John Deere Lawn Tractors Review

Many of the visitors to our website have strong opinions about the consumer versions of the John Deere lawn tractors. While John Deere is a proud brand name with a long history of quality and innovation, we have indeed had many negative comments about the models of John Deere lawn tractors sold at many retailers such as Home Depot or Lowes. In this popular thread from our lawn and garden tractors forum, the discussion gets off to a fast start between supporters and opponents of Big Green. Follow the jump below to read this interesting set of reviews and comparisons on the John Deere lawn tractors vs. Craftsman vs. Cub Cadet, Simplicity, Gravely and many other lawn and garden tractors.

Mo Brooks I have been told that the John Deere Lawn Tractors that are sold by Home Depot are not actually made by John Deere. Is this true? If so, are the Home Depot tractors as good as the real John Deere units? The one I’m considering buying is the L120 at Home Depot.
Ron JD lawn tractors, all of them, are made by JD. The low-end models, like the L120, are junk. You’ll get much more tractor for your money at Sears.
bontai Joe Ron is correct in that ALL John Deere tractors are indeed made by Deere. The ones you see at Home Depot are built in Tennessee in the same factory that used to build the Deere Sabre line and the Scotts by Deere line before that, and all the rest are built in Horicon, Iowa. I don’t quite agree that the “L” series is junk, but they are Deere’s entry level tractors designed to be priced to compete with other machines sold at other “box” stores. I personally am 6′-3″ tall and over 300 pounds, and dont care for the $900-2000 machines from most manufacturers, as they feel really small to me. But A fella that’s 5′-9 and 150 pounds with a 3/4 acre lawn and no need for major snow removal or tilling a huge garden will be served very well with the Deere “L” series, Cub 1000 series, or a MTD or a Murray. Some folks buy a Deere “L” series lawn tractor expecting to get the same strength and durability that Deere built their reputation with in the 1960′s through the early 1990′s with tractors like the 140 with triple hydraulics, the legendary 318, the durable utilitarian 200 series tractors and are gonna be disapointed in their machine. It’s not up to the “old” standards. If I was shopping for a under $2000 machine today, I’d also probably be looking at Sears or the Husqvarna clones. The only Deere tractor I have a rea problem with is the G110 and it’s predecessor the G100, which I feel are very much over priced for what they are. Deere actually lowered the price on the G110 from the G100, and it is still too expensive in my opinion, over $3500. Especially since it shares some attachments with the “L” series, something I don’t understand an alleged garden tractor should be doing with the entry level lawn tractor. Anyhow that is my 2 cents on the Deeres at HD.
Mo Brooks Bontai Joe….Thank you for the knowlegable report. I’m not looking to till a field or plow snow or skid logs. I simply want to mow about three acres and occasoinally pull a seed thrower or fertilizer. I do have a Craftsman (Husky Clone) and the steering mechanism on these machines are junk. Everything else works OK but the steering design is really bad. I do know that I will never pay $3000 and up for a lawn tractor. If the L120 has the Deere quality built into it, then it should be fine for me. Thanks again for your report.
paul reznicek Mo, if your mowing three acres, you’d probably be better off with a garden tractor over a lawn tractor, and you’ll get a better deal on a GT at Sears. These guys are right. You can go to Home Depot and walk out with one of the JD’s, or you can go to Sears and leave with a Craftsman of equal or better quality, plus some accssories, maintainance items or other lawn equipment with the money you saved.
george I agree with Paul. 3 Acres is no
job for the HD Deere. Go with the
biggest sears GT for the money and
you may have a chance of using it
for many years. I see 20+ year old
craftsmans all over. and new looking
deeres (HD) in repair junk yards.
I do know steering is an issue in
older lawn tractors, but new machines
have improved. Keep them greased.

bontai Joe I wouldn’d recommend a Deere L120 for a 3 acre lawn. You will be replacing it in a very few years. It’s designed for the 3/4 to 1 acre suburban flat lot. With a $3000 max budget, you can get the Craftsman GT5000 or DGT6000, or Cub Cadet GT1554, or a Husqvarna GT, all for around $2000-2500 +/-. Deere’s site recomends a garden tractor for lawns of 3 acres, so you are looking at a lot more money for a Deere GT than the above suggestions.
Shawman I have an L120, my neighbor across the street has one, and next door has an L110.
We all have 1 acre lots and we all love them. I was the only one of the bunch that actually bought from Home Depot. The others bought from the JD dealer who delivered them to their houses. They are not “junk” as someone said earlier by any means. Mine is the oldest and is pushing 200 hours. I mow with and without the mulcher(which is standard) and also pull a dethatcher and a lawn sweeper occasionally. I also pull a 5×10 atv trailer with it full of kids on hay rides on halloween every year and it does great.
If you want an L120 I think you should get it. If you want an MTD(aka craftsman,husqavarna,troybuilt,etc.), get one of those.

Bottom line is its your money get what you want and keep it maintained well and you should have years of good service out of any of them.

Ron You paid for nothing more than green paint… let us know if the thing still runs after 1500 hours. The “L” models were designed to compete against Wal-Mart, who was, and still is, killing JD. They are bottom of the barrel at best. Further, any honest JD dealer will flat out tell you that that model is NOT suitable for a 3 acre lawn.

By the way, Craftsman mowers are NOT made by MTD. And with a Craftsman you get a far better product for less money… which is way Craftsman sells more lawn tractors that all its competitors combined!

