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Old 11-22-2015, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Floribama
18,484 posts, read 39,428,354 times
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I would keep looking on Craigslist, you can often find almost new Craftsman riders for around $1k. Look at the yard and the home in the background of the pics, make sure everything looks nice and not a junkyard. Do not buy from some backyard mechanic.

Whatever you get, don't do like brownbagg said above and leave it out in the weather, keep it in a shed or something.
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Old 11-22-2015, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Billings, MT
9,874 posts, read 10,022,726 times
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When shopping for a riding mower, keep in mind that there are very few engine manufacturers, and even fewer transmission/transaxle manufacturers.
No matter what you buy, it WILL have one of those engines and transaxles. The only differences worth considering are the thickness of the frame, deck, and blades, and the paint color.
Look for a cast or forged front axle, not the stamped/welded sheet metal "beer can" axle.
There are some used models that are worth looking for, but you won't find a good one at a reasonable price. The John Deere 318 from the 1980s is one such. A good one now will cost in the neighborhood of $3000!
When looking at Craftsman riding mowers, be aware that there are (or used to be) three grades; LT (Lawn tractor), FS (Fairway tractor), and GT (garden tractor). The GT is the one to look for, it is built tough for plowing, roto-tilling, and snow throwing. The FS and GT are also commonly fitted with 54 inch mower decks. IMO, you want that big deck, considering what you have to mow.
Good luck in your search.
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Old 11-22-2015, 09:23 AM
 
6,290 posts, read 6,112,223 times
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Let it grow. Prices for old and well used John Deer tractors are steep. Hype factor is huge, so you'll be able to afford really old JD only. But old is old, it doesnt matter what it is. My JD is 27 y.o., I bought it for $600 from a guy buying junk at estate sales. I does break, and it needs work. Spare part prices just a tad less ridiculous than craiglist JD prices. Unless you are willing/able to repair your tractor stay away from anything that old. New Murray is the same or better than really old JD on cost per year, and you dont need to mess with it all way until it breaks, it is 3 years at the very least.
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Old 11-22-2015, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
18,651 posts, read 16,218,675 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RememberMee View Post
Let it grow. Prices for old and well used John Deer tractors are steep. Hype factor is huge, so you'll be able to afford really old JD only. But old is old, it doesnt matter what it is. My JD is 27 y.o., I bought it for $600 from a guy buying junk at estate sales. I does break, and it needs work. Spare part prices just a tad less ridiculous than craiglist JD prices. Unless you are willing/able to repair your tractor stay away from anything that old. New Murray is the same or better than really old JD on cost per year, and you dont need to mess with it all way until it breaks, it is 3 years at the very least.

I used to sell Gravelys; which were really built tough. But you could easily spend $5K on one back in the 1970s. I have one now that I am finally going to give up on; the parts are just too expensive and the labor is time consuming (even though I am a trained mechanic).


I have five acres and was very happy with two Yard-Man tractors. Yes; I ran them into the ground (but it took a while). I am also loaded with roots and rocks - not a cake walk for any tractor. I cannot find them locally anymore; I do see they are listed online. I also do not know if the new ones are as good as the old ones? The ones I had came with steel blade spindles. The steel ones will bend, if you whack them hard enough; but they don't shatter like the white metal spindles.
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Old 11-22-2015, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Henry County, TN
105 posts, read 152,613 times
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Originally Posted by fisheye View Post
Do you have any obstacles; like rocks or roots? If you do take a good look at the maximum cutting height. I made the mistake of buying a Husqvarna that had a three and a half inch maximum blade height - the first trip around my property cost me a new spinel and blade.


I think that I have seen Troy-Bilt at Lowes that had a five inch blade height adjustment. Some of the Deeres only have the three and a half inch height. The Troy-Bilt is closer to your budget.


I also don't like white metal blade spindles. However; I don't think that you are going to get away from them in budget. I would chose steel spindles over the white metal and choose cast iron over the steel - but I think you are talking $5K or more today.


Just a few other factors in your choice should be if you have any other use for this riding tractor? Snow removal, leaf pickup, cart, or garden work?
It's flat pasture with no visible rocks. I only need to keep grass trimmed. No other job.
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Old 11-22-2015, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Henry County, TN
105 posts, read 152,613 times
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I think it will be cheaper to get small herd of Babydoll sheep. I'm not mechanically inclined so mower repairs will be costly.
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Old 11-22-2015, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
18,651 posts, read 16,218,675 times
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Originally Posted by TNhomesteading View Post
I think it will be cheaper to get small herd of Babydoll sheep. I'm not mechanically inclined so mower repairs will be costly.

In the long run the sheep will be more labor intensive than the mower. Go buy your $1,000 lawn tractor and you will be a happy camper. Two acres is a lot to mow pushing any mower. You could try pricing lawn services; but you will be cheaper doing it yourself. Plus you can get cheap lawn cart for about $100 to make lawn work easier - it's hard to train those sheep to pull the cart!
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