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Thoughts on lawnmowers? Repair/replace?

Discussion in 'Non-audio related DIY' started by Lo-Fidelity, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. Lo-Fidelity

    Lo-Fidelity AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    960
    Location:
    Houston
    I have a Deere L-100 series lawnmower that the mower deck has rusted out. Trying to decide on a new deck for $700 or buy a new mower. I live near Galveston bay so the deck takes a beating due to the salt on the grass.

    Mower has close to 700 hours and gets used on about 1 acre per week and an additional 2 1/2 acres once or twice a month. Our grass grows 9 months of the year. That’s probably pushing the operations limit for a 42” cut consumer grade mower.

    Options:

    Replace deck. Cheapest option. Motor and chassis is good. Not sure about the durability of the transmission. It would suck if I bought a new deck and the tranny went out.

    Replace with same style mower. Big drawback in my mind is stamped deck which is the weak point on the Deere. Might get a wider cutting width on this option.

    Replace with heavy duty mower. Much more expensive upfront cost but might payoff in longer life and better performance.

    Thoughts?
     

     

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  2. Redikilowatt

    Redikilowatt Audio Understudy Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    RTP, NC
    I have an L110 that still runs but had similar problems. Rust and a hydrostatic trans that is losing effectiveness. Basically you can’t repair that trans as it’s sealed. So I would fear if you replaced the deck the trans is next. Assume your L100 is ~15 years old so you’ve probably gotten your moneys worth :)

    I got a S240 in July but will use the L110 until it dies.

    With the acreage you have a larger deck and “commercial” engine should be a huge upgrade. I would go for one with a Kawasaki engine.
     
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  3. jbrainey

    jbrainey What we want is complete weirdification Subscriber

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    Can you get a used one anywhere? No way in hell I would hand over $700 for a new deck. Check with area lawnmower repair shops. You might get lucky. There has to be one somewhere that blew a motor or transmission. If not, I would sell it as is and shop for a new one.
    I always wash the clippings from the bottom of my mower deck if I cut grass while still wet and when I change the oil, I use the old oil to "paint" the metal surfaces under there. I've never replaced a deck in 40+ years of doing my own maintenance.
     
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  4. Lo-Fidelity

    Lo-Fidelity AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    960
    Location:
    Houston
    Yeah, a new deck just is crazy price. I'll try calling a round on a used one.

    I need to add washing the deck to the job. Just a big pita at the end of job. I could make it easier by dedicating a wash station somewhere on the irrigation loop with a hose and connector always in place.

    Never replaced a deck. That's pretty good to make the deck last as long as the mower.:thumbsup:
     
  5. Lo-Fidelity

    Lo-Fidelity AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    960
    Location:
    Houston
    The Deere parts salesman's jaw hit the counter when I told him I had 600 plus hours on it. I guess that's a lot for this unit.

    Can't argue with your comments. I can just see the transmission going out.

    Guess I'll have to look up the S240. Thanks.
     
  6. Lo-Fidelity

    Lo-Fidelity AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    960
    Location:
    Houston
    Are the deck leveling wheels on the 240 supported by one side or both side of the wheel? I can't tell from the on line photos.
     

     

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  7. Lo-Fidelity

    Lo-Fidelity AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Any thoughts on zero turn mowers? Seems like these are the go to commercial mower these days.
     
  8. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Is the deck so bad that it can't have some patches welded in?
     
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  9. Lo-Fidelity

    Lo-Fidelity AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    960
    Location:
    Houston
    It's shot. My neighbor has welded on it a few times already.

    Good idea though. I've gotten a couple more years out of it with his repair.
     
  10. ETLS

    ETLS metacarpophalangealcranium Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,338
    Location:
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    Get a Hustler zero-turn mower. Makes short work of 3.5 acres. You'll kick yourself for not getting one sooner. Go up to a 54" deck, with the Kawasaki motor.
     
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  11. BigElCat

    BigElCat Mmm Hmm Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    South of Kansas City
    zero turn is the way to go.

    I like the 'boat oar' control handles, as compared to a joystick.

    I have a Cub Cadet zero turn that's several years old. I like it a lot. The deck on this Cub Cadet is thicker metal and heavier build than a JD L-100 / L110, or so it seems to me.

    I junked a JD L-110 deck a year ago, kept the Kohler Commander engine, gave the mower away.
     
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  12. ETLS

    ETLS metacarpophalangealcranium Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Lo-Fidelity likes this.
  13. Lo-Fidelity

    Lo-Fidelity AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Houston
    Wow! You are cutting some grass! Thanks for the link.

    How many hours do you have on the Husler now? What kind of repairs? Does it mulch? Did you get the motor guard and exhaust shield? How does it handle rough uneven ground?

    Wasn’t looking to spend this much money, but that is one fine looking mower.
     
  14. Lo-Fidelity

    Lo-Fidelity AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    960
    Location:
    Houston
    I was complaining to the Deere parts dept about the cost of the deck. Even bare deck is still real expensive relative to Craftsman or others too. He’s says “those are cheap junk”. I had to laugh and tell him I couldn’t believe JD made a piece of crap as cheap as that deck. He just laughed right back. Probably heard that a thousand times.
     
  15. ETLS

    ETLS metacarpophalangealcranium Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,338
    Location:
    Texas
    The engine guard is just another something that has to be removed so you can drain the oil. It also helps to trap heat and since it's an air cooled motor, I just couldn't justify the added expense and subsequent labor time. The only time you'd need it, is if you're backing into something that could damage the motor. It's a zero-turn, so why would you'd back into something?