Greg I have owned the Craftsman (Husky) lawn tractor (paid $2100 with hydrostatic trans) and I currently own a John Deere LX279 lawn tractor which cost more than twice the Craftsman. I mow 2 acres of field grass and lawn. I have read all of the responses and I have to agree – for the money you are willing to spend – go with Craftsman or Husquvarna GARDEN tractor! Don’t get me wrong, I am completely happy with my JD (I expect to get many years use out of the water cooled Kawasaki engine), but often find myself wanting the heavier transmission that the garden tractors have. You can get a pretty darn good GT for the same $$$ as the L series. Don’t pay that extra $$ for that green paint unless you go with a “real” JD – (I know…. the L’s are made by Deere, but there is NO comparison to the “real” LT or LX JDs)
James I know Im going by extreme example here, but these Home Depot JDs are pretty sad for what they are getting for some of them. They are ever dropping the price. I believe you can find HD pushing the L100s out as low as $1300. though considering the machine’s equal can be found for $700 it’s still overpriced. Thats still a premium to pay for the green paint. the G110s they are selling for $3700 seem insanely overpriced. I just got a Cub Z-Force 44 for $3400 and it’s money much better spent. the X force actually takes on a good variety of terrain and still cuts effectively. I bought it because my JD X595 has a huge deck and is not good in smaller spaces where the 44.
Shawman In response to Ron’s comment about Craftsman selling more lawn tractors “that” all its competitors combined, I am not degrading craftsman as he is JD, I said for him to buy what he wants because it was his money. I suppose the greater number of sales of Craftsman tractors is the reason statistically the majority of posts on this board requesting help with problems are with Craftsman, not JD. Both the attachments I listed that I use are craftsman, so I have nothing against the brand. But there is no need to beat those of us up who have bought the L series tractors, especially since most if not all of us really like them.

Mo Brooks First, let me thank all of you for your response. My lawn covers aprroximately 80,000 square feet with lots of obsticles such as trees and planters. A garden tractor is not desireable because of the larger turning radius of these units. My craftsman has served me well. The hydro and the Briggs & Stratton just keep on running. Keeping the tractor traveling in a straight line is another story. The steering gear is made of plastic (of some sort) and no amount of lubrication will solve the problem. Actually, you can’t even get to it unless you do a lot of disassembly. I know because I have replaced these components twice. For that reason alone I would never buy another Craftsman or Husky. Unless they have done a complete redesign of the steering gears, and can prove it, they aren’t the tractor for me at any cost. I’m not sure why so many of you are down on the Deere 100 series. Not all of us can afford major buck investment just to mow the yard. Anyway, thanks again for the responses…….Mo
Ron 80K sq. ft. is less than 2 acres, not the 3 you claimed. Obviously you have never driven or even looked at the late model Craftsman garden tractors. They have a very small turning radius for one thing, about the same as their lawn tractors; the tires are the difference. Another is that the Owner’s Manual clearly shows the new greaseable steering gear and specifies the location of the easy to get to grease fittings. Any Sears store will allow you to inspect an Owner’s Manual before purchase. Pretty sure you can download them for free on the ‘Net.

The reason why eveyone is down on the JD L100 series is because they are overpiced light-duty junk.

“Major buck investment”? A $2,100 Craftsman garden tractor will outlast 2 JD L100s, at least. Do the math and then you will will learn about “penny wise, pound foolish”.

Nobody has to prove anything to you. Buy your green poser-mower and impress yourself. Me, I work hard for my money, so I buy the best value… that’s a Craftsman.

Dave Bottom line: you get what you pay for. Small yard, get a cheap mower. Big yard, get off your wallet and pony up for one that will do the job. Deere has to offer low end riders to compete with the box stores. Personally, I have a big place, and an almost 20 year old JD 316. Do I have problems with it? Sure. Mower deck bearings wear out just like they will on a low end machine. It steers like a truck. Wish I had bought a 318 with power steering. As for plastic steering parts, This $5000.(in 1989)JD has plastic bushings in the steering column. I discovered this while trying to figure out why my steering wheel was getting sloppy. A little machine work and 2 ball bearings solved that problem.
Aren’t forums great? If you can wade through all the BS you may even get a decent answer to your questions.

bontai Joe I’m not especially doen on the Deere “L” series, I just couldn’t recommend one for what you had said was a 3 acre lawn. It’s the wrong machine for that kind of job. I wouldn’t recommend a 2 pound hammer to pound finish nails with either, it’s the wrong tool for the job, nothing wrong with owning a 2 pound hammer, just that it’s meant for other kinds of work. Now that I know that your lawn is just under 2 acres, with extensive landscaping and lots of obstacles, and I’m guessing that a 42″ or 48″ mower deck will be better than a 54″ or larger for less scapling, more manuverability, and getting between things that the bigger deck won’t, I’d like to change my recommendations in no particular order:
1. Cub Cadet residential Zero turn radius mower model #RZT42 with 42″ deck (list $2599)
2. White Garden tractor Model GT 950H with 50″ deck (list $2899)
3. Cub Cadet Model LT2042 tractor w/ 42″ deck (list $2699)
4. Ariens Zoom model #1540 zero turn mower w/ 40″ deck (list $3099)
5. Simplicity Broadmoor is a really nice tractor with a 18″ turning radius, but over your $3000 max by a fair amount.
6. Husqvarna YTH2042 ( a slightly upgraded Craftsman DYT4000)
7. Deere LT160 with 42″ freedom deck (list $2779)
Your local dealer should be willing to sell any of these models below list price with a little haggling.

