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Discussion Starter #1
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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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. 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? :think: 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 :laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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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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?
 

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'Nuther question...where do you draw the line between Value & Performance in these "budget" mowers? :think: 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 :laugh:
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.

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.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
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.

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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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.
Well you have some nice cars other than your beater truck :drama:

I would have expected you to be asking about the x700 seiries with your taste for cars.

So how long is the warranty on a L or LA series? Are they more than a year?


I would think long term you would be better off with a larger tractor and be confident that it will alst some time. I can see your point of getting new every few, but I am 6'4" and I feel snug on my 445. I cannot imagine what a small tractor would be like.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well you have some nice cars other than your beater truck :drama:

I would have expected you to be asking about the x700 seiries with your taste for cars.

So how long is the warranty on a L or LA series? Are they more than a year?


I would think long term you would be better off with a larger tractor and be confident that it will alst some time. I can see your point of getting new every few, but I am 6'4" and I feel snug on my 445. I cannot imagine what a small tractor would be like.

My good taste in cars is why i bought a Bobcat CUT :hornets: :laugh: Had to say it.

For the price of a X700 i'm knocking on the door of a quality used diesel front mount or one of those Cat Diesel zero turns (drooling) The X700 is a very good machine but i have a hard time figuring out where it fits. I would take a 2035/2320 for that much money (or the little extra). Ultimately this machine will ONLY mow the lawn, money saved is money towards something else.

All and all great conversation and thanks for all who contributed. Ive definitely narrowed down what i am looking for and I'm going to start keeping an eye out for a used x320. If something pops up for about $3k ($1k off of MSRP) i may have to jump on it. Not sure where that falls on realistic prices but i have time to think about it and adjust if needed.
 

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Aaron,
You mave a legitimate question about mowers in general, "How much to invest?". I suspect that the X320 is the baseline for the better mowers with the K58 transmission. This would be about 50% more than a 23hp 48" LA series which is roughly $2500-2700. You will get more use and life without problems and retain a higher resale value with the X320. Moving up beyond this you will start to pay for the perks and add ons that quite frankly are not needed for a 3/4 acre lawn. This is where the Chevy vs. BMW debate would begin for you. You could easily spend $10k more on a nice mower or put this extra $10k in other improvements or not spend it to start with.

I know that I can get by with my L130 for my own use but my customer lawns are more demanding, not just for mowing but for building initially. I am looking towards the X748-749 for this reason to work in tandem with my compact tractors.
 

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2 Years or 120 Hours for the LA Series
4 Years or 300 Hours for the X300 Series
4 Years or 500 Hours for the X500 Series
4 Years or 700 Hours for the X700 Series
 

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Bleedgreen, I'm guessing those are warranties?

My old 318 is 20 years old, has 605 hours on it.
 

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You know, maybe we're looking at this the wrong way....I have a TYM dealer locally now (for how long I dunno :think:) BUT...why would a person not run down and buy one of the T233's...which is the tiny tot of the TYM family...They seem to be a nice solid machine for the money.
They seem to be in the 9k price range...yeah alot of money, but IMO you're getting alot more tractor then a mower.
OR why not buy a CT120....with the same mentality..

I'd say you could then estimate the machine to last 15 years or so... $667.00 per year for a mower isnt too bad (10k with a life of 15 years)..... Yeah your original idea is more along the lines of 300.00 a year (1500.00 for 5 year life), but we all can agree that we arent talking the same scope of machine at all.
 

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I don't know whether you got your tractor or not as this is an older topic, but I will add my two cents.
I have about 3/4 of an acre that is broken into three sections. None of it is square or without hazards. It is a very tough mow, with outbuildings, a swimming pool and a ton of trees and bushes. I had always used a push mower, but when I added the third section of grass in 2007 and started to feel my age, I went looking for a riding mower. I had planned to buy a Sears mower, but my father in law looked at me and said in a high pitched voice...."You’re not getting a John Deere". So I was badgered into buying a Deere. I purchased a new LA120 (21 HP two cylinders Briggs and Stratton 42 inch automatic) at a small shop around the corner from me that carries a few Deere products. I could have gotten the same machine at Lowes for a few bucks less, but this made getting it home easier and they put it all together for me and set up the bags.
I use it to mow my grass, Tow a utility trailer, and most important, I put high lift blades on it in the fall and it rakes the massive amount of leaves I get. (My property is heavily wooded). I had an initial issue with it when I got it that was corrected under warranty. I do the recommended maintenance which is very little and I have had it for 4 seasons and put about 100 hours on it. It still looks and runs like the day I purchased it. (It is garage kept). So for me, your basic homeowner, it was an excellent purchase. If I had purchased a 318 or the likes, I would have paid twice as much and that would have been an excellent purchase as well, but I would have had a lot less money in my bank account.
Your needs seem similar to mine, so I can see you getting much more than 5 trouble free years out of it. It is one of the few things I plan to take to Florida with me when I retire in a few years.
 

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'Nuther question...where do you draw the line between Value & Performance in these "budget" mowers? :think: 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 :laugh:
Hey! I resemble that remark...
 
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