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Question About Lawn Tractors

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jbolt

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#1
The current owner of the property we are purchasing has a John Deere STX38 and they want to know if we are interested in purchasing it from her. I'm still trying to get some more information like year, mower size, horse power and when it last ran. From a quick online search it looks like a running unit in good condition goes from $300 to $700. I will have about an acre and a half to mow a couple times a year and I was wondering if anyone has any experience with this model and if they were any good.

Right now this is the only photo I have that shows part of the tractor.

JD-STX38.png
 

Martin W

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#2
The John Deere STX 38 mowers were a good unit. They made them for about 10 years until about the late 90's. I believe Deere still stocks parts. John Deere has a great parts web site. If you put your model number in you can get a parts list and numbers for almost all of their machines.

As far as an acre and a half I would tend to get a larger tractor. With that much grass you will be spending a lot of seat time on that tractor.
If you use this tractor I would go thru the mower deck and replace bearings and such. It will save you time and money on belts and downtime.
Cheers
Martin

Edit. The weak point on these tractors is the mower decks. They will rust out.
 

projectnut

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#4
With an acre and a half I think would be looking at a larger unit if it's in your budget. I use a 445 on a slightly smaller property and it still takes an hour and a half to get the lawn mowed. It doesn't sound like a lot of time, but when you have to do it every 4 days it cuts into time available for other things. I do only have a 48" deck which I now wish was larger. When we built the house there were 23 more trees on the property than there are today. At that time I needed the smaller deck to get between some of them. Now that they're gone I could probably do the job in a bit less time with a larger mower.

The nice thing about the 445 is that it has a 22 hp fuel injected WATER COOLED engine. The tractor is 18 years old and the only maintenance so far has been oil and transmission fluid changes, a couple tune ups, and a new battery. I purchased this unit mainly because of the quality and the fact that John Deere still stocks parts for the first garden tractors they built in 1966. Even at 18 years old the deck looks like new. I must admit I do remove it every fall and pressure wash it.

To put things in perspective I made a spread sheet with over a dozen different brands when I was looking for a new tractor. At first John Deere wasn't even on the list, mainly because of price. After I started lining out all the options I needed the other tractors started to rapidly climb in price. When all was said and done the JD was less expensive than several other brands. The final decision was based on the availability of parts.
 

machPete99

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#5
I also concur on the lawn size issue. I have close to 2 mowable acres, and had an older Deere 214 that would be similar in capability to the STX38, although it had the 47" deck. Moving to an X585 with 62" deck (similar to the 445 mentioned) mowing time went from about 2.5 hours to 1 hour.
 

jbolt

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#6
Are you guys mowing irrigated grass or wild grass? The property currently has about 1500 sf of irrigated grass and the balance is wild grass that needs to be cut a couple of times a year for fire safety.

I'm assuming the current owner got by with what they have. She is 90 and her husband passed many years ago. I'm pretty sure she doesn't mow the grass any more. I'm still trying to find out if it has been run in a while.

From what I'm hearing so far is that JD makes good equipment and parts are still available which is good. Judging by the condition of the home it is apparent they took good care of things. That being said it still is 20+ years old. If I can get it for a good price maybe its worth it to start there? I don't know.

Any guesses on what it might be worth?
 

Dave Paine

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#7
The JD tractor looks to have been kept in the garage so looks to be in decent condition.

I have a JD 755 which was manufactured around the same time period as this tractor. My tractor was made in 1989. I purchased this used in 1998. Parts are not always available, it depends.......

I can get replacement filters and the belt for the deck.

A couple of years ago the main pulley and drive shaft in the gearbox were damaged by my hitting remnants of stumps from trees which were taken down. I went to the JD dealer to see if parts were available. I could get the pulley but the only parts I was able to get for the gearbox were replacement seals. Since I have a metal lathe I was able to make replacement shafts, otherwise the mower deck would have been scrapped. My 755 has rear PTO so worse case I would have had to purchase rear PTO mower deck.

