Riding Machinery for Cutting the Grass

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by fingerguy, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. fingerguy

    fingerguy Inactive

    Aug 2, 2016
    I been living with my fiancé for about 6 years at her home and been cutting her lawn: it sucks! Normally cutting grass wouldn't be a big deal but I am not getting any younger, she has about an acre, and that isn't the bad part, the bad part is those damn hills!

    I had enough and put my foot down and she agreed to me getting a tractor/lawnmower that I could ride. Originally the plan was me getting it at the end of this season but that got squashed due to our need for a new furnace (it never ends I swear). Anyway, the plan is next year. So I did my research and came up with the following:

    1. I used to be loyal to Craftsman but since they sold the line I am no longer a fan. Don't bother trying to convince me otherwise but not only did they sell it but who they sold it to just makes me believe it will get even worse in time. So I am done with the Craftsman brand.

    2. JD (John Deere) which I owned one when I was married and I have to tell you, they are overrated. So that too is not something I am considering.

    3. Snapper - One of the WORST lawnmowers I have ever used. I got it because someone raved about it; I couldn't disagree more.

    4. Toro - I was considering to go to HD (Home Depot) and get a Toro till I Google it. Let’s just say Toro is no longer on my list.

    5. Cub Cadet - looks nice, has a lot of stuff you can use it for, and just a cool looking lawnmower and since the lawnmower specialist places sell it, I thought it was a great brand. Another Google search will tell you otherwise and the other thing I learned is their customer service sucks. So moving on.

    6. Gravely - I saw it in the store and thought that looks tough which I confirmed after some Google searches. But more of a professional device and since the person I spoke to about it came off as a Richard-Cranium and really didn't pursue looking at other places I left it at that.

    Which leaves me to: Husqvarna

    I know my buddies say out of all the dirt bikes they ride and love, that is the best and many of them don't even own that brand. I heard the next best is KTM. I know for a fact it's not Kawasaki!

    Anyway, so I looked at that and I have to say the reviews are excellent, they have excellent reputation, and so on. Plus their warranty while all over the place sounds fair.

    Well I went into this REALLY WANTING A Zero-Turn mower, BUT the nice guy at another place whom took the time to speak to me for about 15-minutes talked me out of it. His reasoning makes sense and I had to say it was slightly in the back of my mind just from observation. The reason it's not a good choice is due to the hills. 360's as I like to call them are back heavy, so going at inclines they tend to peel out and/or do a wheelie. Now you can ride a hill sideways but I don't want to be confined having to do that so like I said I was talked out of it.

    Then he brought up push lawn mowers to which I told him, between the size, and the hills you can get me the best push lawnmower in the world, but unless it's driving itself or someone else is pushing it, I am not interested. Don’t say it, I know a self-propelling lawnmower exists, I own one but doesn’t change the situation with the hills. You walk up and down them 50-plus times without the lawnmower and then talk to me about my options

    Then there is the robot; even though I am in IT that is just too techy for me, at least for now.

    Then there are two brands left (if you go to their website you will see). One starts at 5k and the other 2k. I really like the 5k model because by design you can mow under bushes and stuff where the tractor you can't. But is that really worth the extra 3k? IMHO no because one I already own a push lawnmower that I can use just for that. Also, even if I didn't I can still buy one, have the 2k tractor, and still spend less than that one device that is 5k.

    Anyway, that is where I amt, and still open to suggestions, tips, models, brands, and so on. The only thing I am dead set against is if I have to walk it then I am not interested. Stand or sit is fine, anything other than that NOPE!
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
  2. Mktrat

    Mktrat Seriously, are we not doing phrasing anymore? Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2013
    The Mitten
    I have had good luck with Husqvarna.

    That's all I got. Sorry.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    For the price of a good riding mover that will handle hills and not break down you could pay a landscaping company to cut it for several seasons. When I did the math myself, I figured I could get about 3 1/2 to 4 seasons out of paying a guy to do it with more than FOUR acres. With only one acre you should get 6 or seven seasons of grass cutting for what you would spend on a mower. Never mind the time involved. And I only figured in the price of the mower and never even looked into gas or maintenance.

    Some of the best money I ever spent. When I arrived home just yesterday my yard looked like the 9th green at Augusta National. I whipped up some chicken on the grill while he edged the 100 yard driveway and trimmed the ditches.

