New Riding Mower Help

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Kirk, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. Kirk

    Kirk Well-Known Member

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    My Riding mower bit the dust. It blew the case in half on the motor. I don't know how old it is as it came with the house. The deck is rusted through in places. After looking at new motor prices I have decided that its just not worth fixing.

    The current (broken) mower is 12hp with 39" deck. I have 7.5 acres and I mow about 3 acres plus a walking trail. I can buy a mower with about the same specs for around $750. I am debating whether to buy that or step up to something with a little more power/bigger deck. I would like to be able to use it to blow snow in the winter, and perhaps a few other small farm type chores. My old mower has a snow blower but was absolutely miserable at snow blowing.

    Tractor supply has some models with 25hp and 50" deck but I'm not certain that it really offers much more than the rider I have. On the other hand they have one which is listed as a garden tractor (vs lawn tractor or riding mower) at 24hp 48" deck, which lists several attachments which it will haul using a sleeve hitch.

    I dont have need of a full sized tractor or even a compact. I would love to hear recomendations from you guys as to what would be the best way to go.

    Kirk
     
  2. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    I don't think I would get anything smaller than a 48" deck to mow 3 acres with. You will enjoy the benefits of a "garden tractor" versus a "lawn tractor" or regular mower. Like everything else, it just depends on how much you want to spend. Cub Cadet and John Deere offer some nice models, but you can get up to $3,000-$4,000 real quick.
     

  3. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    arond here there is an equipment auction every first tuesday if the month, and for 500 you can waltze away with you pick of the gems. so, find an equipment auction nearby.

    if that isnt an option start looking for an older one built to last in the first place. If you can find a good old bolens husky, tube frame all shaft drives, youll have it forwever with a little maintenance. And a new/used engine to retrofit it is an easy job. parts can be a bugger to find SO... you can always go with an older international. the older ones were all cast iron, heavy and heck and easy to get parts for ad HI is still in business.
    the newer you get, the cheaper you get as they started making everything out of stamped sheet tin. and then they all went to shift on the fly hydro transmissions, nothing but trouble... you have a lot to work, you need a horse not a show pony.

    old allis chalmers B model lawn tractors are a good pick and parts also available.
    my nephews freind tried to seell me a 1200 series bolens for 700 bucks, with a snowplow. if I had it i'd have taken it, the tractor is in great shape.... thats not unusual if you look around, and a lot of times you can pick up old bolens tractors with soething wrong with em for next to nothing. Why? PARTS. the 50 buck scrapper might have 300 bucks worth of parts you can direct swap on your good one.

    now, if your not into making due, I was looking recently and a nice small john deere can be had new for @1200 bucks. these you can tow into a service place and get fixed easy, if you spend the $$$.

    I have an old bolens 852 husky, the electric system went so I stripped (literally) the hood, electrics and whatever else was not working. I bolted a rope pully on the front (yes.. dont panic). now, if you know small engines, if its properly tuned a choke and 1 pull should start any engine, if it doesnt it needs fixed. I do tire of the yank but these things are iron bears, the only belts run the gearbox. (I had to do some serching for those, they are a matched set and an odd size) The other day i picked up a PTO tiller for it and that thing rocks!

    its a matter of choice...an older cast iron one will work all day and not stress, a newer one will vibrate and wear out belts and... you know the drill.

    I'd look for the oldest heavy duty IH or bolens I could afford thats in good working order and then keep my eyes open for organ donors for it.
     
  4. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The TSC are MTD (maybe labeled huskee) and the 25hp/50" is a nice for the price unit. They will not however last forever and depending on how you maintain and use (or abuse) your tractor that needs to factor in.

    What is your budget, a Used John Derre or Kubota would be better but the MTD will work for you.
     
  5. Kirk

    Kirk Well-Known Member

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    Gary,
    I plan on spending less than $2000 which sort of rules out the JD's and kubotas. I did just see a new Husqvarna for the same price as the Huskee 25hp 50", it is 21hp and 48" looks to be built better although the engine is a briggs (which I have no problem with).

