Craftsman Professional PGT 9000 28 HP 54 Inch Garden Tractor Model 28974 Review

This Tractor Has Been Replaced with the Craftsman Premium CTX Tractors!  

Craftsman Professional Model 28974 28 hp 54 inch Garden Tractor

Craftsman Professional Model 28974 28 hp 54 inch Garden Tractor

Craftsman Professional PGT 9000 28 HP 54 Inch Model 28974 Garden Tractor Review

Sears item# 07128974000 Mfr. model# 28974

This is the top of the line, best tractor in the Sears Craftsman Mower Line-up.  It is a heavy duty garden tractor capable of performing all the tasks for your acreage including using ground breaking attachments.  This is one of the best two wheel drive garden tractors available today and it is priced hundreds of dollars less than the nearest competitor’s tractor.

The PYT9000 model 28974 comes with the Briggs & Stratton 28 hp ELS V twin engine with Electronic Fuel Management (EFM). It features a heavy duty hydrostatic transmission, heavy duty 54 inch precision cut deck, electric clutch, deluxe analog gauges, and tricked out front bumper.

The 54 inch deck is a made of thicker steel than the decks on the red and gray Craftsman mowers. The deck is vented on the top to allow more air into the deck allowing the airflow of the cutting blades to stand the grass up better and give an even cut.

If you want the best garden tractor for the money, with a heavy duty mower that will mow 2 to 5 acres or more well, and can handle a snow thrower ……. this is one.

Specs:

Premium hydrostatic/ automatic transmission with foot control

28 hp Briggs & Stratton ELS (Extended Life Series) V-Twin Engine

Heavy duty 54″ precision cut deck with 4 adj. gauge wheels. Front nose roller. Spring loaded deck lift system. Washout port on deck.

Electric clutch for ease of engaging the blades

Cast iron front axle, bumper included, deluxe gauges

High-back seat with automotive style adjustable seat system

2 year full warranty (manufacture defects only), 5 year frame/front axle, optional 3 yr Protection Agreement (covers all of the lawn tractor including wear and tear, labor, and attachments bought with the mower)

Pros:

Compare this mower to the Model 28861 26 HP/54″ Garden Tractor.   The 28974 has a larger motor and heavier deck. This tractor is more powerful than any garden tractor Sears Craftsman has produced and fills the niche for a high horsepower large deck garden tractor well. I think the PYT9000 28974 represents a very good value and a machine that if taken care of properly will last you a long time.

As you know I like Kohler engines, but Briggs & Stratton has really produced a great motor in the 28 hp Extended Life Series. The Briggs engineers I know are proud of this motor and feel it is the best motor Briggs has ever produced and maybe the best motor for lawn tractors in production today. The ELS motor features advanced debris management, anti-vibration system, chrome plated exhaust valve, Dura-Bore Cast Iron Sleeve (cylinder liner), full pressure lubrication with spin-on oil filter, heavy-duty upper bearing, and automotive style oil fill tube and dipstick.

This yard tractor is capable of handling all attachments Sears offers including a snow/dozer blade and snow thrower.

Cons:

Do not confuse the PYT 9000 with a commercial mower. While this mower is built better than the normal consumer mower it does not have the features or the life expectancy of a true commercial machine. (No one makes a commercial “garden tractor”) Commercial mowers have 7 gauge, 5 inch deep decks and 1/4 inch thick box tube frames. Commercial mowers cost thousands more than consumer models. (A typical 50 inch commercial mower costs 7 to 10 thousand dollars )

There are very few negatives with this mower as long as you understand that it is a good quality garden mower designed to mow lawns well. It is heavier built than a normal consumer mower. I like this lawn mower for what it is designed for.  I give this mower a “best buy”  It is capable of pulling a wide range of attachments.

Craftsman Professional PGT 9000 28 HP 54 Inch Model 28974 Garden Tractor Review

Sears item# 07128974000 Mfr. model# 28974 

  1. I have an unusual problem… at least I have never experienced this issue. My Craftsman PGT 9000 gas tank shows “empty” through the clear plastic gas tank container yet I cannot pour any more gas into the filler hole. The tractor runs for approximately 5 minutes then shuts down. I then pour as much gas into the filler hole as possible (which is only VERY little) until it shows topped off. Again the tank visually shows empty. What do I do? Stu

    • @Stu, That’s a new one! The gas tank is just one big container under the seat so there should be no way that only a little fuel would go in. But apparently something is plugging the tank.

      Do you have kids or other critters that may have shoved something down the filler hole?

      I’m wondering if there is a baffle just down from the filler neck. Baffles keep the fuel from sloshing around and splashing back out the filler. If you have a piece of brass rod or something that will bend I would try pushing that down the filler hole to see if there is an obstruction.

      The last thing I can think of is that tractor has a reserve valve. Try moving the valve to see if that changes how long the tractor will run. I would also split the fuel line at the fuel filter and let the gas drain into another gas can. I would pour gas into the filler and see how it flows through the gas line. I don’t think that would have any bearing on your problem but I would try just about everything before I removed the tank from the tractor. Removing the tank is a huge project just to see if anything shakes out of it.

