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Old 07-08-2015, 07:17 AM   #21
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Good info. I am in the market for a new mowing device. I have 3 pasture acres here with some grade and we get snow so something to remove snow would be good. I am considering. Just a cheap Used garden tractor to start and then hit the end of season sales for a ZTR. Zero turn radius mower -

As for attachments etc, not sure how to go.

Budget around 2K or less. . Please your advice. Am in a very rural setting after 45 years of mega- city living.
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:21 AM   #22
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Ray:
You have the right to rant about the quality of goods and services in today's world. The prices you've quoted on past repairs on your Sears are pretty high. If you look on the internet, you could have replaced the whole Briggs engine for what you've spent.
There are good Sears Lawn Tractors and there are bad Sears Lawn Tractors--mostly sub-par in quality. The John Deere's sold at big box hardware stores are not even made by John Deere (MTD)--and they're not as good as the high line John Deere Lawn Tractors sold at Deere tractor dealers. It's the same with Cub Cadet--some good, some junk.
And as far as engines go, the Briggs and Strattons are sub-par vs. the Kawasaki, Honda and Kohler powered products. But at least Briggs parts are easily obtained and there are many mechanics that can fix them. You need to change mechanics.
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Old 07-08-2015, 08:31 AM   #23
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I put myself through college fixing lawnmowers and my take away is that a used high quality tractor is a much better investment than a new cheapie big box tractor. Some of the new tractors just barely work when new - there is no robustness in terms of metal thickness, transmission strength, engine quality as well as quality of basic engineering design.

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Old 07-08-2015, 08:59 AM   #24
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I put myself through college fixing lawnmowers and my take away is that a used high quality tractor is a much better investment than a new cheapie big box tractor. Some of the new tractors just barely work when new - there is no robustness in terms of metal thickness, transmission strength, engine quality as well as quality of basic engineering design.
True, no comparison between a 'real' tractor' and these suburban lawn mower 'tractors'. That said, for people like me with an acre, a 'real' tractor is probably overkill.

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Originally Posted by papadad111 View Post
Good info. I am in the market for a new mowing device. I have 3 pasture acres here with some grade and we get snow so something to remove snow would be good. I am considering. Just a cheap Used garden tractor to start and then hit the end of season sales for a ZTR. Zero turn radius mower -

As for attachments etc, not sure how to go.

Budget around 2K or less. . Please your advice. Am in a very rural setting after 45 years of mega- city living.
This site was very helpful:

TodaysMower.com | Research, Compare and Buy the Best Lawn Tractor or Zero Turn For You!

and this review led me to my Sears T2600, which I'm pleased with so far:

2014 Craftsman T2600 Model 20385 46 in 19 hp Yard Tractor Review – 540cc Single Kohler Courage | TodaysMower.com

I also considered a zero-turn, but this guy was not a fan, especially of the lower priced units, which still come in over $2,000. Plus, My Sears 2600 has a 6 inch turning radius, so it is pretty nimble (normally need to slow down to turn that sharp to avoid 'plowing' the front wheels).

The Best Residential and Prosumer Zero-Turns For 2015 | TodaysMower.com


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Old 07-08-2015, 09:05 AM   #25
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Is anyone having a problem with the ethanol in gasoline destroying parts? Or is that a thing of the past?
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:25 AM   #26
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Is anyone having a problem with the ethanol in gasoline destroying parts? Or is that a thing of the past?
How long is that supposed to take? I have been using 10% ethanol gas in my lawn tractor engine for 15 or 16 years with no problem.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:32 AM   #27
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Is anyone having a problem with the ethanol in gasoline destroying parts? Or is that a thing of the past?
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How long is that supposed to take? I have been using 10% ethanol gas in my lawn tractor engine for 15 or 16 years with no problem.
We've had ethanol here in IL (corn country) probably longer than anyone. I'm not aware of any problems in my lawn mowers, ever, that could be traced to fuel.

There are people who will swear that ethanol is the work of the devil, but then I don't understand how so many people can go so long w/o problems. It can't be 'luck', chemicals are not selective.

I do start & run my mower a few times over winter, just to get some fresh fuel flowing through the carb. I noticed my newer mower has an EPA sticker on the tank, looks to be sealed, somewhat like a simpler version of the auto fuel systems?

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Old 07-08-2015, 09:41 AM   #28
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Re ethanol, I've noticed an increased propensity for my tractor to vapor lock on really hot days.

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Old 07-08-2015, 09:50 AM   #29
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I'm on my 2nd John Deere. Had the first one 17 years. 2nd one is 3 years old. First one was a lighter weight L110 that I used to mow, haul mulch and gravel, landscaping boulders.I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did. It just wore out. My new one is an X300. Runs great so far. They will last a long time if used and maintained properly.


As for ethanol, here's a pic of my boat's clogged fuel line after 10 years of buildup.
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File Type: png Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 2.53.41 PM.png (462.7 KB, 4 views)
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:58 AM   #30
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re that boat fuel line

How do you know that clog is ethanol deposit related? It would seem you should have run another engine side by side with that one, but fueled for 10 years on non ethanol gas, then compare the two lines.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:08 AM   #31
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When I need an answer, I go to youtube



And I'm not about to run engines side by side to prove my point
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:11 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by papadad111 View Post
Good info. I am in the market for a new mowing device. I have 3 pasture acres here with some grade and we get snow so something to remove snow would be good. I am considering. Just a cheap Used garden tractor to start and then hit the end of season sales for a ZTR. Zero turn radius mower -

As for attachments etc, not sure how to go.

