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Looking for a new lawn tractor

Discussion in 'General Lawn Garden Tractor Forum' started by marc_hanna, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. marc_hanna

    marc_hanna Registered User

    Hi all,

    I’ve just started researching lawn tractors. I’m looking for something for taking care of my income properties. The will need a mower deck and a snow blower.

    I’m not committed to a new piece of equipment but I am predisposed to a diesel. So far, all I’m seeing for diesels is Kubota and JD. JD is about 50% more expensive than Kubota for a new piece.

    Just looking for insight and opinions.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tractor Forum
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  2. RC Wells

    RC Wells Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2008
    Points to consider:
    Lawn mower versus Lawn tractor versus Sub-compact tractor. Consumer lawn mowers and lawn tractors are just that, consumer products. Intended for the once or twice a week mowing of a lawn. Not for daily use. Sub-compact tractors are tractors designed for daily use, and built accordingly. John Deere has a buyer guide on their website that is helpful in sizing the consumer mowers.

    Ease of blade and deck maintenance. Do not want to work yourself into a sweat pulling a deck out from under to clean and service. Look at the drive-on types that also include a quick connecting drive for the deck. Remember, it will be piled full of grass and dirt when it requires service. The winner here is the renters' dog chain or kids' jump rope wrapped around the center blade, has yet to happen in the shop or in the shade!

    Attachment of snow blower. This alone can choke a horse. In the last six or so years all the diesel subcompact tractor manufacturers have touted the ease of attaching a snow blower. I notice all the ads show the attachment ease in a heated shop or in the summer sun. Mine are attached in snowy and windy weather, or something requires maintenance when it is plugged with snow and the kid toy or plastic bag left in the renter's driveway and the wind is blowing. Nice to be able to just head to a heated shop, but that never happens for me.

    Snowblowers on lawn mowers should be reserved for the movies. My experience is that what worked in the days of heavy duty lawn and garden tractors just does not with the new lighter products. I have a JD X749, and it will not handle a snow blower in any practical sense. My Kubota BX2680 with the BX2816 snow blower does great. Both base tractors were essentially the same price, the Kubota is much newer and a compact tractor, not a lawn tractor.

    Hydrostatic transmission. Kubota builds the best and most durable. The John Deere units seem to be holding up reasonably well. The Yanmar units are good also. Avoid the Tuff Torq and other belt driven units when using a snowblower.

    Syncro-shift and power reverser transmissions. Great for lawns. Be prepared to replace one or both the clutches if they are used on a snowblower if the snow is more than a few inches deep. Stopping, reversing, starting requires full stops, reduction in engine speed, then throttling back up after they are moving. In the real world that does not happen, as they get stuck and put in reverse under throttle numerous times a day when blowing snow unless the operator is a Saint.

    One other comment. Unless you have tiny feet avoid the John Deere HD Lawn tractors with the drive lock pedal on the left floorboard. The JD X749 has that and it is a foot tangler for me, but the wife really likes that mower.

    My two cents.
    sixbales and Hoodoo Valley like this.

  3. jhngardner367

    jhngardner367 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2011
    I have to agree with RC Wells.
    Most of the snowblowers/blades for the average lawn/garden tractors are designed for the SUBURBS,or City areas,for occasional use,in snow not higher than 18"!
    Also, you'll notice,that snowblowers have adjustable skids...
    This is because they were never meant to scrape the ground,but to sit 1/2" above it,to reduce wear,and the possibility of debris being thrown !
    Most units,..even the heavier ones,won't cut through the wall of snow that the plows leave in the drive,although the ones with teeth on the augers,do better ,at it.
    Either way,they take a beating.
    Look for a good sub-compact,and remember,...you'll need chains,and weights,for snow/ice,and a good,heavy deck,for mowing !
  4. marc_hanna

    marc_hanna Registered User

    What do you guys think about about the Massey GC2300? It’s pretty small, but weighs almost 1,400lbs without implements. I haven’t seen any blowers for it yet. Also looking at a Kubota B1750.

    My concern, even with the Kubota is size. Too big and it will be useless for mowing.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tractor Forum
  5. RC Wells

    RC Wells Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2008
    With either the Massey or the Kubota I would verify availability of parts.

    I would also remove and reinstall the mower deck on both to determine degree of difficulty.

    Both those units are approximately the same size and weight. Both would handle a three point snow blower like this one: http://www.woodsequipment.com/productDetails.aspx?id=23

    Here is a MF with the Canadian built RadTech blower:
    crawdaddy likes this.
  6. marc_hanna

    marc_hanna Registered User

    Thanks for the info guys.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tractor Forum
  7. marc_hanna

    marc_hanna Registered User

    Those Radtechs look nice. They seem to be a good price also. My local dealer just quoted me $6,300 for a new MF front mount blower.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tractor Forum
  8. wjjones

    wjjones Moderator Staff Member

    May 27, 2010
    I like the John deere 1023e it looks like a workhorse without the bulk. If you need to transport it around much that would be another factor to consider.
  9. marc_hanna

    marc_hanna Registered User

    Any thoughts on a cub cadet 5234D?

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  10. RC Wells

    RC Wells Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2008
    As a minimum you are looking at a ten year old unit from MTD that was their first attempt at a diesel sub-compact.

    I would pass, but my neighbor had one. What a nightmare, transmission blew as he was mowing.

    There is a glitch in the undersized discontinued hydrostatic with six grade 5 bolts holding the differential planetary gear housing that should be replaced with Grade 8, sealed with LocTite, and torqued. Those bolts are known to back out or break, then the gears eat themselves, and break the case.

