I know that this is perhaps inappropriate for my 2nd post on this site, but I wonder if I should ever consider another Cub Cadet, even the higher end models. In May of 2006 I bought a CC GT 1554 @ the local Home Depot that had just opened for business. Making the purchase @ HD was my 1st mistake. I didn't realize @ the time that CC pricing was/is consistent whether purchased @ a "big box" store or local Lawn & garden dealer. It was somewhat of an impulse buy, we were there to purchase building materials. As I mentioned, I didn't realize the price parity situation & thought I was getting a special grand opening deal. A "real" Cub Cadet W/cast iron axle for $3000! What a deal. We opened up a credit card account & did a 12 months same as cash deal. The problems started even before I took delivery. The tractor was supposed to be in on the next shipment a few days later. On the promised date I went in to get my tractor & found that they were back ordered W/no definite delivery date. Since my old Murray had given uo the ghost after many years of trouble free service, I needed a tractor right then as my grass was getting quite tall. I canceled the purchase & went to the local L&G dealer to buy another after finding out about the pricing. Unfortunately since I had just made a $3000 credit purchase @ HD the local L&G dealer could not get me similar financing through CC. The L&G dept manager @ the HD came through & picked up a tractor for me in Syracuse after I borrowed a trailer for him to use when he went there for a meeting. The HD manager @ Syracuse had refused to ship the tractor to Massena on a HD truck so the whole trailer/manager thing was the only way to get a tractor. A few days later I got my tractor. Now let me say something about myself. I operated heavy equipment in my early 20s, drove semis in my late 20s/early 30s & have been involved in industrial maintenance/skilled trades ever since. I know how to operate machinery W/O breaking it & I am probably a better mechanic than average. I'm not unreasonable in my expectations either. I am what I consider, a "realist". The 1st season W/the tractor was uneventful but I was not particularly pleased W/the cutting performance. The deck did not cut evenly & left uncut patches when turning. My old Murray did a better job in that respect. Still I was somewhat satisfied as I now had a real Cub cadet that would last a lot longer than my old Murray. The real problems started happening in the late part of the 2nd season. To save time I'll just list the problems in chronological order. 1. August 2007: 27 HP Kohler Courage engine throws a rod through the block. Since the engine is not part of the tractor according to CC, they would not P/U the tractor so I had to borrow a trailer & transport the tractor 20 miles to the nearest service center. I then had to wait weeks while the engine was dismantled so Kohler could determine that it was a warranty issue. They could not even order the replacement short block until Kohler made a determination. Weeks later, I was able to (again) borrow a trailer to P/U my repaired tractor. Turns out (I found out much later) that Kohler had a run of engines that had rod caps that were not torqued properly. Mine had just been one of the 1st failures. OK so things happen, I still had a top quality CC tractor that would last me many years. 2. Late spring 2008: The starter has locked up. The engine is now out of the two year warranty so a new starter comes out of my pocket. I'm starting to wonder if I bought a lemon. 3: 2009: Bearings go out in the deck. 4 of the 6 bearings are shot. The deck was never greased @ the factory/dealer. Since there were no grease fittings on the top of the deck I assumed that the sealed bearings were not owner serviceable. Why in the world would they put the grease fittings on the bottom? My old Murray tractor gave me years of service W/sealed bearing W/O me greasing them. Part of this is my fault due to buying the tractor @ HD, but why isn’t CC keeping closer watch over there dealers? 4:Late summer 2010: Drive belt comes off the pulley on top of the HS transmission tearing up the plastic cooling fan. No big deal, just get a new fan & put the belt back on the pulley. Simple job right? Not so simple. In order to get the pulley off (can't get the belt on the pulley in place W/the fan on top of the pulley) I needed to use an impact wrench to remove the pulley nut. I ended up removing the wheels & dropping the transmission for access. In order to TQ the nut after the belt was in place, I used a hole saw to cut an access hole under the seat. 5. August 2011: The drive belts breaks. No big deal, I have an access hole to R/R the rear pulley, & I cross reference a belt @ Tractor Supply. 15 minutes, an hour tops & I should be back mowing the grass. Hardly the case! After removing the deck & blocking the front of the tractor up, I get a look @ the front pulley. What a cluster! After removing the engine mount bolts & removing the muffler to get maximum movement of the engine, I still can't get a belt past the PTO. Since I have no provision for R/Ring the PTO & didn't really want to chance having problems W/the PTO, I ended up taking a cut off wheel to the tabs that are supposedly there to prevent the belt from coming off the pulley. (or are they there to prevent the home mechanic from replacing the belt) Thank god I have the access hole so that I will not need to drop the transmission. To me this is inexcusable. Belt replacement should be a routine maintenance issue, NOT a dealer repair. So here we are, not a single season after the 1st W/O a major problem. 5 years in a row I have had major problems & the mower doesn't even cut that well. I'm on my 3rd set of blades too. Research has shown that I am not the only one having problems W/this model tractor. Now I know that instead of a CC, I bought a re-badge MTD, but how can I have any confidence in buying a higher grade CC when CC lets these kind of junk tractors wear their name? Should I expect better service from a 2000 series or higher grade CC?