Craftsman Yard Tractor #27662 or #27618?

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  #1  
Old 08-19-06, 06:49 AM
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Question Craftsman Yard Tractor #27662 or #27618?

Hi folks, new member as of yesterday - lurker for about 1 month now.

I have a bit of a dilema. I need to replace my tractor - a 1991 vintage Wheel Horse 312-8. For various reasons, buying another $4500 - $5000 tractor is not an option now. I need to get something quick to mow - and only mow - my 1 acre yard. My yard is a little rough; a cast front axle is a must.

I've been looking at the "box-store" mowers along with what Sears has to offer. I narrowed it down to an MTD Troy Bilt (19HP Kohler, 42" deck) at Lowes for $1169, or a Crafstman Yard Tractor #27662 or #27618. They are identical, except the #618 has a 20HP B&S Intek engine for $1499. The #662 has a 21HP Kohler Pro Courage for $1599.

Can I get opinions on which to buy? Is the Kohler engine worth another $100? Or, should I be looking at the Troy Bilt for better than $300 less? I know that at least here, it seems the AYP built Craftsman units are considered a little better quality & value than the MTD mowers. Also, if I were in a position to sell whatever I buy in less than 1 year (due to a job relocation), which would be the smartest buy now?

Thanks in advance for any advice!
 
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  #2  
Old 08-19-06, 09:12 AM
Azis
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Good thing you asked for "Opinions" cuz I think that is largely what it boils down to.
Personally I guess I have not seen any new MTD/Troybilts but the older ones were certainly IMO, every bit as good as the AYP's as far as bang for the buck.
It has also been over a year since I looked at new mowers but at that time my money would have gone toward the AYP's from sears. Actually Husqvarna. It is the exact same model as the craftsman however with the Husqy name there was no option for the lighter gage steel, manual PTO...ect. Basically it was the High End Craftsman model in orange paint.
The briggs twins hit a sore spot with me. Surely it has been fixed or just a bad run in my area, but when I first started my shop I had 3 come through in the first two years that had let go a piston and caused fatal damage.
Kohlers are good engines and have a good reputation.
Personally for 1 acre and ease of maintenance, I like the one lungers (single cylinder) They are much simpler with less moving parts and less to worry about breaking. If I were only going to be mowing 1 acre for the rest of its life, I would certainly go that way.
If you are thinking of reselling it...be prepared for a bath :O and may indeed be a reason to get one with a bigger kohler engine. Another good selling point would be to get and retain all literature you can possibly get your hands on now while the mower is new, to transfer to ne new owner. Most folks I encounter looking for a "Used" mower are not carrying around much money to spend on one.
 
  #3  
Old 08-19-06, 10:31 AM
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Well here is my opinion, I strongly agree with the above post, I'd take a long look at the Husqvarna clone of the Sears model you are looking at. And frankly, I don't care for MTD's Troy-Bilt tractors, but they are inexpensive. As to what either will be worth in a year? Be happy if you recoup 1/2 to 2/3 of what you pay now. And definitely get AND keep all the literature you can get your hands on for whatever model you buy.
 
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Old 08-20-06, 12:23 AM
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Good advice. I also agree, and would spen my dollar on an AYP like craftsman or husquvarna with kohler if looking for the most out of my dollar. In my opinion, anything you buy will be a better value than a troy-bilt.
 
  #5  
Old 08-20-06, 06:18 AM
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Thanks for the feedback folks. I hooked up the trailer & my wife & I went tractor shopping yesterday.

When finished, we hauled home a new Craftsman YS4500, model #27662. This model has the 21HP Kohler Pro Courage engine. We also bought the soft-sided 2 bagger.

In my original post, I was a little off on my models & pricing. All with automatic transmissions, they stacked up this way:

Model #27664 has the 20HP B&S Intek engine, & it was on sale for $1399, normally $1699.

Model #27618 has a 20HP Kohler Pro Courage engine. It was available for $1499, normally $1599.

The 21HP we purchased was $1599, normally $1899.

I found it surprising that the 20HP Kohler had a catalog price $100 lower than the 20HP B&S - but the sale prices had it $100 more! The store I was at didn't have the 20HP Kohler in stock. Since they did have the 21HP Kohler, that's what we went home with.

As my wife wanted to drive & mow right away, once unloaded I fired it up & she made a couple of passes in the yard. After that, I parked it & started to check adjustments. I'm glad I did! The right front spindle had so much grease it was oozing out everywhere, there was no grease at the end of the steering column where the 2 gears mesh, the deck was over 3/4" out left to right, & the rear tires had twice as much air pressure than the maximum. Once all that was sorted out & I adjust the gauge wheels I managed to cut some of my yard before it started to rain.

Impressions: although we assembled the bagger & my wife used it, the grass is really too long (& therfore damp) for it to be 100% effective. I took it off for now. Where I mowed the grass was long, dense & therefore damp. Set at the highest deck height, the mower did a good job. I did slow down a good bit going through the thickest areas, but it never stumbled. It does turn much tighter than my old Wheel Horse - & turns easier. Not being able to slide 1/2 way off the seat to counter-balance on slopes might be an issue - I have to see if there's a way around that.

I was surprised at the lack of grease fittings. My old tractor had more, & the deck had one on every spindle. Also a lot more work to get this deck off, but that didn't really surprise me - there's only so much you can get for the price. Still, it will be more of a pain to clean.

Can't mow today - family reunion. I hope to use it more during the week. For anyone interested, I'll post opinions then.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 08-20-06, 12:22 PM
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Your old wheelhorse was one that had the cast iron clutch and brake pedals right? If so, you won't find a new mower made like that one. That was the last of the beasts made similarly to the big mowers of the '60s and '70s. I have one like it. Don't toss it out, as you'll find there are lots of people willing to pay good money for it, running or not.

The only grease fittings you'll find on the Craftsman are on the front end spindles/kingpins and the wheel hubs. The bearings in the mower deck are sealed. Most people don't grease their mowers like they should, and manufacturers have responded by installing non-serviceable bearings. They last longer than regular shielded bearings that never get greased.

Anyway, congratulations on your new mower! I think you'll be pleased with it.
 
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Old 08-21-06, 06:19 AM
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cheese said: {Your old wheelhorse was one that had the cast iron clutch and brake pedals right? If so, you won't find a new mower made like that one}

Yep - cast iron pedals, & a frame of welded angle. Mine has the 12HP Kohler Magnum engine, manual 3 speed + reverse transmission & 2 ranges (high & low).

Toss it out? NEVER! Seriously, if my wife lets me I might just hold onto it & keep my eye open for a used deck. The tractor runs great - starts right up every time & doesn't smoke. I just put in a battery, ignition switch, & a new spindle & bearings for the right front wheel. I was hoping the deck would last, but it simply is too weak.

I may even try to strip the old deck. All of the spindles are in good shape (greased regularly), & all of the linkage pieces are strong & straight. The issue is rust, I don't know that I could get the fasteners off without breaking something. A new deck skin runs close to $400.

{sigh} You are right cheese - they don't build them like that anymore! Although, you can still purchase that style of tractor from Toro Wheel Horse. It's a Classic GT/315-8. You won't find it at the box stores, but the tractor supply store where I bought mine in 1991 still carries them. MSRP = $4339, & that doesn't include a deck.

That simply isn't in my budget at this time, so for now the tractor getting the workout will be the new Craftsman!
 
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Old 08-21-06, 09:43 PM
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I wasn't aware they still made them. That's kinda cool that you can still buy something like that. I'm sure they don't have the nice K series kohler on them though. I have the same one, 3 speed with high and low and 12hp kohler. It's in excellent shape. Believe it or not, I traded an old MTD for it. The guy just wanted a running mower. He had the kohler rebuilt at a local repair shop with a bad reputation. He said it cost him around $600 I believe (to get it rebuilt), but now it knocks. It didn't knock before the rebuild, it just smoked. The shop wouldn't warranty it and the guy just wanted to be rid of it. I haven't had the time to go in and find out what the knocking is, but I can already see the points are out of whack, the carb is messed up, and the governor is messed up too.

I see a lot of this kind of thing coming from the "other repair shop in town".
 
  #9  
Old 08-26-06, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevinch
When finished, we hauled home a new Craftsman YS4500, model #27662. This model has the 21HP Kohler Pro Courage engine. We also bought the soft-sided 2 bagger.

In my original post, I was a little off on my models & pricing. All with automatic transmissions, they stacked up this way:

Model #27664 has the 20HP B&S Intek engine, & it was on sale for $1399, normally $1699.

Model #27618 has a 20HP Kohler Pro Courage engine. It was available for $1499, normally $1599.

The 21HP we purchased was $1599, normally $1899.
I just spent 3 hours trying to figure out which one to buy at Sears. I went there to buy the little $900 one. Almost ended up with the big one that uses the sleeve hitch attachments. I ended up in the 4500 series and settled on the 664 and got another 10% off the sale price the next day (today).

My points on the 664 was the comfort level being better than the smaller ones and a few more HP. The 664 has 4 wheels on the deck and I think the 618 had 2.

I've never owned one before and have no idea if it's any good - have to wait for delivery - but with an acre of rain graced weeds I hope it cuts the cake.
 
  #10  
Old 09-11-06, 12:46 AM
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Just a personal follow-up

Took the 664 out with the three hard bin bagger and had a blast. Took down the almost knee-high growth at the highest deck level w/out any problems and went back at a lower one. Worked out great except for the damp cuttings clogging the bagger chute. Too much rain out here and it was a small time window to work in.

I also picked up one of the 10 cu. ft "dump carts" with the removable tailgate. Pretty neat little toy. The best part was the price matching they had when the stuff went on sale. Took that money and bought a cheapy '9-star' aerator and broadcast spreader.

Some pinstrips and yellow flames on the side and I'll be all set!

Slime the 'turf-saver' tires! We have those goat head weeds out here and they bit a front tire.
 
  #11  
Old 09-11-06, 08:02 PM
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Glad you like it! I've been thinking of picking up one of those dump carts. I looked at them a few weeks ago.

Have fun with your new toys!
 
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