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#4780084 - 06/07/18 12:22 PM Educate me on riding mowers, please...
terminaldegree Offline


Registered: 11/09/04
Posts: 425
Loc: central Georgia
Hi All,

For some reason (I guess they took pity on us using a push mower in the Georgia heat), our family got together and wants to buy us a riding lawn mower, which was an unexpected, pleasant surprise. We have been using a 22" self-propelled mower, which worked but I didn't like the front wheel drive and it would get bogged down with tall grass or slightly wet grass. I'd love to hear your suggestions. Here's some information about our lot, and what my priorities for a mower might include:

1. We have an acre lot, sloping but no extreme hills. There are some trees and landscape beds to avoid, but not too many.
2. Grass grows fast for half the year, we live on a lake, so grass is frequently on the wet side.
3. We MUST mulch here - side discharge into the water is forbidden.
4. In the fall, I prefer to bag the last mowing of the year, to pick up leaves. I don't have a place to pile leaves and brush and burn it.
5. Would only rarely think about using the tractor as something other than a mower.
6. We don't want to spend a lot of money, since we're not paying for this, and hadn't budgeted to upgrade OPE this year.
7. We do have some independent dealers, Lowes, and even a good mom and pop shop that may sell used gear in addition to new stuff.
8. I take good care of my stuff DIY, but low maintenance would be a plus, since there are too many toys to maintain around here!

Thanks for your advice.
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'10 F150 4.6 3v, 110k
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'96 Sport Nautique 351 GT-40, 740 hr

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#4780096 - 06/07/18 12:41 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: terminaldegree]
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 4860
Loc: Houston, Texas
Buy a 52" Ferris z2 you'll be done in 15 minutes.
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#4780098 - 06/07/18 12:41 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: terminaldegree]
Ursatdx Offline


Registered: 11/01/11
Posts: 132
Loc: New Jersey
I have a 17 year old Home Depot/John Deer 1742.
450+ hours. Oil changes/plugs/belts and a few diaphram fuel pumps over the years.
1 acre minus house and deck.
Been pretty solid.
I've towed a trailer loaded with firewood a few times no problem.

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#4780102 - 06/07/18 12:44 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: terminaldegree]
JLawrence08648 Offline


Registered: 01/20/17
Posts: 237
Loc: NJ
Does it have to be riding? What about a commercial 48" walk behind? You can find those very easily used on Craig's list. Easy to take care of, parts are easy to replace and plentiful and last a long time. I have several.


Edited by JLawrence08648 (06/07/18 12:45 PM)

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#4780108 - 06/07/18 12:48 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: terminaldegree]
Leo99 Offline


Registered: 03/30/14
Posts: 3052
Loc: NJ
My neighbors have John Deere and cut their own lawns. I have a service and they have some heavy duty machine and like M-O-M says, they're done in 15 minutes. Seems there is a very linear inverse correlation between cost and time you'll spend cutting grass. What's more important to you, your time or your money?
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Without data you're just another person with an opinion. W. E. Deming

2003 Corolla 250,000 miles
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#4780110 - 06/07/18 12:49 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: motor_oil_madman]
terminaldegree Offline


Registered: 11/09/04
Posts: 425
Loc: central Georgia
Originally Posted By: motor_oil_madman
Buy a 52" Ferris z2 you'll be done in 15 minutes.


Those are over $5,000. I would not feel comfortable having my family buy me something that expensive.
_________________________
'16 Mini Cooper S, 25k
'10 F150 4.6 3v, 110k
'13 Kawasaki STX-15f, 155 hr
'96 Sport Nautique 351 GT-40, 740 hr

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#4780117 - 06/07/18 01:00 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: terminaldegree]
TheLawnRanger Offline


Registered: 03/18/18
Posts: 413
Loc: Mississippi
Just get a Troy-Bilt pony or similar MTD mower. I mow an acre and it doesn't take long. While many have negative things to say about these mowers, they work well and will last IF you take care of them. For a little over $1000, your family will feel great and you will be sitting on your tookis while cutting grass instead of walking.



Edited by TheLawnRanger (06/07/18 01:00 PM)
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#4780175 - 06/07/18 01:55 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: TheLawnRanger]
knerml Offline


Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 481
Loc: NE Ohio
Originally Posted By: TheLawnRanger
Just get a Troy-Bilt pony or similar MTD mower. I mow an acre and it doesn't take long. While many have negative things to say about these mowers, they work well and will last IF you take care of them. For a little over $1000, your family will feel great and you will be sitting on your tookis while cutting grass instead of walking.


I have a 3 year old Troy-Bilt Pony mowing 1/3 acre. Not very reliable.

At 191 hrs:
- Replaced both deck spindles
- Replaced one deck pulley
- Replaced deck belt twice (might be spindle related)
- Drive belts need replacement
- Front tire worn out
- Light sockets rusted out

Had similar experience with MTD built Toro. Neighbor has similar issues with MTD built Cub Cadet.


