OK, so I've been lurking here for a couple of months, reading up and learning about tractors. The reason why is kind of a long story. I've read enough here to know that this community is very friendly and helpful, but I also learned that if I really want answers (or validation in this case), you guys are going to need to know as much as I can share. So, here we go....
My wife and I recently (3 years ago) moved from our Condo to a house we had built in the Connecticut country side. We have just over 3 acres. About 1/2 of it is grass, the other half woods. Our house is on top of a hill. The change in elevation from the street to our back yard is about 50'. Our driveway is 320' long, 9' wide at the bottom, 38' wide at the top with an incline that reaches 10%. That's 7,500 square feet of asphalt. We love living here, but there is a lot of work to do. Luckily, both of us are not afraid of work and we are very capable.
As we were getting ready to move in a friend of mine was getting ready to move out of his house into an apartment (divorce). He was selling a Cub Cadet LT-1050 riding lawn tractor. 20hp, hydrostatic trans, 50" deck, it was in great shape, the price was right and my buddy needed cash so we bought it. It's a nice lawn mower. We have a utility trailer and we have moved a lot of top soil, mulch, stones, pavers, firewood, etc... with it. It's been a life saver with these hills. Well, as you could imagine, in just three years of that kind of use, the transmission is not happy. It's growling and refuses to climb some of the hills that it used to go up with ease. I've taken the transmission out to change the oil (there is no drain plug or replaceable filter), and what came out of the fill hole confirmed that the transmission is done. (Dark black oil with a constant stream of silver dust). I started reading up on that transmission, and it's really a disposable unit (they call it "Maintenance Free"). A replacement is $589. That's just a little less than I paid for the used tractor. If I replace it, and continue to use the machine the way we have, it's just a matter of time before it's shot again. So that revelation brought me to John Deere.
I started my quest looking for a new Lawn Tractor that was heavier duty than the Home Depot special Cub Cadet. Something that had a serviceable transmission with replaceable filter. While we're at it, 4 wheel drive would be nice because there are some slopes here that we simply can't cut with the CC. It just can't get traction. If I try to go straight up, the rear wheel (1) starts spinning and digs a hole. If I go straight down it will leave two skid marks all the way down as the rear wheel won't hook up and the tractor races to a high speed where it's not cutting the grass well. So yeah, 4 wheel drive is a must. It would also be nice if it could help with our tree work. We have a wood burning fireplace and just the trees that dies of natural causes around here keep us busy and full of firewood. So if it could help us move firewood that would be great. Oh, hey... What about the driveway... Our snow removal efforts are pretty serious in the winter. We have two snow blowers, his and hers, but since we're talking 4 wheel drive, maybe a nicer machine could help us with the snow removal. You see where this is going, right...?
So, after sliding down this slippery slope, we just ordered a 1025R with a 60" MMM deck, H-120 FEL, 54" Snow Blower attachment and R4 Turf Tires. The kid in me is really excited. The adult in me realizes that I just bought a tractor that cost more than most of the cars that I've owned. Have I lost my mind...?!? I expect to receive our new JD right around election day. I am very anxious and hope that it lives up to our expectations. If it does, I'm OK with it.
Do you guys think I made a mistake? Does my configuration makes sense? Should I throw in a set of forks? Did I miss anything?