Nick The John Deer L series at Home Depot are actually a Murray with the JD paint. John Deer purchased Murray. If you have to buy a John Deer make sure it is the LT series.
Nick You are riding a Murray with the JD paint.
Kyle Field To those that say the JD L series are junk, what are you basis this off of? And no, the one’s at Home Depot are NOT Murrays. They’re made on the same line in Tennesse as all the other JDs. If you go to the John Deere website, you can do a comparison to theirs to other garden tractors and export it to Excel via their site. It’s very handy. Seems there’s too much bias on this board. Do the comparison on the JD website and then shop around for what you feel is best. Personally, I got my L120 at the dealer for less than Home Depot is asking and I won’t be put at the back of the line if I need service (like they do to those that buy at Home Depot). My L120 runs and cuts great – no complains.
James First the L series is the entry level John Deere made by John Deere and in the price range it is in it really is not a bad machine just you pay alittle more for it. I work for my uncle at his tractor dealership (hoping to take it over one day) and we fix more Sears (Elextorlux which should be under warranty but good luck getting Sears to service it in a timely manner). Third, Cub Cadets do have alot of problems also but when you pay under $2k for a mower you get what you pay for. The biggest problem with Sears, Cub Cadets, Yardman, Roybi,and Troy built is getting parts especially after being two years old. The L series is really easy to work on and I can call the John Deere dealer and gets parts which I can get them in and out of the shop quicker. Making it in the service business is about time and not sitting on tractors and most shops know this. Right now I have Craftsman that are under warranty which the people got fed up with Sears service which are in the shop. We are in the same boat as the Sears tech is that we cannot get parts or they are back ordered and it will take us a month to get the parts. When you pay under $2k for a mower you get what you pay for, but we have actually seen alot more year old craftsman, Roybi, Yardman (good luck on parts), cub cadets, troy builts, and MTD with alot more problems than out of warranty John Deere L series or Scotts by JD. John Deere does have the advantage in my area of having so many dealers that they can get the L series out quicker than craftsman also. I have customer mad due they are sittig on broken Sears lawn tractors for more than a month waiting or parts or techs to get back with them. Be honest I sell Toro and would love to be able to sell John Deere’s due to they are simple to work on and parts support.
Scott I am in the same boat as a previous person who posted. My yardman all wheel steer finally gave out. Actually, the transmission did. I feel I worked it very hard the last 21/2 years putting in about 60,000 sq ft. of new lawn. It is hilly and abit rough yet as would be the case with a new lawn. I recently bought a 22hp g-series Huskquavarna from lowes but returned it after one mow. The reason was the turning radius..a wopping 30in. Price was great and ext. warrenty was well worth it. My question is will I be better off getting a tractor with the larger tires for the rougher surface? and are the transmissions in the garden tractors that much stronger? I also have in mind a L120 or 130 tractor??? Thanks guys
REd If you have obsticles you don’t want the Freedom deck on the LT160. I have a LT180 and love the tractor. If you hit something with the freedom deck you are out about $150 in parts (timing belt, blades, etc). Go for the 42C or 48C Deck. LT180 is agreat tractor
eric Can anyone help with a steering assembly issue? My Craftsman 917.270760 has a strange setup which has come apart. At the left front wheel the bar coming from the steering wheel area attaches by way of a small ball and socket scenario with a rubber gasket. Seems very flimsy. I can get the two pieces back together but as soon as the wheel is turned with the slightest pressure, it pops out and the thing is again inooperable. Thanks
Jo Anne Hi Everyone I am from Ontario, Canada and I have a problem. I have a John Deere 110 1964. It is in really good condition and runs great, but I was wanting to sell it but I don’t know how much it is worth or how to go about selling if there are any collecters in here reading this I would like your input on what to do!

Tim All I have to say is that I have owned a JD G100 for 3 years and purchased it from HD. I mow 4 hilly acres weekly and use it during the winter without the 54″ mowing deck to pull very heavy loads of mulch and firewood. The rear tires are loaded and it will go anywhere I ask it to. It actually out performs the 4WD units I have owned. With over 500 hours the only maintenance has been changing oil and filter and greasing it. Oh, I did have to glue the cup holder back on about 2 years ago. The other area that everyone is missing is the quality of the mower deck and ease of removing if needed. The deck never clogs or builds up grass(edge system) and can be removed for blade sharpening in about 10 mins. Installs just as easy. I came across this feedback site while I was shopping for another G100 to purchase. I want to buy another one as a second unit for my son so we can finish mowing faster. I will say that I considered the G110 which replaced the G100 but for a second mower I think I will go used.
Roland Ochoa I find the general inforamtion on the JD LT Series very informative. I wasted my monies on what I thought was a Quality Machine, However, I did this without any research and went with name only John Deere. I use my LT 180 to cut an estimated 1 and a half acres worth of grass. The machine has preformed, average on the cut. However, on the performance end I have had to accomplish some HEAVY duty repair. I purchased an extended warranty and that has made ALL the difference. Bought LT 180, Aug 2003 once a year, I’ve had to have the valves completely REDONE due to WHAT, I’ve been told, would be contaminated Fuel, for the THIRD time as I provide this input my machine is back in the shop. Even tho I use the same fuel in my Two Quads and all my vehicles that I drive, would I do this again, I DON’T THINK SO!
I appreciate the input on this Product. John Deere should step UP and stay in the Market place and try to keep CUSTOMERS such as myself. Question I have, has any body else had this same problem. I would like some input

dwtjax I’ve owned a Wheel Horse 1848, Case 222, Jacobsen Super Chief, JD LT133 and now a JD L155c. The JD L series is very nice, just as heavy as the JD LT series and is a great value for the money. It is also by and far the easiest to use, best and fastest mower of all the units I’ve ever had. My sole complaint is the fuel fill being under the seat. That and the fact that 25 HP slurps fuel verses the lower powered Kohler single cycls. But, that’s the price you pay for having a beast under the hood. That beast by the way will cut 8 inches of St. Augustine grass in a single pass and never flinch. So, it is what it is. It is all in how you care for things. Just like those who say Bayliner boats are bad, they are made by Sea Ray! It’s all in how you maintain your items.

Having owned boats, tractors, snowmobiles, jet skis and many cars and trucks I personally know the cheapest made item well maintained will far outlast the best engineered goods poorly serviced or abused.

You will have very little trouble with a JD L series. Most of the trouble you have, you will cause yourself.

The chief thing you see on the LT, LX or L series will be mower deck problems. They all use the same guage steel, spindles, blades and pullys. Jsut care for it regularly and you’ll be very happy with your purchase.

Nothing wrong with a Craftsman or other mowers either. Just take proper care of them.

