Author Topic: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers  (Read 412 times)

Online inditx

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NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« on: July 23, 2021, 12:24:59 PM »
So my local brain trust, I have an older John Deere rider that shot the transmission. I have about 1.5 acres to mow and itís a bit hilly.
So, itís $1,200 to repair it! Itís an LT133 and probably at least 10 years old.

Do I fix it?
Do I place with another rider? If so, brand or type?
Maybe a zero turn?
How about an electric? Too early still?
Is there a hybrid atv, utv, xyz that could provide a more versatile machine for my other chores?
You know, snow removal, gravel dress, limb pick up, pulling small trailer, some recreational for the grands?

I know, Iím all over the place but I didnít see this one coming. Trying to have a good excuse to buy something more that a riding lawn mower if you feel me.

Thanks in advance,
inditx
p.s. Iím around the KC area fwiw.

Online inditx

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2021, 12:51:20 PM »
Thanks SoCV
It does use a bit of oil but mows ok
I hear ya on the electric keeping a charge
I have an ego electric weed eater and blower that work well btw

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2021, 01:15:59 PM »
     When you say "shot the transmission" what type? and what exactly are the symptoms?

      If it has any possibility of having anything at all to do with "electrickery" confirm your main ground; I cured a major mower electric clutch issue on my JD STX38 by adding/verifying the main ground, JD is really proud of their green paint, I had about 6 thick layers of it under the main ground. :rolleyes:

      If it's a hydro tranny and it's just getting sluggish and doesn't want to climb the hills, many times a filter/oil flush/change can give those things a second life. (Most of them are factory sealed so it's a pita to do).

      New mowers and small engines are pretty well all pieces of crap now, old name brands that used to mean quality, usually all have the same cheap plastic/inferior quality design and builds.

      Beware of the zero turns if your lawn is at all rough or you have any type of bad back, on most of the residential grade machines you sit right over top of the rear wheels and every jolt goes straight up your spine.

       I actually owned 2 zero turns at one point last year, but due to my back, got out of the deals and resurrected my JD STX38 (I will run it into the ground :laugh:) and I intend to get my 25 yr old 46" Craftsman going again at some point, it has a "quality" older 16 hp Kohler Command.
 
        Pray for a drought  :thumb:

        Every time my lawn mower breaks down I get rain every 2nd day and I can can literally see it growing  :evil:

        Good luck










   
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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2021, 01:23:12 PM »
     When you say "shot the transmission" what type? and what exactly are the symptoms?

      If it has any possibility of having anything at all to do with "electrickery" confirm your main ground; I cured a major mower electric clutch issue on my JD STX38 by adding/verifying the main ground, JD is really proud of their green paint, I had about 6 thick layers of it under the main ground. :rolleyes:

      If it's a hydro tranny and it's just getting sluggish and doesn't want to climb the hills, many times a filter/oil flush/change can give those things a second life. (Most of them are factory sealed so it's a pita to do).

      New mowers and small engines are pretty well all pieces of crap now, old name brands that used to mean quality, usually all have the same cheap plastic/inferior quality design and builds.

      Beware of the zero turns if your lawn is at all rough or you have any type of bad back, on most of the residential grade machines you sit right over top of the rear wheels and every jolt goes straight up your spine.

       I actually owned 2 zero turns at one point last year, but due to my back, got out of the deals and resurrected my JD STX38 (I will run it into the ground :laugh:) and I intend to get my 25 yr old 46" Craftsman going again at some point, it has a "quality" older 16 hp Kohler Command.
 
        Pray for a drought  :thumb:

        Every time my lawn mower breaks down I get rain every 2nd day and I can can literally see it growing  :evil:

        Good luck


Great insights 80CX100
Itís not electrical itís mechanically shot, not a hydrostatic either
I trust the shop where I take it as theyíve fixed other things for me and donít sell new JD anyway (JD parts are higher than a catís back though)
I have a buddy who has an old Craftsman that is barely used heís willing to part with so itís a good temporary solution for me
Did not know that about zero turns, thanks
I would still like to know about utvís or gators and whatís a "good oneĒ for my other chores
inditx







 

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2021, 01:23:12 PM »

Offline twodogs

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2021, 01:36:29 PM »
I have the Toro zero turn soft ride, the seat and floor move on shocks, 2 in back and 1in front with I think 3 adjustments, I traded my JD for it and love the ride, plus the blades spin at commercial mower speeds so I can mow as fast as it will go without bogging in the deeper grass, only had 2 years now so I don't know how long it will last  :boozing:
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Offline Moparnut72

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2021, 01:36:43 PM »
I have an old worn out Craftsman that was given to me several years ago. It is still worn out and working great. The Kohler engine is fantastic. I have done nothing to keep it running other than a couple of batteries and a cushion for the seat which has deteriorated over the years. Just get the Craftsman and call it good.
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Offline blackcat

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2021, 01:37:52 PM »
"I trust the shop where I take it as theyíve fixed other things for me..."