      Oh, and if it flows fine through the line…the fuel filter is plugged.

      Anyone else have an idea?

  2. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the (very) quick response! It is good to know about the 12 gauge frames being so very durable and hardy even under real-life stress loads as previously mentioned. And yet, even after hearing that, if given the option, you know I’d still prefer a 9 gauge frame (if possible). Additionally, because I want to use it as a little garden tractor (and not for mowing grass), I have no interest in the tight turn steering.

    Do you know of any Craftsman garden tractors that *do not* have the tight turn technology (but the 12″ to 18″ instead)? And that also have a 9 gauge frame?

    Thanks again Paul. But if neither one or both of my (above mentioned) preferred choices can be met, I may also have a look at this CRAFTSMAN®/MD 26-Hp Garden Tractor: http://www.sears.ca/product/craftsman-md-26-hp-garden-tractor/671-000927525-60269#BVQAWidgetID (Sometimes it goes on sale for around $2100.)

    Thanks again for your assistance.

    regards,
    Laurence

    • @Laurence, If you want a 9 ga frame you will have to buy a Simplicity Prestige or John Deere X700 series.

      There are only three differences between the PGT 9000 and the 26-Hp Garden Tractors. The PGT has a hood scoop and a front bumper. The GT has a Briggs motor instead of the Kohler Courage.

  3. Hi Paul,

    Just the other day I was over at a Sears store (I’m in N.S., Canada) and they had a PGT 9000 in store, and he told me that more are on the way. The PGT in store looks a lot like the model which is listed as a PYT found at Sears.ca (included link. . .); however the PGT had a Kohler Courage Plus engine (with either a 24 or 26 HP – sorry, don’t recall); and the transaxle on the PGT was marked as a G7 (with a bunch of other digits following). I am wondering if G730’s are marked clearly as such, or are they marked as G7 with other digits trailing to indicate it as G730 (perhaps just wishful thinking on my part) – the sales folk did not know (about whether it was a G730 or not, not about my wishful thinking ;-)).

    I am especially interested in knowing what gauge steel is used for the PGT’s frame (I have received conflicting information from three Sears reps/associates). And so I looked under its seat and wrote down its Model # (944.602830) but cannot find its manual anyplace online. Also, the first six digits of its Serial # are 022812: am I correct in assuming the first six digits indicates the date of manufacturing, thus in this case, February 28, 2012?

    So Paul, unless you already know (which would be great!) any chance of pointing me in the right direction so that I may have better luck in determining the frame’s actual gauge strength on this PGT? All else about this tractor makes me think it might work quite well as a lil’ garden tractor to use with actual ground engaging attachments.

    I see Sears craftsman also sell Garden tractors that have only 12 gauge frames – are 12 gauge really sturdy enough (and flex-free) for ground engagement work (be it rototilling or pulling a small Sleeve Hitch Moldboard Plow)?

    Thank you Paul for all your help, dedication and knowledge in these matters. All are appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    Laurence

    • @Laurence, You can request a manual here: Sears Canada Parts.

      Sears.ca’s tractors are different than the Craftsman USA and Craftsman Europe versions. They order theirs to their own specific specs including engine, frame, transmission and deck. The 9000 series you are interested in are made for them by Husqvarna.

      If the frame on the PGT has a sloping back plate it is 12 ga. It is the same thickness that Craftsman and Husqvarna have been using on the GT’s for the last 10 years. Over that time I have only seen a couple with bent or broken frames and every time it was because the owner turned the tractor over or had something dropped on it. (a fridge and another tractor) The frame is designed correctly so it has the strength to handle ground engaging work. Many owners put a Johnny Bucket on it and never have a problem.

      Yes, the build date is correct. In reality Sears.ca does not sell that many tractors and they over-bought for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. (They have sold through the 2011’s) Sears.ca probably has a warehouse full of them yet.

      I’m 90% sure that the PGT item # 717 860 283 10 and Item #: 717 860 282 10 have the G730 trans. The PYT item # 717 860 280 10 and has the K47 trans.

      The PGT item # 717 860 283 10 has 23 inch tires and Item #: 717 860 282 10 has 20 inch tires.

      I would have no issues buying either PGT but I do like the larger tires for working in dirt.

  4. The Parking Brake on my 7/2010 PYT9000 24hp/48″ will not disengage, I have a three year Repair Protection Agreement. Before I make the call just wanted to know if there is a simple fix. I have check for trash that may be jammed into any linkage on the underside but all appears to be clean. any ideas?

    • @Jerry, For me first place I usually look is the linkage from the parking lever over to the brake pedal. Squirt that down really well with a penetrating lubricant like Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster.

      The second place is the brake itself. It’s up on the top right of the transmission and looks like a little silver disk. (It’s a small disk brake) I find these all rusted, full of junk, sticks, stones, etc. If you have an air compressor, blow it out really well and then spray it down with the penetrating lube.

