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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,
I am new to the forum here and seeking all wisdom and advice. I am in the market (live in Minn) for a used John Deere riding lawn mower. My price point is max $1,000, I have mostly flat terrain (lots of leaves in the fall) and .50 acre or so. I really only need a mower and perhaps a bagger system eventually (no need for a snow blower, blade, etc..). I am keeping an eye on Craigslist. My own research (avoiding the “big box store” models like the L, LA and D series and putting emphasis on the Kawasaki engine) has narrowed my focus to the LX (178, 188, 277 (non AWS)) and LT (180 and 190). Agree? Disagree? Other models/series I should consider?

Also, I seem to come across LT 155's AND LX 255's out there on CL....which have the Kohler 15hp engine. What are people's opinions of those two machines or more specifically, thoughts on the 15hp Kohler engine in them? I guess I was more inclined to get a mower with a Kawasaki engine. Appreciate all the help and opinions on the above. Thanks in advance.

-Alan
 

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Welcome from Illinois. I have never dealt with those models but I am sure someone will be along with answers for you. Good Luck on your search. :good2:
 

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JD 185 are good

I used to have a JD 185 that I bought used, and then sold to an acquaintence. He is still using it.

Good hydrostatic, parts are still available. Baggers were available but may be hard to find one with a bagger now.

Info at TractorData.com John Deere 185 tractor information
 

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My own research (avoiding the “big box store” models like the L, LA and D series and putting emphasis on the Kawasaki engine) has narrowed my focus to the LX (178, 188, 277 (non AWS)) and LT (180 and 190). Agree? Disagree? Other models/series I should consider?
You could expand that to the GT and GX series machines too. Both lines were available with Kawasaki engines.
 

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Another place you can look is Smith's Sales Auction Site.

'deere' - Current Lots - Smith Auctions LLC

The nice thing is when you get down to the Garden Tractors (you have to scroll down quite a bit), they seem to normally list if it is a Kawasaki or some other engine if that is what you are looking for. They even have a Z757 with a 60" deck on there right now for just under $1K but it will probably go above your budget.

I am not sure where you are in MN but if you are in the Twin Cities area it isn't a very far trip over to Baldwin WI. I am over in the Stillwater area myself.

As far as good and bad. I don't know how much of a difference there is with the smaller ones. As far as I know all the bigger X series machines are all Kawasaki. If you could find a X300 series in budget that would be a great score. I don't know what they go for though. Probably more than $1000 on the used market with a good deck but they have been around for a while. My X585 is a 2002 model. I buy my machines from Frontier Ag and Turff. They don't have anything really in the under $1000 range but they do have some really nice looking X304 machines but they are double your budget at just under $2K. They also have a couple 318 tractors which while not Kawasaki powered and quite a bit older (mid-late 80s) they are a beast of a tractor. Some of them have fewer hours than I have on my X585. They will run circles around anything built in recent years. I would imagine going a dealer route would be more expensive than Craigs List. The thing about a 318 is if you maintain it, you won't loose your money on it. They have been at the $1500-2000 range for years. Heck there is one on there with under 1000 hrs, a snow blower, cab and mower deck. It is hard to tell the condition for sure in photos but that is a pretty darn good price. I should tell my dad about that one but he already has a 322 and a 318.

Another guy you could check with is Jim at Jim's Tractors in Hastings if you are in the Twin Cities area. He is a great resource but he strongly favors those older 318 style machines. He goes through and fixes them up so his machines might be more. The website isn't always up to date but he is a real knowledgeable guy. Used Lawn - Garden Tractors - Mowers - Small Engines - Jim's Repair/Jim's Tractors
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You could expand that to the GT and GX series machines too. Both lines were available with Kawasaki engines.
Right...kinda just thought most of those would be going for a bit over my budget is all. But yes, I do keep an eye out for those series too. Thanks
 

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Another place you can look is Smith's Sales Auction Site.

'deere' - Current Lots - Smith Auctions LLC

The nice thing is when you get down to the Garden Tractors (you have to scroll down quite a bit), they seem to normally list if it is a Kawasaki or some other engine if that is what you are looking for. They even have a Z757 with a 60" deck on there right now for just under $1K but it will probably go above your budget.

I am not sure where you are in MN but if you are in the Twin Cities area it isn't a very far trip over to Baldwin WI. I am over in the Stillwater area myself.

