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View Full Version : OT: John Deere Lawn Tractors



Kibby
04-10-2010, 02:13 PM
I need a new lawn tractor. Mine is a Honda, which they do not make anymore. Its been a good machine, but now I want to upgrade to something perhaps with a pto. Who knows a lot about John Deeres? What year did they "sell out" and start making them cheap enough to sell at Home Depot and Lowes?

Can anyone recommend a new brand that is as good as the old ones?

BigBoy1
04-10-2010, 02:32 PM
I need a new lawn tractor. Mine is a Honda, which they do not make anymore. Its been a good machine, but now I want to upgrade to something perhaps with a pto. Who knows a lot about John Deeres? What year did they "sell out" and start making them cheap enough to sell at Home Depot and Lowes?

Can anyone recommend a new brand that is as good as the old ones?


I've had John Deere tractors (the lawn mowing type) all my life and never had problems with them. I usually sold them with the house when I moved. The latest one have I got from the John Deere dealer (a friend of mine). He told me that John Deere has two lines of tractors. The cheaper models that are sold in the discount chain stores and the standard models that are carried by the John Deere dealers. For example, the dealer models have ball bearings for bearings while the "cheap" model only have brass sleeve bearings. Also the engines in the "cheap" modle are the lower end engines while the better quality engines are in the dealer models. Just my $0.02.

doctor demo
04-10-2010, 02:57 PM
I've had John Deere tractors (the lawn mowing type) all my life and never had problems with them. The cheaper models that are sold in the discount chain stores and the models carried by the John Deere dealers. the dealer models have ball bearings while the "cheap" model only have brass sleeve bearings. Also the engines in the "cheap" modle are the lower end engines
Sounds like J.D. is shooting Themselves in the foot with that marketing approach. Flood the market with ''cheap''models so the consumer thinks the whole product line the company builds is junk.
I suppose the same holds true for the Cub Cadette by International , if they are still made by IH which is now Case IH for the Ag line.

Friends don't let Friends drive Green Tractors:D

Steve

Kart29
04-10-2010, 03:15 PM
I don't know alot about JD tractors but what little I know is this...

The high grade version of their lawn tractors is the X series - X300, e.g..

The cheaper grade is the LA/LT series or "100" series - LA135, LA155, etc.

The X series comes with a Kawasaki engine and the LT100 series comes with Briggs&Stratton. I'm sure the X series is a more stout, more durable model, but it costs quite a bit more, too. If all you need to do is mow a couple acres, the LA/LT series seems like a good value for the money. If you plan to plow/blow snow, or want a PTO or loader... You'd better look at the X series or higher.

krutch
04-10-2010, 03:19 PM
I don't have any experiance with JD, but have had Cub Cadet mowers for maybe thirty years. The latest one I have is a '97 3225 and it has served my needs very well. I have a snowthrower for it and will not go back to push blade or shovels. These riders are well built and rugged. I have not taken as good care as I should have, however it has stood up to my abuse pretty well. I will get another when I finally kill this one. I am a believer in the hydrostatic drive in these machines as the axel lock feature has saved me from being stuck many times.
Thats all I have to say about that.
Krutch


MCAPTWandering.

No I don't have stock in the company!

macona
04-10-2010, 03:20 PM
Sounds like J.D. is shooting Themselves in the foot with that marketing approach. Flood the market with ''cheap''models so the consumer thinks the whole product line the company builds is junk.
I suppose the same holds true for the Cub Cadette by International , if they are still made by IH which is now Case IH for the Ag line.

Friends don't let Friends drive Green Tractors:D

Steve

Many companies do this. Lincoln sells their crappiest welders at Lowes and HD.

hardtail
04-10-2010, 03:33 PM
I don't think that Cub Cadet is made now by any current figurehead that ever represented what IH was.........MTD maybe in there now........anyway as stated JD has 2 lines of lawn products......if you were to find the best ones you will be going back to the 70's when they were made out of heavy stamped steel........anything plastic raises an eyebrow..........

RTPBurnsville
04-10-2010, 03:36 PM
Looked at JD but bought a Kubota (BX1500) about 6 years ago.... Not cheap but one of the best investments I have ever made in tools and equipment.

Robert

MotorradMike
04-10-2010, 04:25 PM
Kibby:

By 'upgrade' I'm guessing you mean features not reliability. I suspect that your Honda is a pretty nice machine and hasn't worn out. Since you're in that league I can recommend Ford. We have an 1110 2 cyl. diesel here on the farm mostly to cut the orchard. PTO and 3 point hitch.
It's built like a real tractor with castings rather than sheet metal.

Having said that, I'm feeling burned by Toyota. The fact is, we base our trust on past performance and we never know when the rug will get pulled out by companies cashing in on their own reputations.

