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So I inherited a 1988 JD160 from the previous owner of the house I bought. As you can tell in my avatar, it needs work. Needs brakes, battery, starter, blade switch, and over all not reliable and unsafe. I spend more time getting it going then do the job itself. So the wife and I decided to get a new ride on lawn tractor. I’ll keep the JD160 as a restoration project.

I have 1 acre. Use would be cutting grass, hauling fire wood, cleaning up leaves and plowing snow. Budget 1500-2000 with the leaves bagger. In that price range what are good options?

Thank you,
 

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If you have a completely flat piece of land, you could probably find a new lawn tractor at a box store, but what is more useful and particularly if it is hilly , you want a garden tractor and you should find something decent used in that price range....something with a stronger transmission, and built a little heftier, and up to extra work other than just mowing....if you kept that 160 going, you seem mechanically capable and you could extend your search for an older tractor...some of which, in my opinion, are better than most of the newer stuff...Deere, Cub, Simplicity, Bolens seem to be the most popular...and in another month or two seems to be th etime off year a lot of used stuff comes up for sale....if you spot something and want to go and look at it...post on here and ask what to look out for on that particular model...good luck
 

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If you have a completely flat piece of land, you could probably find a new lawn tractor at a box store, but what is more useful and particularly if it is hilly , you want a garden tractor and you should find something decent used in that price range....something with a stronger transmission, and built a little heftier, and up to extra work other than just mowing....if you kept that 160 going, you seem mechanically capable and you could extend your search for an older tractor...some of which, in my opinion, are better than most of the newer stuff...Deere, Cub, Simplicity, Bolens seem to be the most popular...and in another month or two seems to be the time off year a lot of used stuff comes up for sale....if you spot something and want to go and look at it...post on here and ask what to look out for on that particular model...good luck
Thanks for the advice. I do have some one hilly part where the wood hauling will be done. I can bring the 160 to get serviced but how much would that cost? I could get an estimate at a JD dealer.
 

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In that price range of $1,500 to $2,000, your best option would to be buy used. You should be able to find many through the local classifieds. As MARK (LI) stated, a garden tractor would do you better than a lawn tractor, especially with moving that white stuff. The transmissions and frames are more robust on a garden tractor.
 

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Getting the 160 fixed would fill the gap as you are on the lookout for something a bit beefier. At the moment, with your laundry list of items, you won't spend $300 even with all OEM parts and much less with aftermarket ones.. Keep in mind that you likely should change the tyres all around especially if original. You can use the ATV style tyres to provide more traction than the turf tyres on hills or hilly terrain.
 
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You may find a used John Deere X530 or X540 Garden tractor for a little more than $2,000. They both have Kawasaki engines, both have locking differentials, both have power steering. They both have a K72 transmission which is good in climbing hills, pushing snow, and hauling carts. Three places to check are:






 

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How about that, 8 posts in and no one has tried to sell him an X700 series yet! Seriously, you might get lucky and find a Deere 425 or 445 near your price range on a good day if the wind is right.
 

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How about that, 8 posts in and no one has tried to sell him an X700 series yet! Seriously, you might get lucky and find a Deere 425 or 445 near your price range on a good day if the wind is right.
LOL. The X700 is too much machine for me. The X570 has everything I would need for now and future pojects but the price of a new one is kinda steep.
 

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I know this won’t be a popular post, but I believe it’s the truth. Your budget $$$ are not high enough to get something heavy duty enough to handle all you listed. Don’t get me wrong, you can buy used in that range, but it probably won’t be one that lasts long. I bought my used Husqvarna GTH27V52XLS for $1750 about 5 years ago with somewhat low hours and then put another $250+ into it to fix it up. It now has over 330 hrs, but it’s not the sturdy “Garden” type tractor most will steer you toward. It is a better than average tractor for mowing. I also bought my Scotts L17.542 in 2002 for $1000 that had 5 hrs on the clock at the local Home Depot, but it arrived with 170 hrs and a dead battery. The first owner brought it back for a bigger unit. It now has over 400 hrs, but it’s not the tractor I or anyone on here would recommend. I too had sticker shock for a while searching for better machines, but I believe in buying once a machine that I won’t have to keep pouring money into.

