight, the front tire size, and don't fret about deck. If it's a 44" you really want, I think you should get it and you will not be disappointed. Yes, the front tires are larger on the 2544. But don't let that sway you from the 2542 if you're looking to fit the deck between narrower spaces. It's 6 of one, and 1/2 dozen of the other. It's the same tractor with the sole exception of the deck size and front tire size. BOTH will push, pull, haul, blow, and mow to your satisfaction.
CC's suggestion about removal of the shute may take care of that width issue that concerns you about the 44" deck. (I'm going to remove the shute from my 42" this W.E. I'll surely break it otherwise!)Then you'll have what you're seeking. The bigger deck, and the bigger front tires(though the smaller ones on my 2542 will handle the same weight - I have to admit I do like the "look" of the larger ones on the 2544).
Whether you choose 2542 or 2544, you're not going to hurt this tractor for the purposes you've stated you want to use it for. Get the wheelweights, and if you don't mind spending the money get the suitcases and bracket too. That 2500 series will be more than adequate to handle the weight of those items AND a blower or JB. I'm betting that common sense and good maintenance will help CC and I get many years of satisfaction from our 2500's. They are just plain bulls!

Renster
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I hold the chute deflector up on my Craftsman 42" deck as it is (although I have about 3 inches of clearance then). If I get the 2544 I will need to move things around a bit, otherwise I will most certainly get stuck (and I bet people would want pics of that!). Bungie cord isn't a bad idea though if I do the 2542, saves me reaching down and tripping the seat safety everytime.

I note you mentioned four suitcase weights. The Cub website/ dealer seemed to indicate the bracket only held two, is this correct? Dunno if they downsized it since you got it, or I am just plain misinformed. Do you have the Cub Cadet bracket or another make? Does anyone know if the Bercomac suitcase bracket fits? Think it holds about5-6 25 lb weights.

Thanks again.
 

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The Cub Front/Rear bracket will hold 4 of the Cub 42lb weights.

Renster
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hah, perhaps I just thought it held two cause the weights come in sets of two! They are still pricey but it does make the option more appealing that it was being. I was thinking I could only put 2 on which seems like little weight for a decent amount of money. However, with four that's a bit better (and pricier still!). However, for the first use of the tractor that would want weight they are possibly a better way to go to counteract any weight in the bucket. Thanks for clearing that up.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Was surfing for more info on weights (seeing if I could find a cheaper source) and stumbled upon the following:

http://www.agcoparts.agcocorp.com/Library/upload/AGCO Weights and Tire Chains Catalog.pdf

Page 15 has Cub Cadet weights and lists the suitcase weights with the cub part number and some internal part number. That internal part number, 79018781, is used for the suitcase weights in several places. It matches a Deere weight, the Deere # being R66949. If you look on the Deere site it is their 42 lb Quick Tatch weight. That sells for 45$ each. May be a cheaper option as I believe the Cub Dealer was selling a set of 2 for 139.99.
 
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