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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new here. Grateful to the proprietors for providing the forum.

I just got a property in northern Florida that has several acres of lawn. The seller wants to sell me his old John Deere 430 mower with dump cart. I live 300 miles away, so I have not been able to check it yet. I don't know whether it's gas-powered or diesel. The realtor thinks it's about 20 years old. It has a dump cart. The deck is 60". Price has not been mentioned yet.

Is a machine like this a good investment for a lawn of around 3 acres? I see there are a lot of ZTR mowers available these days for prices I can handle. I'm a little worried by the age of the mower, too. It looks like I can get a new ZTR for under $4K, depending on the brand.

I would like something solid that isn't going to crap out on me every three months, and I want to get the mowing over with fairly quickly, so it can't be a small machine.

I know just about nothing about mowing. I have managed to avoid it almost completely, well into middle age. It looks like my perfect record has come to a sad end.
 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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How much is willing to sell it to you for?

Welcome to TLF!!! Glad you are here!
 

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The original price on those older JD lawn tractors was close to 10k, and 20-30 years ago they built them much better than today.

I think IF the price is fair, it would be a good idea to have a spare tractor around to haul mulch/tools/dirt or pull a sprayer. I'm guessing the newer ZTR mowers would cut faster, but I don't know that for sure.
 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Lawn Ranger said:
I am new here...
Welcomer to TLF! :thumbup:

Here are the specs - it says those have a 3-cylinder Yanmar diesel engine (20HP).


A ZTR would probably be more efficient. That said, it sounds like the seller is probably downsizing and just doesn't want to take it with him - so you may be able to get it cheap. If that's the case and you have the funds and the space to store it, it might be a cool piece of equipment to keep around for utility work around your 3 acres. J_nick has an old lawn tractor that has been in his family for a while and he uses it for all kinds of stuff that isn't mowing. If you buy it right, you could always sell it if it doesn't work out for you.

Regarding a new $4k zero turn, I would be inclined to shop around for a nice used commercial unit (Grasshopper, Exmark, etc) in that price range. I think you would be able to get more mower for the money. Just something to consider.

Let us know what you decide!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the help. What I really want is a mower that comes with its own operator, but I guess until drone technology improves, I'll have to get out there and suffer.

People are warning me that the deck on this thing may fail before the tractor, and then I'll be stuck with a very slow vehicle that does not cut grass.
 

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I have a 50" zero turn and an old Ford GT95. While
I can mow faster with the zero turn the cut quality is better on the tractor. Plus I pull quite a bit of different things (sprayer, 17cuft cart, drag mat) and the tractor handles everything better than the zero turn. I haven't actually started the zero turn in almost a year since I got the tractor. The tractors deck has wheels like the one Ware posted and that's how you adjust the cut. It hugs the terrain better than the floating decks of most zero turns so it scalps less.
 

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What does he want for it? Those things will outlive you and are highly sought after among JD enthusiasts. That also makes them expensive. Like any older machine it will probably require some work.
 

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The best thing about this whole deal is that lawn ranger hates and doesn't want to mow but is asking a bunch of people who love to mow.

My vote is get zero turn mower and get the tractor. I know it's costly but you will love it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
wardconnor said:
The best thing about this whole deal is that lawn ranger hates and doesn't want to mow but is asking a bunch of people who love to mow.
No point in lying about it! Of course, having avoided doing it, I can't really say I hate doing it. I am just guessing.

When I was a kid, my dad got a lawnmower (no seat, but it did have two powered wheels), and I ran it a couple of times. The yard was small and cramped, and I had to go around steel sprinkler pipes and gates and whatnot. A real drag. Maybe it's not so bad when you can open a garage door and shoot out onto a big yard with a Yeti cup in your hand.

I was thinking the 430 might be helpful for small-scale gardening. It would be nice to have a small area for tomatoes and so on, and I suspect a big tractor would be less than ideal, and it would also require some expensive attachments.
 

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If you want a garden tractor for small gardening, may I suggest a Cub Cadet 1450/1650. They can be had for about $500 and they are tough as nails - they were made by International Harvester before MTD bought the Cub Cadet brand. Another option would be a Cub Lo Boy, also made by IH, that one will run you about $1000. A 1450 with another $500 put into it will outlive you - cast iron engine(Kohler K321), cast iron transmission(Sundstrand), all metal construction. It will take sleeve hitch implements such as a Brinly plow and there's also a tiller attachment for it. It can also mow if need be, I used my 1450 for about 2 years to cut grass and it did a fine job.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGdyfcDBMF4
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I got some more info. The seller wants 11K for the mower, a cart, a Kubota L3710 with 1000 hours, a bush hog, and an E-Z-GO ST350 cart with a dump bed.

The mower has 783 hours. OK for a JD 430?

I think the overall price is great, provided a mechanic looks at everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I got a report from the mechanic, and he says everything is in great shape. The John Deere needs some kind of cheap seal on the PTO, and the big tractor needs a new quick-connect coupling. That's about it. I agreed to the seller's price, so I am hoping to hear confirmation today. Thanks for all the help. Now I'll have to design some sort of support for the mower, to hold a beer cooler.

An umbrella holder wouldn't hurt. Wonder if someone makes those.
 
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