As far as good and bad. I don't know how much of a difference there is with the smaller ones. As far as I know all the bigger X series machines are all Kawasaki. If you could find a X300 series in budget that would be a great score. I don't know what they go for though. Probably more than $1000 on the used market with a good deck but they have been around for a while. My X585 is a 2002 model. I buy my machines from Frontier Ag and Turff. They don't have anything really in the under $1000 range but they do have some really nice looking X304 machines but they are double your budget at just under $2K. They also have a couple 318 tractors which while not Kawasaki powered and quite a bit older (mid-late 80s) they are a beast of a tractor. Some of them have fewer hours than I have on my X585. They will run circles around anything built in recent years. I would imagine going a dealer route would be more expensive than Craigs List. The thing about a 318 is if you maintain it, you won't loose your money on it. They have been at the $1500-2000 range for years. Heck there is one on there with under 1000 hrs, a snow blower, cab and mower deck. It is hard to tell the condition for sure in photos but that is a pretty darn good price. I should tell my dad about that one but he already has a 322 and a 318.

Another guy you could check with is Jim at Jim's Tractors in Hastings if you are in the Twin Cities area. He is a great resource but he strongly favors those older 318 style machines. He goes through and fixes them up so his machines might be more. The website isn't always up to date but he is a real knowledgeable guy. Used Lawn - Garden Tractors - Mowers - Small Engines - Jim's Repair/Jim's Tractors
Yes, I am the Twin Cities (west side). Thanks for the info, I appreciate it!
 

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Yes, I am the Twin Cities (west side). Thanks for the info, I appreciate it!
If you do look into that Smiths Sales, you really should come up with a hard limit on a tractor. I don't know that they have anything that fits exactly what you are looking for today but every couple weeks they have a new auction up and running so they go through a lot of inventory. Most things are on soft close so if there is a bid in the last 10 min or so the auction gets extended another hour or something like that. I haven't bought a lot of stuff there but a few things that I have gotten a great deal on. I have bid on other stuff where people bid it up way too high so don't get carried away and it can be a good resource. I want to say there is another auction place along the lines of Smith Sales over more of the west side. K Bid maybe? https://www.k-bid.com/auction/list/minnesota

A Kohler engine but this might be an option. https://www.k-bid.com/auction/20776/item/9

You could do the entire yard in 10 min with one of these. https://www.k-bid.com/auction/20701/item/4

I have never bought anything from K Bid but I know people who have.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If you do look into that Smiths Sales, you really should come up with a hard limit on a tractor. I don't know that they have anything that fits exactly what you are looking for today but every couple weeks they have a new auction up and running so they go through a lot of inventory. Most things are on soft close so if there is a bid in the last 10 min or so the auction gets extended another hour or something like that. I haven't bought a lot of stuff there but a few things that I have gotten a great deal on. I have bid on other stuff where people bid it up way too high so don't get carried away and it can be a good resource. I want to say there is another auction place along the lines of Smith Sales over more of the west side. K Bid maybe? https://www.k-bid.com/auction/list/minnesota

A Kohler engine but this might be an option. https://www.k-bid.com/auction/20776/item/9

You could do the entire yard in 10 min with one of these. https://www.k-bid.com/auction/20701/item/4

I have never bought anything from K Bid but I know people who have.

Good to know about K Bids....i'll be sure to check them out occasionally. thanks
 

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Seeing you have a $1,000 maximum budget. I wouldn't totally avoid shopping the L, LA & D series tractors. They are more than capable of doing the work you described. The problem is usually when the owner uses it like a garden or sub compact tractor. The biggest bad rap that they get is from the transmission. Mainly because it's labeled non serviceable so the fluid is never changed. However the fluid can be serviced you just have to remove the transmission to do it. Charging the fluid is the first thing I recommended to the guy that bought my L108. However like any tractor condition and the maintenance it had are important.
 

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Good to know about K Bids....i'll be sure to check them out occasionally. thanks
I know you wanted to go Kawasaki but there isn't anything wrong with the Kohler engine. I would focus more on a good transmission over an engine. Lots of people repower tractors with a new engine. The guy I mentioned in Hastings, that is what he is known for. I mentioned the 318 before. Probably if there is a weak point with that machine it would be the engine but that was a bigger issue on the 317. A big part of that had to do with the oil pan if I recalled. If you mowed a ditch you would burn up the engine. If you have either one repowered with a Vangaurd I would take that over a lot of the newer stuff any day.

John Deere also uses Kohler engines on some of the commercial sized stuff. Z915B now called the Z915E is powered by a Kohler if I recall. That or a Brigs. I know it isn't a Kawasaki until you get to the Z930 on up.

While I know the 317, 318, 322 better that is because that is what I grew up with cutting grass and plowing snow.

I don't know the smaller stuff now as well. I have seen where people pull the transmission and drain it through the fill port. I don't think you can change a filter without cracking the case open which isn't worth it. I know my X585 has fluid drain and external filter so it is easy to service but I don't know if all X series has that like the smaller 300.

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The "sealed" transmission has to be drained and filled through the same hole.

