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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am in the market for a new riding lawn mower. I have about an acre to cut - so I don't need one of the high end lever steered models, but a more traditional style lawn mower.

I tend to favor the John Deere's, since I've had good experiences with them in the past.

As I've shopped around, I've noted that the John Deeres sold at Lowe's are "LA" models, and the ones sold at the dealership are "X" models.

These have similar horse power and deck sizes, with a couple of extra features on the "X" models that I don't necessarily need.

The price difference between the big box "LA" models, and the authorized dealer "X" model is more than substantial, however (the "X" being much more expensive).

Although, I want to save money, I have a couple of people telling me that the "X" model is commercial grade, and it will last for 25 years, etc, etc.

If there is really a big quality difference, I'm willing to pay to get it - but I can't look at them and tell if there is or not.

I've been looking at Consumer Reports, and trying to surf the web - but I have had a hard time getting any info shedding light on this question.

If anyone has an opinion, or at least can point me to a good source of unbiased information, I'd be most appreciative.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Welcome to the forum Jimmy! :)

I don't know if I would go so far as to say the X series is commercial grade. I have an LT150 which I suppose one could say is the predecessor to the X series. My uncle has and LA model he bought last year for about half an acre. His has a "lighter feel" to it then mine does for some reason. Little more flex in the frame on rough ground perhaps. But as far as cut it does just as well as mine and I believe the transmission is essentially the same K46 as mine, just a newer version of it. He does have a larger Briggs single cylinder engine where mine has a Kohler. I do prefer the older style reverse pedal on mine where you press it forward. His reverse you have to sort of press into the foot pad. One thing though about buying from a dealer is if you have any problems they'll tend to put you (being their own customer) ahead of the box store purchased units. That is worth something when it is raining everyday and your main mower is out of commission. ;)

What is the terrain of your yard? Hills or fairly level and smooth? That is one thing that can determine which is better for your needs. Rough ground or hills you might be better over the long run to step up to a model with a more stout transmission.
 

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I can tell that a bit of confusion is the thing in John Deere mowers, I try and help Here is the 2010 model line up.

LA series is also known in John Deere marketing as the 100 series and is suggested to be used by folks in similar usage as what you have. This series mower is the John Deere customer that wants the name and it is the budget priced mowers. I have the first year of this series and I have a L120 which can translate to the LA 150. This mower has been the best mower I have had as it has a 48" deck and I have had it for the last 8 years. It is really designed to be a straight mower and is not designed to do any thing more. Mine has the same transmission as what Marks LT has and it is comfortable and able to cut my yard in a reasonable amount of time. It is useless on pasture as it is rough and the grass grows way to fast for this mower to handle it. My yard is 2 and half acres and my pasture is the same size.

For 2011 John Deere has done a mild redesign and this year the lawn tractor is now called the D 100 series tractors.

The X 300 Select series of tractors from John Deere are supposely of more beefed up and stronger but in this series it is debatable in my opinion if it is really worth moving into this as the tractor is heavier and in most ways is better designed and built better then the 100 series tractors. The warranty service is going to be the same no matter what you buy as long as you buy from the dealer.

Your dealer is going to try and upsale you to the Select series and if you want to buy it is a great series tractor. I just think for the size of your lot the 100 series a better choice as long as you realize that it is for lawn mower and light pulling work. The 100 series is not designed for ground engaging work and can not really be recommended for pulling over 400-500 pounds, of course the X series the same statement applies also.
 

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Boy, BigJimmy, some really good info here for you. One thing that you might check, can you get the L (or D) series at your dealer. I just read somewhere recently that the dealers sell the same item at the same price as the Home Improvement Centers, just that they may not stock it. You could ask about that, and as Mark said you would be their customer if you needed parts or service work, not just a guy off the street.

Another consideration is where you live. Will you ever consider blowing snow or tilling? That may help in your decision.

Glad you found us and decided to join up. Keep us informed on your decision!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks a lot guys.

This is the best info I've gotten so far.

I honestly thought that maybe the "X" series was essentially the same lawn mower with another label slapped on it.

The dealer I went to didn't have any LA or D models on his floor, but I didn't ask him if he could get one for me - that's not a bad idea.

BTW, this mower would only be used for mowing, light towing, and maybe once a year pulling an areator.

