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Small Cabin Forum / General Forum / Best brand for used riding mowers
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KinAlberta
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# Posted: 29 May 2020 13:50 - Edited by: KinAlberta
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I’m thinking of picking up a used riding mower for mowing our walking trails.

Anyone here have much experience with different brands for a great experience with s particular brand?
Are some of the best brands for reliability and toughness much better than the worst?

I understand that a manufactured deck is the way to go as the stamped metal decks bend easily. Any suggestions on what to automatically rule out in terms of age, hours, brands?

(Note: We have a Kubota diesel for the yard and some trails but it wouldn’t be safe to try to get it down to, and over, our old metal bridge.)

paulz
Member
# Posted: 29 May 2020 18:12 - Edited by: paulz
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I don't have much experience but..

I had a Deere L100 I think it was, that my neighbor gave me to fix. It had a broken belt pulley, which was plastic, and the shift lever arm underneath was bent. I got the impression it was cheaply made. I think they have an economy line and a pro line iirc.

Then I helped another neighbor fix his Craftsman. Bent pulley bracket. It looked to be near identical to the Deere, perhaps out of the same offshore factory? In defense of it he was trying to mover over very rough terrain. I told him it was a 'golf course' mower.

Here's the funny part..The first guy, who owns a horse facility, got a Craftsman with a Briggs. For some reason, 'cause it still had oil in it when I went to look at it, it pitch the connecting rod right out the side of the block.

So they call and tell me to get rid of the thing. I went over and took a picture of it and put it on Craigslist for $50. Nobody wanted it. What I hadn't realized is in taking the photo I had included about 1/5 of the Husqvarna riding mower they had replaced it with. I got 100 emails asking if that was for sale...maybe that means something. I finally had to edit the photo. A guy finally gave $25 for the Craftsman, he was going to put an electric motor on it for his kid to use as a go kart.

DaveBell
Member
# Posted: 29 May 2020 22:08
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Best brand of riding mower - The one the wife wants to use.

KinAlberta
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2020 01:16 - Edited by: KinAlberta
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If I win the lottery:


Lawn Mower Tank Doubles as Snow Plow, Priced at $11,999 – TechEBlog
https://www.techeblog.com/lawn-mower-tank-doubles-as-snow-plow-priced-at-11999/

Volunteer for Trail Maintenance
https://orecamerica.com/trail-maintenance/

4WD Brush Rover | 4WD Riding Brush Mower - Orec America
https://orecamerica.com/products/riding-brush-cutter-4wd-brush-rover/




52” TRAIL MOWER - Polaris Accesorios y Recambios Tienda Online
https://polarisaccesorios.com/en/lawn-trailers/467-52-trail-mower.html

KinAlberta
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2020 01:26 - Edited by: KinAlberta
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Interesting article below but doesn't really address my durability issues of hitting rocks, stumps, logs, etc. in rougher terrain.

Fabricated vs Stamped Mower Decks | The Blog at Jacks Small Engines

http://blog.jackssmallengines.com/2017/07/fabricated-vs-stamped-mower-decks/

Just
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2020 09:24
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Go with one made by mtd. With a Briggs engine , lots of parts around and dealers...

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2020 09:35
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For a trail mower..get a cheap one that works. There all built by one of very few companies and most built like crap. Some lawnmowers are built by the company that's on the hood like JD, kubota and a few others. Those can be very expensive and hold there value well. Something like a trail mower that's going to be used and abused I wouldnt spend to much. Just make sure the deck goes high. I had a craftsman 5000gt 24hp and 53in deck and it was not possible to raise the deck higher than 2-3in. I couldn't even modify it to make it do this. The deck pulleys would hit the frame.

I have a $10 to push mower, the big wheel version. It does fine mowing over 1/2in trees and sticker bushes. For my home I have a bobcat zero turn that the deck goes 5in above the ground. Raise the deck and lower the rpm and that's how I mow junk in the woods.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2020 09:38
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O and I believe mowers in about 2005 or earlier where all starting to get built by one of very few companies. For instance husqvarna and craftsman are built by the same company. If your trails are rough get a mower that either has strong deck spindles or ones that are cheap to replace. I got to the point in my yard that I would break a husqvarna or craftsman spindle each year. I had to stock one and a belt.

KinAlberta
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2020 10:25 - Edited by: KinAlberta
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Yeah I was wondering if I should even bother looking for a quality machine or just go buy a cheap one and view it as disposable.

With a cheap machine I’d save a lot up front but would face the fact that in a few years it would have to be replaced (with another cheap machine).

In the 1970s my parents bought a little Massey Ferguson riding mower. It only lasted a few years so they then paid out multiples of the MF cost to get the Kubota riding tractor. Four decades later its still working great. That was the old days though. Today it seems that its impossible to actually come out ahead by trying to buy quality.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2020 11:27
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I forgot one. Went to put a belt back on a friend's, he's mechanically challenged. It's not a rider, a walk behind but with big wheels that are powered. Got a big engine with a mounting system up front, the mower deck slides on easily, and I guess they make other attachments.