    Hour wise, around 400 already, and other than replacing the bottom plate for an upgraded rear wheel motors connecting plate, it hasn't needed anything other than oil and filter and normal tuneup stuff. Earlier this season I snagged a braided steel cable that was unseen. It didn't damage the spindle housing, but the internals may have been. I went ahead with a full deck rebuild (had planned on replacing at the end of this season) which was all three spindles and the guide pulleys.

    There is a mulching kit available, which requires blocking the discharge chute and baffles underneath the deck, and using the "Gator" blades. I use the Gator blades without the baffles with great results. I also buy blades by the box at the beginning of the season. 10 blades run me $150.

    As for uneven ground, I ride hills sideways that would scare the crap out of folks. The center of gravity is insanely low, its not once ever felt like it was going to tip over. It'll climb hills like a mountain goat.

    When it comes time to mow, you'll find your time is cut by a third to a half of what a typical riding mower takes, due in part to its maneuverability, but also by the speed and efficiency of the machine as a whole.

    As long as you do your routine maintenance, and remove the belt guards on top of the deck, (4 screws total) to keep the top of the deck clean, this mower should give you decades of service.
     
  16. Redikilowatt

    Redikilowatt Audio Understudy Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Haven't done that yet but there are 2 side adjusters on back of deck and one center adjusting arm in front.
    I only need a 42" deck but you can get the S240 with 48" deck. The S240 has larger seat with better springs, bigger steering wheel, and much tighter turning radius (18"). I considered a zero turn model as I have lots of trees and obstacles in my yard. However, the zero turn models are more prone to tear up turf.

    I'm well aware that JD thinks their parts are made of gold and it's too bad you can't find a cheaper replacement deck. Since the early 2000s, I think there have only been two versions of the 42" deck. My L110 is rusty on top but still solid.

    Almost forget . . . my L110 has 700 hours too and the 17.5 Kohler Command engine still runs strong :thumbsup:
     

     

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  17. Lo-Fidelity

    Lo-Fidelity AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    960
    Location:
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    I am giving this mower serious consideration.
    The majority of the reviews pretty much mimic your comments on the mower. There are some who have complained about the grass clogging the discharge and under deck. Any thoughts on this?
    Also some complained about loose bolts and pins here and there which result in thrown belts and other damage.

    Did Husler cover the plate repair under warranty? Did you buy from a dealer?

    Did you give ExMark or Gravely mowers a look before landing on the Husler?

    Hope you don't mind all the questions.

    Cheers,
    Rick
     
  18. ETLS

    ETLS metacarpophalangealcranium Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,338
    Location:
    Texas
    I previously owned a cub cadet zero-turn mower. When it came time to consider replacement, I took many things into consideration.

    Initial cost
    Ease of maintenance
    Cost of common replacement items
    Online reviews from owners and commercial operators

    I also visited several dealers, many of who I've done business with for many years. These are the service mechanics who perform warranty and regular repairs on just about every brand. Most all of the mechanics praise the Kawasaki motor, and the Hustler brand. Best bang for the buck. The online mower forums, and independent reviews all pointed towards the Hustler as best value for reliability versus cost.

    I also gave each brand a test mow where I could, some actually will cut more acres per hour, but you'll pay dearly for that, and since no landscape is as smooth as a still pond, I doubt you'll be able to throttle up without bouncing your kidneys out your ears.

    Most of your replacement parts, blades and filters, you'd do best buying online than at the b&m stores.

    The motor mount repair was not covered under warranty, but was a "flaw" in their design. It works for light duty homeowner type work, just like an automobile works great for commuting on paved roads. I'm not the commuter type when I take on work. The majority of my customers are residential, with a few commercial properties, not all are flat. Some have hills like on the sides of highway overpasses. Occasionally I'll have some overgrowth on new properties, and I'll chop saplings up to about inch to inch and a half while mowing everything else that will fold over in my path. I don't baby it, I'm there to get the job done. The only thing that has stopped it dead in its tracks has been that braided steel cable. It was nothing to pop the belt loose, unclip four pins, and pull the deck out and untangle the cable, and get back to mowing.

    If it hasn't been a good mower, I wouldn't be recommending it. For the money I spent, it's been money well spent.
     
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  19. Lo-Fidelity

    Lo-Fidelity AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    960
    Location:
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    ETLS,

    Thanks for all the great input! Very helpful!

    Rick
     
  20. ETLS

    ETLS metacarpophalangealcranium Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,338
    Location:
    Texas
    As for this, the chute does have a downward pitch. That keeps a lot of projectiles from heading out with a full head of steam. If you're mowing very tall grass, or very tall wet grass, you'll clog every mower brand in existence, chute guard or none. I've never clogged a deck doing routine mowing.

    Tall grass is like trying to put a bale of hay through a blender all at one time. There is no way a single blade, gator or regular, can take on that much material and process it out of one discharge hole. Now add in two other blades and their cuttings and there is just no way all that can be processed.

    I'll have people call wanting me to bid their property for the season, and there is always one or two who want to save money by trying to get me to mow only once a month. I don't even waste my breath on them anymore. Those are the types who complain the mower clogs. I see it every season, someone will go into Lowe's, (great return policy) buy a mower, go mow an overgrown property, then return the mower with some lame-ass excuse. Really isn't brand specific either, nor size either. They do it with cheap push mowers all the way up to the top of the line zero-turn mowers.

    One thing I forgot to mention, Hustler changed the motor mount design to the upgraded version that is now on mine, it is on all new mowers.
     

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