suggestions for used riding mower for rough terrain

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by laraby, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. laraby

    laraby LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Hi, I've searched the forum and not found any answers for my specific situation.
    We live on 20 acre farm with about 1/2 acre yard with hill. I mow the yard and also paths around the farm for riding. I pull trailer through the woods and we use it to haul branches, concrete, fence posts, etc. etc. (Husband bush-hogs the pastures.)

    Believe it or not I've been using a 11 year old 42" Murray with 16.5 hp engine and it's held up pretty well. But it doesn't cut well (leaves uncut grass in middle, very uneven on the hill) and I keep busting the plastic wheel bushings when mowing in the pastures. Also keeps stripping the little plastic starter thing. . .

    I need a sturdy used garden/yard tractor but would prefer not ZTR. I think I'd have problem going bigger than 42" deck with the hill - but maybe not?
    I have to mow 10 - 15 degree slopes sideways so need stability.

    I'm looking for a used tractor on craigslist in the Atlanta area. Any suggestions?
    thanks in advance
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011
  2. jkason

    jkason LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 546

    1) Something with an oil pump and filter (for the slopes).

    2) Stop holding the key when the machine starts (or re-engaging the starter when the engine is already running). Those starter gears usually last years. Although.... You may just be putting years of use on your tractor in one season. Anything priced below $3000.00 MSRP (in my opinion) is made for cutting 1-2 acres of grass (not pastures) once a week. Using it any more than that means you underbought.

    3) Something with ball bearings on the front wheels - think Wheel horse 300 or 400 series or a mid-size John Deere (be prepared to pay for these, though).

    4) Stop. =>Repeat<= Stop mowing the pastures with a LAWN MOWER.

    5) Check your blades on the Murray - I'll bet they're shot.
  3. Popeye77

    Popeye77 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 244

    find you a little diesel Kubota or equivalent with a belly mower.
  4. dboyd351

    dboyd351 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,124

    Let's see -you got 11 years out of a tractor that probably cost $1000 new. Works out to just under $100/year in machine depreciation cost if you threw it away tomorrow. And you're being told that's not enough machine for your property. Sounds to me like you're doing just fine.
    Why not just replace it with something similar, perhaps just a little upgrade. John Deere has a pretty good rep for lawn tractors. For years, the LA115 and LA105 were good solid tractors for around $1600 new. I think they have a different model out now, but probably still good machines.
    I have a Yard Machines 20 hp, 46 inch cut lawn tractor that I use on my property - similar to yours, but smaller. Wooded, 3 acres, 1/2 acre or so of grass in 3 places, lots of trees to mow under and around. Bought it in January 2007, so it is now entering it's fifth season. I've had the blades sharpened, and I change the oil and filters myself. Other than that, no repairs or costs going into it's fifth year. Paid $1000 for it new.
    Not everyone wants or needs a ZTR.:walking:
  5. 2001FZ1

    2001FZ1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

  6. jkason

    jkason LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 546

    dboyd - The reason I was reccomending a larger mower (not a zero-turn) was that it will last longer and have fewer repairs. And they are usually higher quality.

    An analogy - You don't buy Chevy S-10 or Ford Ranger to haul loads of bricks.

    Also with a higher-quality mower, you can push the oil change interval a little if you have something else to do or just don't feel like doing it when it's time. That's not to say you can skip an oil change - you shouldn't - just that you can go a few more hours without having to change it right away.
  7. probolpher

    probolpher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I would suggest a Wheelhorse 314-8 if you do not want to purchase a more expensive 4wd tractor. These little garden tractors are pretty bulletproof, heavy duty and can handle rough terrain. They are also very stable. I used one to mow 10 similar acres for years until I finally went and bought a new Kubota tractor which is way better but way more expensive. You can usually find used Wheelhorses on Craigslist weekly. Good Luck.

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