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Time for a new riding mower-opinion?
Old 07-03-2016, 12:26 PM   #1
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Time for a new riding mower-opinion?

My favorite little Scotts 2046 mower finally over-heated and died. It served me well for 16 years, and I just sold it with a powerbagger and spares for $300 to someone who has time and kids to tear it down for a cam shaft.

I have zero'd down my search to a John Deere S240, with a Kawasaki 18.5hp and a K46dp hydro transaxle. I have a small Kubota with a loader, and mower deck, but its just too much to mow around the orchard trees and back lawn. So all I need is a good mower like my old one. I had a Scotts 1642 prior with a poor transaxle so I put that option on my list first.

Who has this model s240, any regrets? I looked at the D series, but the cheap chinese Briggs engines are weak, and they have the low end t40 tranny. The only other JD is an x350, but it is $$$$ than I need to spend. We do get a nice 18% discount on Deere, so I can get the S240 for the price of a Home Depot D series. Thoughts? Other brands with same reliable features and price point?
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Old 07-03-2016, 12:51 PM   #2
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Something you might want to consider, especially if you are over 55 or 60, is the alternative of paying for a lawn service instead. Or maybe not! But now sounds like a good time for you to at least review your thoughts about it.

Anyway, that's what I have done since my late 50's. I pay $35/mow, no longer worry about being another "heart attack while mowing" statistic, help keep one more deserving person employed, and freed up my weekends.

Of course exercise is still necessary, but I engage in safer and more enjoyable forms of exercise now.
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Old 07-03-2016, 12:52 PM   #3
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Have you considered a zero turn mower for mowing around trees?
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Old 07-03-2016, 01:06 PM   #4
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Sorry, I don't have specific info for you: after toying with the idea of a riding mower for years, I finally decided my 1/3rd acre yard with some hills, nooks, and crannies was just not a good candidate. I just push a mower and get exercise.

But--this appears to be a very good site for info on lawn tractors, riding mowers, and ZTR mowers, it's one I frequented during my search. The guy who runs it knows what he's talking about and is willing to reply to questions about specific equipment. I'd recommend doing some searching around on his site for particular models you have been considering, then asking questions if you still have more questions.
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Old 07-03-2016, 01:37 PM   #5
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For close in work around the house and barn, I have had a couple of small gas lawn tractors in the past 10 years. I had an 18 hp Cub Cadet but it developed engine problems "a couple of times" a few years ago and to me, it wasn't worth fixing anymore. I then bought a new 20 hp JD (D125 I think). Both had 42" decks and did the job. So far the JD seems to be the better mower but it's only a couple of years old at this point.

I've had two full size diesel Kubota's for the heavy field work over the past 10 years and they have been excellent tractors. (never had either one in the shop) So I considered a Kubota lawn gas tractor for the close in work but the price difference was far too much to make sense to me. The way I look at lawn tractors is, once they are out of warranty, if I can't fix it myself, then it's throw away (or sold to a used lawn tractor shop for whatever I can get).
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Old 07-03-2016, 03:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happyras View Post
My favorite little Scotts 2046 mower finally over-heated and died. It served me well for 16 years, and I just sold it with a powerbagger and spares for $300 to someone who has time and kids to tear it down for a cam shaft.

I have zero'd down my search to a John Deere S240, with a Kawasaki 18.5hp and a K46dp hydro transaxle. I have a small Kubota with a loader, and mower deck, but its just too much to mow around the orchard trees and back lawn. So all I need is a good mower like my old one. I had a Scotts 1642 prior with a poor transaxle so I put that option on my list first.