Budget around 2K or less. . Please your advice. Am in a very rural setting after 45 years of mega- city living.
It's hard to find a good ZTR for the money you're talking. I had a 42" Gravely ZTR for 3 years. Great machine, probably a little over 2k today. I mowed a little over a acre, part pasture without any problems. That said I'm so happy with the 61" Scagg Wildcat for the hilly rough pasture we have for a yard I'd never go back. I can mow three rough acres in 1.5 hours. The machine would do it faster, my body won't.

There is no comparison between the two ZTRs in toughness or quality.

Here's a link to a new one, they are difficult to find on the used market in decent condition, as commercial cutters love them. I paid 3k less than the price listed 9 years ago, bought a new 2005 at the end of 2006, they wanted it gone. Pretty much the same machine as listed. Looking at used '05s on several sites they seem to hold 90% of their value.

http://m.tractorhouse.com/ListingDet...ategoryId=1170
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:38 AM   #33
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When I need an answer, I go to youtube ...

And I'm not about to run engines side by side to prove my point

I don't see how that video 'proves' anything or provides any answers, other than he had a clogged fuel line. How is it attributed to ethanol?

There was a comment that the old fuel line material was not compatible with ethanol, and flakes off and swells like that. So in a way, you could say that ethanol caused this problem. But that has no relevance to purchasing new equipment which has components that are compatible with ethanol.

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Old 07-08-2015, 10:45 AM   #34
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I could reference lots of info regarding ethanol effects on small engines, but I'm willing to keep the thread centered on John Deere tractors


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Old 07-08-2015, 01:45 PM   #35
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How long is that supposed to take? I have been using 10% ethanol gas in my lawn tractor engine for 15 or 16 years with no problem.
Don't know. I had to replace a carb gasket on my push mower Briggs and Stratton after about 10 years of ethanol. Bought the mower new in 2000. The gasket formed a crack in itself somehow, and lost its seal, around 2010. Maybe would have happened even with non-ethanol gas?? No sludge at all, just the gasket deterioration.
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Old 07-08-2015, 01:50 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by papadad111 View Post
Good info. I am in the market for a new mowing device. I have 3 pasture acres here with some grade and we get snow so something to remove snow would be good. I am considering. Just a cheap Used garden tractor to start and then hit the end of season sales for a ZTR. Zero turn radius mower -

As for attachments etc, not sure how to go.

Budget around 2K or less. . Please your advice. Am in a very rural setting after 45 years of mega- city living.
Don't think you can plow snow with a zero turn, at least you can't with mine. I can vouch for their hauling ability. Our small bridge got caught in flood water and wedged across our creek and was partially submerged. This caused a dam and was forcing water over the embankment. We couldn't get our trucks near the location. I thought my husband was crazy but we tied off to the bridge and the zero turn pulled it out. I was worried that the bridge would fly forward once it was released from the force of the water but my husband was able to ease it out. Score 1 for the zero turn and smart husband! You may want to look for a small tractor not a lawn mower and be prepared to spend more money.
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Old 07-08-2015, 03:47 PM   #37
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Is anyone having a problem with the ethanol in gasoline destroying parts? Or is that a thing of the past?
I haven't notice any issues. I have three walk-behinds (one we kept at FIL's for DW before he moved) string trimmer, edger, backpack blower, and hedge trimmer that gets used about twice a year. I do drain the fuel and run them dry before storing for the winter and change oil when applicable (some are two-strokes).
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Old 07-08-2015, 06:24 PM   #38
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Hmmm ....Sears doesn't actually build lawn mowers or tractors or tools ...another company does ...so, question is what company built the garden tractor you have?

John Deere builds most of their equipment ...except the lower end models at HD, etc ...I think. Advantage to JD is they have a parts network they manage and support for their equipment. They do use other company parts ...for example, my GT275 garden tractor has a single cylinder Kawasaki engine. It's about 17 years old - have replaced blades and belts, one spark plug, and filters, and anti-scalp wheels on the mower deck, and change oil once a year - mows about two acres, once a week, 30 weeks a year. But, have not replaced any engine component, or bearing, or fuel component, or electronics.

It was much more expensive than Sears sold when new, but probably has been a reasonable cost vs quality trade.

On the ethanol issue ...when first introduced it posed only a threat to the fuel lines and o rings in direct contact with the fuel ...but, that was 20 years or so ago, right? Every engine manufacturer has been using ethanol resistant components for about as long. Never heard of ethanol causing blockage ...could be if very old fuel lines that it deteriorated front the inside?

On the buy or not the JD 300 ...depends on condition and hours ...don't know if the newer 300s are actually core JD products or if they farm them out.


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Old 07-08-2015, 07:55 PM   #39
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The best L&G equipment comes from a dedicated L&G equipment dealership. They have the parts inventories and talent to keep what they sell working. Many are also Stihl dealers and sell premium brands of zero turn mowers like Skag, Hustler and many other brands of commercial mowers.


Tractor and equipment dealers can deal with real tractors, but they don't do such a good job working on "small equipment" lawn equipment. Their talents and trucks are best served hauling around and working on 50 hp tractors and more.
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Old 07-08-2015, 08:01 PM   #40
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The best L&G equipment comes from a dedicated L&G equipment dealership. They have the parts inventories and talent to keep what they sell working. ....
I'm sure that's true, but I've never had any problem getting parts for my Sears lawn tractors (whoever makes them - this new one is actually a Husquvarna, not sure of the previous one). I order on-line, or go get the part the same day at a Sears parts center about 20 minutes away, open on Saturday too.

I've always done the repairs myself (basic stuff), so I can't comment on the Sears repair team.

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