2011 Craftsman GT6000 54 inch 26 hp Garden Tractor Model 28861 Review

The Craftsman GT6000 54 inch 26 hp Garden Tractor Model 28861 with Turn Tight Technology get’s my “Best Value Garden Tractor” this year.

This easy-to-use riding mower is great for your 1 to 5 acre lawn. It feature’s a large 26 hp Kohler motor!  For less that $3000 you get a great cutting 54 inch deck, 26 hp Kohler motor and heavy duty garden tractor transmission. The new Turn Tight front steering let’s you spend a lot less time trimming your yard.  For most of us this lawn tractor will mow and trim as fast as a residential zero-turn and will still be able to handle the ditches and hills that a zero-turn is unable to mow.  This riding mower will get done faster without the problems of a zero-turn mower.

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

Craftsman GT6000 Garden Tractor

My Rating of this Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower:

My Value/Cost Rating: Garden Tractor,  Mows Lawn Well.  Great for 1 to 5 Acre Lawns, Heavy Hauling, Medium to Heavy Snow Removal. Accepts all Attachments & Bagger.

Type: Garden Tractor.
Engine Type: Better. Full Pressure Lube.
Transmission Type: Heavy Duty Hydrostatic.
Speed Control: Pedal Infinite with cruise.
Accepts All Garden Tractor Attachments:

What I Like!

If you want to take your lawn mowing from “That’s a lot of work” to “That’s a lot of fun.” this is the best under $3000 large area mower around.

This is the best Craftsman for value, cut, durability and overall satisfaction for your larger suburban yard, farm lawn and heavy duty snow removal for your driveway.  This Garden Tractor specifically has a 54 inch deck and 26 hp twin cylinder Kohler engine.  Please read my reviews of all the 54 inch deck models so you can find the best tractor for you.  Over the last 2 years I have mowed with this 54 inch deck and it will cut as well or better than any other comparable 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.  These decks are designed to side-discharge best, bag ok and have some blow-by with a mulch plug attached.

Watch the New Turn Tight Technology In Action!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zT_qAsIB28

Craftsman GT6000 54 inch 26 hp Garden Tractor Model 28861

Read More Here:
Craftsman 54 In. 26hp Kohler Turn Tight Hydrostatic Garden Tractor Non CA 23 x 10.5 x 8 in.

Buy Here from Sears:
Craftsman 54 In. 26hp Kohler Turn Tight Hydrostatic Garden Tractor Non CA 23 x 10.5 x 8 in.

My Review:

I am very excited about the Craftsman Turn Tight Technology on this tractor.  Combine the 8 inch turning radius with the 7.5 mph ground speed and this tractor is comparable to all the residential and pro-sumer zero-turn mowers currently on the market.  It specifically addresses the safety issues Consumer Reports raised last year with residential zero-turn mowers.

Do you know that Lowes and Home Depot do not have a comparable Garden Tractor?  Lowes does carry one Husqvarna that they classify as a garden tractor but it is not comparable to this Craftsman.  This model features the new Craftsman Turn Tight Technology,  step through operator’s platform, Kohler oil pump lube engine with oil filter, and a 54 inch deck.

The 28861 has a pedal control hydrostatic transmission with cruise control.  This transmission is easy to use and will perform well for mowing and heavy duty yard tasks.  (it drives more like your car)  The larger tires and comfortable seat are one of the keys to why this is such a great garden tractor.

If you want a mower that will mow 1 to 5 acres well, handle a snow thrower, and use all ground engaging attachments this is a great choice for you.  This tractor is heavy enough to handle moderately hilly and rough lawns.  This is the fastest Garden Tractor on the market! This is a great all around mowing machine.  This lawn tractor is one riding mower that will work well for your large suburban lawn.

I like the GT6000 series.  I think it represents a good value and a machine that if taken care of properly will last you a long time. If I had more than 1 acre I would own one of these myself.

This yard tractor is capable of using all the attachments Sears offers including a snow thrower.

Cons:

This yard tractor has a high capacity deck that has a lot of airflow.  Because of that when you install a mulch plug you will get some “blow by” when mowing dry grass.  What that means is the deck will blow cut grass out the right front corner of the deck.  When conditions are dry, you will get dirty mowing your lawn.  If you use it for side discharge though it cuts very well and evenly.

Why this Garden Tractor over a Lawn Tractor?

Garden tractors have heavier transmissions and larger tires than lawn tractors like the YT4500.  The larger tires make the ride a lot more enjoyable.  Ride on one of these for an hour and then a lawn tractor and you will quickly see the difference.  The larger tires handle rough lawns better, give you more traction and won’t feel as “sloppy” when mowing ditches and hills.  The transmission is just about bulletproof and can handle anything you decide to pull.  If you regularly use a snow thrower this transmission will give you years of great service.

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!

If you feel you need a zero-turn but your spouse won’t even look at one, show them this tractor!

Don’t get me wrong! This is not the best garden tractor.  There are other tractors like the Craftsman Premium and the John Deere X340 that are heavier but they are thousands of dollars more.  In the under $4000 class ($2850 on sale) this is by far the best value for the money.

There are very few negatives with this mower as long as you understand that it is a good quality mower with a large deck.  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 $2850 on sale it is a great value.

Product Description From Sears

This Craftsman Garden Tractor has a powerful 26 hp Kohler Courage V-Twin engine and its heavy duty design enables it to perform with various ground engaging attachments. This Craftsman Garden Tractor also touts the tightest turning radius in the industry at 8 because it has Craftsman’s exclusive Turn Tight™ technology.  A tighter turning radius lets you cut more efficiently around landscape obstacles and prevents you from the need to repeatedly reposition your tractor. When you add in the heavy-duty premium hydrostatic automatic transmission that allows you to cut grass at a top speed of 7.5MPH, a 54″ 12 gauge fabricated steel cutting deck to mow larger areas; this tractor gets the biggest jobs done in less time.

