I have a John Deere Sabre model 1438 HS with a 14.5 B&S engine on a 38-inch
deck with high lift bagger blades, and bag kit installed that I purchased
back in July 2001, and it has worked flawlessly for me since. I've mowed
foot high grass with it, and that 14.5hp B&S motor had no problem dealing
with it while going up a hill with my 285 pound butt parked in the seat.
Now the bag unit does need for the grass to be dry and not too thick, and
high lift bagger blades installed in order to work well.
Now I've never had a problem with the deck clogging up on me even after
mowing soaking wet high grass. I was shocked the first time I went to drop
the deck for cleaning fully expecting the usual thick heavy built up, but
found it nearly clean as a whistle somehow even after mowing wet and thick
grass for weeks. Well that was back in the fall of 2001, and I've not had
to ever clean it since. I check it, but it stays clean. It should be
clogged to beat hell, but it never has. Now I've only ran it with the high
lift bagger blades installed, and perhaps that could have something to do
with it, but I don't know since I have yet to try it with the standard
blades installed. I really like the little 14.5 hp B&S motor, its twist to
open oil drain makes oil changes as simple as one could expect. Yet to have
to replace the air filter thanks to somebody designing a foam rubber filter
that fits around it, that has kept all the dust and dirt from getting to it,
and checking last week, it still looked as good as the new one I bought just
Like you I was checking out all my options, and looking at brand, price and
all of that, and talking with my neighbor when a friend of his drops by who
just so happens to have owned and ran his own lawn care business for over 30
years. After introductions I told him that I was really wanting to buy my
first riding mower and with him being in the business, what brand of mower
would he suggest, and he instantly said, "Get the John Deere!!" Then he told
me why. Yes you will pay a little more, but they really are solid built
machines, John Deere really stands behind and supports their products, and
know how to solve just about any problem you might have. A John Deere mower
will hold its value like no other brand, so if you want to sell or trade it
in that can be a big plus, but best of all 20 years from now John Deere will
still have parts, support and service for it. That was his #1 problem he
encountered with all the other brands, 4-5 years down the road getting parts
just became a nightmare. Also once again, no other brand seemes to hold its
trade in value like a John Deere will.
Me, I'm pretty sold on John Deere, and also bought one of their snow
blowers, which has yet to fail me, and blows snow higher and further than
any of the brands my neighbors have.
Now what brand of riding mower you go with is up to you, but if you only
have a .6 acre sized yard, you might save a little money with a 38-inch
cutting deck over the 42-inch one, and a 14.5 hp motor should be plenty. My
neighbor just bought a Craftsman 42-inch with a 24.5hp motor, and side by
side in foot high grass, at the same speed & height his left a ridge of
uncut grass, and my 14.5hp motor chugged a bit, but it cut the grass without
leaving an uncut ridge. Now he was running standard blades, and I had high
lift bagger blades, and that could have been why mine didn't leave an uncut
ridge, but all that extra power didn't get the grass cut better than mine.
As for that DLT 3000 model at Sears, just go to Google, and type "DLT 3000
problems", and do the same with the John Deere, and judge for yourself.
Next find a friend who owns one of their mowers that is say maybe 5 or 10
years old. Write down its info, and then go to Sears and ask for a part..
But before you do that, go back and ask that salesman this question. If I
need a part for this mower say 10 to 15 years from now, how would my need be
handled, and what could I expect? Then after he has spoken, walk away for
about 5 minutes, and then go right back up to him and tell him that you need
this part for this make and model of mower, and see what happens.
Now go find any old John Deere mower, and go ask them for a part or whatever
for it, and see what happens. Then sit down and judge for yourself based on
the results of who was better able to help and assist you, make your choice.
Also try the other brands as well, do some Google searches about problems
and parts, and see for yourself. Take your time, don't rush, check and
double check everything, and go for it.
I'm getting ready to buy a new lawn tractor for our .6 acre lot in
Initially, I thought for sure I'd buy a new John Deere L110 at Home Depot
for $1799. It looks like a good unit, and they are advertising their mowing
deck to be better for reducing the grass buildup underneath it. It's a 17.5
Then, I stopped at Sears to see what they had. The salesman there was
touting their DLT 3000 tractors as better than the John Deere units.
A couple of questions here:
1. Any opinions on the quality of the Sears DLT 3000 tractors vs. the John
2. I see the DLT 3000 tractor comes in 3 "flavors"....(a) 25HP B&S V-Twin,
(b) 20HP Kohler Pro, and (c) 16.5HP Honda V-Twin (which also has cruise
control). Oddly enough, the smallest engine (Honda) costs more than the
largest engine (B&S). Any opinions on which of the three is best?