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Discussion Starter #1
It seems there is a local faction around my area that prefers the older 316's etc. Made tougher, durable, STILL running. If you can find one with low hours and well maintained GO FOR IT! Craig's list stuff mostly.

on the other hand. . . I can't help but notice all the 1995 and 2000's models up for sale at many implement dealers that are in the same(many lower) price range and seem newer, better(?), and I am figuring there is a higher probability I can find one for sale with more competition and at a better price all things considered. Taking a poll here; looking for general advice; my 1st garden tractor(lawn too). I bought 80 acres and will use this for lawn, garden, cleaning up rough ground of weeds(not QUITE brush hog work, but close).

Should I look for a specific model or models manufactured later or stick with the old models??
 

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I also believe a L&G tractor is not the right choice! Depending on how much of the land you will actually work with I would start with the 2 Series MCUT and go up from there!
 

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My farm is just 65 acres and I use a 5 series and an x585 out there. X585 to control barnyard area and catch pen for the cows and the 5 series for all else. I think you may need to go bigger also. Good luck.
 

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Everyone else covered the size question.

I'll throw in for the new vs. used. I went the new route because the used ones (in good condition) were hard to find, and it was very hard to beat a 6 year warranty & 0% for 7 years (or 5&6... either way).

If a used one had popped up during the time I was looking it would have been a more difficult decision.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
aawwww geeez, guys!
Forget about the 80 acres. This is a general question. Using the machine for LAWN related mostly(less than 2 acres), cleaning up grassy / weedy forest trails and grassy lane edges. I am NOT using it for any major part of the 80 acres!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
additionally. . . Please let me repeat my question: "Should I look for a specific model or models manufactured later or stick with the old models??"
 

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Since you are asking about garden tractors, I'd go with a x400, x500 or x700 series. These are available with AWD, hydraulics and 3 point hitch options. All offer FEL capability, the only exception is the 2013 and above x7xx being after market FEL option.
 
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I don’t think there are specific models to really look for.

Using a finish mower for rough mowing is hard on equipment. The 60 decks are fairly stout. That leaves only the 420/430 from the 316 era. If you consider those make sure it has a working tiller with it, otherwise it’s just too expensive and rare to find. The 4x5 tractors are closer to modern ones the X4x5 and X5x5 are the next generation. If you want to till make sure it has the rear pto already installed, you can get a tiller for those easy enough. Those were followed by the X7xx which are in their second generation currently. Again be sure it has the pto installed. They are about $1000 alone, and not an easy installation.

Don’t confuse the X5x5 driveshaft tractors with the current X5xx that doesn’t end in 5. The newer ones are belt driven and not as stout.

I’d still be looking for a 755/855 or newer scut if I wanted to till and have a loader, plus they can run a bushhog to save your finish mower.
 

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If you are set on a smaller machine as in a lawn and garden. For older stuff, I wouldn't go with a 316 or 317. I know the 317 doesn't have power steering as that is what my dad had when I was growing up and I cut a lot of grass with it. Try and go with a 318 on up. I want to say they all have power steering and it would be a lot nicer. These older engines are long in the tooth if they are original but there are lots of repowering options if you are handy.

Personally I would look more toward the 400 series. I don't know them as well but you are looking at a shaft driven mower deck and most likely power steering still.

If you go a little newer in 2002 they came out with the X4xx and X5xx. The X4xx are 2WD and X5xx 4wd. I have a X585 which is powered by the 25HP EFI Kawasaki and 4wd and 2WS. A X595 is the same machine but a diesel. These are shaft driven attachments like the mower deck like the 400 series used to be. These were made from 2002-2006. In 2007 they did a renumbering scheme where the X4xx and X5xx became the X7xx. Then they came out with new X5xx that are smaller and have more in common with the old 3xx like say a 318. They are not that bad but I would take an older 2002-2006 X4xx or X5xx over a current gen X5xx any day. They just are a bit beefier.

Following the lineage of the X585 it looks like this.