Low $$$ machines will either:
  1. require a lot of time to mow your 1 acre - I would recommend at least a 48”.
  2. require a lot of repair time and $$$ - I have tried to keep the hours low enough to give me 10 yrs or more of use.
  3. be unreliable - when the machine can’t be used more than 25% of the time.
  4. be less capable without breaking - like losing a transmission pulling a load of wood up a steep hill or bending a frame plowing snow.
  5. be very uncomfortable, a lot of work to mow, or not easy to operate.
Obviously, you need to stay within what you can afford. That’s why I have spent hundreds of hours figuring out what I want to do with the machine, and more hours searching for a good deal.

If all you wanted to do is mow, a zero turn is the lowest cost solution.
Towing a light load of mulch or leaves doesn’t require a K72 transaxle.
If you are young and don’t have a lot of body aches, smaller wheels resulting in more bumps, isn’t a problem.
If having to fiddle with it to get it started or keep it running is okay, you have more options.
If the wife, kids or grandmother are going to use it, factor in whether it will be safe for them to use or if they will even be able to.

I know, seems like a daunting task, but that’s how you get to a machine that will likely satisfy you for years and minimize the total $$$ spent over that time. Don’t lose hope, there’s one out there for you, even if you have to save a little longer for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the advice.

I went to the John Deere dealer over the weekend and the only ride on mower with the locking diff was the X570. Nothing lower than that. It’s 6400$. Way out of my price range.

My father in law recommended the Husqvarna. I went to the site and the TS 348XD has the Kawasaki engine and locking diff. Not sure if the transmission is good or not. Now, I can stretch my budget to this machine at $3600. Will this do the work? Will the Deere be more reliable?
 

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The thing is that you have a very realistic price budget of $2,000. Going to any dealer is perhaps the best exercise in futility as nothing they have new will match it.
Looking at craigslist in L.I. shows a couple of riders that would do fair. One is the Pony rider for $575 and another is the JD 340 for $2,500. The JD would be a better value as it comes with most of what you would need.
 

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My father in law recommended the Husqvarna. I went to the site and the TS 348XD has the Kawasaki engine and locking diff. Not sure if the transmission is good or not. Now, I can stretch my budget to this machine at $3600.
NO. Stay away from Husqvarna tractors if you plan on doing literally anything other than cutting grass on flat level ground. Husqvarna in general is known for weak frames that bend or break and according to some people that have had this problem, Husqvarna will NOT cover that type of damage under warranty.

Every tractor has it's problems since nothing is perfect, but crap frames are unacceptable to me. I would look around for an older Deere, preferably one with shaft drive and liquid cooling. If you're lucky you might even be able to find a diesel in that price range, I paid $1800 for my 332 with a 50" mower. Someone had given it and the mower a new paint job at some point in time and the only rust was on the mower deck, but it needed lots of little things done which are all within my abilities so I probably have $2500 in it now. Only problem is that it could likely use some new rings as there is quite a bit of blowby, but it starts great even in 30 degree weather, runs smoothly on all 3 cylinders and does the work I bought it to do.
 

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Take a look at the older Cub Cadets under IH ownership with shaft drive or the garden tractor cubs from the 80's into the mid 90's. Both share similar trannys and toughness. A newer cub in the price range would be something in the 3000 series. All have very heavy duty frames and trannys. (basically overbuilt). I speak from experience.
 

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Look for a GT235. It's the forerunner to the newer X5 (not the big X). Has an 18 hp twin, either a B&S Vanguard (early) or Kawasaki. You can get them with a 48 or 54" deck, they have the K71 transmission, suitable for ground engagement, manual steering and lift. Really good, basic tractor. They will fall within your price range and have relatively low hours. If you want a little more power, the GT245 is 20 hp.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
My budget increased significantly LOL. The X570 it is! I've looked at other tractors in that segment Lawn/Garden, Kubota, Simplicity, and JD. We wanted new not worrying about it breaking down as much. Thanks for the input everyone!
 
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