2011 Craftsman YT 4000 42 inch 24 hp Riding Lawn Tractor Model 28856 Review

Introducing the 2011 Craftsman YT 4000 42 inch 24 hp Yard  Tractor Model 28856 with Turn Tight Technology. This new 42 in tractor let’s you spend a lot less time trimming your yard.  Get done faster without the problems of a zero-turn mower. This easy-to-use riding mower is great for your suburban lawn. It feature’s the great 24 hp Briggs & Stratton Platinum motor!

It’s Not The Best Lawn Tractor….It’s The Best Lawn Tractor For You!

My Rating of this Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower:

Craftsman Model 28856 with Turn Tight!

My Value/Cost Rating: Yard Tractor,  Mows Lawn Well, Mulches, Gets Through Fairly Tight Spaces Well.  Great for 1/2 to 2  Acre Lawns, Light Hauling, Light Snow Removal. Accepts All non-ground engaging Attachments & Bagger.

Type: Yard Tractor.
Engine Type: Better. Full Pressure Lube.
Transmission Type: Hydrostatic.
Speed Control: Pedal Infinite
Accepts Medium Duty Attachments:

Don’t Forget Your Trailer, Dethatcher, Aerator, Broadcast Spreader.

What I Like!

Half of you who buy a Craftsman tractor this year will buy a YT 3000 or YT 4000.  The leading consumer magazine and I have rated these mowers as a “Best Buy” and with the new Turn Tight Technology I feel they are the “best mower for about $1500.”   This is the best Craftsman for value, cut, durability and overall satisfaction for your typical suburban yard and snow removal for your driveway.  This Yard Tractor specifically has a 42 inch deck and 24 hp twin cylinder Briggs & Stratton Platinum engine. Please read my reviews of all the YT models so you can find the best yard tractor for you.  Over the last 2 years I have mowed with this 42 inch deck and it will cut as well or better than any other mid-sized deck from all the other brands.  You will not be disappointed with the cut.  With correct blades for your lawn the fully vented deck has good lift for poor lawns and gets rid of the grass evenly and quickly for well kept lawns.  With premium mulching blades and a mulch cover they mulch well.  With hi-lift blades both decks bag very well.

Watch the New Turn Tight Technology In Action!


Craftsman YT 4000 42 inch 24 hp Yard  Tractor Model 28856

Read More Here and Buy Here from Sears:Craftsman 42″ 24hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA Up to 2 acres

My Review:

Priced at about $900 less than the highly comparable 48 inch D 160 John Deere and $200 less than the 22 hp LTX1046 Cub Cadet, this Craftsman is one of the best values on the market today.  This model features the new Craftsman Turn Tight Technology,  step through operator’s platform, Briggs & Stratton oil pump lube engine with oil filter, and a 42 inch deck that has been rated a Consumer Reports Best Buy. (2009 Model 28724)

The 28856 has a pedal control hydrostatic transmission.  This transmission is easy to use and will perform well for mowing and medium duty yard tasks.  (it drives more like your car)

If you want a mower that will mow 1/2 to 2 acres well, handle a snow thrower, and all the non-ground engaging attachments this is a great choice for you.  This tractor is heavy enough to handle moderately hilly and rough lawns.  There are other mowers in the Craftsman lineup that will mow faster, or pull more, but this is a great all around mowing machine.  This lawn tractor is one riding mower that will work well for your suburban lawn.

I like the mid-size YT 4000 series.  I think they represent a good value and a machine that if taken care of properly will last you a long time. If I didn’t have 34 inch gates to go through on my own yard I would seriously consider this model for myself.

This yard tractor is capable of using all the non-ground engaging attachments Sears offers including a snow blade.


With the new Turn Tight front axle the front wheel track is about 2 inches wider than the deck.  I don’t have problem with this, but if you do buy the Model 28857 with the 46 inch deck.  Both decks are great  mowing decks.

The YT 4000 is heavy enough for a snow plow and snow thrower (with rear weights and chains).  Craftsman does make 4 other models that have larger tires and 6 other models that are heavier for areas of the country that get a lot of snow.

