What are the best lawn tractors?

Reply

  #1  
Old 05-12-05, 02:14 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: northern, NJ
Posts: 228
What are the best lawn tractors?

I have heard that John Deere makes the best ride on lawn tractors.. is this true?

I was interested in there L100 series, can anybody comment on them?

what is the best engine to go with, the Kohler V-twin or the Briggs and Straton V-Twin?

Thanks

p.s.-> or I am always up to the fact of looking at a good walk behind mower and saving money if that is better. I have about 1/2 arce to mow!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 05-13-05, 12:47 AM
cheese's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 16,815
Hello squale!

John deere makes excellent mowers indeed. However, many people don't realize that the L and LT series mowers are made to compete with the low end mowers found in department stores. They don't parallel the better GT and the best of the best LX series. I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't give you my opinion, which is...look at something else. I can't endorse the L series. I am a deere fan, but not that one.

With 1/2 acre, I would also want a rider. One again, my opinion is that for the dollars spent vs quality of product, you come out best with a craftsman if it's a front engine mower. Husquvarna mowers are also lower priced and better than average. (also an AYP product, like craftsman).

I think, with good care, you would be happy with a 42" mower, powered by a 14hp or larger engine. Opt for the hydro tranny if you can. I'd personally prefer the Kohler. Better yet, a Kawasaki. Nothing wrong with Kohler though. Great engines. The Command series is what I would stick with in the Kohler line.

Disclaimer: These, as stated, are my personal opinions. I have formed these opinions from my experience over the years working on small engines and lawn equipment. Others may have had different experiences. I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned above.
 
  #3  
Old 05-13-05, 06:14 AM
bontai Joe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 592
Hi Squale,
For a 1/2 acre lawn, you don't need a monster sized machine. The Deere "L" series would do fine, but as Cheese mentions, you can match it's ability at a lower price with a Sears Craftsman or it's Husqvarna clone. I'd also suggest the Snapper rear engine rider as it is a time tested reliable design perfectly sized for your size lawn.
 
  #4  
Old 05-13-05, 08:01 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Hamilton County, Ohio
Posts: 4,288
Compare the L series with the LT series at a Deere dealer. The LT is a much heavier, and more rugged machine for 1/2 to 1 1/2 acres. Of course the G series is even stronger.

Two neighbors and myself, each with about an acre plus to cut, and with plenty of rough ground from mole tunnels, have LT-160's and we love them. My property destroyed a Murray in about four years.
 
  #5  
Old 05-13-05, 08:21 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: northern, NJ
Posts: 228
Wow the LT, LX, G, etc JD series is not cheap, ouch!!!! I am looking to stay as close to 1K as possible. My lawn is very hilly, meaning most of my cutting will be on a hill or side of a hill, up and down, etc. My lawn is no flat property that's for sure so I need a mower up to the task. I too last night was comparing the JD L series to the Crafstman ride-ons. I just can't really justify the $300-500 price difference between the two. I mean, the only real differences that I can see between them is these:

-The JD uses a fully welded frame, the craftsman uses a bolt together frame
-The lower priced craftsmans have steel axles, the JD's all have Cast Iron axles
-The craftsman has a metal hood, the JD has a plastic type rust-proof, dent-proof hood

Besides these difference both tractors seem very equal, in fact you get a much larger engine with the Craftsman for the same price.

Some models I am particularly interested in.. let me know your thoughts..

-Craftsman model #27440 (http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...ab=des#tablink)
-Craftsman model #27552 (http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...=Lawn+Tractors)

John Deere L111 (http://www.deere.com/en_US/ProductCa...ame=100+Series)

In fact John Deere's website actually compares the L111 and the Craftsman 27552 side to side, I just don't see many differenes, unless I am missing something: (http://www.deere.com/en_US/ProductCa...&pNbr=SKU20319)

So what do you guys think of these.. or are there other models which are better for the money. It seems that most of these all use the Briggs and Straton V-twin, not the Kohler, so how do these engines compare?

Thanks
 
  #6  
Old 05-13-05, 10:34 AM
Azis
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Too bad Sears wont let u build ur own heheh, they do have one model with a decent front axle, and a good engine http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...awn%20Tractors
but then they went and stuck a gear drive on it
The weak area on these are definatley in the front axle, and the design has been changed a bit however still uses the same spindles and while it looks a bit heftier, it still is not a cast axle only fabed steel. The model in the link I posted has the I-Beam type cast iron front axle.
I think you are looking at more power than u should ever need on 1/2 acre and my consideration would be dependability, which I give to the single over either of the twins. I have only been doing repair for a few years now but have donated 2 briggs twins to the local high school because the bottom end let go...I have yet to scrap a single cylinder. I also think the low end torque from the singles are hard to match, course I am rebuilding a stock inline 6 cyl for my Land cruiser giving up a free V8 conversion...
There is something to say for the bolt together lighter frame on the craftsman also in my opinion, especially on hilly or rough terrain, and that is it will flex more so than the rigid deere helping to keep all the tires to the turf. Its also a bit lighter I imagine making for even less to be top heavy.
Actually I also like Joes advice of a rear mounted snapper...should easily handle 1/2 acre and will outlast any engine that powers it...in my opinion
 