  • Exclusive Craftsman Turn Tight™ technology delivers an 8″ turning radius
  • 26 hp Kohler Courage V-Twin Engine with pressure full lube
  • Heavy-duty 54″ deck
  • 4 adjustable gauge wheels and nose roller with large, 23″ rear tires
  • Cut grass up to 7.5 MPH
  • Heavy-duty premium hydrostatic automatic transmission
  • Foot pedal drive for added convenience
  • Spring loaded deck lift system
  • Handy cup holder
  • High back seat with arm rests
  • Automotive type slide seat system

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

  1. I reread your 8 bolt article, yes it was good advice. When I went to check bolts and change transmission oil I saw that both Brackets holding transmission were cracked. I could not image the transmission held on by Bracket so I checked further. There is a center brace also. These bolts really a tap hold the transmissin also. Both bolts were missing THIS IS ANOTHER PART TO REALLY CHECK

  2. Hello again. As unhappy owner of the Gt6000 2011 I now see a real issue with the transmission connect to the frame. I had taken off the wheel to look at Tyranny and see what my issues are. I then noticed when I pressed the Forward pedal the whole transmission and connector seem to move. I then noticed a crack about 1/3 though on connector ( Bracket welded to Frame) I now felt the other side Frame Bracket and I seem also to feel a crack in it. From my looking I see Bracket is a welded member of the frame. Do U know of any thing like this in other owned tractors. When I was in Home Depot and Lowes today I saw that the brackets connecting the Tranny to frame are of very thin metal I am thinking of bolting on a strong L shaped bracket I bought tractor 2011 New from Sears Oulet I have about 4350 hours on it

    • Hi Arnold, Before you modify it, read this.

      It took me a few years to figure out this problem and I wrote an article in 2013 that addressed it. 8 Bolts On Your Lawn Tractor You Need To Check Now. The problem was apparent on all Husqvarna made lawn tractors. Frames were cracking. Transmissions were actually falling out of the tractors, the bolts were stripping and causing the belts to come off. It’s not the design of the frame – it’s the bolts holding the trans in place need to be tightened at least once.

      Craftsman continues to have the strongest frame warranty in the industry “FOR FIVE YEARS from the date of purchase, the frame of this riding equipment is warranted against any defects in material or workmanship. With proof of purchase, you will receive a new frame at no charge.”. I suggest you figure out your purchase date and if you are within the five years call 1-800-4MY-HOME and get a tech out.

      By the way, if your frame warranty has expired you can purchase the entire frame for about $100. Save 10% off any purchase at Sears PartsDirect with code 90055 until the end of the year.. That’s cheaper than having someone repair it.

      If you are putting that many hours on your lawn tractor I also suggest you look at the Sears Protection plan if you replace this tractor. It covers most wear and tear items including belts, tires, battery. It covers the tractor when using a bagger. It covers labor and trip charges for warranty work. The only thing you have to do yourself is change the oil, filters and blades. The Protection Plan will give you worry free peace of mind for 5 years.

      The Husqvarna built Craftsman lawn tractors use the same frame as yours. All Husqvarna, Poulan Pro and Ariens also use that same frame. The higher priced Husqvarna tractors like the LS models do use a different frame. Cub Cadet built Garden Tractors like the Craftsman 20445 use a heavier frame.

      • Paul, Can you link me to a full “Parts List” for Sears 917.288610 Garden Tractor, 54″ cut, 26 HP? It simplifies things for paperwork on hand vs. searching the Internet. Besides I live 35 miles from Baton Rouge; UPS & Fed-Ex makes it easier on time and gas~ I have a new battery so I think either its my solenoid or starter that is out.

        Jean T.

  3. On Jan 27, 2015 Paul Sikkema said: “ For those of you reading this – this is a Kohler Courage engine, not the new 7000 series. The V-Twin Courage engines were notorious for leaky right head gaskets, and valve covers. It’s a simple fix. A new head gasket and/or gasket sealant and you never have a problem again.”

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what the tech said. The problem is that while removing the valve cover is a relatively easy – albeit messy – task, replacing the head gasket is a whole order of magnitude greater. It’s really not something the average owner can do. And, with my warranty nearing its expiration date, I hope that I do not have to pay to have it done. Although I’m not trying to get upset over something that has yet to happen, I do know that if my tractor’s head gasket needs to be replaced after April of this year, I will be demanding that Sears replace it for free.

    This – and my drag link problem – leads to a bigger question: At what point does Sears (or the Feds) consider these issues as design/manufacturing flaws and make the repairs free whether or not the tractor is in warranty or not. It would seem that the drag link problem specifically is a hazard. The tech told me that he has done a lot of them over the past year. Should this now be a national recall?

    Okay… enough bitching. I really like my GT6000 and do not for a minute regret buying it.

    • @Ed L, With items like this most brands use a “fix’m as they break” because not everyone has the problem. That said, I’ve seen over the last 10 years, once you replace the gasket you won’t have a problem ever again.

      By the way, Sears is one of the very few retailers that will repair the engines. Most of the engine manufactures require a written claim form to repair the motor before the work is done.

  4. Just a quick update… The Sears tech was out a couple of weeks ago, and made quick work of installing replacing the factory static drag links with adjustable ones. This seems to have corrected the problem, however I have two concerns.

    First, there appears to be a typo in the installation guide. On page 6, step 21 reads:

    21. TO ADJUST THE DRAG LINKS (See Figure 27):
    o Use a 9/16″ wrench to loosen the adjustment jam nut on both drag links.
    o Remove the nuts and lock washers holding the drag links to the TTR pivot brackets.
    o To move the front of the tires closer together for ‘toe in’, the drag links need to be lengthened.

    I believe that the last step should read “the drag links need to be shortened”. If one makes them longer, to will not toe in the wheels, but toe them out.

    Secondly, if my tractor continues to develop a toe out problem, a different solution will need to applied. This is because the drag links are now adjusted to almost their maximum length; there is maybe one half-turn left on them.

  5. HI Paul,

    Those are actually the blades I had on when I conducted my little “speed” experiment. I do like the way they mulch, but I think its causing me to mow slower, so…… I’ve ordered a set of high lift blades. I’m hoping it will help speed things up a little bit. I know it wont make a huge speed difference, but even .5 – 1 mph over 4-5 acres will really make a difference. Thanks again!

  6. Paul, I recently saw you mention (on another thread somewhere on this site) a “high speed” deck. I can’t recall now, but I believe it was something about how fast the mower could actually mow grass. I have an old gt3000 from 2001 with 25 horse Kohler and 48 inch deck. The manual says it goes 5.8 mph (i understand this is not while mowing). However, when I borrowed my friends 2012 JD D140 with 48 inch deck, his mower seemed to be able to handle the same grass at a much quicker speed than mine (his tractor speed is listed around 5.5mph) Can you tell me why my mower would mow slower or not seem to be able to mow at the same speed as his JD? My blades were new when I conducted this little experiment. The speed difference was at least 1 mph faster on his and it would really cut down my mow time it would seem if I had his mower……. Does the deck design have something to do with it?? Could blade design (mulching vs. non mulching blades) have something to do with it? I don’t believe his has mulching blades and mine are, but I’m not sure about that. His mower was noticeably quicker at actually mowing grass. Even though while not mowing grass my mower has a higher top speed…… So sorry for the long winded question, but I am puzzled by this. THANK YOU!