2002-2006 X585
2007-2012 X728
2013- X738

The reason I keep bringing my machine up? I have 2.5 acres. When you take out the foot print of the house, driveway and out buildings we actively cut about 2 acres of it. We did this from 2002-2015 and it worked great. 4WD is nice for the steeper areas and since I live up in MN for snow duties all winter. In 2015 I bought a Z950R zero turn though and while I still have the X585, it has been retired from mowing. I still have my deck and all so I could put it back into service. I don't though. The zero turn is so much faster at mowing and this way I leave my FEL on the X585 Spring, Summer and Fall. It is a better combination for me.

If you go used, whatever you do, get one that has the attachments you need. If it comes with a rusted out deck it is tough and expensive to get a replacement. They are not made anymore when looking at the old stuff so don't expect to replace them with new. Even if you got a great deal on say an old 318 with a rusted out deck, you will have a hard time to get someone else to separate with one if they have a machine up for sale. People are not going to want to split up a package. Now you could buy two packages of machines/attachments and then resell the stuff you don't need as another option. Case in point. I have a mower deck for my X585 that hasn't been used in years. No way I would sell it because at some point I want to sell my X585 and the machine without a mower would be worth considerably less and be a lot harder to sell.

No right answer on this. I will say an old 318 is a whole lot more machine than say a new X3xx. The closest thing to compare it to is probably the X590 but in quite a few areas I would rather have a 318. But I would take my X585 over the 318 and X590 in a blink of an eye.
 

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A couple things I left out. As if the last post wasn't long enough.

Consider looking for a 2305. It preceded the 1026R which then became the 1025R. It is a nice size machine if you have any use for a FEL. My brother in law has one that he likes but he doesn't mow with it so I can't speak for that task much.

Also use tractordata.com. That is a good source for comparing models. In the upper right corner they will list models with arrows pointing up, down and left and right with more models. This is how you can navigate around to see how models compare showing the previous generation, next generation as well as up and down a size. This really help see the difference because JD has been known to jump all around with their model numbers. Like when the X585 became a X728 then a new X5xx came out that was smaller. Or the case of the 2305 which became the 1026R and isn't very similar to any current 2 series. Maybe you could say a 2025R but it is a lot smaller than that. They do a good job of sifting through this web of confusion that JD spins.
 
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I cant comment much on the newer machines, but if you go older, step up to the 318 or 420.
I wouldnt trade my 318 for anything newer, but Im used to it, and its done everything asked of it, and then some, over the last 33 years, and still going strong.
The 50" decks can handle tall stuff better than the smaller decks on those years, and the older 317 didnt have a deep deck of any kind, so that one would be out based on your intended usage.
The older tractors can be had for a song compared to the newer stuff, and parts are readily available.
Heck, you could find one with a bad engine, do a repower and have a very nice machine and still have less money in it than most of the newer X series stuff. Many have already been repowered, and if you could get one of those, you would be ahead of the game.

420 advantage over the 318 is two speed rear end and diff lock. Easier to find front attachments for 300 series, as they were the same from the 140 on up. 420 had 2 more HP, but torque was close. Both hydros are extremely stout, as is the whole machine.
Im not a fan of the Yanmar stuff in that era, because as they get older, they tend to develop annoying electrical gremlins. If not for that, they are awesome machines.

Personally, Id find a few that I liked, then go search wfmachines or join and ask questions there about the older ones.
Lots of members here are members there, but many there arent on here too, and there is a LOT of knowledge about the older machines there.
 

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My recommendation is a nice used older model for yard work and a CUT for other chores. BTW, I know where there is a very nice low hour 1990 318 w/50" deck for sale. But a nice newer LGT or zero turn would work too. You definitely want a hydro, not a gear drive.
 

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Taking a poll here; looking for general advice; my 1st garden tractor(lawn too). I bought 80 acres and will use this for lawn, garden, cleaning up rough ground of weeds(not QUITE brush hog work, but close).

