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I hate my Sears tractor.... John Deere anyone
Old 07-07-2015, 05:03 AM   #1
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I hate my Sears tractor.... John Deere anyone

I've got a ten year old Sears tractor...although we've got an acre with the woods my lawn is just barely big enough to warrant a tractor. The trouble is the day the warranty expired it has been a continual source of repairs
Year 5 new cam shaft. $500 - after 5 years this just was not right...
Year 7 starter $300
Year 9 new magneto. $100
Year 10 new coil (like 2 weeks ago) $230
A coupe of new batteries ....
Now it won't start ...I've been really good about oil changes and biannual servicing (not enough hours annually to warrant it)

My neighbors mom is selling her immaculate 8 year old John Deere 300 with hydrostatic trans asking $1300. They are $3000 new.

I am tempted to offer a $1000 and not repair the Sears... I enjoy mowing and I use that tractor to mow up leaves in the fall.


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Old 07-07-2015, 06:10 AM   #2
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I suspect the Sears is a Briggs and Stratton motor - typically very reliable. The crankshaft issue is the only one to raise alarms. Electric items like coils and magnetos and starters and batteries are fairly common to replace after 8-10 years of use. The spare parts can be purchased in eBay etc and those are pretty much do it yourself replacements - can save on labor and service call charges. One can also buy an entire new engine online - Sears do make a good mower in general.

Deere make a good tractor too. Perhaps you repair the tractor that you have, sell it, and with proceeds plus a little you try the Deere.
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Old 07-07-2015, 06:20 AM   #3
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"Perhaps you repair the tractor that you have, sell it, and with proceeds plus a little you try the Deere."

Thanks I hadn't thought of that - sounds like a solid plan.


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Old 07-07-2015, 06:29 AM   #4
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I also have a Sears tractor but mine is 15 years old. I am currently mowing 2 acres with over 30 mature trees. My Sears has a Kohler 18 hp engine and I have never had any major repairs, only the occasional new plug and routine air filter/oil filter changes. I think I only have ever purchased 1 new set of blades and one new v-belt plus a couple of batteries. So, I have had better luck with my Sears tractor.


Having said that, I am also considering replacing my Sears tractor later this year or next year. I will likely go with a John Deere with a big mower deck. I think your deal sounds good as my FIL also has a 300 series JD and it is a good tractor. As suggested above you might try to repair the Sears and sell it to offset the cost of the JD.
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Old 07-07-2015, 06:37 AM   #5
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I also have a Sears tractor but mine is 15 years old. I am currently mowing 2 acres with over 30 mature trees. My Sears has a Kohler 18 hp engine and I have never had any major repairs, only the occasional new plug and routine air filter/oil filter changes. I think I only have ever purchased 1 new set of blades and one new v-belt plus a couple of batteries. So, I have had better luck with my Sears tractor.


Having said that, I am also considering replacing my Sears tractor later this year or next year. I will likely go with a John Deere with a big mower deck. I think your deal sounds good as my FIL also has a 300 series JD and it is a good tractor. As suggested above you might try to repair the Sears and sell it to offset the cost of the JD.

My Sears has the B&S 18.5 motor and I suspect the quality at B&S may have dropped... Scanned the blogs and there are many Sears fans out there that have had nary a problem in many years. In fact they get down right angry if you say one bad word about Sears tractors...the John Deere people say that their 300 or higher machines are just better built and last longer.


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Old 07-07-2015, 09:20 AM   #6
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Aren't you guys talking about lawn mowers? This is a John Deere tractor. Brass compression relief valves on both cylinders for ease of starting. Distinct cadence and the ability to blow smoke rings while running. Flat belt pulley for all you accessorizing needs. Not a nimble tractor, but no need to hit the gym after horsing the steering wheel around. We upgraded to the Ford 9n, which was way more civilized. (ah youth)

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Old 07-07-2015, 09:44 AM   #7
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Just wait until the JD needs repairs. Bring wheel barrow full of money. BTW $300 for a starter? They must love you!