    (Bonus: My landscaping guy is one of the finest drummers on Earth and a good friend. I get him to cut mine at the end of the day so I can grill him a burger while my girls brush his long hair. :D )

    Get a guy and sip beer while he cuts the grass. :thumbsup:
    kobass and DirtDog like this.
  4. fingerguy

    fingerguy Inactive

    Aug 2, 2016
    Actually we did the math and where we live one season pays off the lawnmower; don't know what you are paying in NC. However, my sister lives in NC and apparently you guys have snake problem; specifically rattlesnakes (gives me the chills just thinking about it). They get a landscaper for that reason; so would I. In fact, I would then just get a house on the beach and if not on the beach then just get a condo so never had to take care of the yard.

    two fingers likes this.
  5. If money is no object - kubota
    John Deere works for me though, they just require diligent routine maintenance.
    dangnewt likes this.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I put just under a hunnerd bucks into a good cut, trim and haul. He cuts the grass on a riding mower, around he landscaping with a push mower, trims everything including the ditches, edges the sidewalks and driveway (which is probably half a dang mile of edging....ha!) and cuts back the trees/shrubs when needed and hauls off the debris. He owns a $20K mower that cuts the 4 acres in about a half hour....seriously. It's impressive. He let me get on it once and I got skeert!

    I'm guessing sis lives out west in the mountains or far east? Get this. Some years ago, really "smart" government officials decided that we hadn't spent enough money that year....and we had thinned out our rattlesnake population too much. They literally took a Mack truck load of rattlesnakes in cages and released them near Plymouth NC. My aunt lived out there at the time. You could stand in her back yard at dusk and it sounded as if you had a rattlesnake in your ear.
  7. viribus

    viribus Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I never actually learned to play very well
    Rodent and DirtDog like this.
  8. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I live on 3 acres and mow with a 54" Cub Cadet GT1554. It's been a great tractor & mower and it's 10 years old this year. Before the Cub Cadet I had a John Deere that saw 25 years of hard use before I finally donated it to a local church. It was still running and mowing but was just too small for the 3 acres we bought in '07.

    IMHO it doesn't matter which brand you choose, they're all going to get some bad publicity from users who probably don't know how to maintain them. When you're mowing large parcels of land on a regular basis, especially on terrain that's not flat and even, (mine is hilly and uneven) you're going to put a mower of any kind under harsher use conditions than expected. Things break. No matter which brand you end up with expect things like this to come up on a regular basis after the first year:
    Cotter pins break...they just wear out and break. The pins that hold the deck adjustment system, the deck rollers, the wheel hubs, anywhere there's a cotter pin expect it to break. I replaced mine, as they broke, with heavier pins, and in some cases with large nails that I've bent over the shaft that the pin mounted to.
    Belts break ... not just the mowing deck belt ( which I replace every season & keep a spare in the workshop at all times) but the transmission drive belt. If you mow regularly you'll wear out a drive belt every 2-3 seasons. Keep an extra on hand because you'll have to order it to replace it and of course it will break while you're in the middle of a heavy mowing.
    Tires get flats...any thorns on the property? From roses to mesquite if they're on the property you'll get one in your tire now and then. Keep a plug kit in your arsenal of parts.
    Pick one up at Auto Zone and have it ready. You'll also need a compressor in your garage or work shop. Mower tires lose air while sitting in the hot storage area between mowings...don't know why but they do. You'll have to top off the air in them at every mowing during the summer.
    Mowing Deck...clean it regularly. And before the mowing season begins, remove it, lean it up against something stable, and scrape all the caked up clippings and dirt from the bottom. I use a putty knife for this. This will help keep the deck balanced and help prevent undue stress on the belt, plus the deck will spin easier and won't vibrate as much.
    Spindles...These are the mounting units for the deck pulleys. They have zirk fittings for lube. You'll use a lube gun with a tube of axle grease. (If you don't have one you'll need to get one) Lube the deck spindles regularly or you'll end up with fried bearings and be looking at replacing a spindle. Grease the front steering system too...zirk fittings at each joint.
    Lights...those headlights may look bright but the first time you mow in the dark, which is very common during the hot summer, you'll wish you had brighter and more lights. (I sometimes start mowing at 9pm just to avoid the heat) Look on Amazon and order an LED
    light bar to mount to the front end and wire it into your headlights wires. They're cheap....$20-$30 bucks...you'll be glad you did.

