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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Jan 2006
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    21

    Default Manual or Automatic Riding Lawn Mower

    I'm looking to buy a Sears riding lawn mower. The base model with a manual transmission is $980, Craftsman LTS 1500 17.5 HP/42" Lawn Tractor - Model 28903 at Sears.com. Two models up with a hydrostatic automatic transmission is $1300, Craftsman LT 2000 20 HP 42" Lawn Tractor - 28910 at Sears.com.

    I have a 1/4 acre, half of which is house and cement. I don't have any hills and not a ton of landscaping. I do have 2 sections which have long runs.

    Should I by the manual or automatic? Is the manual that much of a pain? I've only driven automatics. I'm not hurting for $320, but I don't want to spend the money on something that's not going to make that big of a difference for my small lot. With $320, I could by the bagging system. I'm not looking to buy a lawn tractor that will last a life time. I could just use a push mower, but I'm lazy and my time is worth more than this bit of money

  2. #2
    Platinum Member BigE_'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    604
    Location
    Near Portland, Oregon
    Tractor
    New Holland TC33D, LT4000

    Default Re: Manual or Automatic Riding Lawn Mower

    I have the LT4000, which has been decent, but watch the brakes -- they burn out very easily. Mine is the manual one -- I had the option for the automatic for about $300 extra as well. Sometimes I wish I had gotten it, sometimes I'm glad I didn't.

    Do you have a lot of areas where you need to make multiple turns? What about areas where the grass grows really well vs. where it isn't growing quite as well? With the automatic, you can speed up on the areas where the grass isn't growing as well, and you can slow down for the turning. The main improvement here is that it takes you less time to mow with an automatic.

    The main reason I got the manual was that Sears was having problems with the automatic at the time (5 years ago). I don't know if those have been resolved, but at the time they had a lot of them come in for repair.

    No, the manual isn't hard to use. I usually just dump it in 3rd gear and leave it there, except when backing up, of course.

    I didn't get the bagging system either, and if you keep the lawn at a decent level, you'll never miss it.

    -Steve
    New Holland TC33D w/7308 FEL, 6600 BH, 66" boxblade, and pallet forks.
    http://pens.bigelowsite.com

  3. #3
    Veteran Member amigauser's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    1,104
    Location
    Unionville, Connecticut USA
    Tractor
    Kubota Grand L 3240HST

    Default Re: Manual or Automatic Riding Lawn Mower

    For a 1/4 acre you could use a push mower

    We gota have our toys. I would get the hydrostatic model. I have mowed with both and it is much easier/faster with a hydro if you have any obstacles that you need to mow around or near as your foot controls speed and direction. With a manual you need to change gears.

    If you have a wide open lot with no obstacles then a gear driven tractor would work fine. It is probably also a little stronger in the transmission if you are pulling anything with it like a trailer, aerator, etc. as the low end hydro tractors have a low end hydro unit in them that is not designed for any real pulling.
    Kubota L3240HST, LA724 FEL, 72" bucket, snow plow, Loader Buddy, Bradco Pallet Forks, Stoll 4in1, EA Grapple, Leinbach 72" pine straw rake, GroundWorks brush forks and Kubota L series ballast box.
    ---------------------------
    Ferris Evolution 52" ZTR
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    Stihl stuff

  4. #4
    New Member
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    Jan 2006
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    21

    Default Re: Manual or Automatic Riding Lawn Mower

    Quote Originally Posted by BigE_ View Post
    The main improvement here is that it takes you less time to mow with an automatic.
    Quote Originally Posted by amigauser View Post
    I have mowed with both and it is much easier/faster with a hydro...
    That's what I wanted to hear. The time saved is worth the $300. Thanks.

  5. #5
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Mar 2000
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    38,210
    Location
    Texas

    Default Re: Manual or Automatic Riding Lawn Mower

    I,too, am one who has had both, and there's no way I'd ever want one again without the hydrostatic transmission.
    Bird

  6. #6
    Veteran Member carpenter383's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    1,021
    Location
    Indiana
    Tractor
    Kioti DK40SE

    Default Re: Manual or Automatic Riding Lawn Mower

    I used to have an older sears rider with a manual 6-spd trans, it was ok, but kind of hard to shift sometimes. I now have a VERY old sears with hydrostat and bar tires on the rear, it's been put through h*** and still goes strong, I've used it to drag telephone poles and all kinds of other stuff. I also have a white riding mower that is hydrostat. I use it to mow with, it's much nicer IMHO than shifting gears, but I have quite a few obstacles to mow around. So like others have said if your yard is open and you don't have to back up or change gears much then save the money. If you have alot of obstacles to mow around hydrostat really is nice! One thing I don't like about the new lawn tractors is they shut the mower deck off when you put it in reverse, but that is easy to fix. lol
    “History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.” Douglas MacArthur
    "The obligation of every human being to God, is higher than his duty to country, and not even a majority in society has the legitimate right to interfere with a man's allegiance to him."James Madison

  7. #7
    Gold Member diesel_nut's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
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    401
    Location
    Tennessee
    Tractor
    ~'88 1872(sold); '08 GT2554

    Default Re: Manual or Automatic Riding Lawn Mower

    Manual-shift models are a BIG PIA!
    Cub 1872(SOLD); Cub GT2554

  8. #8
    Silver Member barneyrb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Manual or Automatic Riding Lawn Mower

    For no more than that to mow...push mower or if you just have to ride zero turn. Just my .02

  9. #9
    Gold Member dieselfuelonly's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Posts
    299
    Location
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    Tractor
    Yanmar YM1401D

    Default Re: Manual or Automatic Riding Lawn Mower

    If you are just going to mow, I'd say go with the hydro.

    Have you considered buying a used mower?

    I have a little John Deere 175 hydro that I bought used. Its a pleasure to mow with. Sure feels a lot more solid than any of the "box store" brands do, and it cost less.

    However, if I was going to be pulling a little trailer or aerator with it I would prefer the manual transmission. But for just mowing, the hydro is great.
    Hi my name is Dennis.
    Yanmar YM1401D, 12k 16+2ft trailer, 1996 Dodge 3500 2WD Cummins 5spd, 1973 M35A2 "Deuce and a Half"




  10. #10
    Elite Member whistlepig's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    4,267
    Location
    Preble County, Ohio
    Tractor
    Kubota B7800 with FEL

    Default Re: Manual or Automatic Riding Lawn Mower

    Once you go hydrostatic for mowing you'll never go back. It's a huge difference. I have shifted my fair share of gears and pushed many a clutch. I wouldn't even consider a tractor (for mowing) with out a hydro now.

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