A few years ago my 30 yo tractor died. I looked on craigslist, got a Murray with hydraulic drive, 42" deck for $300.- Other than changing oil and a few cotter pins, it just runs. Have no idea how old it is.

Got another one for my camp, a few yeras old Troy Bilt with a bad jet/fuel solenoid for $150.- delivered to my house. Digging through my scrap heap found a standard jet, installed it in place of the electric gizmo, same scrap heap yielded a manual fuel shutoff valve. Works. Did bend a few blades, but that was operator error.
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I hate my Sears tractor.... John Deere anyone
Old 07-07-2015, 01:23 PM   #8
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I hate my Sears tractor.... John Deere anyone

Bought the John DeeRe tractor for $1200 - will fix Sears and sell it. Hopefully I'll get a few years out of the JD.

The starter was $300 because it's $149 service charge to start...

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Old 07-07-2015, 01:43 PM   #9
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My previous Sears 'tractor' (no, these are not 'real' tractors) for lawn mowing lasted 11 years (12.5 HP 42"). The last year it was burning oil like crazy, but ran fine. Never had much trouble with it. A couple belts, a pulley, a cable, a battery or two?

Bought a new Sears last year, this has the Kohler engine which supposedly is better quality (oil pump & filter). 19HP, 46". It was ~ $1400, IIRC, my old one was ~ $1100? Variable speed belt system - nice to not shift, but also kind of a pain - can't just hit a gear for a specific speed when spreading fertilizer, and creeping at avery slow speed was easier when I could just put it in first, now you have to feather it to hit the slow speed, and it will slip out to neutral.

I cut an acre all summer long, and I am tough on these guys. I run as fast as I can, and I've loaded down the old one pulling a core aerator.

IMO, that's pretty good life out of a unit at that price. No complaints at all.

Probably like a Ford versus Chevy thing, you'll have opinions on all sides.

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Old 07-07-2015, 01:46 PM   #10
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I've had good luck with Sears lawn tractors and garden tractors. First one lasted 25 years. Second one is 11 years old & going strong. Discovered with the 2nd one that
adding some of this to the oil helped the rings to seal so it wouldn't burn oil
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Old 07-07-2015, 02:05 PM   #11
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My John Deer riding lawnmower is on its 16th year and I have never even changed the oil!

The only thing wrong with it is a slight crack on the hood where I ran into a fence a little bit.

I don't think they build them like this nowadays..mine was $3500 16 years ago and I see them for $2000 today at Home Depot.
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Old 07-07-2015, 02:24 PM   #12
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Interesting that Ray's Sears machine had parts fail that were native to the B&S engine [except battery]. A quick search I did shows the cam ailment he had is common with that range of engine.

Sears' assembly contractor apparently did an unfortunate job of engine selection in that case. But using B&S has been like going with IBM, no? Or has briggs lost it's mojo lately?

I have an old little Kubota diesel, I think just about all the frame, body, mower, and mechanical parts on it save the fuel injection are Kubota made.
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Old 07-07-2015, 05:48 PM   #13
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I had a JD knock off, Sabre, made by JD but lower price. Not much good to say about it, but I left in the barn and mice built a nest under the cowling so no knock on JD. Personally I've been pleased with my Stag, but they are a little pricey. I hate to mow this thing mows 3 acres in 1.5 hours so I don't spend much time on it.
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Old 07-07-2015, 06:02 PM   #14
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My primary field tractor is a L series Kubota diesel and has been "extremely" reliable and I've put it through hell and back. I've been able to handle the few minor repairs/maintenance issues myself and have never taken it into the shop in the 5+ years I've had it.

I bought a brand new John Deere Lawn tractor/mower earlier this year (20hp BS engine) for cutting the grass near the house and barn. It was back in the shop before I had 5 hours on it. The local John Deere dealer resolved the issue(s) quickly and under warranty but it was still a hassle and frustrating. Before that I had a Cub Cadet lawn tractor/mower (19hp Kohler - never again).

