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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
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    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
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    Default Time to put down "Ol' Blackie"?

    My farmette came with a riding mower - MTD YardMachine 17HP, 42" deck - not new, so probably around 10yo now.
    Lately it seems like aside from regular maintenance it is needing something repaired/replaced annually.

    I do abuse it some by mowing my pastures with it, but I set the deck at 6" and go sloooowly when I do. And I have around 3ac pasture total if I do both.

    Last year it was the carbuerator, this year a spring that controls the mowing deck belt.
    I just got it back from the latest repair last night - started up great and sounded fine with the deck engaged so Mower Doc left & I started mowing my overgrown (just 2 weeks!) lawn.

    I didn't get more than one 100' strip done - set at 3" - when it screeched, smoke poured from the deck area and it quit on me. I checked for anything caught in the blades, checked the belt & found nothing obvious. Belt wasn't even warm & blades turned normally.
    The engine seemed awfully hot for the short time it had run, so I let it cool down about 20min & tried to start it - no dice : (
    Mower doc will be back tomorrow.

    But I am wondering whether it's worth more repair or maybe time to take advantage of the sales going on now & get something with a bit more power (& a cupholder ).

    I'd like to keep Ol' Blackie - minus the midmount mowing deck - for use hauling my dumpcart & with an eye to adding a finish mower to haul behind for pastures.

    What say the COTH tractor Gurus?
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2000
    Location
    Rochester,NY,USA
    Posts
    7,581

    Default

    I don't think I'd totally retire "Ol' Blackie". Perhaps you need to find a new repair guy. I had to switch after the 2nd yr on the farm because the repair guy that was recommended would fix something and the fix would last maybe a wk or 2 so I switched to the place I was told to NOT use and the service was much better.

    I had a Wheel Horse (48" deck) I bought with this place and beat the daylights out of it for 11 yrs. I traded it in for new Wheel Horse (60" deck and cup holder and cruise control) and beat the daylights out of it. Even caught it on fire for over a 3K repair bill-thank heavens for Homeowners insurance to cover most of that bill.

    Now, while I don't think you need to retire Blackie, it wouldn't hurt to get another mower as back up or get a new mower and keep Blackie as back up. I did that when my repair guy had to take the Wheel Horse in the 2nd time in the spring and said they couldn't get it back for a wk or 2. You know the time of the yr when you have to mow every 3 days. Well, I contacted my Massey Ferguson tractor dealer and they brought over a Ferris Zero Turn (61"). I use both mowers regularly. Yes, my basic maintenance bills are doubled but the wear and tear on the machines isn't anywhere near as bad. I prefer the ZTM for my pastures as the mower deck goes higher but the Wheel Horse for getting close to the fence posts without knocking them down.
    Sue
    Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
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    Default

    Thanks for the info, especially that a ZTM could do bumpy pasture.
    How high does your ZTM deck go?

    I trust my Mower Doc - he's really good, picks up & delivers, modestly priced (under $100 for almost everything) lets me slide on paying right away & and all the repairs he's done have lasted. He's never fixed the same thing twice.
    It just seems that something else keeps going bad every year.

    If I can get a good price on a ZTM I'd still keep Blackie sans bellymower for hauling stuff. Like perhaps the Newer Spreader I've been coveting forever.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    9,554

    Default

    Did you check the oil levels? That can overheat a mower in a hurry. And take the spark plug wire or battery wire loose and check under it, because it could be that a lot of grass is packed under there too.

    Even if you get a new mower I would keep this one, unless you can't get it fixed.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2000
    Location
    Rochester,NY,USA
    Posts
    7,581

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
    Thanks for the info, especially that a ZTM could do bumpy pasture.
    How high does your ZTM deck go?

    I trust my Mower Doc - he's really good, picks up & delivers, modestly priced (under $100 for almost everything) lets me slide on paying right away & and all the repairs he's done have lasted. He's never fixed the same thing twice.
    It just seems that something else keeps going bad every year.

    If I can get a good price on a ZTM I'd still keep Blackie sans bellymower for hauling stuff. Like perhaps the Newer Spreader I've been coveting forever.
    My ZTM deck probably goes 5-6". Never measured and don't trust what the guide says.

    I use both mowers for hauling or dragging my indoor and outdoor rings, pastures and sacrifice paddocks with a York Rake as well as a little dump cart or fertilizer. I was told the ZTM aren't supposed to be used for dragging etc but I do my pastures with it but nothing else. Other mower gets the hard work out.

    Also, a ZTM will get stuck at the drop of a hat. Believe me I know. But then I just pull out the Massey Fergesun tractor to pick up truck and pull it out.

    I think the Ferris ZTM might be a commercial mower as it wasn't cheap but really does a good job and it has great suspension which most ZTM don't have. Forget going to Home Depot and getting a mower or Sears as even though they will sell you a John Deere, if you want a John Deere then go directly to the dealership or any other quality mower. Remember big box stores aren't going to be doing your repair or honor a warranty. Just using John Deere as an example but it could be any quality mower.

    Also remember you get what you pay for generally so don't think you can get a workhorse mower for $1000 unless it's 2nd or 3rd or 4th hand.
    Sue
    Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
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    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanM View Post
    Did you check the oil levels? That can overheat a mower in a hurry. And take the spark plug wire or battery wire loose and check under it, because it could be that a lot of grass is packed under there too.

    Even if you get a new mower I would keep this one, unless you can't get it fixed.
    I check the oil about every 3rd time I mow - it was fine 2 weeks ago when I last did the lawns before the spring thingy broke.
    Battery is under the seat and no grass gets in there.
    I am ashamed to admit I have no idea where the spark plug is, but I'll check the manual and have Mower Doc show me when he comes back.

    Looks like the concensus is keep Ol' Blackie
    Works for me - at the least it could be a backup to a new mower.
    Maybe not a ZTM, but several mfrs now offer a tight-turn riding mower.
    Shame on me, but I'd really like a cupholder
    Mowing is thirsty work!

    msj: the newer mowers I've been looking at are on sale for around $1800
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    9,554

    Default

    What I mean about spark plug and battery is that before you start looking under the mower you need to make sure it can't start, and that usually involves pulling the spark plug wire off the plug, or doing something with the battery cable. I'm sure the mower guy can figure it out, and find out what's wrong.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



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