    Kirk
     
  6. jacksun

    jacksun Active Member

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    kirk you can spend 2000 on an huskee or mtd and have it maybe for 5years if you take really good care of it or you can pay 4000 and have a john deere or kubota for the rest of your life and maybe you kids to.
    im a firm beliver in quality not quantity i bought a john deere lx188 in 96 with a 48 in deck and have mowed 5 acres or more and has only been back to the dealer once because my nephew put jet fuel in it and the filter didnt get all the water out. its still going strong and doesnt use any oil between oil changes. what ever you decide get one with a presure oiling system and a filter makes them last.
     
  7. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    I came to this same conclusion - I have 4.5 acres with 2 of it to mow. Don't need to plow snow here. I got the small Kubota - 16 HP with 39 inch deck and it does a wonderful job. The hydrostatic transmission is wonderful to use. I hadn't thought it out, but the 39 inch deck was perfect because it fit's through the walk gates into the back yard - a larger deck would not have fit and I don't really miss the extra size. I do tons of hauling with a Rubbermaid cart I got at Walmart and even have drug small trees I cleared with it to the burn pile.

    Mine cost $3000. I walked in to the Kubota place one mile from my house and at 11:00 and they were in my driveway with my new machine at 1:00. They come and get it for annual service - so that was a big plus for me.

    You may need a bigger one for the snow plow, not sure about that.

    Debbie

     
  8. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    I have a 20 hp. Murray wide body garden tractor with a 39" deck. We mow 3 acres as well, and we can do it in about 2 hours, and that includes mowing around a good-sized orchard. Ours has an automatic transmission, which is great if you're mowing around any obatacles. Push the pedal forward or backward.
    The Murray has plenty of power, tires are a little on the weak side tread-wise, but for about $1500 new, we can't complain. We figure that we can buy 4 of these for the price of a new John Deere with comparable features. We bought ours in a local swap guide, and I find there are always a lot of similar models because people buy them and then discover they're too big for their yards.
     
  9. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    Or......

    What about a small diesal tractor? Perhaps a used, grey market Yanmar?

    About a 18-20hp, and a five foot finish mower could cut an awful lot of grass, and do some other things besides.

    Just a thought......
     
  10. tooltime

    tooltime Border Ruffian

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    Here's my $0.02, although others might disagree.

    With your budget of <$2000, I don't think you could put yourself into a small utility tractor (I'm talking about 1950s-1960s) and a finish mower. But, for a little bit more money, you could get a 25-40 HP tractor that you could not only mow with (either a belly mower or a rear-mount finish mower), but do some other things as well.

    If you don't want to go that route, you could get a serviceable used mower for $400-$900. I see many used John Deere lawn mowers for sale in that price range, especially 100 and 200 series. For a bit more, you can get some of the newer model JDs. Are they higher-priced than some other brands? Yes, but don't be fooled by people who claim it's just "people paying for the paint." There's a reason they hold their resale value so well -- they're reliable, well-made, long-lasting machines. I mow my house yards with a 1963 JD 110 that my Grampa bought new. It's cutting away on its 41st season. Don't honestly know what my Grampa paid for it, but I've seen them sell used for as much as $1650. My Dad bought a 1981 JD 212 new, and it outlasted him. My Mom still uses it to mow around all her gardens and all the buildings on the home place. I just got done welding on the deck (with some JD yellow paint afterwards, the deck looks like new), but it's been a heck of a good mower and done a lot of mowing. How many of these el-cheapo mowers are going to make it to ten years, let alone 20 or 40?

    There's no reason that a lawn mower should be expected to last only 4-5 seasons, but that's exactly what many of these Murray, Yard Machines and other mowers last. The quality of the drive, castings, bearings, you name it is all low and that's what will give out typically before the engine. You might figure to get 5-10 years out of it and then throw it away, but when you start dropping $100+ on repairs on these mowers in the 2-3 year, what sort of a bargain are they?

    Frankly, I don't understand the rationale behind these 17-25 HP lawn/garden tractors with 39"-48" cutting decks. Certainly don't need that HP to run the mower, and if the plan is to use these as some sort of "utility" tractor, while they just aren't utility tractors, especially the low-end ones. They are too light and aren't geared for heavy lugging such as garden tilling. I'm not saying that there aren't some nice "garden tractors in the 20-25 HP range taht will do some work, but you won't get them for $750.

