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Riding mower for rural 2 acres with hills?

7015 Views 24 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  louofm1
Same old question, probably-:tango_face_smile:

We have 7 acres in the Puget Sound, about 5 of which is wild. The other 2 are mostly flat, with a couple of inclines- one around 10- 15 degrees, the other 15- 20 degrees. (I have never dared to mow the 20 degree slope) It is mostly a weed lawn,up and down, some bare areas, some small rocks and roots, a few dirt double track trails, etc.

Anyway, for the past 20 years I have been chewing it down with an old single cylinder craftsman manual transmission riding mower. I have put new tires on it, new steering rack, new solenoid, etc. Problem is, the deck is now gone- rotted so bad the spindle mount is in question and the blades are impacting the deck.

So I need a mower. The manual transmission on that cheap mower, apparently non serviceable, got so dry it would not shift. (peerless brand) I found the factory fill plug and poured in a pint of 80/90 gear oil, and it came back to life. Spits oil out of the axle seals, but runs fine. I have spun the tires repeatedly, used it to pull huge clusters of limbs with a choker, and just generally abused the mower hard.

I have great doubt any " automatic" transmission on any box store mower will hold up to this abuse.

So what to do? I was tempted to buy a cheapo CL used manual mower and just beat it for another 20 years.

Or I could buy a Cub x3, or a JD upper line, like a 500 series. 42" deck would be preferred because of tight areas and storage.

A local dealer has a X475? and a x724? for sale, but big heavy machines and without baggers. And 1500 hours on each.

I am going to buy a small tractor one of these days, so the mower is going to stay a mower, mostly. Might be nice to have a blade for snow.

Any thoughts?
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Well I'd probably opt for AWD machine if you can with those slopes to contend with. If not the X475 or X724 should be more than enough.
$4000-6000 . That would probably get me into a Cub x3. The JD dealer wanted $4500 for the 724, and 3500 for the 475. Lot's of hours on them, 1500 or so.
I have a no longer made XT3 GSE (no diff lock) with ATV tires on it. 2" taller front and rears to get ground clearance. It'll mow any slope you put it on w/o problems since I put the tires on. My land is like yours--hilly, rocky field rather than lawn. I mow ~2.5 acres.

I'd suggest the GSX if you can afford it. The power steering on these is divine. The fab deck is a beast/lifetime deck.

I use mine heavily with a fabbed rear hitch and routinely haul 300lbs stuff around with my forklift set. Pic below is (4) saturated 2x12x12s and (1) 2x4x12--300+lbs. Tractor weighs 1000lbs with the deck on and is very stable on my hills.
$4000-6000 . That would probably get me into a Cub x3. The JD dealer wanted $4500 for the 724, and 3500 for the 475. Lot's of hours on them, 1500 or so.

Attachments

From the tractordata site.

Cub Cadet XT3 GSX
$4,600 (2015)
Wheelbase: 50.6 inches
Weight: 800 lbs
Front tire: 16x6.5
Rear tire: 23x10.5

John Deere X475
$9,199 (2002)
Wheelbase: 54.5 inches
Weight: 840 to 900 pounds
Front tire: 18x8.5-8
Rear tire: 26x12-12

John Deere X724
$9,729 (2011)
Wheelbase: 54.5 inches
Weight: 915 lbs
Front tire: 18x7.00-8
Rear tire: 26x10.50-12
On the XT3 that weight is without the deck. Closest weights with the deck are listed on some of the 3000 series which also weigh 800lbs w/o deck. Here's some listed weights with decks on the 3100. My 3240's 44" stamped deck is nowhere near the weight of my XT3's 54" Fab.

Weight: 795 lbs [360 kg] (tractor only)
950 lbs [430 kg] (44 deck)
1,075 lbs [487 kg] (50 deck)
1,078 lbs [488 kg] (54 deck)

TractorData.com Cub Cadet GT 3100 tractor dimensions information
From the tractordata site.

Cub Cadet XT3 GSX
$4,600 (2015)
Wheelbase: 50.6 inches
Weight: 800 lbs
Front tire: 16x6.5
Rear tire: 23x10.5
I've got a lawn similar to yours; nothing but ruts, roots, rocks, and some green stuff that I tell myself is grass. Because of the condition of my "lawn" and knowing I'll be doing nothing about it in the near future, when I moved to this property I decided to upgrade from an LT to a GT. The heavier frame, larger tires, weight, and sheer size really help cart my fat butt around the property with no complaints. I chose the XT3 GSX based on location of the dealership along with combined with overall value, and have been happy thus far. It doesn't have the fit and finish of the Deere, nor the ergonomics, however it does check all the right boxes for me. The 48" fabricated deck is a bear to manhandle, but it delivers an excellent cut- and the electronic lift helps. The power steering, something I never had before, is now indispensable- as is the differential lock.

I would suggest you look at all your options, and really get the feel for which one suits you best. Really I don't think you'll be disappointed in any of them.
Off to the State Fair today, we will look at lots of machinery!
7 acres with 5 of it wild.... Get yourself a used Kubota BX 2200 with loader and deck and then you can utilize the rest of your land.

You can get them within your budget
Yup, as are the others.

The bottom line is if you want/need a heavy tractor, get something with the 26 tires.
Anything with 23's is a medium tractor.

