Join Early Retirement Today
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-27-2012, 12:12 AM   #21
Full time employment: Posting here.
toofrugalformycat's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Anchorage
Posts: 731
Sorry, couldn't resist.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg grazing.jpg (19.4 KB, 2 views)
toofrugalformycat is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-27-2012, 06:50 AM   #22
Dryer sheet wannabe
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 21
I recently went through a similar decision about a new riding mower. Since I have a larger articulating tractor with bucket, backhoe, and brush-hog, I simply wanted a mower for my 3/4 of an acre or so. I have a couple of little slopes and several trees.

If you go to or you can get a million opinions. I also read consumer reports. I think you'll find a majority of people will tell you to buy the most expensive tractor you can afford, from big garden tractors to zero-turn tractors, hydrostatic drives, etc. Also, you'll find folks (much like some that have already responded) that will swear by one brand and bad-mouth another, and you'll get many conflicting opinions. I suspect that all brands have occasional problems and most folks only have a few experiences with riding mowers, so we naturally base our opinions on these small samples.

I ended up buying a pull-start rear-engine, 28" Hi-Vac Snapper with bagger for right around $1650. Just got it home yesterday, so I can't give you a review yet. I really wanted to get a zero turn with hydrostat, but those cost a minimum of $2600. The thing that got me was that some folks bought these and some had problems with the hydro pumps after 2 to 5 years. I understand that the pumps aren't easily replaced and they are very expensive to do so. The snapper rear engine riders are VERY simple machines, so they are very cheap to fix.

From what I've read, the Snapper doesn't have the tightest turning radius, isn't the fastest, and may not give top-of-the-line cut. It is supposed to bag well. But, I figure at least I should be able to keep in running (hopefully) for many years. If it takes me ten extra minutes to cut my yard, I'll live with it. Time will tell if I regret this decision.

Anyway, good luck on your search.
Homebrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2012, 10:07 PM   #23
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Telly's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,015
The May 2012 Consumer Reports magazine just came out. They have pages on walk-behind mowers, and two pages on Lawn Tractors and ZTR Riders. Also have the bar charts of most to least reliable brands for both LT and ZTR.
They have the JD D110/120/130 as the highest-rated CR Best Buy for LT.
-- Telly, the D-I-Y guy --
Two fools dancing on the hands of time
Telly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2012, 09:09 AM   #24
Recycles dryer sheets
Backpacker's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: On a dirt road
Posts: 296
I bought a Husqvarna last year. first "new" mower i've bought. Has a kawasaki engine which supposedly is bette than the briggs and stratton's. I was pretty happy with performance. we have a pretty steep hill and it was able to handle the incline with out making me feel like my life was in danger.
"Up sluggard and waste not the day, in the grave will be sleeping enough." Benjamin Franklin
Backpacker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2012, 05:21 PM   #25
Recycles dryer sheets
hakuna matata's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Small town outside of Seattle
Posts: 444
I ended up with a John Deere D140 22HP Rider. I purchased a cover, a bagger and a lift for it as well.

From all appearances it looks like a good choice for my needs, we will see. My wife was happy as she grew up on a farm and LOVES John Deere, and this is the closest we are getting to any traditional farming equipment! But she now has a John Deere and so she is doing the happy dance.

Thanks again everyone for your thoughts and comments.
hakuna matata is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2012, 11:01 PM   #26
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Telly's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,015
Sounds good. Mine is equivalent to today's D130. Have started season #7 on it (though last year wasn't much of a season with the drought!).

I sharpened the blades a couple times, and before last season started, replaced them. Lowes had them on the shelf. I change oil and filter at the end of the season, there are about 3 different filters that fit, a Briggs regular, a Briggs 2X life, and a yellow JD-branded one. The owners manual is a bit of a mess, as it covers so many versions, always have to figure out which is mine page by page. And nowhere did they say to oil the foam air pre-filter, which I do, and that is the way it came from the factory.

Only failure has been the original battery, which died when a little over a year old. I brought the battery into the power equipment place, and they gave me a made in the Philippines replacement (!), which is still good today.

When changing the oil filter on mine, it would dump out all over the top of the chassis. So to prevent that mess, I make a tray/chute out of a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil, fold it over double, fold up short ~3/4" sides on three sides of it, then slip the middle side up under and behind the oil filter base, and fold the open end down over the edge of the chassis. I usually masking tape it on, as it always seems to be windy when doing this. It directs the oil over and into my catch pan. Easy cleanup then.

Mine has a single-pedal speed/direction control. Press down further with front of foot for forward, step back with heel for reverse. And separate engine throttle and choke levers, looks like they went to a combined throttle/choke setup now. Probably better for people who have no concept of choke (oh, you have to do the Heimlich then, right?)