I'd have it fixed as you trust these guys. Not familiar with this engine but how hard can it be to have a top end done in the winter?

In the meantime, rent some goats.  :wink:
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Offline Sykestone8886

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2021, 01:49:42 PM »
Donít know what kind of $$$ís your willing to spend but I have a 2004 B7510 Kubota with belly mower, bucket, and brush hog the things a beast and will last a lifetime, but they are pricey.
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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2021, 02:03:11 PM »
     "I have a buddy who has an old Craftsman that is barely used heís willing to part with so itís a good temporary solution for me"

     My brother (small engine mechanic) works on all sorts of different machines, he considers the Craftsman, MTD, Gilson etc, residential grade mowers from the mid 80's-late 90's are all the best build quality bang for the buck, as long as the decks, spindles, tie rods, etc are in good shape.

     What used to be considered basic good quality, is now classed as commercial grade.

     For myself, the ultimate, versatile machine would be a front deck/blower combo style from Kubota/JD etc, but then you're into silly money.

     Unless your cutting/blowing is very straight forward or light, adapting a UTV/ATV really doesn't work that well, imo.

     I picked up a small garden dump trailer from Costco that really goes well with my mower if needed.

     Good luck
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Offline cliffrod

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2021, 04:17:00 PM »
I mow & maintain approx 4 acres (3 properties) and have approx 15 hrs on my new JD Z930 zero turn mower.  It's the first brand new mower I've ever purchased and time had come to upgrade.  I'm very happy.  It has reduced typical mowing time from approx 4-6 hrs min to around 2- 2 1/2hrs.  Ideally, it will last until I am no longer mowing lawns. And at this point in life, I'm tired of fixing my mowers and having to plan nearly an entire day to mow even if nothing goes off schedule.  This mower is a big luxury for me, but sure is nice to shorten a job I would rather not have to do.  That $$$ would have bought lots of Guzzi parts, but life is too short.

The cost difference between the JD Z530-level residential mowers (think Lowe's) and the actual commercial Z930 & up zero turns is significant, but so are the machines.  There are a lot of small details on the Z530 mowers that were the same as consistently problematic details on other brand residential mowers I have had in past years.  To me, it was worth the price difference, approx $5k for Z530 vs approx $8k for my Z930  If I have to sell it, it should lose less %value compared to a residential version based upon comparably lighter use.

If you plan to mow fast, adding an upgraded suspension seat will make your back happy.   Any zero turn or walk behind, whether hydrostatic or skid steer, has a learning curve for new users to avoid turn divots in sod.   I added a hitch (<$40) to mine that rated for 400lbs, mainly for moving my wood splitter.  As with most things, I think it would be better to have a real snowblower, a real tractor with bucket/pto, real lawn mower, etc.  converting one to another is often a compromise. Finish mowing is a lot different than just bush hogging.

$1200 isnt a big budget if you're planning to upgrade, so you may be better off to fix yours if that money will fix it.  On the other hand,  mowers are selling well now just like bikes and cars.  You'll probably not have a better time to sell an imperfect mower.  I've easily sold already sold my Snapper 1642 and Cub Cadet LT1018 in the last month and still need to sell my Duetz/Simplicity tractor with 20hp Kohler & 60" deck asap to make room to park the JD.

Good luck.

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Online inditx

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2021, 04:33:52 PM »
I have the Toro zero turn soft ride, the seat and floor move on shocks, 2 in back and 1in front with I think 3 adjustments, I traded my JD for it and love the ride, plus the blades spin at commercial mower speeds so I can mow as fast as it will go without bogging in the deeper grass, only had 2 years now so I don't know how long it will last  :boozing:
Bruce

 :thumb:

Offline sidecarnutz

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2021, 04:34:55 PM »
I run a 90's Craftsman LT1000 my wife got me 7 years back after I had a big abdominal surgery. It was her way of saying "I love you Dear" as well as I will never ever be the one to cut the yard! LOL. 5 days out of surgery I was cutting grass with it!