Should I look for a specific model or models manufactured later or stick with the old models??
Whether you get an old one or a newer one will depend partly on how much you like to/need to work on it to keep it reliable. If you don't want to work on one a lot, get one of the newer ones. The absolute smallest 300 series I'd go for would be a 318 or 322. A 400 series would be better, a 420, 445 or 455 (diesel). None of these would be adequate for the acreage you mention. An X7 series is new enough that you can easily find them with low hours, old enough that you can find good prices. They're little beasts, Rooster shooter has the plan:
Since you are asking about garden tractors, I'd go with a x400, x500 or x700 series. These are available with AWD, hydraulics and 3 point hitch options. All offer FEL capability, the only exception is the 2013 and above x7xx being after market FEL option.
Otherwise, get yourself a 1- or 2- series compact, or, best of both worlds, a little'un and a bigger'un:
727329
 

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Everyone else covered the size question.

I'll throw in for the new vs. used. I went the new route because the used ones (in good condition) were hard to find, and it was very hard to beat a 6 year warranty & 0% for 7 years (or 5&6... either way).

If a used one had popped up during the time I was looking it would have been a more difficult decision.
Great points.

I think the new vs. used question also depends on how much you like to work on your equipment. Used equipment definitely requires more tinkering.

There is also an availability issue for used - some areas, such as here in Denver, have little-used inventory at any given time so if you decide that a JD X485 is the model that you must have, you could be looking for years. I wanted a used GX255 but settled on a GX345 because that's what was available at the time
 
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Great points.

I think the new vs. used question also depends on how much you like to work on your equipment. Used equipment definitely requires more tinkering.

There is also an availability issue for used - some areas, such as here in Denver, have little-used inventory at any given time so if you decide that a JD X485 is the model that you must have, you could be looking for years. I wanted a used GX255 but settled on a GX345 because that's what was available at the time
That GREATLY depends on its previous owner.
My 1987 318 still works heavily in Fall with leaf cleanup, but beyond an oil change and swapping the rockshaft for the 3 point, I havent put a wrench to it to repair anything in 4 years. And that would have been avoided had I treated my fuel. Come to think of it, I put a new engine in back in 2010, and havent wrenched on anything on it since, besides my fuel issue, other than routine maintenance.
I did replace a few wear items back then, like the tie rod ends and a part or two in the hydro linkage, but its been solid since.

I also know guys with 318s, and much newer stuff, that are constantly fussing with them...but thats back to proper maintenance and care by the previous owner.
 
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I don’t really agree with the yanmar having electrical gremlins. They have the same systems as a 318 minus an ignition system, and they have more robust ignition switches. Any problems generally boil down to corroded connections which plague all these old systems but atleast everything on the yanmar is external to the engine. No stator or timing triggers hidden behind the flywheel. I’ve never had a yanmar electrical problem that wasn’t solved with a single repair. I lost a voltage regulator due to dirty contacts but a new vr and cleaning the connections solved it.

I’m generally not a huge fan of the 300 series, to me the advantages of the 420/430 are huge. I flipped many and used them when I had them but the locking rear end and shaft driven attachments are just more robust. The 50 is a good deck also available on 420/430 but it’s belt driven on 300 series so sticks and shrubbery can get tangled in, and the 60 is still just better built. It weighs twice as much and that’s a better shell, better spindles and thicker blades. All good things for pseudo bush hogging.
 

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That GREATLY depends on its previous owner.
My 1987 318 still works heavily in Fall with leaf cleanup, but beyond an oil change and swapping the rockshaft for the 3 point, I havent put a wrench to it to repair anything in 4 years. And that would have been avoided had I treated my fuel. Come to think of it, I put a new engine in back in 2010, and havent wrenched on anything on it since, besides my fuel issue, other than routine maintenance.
I did replace a few wear items back then, like the tie rod ends and a part or two in the hydro linkage, but its been solid since.

I also know guys with 318s, and much newer stuff, that are constantly fussing with them...but thats back to proper maintenance and care by the previous owner.
I'll agree that proper maintenance is key to minimizing repairs, new or used, but did I misread your post where it says you put a new engine in your 318?

Things wear out over time and need to be replaced or rebuilt. Usually, new machines don't need new engines or tie rods.
 

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Really, I think you need to drive different machines and form your own opinion. The ergonomics of some machines might be all wrong for you based upon your physical size, etc. So often people get all into the search and research mode and get interested in a machine then in real life when they sit on it, they don't like it or control functions or one of many, many things and the deal is done.

