Picking A New Riding Mower

LeftyTom

Tom
Corporate Member
DQ
After 16 years of service, my Husqvarna 42" mower has bitten the dust; the motor is idling fine, but with an additional metal sound. :(

New motor, you suggest? That will run over $1K, then there is the question of what else will fail.

I was considering the Toro SW4200 or Cub Cadet RZT SX42 (each a ZTR with a steering wheel). The drawback to those is towing over 200lbs is pushing your luck. Once or twice a year, Carla or I will use the handy Northern Tool red wagon to haul wood, rocks, etc.

The local shop is where I got my Husqvarna, and he also carries Jonsered mowers now. But the blade PTO switch is a stiff handle under the steering wheel, which I can see Carla not liking. Both Husqvarna and Jonsered have the gas tanks tucked just behind the Briggs & Stratton motors.

I am not in the market for a paddle-bar ZTR, and a width of more than 48" will not work with my yard.

So here I am pondering how much I will compromise on what I need. Of course, I want to avoid buying at a big-box store.
 
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Raymond

Raymond
Corporate Member
DQ
I am happy with the Cub Cadet XT1 46" I bought from the dealer here in Charlotte. I had the dealer deliver it as I do not have a truck nor trailer.
It is not a zero turn and it works well for the 1/2 acre my house sits on and the 1-1/4 acre behind my house that I keep mowed because the HOA's lawn service can't get in there without homeowners approval.

You don't have to compromise if you know what type and style of lawn mower will work best for your land and the layout of controls.
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
DQ
I have used a 42" Cub and a Troy Built 42" with a Briggs engine. I see you have been using a Briggs engined Husky for 17 years so I am assuming you like that engine.

I like the Troy better than the Cub for a couple reasons but really they aren't that big. If you haul weight?? Stay above 20hp as a minimum with the 42" belly mower size would be my input.
 

LeftyTom

Tom
Corporate Member
DQ
I have used a 42" Cub and a Troy Built 42" with a Briggs engine. I see you have been using a Briggs engined Husky for 17 years so I am assuming you like that engine.

I like the Troy better than the Cub for a couple reasons but really they aren't that big. If you haul weight?? Stay above 20hp as a minimum with the 42" belly mower size would be my input.
I sprang for the Husq with a Kawasaki twin cylinder.

I had a Husqvarna push mower with a Kohler that has lasted 7 years, but it developed an odd habit of blowing smoke after a 2-5 minutes of mowing; sputtering, but never dying. That cleared ujp after 30 seconds, then it would mow for another 90 minutes with no issues.

I can go B&S, Kohler, or Kawasaki.
 

LeftyTom

Tom
Corporate Member
DQ
I am happy with the Cub Cadet XT1 46" I bought from the dealer here in Charlotte. I had the dealer deliver it as I do not have a truck nor trailer.
It is not a zero turn and it works well for the 1/2 acre my house sits on and the 1-1/4 acre behind my house that I keep mowed because the HOA's lawn service can't get in there without homeowners approval.

You don't have to compromise if you know what type and style of lawn mower will work best for your land and the layout of controls.
Out of curiosity, how often did you mow that extra 1 1/2 acre?

I like my lawn cut at 2 3/4"-3". It seems a lot of the new riders come with 1/2" adjustments via lever. My Husqvarna has a twist knob for adjusting height. A bit more work, but you can fine tune the height.

I hope to find a mower that will mow grass damp from dew, say at 9 in the morning. My Husvarna had a habit of leaving clumps of mulched grass unless the grass was bone dry, even with sharpened Gator blades.
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
DQ
I hope to find a mower that will mow grass damp from dew, say at 9 in the morning. My Husvarna had a habit of leaving clumps of mulched grass unless the grass was bone dry, even with sharpened Gator blades.

Good Luck with that. I've never found that solution and I just do not cut wet grass if I can help it. Just me.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
DQ
I am still using my John Deere L130 48" Deck after 14 years. It is not a zero turn. I bought from a JD dealer, not Lowes. Have rebuilt the deck, replaced both the deck and drive belts, batteries a few times, and the front spindles and tires, and this year the clutch, but the engine (Kohler) runs very good and starts almost immediately. Did have a problem with the main safety lockout switch once, but after a good soaking with WD-40 a couple years ago, it actually has started much easier than it did when it was new. What I like about it is that I can easily get replacement parts. Having found the repair manual on-line, I do all my repair myself (so far, LOL)

I have about 3/4 acre of grass that I cut weekly during the warmer months, and use it to mulch leaves in the fall and winter. The yard is almost all on an incline, and due to moles, etc, is not a flat smooth surface, so the mower and I get a beating on some parts. I also have towed my yard trailer with about 300-400 lbs of dirt, concrete block etc with no problem. I mainly keep it in mulching mode (grass exhaust port blocked), and have found that as long as I don't reverse, I don't leave any clumps of grass, whether wet or try. Reversing, though, will leave a fairly large dump of grass when its wet, so for me the trick is to plan the cut path to have the least amount of backing up.

Neither the mower not parts are inexpensive, but considering what I have seen my neighbors spend on replacing cheaper mowers every 4-5 years, consider that I am money ahead in both dollars and aggravation. Not saying JD is better than Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, or Toro, but I have been happy with it.