    • @Anthony, Your question is the perfect length – I understand it!

      How fast a deck mows is about 60% deck design, 20% blade design and 20% how clean the deck is.

      20% how clean the deck is: Your deck has vents (little slots) underneath the belt pulleys. These vents are designed to suck air into the deck and help the blades create good lift to cut the grass. If those holes are all plugged it will cause you to slow down more to get a good cut. How clean the deck is underneath also affects the lift and how fast the deck can eject the clippings. If the underside of the deck has an inch or more build-up it will greatly affect the lift and again how fast the clippings are thrown out of the mower. This will cause you to slow down to get a better cut.

      20% the blade design: Flat blades with just a cup out on the end are the best for side discharge mowing. These “high-lift” blades lift the grass and cut it evenly. The cup also provides lift and then throws the clippings out the discharge chute. High lift blades usually have one cutting edge way out on the end of the blade. Mulching blades have kinks in the blade and more than one cutting edge on each end. These blades are designed to lift the grass, cut it off the stalk, throw the grass up and then re-cut the grass when it falls back down through the center of the blade. This works well on a “donut” shaped walk-behind mower but does not work well on decks designed to side discharge like yours (the manufactures sell them anyway) (The John Deere deck uses a set of baffles that bolt into the deck to create this “donut”)

      The mulching blades for your deck are horrible. They don’t give you good lift, they don’t mulch well and you have to slow down to get a good cut. Throw them away and get a set of high lift blades.

      60% deck design: There are two factors that affect how fast you can mow. First, is the blade tip speed. The government regulates how fast the end of the blade can spin on residential mowers. This was done to keep you from slinging a baseball 600 feet or more and killing living things. (this includes rocks, branches, kid toys and other hard debris) because of that the tip speed on residential mowers is limited to 12-14,000 fpm or so. That limits residential mowers to about 3-4 mph to get a great cut. If the manufacture designed your deck for the low end and the the Deere was designed for the high end that can easily make the difference in the cutting speed. (The blade tip speed on commercial mowers can be a lot higher. Some of them can mow well at 12 mph!)

      Second, is the deck design itself, Deere and Cub Cadet are constantly tweeking their decks. So, I expect there to be a difference between your 2001 (AYP) mower deck and that 2012 (Deere) mower deck. One little difference is your deck has a baffle between the left and center blade. If your neighbor has an “Edge” deck it does not have that baffle. The absence of that baffle lets the grass leave the deck faster – allowing the deck to cut just a little bit faster. Why does your deck have the baffle? Your deck is a “combination” deck and is designed to side discharge and mulch without you having to buy additional baffles for it to mulch. The Deere deck is a side-discharge only deck. If your neighbor wants to mulch the required mulch baffle kit is an additional $140. (It does mulch better than yours with the kit installed)

      A long question gets a long answer :)

  7. Oh, one other thing…

    After putting the GT6000 away for the winter, I noticed a spreading oil slick under the left side, directly underneath the valve cover. Since I had a Sears tech out for my steering issue, I had him look at that problem, as well.

    He quickly sized up the problem as a leaky right valve cover. Apparently, the Kohler engines installed on the 2011 GT6000 do not use a gasket, but merely a “shmear” of sealant during assembly. According to the tech, over time – usually within 3-4 years of normal use – the sealant fails and the engine leaks oil. When he had the cover off, I could see that this was, in fact, the problem. There appeared to be no sealant at all left on the engine side, very little sealant left on the cover, and none at all on the lower edge. After asking the tech if there was a gasket that he could put on, his reply was that neither Kohler nor Sears had such a thing.He told me that the recommended repair is to remove as much of the old sealant as possible, and then reseal the cover with a liberal amount of Permatex sealant or gasket-maker.

    Being a bit engine-savvy, I asked him if he would do the other side prophylactically. He told me that he could, but that he’d have to charge me for that since there wasn’t a leak on that side. Talk about a “WTF moment”! After saying as much, he told me that he thought that I could handle the repair on my own, should the left side begin to leak. He also said that the left side might never leak; that the problem hasn’t shown up on every GT6000 with the Kohler engine. I commented that the GT6000 with the Kohler engine is only 4 years old at this time, which is not really enough time to say “never”. He just shrugged.

    So, to those of you reading this who have a Kohler engine installed in your GT6000, be aware that this could be an issue at some point in your tractor’s lifetime.

    • @Ed, For those of you reading this – this is a Kohler Courage engine, not the new 7000 series. The V-Twin Courage engines were notorious for leaky right head gaskets, and valve covers. It’s a simple fix. A new head gasket and/or gasket sealant and you never have a problem again.

  8. [QUOTE]It is simply replacing the tie-rods. Go to searspartsdirect.com and put in your model number (from under the seat) Order the parts and replace them. If you feel uncomfortable doing this call 1-800-4MY-HOME and a tech will come to your house to do it.[/QUOTE]

    Quick update on my steering/front end issue: To make a long story short, a tech came out to our house yesterday. After tightening the front axle pivot bolt nut, he decided that the appropriate repair is to replace the left and right draglinks with adjustable ones. The part (587284101) arrived today.

    The following is the first paragraph of the service kit installation guide: “Tractors equipped with the tight turn radius (TTR) steering may begin to develop toe-out of the front tires, due to agressive conditions. Adjustable draglinks can be used to return the toe-in design parameters.”

    First let me say that in no way was our GT6000 driven in “aggressive conditions”. If anything, after recognizing early on that the TTR feature could be a ‘weak link’ in the steering, it’s been driven with care. Second, after talking at length with the people at our local Hometown Sears who sold us our tractor, it seems that this is a known problem with the first generation TTR steering. In fact, according to the person who seemed to know the most about our problem, I’m wondering just why Sears hasn’t issued a recall on tractors with the first gen TTR steering. To say that my experience is not unique is a bit of an understatement.

    Fortunately, paying for this repair is not an issue. Not only did I discover that the end-date of my Extended Service contract had been extended (due to a change in the base warranty), the GT6000 is covered by a lifetime frame and 5-year steering warranty. My advice to anyone reading this is to not wait for the problem to get worse. If you are experiencing even a minor amount of toe-out, call Sears and have the problem corrected. I suspect that the more of us who report the problem, the more likely it is for this problem to be elevated to the voluntary recall level. (Personally, I plan on reporting this to whoever in the Federal gov’t handles product recalls.)