      The rod attached to the brake usually pulls on the little lever to tighten the the caliper…If you can tap backwards on that lever and it may release. Be careful it isn’t very strong. (None of these are, not just your particular brake)

  5. please let me know where i can find a parts list and wiring diagram for craftsman 917.28974 28hp 54″ lawn tractor. thanks

    • @david, Go to http://www.managemylife.com. Click on the manuals tab and then type in your model number. The operators manual will pop up. From there you can also go to searspartsdirect.com to view the parts lists and parts diagrams.

      There is no wiring diagrams available for Craftsman Tractors. You can buy a new wiring harness and all the electrical components though.

  6. Paul,
    I purchased the PGT 9000 28hp 54″ in 2009. It has been an excellent mower, up until a week ago. It suddenly stopped while mowing. It blew the fuse. I replaced the battery, solenoid, and ignition switch. It continues to blow the fuse, every time I turn the key on. I have traced out the wiring and placed it on a volt meter. I cannot find where the problem may be. Can you assist me where to look next?

    Thank you,

    • @Rusty, If you are still under the 2 year factory warranty I would call 1800-4MY-HOME and schedule a service tech.

      If you are out of warranty I would go over to mysears.com, log into the tractor discussion boards and ask over there. I think I remember a similar problem were they were able to help. ( I think it was the ignition module)

      The member over at mytractorforum.com may also be able to help. Look in the Craftsman Tractor Forums.

    • I HAVE THE SAME MOWER AND FOUND THE PROBLEM ! IT WAS THE FUEL ELECTRONIC MODUCLE THE LITTLE BLACK BOX ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE MOTOR , THEY SEEN TO GO BAD FOR SOME REASON ON THESE PGT 9000 MOWERS , DID SOME RESEARCH AND FOUND OUT I WASNT THE ONLY ONE HAVING THIS PROBLEM ! WHAT I DID WAS DISCONNECT THE FUEL MODUCLE ( THE LITTLE BLACK BOX) THE GRAY WIRE THAT CONNECTS TO IT WILL FIT RIGHT ON THE CARBURETOR FOR THE SOLANOID ( THE LITTLE PIECE THATS ON THE BOTTOM OF THE CARBURETOR ) NOW THE KEY SWITCH WILL WORK ON THE SOLANOID SO IT CLOSES AND OPENS FOR THE FUEL KNOW ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GET A 46” CHOKE CABLE AND RUN IT TO THE CARBURETOR CHOKE !””,OH YOU WILL HAVE THE REMOVE THAT PEICE THATS ON THE SIDE AND TRASH IT ALONG WITH THE LITTLE BLACK BOX (FUEL ELETRONIC MOUCLE ) AND GET ONE BRACKET THAT WILL HOLD THE CHOKE CABLE OR MAKE ONE ! AND JUST DRILL A SMALL HOLE ON THE DASH FOR THE CHOKE CABLE LEVER DID THAT ON MINE IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM !!! AND ALSO MAKE SURE YOU PUT A 30 AMP FUSE OR IT WILL BLOW IT

      • Hi Sam, Or you can just change out the module….YOUR COMMENT IS HARD TO READ WHEN IT IS IN ALL CAPS.

  7. I am considering the Craftsman Professional 26 hp 46″ Hydrostatic Yard Tractor versus the Craftsman 42″ 24hp V-Twin Briggs & Stratton Yard Tractor. I have some steep hills on my property but mostly the steep part is to get up to my shed.

    Do you know if the hydrstatic drive is different for each of these and is one heavier duty than the other?

    I want to make sure the engine is powerful enough and the drive can handle the hills. I recently had 20hp 48″ crafstman but the engine wore out.

    Thanks,
    Joe

    • @Joe, The Craftsman Pro uses a completely different trans than the YT4000 but they are about the same for durability and strength. The Craftsman Pro is made by MTD and the YT4000 by Husqvarana.

      The 24 hp Briggs in the YT4000 is powerful enough and the 26 HP Professional Briggs in the Craftsman Pro is a better motor. (Chrome valves, heavy duty bottom bearing, electronic fuel control)

      The YT4000 has a history wearing out a drive belt every 2-3 years when used on steep hills. The Craftsman Pro has no history for this type of use.

  8. Good afternoon. I am writing to see if anyone else has had any similar problems. I purchased my Craftsman PGT9000 in April 2009. It has worked great for the last two years however, last night, after I had removed the deck for cleaning, I notice there was a huge crack in the frame! After I looked at the parts list, I noticed that the frame is one solid piece and this was not just from a bolt or something coming undone. I have contacted customer support and they tell me that the tractor is only covered for two years however, I found on the craftsman website, under warranties;

    http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/nb_10155_12602_NB_CSwarranty?adCell=WF#point22

    that states the following,

    “FOR FIVE YEARS from the date of purchase, the frame and front axle of this riding equipment are warranted against any defects in material or workmanship. A defective frame or front axle will receive free in-home repair or replacement if repair is impossible.”

