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.
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.
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
The dealer said they did all the checks and runs prior to delivery. It
was on a trailer, not even in a crate, and had oil and gas in it.
Up and down hills sounds opposite of what I'd do, but that's why I'm
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!
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
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.
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
All east of us...we're part of the severe/extreme drought area of the
From an earlier posting in the recent thread on hail I posted the
following for another ahr'er regular...
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...
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
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.
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.
remove the "not" from my address to email
Servicing yourself or professionally?
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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