Dennis I’m not sure where everyone buys their JD equipment at, but I just bought a JD X300 tractor for $2400 bucks and that includes a Kawasaki motor and its designed for up to 3.5 acres. Incredible lawn tractor that is also very capable of moving snow in the winter time (I also bought weights and blade for it). I’d definitely take this over a Craftsman any day of the week.
Bob Heron I bought a John Deere Series 100 Lawn Turf Tractor Mo.# 012 , 17 HP 42″ and 2-Bag Bagger new from Lowels on July 6 2006.
This machine has not been able to mow my lawn once without plugging up the bagger pipe at the mower discharge to pipe connector with-in a 40′linial foot run .
Called factory no help ….
Machine is worthless junk !
Demanding refund from dealer .

Bob Heron I bought a John Deere Series 100 Lawn Turf Tractor Mo.# 102 , 17 HP 42″ and 2-Bag Bagger new from Lowels on July 6 2006.
This machine has not been able to mow my lawn once without plugging up the bagger pipe at the mower discharge to pipe connector with-in a 40′linial foot run .
Called factory no help ….
Machine is worthless junk !
Demanding refund from dealer .

Jeremy This seems like a good group to whom I can pose a “which mower” question. Here are the final four contenders I’m considering: - 2000 Model John Deere LT133, 13HP, 38″ cut (used) for $1,200 (no hour meter but I know it was used on a residential lawn for three seasons and sat for three – looks new)

- New Toro 42″, 18hp Kohler $1,049 LX-420, model 13AX60RG744 sku 551-958 (Home Depot)

- New Craftsman 20hp 42 in. $1,199 model #27681 (Sears)

- New John Deere 17HP OHV 42″ Lawn Tractor 102, $1,399 Item #: 227418 Model: BG20311 (Lowes)

My yard is small (1/2 acre) but very steep and my budget is such that I can’t go over the $1400 range. Suggestions? Thanks.

steve I like your guys column. hopefully u can give me some infomation & advice. I have a scotts lawn tractor that I bought 2 yrs ago from a private party. This unit has worked pretty good untill recently it has really started smoking bad. It is white smoke at all rpms. I am very good about complete maintance, especially oil changes. Here is some info that might help, Scotts 2554 Id#M025545022742, Kohler 2cyl, 725cc, 25hp, modle CV255, Serial # 292651350-1 It also has the hydrostatic trans. I understand this is a John Deere, but is this the junky ones at the Home Depot Or is this actually a pretty good modle worth fixing the problem.
Steve EDwards I have a LT 133 John Deere and have had a ton of problems with it. Right now my problem is the tractor runs and pulls fine in 1st and 2nd gear. But when you go to 3-4-5 it won’t pull up my driveway. I put a new drive belt on it , but that did not help. Any suggestions?
+Larry Futrell I had a pull problem in Feb. 06 with all gears. The invoice shows replacing a traction drive belt. It lasted almost the summer. I just got off the phjone telling the dealer it will not pull again. I know the belt did not wear out in one summer. They are picking it up tomorrow and check it.
Shari I really liked reading all these comments as we are in the market for a new mower. We are looking at the John Deere LA110 and the Toro LX420. We only have about 2/3 acre, fairly flat lawn. A big thing to us us a good mulcher. We tried a Cub Cadet from Home Depot but it had some problems with the belt slipping and didn’t seem to mulch well at all. Just be careful about the Craftsman. We bought one last fall but the gas line failed while setting in the garage, not being used at the time. It ruined a lot of personal property. They had a recall on it and we were able to return the tractor but are having a hard time with Sears about the damage we suffered. Thanks to all for making this a good resource.
ALLEGRO I have owned (in order) an 18hp Craftsman 38″ two-blade and completely wore it our in only 6 summers in MEM. Next I bought a 20hp Yard Man with a 46″ three-blade deck. Repaired the steering and front axil twice in 5 years. Cut was OK but uneven at the highest level. I bought in 06 a John Deere L155C, 25hp, 48″ triple blade deck. I cut three times a week on a one-acre lot with thick bermuda. This mower works very well and compared to the other two I believe it to be capable of lasting a long time. Consumer Reports rated this highly. All in all for $2700 it seems worthy of the price. I searched long and hard before my purchase and the JD seemed to fit my needs best.

I do agree however that even this larger mower would not be BEST suited for a 3 acre job.

Scott I need some help. I bought a used John Deere LT160 about two months ago. I love this mower. The motor purrs like a kitten and it cuts great with it’s Freedom 42” deck. Here is the problem. It will not go up a hill of any size. It did very well when I first got it but I pulled a tank type aerator a few weeks ago and since then I’ve had this problem. I replaced the pulleys and the drive belt and that didn’t help. It’s fine on level areas but inclines are not good. I don’t know if there is any adjustment that can be made or if I need a new transmission. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Mark I have an L100, stored on a shed (new last summer), bought i9t at Home Depot. I had a flat tire and picked up the back and placed it on a cement box. It sat like that over the winter and I had the wheel fixed. It started right up, but it will not engage the gears, the blades work with out problems and if put in to resverse it does shut off, so I believe it is in gear. I cannot tell if the belt is tight enough. How do we tighten this and does anyone think that this is the problem? Thanks M
buck willy git r done

dave a john deere is the best all ways will be and always was sears tractors are junk not that i dont like sears but there tractors are really junk if you bleed green and yellow u know john deere makes one of the best tractors around for ur cash
Rich JD is great, many older models have withstood the test of time, but I think that if I was in the market for a decent mower I would be looking at a mid ’90s 300 series. you can generally find one with lower hours on it in almost all areas, and generally they are about the same price as the new “disposable” models, I currenly have a Kubota G1800 diesel (which was my dad’s before he downsized to a smaller lot. it has run for 18 years and with minimal maintenance it still works just as it did new. This is the last mower I will ever buy.
Duane I have owned a Craftsman tractor, a Cub Cadet tractor, and a Murray a long time ago. All of them had tons of problems and I was not sorry to see them go. I know own a G100 JD and I have never had it in the shop once for any reason except routine yearly maintenance.

I HATED sears service and the Cub Cadet guy never had parts.

