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Seeking advice on a purchase

1873 Views 23 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  jtclays
Hello all, I just recently joined and am seeking advice on my next lawn mower purchase. I am currently using a yellow deck STX38 that belongs to my brother. I have been using it for about a year, and now that he is moving into a house with a bigger yard he would like it back.

My wife, kids, and I have been in our new house for a little over a year and we our lot is roughly 2/3's of an acre. Not huge, but enough to warrant a riding mower. I have been looking on the local craigslist and am trying to find another John Deere to replace what I have been using. I have had no complaints with the STX38 I have been using, but my brother and previous owner have not taken very good care of it at all. I have replaced the muffler, fixed a leaky fuel line, cleaned it up, and a few other odds and ends. It still needs some work but I will leave that for my brother as it's in a lot better running condition now than it was when he let me borrow it.

A few locally I have found are as follows.

John Deere Riding Lawn Mower
John Deere LT155
John Deere Rider
John Deere STX38 Hydrostat

What are your thoughts on some of these? I know the first LT155 could use some work, but if it runs good I assume that would be a good deal. The other LT155 looks extremely clean and the bagger is a nice touch although not really needed. The LX188 looks like a beast of a mower but may come in handy if I ever want to add some snow removal equipment to it. The STX38 black deck looks decent as well.

A 38" deck obviously worked well for me but having a slightly larger deck would be nice as well. Any other particular models I should be looking for? I an wanting to stay around a max of $800 if possible.

Thanks for the help.

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The LX188 is by far the best of the bunch and you might get it for less. Most have cracked hoods but this one will clean up really well. If he won't take less I would still buy it from the description and looks. The foot operated K61 hydro is great. Call now!
Of the ones you have listed, the LX188 would be my choice.

I just checked your craigslist and see a couple more that I'd check out.

265 (definitely had some paint work, but hard to tell to what extent in the pics)
John Deere 265 Garden Tractor

John Deere 317 Lawn Mower

John Deere 212
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The LX188 is superior to the other lawn tractors you listed. The price is good, buy it.
Thank you all for the help. I will get ahold of the gentlemen selling the LX188 and go have a look. I found a 216 in my hometown, but not sure it's still available as I have not called on it.

John Deere 216 Garden tractor
That lx188 is a nice deal. The hood is even in good shape. Be extra protective of that hood when you get it. They are prone to cracking and expensive to replace.

I have one and love it.
Forget the 216. The LX is a far superior lawn mowing machine.
Thank you all for the help. I will get ahold of the gentlemen selling the LX188 and go have a look. I found a 216 in my hometown, but not sure it's still available as I have not called on it.

John Deere 216 Garden tractor
Looks like a good deal to me does it run and how does it run??? :dunno:
Lx188 is going to be the better, more user friendly mowing machine. The 216 is a good solid overall tractor but not as nice for mowing with the gear drive transmission.
The LX188 will literally mow circles around that 216. Twin touch foot control hydro vs manual shift between your legs and a clutch... there is no comparison.
Wanted to follow up on this quick. I spoke with the gentlemen selling the LX188. He said that he was in the process of replacing a rear drive pulley that was worn and making noise? Not exactly sure what he was talking about so figured I'd ask here. He did say the hood had a small crack below the steering wheel and that he put something under the hood on the crack to keep it from getting worse. Finally, he said the mower had been sitting for 5 years or so before he bought it. He hasn't had it very long but has used it to mow with and said that it runs and mows great. He mentioned that the guy he bought it from put fresh gas in it and it fired right up when he went to buy it. I assume the seller is trying to make a little money off it, which I don't blame him one bit.

With that being said, is it still a good buy? He is going to call me when he gets the new part installed so I can go take a look at it. This gentlemen sounded like he was in his 60's or 70's, so I doubt he would be the type to screw someone over but you never know.
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Those pulleys do wear out so replacing them is common. With the hood, never lift it in front of the steering wheel. Use one hand on each side under the yellow stripe. Most of them are busted all to heck. Mine is. A big crack all the way down the top and those vents in front of the wheel are in several pieces.
I covered the whole top of mine with bear bond tape. ( the stuff NASCAR guys put on their busted up race cars) and painted it green. Looks like elephant skin , but it will stay together. If the hinges are good, it's better than most.
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Yes its still a good buy. If you wait you are going to miss out.

The rear drive pulley probably started to strip the splines and started making a grinding noise which is quite common on belt driven tractors. Its a cheap and easy fix and he is already taking care of it so its nothing to worry about. Many members on this site have replaced stripped rear drive pulleys. I plan on replacing mine as preventative maintenance next time I replace my drive belt.
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Thanks for the reassurance. I am waiting for him to call me back and say it's ready to rock. I am going to try and get him to come down a little from the $800 asking price but don't intend on beating him up over it. Either way, it sounds like it will be a good buy for me.
Well I picked it up today. The STX38 decided to act up even more and the PTO won't engage now. I'm done with and after mowing with the LX188 I am in love. It is so smooth and mows awesome.

I ended up getting it for $750 and it came with a bagger. The rear tires will need replacing soon as the sidewalls have a few cracks. Also, it makes a grinding noise when the brake is not pressed in and feels like something is moving under it. I can feel something push back on the brake a bit when it's slightly depressed. He said that one of the belts in there showed some wear and may need replaced. What's the brake actually do on this model other than the obvious and starting it? Any thoughts on this? The lights don't work either but that should be an easy fix. It ran very well and mowed even better though. I am certainly happy with the purchase.


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Nice looking LX:fing32: On mine there is a drum brake outside the transaxle in front of the axle on the left side as you drive (really need to pull that rear wheel to see it). It's a splined fitting sliding over a shaft protruding out of the tranny. The linkage controls a band that compresses on the drum (the splined cup like part). They can rattle a bit or stick if full of grass/mud, may be your noise. I'd check your fuel pump also. The old design has 2 hoses, one from the tank and one to the carb. New design has a 3rd which allows a failed pump diaphragm to drain remotely out a hose. The old design has a weep hole that will drain the fuel directly onto the muffler. If you do have to replace the drive belt or do any work on the brake you'll want to pull the deck pan. Very easy to do. Remove the seat assembly with the wing nuts. Pull straight out on the deck height adjustment knob to remove. There are two bolts under the foot pads and two bolts hidden by the seat tray. Once removed the deck pulls off and then you pull straight up on the gas tank and you can pretty much get to everything you need.
Forgot, on the lights, look real close at the wires as they run away from the lights. If the plastic keeper popped out of the frame, the harness can get really close to the exhaust and melt. May just be bulbs too. I thought I had pics with the tank removed, but can't find them right now. It literally just pulls straight up over the tranny reservoir and you you have access. Very easy to work on. Wish you good luck with it:fing32:

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Nice work. I knew the LX188 was a no-brainer. Glad it worked out for you. That machine is a pleasure to operate.
Congratulations, you just purchased, IMO, the best LT ever built. Change all the fluids, oil, coolant, hydro, and grease all the fittings.
wow, that appears to be a clean tractor up underneath:fing32:
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