Who has this model s240, any regrets? I looked at the D series, but the cheap chinese Briggs engines are weak, and they have the low end t40 tranny. The only other JD is an x350, but it is $$$$ than I need to spend. We do get a nice 18% discount on Deere, so I can get the S240 for the price of a Home Depot D series. Thoughts? Other brands with same reliable features and price point?
I'd buy an older used JD with low hours, you can pick up a one like my JD 345 for less than $2k or there abouts, they are much better mowers than anything they make today, plus mines water cooled, power steering, my dad bought a new Husqvarna 54" mower just a last year, it's junk, lol. I had a JD 322 before my 345, it had 2500 hours on it when I sold it, with nothing ever done to it besides regular maintance.
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Old 07-03-2016, 03:59 PM   #7
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I'd buy an older used JD with low hours, you can pick up a one like my JD 345 for less than $2k or there abouts, they are much better mowers than anything they make today, plus mines water cooled, power steering, my dad bought a new Husqvarna 54" mower just a last year, it's junk, lol. I had a JD 322 before my 345, it had 2500 hours on it when I sold it, with nothing ever done to it besides regular maintenance.
Agree. I put myself through college fixing lawn equipment (1970's), but I think what I learned back then still holds - older good stuff is better than new junk. Just being heavier metal eliminates bending and misalignment issues that mess up belts and mower decks. Real bearings instead of nylon bushings last a lot longer. Transmissions with real machined gears in a cast iron housing go the distance, even with some abuse.
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Old 07-03-2016, 04:04 PM   #8
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Definitely get a zero turn. A hydro. Look for a commercial grade unit. It will serve you better.
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Old 07-03-2016, 04:18 PM   #9
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The John Deere looks like a nice mower in their ads. I can't tell you anything about it, but can vouch for the Kawasaki engine. I've had a 15 hp Kawasaki in a Cub Cadet that has been trouble-free for the past thirteen years. I mow about an acre of lawn with it from March through November. My sister and her husband have a JD with power steering to mow a larger yard and that was a treat to drive.
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Old 07-03-2016, 04:25 PM   #10
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The S240 Deere lawn tractor looks like it's one notch above the "Home Depot" Deere lawn tractors made by an outside company.

A competitive unit would be the T series Kubota hydrostatic mowers that have been on the retail market for years and years.

If your terrain is not too hilly, a good zero turn mower might be a better choice because they can cut 2x as fast as the above units. They work much better, especially if you have a bunch of trees to cut around. And the ZTR's are a whole lot more fun to run.

I've had a Toro built ZTR about 10 years, and it's a homeowner unit (not commercial quality or price.) If I was buying a ZTR today, I'd be one of the Hustler Raptors with the fully welded mower deck--not a stamped steel deck. And the price is also right at our local farmer's co-op and the warranty is as good as they get.
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:12 PM   #11
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The Sears tractor I bought when we moved 10 years ago in was nearly 2 grand with the bagger. Just after the 3 year warranty ran out I needed a new cam roughly $400. My lawn is just big enough to warrant a riding mower. After that it was one problem after another... I sold the Sears for $500 and as the new owner drove away I spit on the ground and swore I will never I say never buy a mower with a Briggs and Stratton engine again... Pot metal! What a pity that single cylinder engine was a pig.

My sons friends grandma was selling her D300 John Deere. I bought it for a grand. Put an oil change and tune up into it. The two cylinder Kawasaki runs like a race car in comparison, it turns on a dime and is just plain awesome. The weakness on my model is the transmission which is all allegedly a non serviceable unit but of course there's a guy showing how to rebuild one on YouTube. If it goes I'm buying a JD with the snowblower attachment.


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Old 07-03-2016, 07:34 PM   #12
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The Sears tractor I bought when we moved 10 years ago in was nearly 2 grand with the bagger. Just after the 3 year warranty ran out I needed a new cam roughly $400. My lawn is just big enough to warrant a riding mower. After that it was one problem after another... I sold the Sears for $500 and as the new owner drove away I spit on the ground and swore I will never I say never buy a mower with a Briggs and Stratton engine again... Pot metal! What a pity that single cylinder engine was a pig.

My sons friends grandma was selling her D300 John Deere. I bought it for a grand. Put an oil change and tune up into it. The two cylinder Kawasaki runs like a race car in comparison, it turns on a dime and is just plain awesome. The weakness on my model is the transmission which is all allegedly a non serviceable unit but of course there's a guy showing how to rebuild one on YouTube. If it goes I'm buying a JD with the snowblower attachment.
Ray: I don't know if your snowblower is going to do you much good in Sarasota.
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:44 PM   #13
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I bought a used Deere X304 a couple years ago. I really like the 4-wheel steering when it comes to mowing around trees and bushes. I see them for sale with 100 hours' use in the $2400 range.
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Old 07-03-2016, 11:19 PM   #14
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Well I have a brand new D Series with the cheap Chinese Briggs motor and weak tranny and I love it. I do wish I had got the S240, though. I didn't know about the short comings of the D Series. My last mower was still running after 25 years so the additional $ wouldn't matter much. How do you overheat an air cooled motor, bad cam?
I was thinking about a snapper mower with a fabricated deck but there isn't a dealer close by.


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Time for a new riding mower-opinion?
Old 07-04-2016, 04:56 AM   #15
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Time for a new riding mower-opinion?

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Ray: I don't know if your snowblower is going to do you much good in Sarasota.
That's why I hope the old John Deere holds together until we make that move. But if it doesn't there will be a new John Deere sitting in that shed.