    • @Ed, It’s good to hear the adjustable drag links are now readily available. The last time this came up (last July) they were just starting to off the adjustable links.

  9. Thanks so much Paul. Two final questions: 1. which of these three trannies is the most reliable in your opinion? Tuff Torq K66, Turf Torq K46, or the Hydro Gear? I have a Craftsman GT3000 from around 2004 or so and I believe that has the Hydro gear. 2. I live in California so the tractors sometimes have the “smaller HP” motors. Does going from a 48inch deck to a 54 inch deck sap quite a bit more power from the motor? I’d love the 54 inch but want to make sure these 24-25 HP motors in Cali are strong enough. Currently mine has the Kohler 25 horse on 48 inch deck and thats plenty strong. Thanks for all you do!

    • @Anthony, The 24 HP in the craftsman is just as powerful as the 26 hp in an older tractor. For 2014 the Government made Briggs change the labeling on the motor. So a 26 HP 2013 model is the exact, same engine as the 2014 24 HP.

      I don’t hear anyone complaining about not enough power on the G5500 even in heavy grass.

      The K66 is a lot stronger than the K46. The Hydro-Gear 730 in the G5500 is stronger yet. It is very similar to the GT3000’s (but it will now go 8 MPH!)

  10. Thanks for all your information. I am torn between the JD D170 and the craftsman gt5500. I have some 2-3 foot gradual hills. I mow roughly 3-4 acres and the slope is probably 10 feet from high end of the property to the low end. Nothing too big but I’m not sure if thats considered a big hill for a mower. I’ve had a 2004 craftsman gt3000 w/48 inch deck and its been pretty good and seems pretty heavy duty (has the larger tires etc). I have borrowed a jd d140 and really liked it. The speed seemed quite a bit better than mine while mowing. Is the tranny on the newer craftsmans stronger than the ones on the d170? I don’t plan to pull much with it. I only plan to mow but like I said I do have some inclines etc. I also know that many of the new mowers say they go very fast. I don’t plan to mow my areas at high speed, but I do appreciate a mower that can mow at a good pace. Would these mowers mow at relatively similar speeds? THanks! (I guess the most important question I have is durability and mainly tranny durability)

    • @Anthony, The D170 uses a K46 transmission. The manufactures put over 1,000,000 of them into lawn tractors every year. Are they reliable? In a $1500 lawn tractor on flat lawns, mowing lawns they last 250 hours or more. If they are out in a heavier tractor and you mow slopes steeper than yours or you pull heavy loads up your slope they have a higher rate of failure than any other transmission. Tuff Torq knows the limitations of the transmission but it is actually the manufactures that decide what tractors to put it in. John Deere keeps putting them into these lawn tractors so they must not have all the issues that we think they are. The D170 is a lawn tractor designed to mow lawns. It has a top speed of 5.5 mph and will mow lawn well around 3.4 mph.

      The GT5500 on the other hand is a Garden Tractor and designed to mow lawn, pull stuff and work in the dirt. It has a much tougher Hydro-Gear G730 transmission. In fact, the transmission just about bulletproof in this tractor. You can mow any hills, pull heavy loads and even pull a moldboard plow and you’ll never have to worry about the trans. It has a top speed of 7.8 mph and will mow well around 4 mph. Many owners will mow around 5 mph for larger areas that don’t need to look perfect.

  11. Well, it took more than three years, but I noticed recently that the front wheels are toeing out! Of course the tractor is six months out of warranty. (Don’t get me started on our last lawn tractor – a Cub Cadet – and its just out-of-warranty fiasco.) I am wondering if this is something that I should take to the Sears dealer where we bought it, or is it something that a competent DIYer could handle himself?

    • @Ed L, It is simply replacing the tie-rods. Go to searspartsdirect.com and put in your model number (from under the seat) Order the parts and replace them. If you feel uncomfortable doing this call 1-800-4MY-HOME and a tech will come to your house to do it. (The store will have to call the same tech)

  12. @ John L If you have a lawn like a golf course then go for it. If not, you might want to consider something else. My wife mows our lawn of around 3.5 acres . She doesn’t speed around like its a NASCAR race and we have had a lot of issues with the steering. We have 230 hours on our YT4500 and to date I have replaced both left and right drag link assemblies twice as well as the wheel bushings. It must be a pretty common problem because when I tried to order the left hand drag link assembly it was back ordered for almost 2 months. We take pretty good care of it too, oil change, air filter and I keep all the steering components well greased.

  13. Hello, I cannot afford a John Deere so I have been researching the GT6000 with very mixed reviews. Although your review is encouraging, I have some concerns with the bent steering components, bent frames, etc. I have approximately 8 acres of field to mow and my 6 year old 24 HP, 52″ cut handled it with no issues until I sent it for a piston repair due to mice getting into it. The mower actually blew up my first hour of use. Yup, the repair company created a bomb. The machine was a workhorse with just under 200 hours with not one issue. Now I have the insurance money to replace it. SHould I stay away from the GT6000? SHould I want for the 2014 model with hopes they will fix the problems?

    • @John, I be as honest as possible. The GT6000 is one of the best values on the market if you want a heavy duty garden tractor. The transmission and large wheels make it a very strong and reliable machine. I highly recommend the GT6000 as the best Garden Tractor under $5000.

      Now, I grew up on a farm where we learned that just because a tractor would go 15 mph, that didn’t mean you should go that fast. If you abused your tractor by flying through ruts or turning too fast you learned quickly that the repairs could get very expensive or you could get killed from the tractor rolling over.

      Most of the front end issues I have seen are from owners that feel they can treat their garden tractor like an ATV. They go as fast as the tractor will go (8 MPH) through every type of terrain and then complain when it breaks. They bounce the front axles off of foundations, trees and their pickup and then complain when the front end breaks. It’s a garden tractor not a bumper car.

      In other words the tractor will go 8 MPH but it only mows well about 4 MPH so SLOW down and the tractor will last you many years. If you are turning and there is a rut, tree root, building, etc. slow down and go through the rut slower than you would mow in a straight line.

      If all lawn tractors went 8 mph there would be reviews on all of them where the frames are breaking and the front ends are bending.