My JD dealer picks up my mower at my house every spring and gives it s going over. JD dealers are THE VERY BEST and that is why I live my JD.

Ken Admire I want the JD G-100′s I’m reading about on this forum. I bought my G-100 in 2003 from Home Depot and have had nothing but trouble with it. The engine was replaced after 50hrs operation (warranty work) and at 150hr. appx. it blew a head gasket on the right side (from driver seat). Replaced gasket and worked fine for about 3 hours. Now it is missing continually no power. Piece of junk.
Chuck I’ve got a 2 yr. old G110 and it is the biggest purchase mistake I’ve ever made. 75 hours on it and it has already gone through 2 idler pulleys and now two months after the warranty has expired the engine is burning oil like a sieve. The engine has always seemed to be under duress when the mower is engaged but the dealer couldn’t find anything wrong. So I’m out $3700.00 and I’m stuck with a mower I hate. Mow I’m back to using my 8 yr. old Murray that cost me 1/3 of what the JD did. I’ll never buy another one.
David I purchased a JD G110 Garden Tractor in 2006 and mow 3 acres. The axle broke first and now the 54″ deck broke and the pulley covers have broke twice and the deck front bracket broke. They don’t make JD”s like they used to. The hood is made of plastic and the air vent that hooks to the hood broke. And the service from John Deere sucks. There is always a 2 or 3 week waiting time to get your tractor repaired with no loaners. I bought my tractor from a local dealer but I have to wait 2 or 3 weeks because the dealer tells me first come first serve and most of those tractors the dealer is repairing are from Lowe’s or Home Depot. Before you buy a JD ask about their repair service policy. Never again for me their service is the worst I have ever seen.
bigd351117 have a jd 102 and have loved it. hit a root the other day and the idler pully broke out. went to a jd dealership to get a replacement spindle. they told me the spindle is spot welded to the deck bracket and cannot be replaced. guess i will either have to buy the complete deck assembly or just use my tractor to pull my small utility trailer around..any thoughts would be welcome…help

Raymond McDannell I missed placed my manual for my LT160. I need to put on the deck belt and can’t seem to figure it out with out the manual. Any help would be appreciated.
sammy Fella’s,
Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Craftsman, MTD, JD, its all the same in there perspective classes. Most all cases of proper function and proformance lies with the right maintenance and upkeep of your equipment. I have a ten year old JD L100 and it has just had its first problem in ten years of heelish cutting in the weeds of S.C. I do clean it after I use it, change the oil, and don’t try to cut trees with it. come boy’s get real.

TBuck Mo, I have an L110 (from a local dealer). I have the 42″ snowblower, rear bagger, and bunch of other attachments. It’s got about 150hrs on it, and no problems thus far. I use it all year (snow in the winter, grass in the summer), however I do have a small yard (can mow it in less than 10 minutes). I bought because it is the right size for my yard, fits through all my fence gates, and others that have them report not having any problems [so far]. It came with a 17.5 hp Kohler engine (I think they are all “John Deere built Briggs & Stratton”, now). I have certainly got my money’s worth out of it and the attachments …especially the snowblower (which I have only had for 2 seasons, in central Iowa)…I do my 80 foot driveway, and 2 others (sidewalks, etc) (older folks in our neighborhood) and it plows through very well. I have spent a number of days watching my neighbors attempting to use shovels and walk-behind blowers to get through 2 and 3 foot drifts before coming over and asking for help. I certainly would agree that they are not on par with “John Deere’s” upper lines of mowers/tractors (as mentioned numerous times here), however I appreciate the dealer service and parts department, advice, etc that I have access to because it “is” a John Deere from my dealer…also nice that I can go to Home Depot (et al) to get accessories, blades, oil, etc, etc, if necessary.

