LA Series Deere's.. why buy anything else?
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Thread: LA Series Deere's.. why buy anything else?

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    Aaron's Avatar
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    LA Series Deere's.. why buy anything else?

    I currently run a '75 deere 100 to mow my lawn (33" cut). I picked it up for $100 and rebuilt the entire machine so I'm probably only $300 deep in it. I have 2 seasons on it and kind of want something a little bigger, newer and quieter (and not another project). I'm still months out on buying something new but I want to know what i want so i can keep my eye out on a deal on something used.

    I will typically pay for quality cause i just like nice stuff and many times the entry level equipment is just junk but when looking for a tractor to mow the lawn, the LA series just seems to be the way to go. For $1800ish i can have the LA135, drive it for 5 years, sell/trash, then repeat and only be in the hole for $3600 after 10 years of use. Maybe i can get a few extra, maybe not.

    Is it too optimistic to assume i can get 5 fairly trouble free years out of a LA series (approx 3/4 acre of grass)?

    The options in a nutshell are:
    Spend $1000 or so on a "good" used machine. Assume a hundred in initial repairs/maintenance and ~3 years of trouble free service.

    Buy a LA with plans to replace as needed.

    Spend the $3-4k on a better lawn tractor requiring that I get 10+ years out of it to recoup the investment.

    Chime in, is my logic flawed that the LA is the best bet?

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    Brian's Avatar
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    There are a lot of good questions in there! I have never purchased a smaller tractor due to the fact that i used it for other things. My 445 cuts almost 2 acres of yard and it used to snowblow over 447 feet of driveway. My 445 is a 02 model ( I think) and I do not plan on selling it any time soon and I hope to get 10 more trouble free year out of it.

    My neighbor has a LA 135 or 145 and they beat the snot out of it. Thier son started usingit at 10 and I swear he tries to pull a wheelie everytime he starts moving. They are people who do not maintence anything but thier house. The tractor could have the original oil in it.... Still running strong. I have always read to buy the deeres from the dealer and not the big box store. I have no clue if the LA or LX model is dealer or not.



    Brian

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    mjncad's Avatar
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    I bought my L-130 from the dealer on closeout; but all LA's are BBM (Big Box Mart) quality regardless of whether you buy from the dealer or BBM. If a BBM is near a dealer, I doubt the dealer will carry much in the LA's.

    As long as you realize the LA is a BBM grade entry level tractor; then buy, use, trash, repeat may be acceptable for your needs. My L-130 leads a harder life than what you would use it for. Personally, I'd get an X-series and get some durability if the budget allows for it. From what I've read in the forums, the X300 uses the same transaxle as the LA and should be avoided. I understand the X320 has a better transaxle.
    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    Johndeere3720's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjncad View Post
    I understand the X320 has a better transaxle.
    Yeah, i think the x300 has a K42 transaxle and the x320 has a K52. I have an L118 and it is a great little mower. The guy i got it from mowed about 2 acres or so with it and was always maintaining it and servicing it before reccomended changes. i always am easy on the hydro pedal and go slower in thicker/longer grass. Runs great and still gets the job done just as if it were new. I do have to warn you that I have had to replace both steering gears and one of the rods that steers the left side as well as a battery (normal). When you loose your steering, it sucks. :P My L118 is 5 years old now (new in 2005) and i expect several more years out of it to come. It currently has 345 some hours on it, deck is in excelent condition.
    2004 John Deere 317
    66" bucket, forks, imatch adapter plate, Bobcat 72" Landplane, 60" 4 in 1 tooth bucket
    2005 John Deere L118
    42" deck, bagger
    2004 Bobcat 430
    4 buckets, brush rake, ripper, concrete breaker

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    mjncad's Avatar
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    You're L-118 must live a better life than my L-130. I cut about 1.75-acres of weeds on flat ground; but these little mowers are probably much happier with grass. The weeds I have now aren't thick enough to warrant the use of my Bush-Hog; but they are tougher than turf grass.

    Mine has 75-hours on it, and I'm on my third mower belt, and the electric PTO clutch and switch puked at 56-hours.
    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mjncad View Post
    . Personally, I'd get an X-series and get some durability if the budget allows for it. From what I've read in the forums, the X300 uses the same transaxle as the LA and should be avoided. I understand the X320 has a better transaxle.
    'Nuther question...where do you draw the line between Value & Performance in these "budget" mowers? Its easy to sit here sayin I'd reccomend this model because its only $150.00 more, and then its only $150 more then that for the next step up...well next thing you know, your upgrading from this to that and your getting a 3720 delivered with a 72" MMM

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    Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjncad View Post
    I bought my L-130 from the dealer on closeout; but all LA's are BBM (Big Box Mart) quality regardless of whether you buy from the dealer or BBM. If a BBM is near a dealer, I doubt the dealer will carry much in the LA's.