  14. I seem to have the same problem with the steering as others. Can someone explain the fix a little better? I have seen a couple comments where a hole was drilled to pull the wheels straight or even toed in instead of out. I have a YT4500, same tight turn technology as the GT6000.

  15. I own a 2011 YT4500. Nothing but problems over the last 2 years. Steering is terrible,. The link assemblies keep bending causing one wheel to toe out 15 degrees more than the other. I have replaced both the left and right 2 times this year alone as well as the front wheel bushings. The machine only has 220 hours on it. I’d love to get rid of it but I don’t want to sell it to someone who will have the same problems. Tight turn? More like won’t turn.

  16. from al I have gt6000 still runs great never changed belts or had a repair ran it two seasons with know oil got it in 1996 new just bought a new one. OLD ONE STILL RUN GREAT Regards AT

  17. Pingback: 2013 Husqvarna LGT2654 Review | Beware! This Is Not A Garden Tractor! - TodaysMower.com

  18. I had an interesting experience with my GT6000 this afternoon, and I’m hoping that this event isn’t indicative of a more widespread problem. This afternoon, after using my tractor for several hours, I went through my normal put-away routine, which includes opening up the hood, blowing out the dust and visually inspecting the engine compartment. Imagine my surprise when I discovered what appeared to be way too much black dust caked to the oil filter and surrounding area. Inspection revealed that the filter was loose! Fortunately, not much oil had leaked/sprayed out. I had planned to do the tractor’s first filter replacement this weekend, so even had I missed it today, this problem would not have gone on for long.

    However, what makes this disconcerting, is that it is not the first assembly-related item on the tractor since it was delivered last Spring.

    In addition to my previously-documented issues with the mower deck assembly (which wasn’t done at the factory), I have had to have the seat replaced due to improper installation, have lost one grease fitting (and found two that were loose), have lost two hub axle caps (those rubber thingies that protect the grease fitting on the axles), and discovered several loose screws.

    So, is this a bit of an anachronism or is it something that I need to worry about?

    • @ed L. When you reinstall this one or put a new filter on it dip a finger in the old oil and rub it around the rubber gasket. That will keep the filter from coming loose.

      A dry rubber gasket won’t seat and it will work itself loose after a while.

      • Yeah, been doing that since I learned about cars while working on my family’s 1967 Dodge Dart! I guess the assembly crew didn’t know that trick, huh?

      • Paul,

        Have you compared the GT6000 to the Snapper 52 inch NXT2652 which consumer reports rated higher. Or is the quality of the 6000 just better in your opinion.

        Thank you for all your great comments

        HC

        • @Hans, I don’t have a subscription to Consumer Reports so I only got the mowers listed in the May 2012 issue and the NXT2652 didn’t make that list.

          That said: This is a hard one. The NXT has the new automotive style Briggs motor like the Craftsman Premium Model 25006. It also has the electronic dash and mowing height control like the 25006.

          The deck on the Snapper cuts well for normal midwestern lawns. The customers I know who own the 52 inch Snapper deck like it. I prefer the deeper Husqvarna deck on the 28861 for heavy grass though.

          I have had really good luck with the Kohler Courage motor in the 28861 so automotive style starting on the Snapper is no big deal for me. (It may be for you though)

          The 28861 and the 25006 have a heavier trans. The 28861 is bullet-proof and goes 8 mph. The 25006 has traction control and differential lock.

          I love the seat on the Snapper but hate the hood. My local Sears had a display last year and the hood did not open and close even after it was tweeked by a tech 3 times. I don’t like the plastic look and feel of the hood.

          The 28861 turns sharper (6 inches to the 14 inches on the Snapper) The Snapper does steer easier than most of the larger tractors though.

          The rest of the tractor is about the same as the 28861.

          If I had a local Snapper dealer that has been around a long time and looks like it will stay in business, I would have no issues with buying the Snapper. If I did not have a reliable Snapper dealer I would go with the Craftsman 28861 because of the consistent, nationwide Sears service.

          Oh, one last thing. As far as I can tell the 28861 has more attachments available like a snow blower, dozer blade and front scoop.

          • Perfect, you answered my question – I will go for the craftsman. I wish the premium series would have come with the tight turning radius (do you think that will come next year?). If not then I will go for the 6000 – do you know of any special discounts coming up.

            Thank you for the fast and thorough reply.

            Best regards

            HC

            • @Hans, I don’t expect the Premium tractors to get the turn-tight. They are longer tractor and that tight of turning radius would give you issues.

              You can get no interest or 5% discount using a sears card. There is a Craftsman Club starting May 5 but they haven’t stated what tractors will get the dicounts (usually 5%)

            • About that “tight turning radius” on the GT6000….I wish it didn’t have it. It’s by far the biggest weak link on this tractor! Sears made the linkage components way too tiny. With the slightest bump (you probably wouldn’t even think you hit a bump in the yard to cause it) it bends….eventually, like other people here, you’ll start to notice it. If Sears would just beef the steering components up, then the GT6000 would be awesome!

              • @C, I really like the front end on the new Craftsman CTX Tractors. I hope that strength filters down into the current crop of Husqvarna, Craftsman and Cub Cadet Garden Tractors.

    • Well, about the zerk fittings….I actually had one come off in my grease gun. I never had that happen in my mechanic life years. I tapped zerk fitting sideways with a hammer so I could so I could get it seated back on, else it would had just keep coming off.

      I’m still waiting on a magically steering upgrade from Sears. The Tight Turn steering on this heavy tractor is way too weak!….it’s crap.

      BTW, it sounds like the person(s) who put your tractor together must had did it on a Friday afternoon!

    • I finally had to call Sears Repair- they seem to be really on the Ball. My rubber grease seal on front also came off plus the wheel needed a New Flange. And the Front wheels point in different directions. I will write again after the repairs.

    • Well, I changed the oil & filter last week, and like john reported last September 2nd, my GT6000 now blows smoke when mowing on a downhill stretch. I measured in EXACTLY 64 ounces of oil, which considering that this service included a filter replacement shouldn’t have been too much oil. The dipstick reads dead-even with the ‘Full’ line, (although it is not the easiest thing to read with brand-new oil in the tank). I hate that my mower blows smoke. I have to tell you, having had a Briggs engine crap out on me back in ’06, I am VERY sensitive to anything out of the ordinary with the engine – especially smoke coming out of the muffler. (SCARED THE PISS OUT OF ME until I recalled this part of the GT6000 thread!)

      So, is this something that I need to now call Sears Service about? Or, is it just something to be aware of in the future, and remember to put in just an ounce or two less next time around?