Adam I have a JD LT160 and am considering either a snow blade or blower attachment. I’m sure that I would prefer the blower but depending on the $$$ I might settle on the blade. I haven’t checked with the dealer yet but are there any good places to look for used, I check ebay occasionally and don’t usually see anything matching my model, or that I wouldn’t have to drive to Michigan to pick up.
Chriss I have a l130 that I have owned for 2 years now it has 60 hours on it and the hydrostatic transmission is shot. I called the JD dealer and he informed me it will be 535 for a new transmission and that it will most likely only last for two to three years also. Just to put it into perspective I mow 2.5 acres of very hilly property and tow firewood in a 10cu ft trailer. I expected more than 60 hours of use out of this thing now I am stuck with a 2400 dollar paperweight.
Lou I bought a JD LA110 in May; got a great discount due to a sale and vet discount. It works great, however the 3rd time I used it, it quit. As it was in warranty brand new, the local dealer took it and found the problem to be water in the gas tank. He said he had a lot of the JD’s with the same problem. As I cover the mower with a JD cover, there should be no way water gets in the tank. I sent JD an email and was told there should be no way water can get in the tank, especially if covered. Researching the JD website I found if one doesn’t either keep the tank full, or empties it, condensation builds up, therefore water! Anyone else has experienced this? Thanks.
gene leone i bought a g100 from home depot- just under $5,000 total a 4 years ago. i mow 3.5 acres. transmission chattered intermittantly since new, head gasket blew at 260 hours (total $500. repair), idler was replaced, cup holder fell off, and it has backfired when shut- down since it was new. finally, at 340 hours the transmission is gone- the bad news another $1,700- $1,800 for the repair. every time i go to the local jd dealer they make me feel as if i’ve got a fake rolex watch worth nothing. i’m calling the manufacturer or the consumer protection agency- i’ve been ripped! ps if you know where i can get a transmission contact me
ffcraftergeek the worse thing this country ever did was give every body a voice and a choice. go to this site someone likes b spears someone dose not. go to this site someone likes g bush someone dose not. you come here and someone likes jd and someone dose not. who the blank cares, people are asking questions of info not for your personal uninportant commants about what you like and dont like. just answer there questions and leave your 2 cents out. wake up world, your not all gods and we had enough,go to consumer report and get your answers guy cause here all you get is personal opinion and we all know every one has a story just like they have an rump. by the way jd was listed in consumer report as the company with the mowers with the best overall rating and least amout of repairs and the L110 was concidered a best buy.
John Parr I have a JD LX178 that I bought new back in 1998. I’ve been using a home maintenace kit annually but have yet to change the HYDROSTATIC TRANS FLUID. Looking for a complete step by step for the changing the hydro trans fluid. What oil do I use? How do I check levels? I there a filter, if so where? Thanks for your help. Please email me direct,
Dan n well l have had my L120 for about 4 years with no problems the only thing l wished is that the reverse was stronger other than that its a great machine. l cut about 1 acre lot and pull a trailer fill with dirt or what ever with no problems
CRizzo I originally came to this site looking for information about my John Deere L120. My motivation was that I had heard folks talking about them being built by Murray, being cheaply made, being no good, and so on. The only problem is, most of them sounded like “urban legends” and were mostly gross generalities. I have had my tractor for over 4 years, I own 5 acres, mow two of it, cart mulch, gravel, bricks, etc… Over the whole terrain. I live in Western PA, so hilly terrain is all there is. I use the tractor as a snow blower and plow in the winter for about 200 feet of driveway and salt it with a tow behind spreader. I used the tractor to move 4×8 trailer loads of furniture, tow automobiles, and tow hayrides full of children and parents. After 4 years and 139 hours … no problem. On level ground with no load, it does seem a little slower than it used to be. I think it might be the very early signs of a new transmission, but after what I have put it through, that $600 will be a bargain. I would be one of those folks who agree with what consumer reports are saying and it doesn’t look like John Deere is going out of business anytime soon. So I am looking to upgrade up through the JD line. However, I must say I was a little disappointed at some of the experiences described here with blown out transmissions and broken axles. But frankly, if this list is a statistical sampling of complaints over how many of these smaller JD tractors have been sold, this is nothing. If you think the other tractors don’t break, or have some bad service organizations, you’re not seeing clearly. As for quality, it is clear to me what you are paying a premium for in the John Deere. Like someone else wrote here, I have never had a problem getting parts. The parts are not just spray painted. I have personally rebuilt every part of many different automobiles and feel qualified to say, John Deere is using quality parts and hardware. There is also a quality of style and usability. I live in the suburbs and have been able to compare to other tractors. Shape, appearance, layout of controls and dash are all superior on the JD. When I bought this tractor, I did a one to one comparison with other brands because it looked like there was such a price difference. What I found was that to match feature for feature, I had to go quite a bit up the size chart on many of the other lines and the price difference really narrowed. I think someone in the postings complained about the plastic hood and grill. I live in Pittsburgh and that sounds a little to me like the folks here who complain about the steel industry leaving. It’s gone and so are the steel cars of the 50′s. The new materials are lighter, rustproof, better in many ways, and really improve the weight to horsepower ratio. They don’t make cars like they used to and I can give you about 1 million reasons why that is a good thing. The inherent quality of design is often hard to describe, I also drive a Jaguar for a number of reasons, but it doesn’t get the groceries home any better than a Chevy. :-) I feel the same way about tractors. If anyone is interested in trading facts, figures, and specifications around the technical aspects of John Deere ownership, I’m up for it. As I said earlier, I’m looking to upgrade and just aren’t sure about it as this tractor really meets my needs, but I could use a front loader for the 10-20 yards of mulch and other materials I go through in a year. I’ll also keep an eye out to help John looking to change the fluid in his transmission on his LX178.
S Miller I pruchased a new LT 160 in Sep 05. Since new, The mowing deck leveling mechanism slowly unscrews to the point that the front of the deck is cutting about an inch shoreter than the rear of the deck – – - it take about 2 months for the difference to occur. has anyone else experienced this problem?
angel cruz i,m looking for Scott’s tractor 42 ” rear bagger
dan from imperial I use a L120 on my 1.3 acre yard with no problems. I owned a Craftsmen that was about the same size. Before I got my JD, I had a Craftsmen that lasted me 13 years. I pull a dethatcher and a small garden trailer and find that both mowers performed well. Keep either of these machines well maintained and I bet they will last a long time.

Q For 2 years I have mowed nearly 2 acres of bumpy, hilly lot with a $1400 JD 102. Same price at the JD dealer than at Lowes. Its 17hp Briggs and Stratton has no trouble swinging 42″ of blade through thick grass, pushing the snow off my driveway in winter, and pulling a small spreader and cart. I don’t expect it to do the work of a tractor. There are better machines, including those offered by JD but at greater cost. My only compliant with the 102 is that if you lift one cheek off the seat with the blades engaged it the engine shuts off. I like the kill switch for safety but it is a bit sensitive. And at 6’5″ I look like a frog on a lily pad, but I am cutting grass not cruising for the ladies and thats me on anything at this end of the offerings. Deere has a good reputation for dealer service after the sale and most, if not all, dealers service what they sell. I don’t have a knock against Craftsman but the small Sears store in my area has no full time mech so they send their machines out to a local shop for service. I don’t doubt they are professionally repaired but you couldn’t blame a repair shop who also performed sales for making the customers who bought from them a priority. Perhaps the difference may be only a couple of days but depending on your schedule this may be inconvenient. Research is good and the opinion of owners beneficial but after you have narrowed down your choices just buy what you like. If everyone bought on pure practicality the market would have already evolved to the offering on one beige mower.
randy I’ve inherited a John Deere LT 133. I have a flat due to a bad valve stem. I’m not sure how to fix a valve stem…do I need to remove the wheel and take it to a tire repair shop? If so, how do I remove the wheel? Thanks for your help and suggestions –


Mark Can anyone tell me how to replace the traction drive belt on a JD L110? It loops around the steering shaft. I guess I have to pull that. But how?

And I’ve no idea how to thread the belt onto the pulleys because of the guide brackets that are there to keep the belt from jumping off. Is there some special trick to removing the pulleys? I’ve removed the nuts at the bottom, but they still won’t budge.