My point is, I'll highly recommend this machine, but only an old one.

Kibby
04-10-2010, 04:26 PM
Great info, guys keep it up!

I heard about the MTD takeover for JD and Cub Cadet. Not knowing, but I suspect Husqvarna as well.

Kibby
04-10-2010, 04:50 PM
MotorradMike: Yes, my Honda is a good machine. I love it, but it is definitely getting worn to the point of no repair. The deck is beat. I've had to rebuild it twice. One nice thing about the Honda tractors is that their cutting blades spin very fast. The caveat is that the design of the bearings and the servicability is poorly designed.

I'm just now getting to an age where I want to devote my stamina to working in the shop and some special gun projects, not wrenching on junk any more.

I'm liking the idea about the Kubota, but when i think how much one of those would cost and how much ammo I could buy for that...

I also was a fan of the Ford tractors, but I think they are New Holland now. Still a decent tractor from what I understand.

paulsv
04-10-2010, 05:33 PM
I am partial to the older John Deere tractors, from the 70's and into the 90's. I have a 140, made in 1974. When I go look at the newer tractors, even the higher end stuff has a lot of stamped parts replacing what are machined parts on my 140. Parts availability for the older tractors is amazing. John Deere supplies almost everything, and lots of stuff on e-bay. Fairly straightforward to fix, with great service manuals (mine is about 500 pages), and built like a tank. The 140 has a 14 HP Kohler. Very easy to rebuild, and lots of parts available. I got a front end loader for it, and have a snowblower, a cab, and a moldboard plow, among other implements. The 140 was replaced by the 318, which is a great tractor, and they sold millions of them. If you are interested in Diesel, they have the 322, with a Yanmar 3 cylinder Diesel. For a larger tractor, the 400 series tractors from that era were real workhorses. I think the older tractors have a really cool look to them, as well. If you are interested, there is a very active enthusiast site here:

http://www.weekendfreedommachines.com/

JanvanSaane
04-10-2010, 07:24 PM
I have a piece of property with no house yet. About 3 years ago I bought a TC30 New Holland, its a good tractor but I only have about 100 hours on it. I got tired of hauling dirt in a wheelborrow so it has a loader. Little 3 cyl diesel, excellent on fuel, does better on fuel than the 8N did with a lot more power. Runs a 5 foot brush hog and barely labors through the thickets. 4WD so I can climb the inclines and ROPS. I have a friend with a compact John Deere about 24 horse and 4WD, he has several hundred hours on his with no problems, he has 17 acres so he has more property to take care of than I do. Mine is 9 speeds forward standard trans, his is hydrostat. The only thing he regrets is locust trees grow here and the thorns will flatten his turf type tires, I went with ag tires and no flats yet. Jan

Kibby
04-10-2010, 08:32 PM
I am partial to the older John Deere tractors, from the 70's and into the 90's. I have a 140, made in 1974. When I go look at the newer tractors, even the higher end stuff has a lot of stamped parts replacing what are machined parts on my 140. Parts availability for the older tractors is amazing. John Deere supplies almost everything, and lots of stuff on e-bay. Fairly straightforward to fix, with great service manuals (mine is about 500 pages), and built like a tank. The 140 has a 14 HP Kohler. Very easy to rebuild, and lots of parts available. I got a front end loader for it, and have a snowblower, a cab, and a moldboard plow, among other implements. The 140 was replaced by the 318, which is a great tractor, and they sold millions of them. If you are interested in Diesel, they have the 322, with a Yanmar 3 cylinder Diesel. For a larger tractor, the 400 series tractors from that era were real workhorses. I think the older tractors have a really cool look to them, as well. If you are interested, there is a very active enthusiast site here:

http://www.weekendfreedommachines.com/

Thank you very much, Paul, and by the way, WELCOME to HSM! :)

.RC.
04-10-2010, 08:51 PM
I would go with Kubota...

We had a Honda ride on mower....It was a POS. it was only my workshop that kept it going, pulleys forever wearing out, belts slipping, bearings going.... An uncle has a Kubota and a very harsh lawn to mow...His is 15 years old and still going strong..

h12721
04-10-2010, 08:53 PM
On the JD
Hp and size , where the 100 series left off the 300 series starts out.

You won't find a small 300 series and a small 100 series of the same size and HP. 300, macho hefty and bigger. It is not that one is better than the other. It is made for different duty.

