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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm going to be moving out to the "country" if you can call it that. I'll be sitting on about two and a half acres and will need more than my lil electric lawn mower to keep things under control.
I'd like to be able to use it for some light duty tilling and hauling and such as well as keeping the brush down. I really like the John Deere units but not sure if they're worth the heavy price. I was hoping to stay under two grand and get something that's pretty much bullet proof. Any recommendations are highly appreciated.

Thanks - Chuck
 

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The John Deer is awesome… Only if you get it from a John Deer dealer… The John Deer units you see at Lows And Home Depot are made in China junk with the John deer name on them….
 

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JD's are worth the price, and will last for decades with care, but they're pricey.. I'm currently using a Yard Man, made by MTD.. Good unit, and nice cut, but I can tell it's not in the quality range of a JD or similar..

Basically, you get what you pay for in quality.. My only suggestion is to look for something nice, but slightly used..
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The John Deer is awesome… Only if you get it from a John Deer dealer… The John Deer units you see at Lows And Home Depot are made in China junk with the John deer name on them….
I could have sworn they were also made here in the US. I'll make a trip down to the dealer and inquire. Thanks.
 

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The John Deer units you see at Lows And Home Depot are made in China junk with the John deer name on them….
Actually, that's not true... All John Deere mowers are made in Horicon, Wisconsin.. They're not made with the same quality of transmissions or engines that the upper end machines are made with, but a model that's sold at a John Deere dealership is the same machine that's at HD and Lowes..

I've got a buddy who's been a John Deere salesman for years and I got this info straight from him.. He's not one who holds back, and we've been friends for almost 30 years.. I asked him about this when they started pumping the stuff at box stores, and his reply was that while it sorta sucks that they're selling them at box stores, and that dealerships still have to service them, even though they weren't sold there..

His attitude is that he wished they were all sold there at HD and Lowes.. He'd much rather spend time with a guy who's buying a $75,000 tractor or $300,000 combine, than someone who can't decide which $2500 lawn tractor he wants.. Commission on a tractor is a touch better..:)

The low end mowers have cheaper engines, such as a Briggs and Stratton engine made in Mexico, rather than a more expensive Kohler engine, but they still are all made in the same place.. Oddly enough, they're all sorta based out of the Milwaukee area, with Briggs, Kohler, and the JD Horicon plant all being within an hour or so of Milwaukee..
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Paper - That makes me feel better, although I don't have anything against the Chinese product, I prefer US made. Especially higher ticket items. The thing I don't like is when companies tag a cheap import with a brand name and charge an extra 35% or more for it. I'm glad that's not the case with the John Deere.
 

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Here's the lowdown on all the JD stuff.. http://www.tractordata.com/lawn-tractors/tractor-brands/johndeere/johndeere-lawn-tractors.html

Basically, John Deeere can't afford to sell junk.. The name is too important to do that.. So, they sell expensive stuff, and you get what you pay for.. If it was crap, it'd hurt JD's name, and they won't have that happen.. I toured the combine plant in the Quad Cities, and it's amazing what they spend on equipment there. A good friend of mine is also a retired tractor engineer for JD in Cedar Falls, IA.. Same thing goes there.. They can't afford to scrimp on quality.. Which is why even in this economy, there's still a year or more wait on a tractor or combine..

And Jake, it's no big deal.. I heard the same stuff when I saw them selling them in box stores, so that's why I asked my buddy in the first place.. He's toured all the plants over the years, and they're made up in Horicon.. I'm sure they'd love to be able to get away with selling cheaper stuff at the box stores, but the John Deere name gets people in the doors..

I was really close to just buying one, but found my YardMan mower used for WAY less, and as a KLR owner, I did what I had to do.. :)
 

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I have seen the SELL OUT so much lately that I just blindly believe the propaganda.
We've all been there.. I'm still trying to find the point of manufacture for the D100 Series.. It's what's on the floors and is the base model for a rider from them.. Who knows?? You might still be absolutely correct!! :)
 

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This is the problem with consumer comments…. Everyone wants to bugle when they are un-happy … no one jumps up and down when they are happy
 

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Jake,
Two quick corrections. First, it was the Beatles (the Beetle, was the Volkswagon). Second, it was the Beach Boys that wanted "California Girls" and back then Nancy Pelosi was probably hotter and less annoying than she is now.

To the point about the mower. I bought a cub cadet from tractor supply and mow about an acre with it. The rest of my acreage is prairie grass and trees. Mine cost arount $1200 and I don't spend a great deal of effort on the maintenance. My logic is simple. If I bought a John Deere for $3000 and spend the $40 every year for the maintenance kit, in ten years I'd be out $3400 in cash and the interest value of $2200 dollars in some interest bearing investment (assuming between 4 & 5%) for a total of $1000, so my opportunity cost of owning the JD is $4400 (for the first 10 years). If I buy the $1200 Cadet, change the oil just once with Mobil One or Amsoil after first few cuttings, and just keep it topped off after that, I can probably count on two replacement plugs but that's about it. My mower costs about $1300 for the first ten years. If I toss that cub cadet out and buy new every ten years, I'll never spend as musch as the John Deere no matter how long it lasts (because of the cost of maintenance and interest on money saved on the Cub) and that doesn't account for the interest lost on the tune-up kits from JD or my time doing the tune-up.
 

