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So little time.....
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564 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Greetings from the Sears Forum!

So, as much as I love my Sears stuff, they're not the best for mowing. That, combined with the fact that I would like to start bagging my clippings, and the fact that I've always wanted at least one Deere in my fleet, has led me to search for a "new to me" JD. To start, I have searched and lurked around and gotten some great info (as usual). However, just to make sure I'm not missing anything, I figured I'd just ask:

My price range is about $700 to $900. I'd prefer an older model (older meaning 80/90's) tractor (I'm not a fan of the box store models of anything). I know I see a LOT of STX's and they seem pretty nice. I understand that they were built as the "homeowner" grade JD for the era, but are still decent machines with the yellow decks being the most desirable. Are there any other models that I should look at as well? I would not be using it to operate any ground engaging attachments or even pull a cart (I have my Sears stuff for that). The JD would be strictly for mowing duty. I don't need a huge deck as I only have an acre to mow.

Any help/advice would be appreciated. Thanks very much all.

-Nick
 

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4K Poster!!!!
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4,552 Posts
For just mowing the stx38's are great. First rider I owned and had not one problem with it and it had a great cut!
 

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1,829 Posts
+1 for the STX. Mine starts every time, cuts well, and is really nimble around obstacles.
 

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So little time.....
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564 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. I know the general consensus is the yellow deck version is the most desirable, but I guess my question is how much worse exactly is the black deck version? Should I even consider it?
 

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MTF Tractor Nut
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4,432 Posts
Thanks guys. I know the general consensus is the yellow deck version is the most desirable, but I guess my question is how much worse exactly is the black deck version? Should I even consider it?
That depends... What is different between the two other than the deck? If nothing, then it might be worth starting out with a black one until you can find a yellow deck to add on later. I guess it all depends on the availability and the price?
 

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Lawn Boys Never Die
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2,049 Posts
I had the yellow deck gear drive for 10 years, gut grass and blew snow with it. Great machine. My father has the black deck hydro version. Only difference I can see is I think the yellow deck is heavier duty( thicker steel) then the black deck, but I like hydro better than gear driven. One thing to check on this model is the hood, most of them seem to crack and break at the hinge point. In fact stx's came with a 30" deck, 38", and a 46".
 

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So little time.....
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564 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I actually just found a good explanation of the yellow deck vs. black deck in an older thread by a user named "Engine Tech" or something like that. Seems the difference is the hood, the tranny, and the fact that the black deck is a cheaper piece than the yellow. He also feels that the hydros in the black deck model are a little weak. Very interesting read, though, of course, I forgot to copy the link to the thread.

Anyway, here's a link to the tractor I was thinking of purchasing. Tell me what you guys think:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/190589585177?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2648
 

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It's not easy being green
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348 Posts
STX38 is a good machine for mowing. I love my LX176 for mowing and for plowing snow. You do have to watch closely and be careful of the plastic hoods as the hinges are the weak link in these machines.
 

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Deere 330 Killer
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Ill just throw my $0.02 in here.. ;)

I have mowed with 5 different tractors, 4 Suburbans and the Honda.

The Honda: Its a 1999 Harmony 2013 lawn tractor. 13hp single cyl OHV engine, 38" twin blade deck, side arm hydro control.. nice little machine.

The Suburbans:
-SS/16: 16hp Onan Twin, stick shift
-SS-15: 15hp Briggs single, stick shift
-GT/18H: 18hp Onan Twin, hydrostatic
-GT/19.9: 19.9hp Onan Twin, stick shift

I have one 42" 3-blade deck that I swapped out between those 4 Suburbans in the last year. Each time, the tractor cut better than the Honda. The Honda stripes 3x better, but the Suburbans cut more level.

Now I realize you want to bag your clippings, which is the downfall of the Suburban, since barely any lawn vacs are left.

I would say look for something with high HP, 2 cylinders, and a 42-46" deck with 3 blades. I find that 3 blades cut more level than 2.
 

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The 200 series fit your price range and qualify as a real Deere.
 