Hilmar

Mcruff
04-10-2010, 09:06 PM
John Deere does build 2 series of Lawn tractors. I have had my John Deere since new in 1997 and can still easily get parts. It has a John Deere designed Briggs built engine. You have to buy parts thru John Deere as no briggs engine is built like it. Even the box store john deeres have nice thick decks and sturdy frames and most have cast iron spindles with replaceable bearings but there are other differences. Some engines are John Deere designs built by Briggs others are strictly Briggs motors, just depends on the model. My John Deere has never let me down in the last 13 years and I fore see having it another 10 at least. Honestly though I would only buy one from a dealer (like I did) as there are a host of differences between them and the box stores even though some parts are the same.
As far as Kubota, if you compare an equal John Deere to equal Kubota I'll take the John Deere every time. I have 2 friends that own a lawn service both of them said they would never own a Kubota again and plan on buying John Deeres the next time. Kubota changes there mowers out almost completely every 3 years and the parts are almost impossible to get 6-7 years down the road. I had to make a driveshaft for one of these friends Kubota that was only 3 years old and it was $866 from Kubota and was the last part still availble on the bagger unit for his commercial mower.

Mike of the North
04-10-2010, 10:09 PM
I can't help you a what to choose, but I would try and find a dealer that carries a few different brands and see if you can talk to one of the service techs, and find out which brands and models come in for repairs the most, or call around to some landscape companies and see what brand thy use and why.

Fasttrack
04-10-2010, 10:25 PM
BIL had a JD from the dealer - it's getting tired now so they replaced it with a fancier model, but they hung onto the old one. It is a hell of a little machine. Right now, they've got a mini trailer hooked up to it and a tank for weed killer. The trailer works great for painting grain bins. It will carry several five gallon buckets plus a commercial sprayer and all the lines. Then one guy idles the tractor around all the grain bins while another guy sprays.

FWIW, they also used the JD lawn tractor to pull huge sections of concrete out of a hog building. It was the only thing short enough to fit in there and, believe it or not, it did it! It took two guys hanging off the back end plus the driver to get enough traction to pull these chunks out, but it did it. Each section was about 1' thick, 3' high and about 15 feet long. If I did my math right, that's about 6000 lbs of concrete!

oldtiffie
04-10-2010, 10:58 PM
Do the "hoovering" (UK) = (vacuuming USA) while you are at it.

She will be pleased.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Funnies/Hoovering1.jpg

rws
04-11-2010, 08:00 AM
I bought a little 160 JD in '88. It has a Kawasaki engine. I still cut grass with it today. 1 set of belts, a few batteries over the years, but it's still going fine. A lot of longevity has to do with care and maintenance, but you gotta have something with potential in the first place.

I bought an Echo gas string trimmer the same year, and it finally gave it up last year.

JCHannum
04-11-2010, 08:05 AM
Don't overlook Simplicity or Toro Wheelhorse. Both build excellent machines that I don't believe you will find at the box stores because they will not make a cheap model.

One thing to beware of is the description. There are lawn tractors and then there are garden tractors. While they may appear to be the same, they are not. The lawn tractor is a ride on lawn mower that might handle a snow plow or blower and a few other attachments, but it is of much lighter construction.

studentjim
04-11-2010, 09:08 AM
I bought one of the box store John Deere's and it is a total POS. It's been hard to start since day one and I've had to replace the three spindles on the deck after two seasons of light use. I can't say that all John Deere's are junk, but this one doesn't make me want to run out and buy a new one anytime soon. Previously I had a Cub Cadet for twenty odd years and replaced nothing except for the normal belts and one new set of pulleys. No more big box store lawn and garden equipment for this old fart.

laddy
04-11-2010, 09:10 AM
I went with Wheelhorse some years ago and have been delighted. I had a Snapper before that for about 20 years but the dealership moved. Fred

paulsv
04-11-2010, 09:27 AM
Thank you very much, Paul, and by the way, WELCOME to HSM! :)

Thanks, Kibby. Been lurking here for several months, learning a great deal, and finally had something to contribute!

MrDan
04-12-2010, 10:32 PM
I'm a John Deere dealer for their construction equipment so I'm sorta in the game here. The selling of product at the big box stores was very controversial with the "green side" dealers at the time. What has happened is overall the mowers are price competitive to the other brands at the big box, and are basically competitive in value. They are backed by Deere which adds value. The dealers on the green side I talk to now say that the overall deal hasn't been too bad because customers buy the big box unit, bring it to the dealer for service, then see the "real" mowers on the showroom floor and trade up. There is an appreciable difference between the lowest common denominator mowers of any brand at the big box and the units the dealer has, although the dealer will sell you the same mower as the big box at the same price, and back it as the dealer so it's a no brainer. As for Deere vs other brands, one thing that many people overlook is the total cost of ownership. Upfront price is actually a pretty small part of the total cost. The cost of maintenance, the cost of repairs, and most importantly, the cost of resell. A Deere mower from the 70s in good shape will bring a pretty penny. An off brand mower will most likely be abandoned by it's manufacturer and be basically worthless. I have an M series dozer in front of my building, built in the 50s. I can still order parts for it from Deere. As stated earlier, A 6 year old Kubota can be hard to get parts for. If you are going to run it hard and run it till it drops, but whatever will do the job and not break. If you are going to own it, care for it, use it for years, and then sell it/give it to your kids/etc., get a Deere.