    Now, for some reason, when I mentioned this to the tech people on the phone they could not recall this being apart of their warranty, however it clearly states it on craftsmans website. My questions is, sorry for all the rambling, to see if anyone else owning this tractor has had the same issue and how it was resolved. They are sending a technician out to the house next Thursday, June 30, to take a look at it. I am just afraid they are going to find some “loophole”and this is not going to be covered or they are going to want to charge me and arm and a leg to repair it. Hope I can get some answers. Thank you.

    • @Chad, no offense to the people you talk to on the phone, but these are usually just phone operators sitting in a huge call center. It is not their expertise or responsibility to decide what is or is not under warranty.

      When the tech comes out “he” will inspect your tractor and determine the best way to fix it. He will order the parts and then set an actual repair date when the parts arrive at your house. Yes, according to the written warranty the frames are covered for 5 years.

      I’ll bet that the parts are completely covered, but I’m not sure if all the labor to replace the parts and the trip charge are covered. Expect to get it fixed, but it may cost you a little to have it done.

      If the tech comes out and says it is not covered, let me know. There is a way to escalate the repair. Keep us informed please.

  9. Hi Paul,

    I have been enjoying my Craftsman Professional PGT 9000 28 HP 54 Inch Model 28974 Garden Tractor for about 2 years now. I posted when I first took delivery and you were most helpful! Question: I tried to start the tractor yesterday and got nothing but a “clicking” sound. I waited about 10 minutes and then tried again. All I heard during this try was an engine “trying” to kick over… but not coming close. Would this be a near-dead battery? Or something worse? I tried several times with the same result. Also, anything I need to remember when replacing the battery as far as terminal connections? Are batteries easy to come by? Thanks!
    Pastor Stu

    • It sounds like your battery has lost it’s charge. Can you charge or jump the battery? A few things can cause your battery to not start your tractor.

      1. Somehow the ignition key got left on and it wore the battery down.
      2. The connections on the battery terminal are oxidized and are creating a bad connection. Removing the wires, cleaning the connection between the wires and the battery and then tightening them again fixes this.
      3. The battery is bad.

      Tractor batteries usually last 2 to 5 years, so yours is normal. They are easy to replace. But first, did you get the Protection Plan? If you did call 1-800-4MY-Home and have Sears replace it for free.

      Here is a video on changing your battery http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBq68Y6NrdA

      Take the battery out and then put it in a plastic shopping bag. Take it with you when you get a new one (there is a core charge on the old battery) Make sure your new battery has the positive post on the same side as your old battery. You can get a new one at Sears, Sears Auto, any auto parts store, WalMart, Kmart, etc. Don’t but the cheapest battery, your tractor needs at least 230 starting amps.

      When working on your battery wear old clothes. Wear safety glasses. Wear plastic gloves or wash your hands after handling the battery. DO NOT wipe your hands on your clothes. If you do you will find holes in your clothes after you wash them. A solution of baking soda and water will neutralize battery acid and I suggest rinsing any area of your clothing that you touch.

      • Paul,

        As always… I thank you for your expertise! Also, the link you sent was fantastic! I wish I had learned more about engine repair and maintenance related items years ago. Since my tractor is over 3 hours away, I elected to purchase a new battery and a charger today at Sears so that I can hit the ground running for certain when I return. I was pleased with the price… only $38.00 for a new battery! Sears informed me that they have witnessed batteries lasting over 8 years if trickle-charged over the winter. So that’s my new plan! Nice to know you are around! Hopefully… it is indeed the battery. Stu

  10. We are replacing a Sears GT6500 about 4 years old with 700 hours and abent frame. Looking at the PGT9000 bugt I see two different model numbers. What is the difference? I suspect on is newer nad a different manufacturer – deck is 12 gauge rather than 10 but listed as heavier. The model numbers are 28974 and 28984. I would appreciate any help – which is better? I also have concerns about the Electric Lift and we have uneven ground and obsticles.

    • @Bob, As far as I know there are no 2009 – 28974's available. It was made by Husqvarna.

      The 2010, 28984 is made for Sears by MTD. I know a few that have been sold and other than a plastic pulley on the electric lift, there have been no problems with the mower. It does have a full length roller on the back of the deck. This gives a great striping effect and does help the deck get over uneven ground well.

      The owners like the cut and power. Let me know if you have more questions

  11. We also need the PGT-9000 or better for our 3.55 acres, only, they all sold out, now we’re waiting for the new models we where told will arrive in mid Feb…

    • @Carl, That is the best estimate that I have too. I am being told the PGT-9000 is completely new this year. I don't have any specifics yet though.

  12. do you have any info on the snapper tractors they sell at sears I haven’t been able to find any review info on them I spoke to snapper teck department and they said that the Turbo Collection System that is belt driven from the mower deck will work with the LT 125

    • but you can only get the Turbo Collection System from a snapper dealer but you can get the bagger from sears

      • @Chris,

        Sears likes to have name brand equipment on their sales floor. They use those brand names to pull you in so they can sell you a Craftsman. (I'm told they even had John Deere one year)

        Those name brands are not supported well though. In your example, sears carries the bagger, but nothing else. In fact you have to special order the blades if you need new ones. There is no additional information available for that mower.

