Newbie looking at buying a yard tractor

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  #1  
Old 02-18-06, 01:09 PM
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Newbie looking at buying a yard tractor

Hello all, ive been lurking for a bit and finally am posting my first thread,

Anyway, i am looking at buying a Yard Tractor from Sears (Canada)

We have about a 1/2 acre of property, and are on a corner lot making it a little more, I am looking for something that i can later add on to such as a snowblower attachment since we are in a snowbelt and get tons of snow every year. Other than that I may run a trailer on the back of it for yard work.

I have checked out all that Sears is offering and have come down to liking Model # 60594 heres a link : http://www6.sears.ca/webapp/wcs/stor...ctId=158485323



<img src="http://image.sears.ca/icat/60/59/712860594.fpx?cell=500&cvt=jpeg">
Image credit:sears.ca

Anyway its a 21 hp Automatic( for the wife also )

I geuss what im asking for is any advice, comments, experiences that may help me make up my mind.

The tractor is on sale until June, so I have lots of time .

Thanks for any help

shiNer
 

Last edited by GregH; 02-21-06 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Code link
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  #2  
Old 02-18-06, 09:54 PM
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Hello shiNer!

In my opinion, you're looking at good mowers, but I would suggest going with a honda or kohler under the hood instead. Also stick with the hydro tranny and electric PTO to increase your odds of having less trouble out of the mower in the future.
 
  #3  
Old 02-19-06, 05:37 AM
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the kohler one and honda one are a bit out of my reach, well a lot out of my reach at first we were looking at the $1299 jobs


the kohler is $3999
the honda I have a picture for but cant find the price, i think it was over $3000
 
  #4  
Old 02-19-06, 06:53 AM
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I am wondering...do you have a need for a snowblower attachment on this tractor as opposed to getting a good walk-behind snowblower and possibly saving a large amount of money? The attachment for your tractor costs at least $CDN1700. I'm guessing that you could get a good 8 or 9 hp walk-behind for maybe 400-500 less, possibly more if you found a good end-of-season sale. A walk-behind would be easier to use in smaller spaces, save wear and tear on the tractor and would eliminate the need to mount-dismount the attachment. Just a thought.

AZ
 
  #5  
Old 02-19-06, 08:05 AM
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shiNer,

I agree with the suggestion to forget about the blower attachment.
If you have a large enough drive to really need it then the lawn tractor you are looking at I don't think is big enough.
A friend had a Roper tractor similar to what you are looking at and found that the machine was too light to be able to do anything other than waste time.
The blower when raised took so much weight off the back wheels, even with the rear weight kit, the machine was imobile whan maneuvering in more than a bare driveway.

I have a 250' driveway with another 450' of path aroung the back to a couple of sheds that I can clear in a coiuple of hours with a Craftsman 11 1/2hp, hydrostatic driveblower I just bought.

Here is the thread about my snowthrower question.
I wound up buying the one I asked about and I'll put a review on it there when I get time.
Something to think about anyhow.
 
  #6  
Old 02-19-06, 08:09 AM
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well we took a walk behind into consideration, but for the amount of snow we get and how often, i think a ride on one would make things easier since i also work 12 hour shifts and dread shovelling or snowblowing the driveway after a long day (especially with the walk behind we had before)

i geuss what im saying is i dont mind spending the extra $400 or $500 dollars for the attachment for the convenience and ease of just jumping on it and going

i figured id end up spending about $1000 or a bit more on getting an excellent snowblower, then im looking at the size of these things, my wife wouldnt be able to handle one of them

as for the wear and tear on the tractor, does anyone have any info on the difference in say using a tractor for only the lawn in the summer, and letting it sit idle for the winter, or using it all year round, hot and cold weather

i would first off think using it all year round would be better for the tractor, but then you throw the freezing temps in the mix and i dont know,

i have a Sears booklet for tractors and they say they test them for over 2200 hours in extreme conditions before they meet their guidelines

anyway, thanks for the replies and opinions, keep em coming this is exactly what i wanted, i hate buying without getting some advice and doing some homework

thanks
 
  #7  
Old 02-19-06, 08:27 AM
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I'll add that my friend even had rear wheel chains.
My involvement was to help him solve his problem and when I suggested adding several hundred pounds to give the machine some weight, he parked the blower.
He wound up just hiring a neighbour with a skid steer for storms and bought a small 5 hp blower to just get to the road.
 