Its motor was wore out from many hours in NC large yards. And it burned a half quart of oil per hour. No leaks. Just burning it cleanly! Plugs would foul out every month, so I kept spares. A few years later that motor was on its last legs so I repowered it with a big new B&S single at 21 hp. Old motor was a 18 hp B&S single. Years later, it still runs perfect and burns no oil between annual changes! Good for a $450 new motor and a half day to install it myself.

Last year I put all new tires on it and rebuilt the deck's moving parts. Kevlar drive belts are your friend!

A good tool for the money, but I am waiting for the transaxle to go out next. It is ancient after all. Brake is only so so anymore.
yeah, I might be addicted to brake fluid. But I can stop any time I want.

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Online inditx

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2021, 04:40:05 PM »
Thanks guys, good input!
For now Iím gonna take the old Craftsman and sell the JD for parts.
Iíll keep shopping for a UTV for the rest of my ďchores".
inditx

Offline Iron Cross Junction

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2021, 07:01:48 AM »

As seems to be usual for me, I'm late to this party, but will toss in some comments anyway.

When we bought our home at the top of Virginia -- 7.5 acres, of which c.3 need mowing -- the house came fully furnished (!), along with a Cub Cadet garden tractor.  It has a belly pan that cuts 50" swaths.  https://www.tractor-specs.net/cub-cadet/cubc-gt2550.html

It is -- was, at least -- a fine tool.  Unfortunately, the widow who sold us the place or folks who used it for her, left it a classic example of "rid hard & put away wet."   :cry:

For all sorts of reasons too painful (and TLDR) to relate here, it has been an expen$ive proposition to maintain and use.  I was confronted twice each season with triple-digit fixe$, usually in the middle of waiting too late to mow, meaning renting something while waiting six weeks for its return from the backlogged shop.  R&R'ing the PTO and deck belts, blades, and deck wheel replacement, along with oil, plugs, and filter changes are all within my modest reach, but various other unexpected issues seemed to be the mode.  In fairness to the Cub Cadet -- aside from PO's rough use -- our mowed ground is not like the fairways at the Augusta National.  Aside from the green stuff being mostly weeds except on the front lawn proper, the rest is rough, bumpy, and more.  Thinking in Guzzi terms (at least with my battle fleet), it needs more of a Stornello than a Norge.  :wink:

A few weeks ago, the the yellow thing ate a PTO belt while mowing.  No biggie, but then I noticed that the disintegrating belt had somehow eaten a pulley wheel.  That was, again, hardly an insurmountable problem, but it was the proverbial last straw, especially as, yet again, I'd let the grass get to "bring in a bunch of goats" levels.  It was time to court-martial the Cub Cadet.

That led to reading reviews of the various options to the unexpected purchase of this: https://egopowerplus.com/zero-turn-riding-mower-zt4204l/

I am married to a certified treehugger, who seems not to care, e.g., that tree farmers' kids need to eat.   :rolleyes:

I have, for all sorts of reasons, avoided electric options, and, especially, had not even thought about a riding mower powered by anything other than a robust ICE.

But there I wuz, an early adopter making Greta smile.   :grin:

My view after three "mows" so far?  Very positive as to performance.  If our property was flat-to-rolling grass and not its compartmented collection of lumpy terrain, it might exceed the claimed battery life per charge.  As it is, it takes two charging sessions (with the installed four batteries.  Some of that is no doubt attributable to my steep (think rock face) learning curve with a zero turn.  I think I now have the hang of that, but am grateful Kathi did not put any vids on Y/T!  :shocked: 

The only negative at this point is my concern about its chassis's robustness over time.  It sure seems to take a beating on our challenging ground.  OTOH, the "driver" feels almost nothing as the seat provides an almost plush ride. 

The original cost is almost $hocking, but a 10% military discount at Lowe's softened that (a bit).

Enough.  If anyone cares enough to want to know more, post here or PM me.

I am in Erie (on my Griso) for my (wonderful) f-i-l's 99th (and his girlfriend's 87th!)  :bow:, so might be a few days before I can come back to this.

