Ridng Lawn / Garden Tractors

Anyone have any suggestions/problems with specific brands they'd care to share? I'm interested in the 2003 - 2004 model Troy-bilt models carried at Lowe's and the Craftsman models at Sears; 18.5 Hp, preferably automatic transmission but I'd like to hear from the gear-jockeys, too. Thanks.
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Hydrostatic transmissions are the way to go, especially if you have obstacles to go around. I've used both types and I can tell you I will never go back to shifting gears.

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Check out Home Depot too, I got my 12hp Scotts several years ago and still running strong. I think there made by John Deere? and get the automatic, I cant imagine having to shift gears

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wrote:

For your reference I've been running my 12.5 HP Deere ride-on (RX 95) for 17 years, and in Florida we mow all year long !!
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Last year I traded in my John Deere for a Dixon 4515 ZTR. I can't say enough about how great it is. I would have liked a Grasshopper or Exmark, but they were $7000.
Not sure what you're looking to pay. My Dixon was $4200 with the mulching kit. My John Deere had cost the same, but that was with a bagger and PowerFlo.
Anyway, my mowing time went from 4 hours to 1 1/2 hours for just under 2 acres. And I have to do zero push mowing, the Dixon gets right down in the ditch areas with no problems.
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new lurker wants info on your Dixons' mulching kit. Was that a clipping bagging system? I have1 acre and 38 mature oak trees that are prolific leaf droppers and am considering moving up from my 12 year old Murray 42' Thnx ted
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No, it doesn't bag. The kit consists of mulching blades and a baffle. But I can tell you it does a great job mulching.
I have a locust tree that drops pods. Anyone who knows these pods knows how tough and hard they are.
I didn't want to shell out for a lawn sweeper, so I decided I'd try mulching them. Ground them to fine powder.
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If you're mechanically inclined you could find yourself an older Deere 200 series. Depending on what you want to do, a 212/214/216 would be a good choice. These things are near bullet proof and had an assortment of attachments. You could get one of these with a deck, snowthrower or tiller for a pretty decent sum, and much less than new would cost. These things have a huge following, so there is repair/restoration info galore!
I have a 212 I got for free. It had been sitting under a deck for about 12 years. I cleaned out the tank, put in some fresh gas, poured a little Marvel Mystery Oil into the cylinder, turned the engine over by hand a few times and it fired right up. Had to rebuild the carb before putting it into service and I also repainted it.
That was 6 years ago and it is still cranking along. It is a serious work tractor and I've added things like weights and ag tires, and will soon be adding hydraulics. Also have aquired a snowthrower for it and a blade. Been working on finding a tiller.
Like I say, you should be pretty good with a wrench if you want to own one of these, but they are real workhorses if you are inclined to fix one up.

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