    As long as you realize the LA is a BBM grade entry level tractor; then buy, use, trash, repeat may be acceptable for your needs. My L-130 leads a harder life than what you would use it for. Personally, I'd get an X-series and get some durability if the budget allows for it. From what I've read in the forums, the X300 uses the same transaxle as the LA and should be avoided. I understand the X320 has a better transaxle.
    Agree that i would buy from a real dealer. The main reason for looking at deere almost exclusively for my mower is because of the ability to still buy parts for my 100. Though the dealers in my area are horrible (different topic) one of them is good enough for me to not mind spending my money at for a small tractor purchase.

    Why would you get the X-series over an LA? That is the issue i am having. I completely understand that they are better units and will live a longer life. That being said, will they last Twice as long (twice the price), cut twice as good, etc? In a nutshell the budget is what it has to be. My mower right now works just fine and I already have a larger machine (Bobcat CT230) to play around in the yard so this is purely a mowing machine. I'm just trying to find the line between value and quality. The ultimate formula is Cost/Year for fairly trouble free usage (and has to be something i like)

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    Brian's Avatar
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    IMHO comparing the X models to the L models is kind of like comparing a Kia to a Ford. The kia gets you from point A to point B just like the ford will, but the quality is better in the ford in almost all aspects. The Ford would last longer and have better resale.

    I have an almost 10 year old 445 that is still worth more than 50 percent of what I paid for it.

    This decision for you is about money, but also about what you want to drive and the quality you want. You can get anything from a Kia to a BMW to mow your lawn.

    Sorry about all the talk of cars, sometimes its easier for me to equate the tractors to them as most people have an idea about auto brands. Now you have me thinking, what kind of car truck do you drive?



    Brian

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    mjncad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudland_Dave View Post
    'Nuther question...where do you draw the line between Value & Performance in these "budget" mowers? Its easy to sit here sayin I'd reccomend this model because its only $150.00 more, and then its only $150 more then that for the next step up...well next thing you know, your upgrading from this to that and your getting a 3720 delivered with a 72" MMM
    In some ways I think you hit on Deere's marketing strategy with their products. When I bought my 4200 CUT, the serious garden tractors available consisted of the 425, 445, and 455. Now the LA and X series have so many models with small incremental differences in upgrades from model to model that I suspect they hope people will get confused and say give me the highest number X3xx or whatever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    Agree that i would buy from a real dealer. The main reason for looking at deere almost exclusively for my mower is because of the ability to still buy parts for my 100. Though the dealers in my area are horrible (different topic) one of them is good enough for me to not mind spending my money at for a small tractor purchase.

    Why would you get the X-series over an LA? That is the issue i am having. I completely understand that they are better units and will live a longer life. That being said, will they last Twice as long (twice the price), cut twice as good, etc? In a nutshell the budget is what it has to be. My mower right now works just fine and I already have a larger machine (Bobcat CT230) to play around in the yard so this is purely a mowing machine. I'm just trying to find the line between value and quality. The ultimate formula is Cost/Year for fairly trouble free usage (and has to be something i like)
    In a past life money wasn't as big of an issue for me as it is now, which is why I bought the L-130 instead of an X-xxx. However; there is an intangible in the equation. What is your aggravation worth to you? If a LA breaks down 3-times a year and an X-series doesn't; is the LA's aggravation worth the cost savings.
    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    IMHO comparing the X models to the L models is kind of like comparing a Kia to a Ford. The kia gets you from point A to point B just like the ford will, but the quality is better in the ford in almost all aspects. The Ford would last longer and have better resale.

    I have an almost 10 year old 445 that is still worth more than 50 percent of what I paid for it.

    This decision for you is about money, but also about what you want to drive and the quality you want. You can get anything from a Kia to a BMW to mow your lawn.

    Sorry about all the talk of cars, sometimes its easier for me to equate the tractors to them as most people have an idea about auto brands. Now you have me thinking, what kind of car truck do you drive?
    I really haven't been thinking of resale, solid augment.

    I drive a few vehicles, Daily driver is a BMW 325i, GMC 2500 to take out the trash, Corvette in storage awaiting garage space at my house.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjncad View Post

    In a past life money wasn't as big of an issue for me as it is now, which is why I bought the L-130 instead of an X-xxx. However; there is an intangible in the equation. What is your aggravation worth to you? If a LA breaks down 3-times a year and an X-series doesn't; is the LA's aggravation worth the cost savings.
    Short answer, yes, but that was my strategy for going with an LA which is counter intuitive on face value but i would just adopt the swap every x year policy to avoid most repairs. I have enough projects. Thats one reason why the JD100 has a expiration date on it. So far this year ive only had to re-attach a wheel after the c-clip popped (easy, quick and free) and replace the mower belt (original from '75). So nothing major, but both happened when i had a deadline and just had to get the job done.

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