Riding mower choices for this year


Old 03-10-09, 08:44 PM
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Riding mower choices for this year

I am in the market for a riding mower. HD and Lowes seem to both have John Deere and Ariens mowers this year, last year they were MTD so go figure.

Anyways, looking into the Ariens since they are cheaper than the John Deere, but not sure about the quality compared to Deere? This mower will be mulching massive amounts of leaves, dragging a lawn sweeper around, and i'd like to put a plow on it in the winter so i can save money on buying a snow blower.

Thanks for your time!
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Old 03-10-09, 10:20 PM
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I don't know how big of a yard you have, but it sounds like you need more of a garden tractor than regular lawn mower. First of all, I'd go to a dealer for a deere. HD and Lowes don't sell the high quality mowers that the dealer sells. The dealers generally also sell the same lower end mowers that the box stores sell, and at the same price, so if you decide to buy a homeowners edition, you can buy it from the dealer who has much more knowledge about what they sell (rather than the clueless department clerk at the box stores). They will also be the ones to take it to for service when needed and by purchasing a mower from them, you will be establishing a relationship with them as well as putting money on a local table rather than a CEO's wallet.

If the good deeres are out of your price range, my personal preference would be to look at the top end craftsmans and husqvarnas. For what the cheaper deeres cost, you can often buy a craftsman that is better....and you won't have to worry about that brittle plastic green hood breaking like they all do.

I don't know much about ariens these days. We haven't had an ariens dealer here for quite some time, so I don't get to see the newer ariens products. The older ones were ok. Not my favorite, but ok.

For what you want to do, I would look for something with a strong front axle, preferably cast iron. Something with a strong rear end, preferably with high/low range or a heavy duty hydro like the GT deeres have. I like electric PTO better than mechanical for reliability and less belt problems. I'm not a big fan of the briggs ELS and intek engines. I've seen a lot with big problems after less than 100 hrs. Kohler, honda, kawasaki, and the briggs vanguards are generally excellent engines.

Also think about who is going to work on it and where you will get parts, blades, etc... when you need them. The box stores don't generally have service depts, so make sure you have a convenient place to go for service and parts.

That's my take on the topic...for whatever it may be worth. Hope it helps!
Old 03-11-09, 01:33 AM
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Thanks so much for your recommendation. I found a local John Deere dealer and found one of their LA models (LA145), has cast iron front axle and electric PTO for around $2,100. I sent an e-mail to the local shop to see if they have it and asked a few questions. Looks like HD has it and they list shops on the JD web site that will service you through buying from HD, but I'll look at the local stuff first like you recommended :-)

I think I may need to find a trailer to buy though, or at least rent.
Old 03-11-09, 07:25 AM
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Buy your John Deere at your local John Deere dealer. Why?
1). you are supporting local bussiness.
2). they service and warranty what they sell. Big Box store do not do service.
3). the products are NOT the same. B.B. stores products are made cheaper. Examples:
Dealer- engine is full pressure lube (meaning it has an oil filter and pressurized oil sysytem).
Box store-engine is splash sytem(meaning the rod splashes oil)
if you have hills, you want the pressurized lube system.
Tire sizes may be smaller at the box stores.
Look close and you will find a lot of small (that are actually BIG) differences.
Old 03-11-09, 01:18 PM
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Ariens wanted a presence in the box store market, and contracted Husqvarna to build their new line of tractors. Ariens themselves got out of the tractor business several years ago. So the Ariens machines you see are basically Husqvarna tractors (who also builds Sears Craftsman, and Poulan machines) with different paint and decals. Some models may offer different engine choices or an extra gage or two. The plus side is you have mulitple sources for parts (Sears, Husqvarna dealers, and Ariens dealers). I highly recommend buying from a dealer. They will set up the machine properly, become aware of any future recalls or warantee issues, and be your source for repair parts. They will take the time to go over the manual with you, instruct you on the safe operation of the machine, and most will deliver it to your house although some do charge a fee for that.

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