The best way to find the equipment is to try different machines and see what you like. For example, I simply could NOT ever own a machine with the "treadle pedal" for tractor directional control, like Kubota uses. I don't care about anything else, if my feet won't fit on the pedals to make the tractor move without contorting my body, not much else really matters.

Some of the older machines use hand controls for directional movement, others use pedals, Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Its largely what one likes and wants.

Much of It also depends upon your interest in, desire to and enjoyment derived from working on the equipment yourself. If you don't want to be doing any repairs, the newer the better (assuming lower hours and proper care) but also, the newer models are not made as well and will require repairs sooner than most older models would. Generally, parts availability is usually NOT an issue for anything made in the last 25 years, but its likely to require having the parts ordered and waiting a few days or having them shipped from somewhere else to you.

If you enjoy performing maintenance and making repairs, consider an older machine. If you simply want to turn the key and go, buy newer, however there are no guarantees a 3 year old machine won't break a belt or blow a hydraulic hose. Main thing is try several machines and see what you like and don't . Often simply sitting on the machines will tell you volumes.
 
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I don’t really agree with the yanmar having electrical gremlins. They have the same systems as a 318 minus an ignition system, and they have more robust ignition switches. Any problems generally boil down to corroded connections which plague all these old systems but atleast everything on the yanmar is external to the engine. No stator or timing triggers hidden behind the flywheel. I’ve never had a yanmar electrical problem that wasn’t solved with a single repair. I lost a voltage regulator due to dirty contacts but a new vr and cleaning the connections solved it.

I’m generally not a huge fan of the 300 series, to me the advantages of the 420/430 are huge. I flipped many and used them when I had them but the locking rear end and shaft driven attachments are just more robust. The 50 is a good deck also available on 420/430 but it’s belt driven on 300 series so sticks and shrubbery can get tangled in, and the 60 is still just better built. It weighs twice as much and that’s a better shell, better spindles and thicker blades. All good things for pseudo bush hogging.
The electrical system is completely different. I have a tech bulletin around here somewhere detailing the repair procedure for part of it, that has been used when I helped repair 4 of them for friends. The problem exists, and has for some time. Often, the "fix" works for a long time. Sometimes it doesnt, but the electrical system is nothing like what is on the 318, except for the presence of safety switches. The charging system alone is a whole different animal. Stator vs alternator.
Does it affect every single one? No, but when it does, it can be a royal pain to track down and fix if you dont know about it.
They also dont have hydro coolers like the 318 does...but thats a different system.

I'll agree that proper maintenance is key to minimizing repairs, new or used, but did I misread your post where it says you put a new engine in your 318?
Yes, I did, due to poor maintenance by my grandfather.
Its not a good idea to "flush" the old oil out with gasoline.

Things wear out over time and need to be replaced or rebuilt. Usually, new machines don't need new engines or tie rods.
I suppose if a guy doesnt plan to ever replace parts, they should continue on with new equipment, trading in every few years. Anything out of warranty needs parts, and some seem to go through them pretty fast.
I dont subscribe to this, which is akin to leasing a vehicle, which itself is not much more than a long term rental.
I keep things for a very long time and plan accordingly. A good number of people dont, and thats fine, but since the OP asked about USED and not NEW, thats where my point of view is from.

New machines also cost a WHOLE lot more.
Want a small comparison?
Equivalent machine to a 318 today would be the X7 series.
What do those cost?
From simply a cost standpoint, you could easily find an old machine and have it dealer serviced and repaired for a VERY long time before youd accrue the same cost.

Going further, I put a new P220 Onan in my 318. I could have saved money with a Kohler or Vanguard kit, but I prefer the Onan. I bought that for $1300.
So, after 22 years of service, I spent about $1400 to fix what was wrong with it. 11 years later I have nothing but maintenance in it, because the work on the fuel system ended up labor and filters/lines, which is maintenance, but even if you counted all that, it was less than $50.
Find me another mower that can do what the 318 does for anywhere near that money new.
 
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