What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

The place for discussions about mowers, stripers, edgers, weeders, etc.
KBGkicksazz
Posts: 241
Joined: April 19th, 2018, 5:12 pm
Location: S. New Hampshire
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by KBGkicksazz » October 26th, 2018, 11:39 am

The snowblower for the X300 runs really well if you need it for snow removal duties.
Image

southern-ct-4
Posts: 235
Joined: May 7th, 2018, 3:31 pm
Location: Southern CT
Grass Type: PR/FF/KBG
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by southern-ct-4 » October 26th, 2018, 1:28 pm

Thanks. I already have a snowblower, but good to know for future reference.

southern-ct-4
Posts: 235
Joined: May 7th, 2018, 3:31 pm
Location: Southern CT
Grass Type: PR/FF/KBG
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by southern-ct-4 » October 28th, 2018, 9:41 pm

A few (related) follow-up questions:

1. The used JD X300 that I'm looking at has a 17 HP Kawasaki vs. the 22 HP in the X320. I drove my neighbors X320 and loved it. Will the experience be similar, or is the dropoff from 22 HP to 17 HP going to disappoint me?

2. My current run-of-the-bill 38" Bolens tractor (bought used from a neighbor several years ago so I don't know much else about the model/history, has a 15.5 HP Briggs engine. Given that the 17 HP in the X300 isn't much bigger than my current 15.5 HP, will I again be disappointed if I upgrade to this X300? Or is this apples and oranges even though the HP is so close, and the JD will still blow it away?

3. The X300 that I'm looking at was upgraded to the 48" deck that normally comes on the X325. Will there be any issues with the 17 HP being able to handle the bigger deck?

Much of this will be answered as soon as I get a chance to test drive the X300 in question, but wanted to ask your opinions first.

Thanks!

southern-ct-4
Posts: 235
Joined: May 7th, 2018, 3:31 pm
Location: Southern CT
Grass Type: PR/FF/KBG
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by southern-ct-4 » November 7th, 2018, 5:18 pm

So I ended up buying the used John Deere X300.

Does anyone have one/a similar one? If so, some questions:

1. When going into reverse (and not lifting the appropriate lever to keep the blades going), the blades go off for safety (which is fine), but they don't start again as I go forward. I have to push down the lever and then lift it again. Is that normal?

2. How fast should the tractor be? My old bolens would absolutely fly at the highest speed (no, not mowing at that speed, just occasionally zipping down the driveway or whatnot), but this x300 didn't seem to go all that fast.

3. How easy/difficult is it to take the deck off? The guy I bought it from started showing me a pin to turn and something else and then I got lost, but he said it was really easy. However, looking in the manual online, it seemed a bit complicated (for a novice like me), in that there were a couple of belts to be loosened/removed, or something like that.

Thanks!

KBGkicksazz
Posts: 241
Joined: April 19th, 2018, 5:12 pm
Location: S. New Hampshire
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by KBGkicksazz » November 7th, 2018, 9:45 pm

When back up lift the blade lever once you back up you can let it go. It’s a safety feature. The blades only shit off if you back up without pulling the lever.

I don’t know about the speed but I’ve never felt it was too slow.

Did you get the manual with the tractor? First time you do it takes a bit of learning but after that it takes maybe 5-10 minutes to get the deck off. There’s tons of stuff on YouTube about the X300.
southern-ct-4 wrote:
November 7th, 2018, 5:18 pm
So I ended up buying the used John Deere X300.

Does anyone have one/a similar one? If so, some questions:

1. When going into reverse (and not lifting the appropriate lever to keep the blades going), the blades go off for safety (which is fine), but they don't start again as I go forward. I have to push down the lever and then lift it again. Is that normal?

2. How fast should the tractor be? My old bolens would absolutely fly at the highest speed (no, not mowing at that speed, just occasionally zipping down the driveway or whatnot), but this x300 didn't seem to go all that fast.

3. How easy/difficult is it to take the deck off? The guy I bought it from started showing me a pin to turn and something else and then I got lost, but he said it was really easy. However, looking in the manual online, it seemed a bit complicated (for a novice like me), in that there were a couple of belts to be loosened/removed, or something like that.

Thanks!


southern-ct-4
Posts: 235
Joined: May 7th, 2018, 3:31 pm
Location: Southern CT
Grass Type: PR/FF/KBG
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by southern-ct-4 » November 8th, 2018, 11:21 am

Thanks. I do know about the safety lever, and I'm fine with them turning off when backing up, but are they supposed to start again on their when I go forward again?

I didn't get the manual but the seller may be able to send it to me. I was looking at it online and it seemed way above my head with the belts and whatnot. I'll check youtube.

Thanks again.

southern-ct-4
Posts: 235
Joined: May 7th, 2018, 3:31 pm
Location: Southern CT
Grass Type: PR/FF/KBG
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by southern-ct-4 » December 7th, 2018, 3:56 pm

Hi all. Another quick question that I've been meaning to post. I noticed that when starting the blades they start very 'harshly'. On my old dinky tractor the blades would take 1 second or so to start/get up to speed. On my new (used) JD, I feel like the blades start so suddenly and again, kind of 'harshly'. Hard to describe exactly, but any idea if this is normal? Or should it be a smoother start?