  #8  
Old 02-19-06, 09:11 AM
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wow i cant beleive your friend had that much trouble,

mu buddy has a 1967 20hp tractor with snowbloer attachment and has about 150 ft of driveway to do and he has no problem, other than the fact he has to watch his limbs for pulleys and belts etc

we dont have a huge driveway, probably 50 ft double wide, with about a 15 ft walkway

i am going to buy the chains and if needed the 150lb rear weight kit

my buddy seems to think i will only need the chains, as he is on an incline and i am pretty flat

sears does have a weight kit that is about 150lbs,

also the blower is just an addon later, mostly im worrying about the tractor for the lawn and just to make sure it is suitable "if" i am going to add the blower, whcih will be bought in the fall if at all
 
  #9  
Old 02-19-06, 09:55 AM
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We have rural properties so perhaps your use will not be as taxing.
You asked for some opinions and got them.

Good luck with what ever you decide.
 
  #10  
Old 02-19-06, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by GregH
We have rural properties so perhaps your use will not be as taxing.
You asked for some opinions and got them.

Good luck with what ever you decide.
i hope u didnt take anything the wrong way

i welcome the opinions, whichever way they go, its going to help me make my decision and feel comfortable with it,

as i said before, thanks for any help. opinions, experiences
 
  #11  
Old 02-19-06, 12:20 PM
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You are looking at a pretty good mower, though the briggs will last just as long as a honda or kohler, if not longer , though newer mowers aren't made like they used to be..... I'm guessing the 1967 one your friend has is alot heavier built. As for running them all year, all you'd have to worry about is water in the gas, and a dead battery..... use a good 5w-30 synthetic in the engine.
 
  #12  
Old 02-19-06, 06:57 PM
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If you want to put the blower on the front, install the tire chains & get your tires loaded with fluid. A small 6" tire will hold 1.5 gal of washer fluid & it's a lot cheeper than a weight kit!! I do this to all the walk behind snowblowers I've had & it makes a world of difference!!) Roger
 
  #13  
Old 02-19-06, 08:56 PM
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The 1967 tractor your friend has is probably no comparison to the mowers built today. Back then, the tractor mowers were often built of 1/4" iron, cast iron front and rear ends, and weighed 3 or 4 times more than mowers today. The traction issue may be something to look at. Adding weight, as in washer fluid in the tires and accesory weights. Maybe tractor lug tires as well. I don't have to deal with snow in my climate, so that's out of my area.

I know of very few briggs engines that can compare to hondas or kohlers. The Vanguard twins made by daihatsu or mitsubishi can keep up with the best of 'em, and likely outdo them (and they're japanese built) but other than that, they aren't built to the same standards, tolerances, or of the same quality metals. That's not knocking Briggs though. They build decent engines for the price. I like them, and excellent service can be obtained from a briggs.
 
  #14  
Old 02-20-06, 02:07 AM
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Just as is the case with any engine, maintainance is the key factor in the longevity of service. Hondas and Kohlers aren't immune to damage from poor maintainance. Also, service parts are priced in line with their higher purchase price. When you can buy two Briggs powered machines vs one Kohler powered for the same money, you have to ask yourself would the $3999 machine last long enough to pay back the higher inital investment. You also have to wonder if the rest of the machine will be durable enough to last long enough to provide longterm savings. Assuming a Kohler is twice as durable as a Briggs, What benefit would a perfectly good Kohler engine be bolted to 6-10 year old broken down tractor? While you could sell the motor, I doubt you could recoup the higher investment. Is the rest of the Kohler powered machine better than the Briggs? Probably not $2000 dollars worth. Consider spending additional money on the maintainance end of your purchase and I think you will come out ahead.

A couple of things come to mind as far as adding snow removal equipment:

Heated or semi-heated storage will cut down on wear from cold starting. Storing inside usually allows you to add a maitainance charger and prevents the build up of ice. Leaving your machine outside all winter not only effects your snow removal, it will shorten the time it will last as a lawnmower also.

The downfall of a tractor mounted blower is its climbing and maneuvering ability. If you have flat drive and walkways, chains may be all that is required. But weight is often necessary. I prefer a removable weight box for two reasons. Loaded tires add additional stress to the chassis and axles ALL the time, and even more so in the summer when you would use the tractor at higher speeds to mow the grass. Being able to remove the extra load will increase axle life. Secondly the windsheild wash or calcium will take it's toll on tires and rims eventually, and can damage your lawn and storage areas. No brand of mower comes with high quality tires in my opinion as leaking tires are very commonplace. A loaded tire will have to be plugged or patched, while a unloaded tire can be filled with a tire sealant. Yes, I know tire sealants can take their toll on rims too. But I have a very 'unrefined' yard to take care of and punctures are regular occurrence. I couldn't live without Slime!

The last factor to consider is blower width. A 24" walk behind is going to handle walks much better than a 42" tractor mounted blower. However that same tractor mounted blower will make short work of a flat driveway. Time seems to be a factor for you, and ease of use is your largest concern. Just consider all the factors before you drop some serious dough on any machine.Try to borrow a similar set-up or even ask to try to manuver a tractor mounted blower around a clear driveway or parking lot before you buy.
 
  #15  
Old 02-20-06, 03:55 PM
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hey guys thanks for the advice, i have one other question though

a co-worker suggested i may not need a snowblower attachment, but i could get by with a blade, his reasons were : i have a flat driveway, i have ditches i can push the snow into, and my street is not very busy at all so manueverability to push it in the ditch wont be a problem, this being said, he did say chains and weight were mandatory

i am unsure of this , im not sure how well the tractor will be able to push snow, i see some people here dont even think the blower will be of benefit

so anyway, does anyone out there have specific experience with one of these snow pushing blades on their tractor?? here is a link to the blade: http://www6.sears.ca/webapp/wcs/stor...ctId=158336505

once again thanks for the advice and opinions, i was happy with the responses, btw im pretty sure we have settled on that model of tractor,
 
  #16  
Old 02-20-06, 05:27 PM
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I seem to recall the original post said you get "tons of snow every year". No matter how you spin this story, you are still trying to ask for a lot from what will always be a light-duty tractor. It's probably great for mowing the lawn...but that doesn't mean it will push or blow snow well no matter what Sears says. What I want to know is...what are your neighbors using? That will probably be your best guide. If you really decide to push snow with this, you'd probably be limited to no more than 5-6 inches....any more would be too difficult for it. Will you always be able to go out into the storm and plow before it gets too deep? I didn't think so. I still think that, for the amounts you're talking about spending...a separate lawn tractor and walk-behind snowblower give you the best capability for the least amount. If you're committed to one machine only, I think you should consider a more robust tractor.

By all means...let us know what you decide and how well it works for you. Good luck.

AZ
 
  #17  
Old 02-20-06, 06:01 PM
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we do get a lot of snow , i did state that i was unsure of what my co-worker said about the blade meaning it didnt sound too believable

i still dont understand how this is a light duty tractor, i have followed do it yourselfs guide to selecting a tractor to a 'T', and came up with a tractor with less hp, less options etc then i selected a model 2 higher than that one

can you tell me what else i am to be looking at to get a more robust tractor? i am confused now, am i to look at horsepower? engine? because the one i am looking at is 21hp with the B&S V-Twin OHV, the only other tractors i see that Sears offers are a 22hp, 24 hp and then the garden tractor at 25 hp, they all have the V-twin, the honda shows the OHC

Sears has 3 types of tractors Value, Performance and Deluxe, i chose one of the deluxe, and while i realize this is not a garden tractor i am not expecting it to perform as such

i have to say i am getting more confused as the days go on and the opinions come in

also AZinOH, im not trying to spin any stories, just asking for help and advice

and as for my neighbours, no one has a tractor with a snowblower on it, they have snowblowers ranging from very small to medium sized ones,

again i have a double wide driveway for over 6 cars with a walkway, ive gotta say if that dual stage snowblower attachment cant do that, i would be getting my money back right away, another reason im buying from sears, no hassle returns at least in my experience
 
  #18  
Old 02-20-06, 06:25 PM
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Plowing certainly has it's disadvantages. A tractor can not push more than it's own weight and that will not be near enough for your driveway without repeated passes. If the snow gets ahead of you, you are sunk. You will have no choice but call in bigger guns. You also must push the early season snow far enough away to leave room for successive snowfalls, since a tractor won't be able to move frozen snowbanks. A blower can 'stack' new snow on top of old.
 
  #19  
Old 02-21-06, 05:35 AM
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Theres so much to chose from. Often people go by the looks alone and fail to realize the power plant is the heart of em all. I do agree Kohler is one of the better engines out today. Techumsehs are extremely cold blooded and very low quality. Be mindful of the Honda engines that come with the Black covers and also the Briggs & Strattons that have the Red covers, These were designed a bit different to cut production costs and end up being seasonal and wear out more. Spend that extra $$ and go with the Kohler.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by diagnosticmonke
Theres so much to chose from. Often people go by the looks alone and fail to realize the power plant is the heart of em all. I do agree Kohler is one of the better engines out today. Techumsehs are extremely cold blooded and very low quality. Be mindful of the Honda engines that come with the Black covers and also the Briggs & Strattons that have the Red covers, These were designed a bit different to cut production costs and end up being seasonal and wear out more. Spend that extra $$ and go with the Kohler.
Can't really go by color, I mean, by what your saying, the powerbuilt briggs, which has a black cover, is better then the intek with the red cover? But I do agree with the tecumseh one... after a while, some seem to like throwing connecting rods. I do have to say this about sears though, they will take it back with no questions asked, but make sure you drain the gas tank , It is about the powerplant, why I went with the briggs 18.5 intek, I actually was amazed that I didn't see much wear in metals in the oil filter! You'd see alot for the first couple oil changes in your regular old 3.5 briggs sure..... and that engine can give you lots of years of use and abuse. Yes, at the end of its life... I removed the governor, and it never blew up..., Have one 12hp I/C thats 17 years old, uses a little oil, but not bad since i'm the third owner, the first guy used it for a commercial backup mower.
 
  #21  
Old 02-21-06, 03:45 PM
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Friends don't let friends buy Craftsman OPE......
 
  #22  
Old 02-21-06, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by garandman
Friends don't let friends buy Craftsman OPE......
Then what would you let him buy? Hey.....its better then any mtd.
 
  #23  
Old 02-21-06, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by garandman
Friends don't let friends buy Craftsman OPE......

if you have had a bad experience with crafstman , please share, i dont have any OPE but i do have many craftsman woodworking tools from them such as router, tablesaw, cordless drill, router and other bit sets etc

i had a problem with 2 of these which is to be expected, and they replaced one with the higher model because that day they didnt have any of my model onsite, the other problem they replaced it with the same model number and reset the bill to reflect a new warranty start date

i have to say your comment is rather useless without any details as to why you came to that conclusion

as a side note: i found 2 other co-workers who each have 6 and 8 yr old Sears yard tractors and their only complaint was one guy said he only got 2 yrs out of the battery, he since replaced it with a motorcycle battery and 4 yrs later still good,
the other guy had absolutely no complaints, and was happy with it altogether
both did not use it for snowblowing however, so on that end they couldnt comment
 
  #24  
Old 02-21-06, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by JLOpower
Plowing certainly has it's disadvantages. A tractor can not push more than it's own weight and that will not be near enough for your driveway without repeated passes. If the snow gets ahead of you, you are sunk. You will have no choice but call in bigger guns. You also must push the early season snow far enough away to leave room for successive snowfalls, since a tractor won't be able to move frozen snowbanks. A blower can 'stack' new snow on top of old.

i think you are right about the plowing part of it, it does seem to have quite a few limitations, and with the frequency of the snowfalls here, i would have to plow out about 20ft or i would run out of room by the middle of january,

i am no longer even considering the plow for the tractor, but i might hook one up to my 1988 Buick LeSabre! heheh
 

Last edited by shiNer; 02-22-06 at 05:06 AM.
  #25  
Old 02-21-06, 07:06 PM
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That really looks like a nice mower and it would be a shame to abuse it with snow clearing attachments.
A walk behind snowthrower would make short work of the amount of snow you get.
 
  #26  
Old 02-22-06, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by shiNer
if you have had a bad experience with crafstman , please share, i dont have any OPE but i do have many craftsman woodworking tools from them such as router, tablesaw, cordless drill, router and other bit sets etc ////
i have to say your comment is rather useless without any details as to why you came to that conclusion
It was meant as a jocular reference. It is a paraphrase of the old campaign, "Friends don't let friends drive drunk."

You do not have to search far to find problems with the hydrostatic transmissions used on Craftsman tractors, and other durability and maintenance issues.

The larger, more damning issue is their changing vendors every few years on many of their product offerings so that parts supply and service can be a challenge compared to the likes of dedicated manufacturers like Ariens Toro JD etc.

A broader concern is that folks here are suggesting that this machine will not do a good job on the requirements you list, and your budget doesn't seem to accomodate a more powerful, durable machine. You seem to be invested in the decision - in which case such advice is just going to make you feel bad, and defensive.

My suggestion would be to take your max budget; deduct 20% for repairs and maintenance; and buy a used machine. Between craigslist and eBay you should have quite a few choices.
 
  #27  
Old 02-22-06, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by garandman
It was meant as a jocular reference. It is a paraphrase of the old campaign, "Friends don't let friends drive drunk."

You do not have to search far to find problems with the hydrostatic transmissions used on Craftsman tractors, and other durability and maintenance issues.

The larger, more damning issue is their changing vendors every few years on many of their product offerings so that parts supply and service can be a challenge compared to the likes of dedicated manufacturers like Ariens Toro JD etc.

A broader concern is that folks here are suggesting that this machine will not do a good job on the requirements you list, and your budget doesn't seem to accomodate a more powerful, durable machine. You seem to be invested in the decision - in which case such advice is just going to make you feel bad, and defensive.

My suggestion would be to take your max budget; deduct 20% for repairs and maintenance; and buy a used machine. Between craigslist and eBay you should have quite a few choices.
Whens the last time you've taken a look at toros site? Some of their mowers are mtds....., a little searching online brought up very few things wrong with the craftsman (ayp) mower, and was actually said to be pretty reliable...... Husqvarna's made by electrolux which owns ayp, thats why you see weedeater brands and husqvarna at sears. Last time I looked, the big box store john deeres you see, look a heck of alot like a husqvarna...... Theres gonna be alot of complaints on sears craftsmans.....one reason being is that they sell alot of them........
 
  #28  
Old 02-22-06, 11:46 PM
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Craftsman has used the same vendor (AYP) for their tractor style mower for I guess around 20-25 years. That's pretty stable if you ask me. The hydro is the same that is found in many mid-range mowers and is very reliable in comparison to a standard. My opinion is that sears craftsman mowers and other AYP mowers are about the best value. Value, meaning quality versus price. Craftsman doesn't have the very best tractor out there, but I think Craftsman will work your dollar longer then the rest. I have a choice of mowers with all the trade ins I get, and I still keep my old craftsman 44" hydro with elec. PTO. It's turning 21 years old this year I believe.

shiNer....the mower you're considering is light duty. It's not a base model, but it's still not a hunk of iron like the '60s mower your friend has. It should make a nice mower though.
 
  #29  
Old 04-12-06, 01:41 PM
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just an update

hello all ,

just to let you know we went with the model 60594 as was in my first post, ive been on her and really like it so far, havent really cut anything , but am looking forward to it

we still arent sure what we will do for a snowblower yet,

another thing, to my surprise my mother in law paid for half of the mower when my wife told her it was going to be an anniversary present,

thanks for your help i love this site
 
  #30  
Old 04-12-06, 10:39 PM
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Thanks for the update, and I hope you enjoy your new mower!
 
  #31  
Old 04-13-06, 11:25 AM
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Glad to hear, hope you enjoy it as well....
 
  #32  
Old 04-13-06, 01:41 PM
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I'd be very interested in hearing how you like the tractor after using it a few times to mow. I'm looking for something to mow ~1/2 acre, don't need it for blowing snow. My debate is do I buy something like the Craftsman or pay the money for something like a Simplicity. I can almost buy two Craftsman for the price of 1 Simplicity. I'm also kicking around the idea of a zero turn mower but again the price goes up.
 
  #33  
Old 05-11-06, 01:06 PM
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Smile

Originally Posted by gsr
I'd be very interested in hearing how you like the tractor after using it a few times to mow. I'm looking for something to mow ~1/2 acre, don't need it for blowing snow. My debate is do I buy something like the Craftsman or pay the money for something like a Simplicity. I can almost buy two Craftsman for the price of 1 Simplicity. I'm also kicking around the idea of a zero turn mower but again the price goes up.

Just wanted to let you know about the mowing of this tractor, in one word its excellent, I actually enjoy cutting the lawn, and it looks superb. I'm not sure if I can suggest what else to look out for since I'm really satisfied, my only gripe i geuss would be the gas indicator being under the seat, some models have it near the rear fender, just makes it easier to see, but as far as gripes go, thats all i can think of

So overall I'm very happy.
 
  #34  
Old 09-16-11, 11:17 AM
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Craftsman lawn tractor products

Craftsman lawnmowers are extremely affordable. And they are backed by a very good company with field techs that will come to you to make an assessment if you have any problems for a reasonable price.

I would recommend Craftsman lawnmowers tractors if you are somewhat handy and to some degree mechanically inclined. If you are not get a John Deere, Troybuilt, Kubota, Husqvarna. If you choose a Craftsman tractor that is priced over $1,500 you may have a tractor mower that can stand toe to toe with the other brands.

But I have not seen a Craftsman mower that didn't give an owner all sorts of problems. So it would be advantageous for you to be mechanically equipped so you can decide to spend the money with a field tech or do the work on your own. Because when you have an issue it would not be uncommon to spend upwards of $300 to keep your anxiety in check.
 
  #35  
Old 09-16-11, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by scratchgolfer View Post
Craftsman lawnmowers are extremely affordable. And they are backed by a very good company with field techs that will come to you to make an assessment if you have any problems for a reasonable price.

I would recommend Craftsman lawnmowers tractors if you are somewhat handy and to some degree mechanically inclined. If you are not get a John Deere, Troybuilt, Kubota, Husqvarna. If you choose a Craftsman tractor that is priced over $1,500 you may have a tractor mower that can stand toe to toe with the other brands.

But I have not seen a Craftsman mower that didn't give an owner all sorts of problems. So it would be advantageous for you to be mechanically equipped so you can decide to spend the money with a field tech or do the work on your own. Because when you have an issue it would not be uncommon to spend upwards of $300 to keep your anxiety in check.
Scratch;
You're posting on a 5yr old thread. Have a good one. Geo
 
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