Final Thoughts:

I personally feel the new Turn Tight Technology this yard tractor changes the game for just about all residential yard owners.  For most of you this will mow as quickly as a residential zero-turn.  It is easier to drive, is easier on your lawn and less expensive than the comparable zero-turn models.  There is no “learning curve” like there is with a zero-turn. It will handle slopes that the residential zero-turns won’t.  And………it will pull stuff!

There are very few negatives with this mower as long as you understand that it is a good quality mid-sized mower designed to mow lawns well.  Take care of it (do the normal maintenance all lawn mowers need) and it will last you a long time.  I like this lawn mower for what it is designed for.  With the Turn Tight Technology and at around $1699 on sale it is a great value.

Product Description From Sears

Powered by a Briggs & Stratton® 24 hp Platinum V-Twin engine and coupled Craftsman’s exclusive Turn Tight™ technology this mower gets the job done in less time. Turn Tight™ technology gives you the tightest turning radius of any yard tractor available in the market at 8″ for best in class maneuverability. A tighter turning radius lets you cut more closely around landscapes obstacles and prevents you from the need to repeatedly reposition your tractor. This yard tractor features a premium hydrostatic transmission and 42″ cutting deck to mow larger areas. With adjustable gauge wheels and more air flow for better cutting and bagging, this yard tractor is an easy solution for dependable mowing.

  • Exclusive Craftsman Turn Tight™ technology delivers an 8 in. turning radius.
  • Exclusive 24 hp Briggs & Stratton® Platinum V-Twin engine with full pressure lube
  • Exclusive 42″ precision cut mowing system
  • Premium hydrostatic automatic transmission
  • 4 adjustable gauge wheels
  • Foot pedal drive for added convenience
  • Spring loaded deck lift system
  • Handy cup holder
  • Wider step thru area
  • Automotive type slide seat system
  • Weight: 518 lbs
  • Color: Red/Black
  • Fully assembled
  • 2-year full, 5-year frame and lifetime front axle warranty
  • Not available for sale in California

Craftsman 42″ 24hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA Up to 2 acres Buy Online – Pick Up At Your Nearest Sears, Buy Online – Have Delivered To Your Home.

Ask a question, leave a comment, tell us about your mower below:

  1. Hi
    Bought last fall at YT4000. This spring, while mowing I hit a lump of dirt (ant hill). The housing that holds the blade broke. So we ordered parts, and replace the housing, and bought a new blade at the same time What happened today, was we were mowing and then when we turned it off, we heard a loud rattling sound. The blade came loose and to make matters worse the housing which had a star shape on it that the blade fit onto, was worn down. So we`re off to order a new one – this one was only a week old. My question, is there a trick to making sure it doesn`t come loose? It is frustrating.

    • @Babs, The housing is called the spindle housing. The shaft with the star bottom is the spindle and it goes all the through to the housing. The blade goes on the bottom of the spindle and the belt pulley goes on the top.

      My first question? 1. Did you use the old bolt that attached the blade? If you did it may have been damaged and you didn’t notice it when you installed the blade. The bolt did not go in all the way and the blade was loose when you started mowing. You wouldn’t notice the rattle because it was spinning too fast. 2. Or you did not use a block of wood to hold the blade when you installed it and tightened the bolt. It was not tight and came loose when you were mowing.

      The washer on the bolt is curved. The curve goes towards the blade. When you tighten it down it compresses that washer and holds everything in place even if the blade vibrates a bit. You NEED to use a block of wood to hold the blade and really tighten the bolt.

      When you buy the new spindle assembly, get a new bolt and washer for the bottom. Also buy a new blade. Your old one is ruined. Throw it away.

  2. Pingback: Ariens 42 in 22 HP Model 960460025 Review - TodaysMower.com | TodaysMower.com

  3. Hi, today while mowing my lawn with my YT 4000 I hit a pipe sticking out of the ground and I started hearing a loud clanking noise. I then disengaged the blades and it stopped and when I re-engaged them it started the noise again. Do you think this is a blade problem and should just replace them or do you think there is a bigger problem? Thanks in advance

    • @colin, A bent blade may be the least of your problems. I would start there. Get a new set of blades and remove the old ones. With the old ones removed check the spindles to see if one or more of them is cracked or broke. Look for dents in the deck and pound them out.