I'm not sure if Kubota's small gas powered tractors/mowers are any better but I'm now wondering if they will take a trade-in.
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Old 07-07-2015, 06:57 PM   #15
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I had a JD knock off, Sabre, made by JD but lower price. Not much good to say about it, but I left in the barn and mice built a nest under the cowling so no knock on JD. Personally I've been pleased with my Stag, but they are a little pricey. I hate to mow this thing mows 3 acres in 1.5 hours so I don't spend much time on it.
Funny how these brand discussions go... I've had a 1542 HS Sabre for the last 15 years, mowing about a couple of acres and also using it to haul firewood up our hill from my wood lot (about 300 ft at a good grade) and so far I've gone thru a couple of batteries, a set of blades and that's about it. But I've been pretty good about changing oil and filters and such.
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Old 07-07-2015, 07:20 PM   #16
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Funny how these brand discussions go... I've had a 1542 HS Sabre for the last 15 years, mowing about a couple of acres and also using it to haul firewood up our hill from my wood lot (about 300 ft at a good grade) and so far I've gone thru a couple of batteries, a set of blades and that's about it. But I've been pretty good about changing oil and filters and such.
My issues with the Sabre were my fault, not Sabre's . When the mice built the nest I didn't notice. So I burnt up the engine, past that issue it was an OK mower. It wouldn't have mowed where we are now, that's because of the hills, I need a very low center of gravity.
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:59 PM   #17
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My dad is always fixing up mowers. When we first moved here he lent us a 20 year old Sears Garden/Lawn Tractor. It's now at my sister mountain vacation home and still going strong. We got a Simplicity Citation. I love it. It's fast......what more can I say.
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Old 07-07-2015, 10:46 PM   #18
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OP needs to take some repair classes, so he can do it himself. Then the cost of repairs drops a lot.

Or look to hiring someone to mow, since you don't need to mow inside the woods. Could be cheaper and at least easier.

Or lastly get a "cheap" $350 walk behind self propelled toro and cancel the gym membership, can replace these every 5 yrs and come out ahead.
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I hate my Sears tractor.... John Deere anyone
Old 07-08-2015, 04:48 AM   #19
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I hate my Sears tractor.... John Deere anyone

The owners son and grandson Delivered john Deere to my house last night. In beautiful condition it idles better (smoother) then my Sears ever did. It actually came with a service manual and cd. I have a sense I should have bought an JD to start with. Now on to selling the Sears ...craigslist I guess.

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I hate my Sears tractor.... John Deere anyone
Old 07-08-2015, 05:20 AM   #20
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I hate my Sears tractor.... John Deere anyone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
OP needs to take some repair classes, so he can do it himself. Then the cost of repairs drops a lot.

Or look to hiring someone to mow, since you don't need to mow inside the woods. Could be cheaper and at least easier.

Or lastly get a "cheap" $350 walk behind self propelled toro and cancel the gym membership, can replace these every 5 yrs and come out ahead.


1) My knees are in need of replacement so the push mower is out of the question. (I've lost over 20lbs in preparation for Knee surgery I want to double that). Even so we have a great little Honda walk behind that the Mrs uses to mow the hilly section - most wives wouldn't do it. Mowing the entire lawn with a push mower (because of the hills and size) just isn't practical. My neighbor with slightly more lawn uses a push mower and July and August it is a multi hour adventure.

2) funny but really I like mowing and weed whacking the lawn. Were I to outsource mowing it is $30 to $40 a mow here with a season April to October. Thats roughly 26 weeks at $35 = $910 a season - Even with the repairs my Sears ($1800 new) has sure paid for itself in the last ten years. So it just isn't cheaper at all.

3) I took a small engine repair course many years ago - the John Deere came with a nice manual including servicing which I intend on tackling. Truthfully The camshaft replacement on the Sears was not something I'd feel comfortable tackling anyway.

Apologies my rant isn't so much about the money - it is about the quality of the goods produced in our country today. Those old Sears mowers used to chug around forever I suspect the camshaft failure was the result of the use of inferior metal. And I know it is silly but I'm still PO about it.



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