  #7  
Old 05-13-05, 11:26 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: northern, NJ
Posts: 228
some things I worry about, I have a very uneven and hilly lawn. So I need something that won't flip over and can handle uneven ground very well. I also need an engine that runs fine when it's tilted say 45 degrees to one side while cutting on a hill...

I really really want something that will last me a very long time and not break down or require lots of ongoing maintenance. I was originally just going to buy a $300 walk behind mower at home depot, but then I started thinking a ride-on would be worth the extra money as long as it lasts a long time. I have heard of people having these things last for 20+ years, I don't know if that's myth or reality but that sure would be nice. I also like the fact that you can use these machines for other purposes such as plowing, etc. Now looking at the Snapper rear engine models, these look okay, but they don't seem to have the same nice features as the tractors, such as being able to pull things, have a plow, have headlights, not automatic tranmission, etc. etc. etc.

So then comparing JD to Craftsman, I was thinking, well would the JD be worth the extra cash if it will give me a much longer lifetime and not require mcuh maintainence? That I really don't know and was hoping you guys could comment on the realibility and dependability of these things. Also which engine to go with as there are so many different choices out there it seems. Whether to get a V twin, single cylinder, B&S, Kohler, etc.. all lots of choices it seems.

As far as the front axle goes, I guess I should definately steer clear of a metal axle and go for cast iron huh? especially since I have a very uneven and hilly lawn right? And how many HP do you think I will need... I have about .5-.75 acre of uneven hilly rough stuff to mow..
 
  #8  
Old 05-13-05, 12:56 PM
Azis
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
The Snapper would last I feel with minimal maintenance 20+ years, however it seems it may be just at the edge of what u may want. And if mole hills briars and high grass are on the menu along with hills, one of the tractor units would suit ya better.
Check on maintenance... parts, service even just tune ups and consumable items that will need replacement.
Even the best products can fail, and I think one reason for the popularity and reliability statistics for Briggs and Tecumseh is largely due to the availiblity of parts and information for them.
Personally if a John Deere was given to me and quit on me and I was unable to fix it....I have a long down hill that kinda heads towards the nearest dealer...I would give it a nudge down my drive I guess...
 
  #9  
Old 05-13-05, 12:59 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: northern, NJ
Posts: 228
okay after more reading, it looks like these models are the best... I wonder what engine is better, the single cylinder Kohler or the V-twin Briggs and Straton?

L111 : http://www.deere.com/en_US/ProductC...O&pNbr=SKU20319

L110:
http://www.deere.com/en_US/ProductC...O&pNbr=SKU20251
 
  #10  
Old 05-13-05, 05:14 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Hamilton County, Ohio
Posts: 4,288
You want to side cut on a fortyfive degree slope? Have you considered a herd of mountain goats? Seriously, I have a bank which is too steep to side cut, but my LT 160 goes up and down it without a whimper. The Kohler single cylinder has more than enough power. I believe that the horsepower race for lawn tractors is mostly sales hype to draw people into the bigger is better black hole.
 
  #11  
Old 05-14-05, 03:23 AM
cheese's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 16,815
The horsepower race. Sales hype as suggested. No need for big Vtwin engines on mowers with twin blade decks. Just more gas to burn.

I have never seen any problem related to a frame being either welded or bolted together. There is no advantage to one over another.

The plastic hood is rust proof, and I suppose dent proof too, since it will bust to pieces when you hit something. No dents to worry about. I'd say 85% of the deeres I work on have busted hoods, or no hoods. Some of them have busted just by leaning on them a little.
 
  #12  
Old 05-14-05, 06:01 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 51
Look at consumer reports

Look at consumer reports to see what they recommend. A couple of years ago White brand was recommend or a best buy as my brother bought it. I've used it a few times and it's a good machine. My brothers place has a hill where the grass needs to be cut so he also bought chains for the back wheels. It's like having four wheel drive. The tires would probably spin going up hill with out chains.

John deere has good support should your lawn tractor break down. They will pick it up with a trailer to fix it of course for a fee. I have had a john deere before and would choose something else. Replacement parts are expensive. I would look at craftsman to see what they had.