      After you fix the spindles and replace the blades rotate them until they are together. The cutting edges should be even with each other. If they are rotate each blade 180 degrees and check again. If they are not even you may have bent the entire deck and will have to replace the complete shell.

      I feel for you. I once had a worker hit a water shut-off valve with a commercial zero turn. Not sure of what he hit, he backed over it again with the deck running. I ended up replacing the entire deck on that one. The cost was over $2400!

  4. I have the YT 4000 tractor I bought it last July, and have had nothing but problems. When they delivered it, it wouldn’t engage into drive after the tech came out apparently the drive belt was hanging loose. Now for the second time in 3 days I am having a tech out cause it won’t start they replaced the battery last time and 3 days later still it gets no juice, One would think for the price you pay for these tractors they should make it through a full year before having issues.

    I will say when it does run it works really well.

    • @Cyrus, I’m wondering if the tech is only changing parts and not troubleshooting the real problem. If the problem persists you can ask for a “Seasoned tech” to come out and troubleshoot the problem.

      If you bought the Protection Plan and they can’t get this problem fixed in 3 trys be sure to remind them that you may be eligible for a new tractor.

      • Thankfully I did buy the protection plan it has been less than a year heck my mower only has 8 hrs running time on it, Been waiting all morning for the tech to show up said between 8-12 well its 1130 and still no tech. This is just really frustrating.

        • SO the Technician came out today, Wow what a winner he was,first said it was a bad battery replaced it then it still wouldn’t start so he took the starter off and put on another, still wouldn’t work. He then realized he put on a bad battery and replaced it took the new starter off put the old one back on and left. 4 hours later I got off work and decided to mow after 2 laps it dies and again no power. Had to push it all the way back to my garage and now they say they can’t come back out to look at it for two more weeks. I’m so frustrated all I have to say now is don’t buy this or anything through Sears they used to be a good company in fact my whole family has purchased many things from them but never again, its poor customer service and product will be the death of a once great company.

          • @Cyrus, Your case is a good example of what a person can do to get a problem resolved with Sears Lawn & Garden. I am going to ask you to do the following.

            1. Call back and ask for a seasoned tech. Tell the operator that your problem was not fixed and the tech left with it not working properly. Tell the operator you have a protection plan and you would like expedited service.

            2. Go to mysears.com Sign in (create an account if you need to) and go to the Lawn & Garden Discussions area. Here is the link:http://www.mysears.com/Lawn-Garden--6733/topics

            3. Start a new discussion (use the blue button)

            4. Copy and paste the comment you left here into the discussion.

            5. See how fast it takes them to respond. They may get you help sooner.

            Let me know how this goes. If it still looks like it will take two weeks to get a repair let me know.

            • Well finally was able to talk with a supervisor, and supposedly they are sending me a new tractor, they said I would get a confirmation email but I have not yet, but if I do and they get then I would say that they have done a good job to stand behind their product and service. Thanks for your help

              • @Cyrus, Let us know how this goes. If they are shipping the tractor it may take a few days before it gets to your Sears and then another few days for that store to get it to you. If you originally had your tractor delivered they will deliver the new one, if you picked it up, you will have to bring back your old one and pick up your new one.

                Otherwise, I assume you will get the email. Instead of a tractor you may get a PA replacement voucher. Take that into your local store and they will get your new tractor for you.

                This may sound complicated on paper, but it is actually a pain-free way to get a replacement under the Protection Agreement you have.

  5. I have a new YT 4000 42 in riding mower. When I engage the blades to mow, nothing happens. I found the cable with a spring and “L” shape bracket hanging lose under the mower. This should be connected someplace. I viewed the instruction manual, but get nowhere. Could you give a clear picture as to where I should connect the L bracket and the spring so when I engage the blades they will actuall engage and mow the lawn?

    • @Roy, It sounds like the deck engage lever is broke. This happens once in a while on brand new tractors. Call 1-800-4MY-HOME and schedule a service tech to come out and fix your tractor. The tech will come to your home, diagnose the problem and order the parts if needed. When the parts get to you, he will come back out and fix the tractor. There should be no charge for all of this.

