Threw the rod through the side of the block in my riding mower - time for a new one

Joined
Apr 23, 2008
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157
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FL
About 6 years ago I picked up a new Craftsman T2200 riding mower (built by husqvarna) to mow my 1.25 acre lot in south florida (thick grass all year). I worked the mower hard (probably harder than it was designed for).

The good - reasonably strong, could power through thick grass. It had a briggs 19HP single cyl and a 42" deck. Hydrostatic transmission on a hand lever was nice and my kids could work it where they wouldn't be able to reach the pedals. Decent cut, decent turning radius.

The bad - I went through spindles constantly - probably replaced them 3 times. After the first spindle replacement I was always fighting the deck height adjustment and never managed to get a perfectly even cut after that. Deck rusted out after a few years and I've been holding it together with sheet metal and welds. About 6 months ago I think the headgasket started to go as it would puff blue smoke frequently. I bought a head gasket to replace it but never got around to it. I added oil more frequently after the blue smoke but I guess I didn't check it often enough and time got away from me because I just threw a rod out the side of the block (my fault for not checking the oil).

So now I'm looking for a new unit with about the same specs. Looking around online, most of the mowers look identical to the one I have - deck looks the same, frames look the same, transmissions look the same. Looks like most switched to foot control on the hydrostatic which is not what I prefer but whatever. Most mowers either have a briggs 18.5 intek or a kohler of about same HP. Should I go with the briggs again? Obviously the low oil was my fault but I'd prefer something that doesn't need a head gasket after 5 years. As for the deck - any models that have a more substantial deck that won't rust out so fast or are they all the same? I'm looking at the Husqvarna YTH18542, the identical craftsman T210, and maybe a similar cub cadet at home depot (though haven't investigated their models yet). I'm partial to the husqvarna as my spare parts (spindles, blades, maybe even the old transmission, belt drive, etc) might carry over.
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
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Richmond, VA
Are you storing the mower outside? That is a really short life for the deck.

I've always been a Briggs fan, since you already have a spare everything I would try and find a new model that matches your old one, don't overthink this.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2013
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Outer Banks, NC
Go bigger and go to a mower/tractor dealer. A 42 inch deck is too small for 1.25 acres. Snapper (owned by Briggs) makes solid equipment at a price lower than Deere. Or maybe search for a used JD.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2004
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26,407
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Upstate NY
How about tossing a HF Predictor engine on it? Maybe the deck is too far gone?

I have a 15 maybe 20 year old Husqvarna 46" riding mower. I bought is used for $500. I keep up on the engine oil, etc but am not out there cleaning the deck every time I use it. I did remove the deck and pressure wash it and painted it with pickup truck bedliner paint. Still rolling along. Only had to replace the gas tank as it got a hole and the steering shaft, and starter.

Ariens makes decent mowers that are not super expensive.

As always avoid any MTD manufactured OPE.

In my opinion a kid who cannot reach the pedals is not old enough to drive the mower. Its a dangerous machine, not a riding toy.
 

FZ1

Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
4,862
Location
Texas
About 6 years ago I picked up a new Craftsman T2200 riding mower (built by husqvarna) to mow my 1.25 acre lot in south florida (thick grass all year). I worked the mower hard (probably harder than it was designed for).

The good - reasonably strong, could power through thick grass. It had a briggs 19HP single cyl and a 42" deck. Hydrostatic transmission on a hand lever was nice and my kids could work it where they wouldn't be able to reach the pedals. Decent cut, decent turning radius.

The bad - I went through spindles constantly - probably replaced them 3 times. After the first spindle replacement I was always fighting the deck height adjustment and never managed to get a perfectly even cut after that. Deck rusted out after a few years and I've been holding it together with sheet metal and welds. About 6 months ago I think the headgasket started to go as it would puff blue smoke frequently. I bought a head gasket to replace it but never got around to it. I added oil more frequently after the blue smoke but I guess I didn't check it often enough and time got away from me because I just threw a rod out the side of the block (my fault for not checking the oil).

