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Discussion Starter #1
Warning: Long winded rant ahead.

So I have not gotten around to purchasing a vintage sears yet due to money issues. When I bought my house about 4 years ago, I purchased a used 2004 Craftsman DGT6000 27hp Kohler Garden tractor. I bought this one specifically because it was one of the most powerful garden tractors I had heard off (not being too familiar with them, just going off of raw numbers). I had stumbled across this site looking up fitup guides, attachments and such. I had no IDEA how crappy these guys had become.

Issues so far:

Replaced two spindles due to the the top part of the spindle breaking and letting the pulley free spin. Currently replacing two more spindles for the part of the spindle at the botton becoming stripped similarly.

Just purchased a 48 inch "Dozer blade" to prep for winter. This will be my first winter not hiring a plow guy, so I figured I would spend the extra money on a plow for my good running tractor than to buy a used one at a similar price and risk not starting. Well after owning it for about 2 weeks, I have had the angle control cable snap, as well as had a bolt break that bolts the entire assembly to the frame.

I was kind of a critic of people who used the term "********" and talked about how Sears (whoever they contract now) only made garbage, but Man am I starting to believe.

/end rant
 

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Now don't start, Timmy. Things could have been a whole lot worse.

Spindles can be a bugger. So far, knock on wood, I haven't had to do any blade work,

Snow plow, well, I've got several. The cable is known to present problems, usually freezing up and breaking at the wrong time. So you just plow either right or left, or push forward. When you want to change, get off the seat and change it, or come up with a home made version of the cable.
One of my Craftsman plows has a direct pull cable to a pull ring on the dash. I put a pull rod in a hole on the top of the blade. Pull the pull ring, pull the rod, the blade rotates.
Busted bolts means over stress. Maybe it was tightened too much during installation. Bolts are a 'stock' parts item in my home garage. Along with electrical tape and duct tape.
 

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The Magnificent
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Timmymac, I don't mean to be confrontational at all, but it's sure going to sound that way.

Sure, my JD 318 is far superior to anything Sears sells today. But, it cost as much as a new car 25 years ago. I most certainly can buy something of equal quality today, and just like 25 years ago, it would cost as much as a new car.

MTDs, now those are hunks of junk too, right? My heavy 39 year old MTDs cost as much as new cars back then. Can I replace them with something of similar quality toady? Sure I can, and it costs as much as a new car.

Sears did not always sell ultra-lightweight machines. Look at the FF series made by Roper. Oh, they cost nearly as much as a new car way back then.

So, the problem is not Sears selling junk. The problem is we are cheap. We won't spend more than $3,000 at Sears. Don't believe me? Consider the Simplicity Prestige they re-badged and tried to sell last year. Spend $6,000 at Sears? Hardly anyone did, and Sears dropped it from the line. It was a very nice GT with a few less features than the full blown Simplicity.

Is whatever you paid a lot of money to you and most of us? Sure it is, but quality costs money, and you get what you pay for.

The reality is that a 2004 DGT6000 is nearing its expected lifespan, and the further trouble is you cannot know how it was maintained and used (or misused). Frankly the spindle troubles you are having sound a lot like someone (not saying it was you) mowed over rocks, sticks, or otherwise treated this thing like a bush hog.

Again, it's not my intent to be confrontational with you, but give you a little more food for thought.

I started with a Craftsman, just like you. It was a DYT series, and lasted about 4 years. Then I bought the JD 318, joined up here, and continued to learn.

One of these days, when I don't have to buy the kids musical instruments, pay for braces, etc., etc., I might just buy a $10,000 garden tractor. Until then, I'll work on my oldies.

And BTW, I don't hate on Craftsman at all, even though my experience was poor. They fit the bill for many people.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Timmymac, I don't mean to be confrontational at all, but it's sure going to sound that way.

Sure, my JD 318 is far superior to anything Sears sells today. But, it cost as much as a new car 25 years ago. I most certainly can buy something of equal quality today, and just like 25 years ago, it would cost as much as a new car.

MTDs, now those are hunks of junk too, right? My heavy 39 year old MTDs cost as much as new cars back then. Can I replace them with something of similar quality toady? Sure I can, and it costs as much as a new car.

Sears did not always sell ultra-lightweight machines. Look at the FF series made by Roper. Oh, they cost nearly as much as a new car way back then.