Edited by knerml (06/07/18 01:56 PM)
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#4780191 - 06/07/18 02:14 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: terminaldegree]
Schmoe Offline


Registered: 05/12/03
Posts: 7256
Loc: Oklahoma
Yard not a big as yours, but I just got a Honda, 190 cc, self propelled....has rear wheel dive and will and does power right through thick, wet Bermuda grass like a hot knife through butter....it will mulch, bag or bag/mulch combo. Easy as all get out to crank...that thing will outrun me if I set it too high. Like other said, if you got the time, I'd do this, but if you're wanting to get'er done quick, riding. If you got a mower shop that you absolutely trust, I'd go with them and get a sensible used one.
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#4780223 - 06/07/18 02:40 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: terminaldegree]
terminaldegree Offline


Registered: 11/09/04
Posts: 425
Loc: central Georgia
Thanks, all. I'll probably stop by the mom & pop OPE shop I like. They sell new zero turns (Gravely), but also deal in used riders, though the pickings are slim since it's the high season here.
_________________________
'16 Mini Cooper S, 25k
'10 F150 4.6 3v, 110k
'13 Kawasaki STX-15f, 155 hr
'96 Sport Nautique 351 GT-40, 740 hr

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#4780274 - 06/07/18 03:49 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: terminaldegree]
MParr Offline


Registered: 10/28/17
Posts: 515
Loc: Georgia
Gravely makes an excellent mower. Home Depot sells the Ariens Ikon X52 a little cheaper than the Gravely, it is essentially the same as the Gravely. With an acre yard, a 48” mower would work fine. For not a lot of money, Poulan Pro has some decent machines. They make 46” and 48” units with Briggs & Stratton V twin engines in the 20hp range. The Poulan Pro is made by Husqvarna and are similar to Craftsman mowers. I would buy a Poulan Pro over a MTD built unit any day.
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#4780287 - 06/07/18 04:00 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: terminaldegree]
NormanBuntz Offline


Registered: 07/27/13
Posts: 2134
Loc: Outer Banks, NC
I have 3/4 acre, mostly flat. I had a Wright 52 inch ZTR mower that was fine, but it was overkill. I gave it to my son and bought a Snapper 2446 tractor, which only takes me about 12 minutes longer. I say to stay away from the big box stores. If you want a machine that is dependable and durable, go to an OPE dealer. You don't pay a large premium that way, but you get a better quality machine. I'd love to have a Simplicity, but there were no dealers near me. I'm a former Wheel Horse owner--had a 1986 Model 310-8 for 20 years.
_________________________
2017 Honda Odyssey SE, 14K
2013 Honda Accord LX, 58K
2007 Honda Ridgeline RTS, 86K
2007 Infiniti M35, 104K

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#4780301 - 06/07/18 04:08 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: knerml]
TheLawnRanger Offline


Registered: 03/18/18
Posts: 413
Loc: Mississippi
Originally Posted By: knerml
[quote=TheLawnRanger]Just get a Troy-Bilt pony or similar MTD mower. I mow an acre and it doesn't take long. While many have negative things to say about these mowers, they work well and will last IF you take care of them. For a little over $1000, your family will feel great and you will be sitting on your tookis while cutting grass instead of walking.


I have a 3 year old Troy-Bilt Pony mowing 1/3 acre. Not very reliable.

At 191 hrs:
- Replaced both deck spindles
- Replaced one deck pulley
- Replaced deck belt twice (might be spindle related)
- Drive belts need replacement
- Front tire worn out
- Light sockets rusted out

Sounds rode hard and put up wet.
_________________________
'99 Cavalier 5w 30 SuperTech conventional
'11 Impala 5w 30 Magnatec full synthetic
'12 Colorado 5w 30 Magnatec full synthetic
*regular Wix oil filters for all

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#4780318 - 06/07/18 04:27 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: terminaldegree]
knerml Offline


Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 481
Loc: NE Ohio
Nope, just a piece of [censored].

Miss my Honda HRT-3009. Lasted over 15 years, and was still going strong.
_________________________
2015 Hyundai Elantra Sport 2.0 GDI Mobil 1 5W20 & OEM/Mann W811/80 Filter
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T GDI Castrol Edge 5W40 & OEM/Mann W811/80 Filter

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#4780326 - 06/07/18 04:38 PM Re: Educate me on riding mowers, please... [Re: knerml]
TheLawnRanger Offline


Registered: 03/18/18
Posts: 413
Loc: Mississippi
[quote=knerml]Nope, just a piece of [censored].

Mine is about the same age. I really couldn't afford anything else at the time. Maybe mine won't start acting up.
_________________________
'99 Cavalier 5w 30 SuperTech conventional
'11 Impala 5w 30 Magnatec full synthetic
'12 Colorado 5w 30 Magnatec full synthetic
*regular Wix oil filters for all

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