Best,

Bill



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Online Perazzimx14

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2021, 07:17:34 AM »
Zero Turn. It is the best money you'll spend on lawn cutting equipment. Cutting time is decreased and cut quality (if you get a decent one) will increase.

I have a smaller Hustler Sport with 48" deck and love it. Kid mows most for the time (even better). We are on a standard building lot and she also mows ther neighbors 1-1/2 to 2 acre lot both in a little over an hour. If I'd have known she was going to take on the neighbors lot I'd have gotten the next step up to a 60" deck. Then my lawn would take 10 minutes to cut and the lot less than an hour.

Prior to this we had a riding mower with a 38" deck and my lawn took 35/40 minutes. Most of the time was wasted in turning.

It's the ones who've cracked that the light shines through!

Online inditx

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2021, 07:54:51 AM »
As seems to be usual for me, I'm late to this party, but will toss in some comments anyway.

When we bought our home at the top of Virginia -- 7.5 acres, of which c.3 need mowing -- the house came fully furnished (!), along with a Cub Cadet garden tractor.  It has a belly pan that cuts 50" swaths.  https://www.tractor-specs.net/cub-cadet/cubc-gt2550.html

It is -- was, at least -- a fine tool.  Unfortunately, the widow who sold us the place or folks who used it for her, left it a classic example of "rid hard & put away wet."   :cry:

For all sorts of reasons too painful (and TLDR) to relate here, it has been an expen$ive proposition to maintain and use.  I was confronted twice each season with triple-digit fixe$, usually in the middle of waiting too late to mow, meaning renting something while waiting six weeks for its return from the backlogged shop.  R&R'ing the PTO and deck belts, blades, and deck wheel replacement, along with oil, plugs, and filter changes are all within my modest reach, but various other unexpected issues seemed to be the mode.  In fairness to the Cub Cadet -- aside from PO's rough use -- our mowed ground is not like the fairways at the Augusta National.  Aside from the green stuff being mostly weeds except on the front lawn proper, the rest is rough, bumpy, and more.  Thinking in Guzzi terms (at least with my battle fleet), it needs more of a Stornello than a Norge.  :wink:

A few weeks ago, the the yellow thing ate a PTO belt while mowing.  No biggie, but then I noticed that the disintegrating belt had somehow eaten a pulley wheel.  That was, again, hardly an insurmountable problem, but it was the proverbial last straw, especially as, yet again, I'd let the grass get to "bring in a bunch of goats" levels.  It was time to court-martial the Cub Cadet.

That led to reading reviews of the various options to the unexpected purchase of this: https://egopowerplus.com/zero-turn-riding-mower-zt4204l/

I am married to a certified treehugger, who seems not to care, e.g., that tree farmers' kids need to eat.   :rolleyes:

I have, for all sorts of reasons, avoided electric options, and, especially, had not even thought about a riding mower powered by anything other than a robust ICE.

But there I wuz, an early adopter making Greta smile.   :grin:

My view after three "mows" so far?  Very positive as to performance.  If our property was flat-to-rolling grass and not its compartmented collection of lumpy terrain, it might exceed the claimed battery life per charge.  As it is, it takes two charging sessions (with the installed four batteries.  Some of that is no doubt attributable to my steep (think rock face) learning curve with a zero turn.  I think I now have the hang of that, but am grateful Kathi did not put any vids on Y/T!  :shocked: 

The only negative at this point is my concern about its chassis's robustness over time.  It sure seems to take a beating on our challenging ground.  OTOH, the "driver" feels almost nothing as the seat provides an almost plush ride. 

The original cost is almost $hocking, but a 10% military discount at Lowe's softened that (a bit).

Enough.  If anyone cares enough to want to know more, post here or PM me.

I am in Erie (on my Griso) for my (wonderful) f-i-l's 99th (and his girlfriend's 87th!)  :bow:, so might be a few days before I can come back to this.

Best,

Bill

Thanks Bill, nice write up.
Which ego did you get or is their only one to choose from?
inditx

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2021, 07:56:22 AM »
Zero Turn. It is the best money you'll spend on lawn cutting equipment. Cutting time is decreased and cut quality (if you get a decent one) will increase.

I have a smaller Hustler Sport with 48" deck and love it. Kid mows most for the time (even better). We are on a standard building lot and she also mows ther neighbors 1-1/2 to 2 acre lot both in a little over an hour. If I'd have known she was going to take on the neighbors lot I'd have gotten the next step up to a 60" deck. Then my lawn would take 10 minutes to cut and the lot less than an hour.