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Premium Member
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Gotta get a plug in for Rusty and his 160 thru 185 group. the #38 mowers cut is very good and can bag too! AND a trailer is no problem.
FYI.... Ends in "0" gear driven, Ends in a "5" Hydro ( ie. 175 hydro) and they are not weak.
Got Rusty for $500.00 with #38 deck and #38 snowblower. Just needed some touch-up paint ! :ROF:dunno:
Here's Toy he snow blew all last winter and mowed all summer for Nephew and cost me well less than $1000.00 :fing32:
 

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So little time.....
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564 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Gotta get a plug in for Rusty and his 160 thru 185 group. the #38 mowers cut is very good and can bag too! AND a trailer is no problem.
FYI.... Ends in "0" gear driven, Ends in a "5" Hydro ( ie. 175 hydro) and they are not weak.
Got Rusty for $500.00 with #38 deck and #38 snowblower. Just needed some touch-up paint ! :ROF:dunno:
Here's Toy he snow blew all last winter and mowed all summer for Nephew and cost me well less than $1000.00 :fing32:

Awesome! Never knew about the "0" and "5" thing. Thanks. Looks like I can also consider the 160 thru 185's as well as the 200 series. Ahhh. Decisions, decisions.
 

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I will +1 the 160 series- again preferably the 175 or 185 so you get hydrostatic trans. OH- I've seen in looking at CL that the motors in those may or may not have a spin on oil filter. That would be one thing I would look for. I see the 175 in your price range quite often up here...and tractors seem to cost more here. Good luck!!
 

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STX38's are great, but one with a Hydro seems even better...

The manual tranny works fine, but a hydro is just so much easier to use...

I have a YD and the deck is a bit thicker steel but a black deck in good condition should be fine.

You can actually find attachments for the BD version... might want slightly more than 38" if actually mowing a full acre though... ???



For serge :)




.
 

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So little time.....
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564 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
STX38's are great, but one with a Hydro seems even better...

The manual tranny works fine, but a hydro is just so much easier to use...

I have a YD and the deck is a bit thicker steel but a black deck in good condition should be fine.

You can actually find attachments for the BD version... might want slightly more than 38" if actually mowing a full acre though... ???



For serge :)




.


Hmmm. I was looking primarily YD but i guess a BD is ok. I have pretty easy terrain to mow. I like using a smaller deck because it gives me more seat time. :)
 

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deerhed
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1,241 Posts
My recommendation would be to go out and get a 316!
This time of year, you can get a pretty nice P218 Onan powered 316 for under $900.

If it has a 46" deck you can install a tri-cycler mulching system on it and forget the bagger!
The 316 in my avatar was bought this spring for $900. Granted, I did paint it and "customize" it...but point is... $800 WILL buy a newer 300 series, and a decent one at that.
 

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3K & Yet So Little to Say
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Gotta get a plug in for Rusty and his 160 thru 185 group. the #38 mowers cut is very good and can bag too! AND a trailer is no problem.
Thanks Katt, I was going to trump up these too. My 185 has a 46" deck and a bagger with power flow. It leaves a better looking lawn than any of the newer machines I've had so far.:fing32:
 

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So little time.....
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564 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Well after a day of trolling CL, I've come up with a couple of candidates. I couldn't find a decent 300 series for my price range down by me, but I did find a couple of othe decent possibilities:

http://newlondon.craigslist.org/grd/2603748748.html


http://hartford.craigslist.org/grd/2636702068.html


http://newhaven.craigslist.org/grd/2607943359.html


http://westernmass.craigslist.org/grd/2648160197.html



Those are my options so far. The guy selling two (160 and 170) seems tempting, but I'm guessing they can't be in too great shape for that price. Not that I'm looking for anything in mint condition, but I'm not looking for a tractor that I need to tear apart from the get-go to make it usable.
 

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3K & Yet So Little to Say
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3,341 Posts
All of those machines look good. With the 2 tractors, you should have enough parts to make one runner, if you should have problems with one of them, right? Also, that hydro STX with bagger looks to be in real great shape. I say hop on the road and go look/drive some of them. Have fun. :fing32:
 
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