I bought a used returned MTD from home depot for either $600.00 to $700.00. It looked almost like new. 21hp B&S with 46" cut. It was a good buy. Consider buying one that was returned where a customer chainged their mind or was repaired. Sears, lowes, home depot, and walmart sometimes have good bargains waiting to be had. John deeres I believe are over priced though nice machines. dave
 
  #13  
Old 05-14-05, 08:56 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: northern, NJ
Posts: 228
okay I went and check out both the Sears and the JD models. The JD models sure do seem much nicer but I just don't know if it's worth the extra cash. These are the models I am going to choose from, what do you guys think is my best bet in terms of performance, reliability, quality of construction, easiest use (JD uses foot pedals, Sears uses hand levers), etc.

Craftsman:
#27581 = $1,099.99 (manual tranmission)
(http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...ab=spe#tablink)

#27582 = $1,299.99 (same as the above just this has an Auto transmission)
(http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...ab=spe#tablink)

John Deere:
L111 = $1,799.00
(http://www.deere.com/en_US/ProductCa...20Series&tM=HO)


Originally Posted by Azis
Too bad Sears wont let u build ur own heheh, they do have one model with a decent front axle, and a good engine http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...awn%20Tractors
but then they went and stuck a gear drive on it
The weak area on these are definatley in the front axle, and the design has been changed a bit however still uses the same spindles and while it looks a bit heftier, it still is not a cast axle only fabed steel. The model in the link I posted has the I-Beam type cast iron front axle.
I think you are looking at more power than u should ever need on 1/2 acre and my consideration would be dependability, which I give to the single over either of the twins. I have only been doing repair for a few years now but have donated 2 briggs twins to the local high school because the bottom end let go...I have yet to scrap a single cylinder. I also think the low end torque from the singles are hard to match, course I am rebuilding a stock inline 6 cyl for my Land cruiser giving up a free V8 conversion...
There is something to say for the bolt together lighter frame on the craftsman also in my opinion, especially on hilly or rough terrain, and that is it will flex more so than the rigid deere helping to keep all the tires to the turf. Its also a bit lighter I imagine making for even less to be top heavy.
Actually I also like Joes advice of a rear mounted snapper...should easily handle 1/2 acre and will outlast any engine that powers it...in my opinion
 
  #14  
Old 05-15-05, 03:36 PM
Pendragon's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 1,839
I have the closet model to this one:
http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...=Lawn+Tractors

Mines probably 5 years old, with the 21hp B&S engine, but it's essentially the same.
I think I paid right at $1500 for it. The only thing I've had to do to it is replace the starter solenoid and touch up some rust spots, it's still using the original spark plug and air filters. This thing has been abused too, I regularly use it to pull a loaded 5x9 open trailer, a 5x8 enclosed trailer and a 4x6 dump trailer around the yard. I fabricated a trailer mount that simply bolts to the rear of the frame.

It has the metal hood (plastic would have gotten broken long ago).

If I had any complaint, it's the tractors light weight doesn't give it much traction when pulling things you're not suppose to be pulling with it anyway.
 
  #15  
Old 05-15-05, 04:22 PM
bambiblaster's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: South Central Pa
Posts: 810
THE CRAFTSMAN 27582 IS A GOOD ONE... YOU CAN HAGGLE AND GET IT FOR THE SAME PRICE AS THE 27581... ME AND MY BROTHER WENT TO 2 DIFFERENT STORES AND THE 2ND STORE GAVE US IT AT THE LOWER PRICE...
 
  #16  
Old 05-15-05, 11:01 PM
cheese's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 16,815
Personally, I'd get the sears 27582. More mower, less $$. Cast iron axle and fender control to boot. The foot pedal automatic is a pain to use in my opinion....because you have to constantly keep foot pressure on the fwd pedal to mow. During a test drive, this doesn't seem bad, but when you're halfway into mowing the yard, your foot is getting tired of keeping the constant pressure on the pedal. My mower has the hydro control on the dash. It's a craftsman, 1985 model, and still just as strong as ever. Original engine and tranny. The deck finally wore through and I replaced it a few weeks ago. (44" cut). The only major repairs I have done to it are the deck and the electric clutch just a few years ago. I use it to mow with, but it gets used even more often for pulling trailers and dragging stuff around the yard. I just hauled a 32 foot trailer partially loaded across my yard with it today, and also another trailer with 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of lumber on it. (so much that my 2 ton jack almost wouldn't pick one side of it up....bent the jack handle doing it...after it collapsed one of the trailer leaf springs). I have a heavy trailer hitch welded on the back of the mower. Gotta be careful though, the brakes don't stop too well with a few thousand ounds behind you. The tranny stops me though when I back it down.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes