Toro,Troybuilt,Craftsman or John Deere Riding Mower


Old 06-07-06, 11:10 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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Toro,Troybuilt,Craftsman or John Deere Riding Mower

Just moved to Washington and now find myself with 1.5 acres of lawn, I did a search for best riding mowers and didn't come up with an answer to my dilemma.

In the price range of $1300.00-$1600.00 "give or take" I know I'm stuck buying it from one of the big box stores. And what I need to know is what is the best value out there for a riding mower? My property has on one 7% grade and other wise is pretty flat, I like the Kohler twin engines over the Briggs single which John Deere seems to have a lot of in that price range. It must have wheels on the deck to prevent burn.

So any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-07-06, 02:46 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 106
You have already figured out many of the practical features you need, so pick a mower with the best deck/deck wheel configuration. [When it comes to deck wheels, wider is better, to steal a phrase from Pontiac.]

The one thing you did not mention was the transmission type. Your price range precludes a true hydro trans. So you will have to choose between a direct drive manual transmission with between 4 and 6 forward,neutral and one reverse speed OR a variable speed trans with a forward, neutral and reverse selector and a foot petal to control speed.[Often advertized as cruise control.] While the variable speed tranny sounds good in theory, I don't like it when riding uphill or sidehill. It is too jerky and unstable for my tastes. Also, the variable speed drive system uses twice as many belts and requires better maintainance to the pulleys.

Last edited by JLOpower; 06-07-06 at 03:03 PM.
Old 06-08-06, 12:02 AM
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If I were in the buying chair, I'd be looking at the Craftsmans, and probably pick one of theirs. Second choice of your selections would be Deere. My personal second choice would be Husquvarna (basically the same mowers as the craftsmans), snapper, simplicity, or Cub Cadet. I personally am not fond of the Troy bilts, to put it mildly, and not a big fan of modern Toros either.

I think the AYP mowers (husquvarna and craftsman) are probably the best value in my opinion (dollar versus years of service and expense to own). They are not the best mowers available, but better than many. With 1.5 acres to mow, you might want to bump up the budget just a bit closer to $2000 and you'll probably find it's a "spend more now to save even more later" situation. That would put you in reach of models with hydro tranny and electric PTO, both of which seem to be less trouble prone and longer-lasting.
Old 06-08-06, 04:45 AM
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FWIW, you can get a hydrostatic trans in your price range.

Mine is a 21hp B&S Twin, Craftsman, 42" deck with true hydro drive, infinite forward, reverse and stop all controlled by hand lever, foot pedal only engages the brake. I think I paid about $1495 for it. Don't know of any deck mower than doesn't have wheels, but some work better than others, rollers are best, but have only seen those on Cub Cadets.

The John Deere's at the big box stores are re-branded MTD's, so don't spend the money on a name and green paint. Only place to by a real JD is at a JD dealer, and you won't get one near your price range.

Sears item #07127682000 Mfr. model #27682
$1399 (reg 1499, sales ends today).
20hp, oil and fuel filters, hydro drive, 42" deck, only a single cylinder though.
Old 06-08-06, 07:06 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 25
If you are gonna bump the price a little, I would consider one of the Z turns like Cub, husky, ElToro, etc.

I run a commercial version of the toro and wouldn't be on anything else, cept maybe a brass hopper lol. The Z will stick to that grade anyway you want to cut it. It is comforting to know that you will slide off the grade before tumbling off - and you don't have to hang your butt cheek on the uphill fender.

If the center of gravity gets any higher on the craftsman (aren't they MTD's) they are gonna have to put training wheels on them.
Old 06-08-06, 07:18 AM
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Cub Cadet...

I like the Cub Cadet I bought model 1042, it has a single cylinder Kohler engine hydrostatic trans and electric PTO. It was $1599, for your yard I'd spend the extra $100 and get the 1045 with the 46" deck or move up to the 54" deck and the dual cylinder Kohler ($1999).

I liked the Craftsman a lot too but didn't like the dealer and it seemed like I got more for the money with the Cub. Can't tell you how durable the Cub is though because I've only had it a month.
Old 06-08-06, 12:01 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 106
Troy-bilt is now 100% MTD as are all 1000 and 1500 series Cub Cadet. They are virtually identical once you get past the color and 'styling' differences. How can you dislike TroyBilts and favor Cubs? If they are not clones, they certainly are kissin' cousins.

However, 2000 series Cubs are a HUGE step above TroyBilts. They seem to be based on the original Cub Cadet designs and features that made the brand popular in the past. Hydro trans, shaft drives and a whole bunch of other features are available. But, you won't find the 2000 series at a BiGBoX.

Last edited by JLOpower; 06-08-06 at 02:02 PM.
Old 06-09-06, 01:22 AM
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The better cubs are what I am referring to. They run over the intended budget. When you get the cast iron tranny, kohler engine, heavy guage deck, cast front end, electric pto, etc...., then the cubs are in my favor.

BTW...Pendragon, As far as I know, MTD does not make any Deere product. The same L and LT series available at the box stores is also available at the Deere dealerships.
Old 06-09-06, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by cheese
.........BTW...Pendragon, As far as I know, MTD does not make any Deere product. The same L and LT series available at the box stores is also available at the Deere dealerships.

Yep, ALL Deere tractors are made by Deere inside Deere factories by Deere employees. One factory is in Greeneville, Tennessee where the products you see in Home Depot are built because of lower labor costs, and the other facility in in Horicon, Wisconsin where the remainder of the lawn and garden tractors are built. Obviously the engines come from outside sources like Briggs and Kawasaki. I don't know how the myth of MTD making Deere products stays alive.

I also saw reference to Craftsman tractors being MTD products, and that is also not true. They are built by AYP and are cousins of Husqvarna and Puolan.
Old 11-17-07, 08:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
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The transmission is a spicer
I may open her up and check out the gears.
I wonder where I would find the internal parts?
Thanks for an advice you can supply
Old 11-17-07, 09:03 AM
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