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Not to badmouth them, because I've used my share of them (including a couple of dealer-bought John Deeres) to mow our 2 acres here, but basically any tractor in this price range should really be referred to as a "riding lawn mower" because that's what it is.

I suppose the term "tractor" is useful to differentiate them from a zero-turn mower (my current mower of choice) but it conjures up images, especially when coupled with a name like John Deere of being a small-acreage, general-purpose tractor with all kinds of attachments and uses. Such tractors are available, but they cost about 10 times as much as one of these we're talking about.

It depends on how you intend to use it. If your terrain is pretty flat and you're just talking about frequent "lawn mowing," about any mower in that price range, if maintained, would last you quite awhile.

I don't know what you mean by "keeping the brush down," but if you're talking about the infrequent mowing of tall grasses/weeds, etc., a mower like this will never stand up to it.

If you're talking about tilling a garden or something, there's nothing you can buy to put on such a mower that's going to work as well as a plain old walk-behind rear-tine tiller.

Personally, I wouldn't spend $3000 on a dealer-supplied JD light-duty lawn tractor when I could buy 2 "Lowe's versions" for the same price because I think the two Lowe's mowers are going to last a lot longer than twice as long as the pricier one, if that makes any sense. The "good" one might last 15 years as opposed to 10 years for the "cheap" ones.

It doesn't make any difference if you have dealer support on a $3000 JD mower because any JD dealer (unless it's a suburban-type place catering to homeowners) isn't going to care about you or your mower and if it reaches the point where you need any kind of major out-of-warranty repair to it, it's going to cost so much you might as well just look at buying a whole new mower.

This is especially true of a $1200 JD mower: they pretty much fall into the "disposable" category if you can't fix it yourself.

Just for the record, my uncle and my Dad's uncle were both lifetime John Deere salesman and I've never had a bad experience with a JD product so have nothing against them.

I think a lot of people expect "tractors" in these categories to do a lot more than they're capable of and then wind up disappointed in them when they don't last long because they unknowingly "abuse" them. You can tell from the sound a mower's making if you're asking too much of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
It depends on how you intend to use it. If your terrain is pretty flat and you're just talking about frequent "lawn mowing," about any mower in that price range, if maintained, would last you quite awhile.

I don't know what you mean by "keeping the brush down," but if you're talking about the infrequent mowing of tall grasses/weeds, etc., a mower like this will never stand up to it.

If you're talking about tilling a garden or something, there's nothing you can buy to put on such a mower that's going to work as well as a plain old walk-behind rear-tine tiller.
Tall grass covers a lot of the acreage, with gentle slopes. I'll also be putting in some lawn but not a lot because of the price of water out here. I was hoping that a decent mower in the $2000 price range would do this. Really most of the tall grass mowing would take place in the fall and winter months. I'd also like to tow a small utility trailer with it as well. Tilling would be a great option but it's not looking like a great option for this. I have a small electric one for my current home, but I'd like to grow more food at the new place and that one won't hold up.
 

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Tall grass covers a lot of the acreage, with gentle slopes. I'll also be putting in some lawn but not a lot because of the price of water out here. I was hoping that a decent mower in the $2000 price range would do this. Really most of the tall grass mowing would take place in the fall and winter months. I'd also like to tow a small utility trailer with it as well. Tilling would be a great option but it's not looking like a great option for this. I have a small electric one for my current home, but I'd like to grow more food at the new place and that one won't hold up.
Certainly don't go by my experience alone. I'm not familiar with the vegetation out where you live. Grass there that's 18" tall might be so thin and dry that it's the same as 8" tall thick, wet grass and weeds here. Since you would need water for a lawn, this may very well be the case. But, sometimes even dry vegetation can be really tough depending on what it is.

Maybe you could get with some of the folks that live in the area and see what they use and recommend?

At least around here, used tillers pop up for sale all the time for next to nothing because folks to get too old to use them or just lose interest in gardening.

If you can find a good-sized, rear-tine tiller, you can tear up a lot of ground in an hour with one.
 

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I've got grass in the 18"-3' range but you'll be hard pressed to mow that with anything less than a sicklebar or brushhog on a 20hp small tractor. I usually trim along the drive with my rider and mow with a tractor. If you've got a neighbor with a tractor/brushhog combo, it's probably cheaper to pay them to hit your tall grass once a year. Option two is having someone hay your acreage to feed their horses. Option three (my favorite) is to burn the grass off. I do this every three years to keep weeds under control.
 

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I've had two Simplicity lawn tractors in my life time. Models were: Landlord with a 10 HP Briggs and a model 5216H with a 16 HP Briggs Vanguard. Both lasted over 15 years with me and when I sold them, they were still running well. My brother-in-law bought a Deere and was never happy with the cut. Simplicity leaves a golf course type cut. Their decks are superior in my book. Nothing may run like a Deere, but nothing comes close to cutting like a Simplicity. Right now I'm pushing a freakin Honda mower! Yards too small and too many darn trees to use a tractor.
 
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