So now I'm looking for a new unit with about the same specs. Looking around online, most of the mowers look identical to the one I have - deck looks the same, frames look the same, transmissions look the same. Looks like most switched to foot control on the hydrostatic which is not what I prefer but whatever. Most mowers either have a briggs 18.5 intek or a kohler of about same HP. Should I go with the briggs again? Obviously the low oil was my fault but I'd prefer something that doesn't need a head gasket after 5 years. As for the deck - any models that have a more substantial deck that won't rust out so fast or are they all the same? I'm looking at the Husqvarna YTH18542, the identical craftsman T210, and maybe a similar cub cadet at home depot (though haven't investigated their models yet). I'm partial to the husqvarna as my spare parts (spindles, blades, maybe even the old transmission, belt drive, etc) might carry over.
Does honda make one? lightly used in excellent condition if you can find one or new with rebate.
 
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Jun 19, 2020
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Iowa
Second vote for a used John Deere. I bought an LT150 in the spring of 2020 and I love it. I had to put some money into it but between Amazon and the dealer I got all the parts for a 20 year old mower. The thing has run awesome this year. If you are a little mechanically inclined I go this route for sure!

Just my $0.02
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2017
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Americus, GA
A 48” John Deere or Husqvarna with a minimum of 22HP. You are going to be stuck with hydrostatic drive. It’s not a bad thing If maintained properly.
 

ddombrowski

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Joined
Apr 23, 2008
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FL
Are you storing the mower outside? That is a really short life for the deck.

I've always been a Briggs fan, since you already have a spare everything I would try and find a new model that matches your old one, don't overthink this.

I have 3 storage areas depending on how much stuff is in the way at the time - a small rubbermaid shed, a metal garage (both are out of the elements but decent humidity in south florida) and the house garage. Not outside, but still suffers the 100% humidity we have here in south florida.
 

ddombrowski

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Apr 23, 2008
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Pickup a used, in nice shape, John Deere 316 or 318.

I have both the 46" and 50" decks, they mow nice.
I have not specifically looked for this model, but based on what I've seen for sale on craigslist and FB marketplace, I do not believe this mower from the 90s is available anywhere around here.
 

ddombrowski

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Apr 23, 2008
Messages
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FL
How about tossing a HF Predictor engine on it? Maybe the deck is too far gone?

I have a 15 maybe 20 year old Husqvarna 46" riding mower. I bought is used for $500. I keep up on the engine oil, etc but am not out there cleaning the deck every time I use it. I did remove the deck and pressure wash it and painted it with pickup truck bedliner paint. Still rolling along. Only had to replace the gas tank as it got a hole and the steering shaft, and starter.

Ariens makes decent mowers that are not super expensive.

As always avoid any MTD manufactured OPE.

In my opinion a kid who cannot reach the pedals is not old enough to drive the mower. Its a dangerous machine, not a riding toy.
Deck is pretty far gone. Also, the HF predator is $900, though Amazon has a 19HP briggs for $750. I'm open to throwing a replacement engine on it, but it better be a newer design because the 19 I have has many, many complaints about head gasket failure between 50 and 200 hours.

Every time I replaced the blades, I'd wire-wheel the rust and spray with some rustoleum but the rust is moving fast. One of the pullies rusted through, so I jammed a piece of sheet metal in and laid down some weld and its continuing to live on. I figure its on borrowed time. That said, when this happened, I looked up replacement decks and they were $700+. Now I look and they are $350. Maybe it was a short term supply chain issue, but at $350 I'll buy a new deck.

I figured I'd catch flack for the pedals comment. They're learning under my supervision, not playing around with it. At this point, he probably could reach the pedals, but it might be a stretch.
 
