New riding mower and questions

Hi AHR readers and posters. I just bought a new John Deere riding mower, nothing fancy, but it's a new way to mow for me.
I know that the maintenance schedule is posted on it right under the engine hood, and will follow it to a tee. But, and given differences in prices in different areas, what is an average cost of servicing these?
So far today I have only driven it in non-mowing speed to get it down my backyard hill and into the shed until my brother can come over and help me figure out the best approach to mowing the hill. It was a little scary and it felt like the tires were slipping a little on the hill, but the grass is very long at this point. I guess long grass is slippery. My brother said I was imagining the slippage.
Anyway, any answers to these questions are appreciated. I'm just getting too old to mow the hills without hurting my back, and not yet ready to hire someone to do it for me full time yet.
Thanks!
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On 5/27/2011 6:40 PM, Cheryl wrote:

Is it hydrostatic drive, or manual? If hydro, did the delivery guy do the voodoo routine to make sure the fluid got in all the right places? If transmission was slipping, that could feel like wheel slippage. And did he check/set the tire pressures? One hard tire and one soft one can confuse a lot of things.
Basic rule on hills- anything over the degree tilt listed in owner's manual, go up and down rather than side to side. Tipping even a tiny tractor over sideways can lead to a Very Bad Day.
I'm jealous. My yard is only about 2/3 acre, minus the house footprint, but even a small tractor would cut my mowing time in half.
--
aem sends...

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On 5/27/2011 6:59 PM, aemeijers wrote:

Manual. I learned that you don't shift on the fly like you do in a car. Need to slow to a stop? That's what the guy said. I haven't read the manual or looked at the DVD yet. Will do that tonight.
If hydro, did the delivery guy do

was on a trailer, not even in a crate, and had oil and gas in it.

asking. This cuts in reverse, I wonder if I can go forward up the hill, and in reverse down the hill?

I got it out of necessity. My back is getting in bad shape and the 2 - 3 hours it takes me to mow with a walk behind has been taking its toll on it. I'm not ready yet to hire someone. :)
Thank you for the reply!
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Up and down depends on the equipment and the power it has to climb a grade.
For absolute sure if you do side to side shift your body weight and maybe even lean to the uphill side. Of course the term "hill" is a relative one. What seems like a mountain with a push mower can be completely normal for a rider.
I do own one house where I would not mow the HILL either way. :) If I had to mow it all the time there would be a retaining wall built.
Colbyt
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On 5/27/2011 8:07 PM, Colbyt wrote:

I've thought about just putting in steps to get down to the backyard and to the steps up to the deck. I still might do that.

I get you! :)
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On 5/27/2011 6:23 PM, Cheryl wrote:

Hydrostatic and hills don't mix--they'll speed up going down and slow down going up (altho you can combat the latter, the former isn't so easy). Bought a JD in TN and had to swap it for the previous year's model that had manual tranny for that reason.
It would help to know the actual model and spec's to judge what might be going on other than just your getting familiar w/ a new machine.
On the up/down vs side slope, in general avoid the side slope on any hill of any consequence; the manual will tell you what/how to operate the particular machine and its limits. The hill in TN was moderate and one could go both ways, but one did have to shift weight and counterbalance when going sideways. W/ a rear bagger it was pretty light on the front end when it got a load while going uphill as well. I added some front weights for that reason; roughly 50 lb overall I'd think altho I don't recall precisely any longer.
There was much to like in VA and TN, but having level lawn/garden back here in KS is a blessing from that standpoint... :) (now if it would only rain).
--
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On 5/27/2011 8:19 PM, dpb wrote:

Try this URL <http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202585916/h_d2/ProductDisplay?storeId051&keyword=BG20540&jspStoreDir=hdus&Nu=P_PARENT_ID&navFlow=3&catalogId053&langId=-1&ddkey=Search>
Or tiny http://tinyurl.com/4xmu9lx

I'll read the manual before mowing. I appreciate your advice.

I thought you were getting all of the southern and mid west storms? If not, at least you're missing the severe ones. I wish for you needed rain.
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On 5/27/2011 9:40 PM, Cheryl wrote: ...

All east of us...we're part of the severe/extreme drought area of the High Plains...
From an earlier posting in the recent thread on hail I posted the following for another ahr'er regular...
<http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/DM_highplains.htm <http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/DM_west.htm
We're in that narrow band of "extreme" on the edge of "exceptional" in the SW corner of KS. While it shows extreme conditions on farther east in KS, one must remember that their averages are 2x or more those of the farther west and the indices are relative to averages for the areas. So, if we had had what they have had we could well be near normal while they're showing a world of hurt, comparatively.
We've had only about 1.5" of precipitation since last August and our spring season when we expect to get most of our annual from t-storms is rapidly coming to a close w/o any signs of relief...
--
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Cheryl wrote:

Yes.
When mowing on hills - even those no steeper than those the manual recommends - you can mitigate tipping in the same manner as one does when riding a horse...lean forward going up hill, lean back when going down hill. Both shift the center of gravity. You can also lean to the high side if mowing horizontally.
--

dadiOH
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On 5/28/2011 10:34 AM, dadiOH wrote:

Well, I cut the grass today. Most of it. I'll still have to use my regular mower for the parts the tractor get to. But it sure cut out so much time. My brother was figuring out for me the best route to take to get the hill done. He did about half if the lawn, then stopped it and said it was my turn. I was petrified at first, but soon it felt comfortable and I found that mowing down the hill was the best. With foot off the clutch, the gear controls the speed (I know everyone knows that but me; I'm caught up now! lol) and it turned out to be easy to drive. So I take a route across the far edge of the backyard on the flat part, up a less steep part, drive along the fence and then down the hill to the same spot at the far edge, then back up the same less steep part, then down hill to do the next pass.
I want to thank you all for the advice and replies.
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*LESS* need to buy fertilizer. It doesn't eliminate the need.
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On 5/27/2011 5:40 PM, Cheryl wrote:

Something you might consider. My ditch is almost always wet in places. I put a knarly set of ATV tires (dirt devils) on the rear of mine. You just have to be a little careful on the lawn to prevent gouging, but you get used to them.
--
Steve Barker
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On 5/27/2011 7:26 PM, Steve Barker wrote:

Thanks. I don't often get soaked areas, but unfortunately my neighbor behind me gets all my run-off. He's dealing with sink holes.
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YOU DONT USE RIDER MOWERS ON ANY HILL WHERE THE MACHINE COULD HAVE A ACCIDENT!!!
Far too many people have died that way:(
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Every offseason (March), I
- drain the oil - replace the oil, air, and fuel filters - refill new oil - replace the spark plugs - remove the mower deck, remove the blades, take them to a shop for sharpening, then reinstall the blades and mower deck - spray cleaner into the carburetor
During mowing season, you need to clean the air filter about once per month, and check/fill oil as needed.
This year the oil, filters, plugs, and sharpening cost about $75
I think I'll have to replace my 3-year old battery soon too. It's charge gets too low too quickly. My trickle charger brings it back, but I have to do this after almost every mowing now.
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On 5/28/2011 11:42 AM, Dimitrios Paskoudniakis wrote:

Professionally.
up paying $100 or maybe $125 each year. Maybe a bit more, I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Do all of these with a key start have a battery? I hadn't thought of that, so thanks.
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Yes
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