So, the problem is not Sears selling junk. The problem is we are cheap. We won't spend more than $3,000 at Sears. Don't believe me? Consider the Simplicity Prestige they re-badged and tried to sell last year. Spend $6,000 at Sears? Hardly anyone did, and Sears dropped it from the line. It was a very nice GT with a few less features than the full blown Simplicity.

Is whatever you paid a lot of money to you and most of us? Sure it is, but quality costs money, and you get what you pay for.

The reality is that a 2004 DGT6000 is nearing its expected lifespan, and the further trouble is you cannot know how it was maintained and used (or misused). Frankly the spindle troubles you are having sound a lot like someone (not saying it was you) mowed over rocks, sticks, or otherwise treated this thing like a bush hog.

Again, it's not my intent to be confrontational with you, but give you a little more food for thought.

I started with a Craftsman, just like you. It was a DYT series, and lasted about 4 years. Then I bought the JD 318, joined up here, and continued to learn.

One of these days, when I don't have to buy the kids musical instruments, pay for braces, etc., etc., I might just buy a $10,000 garden tractor. Until then, I'll work on my oldies.

And BTW, I don't hate on Craftsman at all, even though my experience was poor. They fit the bill for many people.

Oh I welcome any feedback. I'll be the first to admit I used this thing way beyond what I should have (a lawnmower haha). I am somewhat impressed with the Kohler engine (still not quite what I thought a 27 hp would do but good power) and the transaxle. However the way the spindles broke seemed cheap. I had one spindle break at the actual bolt points, although I suspect this was from using cheap aluminum vs. steel, I will chalk that one up to abuse, I live in Maine and have a very rocky yard, I am considering that unavoidable. The other times seemed the result of cheapness. anyway, you can say what you like, but people will pay a high price for quality. I could buy a ryobi drill for about 30 bucks, but guess what, after using one I will pay the extra money for a dewalt or milwaukee every time. Using a tool as you are supposed to for two weeks after purchasing as directed should not result in two seperate breakages. EVER. Just my opinion. If I bought a 150 dollar snow blade I would fully agree with you, buyer beware. But the fact that I bought a dozer blade that normally retails at 500 dollars should be pretty heavy duty. I also looked up an inflation calculator, and a twin 16 suburban would be going for about 5,000 today. That would buy a comparable quality tractor today. My only point is that Sears has really taken a step down in quality, not just in cost.
 

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Farm Show
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I sure can learn alot just from D-Dog's post's. Sorry to hear about your misfortune. Hopefuly you can come up with something thats going to work. Why not give a old Sears a try? I swear they are a heck of a tractor. I'am finding out the cheep guy spends the most.
 

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sell your new one and buy an ancient dinosaur suburban! Ive beat the crap out of our suburbans and they take it very very very well!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
sell your new one and buy an ancient dinosaur suburban! Ive beat the crap out of our suburbans and they take it very very very well!
I am planning on buying an old tractor. Right now I pretty much have the dgt6000 set up nice for a winter rig, so it looks like I should be good for a while. I dont want to sell it because I really like it as a mower/light hauler, I have already gotten the thumbs up from the wife, when I get the tax return in , I can get a nice old rig. I definitely want to have two so that I can beat on one guilt free without having to worry about my lawn going to ****.
 

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oh man I beat the snot out of my ss18...it plows snow in the winter, and does all my haulin in the summer, and my SS16 mows....I have beat that SS18..haulin my car trailer, 18ft trailer weighs 2250lbs empty! then ive had almost 4000lbs on it before so thats a total of around 6200lbs! ive pushed snow deaper then the hood(piles the plow trucks have left) and ive even locked the motor up once running it low on oil! so i know these old things will take a beating!
 

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Only thing wrong I see is you didn't go back far enough.I'm not impressed with any thing later than early 80's.70's or 60's is where you want to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Only thing wrong I see is you didn't go back far enough.I'm not impressed with any thing later than early 80's.70's or 60's is where you want to be.
Yeah totally agree. Quick question- I know all the sears years were great (you guys can fight over whether to go Onan, Tec or B and S, I like em all) but what year would you guys call the "cutoff"? Were there any years where the Craftsman were solid like the Sears, or was the name Craftsman pretty much the cutoff? Thanks
 

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Your begging for a spitting contest here.:biglaugh:But like I said 70's would be my line in the sand.:trink40:
 

