Lawn tractor opinion/help please

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by clarktenk, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. clarktenk

    clarktenk LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 2

    Hello everyone. I have been looking at lawn tractors today and decided I might get some better info off the net and lo and behold I came across this site with an absolute wealth of information. I have just been reading away hear for the last two hours and thought I should post my situation up and see what others thought.

    It takes a good 2 hrs plus to mow my lawn (walk behind) and I am getting tired of shoveling snow. So I have been investigating a few tractors in my price range in the hopes of killing two birds with one stone. What I am looking for is a nice little tractor that can mow this huge honkin yard (Looked good when I was buying for the kids and dog but damn.) and pull double duty by plowing out my driveway which is a double car driveway roughly 30 feet long on a slight downwards slope towards the street.

    So here are the ones I have been looking at and was wondering what experiences others have had with them either yay or nay and hopefully the reason behind it.

    John Deere 17.5 hp from Home Depot, No hydrostat drive

    Toro 18 hp from Home Depot with Kohler engine hydrostat trans and foot pedals

    Yard Works 17.5 hp from Canadian Tire with Briggs and Stratton engine hydrostat trans and foot pedals which seems to be the exact identical machine to the Toro with the Yard Works name on it except for the diferent engine.

    Craftsman 18 hp from Sears with Briggs and Stratton engine and hydrostat drive, no foot pedals.

    Husqvana 17.5 hp from TSC with Kohler engine, no hydrostat drive

    So far I have liked the Toro best because it has the Kohler engine, hydrostat drive and the foot pedals. From what I have heard and read it seems that Kohler makes a very reliable long lasting engine and hopefully I am not way off base here.

    There is another John Deere just a about $400 more that has the hydrostat and foot pedals but it is really pushing the budget/wife hard.

    Now my big question involves the hydrostat drive. Since I am going to be plowing out my driveway I was wondering if the hydrostat drive would be better suited to this or not? WOuld being able to select a low gear and stick with it be a better option for the plowing?

    What are the real advantages or disadvantages of one of these machines versus the other? What kind of maintenance issues and longevity can I expect? I am looking for any and all relavent information and honest opinions.
  2. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,181

    I think that all of those machines are underpowered for plowing snow that's any deeper than 3 or 4 inches. I suspect you get a lot more than that in Ontario. You'd be a lot better off with a snow blower for the winter work, and your description of the property leads me to believe it should be around 10HP or more. Home Depot in my area was recently getting rid of this year's snow blowers at a 33-percent-off sale.
  3. 2 clowns mowing

    2 clowns mowing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 566

    buy a walker made by walker. get a mower with grass handling system (GHS). does a great job, also sucks up leaves in the fall. can get different size decks from 36" to 74" decks. a snow blower will mount on it also, a snow plow, cab, tire chains this mower will give you many years of operation. :waving:
  4. steve45

    steve45 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,325

    Not all Kohler engines are create equal! They have a fairly new line, called the 'Courage' series that is a low cost, lower quality unit for the consumer market.
  5. nmurph

    nmurph LawnSite Senior Member
    from ga
    Messages: 668

    ......and where did he say he was commercial?????????? all manufacturers have multiple lines of engines. they try to make some engine that will meet every budget and use. some are residential. some are commercial. some manufacturers produce extreme duty engines. within these broad categories there may be different series of engines. i would put the kohler courage up against any other residential series engine from any other manufacturer. they are twin cam, OHV. i don't think Kohler would sully their reputation by making an engine that would not represent themselves, well.
  6. steve45

    steve45 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,325

    I don't speak from the experience of owning a Courage engine. In fact, I do have a mower with the Command engine. While shopping for a mower, a nearby Hustler dealer warned me not to buy this engine, even for residential use. He had been to a factory school on it, and looked at the warranty info. What more can I say? Just trying to warn this guy to watch what he's getting.

    Do you work for Kohler or something?
  7. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    craftsmans are low end of the line, thats why theyre so cheap :) Look at a low end john deere or a simplicity from a dealer. Something with a 48 or 54" deck would do you well.
  8. nmurph

    nmurph LawnSite Senior Member
    from ga
    Messages: 668

    negative on working for Kohler. just an average homeowner that grew up on a farm, working on machinery since i was big enough to tote a wrench.
    here's Kohler's warranty on some of their lines:

    KOHLER Command Warranty Statement
    Limited 2 Year Engine Warranty
    We warrant to the original consumer that each new Command/Magnum/OHC/Courage engine sold by us will be free from manufacturing defects in materials or workmanship in normal service for a period of two (2) years from date of purchase, provided it is operated and maintained in accordance with Kohler Co.'s instructions and manuals.

    yes, i know that intended use is different for each of the these series of engines.
  9. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,245

    It's kind of what you like for your own home. I would stay away from craftman but the rest is up to you. BUT, I would buy a snow blower for winter. It will save many years on your mower. JMO:)

    Welcome to Lawnsite
  10. steve45

    steve45 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,325

    As you said, different types of use. They won't warrant a Courage engine for two years in Commercial use.

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