Upgrading from a Craftsman gear to Deere what....help needed.
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    IndianaJim's Avatar
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    Upgrading from a Craftsman gear to Deere what....help needed.

    Ok, so my neighbor apparently has green envy, probably my fault, since Ive got so much green in the garage.
    Anyway, he now has a Craftsman 42" cut, 22-25hp gear drive mower.
    He commented to me the other day that he probably couldnt afford to get a garden tractor, so my thought was "challenge accepted."
    Now I just need to know what to look for.

    Obviously it wont be new. But beyond the older 425 types, I have no idea what Im even looking at age or model wise.
    Were it me, Id be after one of those, but hes older, not in the best shape, and any maintenance, besides standard stuff, will have to be done by the dealer or another shop, or me. Im pretty partial to my 318, but Ive been tooling around on it since 1987, so Im kinda used to it...lol.

    Compared to what he has now, anything would be an upgrade, including the new 100 series, which I am pretty sure he could afford.
    Ill say now that I dont know his exact budget, but Id hazard a guess its around $2000, maybe a bit more.

    He uses it to mow with, but also to pull a cart. A lot. We have 8 acres of woods between us, he has 3. We both cut TONS of wood, mostly out of necessity due to fallen or standing dead trees, but he hauls a lot of it in that cart.
    Now, I think about anything would work ok for him, but obviously a larger/stronger tractor would be better, all things being equal.

    The one restriction we have with this is deck size. He has several trails cut through the woods to get to different spots and move wood. A larger deck will cause problems.
    How much? Not really sure. I personally think a 48" deck would work, but it would be close. In the mowers case, smaller is better, as his actual mowing doesnt take long, and hes retired anyway, so he has lots of free time, lol.

    Now, there isnt much wrong with the Craftsman, but its showing its age and a lot of wear and tear. It seems to have a couple minor things pop up every year, and he is tired of dealing with it. Says hes had problems since day one with it. Doesnt want that again, so here we are.

    Open to all suggestions, even if they arent Green. Obviously I prefer that, but if there is a better small option out there like maybe a Cub Cadet or something, let me know.

    Im looking on my own right now without his knowledge so that I can get a good idea of what we might want to be looking for when the time comes. I assume that time will be Summer or early Fall, but not sure. I also am looking now because from time to time I come across some pretty good deals, and should one pop up, I dont want to miss out.
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    Jim B.

    318, 49 Thrower, 2 80 Carts, 17AT cart, 54 Blade, 12" Brinly Plow, 30 Hydraulic Tiller w/extension & Briney 3-Pt hitch, 50 deck w/JRCO Cart Bagger.
    2025R, 120R loader w/Kens Bolt On Hooks, 260B backhoe w/8" & 16" buckets, Titan 36" forks, Imatch hitch, Weight Bracket/Hitch.

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    I just upgraded from two Craftsman 42", one gear and the other hydro. I do NOT miss those rattling tin cans! I ended up with an X744, but looked at many others. For that price range I'd look for a nice GT235. It's a solid mower, many are 48" and the hydro is a decent unit that will haul the wood cart fine. It would be a huge upgrade from where he is at. Just for reference, I know there was a nice GT235 with 700 hours for around $1500 at a dealer here. Otherwise the 345 or GX345 would be great, but around here those usually go for over $2k. If he can wait till later summer or fall it is easier to find a deal.
    IndianaJim and Fozsey like this.

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    IndianaJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by airjeff View Post
    I just upgraded from two Craftsman 42", one gear and the other hydro. I do NOT miss those rattling tin cans! I ended up with an X744, but looked at many others. For that price range I'd look for a nice GT235. It's a solid mower, many are 48" and the hydro is a decent unit that will haul the wood cart fine. It would be a huge upgrade from where he is at. Just for reference, I know there was a nice GT235 with 700 hours for around $1500 at a dealer here. Otherwise the 345 or GX345 would be great, but around here those usually go for over $2k. If he can wait till later summer or fall it is easier to find a deal.
    Thanks. Ill let him know and keep an eye out.

    Went by my dealer earlier today and my salesman said that in his opinion, the X350 would be about the best option, but its $3200, so that may be out.
    Jim B.

    318, 49 Thrower, 2 80 Carts, 17AT cart, 54 Blade, 12" Brinly Plow, 30 Hydraulic Tiller w/extension & Briney 3-Pt hitch, 50 deck w/JRCO Cart Bagger.
    2025R, 120R loader w/Kens Bolt On Hooks, 260B backhoe w/8" & 16" buckets, Titan 36" forks, Imatch hitch, Weight Bracket/Hitch.

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    I would see if you can get lucky and find a 345 for a deal. They are great mowers but it's hard finding one that someone isn't asking the moon for.
    3025e, D160 loader, Artillian Grapple, Forks, Hoe Bucket, Frontier Land Plane, Rotomec PDH300, Redline Systems 54 inch rock bucket, Heavy Hitch
    400 Garden Tractor, 35a Tiller, 54 inch plow, 60 inch deck

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    1010's Avatar
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    I went from a sears to a box store JD D155 I mean it's definitely better built and it has the elec deck and better seat.
    24horses and 48 inch cut. It was around $2K and could be 60months same as cash from my local JD dealer that I got it from.