    Quality equipment comes in a variety of paint colors, but if you are interested in John Deere, here's a couple tips. John Deere grants dealerships separately in: agricultural equipment; industrial equipment; and lawn/garden. A John Deere dealer might have all of these dealerships under one roof (especially in rural areas) or you might find a JD dealer that sells only lawn/garden. I'd be careful of these JD lawn/garden guys in suburban areas, they really jack up the price vs. the integrated dealerships in rural areas. A dealer in farm country might have some nice older JDs he received on trade-in that would easily fit your price range. Another thing you might look for in a local paper is a consignment sale by JD dealers in your area. JD dealers might have these as a way to get rid of inventory (trade-in mowers). Several dealers in my area had one such sale with 60+ mowers about a month ago.

    Good luck with the search for a new mower.
     
  11. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    greymarket would be a bad choice for this task. First grey market dont generally come with a belly mower and your going to spend almost as much for the mower as your would the tractor. Most grey's come with rice tires that will tear a alwn up so you would have to replace the tires.

     
  12. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    Granted, turf tires are nicer, but if you watch your p's and q's, you can use standard grips to cut your place.

    The mower I was thinking about wasn't a belly mower - too much trouble to hook up, and off - but a rear finish mower, driven by the PTO. My tractor will pull a 6 footer, with no problem, but it's 35 horse at the PTO. I figure a 20hp shouldn't have too much trouble with a 5 footer.

    As I said, just a thought.... :)
     
  13. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If the least bit wet or soft your yard is gone. I am not talking about standard ag tires, but the heavy lug rice tires found on many greys.

    A rear PTO mounted mower is fine but then you loose some turning radius as wel.

     
  14. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I was looking at mowers recently and doing similar comparisons in the same price range. I was down to JD and Cub. The Cub 2000 series is a much better mower than the similar priced JD. I was on my way to buy the Cub when I ran into a good deal on a used Murray with hydro drive. Not being one to pass up a deal I bought the used Murray for $350 17hp 46"deck.
    The Cub I was going to buy was a last year model so it was reduced and offered 2 yr. 0 down zero interest which came to $100 per mo. for 2 yrs. It was a model 2166.
     
  15. Ironside53

    Ironside53 New Member

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    Was searching on the 25 hp Huskee Supreme with 50" deck and ran across these comments, I recently moved from Ohio after building a house in Eastern Texas on almost 3 acres. I have a Bolens almost new I brought with me (17hp with 42" deck) which I'm selling, it was my first (and last) 2 blade mower and far prefer the way 3 blade decks cut.

    I already placed the 25 hp tractor on layaway until the rain lets up long enough to get my landscape dirt work done, sprinklers and lawn in. It is used but only for 2 weeks and so it was only $1500 plus the web sites no longer show the 25 hp 50" new. Price was a factor plus height, ease of use and control locations, as I am a paraplegic. Garden tractors just tend to be too tall. This model has a tall easy to use by hand brake and the spring on the "automatic" pedal makes it easy to push by hand while I set or reset the cruise.

    I agree 25 hp is a lot of power for a 50" cut only, but I originally went to Tractor Supply because of the two towable "Swisher" mowers they carry there (locally at least). The smaller swisher is 2 blade and not a floating deck but the larger is floating, very well built with a 13.5 hp and 60" cut. I'd never heard of these units but am told people often even pull them with ATV's with the hitch centered (even with some lawn tractors with worn out decks). I plan to pull it behind the tractor offset so I can cut almost 9' at a time. My neighbor hates mowing so we have worked an arrangement so I'll mow both our lawns while they'll do the all the trimming, weeding etc. that I find hard to do myself.

    I'll soon find out how it all works, but the Swisher even comes now with small horizontal wheels to protect the trees, since it is also great for mowing around trees without dodging the low limbs. The Swisher is really low overall so when towed in offset mode you can keep the tractor about 6 ' from trees when mowing under them to get close without trimming so many lower branches.

    My main concern to find out long term is the durabilty of the tractor's 50" deck as while it floats and is built better than most lawntractor decks. it is not quite as well built as garden tractor decks and expecially the bigger Swisher's deck.