Thanks!

x Wild Bill x
Posts: 14
Joined: March 30th, 2018, 12:31 pm
Location: Eastern, MA
Grass Type: Northern Mix
Lawn Size: Not Specified
Level: Not Specified

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by x Wild Bill x » December 17th, 2018, 10:50 am

Are the blades driven with an electric pto clutch or a manual clutch? Does JD have a recommended RPM or throttle setting for engaging the blades? On my zero turn, the manufacturer recommends engaging the blades at half throttle and then increasing to full throttle. Most heavy duty/commercial mowers use an electric pto and recommend engaging the blades at a lower rpm to save the clutch as it is essential an on/off switch. Whereas a mechanical engagement of the blades can be "eased" on by the user to eliminate and abrupt start.

southern-ct-4
Posts: 235
Joined: May 7th, 2018, 3:31 pm
Location: Southern CT
Grass Type: PR/FF/KBG
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by southern-ct-4 » December 17th, 2018, 11:59 am

If I'm reading the manual correctly, it says to start it at full throttle:

Using Mower Engagement Lever
NOTE: Mower engagement operation will stop if reverse pedal is depressed. Understand the Reverse Implement Option (RIO) system before operating the mower.

1. Start the engine. If necessary, allow engine to warm up before operating mower.

NOTE: Always operate at maximum throttle speed when mower is engaged.

2. Move throttle lever to fast position.

3. Move mower engagement lever to desired position:

Engage mower - Lift up on mower engagement lever to “l” position.

• Disengage mower - Push down on mower engagement lever to “O” position.

• Maintain mower engagement in reverse - Lift and hold mower engagement lever in the highest position. Depress reverse foot pedal to start moving in reverse, release mower engagement lever.

Green
Posts: 5934
Joined: September 14th, 2012, 10:53 pm
Location: CT (Zone 6B)
Grass Type: KBG, TTTF, TTPR, and FF (various mixtures)
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by Green » December 18th, 2018, 6:57 pm

southern-ct-4 wrote:
November 7th, 2018, 5:18 pm
So I ended up buying the used John Deere X300.
Per your original question, how this model rank in terms of low to high end?

I use my grandfather's Craftsman LT-2000 (with B&S engine) at his house, and man, that thing is terrible...very loud in operation (I wear both foam earplugs and 28dB 3M Peltor earmuffs at the same time), terrible mulching (often have to double cut), no power going up hills (you just can't do it), and in order to go in reverse, it requires shifting first to neutral, and then into reverse with the shift lever. The ignition key must also be in a certain location if you're going to use reverse. Finally, the minimum turning radius is huge. Too many negatives on that particular model.

On the plus side, it does 4 to 4.25 in.

User avatar
Smolenski7
Posts: 1002
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 8:56 pm
Location: Central CT
Grass Type: Northern Mix
Lawn Size: Not Specified
Level: Not Specified

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by Smolenski7 » January 6th, 2019, 9:37 pm

I'm sorry I missed this thread, I think I could have helped a lot.

The JD X300 is a good mid class mower. It's the first in the line of "real" JD's that you won't find in the big box stores. It comes with a good reliable Kawi engine that, if taken care of, will out last your desire to keep the tractor. The transmission is a Tuff-Torq K46, that, if I remember correctly, is not serviceable. That's ok, however, don't abuse it. I know that there are guys who use it to blow snow, and JD does make a blower for it, but it really is only designed to cut grass. The lighter frame, smaller wheels, and K46 all attest to that fact. Abusing it also means, and probably the worst thing you could do, is to use it to cut uphill. No slopes, at least regularly. The heat will kill your transmission.

The K46 is only going to max out at about 5.5 mph going forward, and around 3.5 mph backwards. That's what you could be noticing. Now, I don't know what Bolens you had before, but if it was a true GT, instead of a LT like the X300, that might be why you are noticing the difference in speed. The Bolens might have been a really good tractor with a heavy duty transmission. Next time you are using it, listen to how loud it is. Go forward and backward. And, going against what I just said, go up and down hill. Also, check to see if it maintains its speed going up and down the hill; it should. It probably will squeal a little, but if it is really loud and unusually slow, that could be a bad sign. It could be that the transmission either needs an oil change or work.......or worse.

The mower is designed to cut the mower when in reverse. It's super annoying and one of the reasons why I don't buy JD. With that said, there are a number of videos on Youtube that show how to "fix" this problem pretty easily.

Good luck. The X300 is a good LT.

southern-ct-4
Posts: 235
Joined: May 7th, 2018, 3:31 pm
Location: Southern CT
Grass Type: PR/FF/KBG
Lawn Size: 10000-20000
Level: Some Experience

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by southern-ct-4 » January 7th, 2019, 10:05 am

Thanks so much for the info!

BobL
Posts: 24
Joined: July 7th, 2018, 10:55 pm
Location: Southwestern PA
Grass Type: TTTF/Rye
Lawn Size: 3000-5000
Level: Experienced

Re: What's the difference between a cheap lawn tractor and a pricey one?

Post by BobL » January 12th, 2019, 1:47 am

Just a note from the other side....

A “real” tractor is certainly needed if you’re plowing snow, pulling heavy loads, etc. and racking up 1000 hours in a few years, as noted above. On the other hand, I bought a “big box” version from a Home Depot 11 years age (L115) and have used it to mow the 17K sq. ft. in my back yard, now at about 250 hours. Replacing one spindle is all I’ve done outside of scheduled maintenance and scrape/wire brush/prime/paint 3 times.

It cuts 1.5 to 4.75 inches and I’ve never run into anything that bogs down the 19HP engine. At $1300-ish, I should be able to buy 2, good for 25+ years, for less than the cost of a real one. My neighbor is still using the same Craftsman tractor he had before I got mine.

To me, it’s a matter of the tool for the job. $3-4K tractors certainly are needed, just not by me.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest