I purchased this lawn mower with snow blower from the local John Deere dealer at the beginning of winter, a few weeks before moving to a 2 acre property with a large driveway. I was in a rush to get something to clear snow from the driveway before moving and this is what the dealer directed my towards. I didn't do my homework and the dealer saw me coming.
From the first day the drive torque was barely adequate for blowing snow and the trans axle would whine on my slight inclines while mowing or pulling a small trailer of firewood on flat ground. The hydro-static drive became weaker as time progressed, after about 4 years I replaced the oil in the sealed unit with thicker synthetic oil which allowed limping the tractor along for another year. Eventually the differential failed (broken gear teeth) and I installed a K66 trans-axle.
The K66 is what this tractor should have come with from the factory. The tractor no longer strains on moderate slopes or blowing snow. There was always plenty of drive torque available for the weight of the tractor. Installing the kit from RJR Tractor was an easy afternoon job with great instructions.
If my only use for this tractor was mowing my 1.5 acres of lawn and I didn't mind it taking 2 hours, I'd be completely satisfied with the L130 + K66. With a smooth lawn and the slight speed increase (from the K66), it is probably capable of mowing an acre per hour or slightly more. On smooth sections of lawn with thick grass, I can still mow at full speed without losing much RPM. The Kohler twin has plenty of power for the 48" deck. Other than smoking on start up, the engine has been flawless.
I also need a machine capable of clearing snow. Like mowing, engine power is never an issue with the 42" blower. The blower itself is another story, at least for the snow we get near Ottawa (ON, Canada). The impeller is too small / slow to move much volume of snow and you must slow to a crawl in any more than a couple inches of light snow. I've consumed several snow blower belts, a set of bearings + intermediate shaft and broken the input shaft between the impeller and auger gearbox.
Overall the tractor feels like John Deere engineered a 14 or 16 HP lawn mower and someone decided to stick a 23 HP engine into it at the last minute.
I'm now in the market to replace the L130 with a SCUT or small CUT. I initially wasn't even willing to look at or read about the JD offerings but will most likely end up with a 2032R. Due to less than satisfactory experiences with both the initial purchase and attempting to buy parts, I won't be purchasing from the same dealer.