    • @Chris,

      I really didn't pay much attention to the Snapper LT 125 sold at Sears this year. My understanding it is not a "real" Snapper but a "big box store" version made by a jobber for Snapper. (John Deere. MTD and other companies make "big box store" versions of their tractors also.)

      If you go to managemyhome.com you can search for the manual for the Snapper lt 125. Then use the model number off the manual and look at parts diagrams on searpartsdirect.com. You can look at the deck there.

  13. Great site. Who makes the 9000 series for Craftsman? Also, is getting parts from Sears any better than it use to be?

    • @ Kale,

      All of the tractors except the Revolution are made by Husqvarna. The 9000 series for 2009 all have the Briggs ELS motors.

      Getting parts for a Sears tractor is easy as long as you understand the process. (If you think getting parts from Sears is difficult, try getting a part from Lowes, Home Depot or Walmart for a 5 year old tractor)

      1st. You HAVE TO HAVE the model number of the tractor. It is under the seat. The model number looks like this 917.123456

      2nd. You can figure out which parts you need three ways. 1. Your owners manual should have parts listings. 2. Or if you lost your manual you can go to http://www.managemyhome.com and print out a new one. 3. Or you can go directly to searpartsdirect (link to the site is over in the right-hand column) type in your model number and diagrams and parts list will pop up.

      3rd. You can order the part right there. It takes about 5 days from the time you order it to get to your door. (Searsparts is a separate division from Sears Retail stores. They do not offer free shipping, but there is a discount code in the link on your right to offset the shipping cost)

      In my opinion, getting parts from Sears is easy….. just as easy as going to your local lawn shop and having him order it. One reason the local guys complain about Sears is that they have to go to Sears and buy the ORIGINAL FACTORY PART. They can't go to an after market wholesaler, get a cheaper part, and make 50 to 100% profit off the sale.

      • Thanks for the info Paul. Now I don't even see the PYT 9000 on sears.com, do they not offer this model anymore? I want the larger 23" tires as I have some rougher areas and liked the HD aspect of this mower compared to the GT models. I really hate this new Sears website! I see it in the catalog, so maybe I'll have to just call them?

    • @Jim, There is a large difference between the PYT and the PGT. The PYT is basically the model 28990 and the PGT is basically the GT 5000 model 28947.

      The PGT has larger tires, and a true garden tractor (heavy duty) transmission.

      If you just mow the lawn the PYT is a good value but if you want to do other things like pull ground engaging equipment, haul heavy loads, etc., buy the PGT.

  14. Hello,

    Nice implements there, thank you for those links. Wouldn’t it be nice with a mini loader and backhoe for the Craftsman GT9000 ?, although with the scoop and fastening structure in steel and those arms etc in Aluminum to save weight / increase lift capacity. I don’t believe the GT9000 have a usable hydraulic system built in (we’re getting the hydrostatic transmission) also using the “mower PTO” would mean that the deck would have to come off?. The reason I like the Johnny bucket is that it’s very easy to install, doesn’t interfere with the mower deck and the low center of gravity prevent the tractor from skipping up / down too much while scooping up materials. The toe able backhoe I mentioned earlier have it’s own engine, oil and pump etc but cost around $5000.00…

  15. Hi,

    We just purchased a house on 3.44 acres. Because we have many plans
    for this property we originally intended to purchase a compact tractor such as the Kubota (with loader and backhoe). Later after we thought through how many implements we will need to purchase, I looked at a refurbished Yanmar. Still at “the end of the day” we both decided that the Craftsman GT9000 together with the Craftsman rotary tiller, Chipper vac and a few more garden /yard implements should be sufficient. The missing loader will have to be “compromised” by installing an electric actuated scoop called the “Johnny bucket ” and perhaps I need to manufacture a small tow able ramp, since it’s not a high lifting loader. A tow able, self sustained hydraulic backhoe is available down the road

    • @Carl, I like the Johnny bucket and it is a lot stronger than the Sears trip bucket. I too wish there was a loader that would raise up 36 inches or so for the tractors under 3 grand.

      If you have a welder or someone who likes to weld cadplans.com and loaderplans.com both have good plans for backhoes, loaders and other items you can make for your tractor.

      • All these plans are not a good idea for a craftsmen garden tractor they are designed for heaver duty machines. the 9000 series problaby only weighs 600 to 650 lbs how do you expect to pick somthing up in air somthing that weighs 500 lbs and not have the machine tip over the machines they show these buckets on are either older better made machines that weigh close to a 1000 lbs and have three point hitchs with weight boxes with 5-6 hundred pounds in them or are the new "sub-compact" tractors which use to be called "garden tractors" either way these machines always have a counter weight wich is a weight box or a back hoe

        • @Chris,

          You are correct in saying that a tractor capable of digging and lifting 500 lbs will cost $10,000 and one that will lift more will be $15 to $40,000. The discussion here though is the owner is looking for something better than the manual lift Sears sells that would still work on their Craftsman Garden Tractor.

          A couple of points to continue the discussion.

          Most of these plans are designed and built by small companies. These guys have great ideas that work well but they usually don’t have thousands of dollars extra to buy new tractors to display their products on. So to say that you only see these attachments on old tractors is not quite right. Watch the videos for the Johnny Bucket and you will see the Jr. on the newer garden tractors and the Sr. on the heavier 4 wheel drive garden tractors.

          Your point is well taken though on weight lifting. A 600 lb tractor with you sitting on it is only going to be able to lift 200 lbs or so off the front end without adding wheel weights and a rear weight. Let alone a two wheel drive tractor quickly loses traction when you are trying lift more than 200 lbs off the front end and is practically worthless for moving more than that.

          With that said, Sears only sells a manual lift front bucket and the Johnny Bucket Jr, is designed for the newer “Garden Tractors” mainly because of the weight restrictions of these “garden” tractors. These lifts are not bucket loaders but they will save you hours of back breaking lifting and hauling of dirt, mulch, and ground cover many homeowners use around their yards.

          My wife and I usually put down 6 to 9 cubic yards of mulch each year and a garden tractor with a Johnny bucket would save us a lot of shoveling and hauling in the wheel barrow.

          If you want more lifting and hauling capacity my choice for the small acreage yard is the Kutoba 2250 and the New Holland “Boomer” series for larger hobby farms.

          • i'm not talking about the johnny bucket I was talking about the poast that had links to plans for frount end loaders i did not want any one to spend all that money and then get hurt but i see after my comment that post was taken down that had links to those plans you guys should have picked that up a long time ago

            thanks for trying to make me look stupid (lol) by taking that post down and not saying you took the post down. I think the johnny bucket and the tractor shuvels are great ideas I wish sears had one similar to the one that jd has that converts a plow and you could grade with it beacuse you can control the angle.

            • @ Chris,

              Actually I thought I was agreeing with you. The post for the plans is still up (I don't take posts down) Do a search on "cadplans" and you should find it.

  16. So I took your advice and ordered the Craftsman GT 5000 26 HP/54" Garden Tractor it would be delivered 9/11. I tried to take your advice and have them to "I would ask them for one of those and have them throw in a deluxe bumper." And since this tractor is LESS than the purchase value of my dead tractor I did not think it was a problem. Oh, we were both wrong.

    Quick History:

    I purchased my on April 11th

    It died in mid-June

    On July 2nd I call for support (within 90 return window)

    Tech was scheduled 2 weeks out

    Tech calls on day of appointment. Says cannot fix due to known issue, does not come, part to be automatically ordered, new appointment to be automatically scheduled.

    Wait……….. a week or so…….

    Call wondering when next appointment scheduled. It is not… Scheduled next appointment, 2 weeks out..

    Tech calls on day of appointment. Says cannot fix due to known issue, does not come, part was NOT been ordered, official recall notice sent out on part. Part to be ordered and over-nighted.

    New appointment scheduled to coincide when part should arrive.

    Part does not arrive. Tech does not come. Admission to the fact that the part CANNOT be ordered.

    I escalate that I now need a replacement.

    Sears will replace.

    But is tractor is LESS than the purchase value of my dead tractor I cannot apply that value to accessorize the new tractor – I LOOSE MONEY on the deal. Because I am NOT within the return window of 90 days even though I opened the case within the 90 days.. Brianna stated "P O L I C Y" nothing can be done.

    Most importantly, the LESSON LEARNED IS:

    DO NOT CALL for warranty support within the first 90 days. Call store and have the unit replaced IMMEDIATELY so that you do not loose money on the deal.

    Even if you call service the day after you purchase a tractor and service takes 89 more days to declare it dead. You cannot be guaranteed the value of your transaction…

    Now REALLY REALLY BUMMED in NC and the much poorer… and my grass is still 3 feet high

    Any help appreciated…

    • @Bummed,

      I'm sorry, I didn't read back far enough in the comments to realize that this is out of the 90 day window. (Or it was too late at night when I first read it) Unfortunately the store can only replace it with an authorized unit. They get paid for this from corporate and don't get the correct credit if they replace it with a non-authorized unit. Each store is it's own business unit so they have to show a profit/loss on every transaction. (This is the same for all the major big-box stores chains that's why at the store level you can't always get the best customer service. The department managers, store managers etc. all have to answer to their corporate bosses so they can't always make the decision that is best for the customer)

      At this time you are stuck with replacing it with like-for-like unit. BUT Call this number, explain the issue and see if they can do more for you than the store will. One Source is an escalation group that usually can fix an issue that the stores are reluctant to.

      If they will exchange the unit out for the Excellerator but can't reimburse you for the additional cost……..ask them for gift cards to make up the difference. One Source has a lot more flexibility in dealing with this issue than the store does.

      Sears One Source 1-800-479-6351

      I know….. this is one more item you have to do, but try it…..a couple more days on this won't hurt that much, especially if you get the issue resolved to your satisfaction.