Prior to this we had a riding mower with a 38" deck and my lawn took 35/40 minutes. Most of the time was wasted in turning.

Good to know Perrazimx14.
Howís the ride on your spine?
Does it have shocks or something or are you not sitting directly over the rear wheels?
inditx

Offline larrys

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2021, 08:10:21 AM »
An LT 133 is a pretty light weight machine. I would upgrade to something with a real transaxle, with a driveshaft to the tranny from the engine instead of the belt that your machine has. I bought a ten year old Cub Cadet 2185 ten years ago that's still going strong. I mow about an acre in little more than an hour. It will pull a substantial trailer and I have a bigass snowblower attachment for the front.
Zero turns are great mowers but they aren't very good for much else. They're heavy in the back and will get stuck in soft ground. YMMV.
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Online Gliderjohn

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2021, 10:29:59 AM »
DO NOT GET A CRAFTSMAN MADE IN THE LAST 15-20 YEARS. I had a 2006 bought new with the 20hp B&S and a cousin had the same. Pretty much everything about them was a POS. Both our motors were using a 1/2 quart of oil to a tank of gas. Both Sears and B&S said that was in spec and did nothing. Threw the blade drive belt regularly and would not cut through stuff that the JD hardly notices even with same size decks. I junked mine after two seasons and the cousin spent an additional $1,100 for a motor replacement. Replaced mine with a used JD X300 lawn tractor with the 17hp Kaw motor. Still going strong.
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Offline redrider90

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2021, 01:33:17 PM »
I get by with an inherited 97 Murray 40" wide body on a very hilly riverside cutting 1/2" acre. I have lugged rear tires as it will spin the stock tires on wet grass. I blew an engine 6 years ago. Actually it hydraulic(ed) as a result of a very slow carb leak. It sounded funny when I started it after sitting for 2 weeks and before I got 10' and as I was reaching to shut it off it blew a rod. Found a guy on ebay who had a large stock of brand new 13.5 HP Briggs. $375 delivered.(now I have lots of extra parts). And yes I added a gas valve.  This winter I put on new spindles, brake pads and deck belt. Even found exceptional new blades that are thicker, cut better and hold a sharp edge longer than any I have ever had. So I got a very slight leak in the transaxle where the brake attaches. I check my fluid (non grease model) and just add some gear oil when it needs it which is maybe once a year. The brake works just fine with gear oil on it.  :grin: Besides I use a lot of engine braking on the hillside.
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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2021, 03:33:13 PM »
Good to know Perrazimx14.
Howís the ride on your spine?
Does it have shocks or something or are you not sitting directly over the rear wheels?
inditx

Mine has no suspension bur we are mowing established lawns. My mower does 3-1/2 MPH. If you want to mow faster or have some rutted up areas bigger mowers with suspension are avalaible. Coworker has a big Hustler with suspension and it mows at about double the speed of mine. Of course he has quite a bit more grass to mow.

NO matter what one you get buy one with a deck that overhangs past the wheels. That way it makes trim mowing flower beds, gardens or around tress.or under shrubs a breeze. 
It's the ones who've cracked that the light shines through!

Online Perazzimx14

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Re: NGC, help on riding lawn mowers
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2021, 03:36:32 PM »
DO NOT GET A CRAFTSMAN MADE IN THE LAST 15-20 YEARS. I had a 2006 bought new with the 20hp B&S and a cousin had the same. Pretty much everything about them was a POS. Both our motors were using a 1/2 quart of oil to a tank of gas. Both Sears and B&S said that was in spec and did nothing. Threw the blade drive belt regularly and would not cut through stuff that the JD hardly notices even with same size decks. I junked mine after two seasons and the cousin spent an additional $1,100 for a motor replacement. Replaced mine with a used JD X300 lawn tractor with the 17hp Kaw motor. Still going strong.
GliderJohn

Thats because that Craftsman was built by MTD the same POS sold at home centers and MaoMart just painted differently.

Same with most of the "home center" zero turns. Do not buy the lower ends stuff with stamped decks and bolted together frames.
It's the ones who've cracked that the light shines through!

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Shipping in USA Only. Awesome quality. Back by popular demand. All proceeds go back into the forum.
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