    The hydrostatic they used was not suitable for the torque of the diesel engine, and is no longer available. But as of 2013 ago most parts still were, and MTD did have an on-line service manual.
  11. marc_hanna

    marc_hanna Registered User

    I found a fella selling one for $7,000CAD. It comes with a mid-mount mower and a front mount pto blower, and with about 300hours on it. I also found an older Kubota with the same configuration with a little over 1,000 hours on it, but they’re asking $10,000CAD. Then my local MF/Kioti dealer has a used MF GC2300 with over a 1,000 hours and they want about $16,000CAD for the same configuration.

    I’m in no hurry, as I won’t need anything for another month or two, but that’s what I’ve found so far.

    If I get desperate, there’s lots of gas JD garden tractors around for $1,000 to $1,500, so I can scoop one up even if it only lasts me the season. They’ve all got belt driven blowers, so I’m not even going to consider them for next winter.

    Thanks for all the input so far.
  12. RC Wells

    RC Wells Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2008
    Look for a Cub Cadet built prior to the 1981 sale by IH to MTD. They are gas, but indestructible with transmissions and gear drive mowers and snow blowers that last.

    Most of the Cub Cadet models built from 1979 through 1985 are still good. But after MTD cheaped them down to their standards they were yellow and cream paint on department and box store stuff.

    Same story for most Deere units built through about 2001, as long as you stay away from the smaller stuff and the crap they built for the box stores.

    The higher end Deeres sold in dealerships only can still be okay, but use Tractordata.com and look at their transmissions and total unit weight. Any under 600 lb are not worth taking home, light weight equates to cheap. Deere also made a screw up garden tractor in 2003 only, the GT 100 for the box stores. That was the same frame as their Kawasaki powered dealer only garden tractors, but with a Kohler 25 horse engine. They have the Tuff Torq K66 hydrostatic that is serviceable and can have the fluid changed. They stand up well, but were discontinued when the JD dealers threw a fit that the box stores were getting something from JD other than junk.

    The newer mid-priced dealer only Deeres use the Tuff Torq transmissions, but you have to watch the plastic cooling fan mounted on the drive pulley, it blows grass clippings on the transmission where they build up and cause overheating and transmission failure. A leaf blower cleanout is needed after every mowing. Also the non-serviceable Tuff Torq transmissions used on some models are complete crap when used in heavy grass.

    Deere used to offer a mower and lawn tractor sizing service at their dealerships, but I believe it was discontinued because bargain hunters would find the mower size and price was too much for their wallet, then went elsewhere and bought a cheap alternative.

    The problem in this market is that buyers price shop, and do not consider operating life cost.
    wjjones likes this.
  13. marc_hanna

    marc_hanna Registered User

    I’m the king of cost of owner considerations. I have dozens of spreadsheets. Normally, I spend at least a year researching before I buy, but in this case I’ll need something before the grass gets too long.
  14. marc_hanna

    marc_hanna Registered User

    Thoughts on the Kubota GR series?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tractor Forum
  15. RC Wells

    RC Wells Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2008
    I have a good friend with a GR2010, it is a 2008 model and good as the day he bought it.

    My farm shop fills up with ham radio and Elk's buddies lawn and garden stuff in the winter when we are through with are own maintenance. No charge to them, just have all the tools for service and repair and a good coffee maker, so walk them through and let them do the work!

    Very seldom see a Kubota with any problem other than an owner that does not know how to sharpen the blades or change the hydrostatic transmission oil. If there is a problem it is something silly like running into a wall and bending some bit or another, or a seat safety switch went south because the owner pressure washed it with the seat up and did not pay any attention to where they were blasting water.

    Again, these are 800 lb plus lawn tractors, so built for the long haul.

    When my current crop of lawn and garden Deeres bite the dust, I am buying Kubota if the quality stays where it is.
    wjjones likes this.
  16. marc_hanna

    marc_hanna Registered User

    I was looking at the GR 2120. It has the Diesel engine and is only about $11,500CAD new. It’s a little under 1,000lbs, so a little on the light side, but it seems to have a pretty solid chassis.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tractor Forum
  17. Hoodoo Valley

    Hoodoo Valley Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Unbelievably great advice here from everyone!

    Marc, I bought a Kubota BX 2200, and while I never have put a snow blower on it, it has been a damn good grass cutter! We bought it used with 200 hours on it, but it was unquestionably cheaper than a comparable John Deere, at least for my area. John Deere, at about one to two thousand dollars cheaper, was old wore out gasoline engine and two wheel drive. Upped it by two grand and I got a low hour diesel two wheel drive unit from Kubota, but I had to travel a few hours from home to get it. I just mention this as another vote for the Kubota especially if you happen to go used.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
    wjjones likes this.
  18. marc_hanna

    marc_hanna Registered User

    Just came across a 2010 Kubota GR2110. 537 hours asking $6,800.

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    FredM and wjjones like this.
  19. marc_hanna

    marc_hanna Registered User

    Okay, so I just got off the phone with the local Kubota dealer:
    Brand new GR2120-with 54” mid mount mower
    Front mount blower
    -$500 promo
    -$900 cash and carry discount
    +free extra year on the warranty unlimited hours
    Total $13,200+Tax
    FredM, ar_confederate and wjjones like this.
  20. wjjones

    wjjones Moderator Staff Member

    May 27, 2010
    And its new with a warranty.