As you’ve already guessed, I am not exactly mechanically inclined.

By the way, this machine has been nothing but trouble since I bought it at Home Depot four years ago.

Mike I too made the mistake of not researching and like a deer in headlights ( no pun intended) purchased the John Deere L120 from HD. My lawn is 2+ acres and full of obstacles,(hills, trees,flowerbeds,split rail fence, pool, you name it – its there). I run the JD and a Gravely 816 which is about 30years old. There is no comparison. Gravely runs circles around the JD even at this age. The JD has had two deck belts, two deck spindle replacements ( see some idiot at JD thought it would be smart if the spindles were in cased with NO grease fitting…yea burned those up in 1 year) and this year ( only 3rd year of running) it has lost all horsepower – I could walk faster then this cuts…) Never again would I get a JD of this stature to cut my lawn – Gravely at 30 years is runs like a champ…….You get what you pay for….Only wish I would have paid for the right one the first time :)


  1. Jim Hinkl:

    I have a John Deere 210 that I purchased in 1987. I has been a workhorse for all these years and still mows very good and level. I also had bought a stx38 a few years back and although the engine and tranny is good the body (hood) broke several times. The 200 series 210-216 were about the best ones made.

  2. ken:

    Do yourself a favor buy a used JD 318 it will do everything you ask of it and last 20 years. I have a 1979 model year and am just starting to think of replacing it. I mow 5 ac. and use a sweeper, pullbehind spreader and move the boat once in a while with it great machine!!

  3. Dave Maciel:

    When I started reading a few of the comments, thought I would be able to get information from others about a used Sears GT3500 that’s in craigslist. I would say that most of the people that gave answers or ask question didn’t really know of anything else except John Deere, so were no help at all. It all depends on what state, where you live, that John Deere rules the land. Once I found someone was selling a good size tractor mower, but had over 20 years on it, so contacted by e-mail 4 different John Deere dealers in different areas as to if parts were still available for that model. Out of that many I expected to receive some type of answer before it sold, two weeks later received 1 answer, and that was from someone in parts asking me questions. People talk down the big box stores for carrying John Deere mowers, but it’s John Deere big wigs that don’t want to loose business, that allow this to take place. Like alot of the old timers have said, take care of whatever you buy, and you don’t have to be concerned with if was worth the money. All you have to know for sure is, when you wear out something you can get the replacement parts.

  4. Jim:

    I know several people who were/are engineers at John Deere and have much knowledge about the JD tractors. I also am a long term user of a John Deere lawn tractor. As several people have accurately stated on this web site, the Home Depot John Deere tractors are produced at their Tennessee factory. They are designed to be low end and low priced tractors designed to compete against other tractors in the low priced category. The HD John Deere tractors are far less expensive than the similar size/HP model at the John Deere dealer but they are also less quality (less expensive components, etc.). The HD John Deere tractors are ok but for the same price I would purchase a Craftsman tractor. If you have a large yard and/or have heavy duty needs for your tractor, I highly recommend purchasing a lawn tractor from a John Deere dealer. It will be more expensive but worth the money in the long run. I purchased a John Deere LX172 Lawn Tractor over 18 years ago and I have at least 3000 hours on the tractor. I have put the tractor through much abuse and it has held up extremely well other than routine maintenance and several belts. No major problems. This has been the most reliable purchase in my life. My only regret is that the LX172 is only a 38″ deck, air cooled engine, and manual transmission. I wished I would have purchased a larger tractor but I could not afford it at the time. I will purchase a larger John Deere tractor when the LX172 dies but it seems like this will not happen any time soon.

  5. Archie:

    Can anyone give me any tips on how to go about changing the drive belt on a John Deere Model LX277 (AWS All Wheel Steering) Lawn Tractor? At a glance it looks like you need to remove the body.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Ken:

    Wow! What a bunch of angry tractor enthusiasts Sounds like my old boss. What he has is great, what you have is junk. One thing I have learned is that you get exactly what you pay for. You want cheap, you get cheap. If you need a garden tractor you better pay for a garden tractor. Why would one need a $4,000 garden tractor to mow a lawn on a 1/2 acre lot? I guess if you want your lawn compacted real good. Why a rider on a 1/2 acre lot? Well! simple, I can’t do a walk behind.

    I have a JD L110 hydro with 17.5 Kohler. It is the best of 3 JD riding lawn mowers I have owned. Now I didn’t say garden tractor…I said lawn tractor. It runs so smooth and vibration free. Does not lack one bit of power. Seat is the same as on the big expensive Deeres. Same pedals. Same control cables. Lighter duty engine I’m sure. Not a Yanmar diesel. It does have a lighter frame, and probably a lighter trans-axle.

    This spring I moved over 9 tons of landscape river rock using a front end bucket I made which hauls about 300 lbs. Had over 400 lbs. of weight on back. Plus my 6′-4″ 235 lb. body. It never squawked a bit. I was amazed! Didn’t even phase the front steering spindles.

    This tractor has a cast iron front axle arm just like my JD 112RF. Can
    tell any difference in the spindles. Probably smaller. The transaxle is an aluminum cast unit just like all the others in it’s class. My old LX75 had a Peerless aluminum manual rearend and it was a breeze to work on. Without a manual too. The stamped frame members are much thinner then my 112, but then you’re talking apples and oranges here. The hood is a durable crackable plastic just like the big boys. The 112RF has a very durable crackable fiberglass. What’s the diff..? Same wheel design. Same tire design. The mower deck is made exactly like my 112′s. Stamped sheet metal with bearings for spindles. What’s junk?

    Oh Yeh! I also got a snowblower for my so-called “junk” L110. I’ve used it 4 years and it is one sweet running machine. The worst thing that has happened is I shear the shear bolts. It will blow anything you can feed it including frozen ice and slush.

