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  1. #1
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    Default Is this too much grade for a K46 transmission?

    I'm in the market for a lawn tractor (retiring the push mower), but am not quite sure how much tractor I need and know that one of the deciding factors will be how hilly my property is. The whole front yard gradually slopes upward to the house, either side are basically flat, and the back has one steep part (measuring 15 degrees for a few feet). Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are some photos of my property from a year or two ago:





    Backyard slope:





    There's approximately 1/2 an acre of Bermuda that needs to be cut almost every week from April through October. My neighbor's riding mower can knock it out in around half an hour, so that should give you an idea of how many operating hours my new tractor will see each year. His mower did kind of bog down on the steep hill in the backyard, and you have to scoot your butt in the seat a few times to get tractor rocking enough to get over the hill (I don't think he has a K46 though, it's an older Bolens).

    Anyway, does this property look like it will bog down or kill a K26 transmission over time (assuming your typical 500-lbs lawn tractor + 200-lbs driver)? I would also like to use a spreader, plug aerator, and tow a utility cart around (with dirt, mulch, fertilizer, wood, bricks, rocks, etc.). Does that mean I really need a beefier transmission, like a K58? I'd like to get at least 8-10 years out of the tractor, and I don't think the light duty T40J transmissions will last very long on these kinds of hills, and I'd hate to take a chance on a K46 if I'm kidding myself and should really be getting something more heavy duty. I just don't know how my hills compare to everybody else's. Is this perfectly within the design limits and operating range of a K46? Or on the outside envelope and I should probably step up to something stronger? Thanks guys (and gals)!
    Ben

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is this too much grade for a K46 transmission?

    Found another photo that is a good representation of the slope in the front yard:

    Ben

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is this too much grade for a K46 transmission?

    I have the same type of property. I settled on the JD X304 and my dealer had a brand new leftover 2007 model which still had the K58 trans. I wanted the stronger trans to deal with the slopes and hills on my property.
    Ask your dealer if he has a leftover 2007 X304, it would fit the bill for your type of land and what you want to do with it.

    Len in NC

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is this too much grade for a K46 transmission?

    Quote Originally Posted by BMWBig6
    Anyway, does this property look like it will bog down or kill a K26 transmission over time
    Oops, meant to say K46, but it's too late to edit my post!
    Ben

  5. #5
    Platinum Member bontai_Joe's Avatar
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    northeast PA
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    Deere 316 (Kohler) Deere 316 (Onan) Deere 210

    Default Re: Is this too much grade for a K46 transmission?

    Cute Lego house. I'm curious as to what older Bolens your neighbor has, if it's an old real Bolens or a 4 year old MTD Bolens.
    If it's free, it's for me!!!!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is this too much grade for a K46 transmission?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lend27
    I have the same type of property. I settled on the JD X304 and my dealer had a brand new leftover 2007 model which still had the K58 trans. I wanted the stronger trans to deal with the slopes and hills on my property.
    Ask your dealer if he has a leftover 2007 X304, it would fit the bill for your type of land and what you want to do with it.

    Len in NC
    Hi Len,

    So does your K58 struggle or whine at all on your property? Or does it perform it's job quietly and effortlessly? How long have you had yours, and have you noticed any degradation in transmission performance since you first bought it (not sure how long you've owned yours, and the mowing season is probably just beginning for you).

    I did ask my local dealer if they still had any 2007 X304's. None to be found in any of their 14 locations.

    Quote Originally Posted by bontai_Joe
    Cute Lego house. I'm curious as to what older Bolens your neighbor has, if it's an old real Bolens or a 4 year old MTD Bolens.
    I didn't get a good look at my neighbor's Bolens but it does say MTD on the side. It's black and the engine shroud is kind of boxy (making it look a little dated), and has a 36" or maybe 38" deck. I noticed that it didn't have any gauge/guide wheels on the deck, but maybe that's normal for smaller decks. I can find out the exact model if it's important.
    Ben

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is this too much grade for a K46 transmission?

    I'll be giving the X304 a good workout this week. I'll post you my comments.
    So far I've only driven it around the yard but havent cut with it yet.
    It doesnt seem to be straining at all getting up the hills.
    I'll keep you posted.

    Len

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is this too much grade for a K46 transmission?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lend27
    I'll be giving the X304 a good workout this week. I'll post you my comments.
    So far I've only driven it around the yard but havent cut with it yet.
    It doesnt seem to be straining at all getting up the hills.
    I'll keep you posted.

    Len
    Cool, thanks Len!
    Ben

  9. #9
    Gold Member dbdartman's Avatar
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    central New Jersey (No. Burlco)
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    JD4400

    Default Re: Is this too much grade for a K46 transmission?

    From the "for what it's worth" file:

    I've had my X304 for going on 3 years now & have some areas of equal pitch (maybe even a bit more) than what I see in the pics, & have absolutely no troubles getting up, down, or across them. Trans has never made any noises, nor protested in any way, nor have I noticed any loss of speed. To be fair, even today it doesn't have 60 hours on it (probably closer to 40 hours, but I'm not in the mood to go out & look right now).

    About the worst I can say about this mower is: Why does it need so many (profanity deleted) computer controlled safety switches?!?!

    Attached is a pic of the steepest grade, beside the garage. It's about 6 feet high & maybe 12'-14' from the garage to ground level.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Is this too much grade for a K46 transmission?-flowers-4.jpg  

  10. #10
    Platinum Member bontai_Joe's Avatar
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    northeast PA
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    Deere 316 (Kohler) Deere 316 (Onan) Deere 210

    Default Re: Is this too much grade for a K46 transmission?

    It's not important which model Bolens your neighbor has, it's not a "real" Bolens, but an MTD product. The deere 304 shouldn't bog down like his does, but if the grass is wet, you may have to do the butt shuffle to get traction on those slopes. My concern is the plug airator. They put a fair strain on the drivetrain. What does your dealer say about pulling a plug airator behind the X304?
    If it's free, it's for me!!!!!

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