I hope you let DW wear the cap when she mows

My DW also grew up on a farm, and she could name every piece of equipment they had over the years, who the manufacturer was, and what color combinations the brands used. FIL's last big combine and wagon, and his last big tractor were JD's.
-- Telly, the D-I-Y guy --
Two fools dancing on the hands of time
Telly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2012, 11:21 AM   #27
Recycles dryer sheets
EllisWyatt's Avatar
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 259
Homebrew: I hope you like your Snapper better than I like mine........ You've hit all the high points - slow, huge turning radius, slow, uneven cut, slow, and doesn't bag more than ~50% of what is cut. Did I mention that it's "dead-dog slow"? It doesn't break, though, which on any other mower would be a selling point. Unfortunately, I'm too cheap to replace something that's still running, and the trade in is zip. I'm hoping to give it to my new son-in-law for his lawn, and then I can justify getting another bagging lawnmower.

Fortunately, now that I'm not in suburbia any more, I only use the Snapper to pick up mulch for the garden and compost pile, and have an Ariens 60" zero turn (28 hp) to mow the 4+ acres or so. Can't say enough positive about the Ariens - dependable, great cut, fast enough that I can mow in 2 hours what takes 7.5 on the Snapper.
EllisWyatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2012, 06:34 AM   #28
Dryer sheet wannabe
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 21
Well, I've only had a chance to ride the Snapper around a little so far. The grass isn't ready to cut and I haven't had a chance to ride it much. Looks like much of what I heard was correct. It is pretty slow, but should be just fine on that end for my 1/2 to 3/4 of an acre. If I were mowing more, not only would I want something a little faster, but also a wider cutting deck.

The bagger seems to do really well. In fact I was surprised to turn around and realize the bagger was comletely full of leaves. It didn't even look like there that many leaves laying on the ground. Do you have the Hi-Vac Snapper? I've read that for bagging you really need the Hi-vac version. Anyway, based on a whole five minutes, the bagger seemed to work well.

I did run the machine over a section of the yard where the grass was a little higher and I have to say I was disappointed witht the cut quality. I knew not expect a fantastic cut, but this was worse than I expected. Granted, I haven't rolled my yard and it is bumpy, but there were stray strands of grass left here and there. I plan to make sure the blades are sharp before going again, but still...

So, based on my five minutes on the machine, I don't know if I'd buy it again, or go another route. I guess if I decided I wouldn't spend a dime extra, then I'd stay with the Snapper. The question in my mind is whether I should have spent more and got something better. For my little yard, I'm going to live with the machine I have...maybe my impressions will improve as I use it.
Homebrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2012, 11:09 AM   #29
Recycles dryer sheets
EllisWyatt's Avatar
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 259
I got the Hi-Vac Snapper to replace a completly worn out 16 yo Craftsman lawntractor. I could see the difference in the amount of what was picked up immediately, but, like you, decided I would live with the machine. When we bought a bigger property I had learned my lesson. I bit the bullet and spent more (which was difficult for someone whose fingers are tinted green from pinching pennies!), and haven't regretted it.

As an explanation, I generally find mowing to be enjoyable; sort of a Zen thing where I can relax, or check out what garden projects need to be done next, or just unwind - as long as I don't have to spent more than an hour or two doing it.
EllisWyatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2012, 06:37 PM   #30
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
ls99's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 5,675
My $0.02

I never had a new mower.

Had a Montgomery Ward circa 1960 vintage, given to me by then neighbor with a blown engine. A $ 170 short block and about an hour or two of labor. Used for over 20 years. Gave it away free when the starter died on it.

Replaced it with a $150 Troy Bilt. This had a faulty carburator allowing the crankcase to fill up with gasoline. An hour of modifying the carb and a $5.00 manual shutoff valve later good machine. Now over a year, runs fine unless like today mowing my camp's grass hit a few rocks and turn blade into pretzel. Tomorrow stock up 3 sets of blades.

Instead of hauling this mower in the pickup, I just saw a Craftsman Hydro on Craigslist. $ 175.- I think I can get it for $150.- Owner claims it needs belts. I'll know better after I get a look see.
There must be moderation in everything, including moderation.
ls99 is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For the Birds! Brdofpray Life after FIRE 121 04-17-2014 06:23 PM
Government's New Plan for Retirees Includes Pink Slime, Horse Meat, & Horse Hockey mickeyd FIRE and Money 63 04-04-2012 01:43 PM
Vanguard Advice, Good or Not? TiredinTX FIRE and Money 15 03-25-2012 10:20 AM
Rental Question for Experts F-One FIRE and Money 13 03-25-2012 07:34 AM

» Quick Links

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:17 PM.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.