On the XT3 that weight is without the deck.
What the XT-3 has going for it, it would be brand new. With 1500 hours both the 475 and 724 are going to require some “wrenching” unless OP is very lucky- if you are handy and don’t mind doing it. Both the 475 and 724 are much more tractor than the XT3 ( which has torque similar to K66) If you want something in your budget that won’t require wrenching then the XT3 or a JD 500 series is way to go - and both will easily handle your slopes . Basically depends on which way OP wants to go
Sorry to disagree but I would buy one of the GTs. The XT-3 will need some wrenching some day also. But when that day comes will it be worth wrenching on. Lawn tractors are just that lawn tractors and are not built to mow acreages.
Sure the XT3 it will need some wrenching some day- but that day is 10 years away-- 10 years from now the 475 will be a 30 year old tractor with 2000 to 3,000 hours on it- probably in junk yard unless somebody does a complete rebuild. It will have broken down on OP several times-- sorry its a no brainer-- new XT3 or 1500 hours GT--- man needs a mower so the super GT is overkill anyway, throw in they have 1500 hours, and its not really close. You are selling the XT3 way short-- its a very capable machine. It is a light to medium duty Garden tractor more than capable of mowing 2 acres long term
Sorry to disagree but I would buy one of the GTs. The XT-3 will need some wrenching some day also. But when that day comes will it be worth wrenching on. Lawn tractors are just that lawn tractors and are not built to mow acreages.
I would think for $4500 to $6000 he maybe able find a John Deere x530, x540, x570, x580 or a x590 for sale. They all have differential lock, they all have K72 axles, and I would at least get that. Power steering is no big deal without it. I saw a 2016 x590 with 146 hrs. for $6000 at my local dealer. Somebody grab it up fast. Just check other John Deere dealers within a 100 miles from where you live. It doesn't cost much to ship it. Its very reasonable.
The XT3 is by definition a medium-duty Garden Tractor, not a Lawn Tractor. Just because it doesn't meet your definition of what a garden tractor should be doesn't make it any less a GT.

A life of mowing just 2 acres, rough or not, along with manhandling some brush; that's an easy life for any GT. You vastly underestimate what the XT3 is capable of, and what a high quality machine it really is.

If OP was in the market for a new half-ton pickup would you direct them towards a 150k mile, diesel, 1-ton?

That's the same level of overkill.
Sorry to disagree but I would buy one of the GTs. The XT-3 will need some wrenching some day also. But when that day comes will it be worth wrenching on. Lawn tractors are just that lawn tractors and are not built to mow acreages.
Looked at a couple of JD's today at the fair. A $16,000 748 with a cool bagger, (totally out of my price range) and a $3000 x350 - that was all that was on display for mowers.

here is the weird thing- that 350 had a noticeably better frame, linkages, deck etc than the box store $2000 units- but it had the wimpiest looking little transmission- it had a little plastic fan on top, and a tiny drive belt, and a whole bunch of reinforcing or cooling fins on top of the tranny- I use my stuff hard- that fan would be toast from a stick, and the whole top of the transaxle covered with two inches of grass and dirt. If it needs to be cool to work, it aint gonna work. It said tuff tork K46 on the sticker.

I will get a tractor eventually, but it won't help with getting the five acres mowable- they are on the side of a 125 foot deep ravine!
Sounds like the XT3 and a couple of goats will take care of the whole shebang!:tango_face_wink:
MikeC
I will get a tractor eventually, but it won't help with getting the five acres mowable- they are on the side of a 125 foot deep ravine!
I gotta agree with this... I live on the side of a mountain and there's no place on my land that's flat. From your description, it sounds like you're dealing with the same kind of stuff I do. My front and back meadows are just not great land, but the views are just wonderful. I have 5 acres, with 2 of it that I've let go wild so that the wild critters have a place to hide.

I put up with trying to handle it with a JD345 for eighteen years, and after that tractor tore my retina from the rough ride, I knew it was time to get something else. The 'bota's 4WD system can't be beat; and if you load the tires, you will have something that will stay upright on the inclines (agree about not trying that 20° one) and it will turn when you turn the wheel - something the 345 wouldn't do on the hills. Plus that diesel just doesn't quit or bog down the way that a gas engine does when you hit tough or tall grass. You can also mow wet stuff with little difficulty. (See, I also live in the great Pacific Northwet.)

You might want to have a look at the BX1880, a capable small machine that you can get with a loader for a reasonable price. You might want to do what I did - I bought my BX2370 with the loader frame and hydraulics - I can get a loader for it later, but adding the loader capability is really expensive later versus buying one with the option on it and ready to go.

You mentioned a bagger. Unless you put fertilizer or other soil amendments on (I don't - I have a well and I don't want that stuff in my water) may I gently advise you to forego the bagger. I found out the hard way that the decomposed clippings are necessary for the soil; my soil is very poor. Almost killed the meadows by doing bagging.

Good luck with your choice; this is a great place to ask questions like this.
7 acres with 5 of it wild.... Get yourself a used Kubota BX 2200 with loader and deck and then you can utilize the rest of your land.

You can get them within your budget
You mentioned the land for cutting the grass and a blade/blower, anything else? What I use is likely out of the question as it's "old" (Simplicity Powermax 9020 with a transplanted Honda engine) but the comments on the Kubotas can lead you to the right questions/directions. Do you need a rear PTO, three point? The ability to have a bucket? If yes then the choices start to narrow and you need to see what you have available in your area. I'm on 10 acres, have a 100'x100' "garden" and a dozen apple trees. The ground is "rolling country" with one slope that nobody else in the family will touch with anything but the Powermax.

It starts to look like the question is, do you need a subcompact tractor or a garden tractor.

I like the Kobatas as well :) Just outside of my price range and I have all the attachments for my PMax these days.
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