      • Thanks for taking the tie to respond. As an fyi, I made a trip to Sears and took a look at the mower. I looked where the cable was connected and saw immediately what to do. I went home attached the cable, and it runs like it was intended to. If someone had sent me a picture showing where the cable was to be connected it would have saved several phone calls, email conversations and having a technician appointment set up would not be necessary. I will try now to find how to cancel that appointment. By the way, while at Sears I spoke to a gentlement looking to buy a mower from Sears or Lowe’s. I explained what I had found and the help everyone tried to offer…he bought the Craftsman mower on the spot.

        • @Roy, Great! Call Sears Repair 1-800-469-4663 and you can cancel the appointment.

          I can’t wait until someone decides to put manuals on your smartphone. But not just the paper version, a multi-media version that shows the actual tractor. I would like to see videos that explain things like removing the deck, changing oil, replacing the battery, etc.

  6. Pingback: 2009 Craftsman YT 4000 Model 28925 24 HP 42 inch 6 Speed Yard Tractor Review - TodaysMower.com | TodaysMower.com

  7. Thanks for the thorough review. I purchased the 28856 today before I read your review. You helped confirm my thought since I was considering John Deere and Snapper.

  8. Paul,
    I’ve been a Craftsman owner for 35 years… Just bought a YT3000 at a Sears store at the mall, brought it home and it began to smoke, bang and smelled like it was burning after engaging the mowing deck. I returned it to the store and received a replacement (Same model) same thing happened. Have you heard of this problem.. I returned this one as well and now have ordered the YT4000 – it will be delivered next week? Hoping that this does not happen with the YT4000. Also, have a few hills, any problem climbing with the YT4000 transmission ?

    • @Dave, The YT3000 had a pulley installed wrong (or the wrong pulley) on the deck earlier this year, but I haven’t heard of any of these for a few months. You must have gotten 2 that were sitting at a store. It’s a quick fix by the tech and then they never have a problem after that.

      You may have to replace the trans drive belt every couple of years using it on hills, but the trans itself is solid enough for the task.

  9. Wtih regard to previous question–I’m asking because my storage shed has about 9′ depth but only about 53″ to get thru the doors.

    Also, not sure I understand your answer to Aerin–how can a 54′ width with chute down fit thru a 46″ gate without damaging one or the other?


  10. Paul, I always use a bagger. Do you know what the dimensions of the YT4000 are with bagger and chute?

    • @ Dennis, The discharge is flexible plastic so it will take some abuse like forcing it through a gate. Yes, it will scratch your gate posts over time.

      When you go through the gate, lift up the discharge. Then the deck only takes up 46 inches. I stated the full width because there may be areas in your landscaping where it won’t fit without damaging your plants.

      The bagger discharge sits tight on the deck so with it attached the deck is about 48 inches.

        • @Dennis, The bagger adds about 18 inches to the length of the tractor. With nine feet of room you will be able to walk around one end of the unit when it is in the shed.

  11. What is the overall width of the 42″ deck YT 3000 and YT 4000. I can’t find it listed anywhere and need to know if it will fit through the gates I have. Thanks.

    • @Aerin, The 42″ deck width is about 46 inches with the rubber discharge chute up. It will fit inside the wheel wells on a Chevy pickup (47 inches) with room to spare. With the chute down about 54 inches. The chute is flexible plastic so you can go through a 46 inch gate and not tear up the discharge chute with it down.

  12. Just lost my mower due to a burnedout transmission. Which mower (Deere D10 or Sears YT3000) has a better transmission and which is most reliable? Do both cut very even?

    • @Wesley, The Craftsman has an 8 inch turning radius, the Deere 18 in. They both cut well, but Consumers Report usually gives the Craftsman deck a better “cut quality” rating. I have no data that says the Deere or the Craftsman trans is better. Craftsman has a price war with Lowes and Home Depot this year so it is cheaper than the Deere, but the quality is comparable to the Deere. They will both work well and last a long time under normal mowing.

      Do you mow steep slopes or pull more than 500 lbs a lot?