      (Also, if john is still hanging around here, how long did it take before your mower stopped blowing puffs of smoke on downhill stretches?)

      • @Ed L. There seems to be a misnomer in your operators manual. It states 64 oz of oil. The Kohler engine owners manual states 1.6 qts or 52 ounces. Without a new oil filter 48 oz is the right amount.

        If it smokes all the time I would call a tech. I ran into this issue this week. A customer put three quarts of oil into an old 19 hp Briggs and it started to blow blue smoke. After removing the excess oil it took the muffler 15 minutes or so at full rpm to burn out all the excess oil and quit smoking.

        • On May 11, 2012 Paul Sikkema said: “There seems to be a misnomer in your operators manual. The Kohler engine owners manual states…”

          I did not receive a Kohler engine owners manual with my tractor, only the Sears booklets. Since my warranty is with Sears, do you know if this is documented anywhere (preferably online) that a consumer can see?

          Based on the quantities you mentioned (52oz w/filter & 48oz w/out), you would think that adding 64oz of oil would have overflowed the fill spout – or at least read very high up on the stick. As I said, my dipstick is reading dead-one the ‘Full’ line.

        • Hi guys – Ed I saw in your post that you had begun to see blue smoke & were burning oil as I was last season. I’m not as particular as some guys but after cutting the slope on a slant my issue decreased.Then this season I changed the oil before my first use and put in just enough oil to hit slightly above the “add” line. I didn’t measure and thought the oil might be slow to settle so I fired it up & went to work I didn’t want to overfill it & knew I could add more later (one and a half acre lawn. Good News NO blue smoke this year so I assume the factory had me too full or it splashed over internally during shipping.Still a happy shopper good luck. John F.

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  22. Hey guys:

    I bought a GT6000 (26hp/54″ cut) late this year and was only able to cut the grass twice before the ‘season’ ended. Now I’m preparing for snow removal.

    I just bought/installed the 48″ Craftsman blade, which only took a few hours to do, and wasn’t too difficult (the instructions were a little confusing at times). I like it much better than the 42″ blade I had on my LT1000; it is much heavier and appears to be easier to control from the seat.

    I found a set of (2-link)chains online, which were much cheaper than Sears, and I’m using the weights from my LT1000 instead of paying Sears big $$$ for their weights (Naturally, due to the significant difference between the LT1000/GT6000 tire sizes, they won’t bolt up, but I’m mounting them to a rear plate I fabricated to handle a pull-behind mower).

    Anyway, I need to find out (as quickly as possible) if I have to/should remove the mower deck before I plow. I always left in on the LT1000.

    So fellas: Can I leave it mounted, or should I take it off?

    Thanks!

    • @Gary, You can leave the deck on but it will get in the way when you are plowing snow. It only takes a few minutes to remove it, so I suggest taking it off for the winter.

    • Gary;
      I’ve used tractors with plow blades and snow throwers for many years. I must agree with Paul and recommed removing the deck. While it isn’t necessary, there are a few reasons I say so. First, the deck is wider than the path that you will cut when beginning to plow and secondly, the tractor will be much easier to park without that 54″ deck. It will also give you an opportunity to clean the deck and remove the blades for sharpening (not so important after just two cuttings but more so in years to come). And if you were able to assemble the plow/dozer blade without much difficulty, you should have no trouble removing and reinstalling the deck.
      Best,
      Joe

    • I do not plan to use my GT6000 for snow removal, since our driveway is small enough to handle with a walk-behind snow thrower. I will say, however, that I’d have to agree with the statements about removing the deck prior to using it for snow removal. The only advantages to leaving it on that *I* can see are the added weight it provides and not having to find a place in your garage/shed for a big-@ss 54″ deck. 😉

    • I have used the 54 inch deck for mowing a flattish lawn and my flat fields 4 acres it is very good for that. I now have the deck off for the winter and I did notice on the 3 blades what looks like a split or rip on the blade fins. I do also garden plow with a new Shelve hitch all hand operated and that part is okay I bought a Craftsman snowplow, Since I have about a 150 foot long gravel driveway I think after 11 winters here I know a little about our snow. Not much this year but tractor with only chains and my 220 overweight body plows fast and powerfully. I have snow plowed maybe 4 times i just fly though the 4 plus inches so far great. I also have a back blade wonderful for my Cement parking pad cleans it right down to the concrete. Only problem as I see and we all seem to share is the Steering. The front wheels seem to really be out of alignment and this problem must be addressed somehow. Since I really use the tractor to get away from the wife this one is too fast so I added more mowing land next door

      • @Arnold, The wearing on the blades is mainly from cutting your grass too short under dry conditions. If you have light or sandy soil this agravates this even more.

        This is normal, I have seen blades wearing like that after 20 mows in really sandy soil.

        Two ways to fix this. 1st. Raise the deck and mow at least 1/2 to 1 inch higher. 2nd, if you want to keep mowing it short, replace the blades every year.

  23. I bought the GT6000 (to replace my GT5000 after a blown engine) yesterday and put it into service today. I can’t stomach spending another $1k+ for a snow blower attachment, although the one I had on my 5000 was great, so I’m planning on buying the snow blade (currently $250). I had the blade on my first Craftsman tractor and I was impressed with its capabilities. The 6000 is beefier than the first (20HP, I think) tractor so I’m sure a blade will be just fine. I’m wondering if I can find a way to fit the blade (p/n 486.24443) from my first tractor to my GT6000. I know the p/n (24441) for the blade on the 6000 is different. Better still, is there any way to make the blower attachment (p/n 486.248462) from my GT5000 work with my GT6000?

    • Joe, what is the model number of your GT5000? It’s under the seat. Also what is the model number of the snowblower. Both the model numbers look like 123.123456.

      You will be a lot happier with the 24414 Dozer Blade. It is a lot heavier and stronger than the 24441. Here is a link to it on Sears.com

      http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07124414000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1

      In the product description for the dozer blade there is a link to “Click to find out if your tractor is compatible”. Check it out. It shows you the difference in the mounting for the new snow blower and the older units.

      • Hi Paul;
        My GT5000 is still at the shop (where it was pronounced DOA!) so I won’t have access to the exact number ’til I pick it up, sometime during the upcoming week.
        The model number from my snow thrower attachment is 486.248462.
        As for the snow blade vs dozer blade, I looked at both of them (on line) but didn’t see a $180 difference between the two. Is it just the blade that is “heavier and stronger” or is the mounting hardware also more substantial?