    I couldn't justify the X series cost for what I have to spray and keep cut.
    JD4044M likes this.

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    Zebrafive's Avatar
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    My first choice would be a 345 (for liquid cooling) then 325 (air cooled).
    Also if you can find in good shape, (it will be harder since older models), 245, 265, 285, or 320. Last two are liquid cooled. You can get 46" decks on these.

    I had a 285, great tractor. Most expensive repair was cam change to steel geared cam. Next most expensive change was water pump.
    Last edited by Zebrafive; 06-19-2018 at 10:57 AM.
    J
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    IndianaJim's Avatar
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    Well, darn.

    Things got more interesting. I talked to my neighbor briefly about this the other day, and he said he figures hes going to have to go used, but we still hadnt discussed price.
    He did say that he wanted to get power steering.
    Now, thats sort of a big deal in all this, because if he has to have that, hes even more limited.
    He also stated that the 48" would be too big for a deck.

    So, now we have 42-44" deck, power steering, good grief.
    He may just have to pony up and get the new X370 to get all that. I know the 325/345 came with either a 42 or 44, but they are hard to find.
    I am fairly certain that unless he goes new, he is going to have to be looking at garden tractors instead of lawn tractors, as I dont believe power steering was an option until VERY recently on the lawn tractors.
    Jim B.

    318, 49 Thrower, 2 80 Carts, 17AT cart, 54 Blade, 12" Brinly Plow, 30 Hydraulic Tiller w/extension & Briney 3-Pt hitch, 50 deck w/JRCO Cart Bagger.
    2025R, 120R loader w/Kens Bolt On Hooks, 260B backhoe w/8" & 16" buckets, Titan 36" forks, Imatch hitch, Weight Bracket/Hitch.

    Exmark Lazer Z HP 52"
    Husqvarna 550XP, 562XP, 55 Rancher

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    Zebrafive's Avatar
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    I wanted PS when i upgrade from a JD 285 that I bought new in 1989. When i bought it I saw no need for PS. We bought a larger place that took twice as long to mow. Four hours verse two. Even then, it was not until recently I wanted PS (I got OLDER ). It took 20 years of mowing 4 hours straight to want to try PS. By the way it is NICE

    How much time will it take to mow? Maybe not having PS is not a deal breaker???. You may find a quality tractor steers easy compared to a "cheap" tractor. Maybe some test drives on likely tractors?

    bye I gotta mow today
    J
    John Deere 2030 w/245SL Loader
    John Deere 6415 w/640SL Loader
    John Deere 285 50" deck Stolen May 2017
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    Kawasaki Mule 2510 4x4 bought new 1996
    Ford F250 4x4 bought new 1978

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    IndianaJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zebrafive View Post
    I wanted PS when i upgrade from a JD 285 that I bought new in 1989. When i bought it I saw no need for PS. We bought a larger place that took twice as long to mow. Four hours verse two. Even then, it was not until recently I wanted PS (I got OLDER ). It took 20 years of mowing 4 hours straight to want to try PS. By the way it is NICE

    How much time will it take to mow? Maybe not having PS is not a deal breaker???. You may find a quality tractor steers easy compared to a "cheap" tractor. Maybe some test drives on likely tractors?

    bye I gotta mow today
    His mowing is probably about an hour at best. Its the rest of it that hes thinking of.
    Most of his "tractor time" is driving his trails and clearing brush, felling or cleaning up downed trees, etc.

    Good idea on the test drives. I have to go by the dealer today. Maybe Ill see if he wants to go with and check out a couple of the new ones while Im talking to the service dept.
    Jim B.

    318, 49 Thrower, 2 80 Carts, 17AT cart, 54 Blade, 12" Brinly Plow, 30 Hydraulic Tiller w/extension & Briney 3-Pt hitch, 50 deck w/JRCO Cart Bagger.
    2025R, 120R loader w/Kens Bolt On Hooks, 260B backhoe w/8" & 16" buckets, Titan 36" forks, Imatch hitch, Weight Bracket/Hitch.

    Exmark Lazer Z HP 52"
    Husqvarna 550XP, 562XP, 55 Rancher

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    Zebrafive's Avatar
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    I am betting he can do without PS, but if it's a "must have" plan on upping the budget. I am not "up" on which Deeres have PS, or how far back they go. My x485 has it, but it's a lot bigger/heavier than my former 285.
    J
    John Deere 2030 w/245SL Loader
    John Deere 6415 w/640SL Loader
    John Deere 285 50" deck Stolen May 2017
    John Deere x485 62" deck AWS
    Kawasaki Mule 2510 4x4 bought new 1996
    Ford F250 4x4 bought new 1978

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