The bad camshaft IMO resulted from the use of inferior metal, then there was the starter motor, the ignition that burnt out couple times... And I was big on getting oil changes and taking good care of it. The year before the warranty expired it was running ruff - when the Sears guy came for the spring tune up - he was playing around adjusting the cam I should have known ... Adjusting the cam? The thing was nearly new. Junk. The service guy said the machine was originally designed for a two cylinder engine..

Oh did I mention that one time I ordered ignition parts and replaced that myself. Guess what it burn out again - I called in the service guy who replaced the ignition wires and it burn out then I had to wait for a free repair... Then he unplugged the headlights and said there was a known problem with the wiring. Ya think? That tractor was cursed..

It's funny after I sold it I got a call from another potential buyer who said... "That machine is worth $700 all day long" I said not to me at that point I was ready to have a tractor burning on the front lawn. I doubt my shot gun or 22 could penetrate the motor or I'd of put it out it of its misery.

When I posted up my experience on the tractor forum the Sears devotes blamed me and made some nasty comments. Guys I didn't farm manufacturing out to a China Briggs and Stratton did. I didn't fail institute quality control they did. I didn't design and sell a tractor with a faulty ignition harness they did. And finally when you sold 2000 tractors with camshaft made of pot metal I didn't recall them but neither did Sears. Double Junk.

On my headstone "I would rather be here then riding a Sears tractor..."
I know what your thinking ... My lawn would cost $50 each mow ..what like 20 times a year so the new John Deere after 1 and 1/2 seasons is already in the black. You know I just may give that baby a wash today!
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:08 AM   #16
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Something you might want to consider, especially if you are over 55 or 60, is the alternative of paying for a lawn service instead. Or maybe not! But now sounds like a good time for you to at least review your thoughts about it.

Anyway, that's what I have done since my late 50's. I pay $35/mow, no longer worry about being another "heart attack while mowing" statistic, help keep one more deserving person employed, and freed up my weekends.

Of course exercise is still necessary, but I engage in safer and more enjoyable forms of exercise now.
This is what I have done since my mower died several years ago. I reviewed the cost of ownership for a mower against the $60/mowing and decided to get out of the mowing activity.
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Old 07-04-2016, 11:09 AM   #17
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This is what I have done since my mower died several years ago. I reviewed the cost of ownership for a mower against the $60/mowing and decided to get out of the mowing activity.
I also found that I am so much happier now, too. Too much of my precious time was being spent mowing and recovering from having mowed, not to mention maintaining my lawnmower.

To me a lawn service is a great use of money. To me it's a matter of self respect because I am respecting my own use of my own time, KWIM? I wouldn't mow other people's lawns for $35 so there is no sense in mowing mine for that either. As for LBYM efforts, well, I'd rather use my money on a lawn service and save money on other things instead. Like for example:

gasoline - - I prefer to spend very little on gasoline. In comparison with the cost of filling up once a week, I save roughly enough in gas to completely pay for my lawn service.

utilities - - I never use more than the minimum water and my electric and natural gas bills are not all that high either. I only have one light bulb on at night, and I am stingy with AC usage too. I probably save enough in electricity alone to completely pay for my lawn service.

cable TV - - I am saving enough just from having dropped cable TV, to completely pay for my lawn service.

But as always YMMV and rayinpenn's apparently does and that is fine too. People like cutting back in different parts of their budget due to individual preference, and I understand that.
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Old 07-04-2016, 11:15 AM   #18
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Something you might want to consider, especially if you are over 55 or 60, is the alternative of paying for a lawn service instead. Or maybe not! But now sounds like a good time for you to at least review your thoughts about it.

Anyway, that's what I have done since my late 50's. I pay $35/mow, no longer worry about being another "heart attack while mowing" statistic, help keep one more deserving person employed, and freed up my weekends.

Of course exercise is still necessary, but I engage in safer and more enjoyable forms of exercise now.
My 86 year old neighbor did just that last year, hire a service. Up until then, she mowed her one acre lawn with a 20" mower.

It took her ~2 hours a day, and four days to complete it. Then it was almost time to start again.
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Old 07-04-2016, 11:19 AM   #19
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OP- I don't have the s240, but I now have the X300. Great mower. I think it's on its 3rd year. Had a JD L100 for about 18 years before that. I wore it out hauling gravel, boulders, etc.

I would definitely get the s240 instead of the Home Depot D series.
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Old 07-04-2016, 11:54 AM   #20
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My 86 year old neighbor did just that last year, hire a service. Up until then, she mowed her one acre lawn with a 20" mower.

It took her ~2 hours a day, and four days to complete it. Then it was almost time to start again.
That why she is alive at age 86. Now she'll probably drop dead from lack of exercise.
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