  17. So, I purchased a PGT 9000 model 289740 was very happy until it just died while mowing. The main fuse blew.. I replaced and it continued to blow every time I would try and start it.. Called Sears and after a few service calls the service tech stated that there was a product recall on the electronic fuel maintenance system and Sears CANNOT get the part. After 2 months and my grass standing at 3feet, Sears is willing to replace it, same model or a different model..

    What to do??

    • @ Bummed,

      If they can't get parts for your Briggs they won't be able to get parts if you replace it with another one just like it.

      The Excellerator Model 28947 is very similar with a 26 Kohler instead of the Briggs. I would ask them for one of those and have them throw in a deluxe bumper.

      Let me know what you do.

      p.s. The Excellerator goes up to 8 mph!

  18. Paul,

    I love your Website! I just purchased a Craftsman Professional PGT 9000 28 HP 54 Inch Model 28974 Garden Tractor yesterday. I will take delivery on July 17. I am VERY happy to see you seem to offer a vote of confidence for that model. I have rough terrain where I'll be cutting and felt this model would "hold-up" to that. Is it true the 28974 uses a heavier frame?

    My only concern is I have noticed on the net that many people are complaining about frequent "broken belts" on the Crafstman models — even when new. Not this model in particular, but several other models in the Craftsman lineup. Any idea what that's about? Also, who builds Craftsman riding mowers for Sears? I am hearing different answers. I'll write a review once I receive the tractor. Thank you very much!

    • @ Pastor Stu,

      The 28974 is the heaviest unit Sears has. The people who ordered it through me this year all like it a lot.

      I did have problems with one unit where one of the idler pulleys on the deck was installed wrong. The owner called 1-800-4MY-HOME and a Sears Tech came out and fixed the problem.

      I have also had an issue at one store where the warehouse guys were installing the front bumper upside down. Other than that everyone likes their machines.

      The broken belts seem to be on the YT4000 units and it may be a problem with a batch of belts, not the machine. I have only heard of four units having belt problems out of the thousands sold.

      • Paul,

        I took delivery of my new PGT 9000 28 HP 54 Inch Garden Tractor Model 28974 and love it! I used it for the first time yesterday. The only issue I had was the rubber piece on the forward drive pedal came off. Any idea on how to get that repaired? How best to get rubber to adhere to steel?

        Also, I have 3 brief questions that I can't find answers to in the manual. 1. Since I am mowing very rough terrain with many stumps and dips in the ground, should I mount the mowing deck wheels in the "lowest" position closest to the ground? 2. Are the mowing deck wheeels always supposed to engage the ground or only when I approach a stump or dip in the ground? 3. Also, how do you "set the brake" so that the tractor doesn't move forward or backward at all during transport on a trailer?

        Thanks Paul as always!

        Pastor Stu

        • @ Pastor Stu,

          Shoe Goo or contact cement. Scotch 77 spray adhesive also works but it is expensive. Be sure to let all of these cure for the recommended time before you use them.

          If it always comes off after that: On the old trucks (1960's and 70's) we used to drill a hole through the pad and the pedal and use a countersink 1/4 inch screw and bolt to hold it in place.

          1. You can and it will keep the deck from digging in. The low position works best for really rough terrain and ditches with sharp bottoms.
          2. No they are only for anti-scalping. They don't contact the ground under normal conditions. They may ride in the grass in the low position but won't touch the ground.
          3. Push on the brake pedal with your foot. While holding the pedal all the way lift up on the red park brake knob on the dash. With the knob held up release the pressure from the brake pedal. The pedal will stay in the park position.

          I suggest you get used to setting the parking brake every time you leave the tractor. A hydro may "unload" if it is on a slope and the tractor will move even with the motor turned off if the brake is not set.