  13. Paul – great review. I’m considering a yt400 (28856) 42 inch / 24 hp for my 3/4 acre, and hoping you can answer a few questions:
    1) What types of blades come with the standard side discharge (no mulch kit)? I’ve read about “high lift” blades…are these standard? I have really nice grass and want a good precise cut, but don’t want to spend extra money if the standard blades do a good job.
    2) I’ve heard some stories about shoddy assembly by the delivery guys…any suggestions on what I should check upon delivery (deck level, etc.)?
    3) I like to read owners manuals before buying a piece of equipment like this…do you know if it’s available on-line anywhere? (I didn’t see it on the sears website).
    4) What are the most important maintenance procedures to perform at the end of the season? And is it neccessary to change the oil after the first few hours (like they reccommend in the small Briggs engines).
    Thanks for any advice you can provide.

    • @Tom,

      1) Most come with the combination mulch/side discharge blades. Some come with the hi-lift. I think it depends on what the factory has on hand that day.
      2) There was an issue with the the deck idler pulley being installed wrong from the factory. The mower arrives at the warehouse/store in a crate. The only thing the delivery team/store merchandising has to do is take is out of the crate and give it to you. Deck leveling, etc. is part of the assembly at the factory. Yes, I would go through the manual and familiarize myself with all the controls, settings and routine maintenance.
      3) Go to managemylife.com. Click on manuals and type in 917.28856. The manual will pop up and you can read it on line or download it to your computer.
      4) I recommend changing the oil, putting stabilizer in the premium non-ethanol blended fuel and running it for at least 10 minutes to get the stabilizer into the fuel system.
      5) I recommend changing the oil after the first 2-4 hours.

    • Thanks Paul – one other question…will my bagger attachment from my old LT1000 fit on the 28856?

      • @Tom, the new YT 4000 takes a 24891 2 bin bagger which mounts on 4 shoulder bolts on the back of the tractor . You will need those bolts. Your bagger may fit, but you may need to buy the bottom chute to fit the new deck.

  14. Paul–

    Could you please help with the pricing of the 3 and 5 year In Home Protection Agreement for the Craftsman 28866 Lawn Tractor?

    On your post I see figures of $370 and $580; yet when I ask in a Sears regular retail store, or in the local Sears outlet they tell me the 3 year plan costs $459, and the 5 year $719. That’s quite a difference! Can you point me to a site or a phone number where I can buy the plans for $370 or $580?



    • @Mark, The prices do change and they do vary from one location to another around the U.S. The cost that I listed was using my zip code.

      You can get an additional 10% off this Sunday during the Family and Friends sale.

  15. Paul–

    Thanks for the continuing stream of comments and information re the Craftsman 28856 / 28866 Lawn Tractors, including your response to “Jerry’s” purchase of a slightly used machine at a Sears outlet. I visited the local Sears Outlet today myself, and found a similar machine, at a similar discount — which I decided to buy.

    One question I have though is about the belt driving the mower blades. They had about a dozen different machines on display — 4000 series, 5000 series, etc., and no two the same! What I noticed was that this belt was fairly tight on some machines, but very loose on others, including the 28866 machine I’d like to buy. Do you know if that sort of belt looseness is “normal” for this model? Or is it something that I’d want to adjust before I place the machine in service?



    • @Mark, On the YT3000 and YT4000 the belt will be loose. They use a mechanical blade engagement (the large lever above the steering wheel) On the YT4500, GT 6000 and the Professional models the belt will be tight. They use an electric blade engagement ( a button on the dash) On the electric clutch models the belt stays tensioned.

      The 28866 uses the mechanical blade engagement so the belt will be loose when the deck is turned off.

    • @ Mark,

      The D130 is $200 more (plus you can get an additional 10% off on the yt4000 online this coming Sunday)
      The D130 has a smaller motor and the YT4000 is an “oil Pump” Briggs (better)
      The D130 has an 18 inch turning radius and the YT4000 has an 8 inch turning radius.
      The D130 has an optional 4 year “extended warranty” The YT4000 has a 5 year optional Protection Plan (the protection plan covers wear and tear)

      Sears comes to your home to fix your tractor. I think the Deere only has in home service with the extended warranty.

