Should I fix this old Toro Riding Mower or buy a new one?

I have a 14 year old Toro/Wheelhorse XL 38" Mulching Rider. Overall the tractor part is in very good condition. I bought it 3 years ago for $250. The deck has rotted, is full of fist size holes and can't be welded or riveted. A new deck is ~$300. So far I haven't found a used replacement but I'm still looking.
I figure I've gotten my money's worth out of it and could probably sell it for $50-100 but should I? Should I invest $300 in a 14 year old mower or just buy a new one. I'm thinking of buying one of the John Deeres at Lowes or Home Depot.
The only other niggling thing about this mower is that it's slow as hell. I had another Wheelhorse that was one year older and it would pop wheelies. The mower I have now will barely get me up the hill (I weigh 250lbs.). I don't know if it's an engine problem or the hydrostatic transmission, which I believe was new that year.
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Mac Cool

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Mac Cool wrote:

The only "John Deere" that is mad by John Deere are some of their commericial mowers. What you see at the big box stores are not mad by John Deere. If you Toro is doing fine buy a 300.00 deck and use it for another 14 years. If it craps out afte only another 5 years you have made money.
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paddy wrote:

I could not disagree more. He said "I've gotten my money's worth out of it", "it's slow as hell", and "will barely get me up the hill". It makes no sense to put $300 into it.
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Art

ps. mad = angry, made = manufactured
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Artemis:

Yeah, I think I've gotten my moneys worth. Today I got someone to take a good look at it and it's either a loose drive belt or the hydrostatic transmission is shot. Tomorrow I'm going to replace the belt. If that doesn't fix it then it isn't worth a new transmission + new deck.
Any comments on Craftsman Riding Mowers?
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Mac Cool

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paddy:

So your point is not to buy a John Deere? Do you have a reason for not recommending John Deere other than John Deere contracting out the manufacturing? Because I have heard many positive comments from John Deere owners and read a few in this group.
If I end up replacing the Toro what brand would you recommend for under $1700? Personally I am a Toro fan but comparing mowers under $2500, the John Deere seems much sturdier than anything else.
Thanks,
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Mac Cool

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Mac Cool wrote:

"John Deere" mowers are a benchmark but I haven't seen any of them at the Big Box Stores. It'll cost you somewhat more but by all means buy one at a "John Deere" dealer. He didn't say the rest of the machine was going down hill. It's purely a guessing game for me to say whether it is time to replace or just repair from here. As far as the Craftsman it may be nearly or exactly the same machine as the john deere at the Big Box store with just a different paint job. If you compare the brands at side to side you may see the same deck on different machines, same machines with different paint, or combinations. The Lawn Mower Manufacturers have been bought and sold too many times for me to keep track of. I understand Briggs and Stratton owns several lines now including Snapper and Simplicity. That may have changed. Many of them don't or didn't even have Briggs and Stratton engines.
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Mac Cool wrote:

My lawn mower repair guy is big on Toro and Honda. John Deere has 2 grades: commercial and consumer. I'd only get a JD commercial grade.
My Honda self propelled literally started on the first pull this spring!
AFAIK Toro puts commercial grade engines in their mowers.
Considering the hassle of taking a rider in for service (unless you have a utility grailer), I'd think it would be worth a little extra money to get a good unit.
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