        • @Joe, Your snowblower is two generations old. It will fit, but you will have to buy the fit-up kit Model# 24831.

          Yes, the dozer blade is heavier (50 lbs) and stronger. Your tractor is 44 inches wide. The 24441 blade is 42 inches wide. When you angle it you will be down to around 40 inches. The 24441 is a lightweight blade and you will break it with your GT6000. And finally the dozer blade has the correct mounts for your tractor. Your tractor is taller (more ground clearance) than the other Yard Tractors.

          • Thanks for the info, Paul.

            I did buy the dozer blade (your recommendation) and mounted it yesterday. I also bought a pair of wheel weights (26234) and in reviewing the mounting instructions it seems they are recommending putting both weights on the left wheel. Seems odd to me – the last time I had a blade on a tractor (early 90’s) each weight went on a separate wheel. I know there is another option of putting a single weight on the rear (separate mount) but I have no intention of doing that. (I’m close to 300lbs!)
            Also, in regards to my first post, you had asked the model # from my GT5000. It is 917.276020.

            Best,
            Joe

            • @Joe, Let us know how you like the blade after you’ve used it a few times.

              Instructions: It’s fun to actually read installation instructions. You sometimes wonder if ANYONE actually proofreads them before they are printed. It’s even more entertaining when English is not the writer’s first language.

              I’ll bet they forgot to put in the step:”Repeat for other wheel”

  24. My Sears GT6000 has been returned for a full refund even though it was 7 months old with 30 hours on it. There was no argument by Sears just GOOD Customer Service which I commented on to the Manager and Sales person.
    While I was there I noticed all the remaining models on the floor were zero turn. I also noticed that the SAME zero turn componets were used on all the mowers from the smallest to the largest. I guess this is not a good sign’ the GT6000 is a very heavy machine and should have a better (BIGGER) steering system.

    • That is good to know, mine has been toeing out also. Hopefully they will be doing some kind of recall before everybody returns there GT6000.

  25. I have had another negative experience with my Sears GT6000. I have about 30 hours on this machine and noticed the front wheels toeing out rather badly. The Sears repair person guessed that one or both of the front spinals were bent. He ordered the replacements and after they were installed the toe out condition was better BUT not 100%. After he was working on the machine and we were looking at the toe condition I became aware of just how sloppy the steering was. I am going to my local Sears store today to try and either return this mower for a NON zero turn one OR get a refund. Based on only 30 hours of use I am convinced that the steers will not hold up to ANY amount of NORMAL use. I would not reccomend the zero turn unit to anyone.

  26. I bought this tractor back in the spring of 2011. I had a Craftsman DYT 4000 that had a 42″ deck. We moved into a new house with about 3 acres to mow….I needed a bigger mowing deck. I was looking in the under $3,000 range and narrowed it down to the GT6000. It had everything I wanted. I put about 50 hours on it this summer (I put it into hibernation last weekend for the winter). I love everything about this tractor except the durability of the steering. I think the steering was way under built for this heavier garden tractor. The tight turning radius is an awesome idea, I just think Sears definitely needed to beef it up for the GT6000. Unless you have a lawn that is a smooth as a golf course, the steering will start to toe out from hitting slight bumps at medium speed. And if you make the costly mistake of turning too tight too fast and do the famous 90 degree wheel stop….you just bent something for sure. Actually, you don’t need to be going very fast at all for this to happen. Sears came out to repair this for me. The fix was taking one of bolts holes and drilling it out into a flat oval….to make it “adjustable” per the sears repairman! I said “no way” and made them replace the front steering. After about 3 weeks, and no 90 degree wheel stops, I started to notice the toe out again! If you look, the steer components are exactly the same as the lighter Craftsman tractors. Do you think that Sears will come out with a beef up version of the tight turning for the heavier GT6000 type tractors? They need to. I won’t buy a tractor this heavy again if it has this under built front steering because it’s just NOT going to last long.

  27. Great bunch of info and discussion.
    I bought a GT6000 from a Sears Outlet this summer for ~$2400 new. Hobbs meter showed 49 hours probably due to key being left on. Got it home and found a wobble in the front left wheel. No problem, got a new wheel in a few days and tire mounted by the Sears repairman. Love this machine. Between the turning radius and the speed it has cut my mow time, for about 2.2 acres, in half. I do a bunch of landscaping around the place so I got a Johnny Bucket set up. Haven’t had a chance to use it yet, so I can’t comment other than to say it’s well made and easy to install. I also got the Johnny Plow. So my next need is chains and wheel weights. Any suggestions regarding weight and brands? The Sears web site doesn’t specify which weights fit what wheels. I like the idea of the Quick install versions that they sell but apparantly the pair of 30lb weights don’t fit. The 50lb weight which would fit is $80 each. One more question, who makes the GT6000? I can’t find the manufacturer code for 712.
    Thanks

    • @Howard, your tractor is a 917. Made by Husqvarana. I can’t wait for you to tell us about the Johnny Bucket next spring.

      Over in the far right hand column of this page there is a link to “Craftsman Fit-Up Chart” You can look up your model number there and find the right Craftsman wheel weight, and chains. Yes, the 50 lb’ers are $80 each. You can always make a weight box to mount on the back of the tractor or Johnny makes a rack to hold compact tractor weights on the rear.

  28. I have few comments on Craftsman GT6000.I had a great deal on a John Deere 44″ snow blower from Cragslist. I wanted to mount it on one of my old 19.5 HP Craftsman yard tractor. Sorry, I missed the memo. Tractor was 10 years old and I sold it hopping I will buy a John Deere compatible for less than $2000. Nice dealer guy told me, $5000+ GARDEN tractor will be a safe bet. Next I went to the Lowes and got LGT2554, wrong again; also to many bad reviews.I needed a tractor and after lots of research, I got Craftsman GT 6000 floor model, for less than $2000 out the door. I’ll not write reviews that others have done here, but I will add few comments. I made 3 holes on each side of the frame, and now I am ready with my John Deere snow blower attachment. I will add picture late on. While I took the deck off few times to do the work, I have installed ANTI-SWAY bar in the wrong hole and had alignment croocked. User manual is not clear on that. After few try, I figured it out- “It should be on the furthest hole on the back frame; issue solved. I also lowered the deck roller (wheel) one knob down, write decision. Second, I tightend all nuts and bolts to make sure nothing unusual. One selling point for this GT6000 is 12 different deck adjustments; which is not true; it’s really 8; I setup deck all the way up, and set it to 10 and when it reaches ground, it sets on 2; so the play/height adjustments are only between 2-10. As others mentioned, adjustment lever is on the wrong side, I admit, I have a JD tube bender, I will try bending it little bit; if it doesn’t bend, I will cut and weld in that position. If anyone interested, I may post all those picture along with JD snowblower mounting pics.
    I think JD makes solid snow blower. I will do all kinds of automation before this winter. Next: Snow blower auto lifting with the winch, auto chute rotation,and homemade hard cab with heater and wipers.