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Yeah totally agree. Quick question- I know all the sears years were great (you guys can fight over whether to go Onan, Tec or B and S, I like em all) but what year would you guys call the "cutoff"? Were there any years where the Craftsman were solid like the Sears, or was the name Craftsman pretty much the cutoff? Thanks
To be honest, I'd say anything late 80's and up is junk to me. Paper thin plastic and sheet metal hoods, Stamped frames. Anything with a vertical shaft engine. The craftsmans today are way over rated in my opinion, I mean who needs 26-30 horse power? In fact I don't refer to them as "tractors", I refer them as "Disposable lawn mowers". The old subs are plenty capable of the ones today. It would probably take 4 new craftsmans worth of steel to make up one suburban! Which is why I collect and use the old Sears and Roper tractors, Because they were built to last, And will take any abuse. I don't see any new tractor lasting as long as the old Sears.
 

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I have an LT-1000 lookalike, sears listed it as a 16hp/42" cut mower, but it looks like and uses LT-1000 parts, parents bought it new in 1998. a floor model from the year before at a nice discount over the current model they had available which was an LT-1000 but were out of them.... It's got more hours than it should, on it's second deck shell, and I'v put in a handfull of deck spindles. few new blades over the years, and a new axle a few years ago.. It's rigged up now, and it's been rewired to the bare min after having electrical probs.. It's still running, and still mows the lawn, and will still pull a weighted dethatcher without much fuss... Compare that to the 1968 Sears Suburban 12, mostly original, just maint done by previous owner and I ( purchased by son of orig owner ). It runs great, mows ok, it could use a new set of blades which I have. never skips a beat.

That said, The Craftsmen GT series from the 90's and later 80's are just about as bullet proof as the Suburbans, and Sears parts direct still lists many parts available.. They came in hydro versions and a 6 speed,d which the 6 speed is the same type 3 speed hi/lo as the Suburbans used... I came very close to buying a later ( green ) GT6000 6 speed a few weeks ago for $700. mint tractor, but I just couldn't justify it.... The earlier 1's were listed as GT+ the HP, so like GT-16, or GT-18. I'v heard of a GT-20 but never seen 1.
poc borrowed from another thread
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I do have to add this. I use every bit of that 27 hp. Way beyond what I should on this frame. I even towed my 1973 dodge charger (close to 4000 pounds i believe) across the rutted not smooth yard with relative ease. The power plant is about the one thing I couldnt complain about. And I have kept up on the maintenance, and have never had a problem starting it. So it's not all crying...
 

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john deere this, sears that blah blah blah lol j/k it's all in what you want to do with it. if you want to drop 1000-2000 on a john deere 318 lawn mower/garden tractor thats 25+ years old with 500+ hrs go ahead doesn't seem reasonable to me, when i can take 2000 and buy a mf 135 a real tractor.
 

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That there's worth fixin'
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The old Suburbans are some tough imo. I actually broke the center spindle mowing with my SS15 the other day. But this was after the terrible abuse of whacking rocks and small stumps for years and years with it.
If you do wind up with an old one and get it to the point where it's reliable, I think you'll be happy with it. Since it's a very old tractor, of course it may need some repairs from time to time. But they're nice and simple, easy to fix, and used parts are very common. I have Sears Suburbans from 1959 to 1976 and find them to be very reliable and super useful around the house.
 

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I have 4 Roper made tractors (mid sixties-early seventies) and they are tanks! They certainly cant compete in today's market against other low priced "mowers". It boils down to too much competition, steel prices being so high because of Chinese competition, and a demand for higher profits.
 

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I do have to add this. I use every bit of that 27 hp. Way beyond what I should on this frame. I even towed my 1973 dodge charger (close to 4000 pounds i believe) across the rutted not smooth yard with relative ease. The power plant is about the one thing I couldnt complain about. And I have kept up on the maintenance, and have never had a problem starting it. So it's not all crying...
It's not likely that you used even 1/4 the horsepower that your engine can develop. You can't hang enough weight on that tractor to keep the tires locked to the ground to use more.

Engine size is meaningless today when most transmissions can only deliver 7 hp to the ground. High hp numbers are for the implements not for pulling.
 

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I think the problem is that Sears now has to compete with HD & Lowes. Most people these days don't cultivate, plow fields etc they cut grass or pay to have it done. There's more people to buy a $1,500 mower than a few that may buy a $15,000 dollar Kubota or JD.
 
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