Anyway, he does a lot of rough ground mowing, and nice thing about it was how easy it was to slide the mower deck off and work on it. The riding mowers I've worked on had an elaborate deck mount, easier just to tip then on their side, but even that's not fun.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2020 18:08 - Edited by: Brettny
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I have gotten great deals on used mowers in the fall after the leaves have dropped.

It takes alot of $50 mowers to equal one quality mower...or even a new crappy one.

I wish I could afford a real walk behind brush cutter but I just cant see spending $1500 (used) on a machine I would realistically prob use 2-3x a year. Il just mow a bit more and care a bit less with my $10-$50 push mower.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2020 19:07
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Quoting: Brettny
I have gotten great deals on used mowers in the fall after the leaves have dropped.


A retired mechanic friend deals in small equipment, mostly a hobby but he makes a few bucks. He gets flooded with broken mowers in the fall and winter, fixes them up and does a booming spring sales business. Yes, definitely seasonal.

KinAlberta
Member
# Posted: 5 Jun 2020 00:35 - Edited by: KinAlberta
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Too old for me but interesting:

John Deere 318 - America's Most Popular Lawn Tractor Ever
https://grresto.com/blog-john-deere-318/




More info:

Most and Least Reliable Riding Mower Brands - Consumer Reports

And it turns out that an old marketing tagline is true: Nothing runs like a Deere. Among the 9 lawn tractor brands in our survey results, John Deere is the only brand that was rated Excellent for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.

The runner-up is ...”



https://www.consumerreports.org/riding-lawn-mowers-tractors/most-and-least-reliable-r iding-lawn-mower-brands/



justincasei812
Member
# Posted: 8 Jun 2020 13:17 - Edited by: justincasei812
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We bought a house with a few acres of mostly woods. I had bought a very used deere st38 (1980's) or something like that with the cheaper deck. I put that thing through hell and back for two years and wished it lasted one more year as I wasn't finished punishing it. Needless to say when we moved in there was not a yard and now we have about a 3/4 of an acre. There are a couple of small areas I wished I had gotten but that is here nor there compared to what we used to have. I bought a new yellow one (can't think of the name) now the yard is in and it is smooth mowing for the most part. I would never pay the money they want for a deere but if I did I would get a commercial or pro model, any brands you find in a big box store are junk. Now I will say I would by a deere if I was going to retire here and keep it forever but in Michigan you get about 4-5 months of cutting/ leave pick up and when it's hot you can cut the weeds about every 2-3 weeks. I would also say I would get a mini tractor and use it for other things than just cutting lawn.

spoofer
Member
# Posted: 8 Jun 2020 22:16
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A well cared for and garage kept one is what I would look for.

Cowracer
Member
# Posted: 9 Jun 2020 13:26
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I cannot discourage you from buying a Deere consumer model strongly enough. I have a LA135 and the tractor itself seems mostly reasonable, with the exception that its a battery eater. You have to put an new one in every spring.

But the bad part is the deck. My last one literally fell apart. I was religious about cleaning it. It still rusted away to nothing. The metal was so thin that within the first week of ownership, I hit a rock and it bent the place where the spool for the blade mounts, and I could never get it pressed/hammered/pried back into the right place, so that blade alwasy had a tilt that left a gouge in the grass.

When there wasnt enough metal left to weld the brackets back onto (for the 4th time), I was forced to buy a new deck. For $800, I really thought about just getting a whole new mower, but I figured I'd just keep on keeping on. Now the front axle is showing a bend, and I never hit anything hard with it, and the tie rods are about shot.

Definitely not a quality item.

Tim

skootamattaschmidty
Member
# Posted: 9 Jun 2020 16:19
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Have you thought about a wheeled trimmer? I'm not sure how long your trails are as these are walk behind. They have 2 wheels on the back and a very durable trimmer line on the front. They go through a lot and rocks, stumps, etc wont harm them. My brother in law uses one on his property and is very happy with it. I borrowed it one year to clear some land and it was amazing. I'd like to buy one as I've wrecked 2 old push mowers by hitting rocks. I think a quality one can be found for $500 new. Just a suggestion....

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 10 Jun 2020 08:34
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If your trails are very rough and have alot of things hanging into the trail like pricker bushes I would suggest a straight shaft trimmer with the right brush blade on it.

snobdds
Member
# Posted: 10 Jun 2020 11:03
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I buy nothing but commercial level small equipment.

I have a 80's John Deer walk behind that still starts on the first pull. I leave that at my moms house to mow her lawn with.

I have a commercial Honda mower at my house. It's probably 10 years old now. Just oil changes and tune ups.

I have a Massey Ferguson sub compact tractor with belly mower for the area outside of the fence. 25hp/85tq diesel motor. Can cut anything and does a fine job at it.

My philosophy is buy once cry once and it's too expensive to be cheap. It has payed off well for me over the years. Plus, I only buy stuff with a long history of parts availability. I can still get every part on the John Deere mower...

KinAlberta
Member
# Posted: 11 Jun 2020 09:21 - Edited by: KinAlberta
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Quoting: skootamattaschmidty
Have you thought about a wheeled trimmer? I'm not sure how long your trails are as these are walk behind. They have 2 wheels on the back and a very durable trimmer line on the front.

Have a sickle bar mower (Jari). Amazing little machine!!!

However I want a riding lawn mower/tractor for the speed and as backup for the old Kubota (B7100 with a B48 deck). We have about 3 acres around the cabin and and some of the trail mowing is over small fields.

I’ve watched a number of mower review videos and they always seem to mowing on land as smooth as bowling greens. We instead have rougher terrain to contend with, with lots of protruding rocks and surface roots. My brother and I just spent the last couple days fixing the old mower deck. All 230 lbs of it. Last week I hit a root and bent up the deck around the centre spindle and seized the centre blade. The 40+ year old deck itself now has several cracks in it around each of the spindle mounting holes. Stress cracks! . So its days are numbered. Next trip into the city will be to a welding shop.

KinAlberta
Member
# Posted: 11 Jun 2020 09:30 - Edited by: KinAlberta
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Quoting: snobdds
I have a commercial Honda mower at my house. It's probably 10 years old now. Just oil changes and tune ups.

... Plus, I only buy stuff with a long history of parts availability. I can still get every part on the John Deere mower..


We got a 21” Honda self-drive lawnmower in 1993 and replaced it a couple years ago with a new one. The new one is harder to start and must weigh a lot more because it is a LOT more work mowing. Anyway, the old ‘93 Honda is now at the cabin and started this spring with just a few pulls. Since then, just one pull. (It would now be considered a commercial Honda mower.) I mowed a couple acres with it last week after busting our Kubota. Great old mowers!


On parts availability. I lost a kubota mower deck wheel somewhere on the property and Kubota was able to find another in a day. $50!!! (I searched the internet for several hours over a couple weeks and couldn’t find anything like it!).

hueyjazz
Member
# Posted: 11 Jun 2020 11:48
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KinAlberta
Your post got me thinking that I should replace the old LT1000 Craftsman at the cabin that I repair regularly. Motor and transmission are strong but implementation of the mower deck, blade spindles , belts and pullies was poorly done from day one.

I started looking at used John Deer on Craigslist. Holy crap are those expensive. Some people want $5000 for 20 year old units. What did these things cost new?
I know the models sold in the big box stores aren't real Deer. They are made by MTD who makes the Craftsman and many other the other names you know. A real Deer can only come from a Deer dealer. But I'm not spending $5000 for a mower new so much as one used.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 11 Jun 2020 15:52
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I have found it's hard to find a 15-20yr old tractor that there not asking 90* of retail back then.

Craftsman decks are terrible. Husky are the same thing. I got to the point where I had to stock a deck spindle, blade and belt...this was on a sub 200hr machine.

hueyjazz
Member
# Posted: 12 Jun 2020 11:39
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KinAlberta
I have a Jari too. Fantastic machine of 1950's technology. Until a few years ago the company was still in business and I got new blades for mine. Wish I got more rubber wheel treads as mine are now wearing

I also have the walk behind sting trimmer. It works very well and rock, stumps whatever don't phase it. I just keep a few pre-cut line to replace any that break. It takes seconds.

I tamed about two acres of woods into a lawn. The above two tools were a great help but I often find lawnmower being tossed out on trash day. Generally they took me about 15 minutes to get running. I don't think my neighbors know how to clean a carburetor. I would seek out the walk behind ones that had a drive.

These were a higher HP engine. The high rear wheel ones were the best. I would disconnect the drive put an extra heavy duty blade in them. It was a rough life for them but I consider them disposable. Mostly I just replaced engines. Slowly the woods became a yard and I would pull stumps and rocks as I went.
IMG_1088.JPG
IMG_1088.JPG


KinAlberta
Member
# Posted: 15 Jun 2020 16:58
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Yeah our Jari is the same.

A walk behind trimmer might be nice to have!

I looked at the new 2020 model year Kubota T series mowers which now have fabricated decks and a Yamaha engine. Will seriously consider one.

KinAlberta
Member
# Posted: 15 Jun 2020 17:06 - Edited by: KinAlberta
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Off-continent products:

POWER SCYTHE, FOR LONG GRASS

https://www.bsgtractorsandmachinery.co.uk/product_category/lightforce-two-wheel-machi nes/

Anyone ever hear of a Goldoni tractor?


https://www.bsgtractorsandmachinery.co.uk/product/quad-tractor-from-bsg/


More:
Quad Tractors 30 & 40 ( Ferrari) 26 & 36hp - BSG Tractors
https://www.bsgtractorsandmachinery.co.uk/product/quad-tractor-30-40/


Two wheelers:

https://www.bsgtractorsandmachinery.co.uk/gallery/

hueyjazz
Member
# Posted: 15 Jun 2020 18:50
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Well Lamborghini started as a tractor company.
And Porsche made them too
You'd be cutting in style with those

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