Joined
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Deck is pretty far gone. Also, the HF predator is $900, though Amazon has a 19HP briggs for $750. I'm open to throwing a replacement engine on it, but it better be a newer design because the 19 I have has many, many complaints about head gasket failure between 50 and 200 hours.

Every time I replaced the blades, I'd wire-wheel the rust and spray with some rustoleum but the rust is moving fast. One of the pullies rusted through, so I jammed a piece of sheet metal in and laid down some weld and its continuing to live on. I figure its on borrowed time. That said, when this happened, I looked up replacement decks and they were $700+. Now I look and they are $350. Maybe it was a short term supply chain issue, but at $350 I'll buy a new deck.

I figured I'd catch flack for the pedals comment. They're learning under my supervision, not playing around with it. At this point, he probably could reach the pedals, but it might be a stretch.
But isn't one of the pedals a combo brake/clutch? I have the that on my Husqvarna along with a hydrostatic lever to go from forward to neutral to reverse.

My rule is I do not get off the machine to touch anything to do with the grass cutting with machine running.
 
Joined
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One think that annoys me with my Husqvarna is the grass chute clogs and I need to shut it down and free up the clog and they start it up again. I do have mulching blade on it. Sometimes I just let it stay clogged and mulch everything. I cut in the afternoon when the grass is dry. No rain or dew.

How does one know how good a new riding mower will be at mulching or throwing the grass out the chute or the chute clogging. Some blow it out the chute but do not disperse it very well.

All things one would not know unless you use the machine for a few grass cuttings.
 

4WD

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Texas
I have that mower … maybe a year older … it’s only had a starter solenoid replaced … I park it in an open face shed … dirt floor but have tossed dry cement in there a few times to minimize moisture under deck
 

JTK

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Aug 14, 2003
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Buffalo, NY
Are you storing the mower outside? That is a really short life for the deck.

I've always been a Briggs fan, since you already have a spare everything I would try and find a new model that matches your old one, don't overthink this.

That is a really short amount of time and I don't care for mine really well in terms of scraping and cleaning other than a blow-off from my leaf blower and it's stored in the garage when not in use.

I bought my Craftsman LT2000 riding mower used about 10yrs ago. It's a ~2007 model year w/ an 18.5hp briggs "AVS" engine, 42" deck and hand lever Peerless/Tecumseh hydrostatic drive. It only sees about 25hrs/year use at best, but everything aside from the engine oil, filters and maybe the spark plug is factory. I've put 2 chinese replacement carbs on it as well. I'm not sure how many hours it had on it when I bought it, but the guy had a very large (but smooth) lawn.
 
Joined
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USA
Remember the John Deere mowers from the big box stores are much cheaper built than what you'd get from a tractor supply store or from the manufacturer. Have you thought about a Husqvarna or a zero turn?
 

ddombrowski

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That is a really short amount of time and I don't care for mine really well in terms of scraping and cleaning other than a blow-off from my leaf blower and it's stored in the garage when not in use.
Im not happy with how quickly this rusted out either, but keep in mind its a much different environment here. I probably put 50-60 hours a year on the mower and from April-October it will be between 70-95 degrees outside with 90-100% humidity. The majority of the rust came from thick layers of grass caked on the underside of the mower deck that would hold water, and I didn't see this was causing rust until the rust broke through the other side. In the future, be it new mower or new deck, I'll make sure to strip this grass off down to the paint periodically and clean/repaint so as not to give it time to grow. Can't do much about it now.
 
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ddombrowski

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Joined
Apr 23, 2008
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One think that annoys me with my Husqvarna is the grass chute clogs and I need to shut it down and free up the clog and they start it up again. I do have mulching blade on it. Sometimes I just let it stay clogged and mulch everything. I cut in the afternoon when the grass is dry. No rain or dew.
Mine does this as well - I suspect we have the same mower. I find its correlated to how tall the grass is at the exit. If the grass is tall at the exit of the chute, it backs up quickly and then clogs. Obviously it does it more when the grass is wet.
 
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