Wow, Anyone Else Have a Craftsman Lawn Tractor?

For the first time in my life, I actually look forward to cutting the grass. We bought a house on a good-sized lot, about 1/3 of an acre, which is about twice as large as we had at our previous house (slightly larger house, much larger property). To mow it with a push mower would take me 10 hours, not to even mention the physical pain, and I was dreading cutting the grass every week.
So I looked at prices and did my research, and after using Consumer Reports (CR), I bought a Craftsman LT1000 lawn tractor (18HP OHV Intek, 42" deck), which was under $1,000 on sale. It had the second least amount of repairs (after John Deere) on the CR list, and it was also third (out of 8 companies) on another CR reliability list.
Wow. I cut all that grass in just over an hour. It honestly took me longer to look through the manual, watch the video, and familiarize myself with everything than it did to cut the grass!
18HP and a 42" deck seems like overkill for my property, but when I think of the time saved, it's well worth it. My older brother has about 1 acre, and has had a rider for over 10 years, and when I told him what I bought he said "wow, you didn't mess around, did you?" He may have thought I bought a little rider with 9HP and a 20" cut.
Another reason it was well worth buying a rider was that after we moved in, we were having a lawn service cut our lawn every week, at $38 a week! After 3 weeks of that, we RAN out and bought a rider, especially after I figured out that we would pay them over $700 for just this year alone! So we figure the mower will pay for itself next summer. And, I only used a 1/2 gallon of gas to do the cutting, so it will cost me about $1.00 a week for gas.
So does anyone else have a similiar model to mine? If so, can you share your experiences with problems, maintenance, etc.? Maybe knowing what the upcoming problems may be, I can try to head them off now.
I read that using a synthetic oil would make the engine run 15 degrees cooler. I'd like to do anything I can to keep it running well for a long time.
Thanks!
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I've bought about 4 used Craftsman in the range of 4 to 10 years old and the decks were rotting on all of them. I would pay special attention to keeping the deck clean.

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Specifically, that means hosing out the grass clippings that tend to compact on the underside of the deck. These clippings stay moist for quite a while and will promote corrosion, which will be made worst if you fertilize your lawn frequently. If the lawn is very dry when you cut you may not have to clean out the bottom of the deck, but if it is the slightest bit moist it will tend to cake up on the bottom of the deck and this should be removed. Definitely give the underside of the deck a good cleaning at the end of the mowing season before you put the mower away. If in spite of your effort you start to see significant corrosion drop the deck and clean it with a wire brush on a drill and repaint with Rustoleum.
Srgnt Bilko wrote:

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Well said.
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My 15 yr old craftsman had lots of wear on everything that moved. Add grease fitting if possible and keep it greased and oiled.
Pj
On 19 Jul 2004 07:42:21 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Dish) wrote:

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I have one of those mowers that I use for spreading mulch on large jobs. For cutting I use a 48" H- gravely pro. The Lt 1000 is a good mower for what it is. Which is a cheap mower so just take extra care and maintenance.
You cant really compare the cut your going to get with the lt100 vs a mower that your lawn care co. was using. For one thing commercial mower have a manufactured deck not a stamped deck. Also they are design to cut and dispersed the clippings. Not designed for what ever is the easy and cheaps way to manufacture. You also forgot to add in your time. The cost of a line trimmer,blower and so on.
All that said just follow the suggesting that have been made. Keep the top side of the deck clean is just as important as the underside. You have to keep the clippings out off the pulley/guards. I have seen the after effects off two deck fires from that. If it don't have it yet add on a quick oil change attachment. I would also change the first oil change after 5-8 hours of use. I use to take the drain oil and brush it on the under side of deck as the paint wears off to cut done on rusting.
Good luck and just keep her good and clean..
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