    PARTS & MANUAL ... whichever you end up with download a full parts list with schematic diagrams and keep it handy. You'll need it. I replaced my steering bearings and pinion rack last summer when the tractor started losing steering control. Turned out the pinion and steering arm bearing were just worn out. It took all of 30 min to replace.
    If you are the type who has to take the tractor to a repair place every time something stops working, breaks, or wears out, then you should just hire someone to mow your place. If you are good with tools and have at least a minor level of mechanical know how you'll be fine doing your own repairs.

    Many people just buy mowing rigs, mow with them, and put them in the shed, and then complain that it didn't live up to their expectations. IF you use it, it will break and require regular maintenance.
  9. fingerguy

    fingerguy Inactive

    Aug 2, 2016
    So I take it this one isn't yours?


    Surprised you don't own something like this:


    btmpancake likes this.
  10. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    KTM now owns Husqvarna motorcycles - not sure if that applies to thier lawn tractor division.

    Don't know that shopping by brand affiliation is a great approach. How about you figure out what your requirements {NEEDS, NOT WANTS} are in terms of power, size, functionality, and so on and then find the product that fits your needs? Then you can afford to be brand-specific if that's still important.

    MJ5150 likes this.
  11. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    That would require standing up for too long...takes me 2 hours to mow...
    my next one will be one of these...

    fingerguy likes this.
  12. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    How are the Japanese mowing their lawns?
    OldDog52 likes this.
  13. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    This is the type of thing I'd hire a neighborhood kid to do and save yourself thousands of dollars. Unless you are perfectionist about your lawn.
  14. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Those aren't recommended for hilly areas, are they?
  15. viribus

    viribus Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I never actually learned to play very well
    Hire that kid who mowed the WH Rose Garden!
    DirtDog likes this.
  16. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    I have a Husqvarna weedwhacker and it's been fine once I replaced the recoil-start assembly that failed within a year. That was 5 years ago so I consider it a fluke.

    My Deere D140 has been great - we also have an acre, and hills. The weak point in yard & garden tractors in this range is the hydrostatic transmission. The 140 seemed to be in the sweet spot of enough power (26 HP IIRC) and wide-enough-to-be-useful mower deck while maintaining turning radius (we have a lot of trees) and minimizing stress on the transmission. Been a while, but I recall that the next number up had a wider deck - but the same transmission...

    I did add a thermostat oil filter sandwich filter adapter and external oil cooler - also allows an upsized filter. I use 5W-40 synthetic oil. No issues, just normal maintenance stuff - greasing the spindles is unpleasant but necessary. Change the oil every 10-20 hours, sharpen the blades and air cleaner every year, keep air in the tires, spark plugs and fuel filter every 5-6 years when it gets hard to start.

    The yard & garden tractor form has been good for us - we have a few towable accessories that make life easier - such as the cart for moving heavy stuff (trees, shrubs, mulch...) around in the yard.
  17. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I worked on a project a few months ago with the management team at Exmark. They focus more on the zero turn mowers, but it may be worth a look.
    As part of the project, we gathered info on several other mower manufacturers in the USA.
    A few come to mind that haven't been mentioned yet....
    New Holland (tractor with attachment options)
    Dixie Chopper
    Mahindra (tractor with attachment options)
    Grasshopper (zero turn)
    Hustler (zero turn)

  18. fingerguy

    fingerguy Inactive

    Aug 2, 2016
    Because most if not all the providers match the requirements, the question is which brand has better quality and are more reliable than it's competitors. When someone shops for a SUV: you can go Ford, Subaru, Toyota, Honda, etc. They all have slight differences but in the end which one has the better reputation?
  19. fingerguy

    fingerguy Inactive

    Aug 2, 2016
    Who? You assume we have one in the area. We don't. Besides, most of the kids that live in this town are rich and spoiled.

    I will be re-researching the 360 info I received, but I can see how the info given to me is accurate. So based on your question, maybe not.

    Yeah....I just want to turn it on, sit down, open a beer, and mow.
  20. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Wowsah, you won't get that kind of service for that much yard for anything near $100 in this region.
    Maybe I should move to Eastern NC for the lower cost of living.
    How much are y'all paying for a gallon of gas?
    Pound of bananas?
    Cup of drip coffee from a coffee shop (not Starbucks)?

  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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