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Let me start by saying I've had a Honda Harmony riding mower for 16 years. It was a great mower, but everything wears out eventually. Honda no longer sells lawn tractors in the US, or I would have bought another one. So I decided to buy the best, John Deere. I heard good things about the quality, and so, I bought a D130 with the bagger attachment.

The D130 itself does seem to be a quality item. It has a 22HP V-twin engine and runs smoothly and quietly. The BAGGER however is a different story. I don't know what the JD engineers were thinking when they designed it, but it has to be the dumbest design I've ever seen. JD should definitely go look at the Honda Harmony bagger to see how a bagger should be designed!

1) The install. The JD bagger uses rubber straps to connect to the body of the mower, and while in theory, this makes it easier to remove, in practice, it's awful. The straps are WAAY too tight and are extremely hard to install and remove without tools.

2) The lid (or "hopper top" as they call it). You can't raise the hopper top without raising the seat up. While this is not the end of the world, it's an extra step that my Honda didn't require, and it's really a poor design choice.

3) The grass chute. Ok this is the big one. JD needs to look at this. Anytime the chute gets clogged (which is often with leaves, and/or wet grass), you have to clear it out.

On the Honda, this was very easy. The chute was hinged in the middle, and you simply grabbed the handle and "bent" the chute in half at the hinge, at which point the bottom part of the chute near the mower discharge simply slid off of it's connector (slip fit) and you had complete access to both the discharge chute and the entire length of the grass chute to clean it very easily, NO TOOLS OR STRAPS OR ANY KIND OF CONNECTOR TO DISCONNECT! Simple easy, and fast.

On the JD bagger, this is a disaster. First you have to disconnect the upper chute, but removing one of the hard-to-remove rubber straps. Now it's not hinged, so you have to work the upper chute loose and then remove it from the rubber housing in the hopper top. It's a complete pain. Now, you still don't have the lower chute removed, which is almost impossible in the field with without tools, because the straps are so tight. So you don't have complete access to the clog, and it takes MUCH longer to disassemble and reassemble.

This is so bad, that I'm actually thinking of returning the whole tractor (I have not mowed with it yet) and getting something else. I can't believe nobody here has mentioned this before.

Cheers!
 

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John Deere D130 Grass Catcher is awful, it's clogged with grass more often then not

Overall, I like the the D130, but the rear grass catcher is simply awful. It is clogged more often then it's not. I agree with everything the OP wrote about it. It's a shame really, otherwise I'm happy with the unit. JD really needs to address this. If I can't find a solution this unit is going back, it's that aggravating.

PS: I registered just to add to this post. I trying to cut my lawn with this unit, and became so completely frustrated with it I came online hoping to find a a solution, which I've not found one, but I found this post.

I hope someone at JD sees it. They really need to address this. At least make it easy to unclog the thing on the go, instead of having to stop, take it apart. That wouldn't be a problem if it was a rare event, but trying to mow less then an acre, I've stopped at least a dozen times, and only gotten the thing to work once (fill up one bag). Now I'm going to have to go back and rake up the grass. This makes me unhappy.


For what it's worth, I'm cutting Zoysia at about 2.75 inches.
 

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Overall, I like the the D130, but the rear grass catcher is simply awful. It is clogged more often then it's not. I agree with everything the OP wrote about it. It's a shame really, otherwise I'm happy with the unit. JD really needs to address this. If I can't find a solution this unit is going back, it's that aggravating.

PS: I registered just to add to this post. I trying to cut my lawn with this unit, and became so completely frustrated with it I came online hoping to find a a solution, which I've not found one, but I found this post.

I hope someone at JD sees it. They really need to address this. At least make it easy to unclog the thing on the go, instead of having to stop, take it apart. That wouldn't be a problem if it was a rare event, but trying to mow less then an acre, I've stopped at least a dozen times, and only gotten the thing to work once (fill up one bag). Now I'm going to have to go back and rake up the grass. This makes me unhappy.


For what it's worth, I'm cutting Zoysia at about 2.75 inches.
When I am mowing cloggable grass (i.e. wet), I reach back with my left hand to feel if there is air coming into the bagger meaning it is not clogged. When it is, I just stop the blade, separate the 2 chutes apart (I leave the top rubber band disconnected) reach down the chute and pull out the 2 or 3 handfuls of grass/leaves, reconnect, and continue cutting. Just takes a minute, and I never have to dismount.

D130
 

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yep the bagger is low budget. If it only had a clear plastic window in the up-tube.. where you could look to see if grass is flowing while you mow... you could avoid the surprise clog problem. That would have cost JD an extra 5 bucks, tho :sneaky:
 
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