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.