    Yes the headlights are junk. The first one fell out the first week. I just removed them sprayed the blanks silver and made my own cowl mounted out of auto flood lights. Everyone else’s is also plastic. The Kohler carburetor cannot stand one iota of sediment or it goes into surge mode, requiring a carb cleanout, but now that part says Kohler…not John Deere. Change filter often. I run synthetic Mobil 1 10W30 and change it and filter once a year.

    My experience

    Ken Martin
    Retired Mechanical Designer

  7. Antique Garden Tractors:

    I’ve got a 2 yr. old G110 and it is the biggest purchase mistake I’ve ever made. 75 hours on it and it has already gone through 2 idler pulleys and now two months after the warranty has expired the engine is burning oil like a sieve. The engine has always seemed to be under duress when the mower is engaged but the dealer couldn’t find anything wrong. So I’m out $3700.00 and I’m stuck with a mower I hate.

  8. Brett Carner:


    Why buy a new lawn tractor or garden tractor. Why not go spend anywhere from 1000 to 2000 and get a 300 or better yet a 318. They might be an older tractor but HANDS DOWN beat the junk made today

  9. PATTY:

    what kind of gas can i use in a john deere 400 lawn tractor?

  10. Montgomery:

    Gee- I have a ’02 LT133. Read lots of bad stuff about them. Mine works itself weekly until I am tired- it is still running like a deer. Yes- pun intended.

    Anyway- behind in maintenance- just changed the deck belt for the first time- 6 years old now- sharpened blades…. running great again…… and this is on a recently purchased 14 acre hay former hay field.

    Next step- something bigger!

  11. Glenn:

    I have to say I got my JD sabre 2554 with the power bagger and snow blower about 8 years ago and it is one of the best things I have ever done. It allways runs perfect and does everything I need it to do. It have never let me down yet.

  12. Paul Kent:

    OK…Hello. I live in Ontario, Canada. I have read many of these blogs. I am still very confused on which unit I should spend my hard earned $$’s on. I can go anywhere here in Ontario and buy a John Deer, Troy built, Craftsman from Sears.Ca., Toro. I can buy any one of them and others I have never heard of like Cub Cadet, Husquavarna???… I just want a good unit. I have a small yard..don’t need a huge unit 42″ deck about the smallest I can get, but would also like to be able to put a snow blower attachment on the unit. I just went to Lowe’s here in Ontario..Our first new Lowe’s to come to the area..they have five John Deers….I like the 115 which is about $2150.00 CDN..the snow blower is about $1700.00…I have looked at sears models…I don’t know which to maybe one of you fellows can set me straight and tell me either to buy JD, or Craftsman…let me know OK..seriously looking to buy in spring…Sears has a sale now for about $450.00 off a unit…will cost me $2095.00 was listing at $2450.00….anyway..any help would be most appreciated…thanks..regards…P Kent

  13. kyle clark:

    good lord, don’t get so defensive of your lawn mower. If you want to drive a Deere and have a green hat and all ok, if you like another model then buy it. u guys carry on like they are begrading your wife, its a damn lawn mower. settle down and get a simplicity

  14. Ben:

    I have a JD LT133 it has the 13hp Kohler, 38″ deck, 5spd. gear rear end. I bought it two years ago for the handsome sum of $500. I use this tractor to cut 15k square feet of Kentucky Blue Grass in Colorado. This machine runs like a champ, idles down to what sounds like 500rpm and will jump right back up to full throttle in no time. I get no lag when I start the deck, it will make a golf course quality cut nice and level, every blade cut. It runs smoothly in every gear and is in great shape. I also like the 15″ turning radius this machine has. In the spring I use a thatch rake with it, and occasionally a Brinley Hardy 42″ spike airorater/drop spreader unit it pulls both of them great.
    All that is wrong with it is the plastic front bumper broke as did the pivots, I don’t know what happened it was like that when I bought it. The hood lifts off all in one piece, which is actually kind of nice, but it does rattle off over bumps. I hear there is a steel front bumper and pivots for it, does anyone know where I can either get this part or have a detailed enough drawing I could build one from? I am a welder by trade, so it will be no problem to whip this up.
    Next problem, the traction drive belt is cut deep in a few places, missing chucks, and pretty glazed over. I bought a new one to put on it, and have been really struggling to find a replacement procedure for it. I heard some mention of warranty, is this machine still under warranty, or no because I bought it used? Can anyone give me a detailed procedure, all adjustments included? I have also lost my braking power, will making these changes work this out or does this machine actually have a separate braking system?
    This is my first tractor, and I am learning a lot about them reading these posts. I want to say thank you to everyone who has posted threads and shared their opinions. A young guy like me (24) needs good information to learn the correct way from.

  15. smitty:

    anyone have trouble with the L118 transmission?? i step on the gas and it barely moves, the drive belt seems fine and there doesnt appear to be any fluid loss from the tranny,can you adjust the drive belt???

  16. daisinjahn:

    I’m buying a used John Deere LX172 mower from 1996. Just test drove it. Started well and the torque made me feel like I was riding on a carnival ride. No burning oil. No bearing whine. Sweeeet. $750. The funny part is that he just bought a new $3000 Kubota mower and it was harder to start than the 13 yr old JD. The plastic hood is a negative. It’s brittle from ozone and sun and broke and I’ll replace it for $200—gulp! New tires $150 more and I’m good to mow for a third of the price of a new JD. Oh, yeah…. If you still think Sears makes good mowers read the dozens of horror stories on the net. I got me a Deere cap and if anybody insults my JD mower I’ll ride my mower over to your house, curse your dog and mow down your petunias! So there!

  17. OSCAR:

    I have the JD120 with over 350 hours and have not had alot of problems other than general wear and tear. I bought from a guy that was really hard on the thing. I replaced the spindles and bushings on the front end and just keep it clean, greased/ and clean oil and gas and it does the job. However I also have a I.H.cub cadet (1974) and the JD is no comparison. The L120 is a good MOWER and the cub is a good TRACTOR. If need be I will buy another JOHN DEERE.

  18. david:


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