I am not trying to put you off getting the tractor, it may have many years of useful life, just be aware you may have to make certain parts for yourself.
 

projectnut

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#8
I am finish mowing a lawn area that is not irrigated. I believe the maximum deck height on my tractor is 4". I would think the rough area of the property you intend to mow would have to be done more than twice a year or the mower couldn't get through it.

Does the mower have an hour meter? Most air cooled engines of this size are good foe a couple thousand hors before needing major repair or replacement. The water cooled engines go about twice as long. I would guess this machine is approaching the1,500 to 2,000 hour mark if it's 20+ years old.
If it has a yellow deck it was built between 1984 and 1993. The black deck models were built between 1994 and 1997. It looks like there's a hint of yellow below the tractor. If that's the deck the machine is at least 25 years old. I would think I would have to get it for less than $500.00 to make it worth while. I would also expect to have to put some money in it.
 

jbolt

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#9
All great information. I wait and see what other information they can provide.

If I decide this is not the right choice what should I look for in a lawn tractor and most importantly what should I stay away from?
 

Scruffy

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#10
Wife and I countrely now around 10 1/2 acres weekly. If you are only mowing grass, a zero turn mower can’t be beat in my opinion.
Most mowers- lawn tractors are component machines. Buy the machine that uses the best engine, hyd. Pumps etc. jd makes good equipment and if you have a local dealer it’s a big plus.
Thanks scruffy Ron in ohio
 

projectnut

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#11
I'm not a fan of zero turn mowers, especially on soft, damp, and/or hilly ground. My brother in law has a lawn service that uses them. They have all but destroyed his yard. They may turn on a dime, but when they do it at high speeds they leave marks similar to turning a skid loader. The wheel on the inside of the turn leaves a nice big gouge in a finished lawn. In addition the "turf saver" tires have a tendency to spin on uphill grades especially if the grass is damp. For some reason it seems like everybody I see using these machines has to run them at full speed regardless of the terrain. It's more like lawnmower racing than mowing lawn. It might be a function of the operators more than the machines, but the end results are pretty dismal.

The operators may well be getting their information on how to operate them from some TV adds. I recently saw a JD one where the theme was "It's not how fast you mow, It's how well you mow fast". All the time during the add I think the operators spent at least half the time in the air bouncing off the seat. I can't imagine what the lawn looked like, or how long the machine would last doing that all day.

My JD445 AWS has a pedal (red button) on the right running board to lock the differential. Rather than having a tire spin and rip up the lawn I just depress the pedal and both rear wheels are powered. With both wheels powered I've yet to loose traction and tear up a lawn. It doesn't turn as sharp as a zero turn, but with the all wheel steering it's pretty close.
 
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mickri

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#12
This all may be academic in the not too distant future. California passed a new law this year that limits water usage to 50 gallons per person per day. Fines are reported to be up to $1,000 per day per violation. Once this law is phased in no one will be able to have a lawn in California. I would look for ways to get rid of the lawn.
 

jbolt

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#13
This all may be academic in the not too distant future. California passed a new law this year that limits water usage to 50 gallons per person per day. Fines are reported to be up to $1,000 per day per violation. Once this law is phased in no one will be able to have a lawn in California. I would look for ways to get rid of the lawn.
The good news is this property in NOT is California. One of the reasons we are buying it.
 

mickri

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#14
You lucky dog to be able to get out of California. I am stuck here. Not going to leave my kids and grandkids and no way that they will ever be able to leave California.
 

David S

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#15
Just to reset here. the OP said that he only had to cut his acreage perhaps twice a year. I would think and hour here or there would not be a significant reason to up grade if the current mower is in good condition.,

David
 

jbolt

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#16
Well as it turns out the owner decided to leave the lawn tractor and a DR mower with the property. I dont think her kids want to deal with them. According to them they both run and are in good condition and the lawn tractor has a new battery.

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