As for the mower deck, mine had some pretty severe corrosion under the pulley covers over the drive spindles. When I replaced the spindles, I cleaned up the corrosion and painted it, but left the pulley covers off. I can now remove all the grass and leaves that collect around the pulleys using my leaf blower. When I replace blades, I soak the bottom side with silicone spray, and have very little grass buildup on the underneath over the year's use between spring maintenance.
 
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Sp00ks

Jerry
Senior User
I have a Husky 48" Briggs with the orange (a little thicker steel) deck, hydrostatic foot controls. I had the regulator die after the first year, replaced it for $12 and it's been a good lawn tractor. Electric blade engagement is nice. Tank is under the seat. I've had it probably 5 years now. I keep it well maintained and under cover.

My previous lawn tractor was a Murray Pro, 4-wheel steering. I've never seen another one like it. I had it for 19 years before everything started giving me trouble except the Briggs. I got tired of fixing something every time I mowed, so I picked up the Husky and have been happy with it. I'm not sure about towing, it is better than my old Murray but it's still a belt drive system.
 

Raymond

Raymond
Corporate Member
DQ
Out of curiosity, how often did you mow that extra 1 1/2 acre?

I like my lawn cut at 2 3/4"-3". It seems a lot of the new riders come with 1/2" adjustments via lever. My Husqvarna has a twist knob for adjusting height. A bit more work, but you can fine tune the height.

I hope to find a mower that will mow grass damp from dew, say at 9 in the morning. My Husvarna had a habit of leaving clumps of mulched grass unless the grass was bone dry, even with sharpened Gator blades.
I mow that extra acreage every time I mow my own yard - every 2 or 3 weeks depending on the rainfall. My XT1 has the lever adjustment with 1/2" incements but I always cut my yard at 4" and the other at 2-1/2 inches - it is mostly weeds so that lower height is just to keep the weds down. I always try to cut starting at 8AM and I use the side-discharge during the spring, summer and early fall. I change to the mulching kit in late SEP and mulch the leaves all the way through late FEB or early MAR. I have never experienced any clumping.

I also clean the deck and mower after every use. I removed the covers over the spindles to make it easier to blow out the leaves and clippings after each use prior to washing.
 
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Hmerkle

Board of Directors, Secretary
Hank
Corporate Member
DQ
If you own a later model John Deere (mower / Tractor) - DO NOT remove the covers - they have belt guards molded into them to keep the belts from coming off the spindles...
 

bandaideman

Dan
User
DQ
My first rider was one from a father in law which was a JC penny. sorry if that dates me some. After that I had a Troy built Wheel horse and was just that a horse. mowed extra acres had that for 20 plus years then the deck rusted out and cost almost as much as a new mower so then got a John Deer x300 series about 15 years and happy with it.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
After 17 years of service, my Husqvarna 42" mower has bitten the dust; the motor is idling fine, buth with an additional metal sound. :(

New motor, you suggest? That will run over $1K, then there is the question of what else will fail.

I was considering the Toro SW4200 or Cub Cadet RZT SX42 (each a ZTR with a steering wheel). The drawback to those is towing over 200lbs is pushing your luck. Once or twice a year, Carla or I will use the handy Northern Tool red wagon to haul wood, rocks, etc.

The local shop is where I got my Husqvarna, and he also carries Jonsered mowers now. But the blade PTO switch is a stiff handle under the steering wheel, which I can see Carla not liking. Both Husqvarna and Jonsered have the gas tanks tucked just behind the Briggs & Stratton motors.

I am not in the market for a paddle-bar ZTR, and a width of more than 48" will not work with my yard.

So here I am pondering how much I will compromise on what I need. Of course, I want to avoid buying at a big-box store.
Can you install the motor yourself? If so, look on CL for motors from an outfit in Winnchester VA. Also consider an engine from HF. Almost all the Kart racers have switched from B&S to HF's Preditor engines.
 

LeftyTom

Tom
Corporate Member
DQ
Can you install the motor yourself? If so, look on CL for motors from an outfit in Winnchester VA. Also consider an engine from HF. Almost all the Kart racers have switched from B&S to HF's Preditor engines.
I can swap out the motor, but a 18HP motor goes for around $1K. I paid about $2K for the mower new, so I am at that point of diminishing returns; what if the transmission goes wonky next?
 

Joe Scharle

Joe
Corporate Member
DQ
I have a 1957 Manco with a one cylinder 8hp Briggs spinning 2 18" blades. Got it when I was a kid because our 3ac yard was taking too long with a push mower. Mower wasn't for my benefit, it was to get me back on a tractor quicker!
Carb has been rebuilt a few times, blade replaced a few times, but still starts on the first pull.
 

LeftyTom

Tom
Corporate Member
DQ
I was wanting a 48" rider with electric blade switch, but the local shop could not find one in Jonsered or Husqvarna. Nor was one available with 46" cut. I decided to get a Redmax 22HP 46" cut.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
DQ
There are electric riders now. But they seem overpriced and there isn't much selection. I know Ryobi has a tractor and I think they now have a zero turn. They use golf cart batteries for these, not lithium ion. I have a self propelled push mower by Ryobi and I like it. But it sometimes needs a second battery to finish my less than half acre lot. It works fine but it should for what it costs. The lack of noise is nice but if I had to pay for my battery powered mower, I would not have it (I got it under the HD seeds program).
 

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