John Deere 'SABRE' worth buying?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by lawnguru wannabe, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. lawnguru wannabe

    lawnguru wannabe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    I was using an older Murray riding mower for the past four years and just recently the engine stopped working. I don't want to spend a lot of money....My max is probably $700-$800. I came across a SABRE for $625 that seems to be in great shape but I know nothing about this model. I just need something to last me another three or four years till I upgrade to a nicer JD or Club Cadet. Would like any input on this mower that anyone has, or any suggestions on what to get or where to look for the price range I'm in.


    MS_SURVEYOR LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,002

    I have a 1999 Sabre 16/46 hydro. It's my second mower that I keep at the mother in law's to mow her lawn. All in all it's been a good mower. I had to replace the deck at a tune of $550 3 or so years ago. It has a 16 hp Vanguard engine that is starting to use a little oil between mowings. Starts every time thou. It has the K51 Hydrogear trans axle. Years ago I changed the oil to Mobile !. Used Mobile ! in the Vanguard after the break in. The bearings in the spindles need changing. I enjoy the mower still. Sabres are old mowers. I think 2000 was the last production year. The JD 100 series took over. I can get most parts at the JD dealership. I would never spend very much money on it form here on.

    What to look for? The deck top and bottom. Make sure it's not rusted. The spindle bearings. Listen for grinding noise, and play in the shaft by holding a blade tip and pushing up and down, back and forth. Look for oil leaks on engine and trans. Look for steering play in the joints at the wheels. Tire side walls for dry rotting. Paint on deck and frame. Battery area for rust and rot. Does it start easy with out smoking. Does it run smooth at wide open throttle with the blades engaged? How much of the blades are left? Check the air filter. Is it used and clean? Is it new hiding a problem?

    I could go on and on. It's an old mower. Repairs and parts cost money. Some more than the mower is worth.

    MS_SURVEYOR LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,002

    "John Deere 'SABRE' worth buying?"

    Yes! If it's in good well kept condition.
  4. lawnguru wannabe

    lawnguru wannabe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    The SABRE seemed to be in good shape but someone snagged it from under me, so I'm still looking. I did find a Scott's mower with a 43 or 46 inch deck (can't remember) that seems to be in good shape. He wants $400 for it. Thoughts? Never knew Scott's made riders.....
  5. die4irish

    die4irish LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 104

    Scotts was a Homeowner verson JD.When built our house money was tight so we ended up getting a scotts 54 in 25 hp form HD for around 3 grand. It was a decent machine for what we needed. A little low on the rpms so you had to mow slower with it. over all we got our money out of it. I still have it after 11 yrs. I use it to roll the lawn and spray with now. Pretty dependable.

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