The main thing for me is that I don't want to replace this lawn mower in 4 or 5 years - I want to be riding to the Quickie Mart when I'm an old man and my children have taken my driver's license away from me!


Thanks again for the info and advice.
 

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Thanks a lot guys.

This is the best info I've gotten so far.

I honestly thought that maybe the "X" series was essentially the same lawn mower with another label slapped on it.

The dealer I went to didn't have any LA or D models on his floor, but I didn't ask him if he could get one for me - that's not a bad idea.

BTW, this mower would only be used for mowing, light towing, and maybe once a year pulling an areator.

The main thing for me is that I don't want to replace this lawn mower in 4 or 5 years - I want to be riding to the Quickie Mart when I'm an old man and my children have taken my driver's license away from me!

Thanks again for the info and advice.
As I said the X series is a different beast and is built different then the LA or D series tractors. The X series uses a totally different frame and is assembled in Horicon, Wisconsin and the LA - D series is assembled in Tennessee. The LA series uses a stamp frame and the X uses a heavier welded frame.

For your use you should easily get at least 8-10 years on the LA series and probably 15-20 years on the X-series it all depends on what you want.

The other advantage for me on the LA series is the fact it is a fairly light lawn tractor as in the spring my yard needs mowing weekly and in the early spring there are several places that my big honking John Deere 2305 is just to heavy and it will get stuck in the mud and bury it self in the muck. Just say that experience has taught me that soft yard and heavy tractor make for a stuck in the mud tractor even if it is 4 wheel drive.

My L-120 just kind of floats over this and keeps on going in the soft areas. Of course this is comparing a 550 pound tractor to a 2,000 pound tractor.
 

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Jimmy - Here's something else for you to know: I bought a LA115 two years ago at Lowes. I used it once and parts fell off - I had to take it to a dealer to get fixed - but the warranty covered it. A year later I decided the 42" deck was just too small and the frame/spindles just too light for my use - I was moving about 2 acres of old cow pasture. I took it back to 2 different dealers hoping to trade up for something more substantial and to my surprize BOTH dealers refused to take it in on trade, claiming that the LA series just wasn't the kind of quality they wanted to be associated with!

I ultimately sold it privately and bought an old John Deere 316 - This thing is a tank on wheels but its 28 years old. I now have 6 of the older 300 series JD's - they are about three times as rugged as the new x300 series and weight in at about 850 pounds without a deck. If you don't mind buying used, I'd encourage you to look at the older JD's, older cubs, or older wheelhorse units - all VERY well built BUT parts can be tough to come by and pricey. I don't mind tinkering on the old machines so the trade off it worth it to me.

Just some thoughts to confuse you even further! Doug
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks again for the feedback - the wielded frame definitely sounds like it would take the workload much better.


For lettuce - how many years back would you say you would have to go to get the old style build?



One thing I heard was that the EPA just started putting tighter exhaust regulations on small lawn equipment - I would imagine that is going to make things more expensive this year....
 

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BigJimmy: Pre-1992 for the 300 series JD's. Its a bit confusing because there is a 300 series in the 80's that had onan engines (316, 318, 322,332) and a 300 series in the 70's to mid 80's (300, 314, 317, 316)that had kohlers - both good models IMO - but tough to get NEW parts for sometimes, the 'Bay is full of used parts for them though. These are technically "garden" tractors - 23" rear wheels are OEM and hydrostatic transmissions which are capable of using ground engaging bequipment like single-bottom plows and tillers.

The new EPA requirements actually result in carbs that have a shorter life expectancy and are not as user freindly for service and adjustments from what I've been told. I don't tinker with cards much personnally so take that for what its worth as hearsay.

I don't know as much about the older cubs, wheel horse and the like - i'm sure somone on here does. Those that i've seen in the same year class as the JD's look to be comperable machines and there's lots of guys refurbing these things too!

If you look around you can often get a 316 onan w/46, 48 or 50" deck for under $1,000 in pretty good condition and with a little TLC its quite possible that it would last you as long as a new x300. (oh, oh - i'm gonna take a whoopin for that one from SOMEBODY for sure :) Of course, the used ones can also blow up 5 minutes after you get them home too!! and there are no 40 year warranties as far as I know.
 
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