  16. I just purchased the YT 4000 28856 for 1200.00 at a sears outlet, it had 4 hours on it and in excellent condition. Do you think the service repair aggrement is woth purchasing? Thanks for all your insight.

    • @Jerry, The machine comes with a 2 year manufactures defects warranty. That warranty does not cover wear and tear, fuel related issues, training and trip charges.

      The 3 or 5 year plan covers anything that can go wrong with it EXCEPT physical damage, oil changes, filters, and tuenups. (i.e., dropping it out of your pickup/hitting a stump)

      If you don’t have time to mess with repairs, or don’t know how to work on a tractor, it will be a wise investment.

      • Thanks Paul. I appreciate the comments. Have you reviewed the snow thrower accessory or have you received any feedback from others? Thanks again.

        • @Jerry, Thanks, I review snow throwers over on http://www.movingsnow.com. There are two snow blowers that fit your tractor. The Craftsman and the Berco. I will have 2011 reviews done on both in the next two weeks.

  17. Paul–

    Thanks very much for pulling this all together. The Craftsman 28856 looks right for my bumpy 1 1/2 acres — which is presently covered by 2 foot high weeds! I’d been considering a smaller machine, such as the Husqvarna YTH21K46, but your comments about the virtues of a 2 cylinder engine, and this (the Craftsman 28856) mower’s performance makes me think that I’d do well to spend the extra $300. However I’m in California, where it looks like the 28856 Craftsman mower is sold with the emissions control engine as a model 28866. Is that correct? To your knowledge, is it otherwise similar to the 28856? (BTW the current Sears sale price of the 28866 is about $1,800, delivery included.)

    Or is there something else at that price point that I ought to be considering as well?

    Thanks very much for you help with this.



    • @Mark, The 28866 is the right mower for you. The only difference between it and the 28856 is the required emissions motor.

      It sounds to me that you will have a mower you will really like!

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  19. i want to upgrade to a bigger rider. i have an 8hp lawn boy 30 in. cut and about 3/4 acre with a lot of obstacles, uneven ground ,roots and flower beds and some small slopes. also want ed to consider snow removal whether plow or thrower. i this the mower or is another one better. want to spend no more than 2k, i’m also not so handy so it needs to sturdy

    • @steve, It looks to me like you have done your homework. This is one of the best mowers for your size yard and future needs. This mower will handle a snow plow and/or snow thrower well with weights and chains.

      It will maneuver better than all the other brands in this price range with the new turn tight cast iron front axle so you will be able to negotiate all those obstacles. I got to drive one last week and I like the way it turns.

      The 24 hp v-twin is a lot smoother than the single cylinder motors. It has plenty of power to run a snow thrower.

      The YT 4000 is a dependable machine and has a good service record. If you want to not worry about it at all buy the protection plan. For about $10 a month you are covered for 5 full years. All warranty items, labor, trip charges to your home and wear and tear is covered. If you want Sears to service it you get a 25% discount on parts. They also give you a discount for non-warrantied items like taking out a blade and spindle when you find that new root sticking up :)

      • Paul

        Where can I find a copy of the 5 yr. Protection Plan you describe above that clearly describes what is covered & what is not covered ?

        Thanks, Guido

        • @Guido, There is nothing on Sears.com because the specifics are a little different for each state, but go to any Sears store (a mall store is the best) and ask any Blue Shirt in the Lawn & Garden Department for a copy you can review. They will be glad to give you a copy and go through it with you.

  20. In your review of the Craftsman YT 4000 42 inch Model 28856 (under Cons) you mention the front wheel tracking is about 2″ wider than the deck . Is this only when the mower is turning in a tight circle ? I suspect this is not an issue if mowing in a straight line along a curb – please confirm. I just discovered this sight & your reviews are excellent.

    • @Guido, No the front wheel base is actually about 1 inch wider on each side than the deck. (2 inches total) To get the new turning radius they had to widen the front axle about 2.5 inches.

      If you trim that close with your mower, for example along a chain link fence, I suggest you go with the 46 inch deck.

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