The next step up is the serviceable transmission. They have a drain plug and a fluid reservoir to fill afterwards. Like the sealed units they just have an internal screen for filtering. Not sure what model that they start at but it's used up until the X500/570.

The X530/580 and bigger also have a serviceable filter that can be changed.
 

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If I were you...and this is just my opinion.. Yur not going to get much of a John Deere mower for 1K. If yur really good with wrenches.. Maybe you can find one and make it work. My suggestion is to buy a 900 dollar mower from big box store..NEW. Get the extended warranty if ya want to. A .5 acre yard and you'll be fine. If yur still there in 3 yrs.. Buy another for a K and rock on.

Sent from my LGL52VL using Tapatalk
 

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I have a 21 year old LX178 with a 38" deck that they will have to pry out of my cold dead hands when the time comes. The Kawasaki is bulletproof with only a few small glitches in the 21 years. Recently purchased a 1025R with the mmm and asked about trade in. Only wanted to give me $500 which I said no. Still use it to pull the aerator and mow when I don't want to remove the FEL from the 1025R. You might can find one in good condition for a grand. Easiest machine to maintain or repair that I have owned.
 

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I paid $600 for my 245 with less than 100 estimated hours on it. I bought it from the original owner who used it a few years then put it in storage after moving to a smaller home. He claimed he bought it new in 2008 from a dealer for $1800 but it's a 1994. I still have trouble believing that. It does look brand new, everywhere and the original tires still have the vent spews. It came with the belt driven powerflow bagger and all the original paperwork. It has the Sundstrand BDU-21 transaxle found in the 265. The 14 hp Kawasaki is a nice engine and don't let the hp fool you. It's a large motor. I do realize I found a deal as I have seen 245's on auction sites for 1700-1900 and were faded and well used. The thing with Craig's list is when you want something you need to constantly search as deals literally sell within hours if not minutes of being posted. I'm known around here for always finding stupid deals. I got my large big green egg with table for $250 and the owner gave me the warranty card he never sent in.

I did look at the home dept mowers before searching for a new rider and what turned me away was regardless of the brand you could tell underneath the paint and decals they were all the same mower. I upgraded from a poulan 48" that was a few years old and I was always reattaching something that fell off the engine and saying a prayer that it would go into gear.
 

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If I were you...and this is just my opinion.. Yur not going to get much of a John Deere mower for 1K. If yur really good with wrenches.. Maybe you can find one and make it work. My suggestion is to buy a 900 dollar mower from big box store..NEW. Get the extended warranty if ya want to. A .5 acre yard and you'll be fine. If yur still there in 3 yrs.. Buy another for a K and rock on.

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I agree! 1/2 acre yard isn't much and those can handle that and meet your price point. As mentioned, just get the extended warranty. I would rather have new than someone else's headache and nothing against your price point but it's hard to get a good higher end mower that isn't beat all to heck for your goal.

Brett
 

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On a side note I paid $25 for the Honda 217 pictured in front the the 245. That mower is still $800 at Home Depot and fine lawn equipment dealerships.
 

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I paid $600 for my 245 with less than 100 estimated hours on it. I bought it from the original owner who used it a few years then put it in storage after moving to a smaller home. He claimed he bought it new in 2008 from a dealer for $1800 but it's a 1994. I still have trouble believing that. It does look brand new, everywhere and the original tires still have the vent spews. It came with the belt driven powerflow bagger and all the original paperwork. It has the Sundstrand BDU-21 transaxle found in the 265. The 14 hp Kawasaki is a nice engine and don't let the hp fool you. It's a large motor. I do realize I found a deal as I have seen 245's on auction sites for 1700-1900 and were faded and well used. The thing with Craig's list is when you want something you need to constantly search as deals literally sell within hours if not minutes of being posted. I'm known around here for always finding stupid deals. I got my large big green egg with table for $250 and the owner gave me the warranty card he never sent in.

I did look at the home dept mowers before searching for a new rider and what turned me away was regardless of the brand you could tell underneath the paint and decals they were all the same mower. I upgraded from a poulan 48" that was a few years old and I was always reattaching something that fell off the engine and saying a prayer that it would go into gear.
You have legendary Craigslist skills. You should post YouTube videos. Those are unreal deals and while I don't need either of the items you bought, I would've jumped on them just as fast as you! Great buys

Brett
 

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This is the first website I have participated on, not ready for u tube. I'm on Craigslist usually to buy broken small engine equipment to repair and resell and to buy and resell other items if I can get them cheap. My only problem is I have trouble letting things go but I'm not considered a hoarder (yet)

Some advice to the original poster on your search, use tractordata.com to research your finds on Craigslist then search google for terms such as transmission problems so if the mower has a tuff torq trans input the model number and add problem or issue and see what comes up. That's how I zeroed in on Sundstrand transaxles
 
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