Over the years, I've been using an old 12 hp Sears Craftsman tractor
that is now ready for the junk heap. I used it to cut grass on a gently
sloping 1/2 acre open lawn. I want to buy a replacement riding mower,
but would like to frame my choice in terms of stating the problems I
had with the Craftsman design so that I can avoid having these problems
with my new tractor. Here it goes:
1. my old Craftsman had belt drive problems: loose belts, slipping
belts, mis-aligned pulleys, non-engaging clutch, etc.
2. my old Craftsman had muffler problems: no matter how hard I
tightened the muffler, it would always fall off or fall apart.
3. my old Craftsman had grass bagger problems: the chute would always
get clogged after every 10 feet even if the cuttings were bone dry.
4. my old Craftsman had mulching problems; the mulched grass would
clump up and the deck plug would always end up being blown away.
Based on the above problems, I am looking for recommendations for a
riding mower good for 1/2 acre that has:
1. direct shaft drive, probably automatic transmission to eliminate the
2. either a reliable grass bagging system or a clean mulching blade kit
which does not leave trimmings behind in clumps;
3. robust exhaust system.
4. I'd like to pull a small cart loaded with mulch.
I an aware that "Nothing runs like a Deere" but I'm open to other
brands if they offer better cost and performance benefits versus Jogn
Deere. Oh, I also want good dealer service and parts availability, so I
would steer clear of Home Depot.