  19. I have been all over the net and this town (Columbia, SC) looking at tractors, driving myself, my wife, and all the sales people nuts in the process.
    Here is my issue, and my concerns:
    I have a 13 year old MTD Industrial/Commercial Yard Machine. I paid about $1700 at Lowes for it when I bought it in ’96. It has a 18.5 HP twin Kohler, with a 46″ cut. Unknown to me at the time, it would turn out to be one of the best purchases I have ever made in my life. This machine is a BEAST, and you know it when you sit on it. It feels like a beast, mows like a beast, pulls like a beast, and runs like a beast. But even a beast eventually gets old and tired, and wants to go to sleep. I have come to the realization that I have to replace this animal this year. The entire machine is literally falling apart around this Kohler motor. The tranny now slips, and it slings and chews belts like crazy, yet the Kohler is still runs like I could sell it to somebody in Cuba, and they could put it into one of their ’57 Chevy taxi cabs.
    When I bought my MTD, I mowed about 3.5 acres of pretty rough terrain. My wife and I have since moved, and now for about 5 years I have had about 2 acres of smoother terrain to maintain, but it is on a bit of an incline. I am 6’4″, and weigh about 220 lbs, and I pull a 300 lb roller/spike areator around, so I need power.
    I refuse to pay more than 2K for this tractor, period. I will go buy a tractor used before I will walk into a retailor and pay more than 2k for a new one. One reason for my stand on this, is that I am very disspointed with the percieved quality of everything that I have looked at, even in the $3000 range. Everything that I sit on makes me feel cheap- JD, Ariens, Craftsman, Cub- doesn’t matter, I am very unimpressed with them all.
    However, after looking at everything on the market, I have decided that the Craftsman, right now, is the best value, especially since there are some really good discounts. I have opened a Sears charge account (yesterday), and I am poised to buy something.
    I can actually overlook the puny 18″ and 20″ wheels (the MTD has 23’s), and I can even get over the manual PTO engagement lever, that to me, looks like an afterthought in the design process, in other words, it looks like they got all the way through the whole engineering of the machine, and then someone realized, “Oh wait, we forgot to add a PTO. No problem, we’ll just stick it here on top of the dash.” I can get over all that.
    However, I cannot overlook the single cylinder engine idea. Whose brain hickup was that? A single cylinder is fine on a push mower where the only thing it has to do is turn a blade, but to put that on a rider, where it has to turn 2 or 3 blades, pull an attachment, and carry me up hills at the same time, is IMO, ridiculous. Your relying on 1 power stoke for every 3 inertia strokes, and while the HP rating may be there, I refuse to believe we are not going to suffer a loss of torque. Therefore, a twin for me is a must. I also hate the idea that we are now running Briggs in just about everything. My experience with Briggs is that if it’s not using oil and smoking, it’s not running. But, I have resigned myself to the idea that I will likely have to settle for a Briggs, and buy several cases of oil.
    What really concerns me the most is the trannys. I would like to have a hydro. But, I keep hearing about blowing out trannys and drive belts that stretch. I am interested in the YT 4000 #28927 ($1599.00) and the PYT 9000 #28970 ($1999.99). I have also found online a closeout on the 24 HP 48″ Monster Tractor #28842 left over from 2008 at a store that is about a 90 mile drive for me (No problem, I will go get it, if it’s worth it).
    I want to know, how are these trannys actually holding up in the field? I have read on here comments that the 9000 has a different tranny, but other comments that it has the same specs, therfore the assumption is that it is the same tranny. But, in reality the same specs in themselves do not make it the same tranny. It could still be a heavier transmission, made with heavier componets, and a stronger torque convertor. So what is the boottom line? Is it the same, or is it a heavier one in the 9000 vs the 4000? And what about the belt drive in the 9000? Is it also the same as the 4000? Or is it heavier? I was reading that the 4000 has no adjustment on the drive belt to allow for stretching. What about the 9000, is there a belt adjustment? I am seriously considering adding my own additional adjustment pulley to the drive belt after the warranty period is over if it becomes an issue for me.
    I was also wondering about the #28842. Does it have the same transmission as the other two? Is it a better trans, or a worse trans, or the same? The description simply says that is a H/Duty trans. Is it worth the 3 hour round trip for me to go get it at $1999.99, as opposed to buying a 4000 or a 9000 locally? Does this unit accept ground engaging attachments? I have never used any digging type attachments on a garden tractor, so is there a way that you can describe what to expect from such equipment like a disc attachment or a scoop? I mean, will I be able to do some work, or will this just be more or less a novelty if I were to decide to add any digging attachments?
    My final question is regarding the hydro controls, the fender mount vs the foot pedal. I find the foot pedal to be awkward. The pedal is set to high, and I have to bend my foot too far back to operate it for comfort. The best I found was a JD with a rocker pedal. I really wish there was a height adjustment on the pedal. But, I am hearing that there are issues with the fender control vibrating out of position while mowing. I am also concerned that tree and bush branches could knock it out of position, so I will probably go with the foot pedal in spite of the awkwardness of it. Do you have any comments regarding the truthfulness of the fender lever changing postion on it’s own due to vibration? Do you think with all my concerns, I might just be better off forgetting the auto trans, and just go with the with a manual trans. How are they performing and holding up?
    Sorry about asking a million questions, but I am going absolutely out of my mind here!
    Thanks!

  20. I bought yesterday the Craftsman Excellerator GT5000 Model 28947 and I was still undecided, even if the salesman help me. I was not sure and I did some research online and I came across your website. You are the only website that gave me the information that I need it. Today I went back to Sears and I cancel my order and I ordered the Craftsman Professional PGT 9000 28 HP 54 Inch Garden Tractor Model 28974. It cost me $200 more, but I finally got what I want it. I will take delivery next Tuesday May 19 and I will write a review as soon as I test it. Best regards and Thank you again for your help.

    • @Rocco,

      You're welcome. The PGT 9000 is the top of the line tractor for Sears. The 28 hp Briggs ELS is the best engine and features a commercial grade bottom bearing, chrome valves and electronic fuel control. Even though I like Kohler motors the Briggs ELS is a better motor than the 26 hp Kohler Courage found in the other Craftsman Garden Tractors.

      You are welcome to write a review here and on on the Sears site after you have used the machine for a while.