And just FYI, I pay full price for Deere green tractors and I have 4 different models so my money is where my mouth is.

biometrics
04-13-2010, 11:35 AM
that whatever brand you buy uses a cast iron block for the engine and not aluminum. I have a dear old friend in Pennsylvania that cut his grass on over an acre of property with the same IH Cub Cadet for over 30 years. The frame looked like it was made out of a piece of I-beam and not sheet metal.

The engine was still running when he sold it and moved to a condo in Florida.

RB211
04-13-2010, 02:06 PM
We used to have a very old John Deere 140 with a 14hp Kohler engine, hydrostatic transmission.
You cannot beat those old tractors. New tractor? Yanmar or Kabuto with a Yanmar diesel would be nice

jeremy13
04-13-2010, 02:26 PM
This is what it took to make my deer run.:D
http://i39.tinypic.com/29ejcar.jpg

macona
04-13-2010, 03:40 PM
that whatever brand you buy uses a cast iron block for the engine and not aluminum. I have a dear old friend in Pennsylvania that cut his grass on over an acre of property with the same IH Cub Cadet for over 30 years. The frame looked like it was made out of a piece of I-beam and not sheet metal.

The engine was still running when he sold it and moved to a condo in Florida.

Unless you are buying a diesel there are no cast iron block engines any more.

Alistair Hosie
04-13-2010, 05:02 PM
Sounds like J.D. is shooting Themselves in the foot with that marketing approach. Flood the market with ''cheap''models so the consumer thinks the whole product line the company builds is junk.





Jcb did the same thing here in the UK with cheap chinese power tools bearing their name they must have received a few bucks to allow their good name to be prostetuted like that.Alistair

HSS
04-13-2010, 06:54 PM
I have an LT160 Deere with about 230 hours on it and had to bore the cylinder and put in an oversized piston when it started smoking and losing power at 200 hours. Well, I didn't actually do the work on it as I was busy, so my wife tore the engine down and took the jug to a cycle shop and the mechanic there bored it out and she put it all back together. Runs like a deer, now. Even after all of this we still like the Deere. By the way, it has a Kohler engine in it. No complaints here about a John Deere, I would buy another one when this one craps out totally. We got this one at the John Deere dealer cause they are built better than the box store line. Even the frame is heavier on this one compared to the box store model.

Patrick

andy_b
04-13-2010, 09:53 PM
I have a 1966 JD 110 lawn tractor. The vari-drive gives an unlimited speed range and will NEVER wear out like a hydrostatic drive. It is only an 8HP Kohler, but it has more power than a modern 15HP hooked to a hydro drive. I used to mow about 3 acres every week with it, but a few years ago picked up a 5' finish mower for my 1954 JD 40 tractor. I still use the 110 for mowing around the house.
All other variables aside, I can go to the local Deere dealer tomorrow and ask for almost any part for either of my tractors (except for the frame or large castings) and still get them. I'd be interested in seeing a list of other 40-year-old lawn and garden equipment that is still supported by ANY dealer.

Buy a used, good-running Deere and it will outlast you and probably your kids. The stuff sold at HD isn't even in the same class as the old stuff, let alone the new X-series lawn tractors. Of course, a new X-series will set you back as much as a small car. :)

andy b.

Doozer
04-13-2010, 10:05 PM
John Deere tractors are like Volkswagens, lots of stuff always breaks on them, but their owners still like them just the same. I never could figure that out. I like red tractors.

--Doozer

steve45
04-13-2010, 10:19 PM
John Deere make some good stuff, and they make a lot of junk. I think you need to determine if you need a mower or a tractor--they are different.

I'd suggest that you visit www.lawnsite.com and ask the pros over there. Most of them are using mowers, as opposed to tractors, and very few use Deeres.

Lew Hartswick
04-13-2010, 11:08 PM
I don't know if Bolens is still in business but a long time ago I bought
a 10 Hp one with a PTO front and back to run a blower and a
rototiller as well as the 38 or was it 40 in mower and I ran it for 24
years.I left with my brother when I moved and it ran for many more
after that. It was a great machine.
...lew...

andy_b
04-15-2010, 09:45 PM
John Deere tractors are like Volkswagens, lots of stuff always breaks on them, but their owners still like them just the same. I never could figure that out. I like red tractors.

--Doozer

No problem with red. There is a 1938 Farmall F-14 in my garage. :) Of course, you wouldn't want to mow a lawn with it.

andy b.

hardtail
04-15-2010, 10:00 PM
If it's on steel you could aerate at the same time.........now thats efficient........LOL