  29. I have been using my new Craftsman GT6000 and have found the anti sway bar (between the mower deck and the tractor) bent and out of the hole on the mower deck. After the first time I found it bend and out of the hole I have been extra carefull about hitting things with the mower deck. I noticed that it has become bend a second time. Has anyone else had this issue?

    Thanks Dave

  30. I have my bought at Sears Outlet machine about 2 weeks. It came as floor model but I see 71 hrs already. Read this column I see question about the Hydro Tyranny G7. I have not gotten any service manuals from sears so all downloads. Manual did say no transmission oil change. Reading some thoughts from others and looking at the bottom of transmission I see a white part that looks like a oil filter on transmission covered with a plastic guard. I read U were looking into this for all of us . What did U find out? Must say the tractor is very good, great cutting and such I may write a better report soon thanks so much Arnie from Bellaire MI

    • RE: 71 hours on a floor model – This is probably nothing more than the store left the battery connected and then a customer (or two) left the ignition switch on. If it looked brand-new on the floor and also when it was delivered, it’s unlikely that there were already 70+ hours on it; NO ONE is that good at clean-up. 😉

    • @Arnold, The hour meters on these tractors run when the key is turned on, not just when the engine is running. So it’s probably a floor model that someone left the key on.

      There is an oil filter on this trans. You can see a breakdown at searspartsdirect.com. Put in your model number (looks like 917.288610) and parts diagrams will pop up. While you have the model number go to managemylife.com, click on the manuals tab and print out a manual for your tractor.

      There is a lot of controversy on changing the transmission oil and filter. Sears states that you don’t need to change them over the life of the tractor. If you read the tractor forums they all feel you should change it.

      My opinion is: Don’t change it unless you know what you are doing and you can do this under “clean room” conditions. ANY contaminants (dirt, water, dust, etc.) will lead to premature failure of the trans. Don’t change it just because it seems like a good idea. Under normal conditions (using the mower to mow lawn) the oil will stay good for a long, long, long time.

      It’s not like changing the oil in your car. The oil in your car is used to lubricate and collect contaminants that get into the engine. (mainly blow-by from the cylinders during the combustion process) The transmission in your mower is sealed and pumping the oil around through the trans doesn’t introduce contaminants. So,l unlike your car oil, it doesn’t get dirty.

      Here is the manual for a G730. http://www.hydro-gear.com/Service-Manuals/G730%20BLN-52864_P5.pdf According to them you should change the oil after 100 hours and then every 400 after that. If you mow 2 hours a week that’s after the first 4 years and then every 7 years after that.

  31. Hi Paul- This is my first post & I’ll try to be brief.THANKS for such a wonderful website! I spent hours researching garden tractors to replace a 1996 Toro 267H I used w/ a 38in. mulching deck & year round w/ a snow blower attachment.After replacing the ball joints @ every 4 years & twice replacing the gears on the steering shaft I was done with Toro. The V-twin engine also needed one cylinder rebuilt.
    I purchased the Craftsman GT6000 using the link and coupon directly from this site!!Thanks.
    All seems ok except..after only 5 hours run time, the tractor now mows in reverse without moving the egnition key to the reverse position.I love this but wonder if I should be concerned somehow this might be part of a larger issue.
    I have 2 acres w/ several slopes & lots of minor bumps and I did experience several puffs of blue smoke while I mowed the slope across instead of up & down.
    Also because I’m light on the seat the tractor choked & sputtered quite a few times during the first few mows. I wondered if I didn’t purge the transmission enough but believe it was the safety seat switch.
    Well now it doesn’t sputter as much because the ignition switch isn’t required to be in the reverse position.
    Should I be worried or just enjoy the fact. Too bad this thing blows puffs of smoke when I hit the slopes.
    THANKS for EVERYTHING keep up the great work. John.

    • @John, make sure your oil in not over filled. This can sometimes cause the blue smoke when mowing on a hill. I would not be concerned myself. The Kohler pumps plenty of oil.

      My guess is the reverse safety switch on the foot pedal is out of adjustment. Find it and check to see if it came loose.

      Lawn tractors are designed to only mow on 15 degree slopes or less. There are a million reasons why and most of them are safety or government related. The easiest way I have found is to use the armrests to stay in the seat and anything steeper than that use a string trimmer.

    • I’m sure Paul will set you straight, but I cannot believe that regularly blowing puffs of blue smoke is a good thing, John. As to your other issue – the ignition switch – I wouldn’t think twice about calling in for a service call.

      • @Ed, No regular puffs of blue smoke is a bad thing. Having it happen ONLY on a steep slope is telling me you are exceeding the design of the product.

        But that said, 30 years ago the splash lube system on a Briggs was horrible. If you ran the motor on a slope as steep as the one we are talking about for over 500 feet, the motor ran out of oil and self-destructed.

        On this Kohler if you tip it over too far it will start to throw oil down the cylinder on the downhill side (blue smoke) but the oil pump is still pumping enough oil to the other areas of the motor so it won’t blow up like the old Briggs used to.

        • Thanks All for the speedy replies…Yeah the smoke puffs only on the slope and worse if I lean on one side or other can’t remember which. My Toro didn’t do that but maybe that’s why I ended up rebuilding one of the cylinders?.
          It’s a non issue if I drive straight up the incline which is what I’ll do from now on. I was looking to find out if that had anything to do with the reverse switch no longer being necessary & the fact that I can zip over bumps w/out it sputtering anymore.
          I did get hung up on a tree root once; this deck is low & I always use settings of 10-12 the max height.All said I’m quite pleased!Thanks all!

          • @John: Regarding your deck height seeming low, yours may have been incorrectly installed the same way mine was. See item #12 in my post below dated August 7th. There is an issue with improperly trained mechanics installing the anti-sway bar into the wrong hole on the frame. This causes the deck to not raise all the way up.

  32. Paul,
    Please send a reply. Has Sears discontinued the 9500? If so, what will be their next move? I have read that there are a few 9500’s on liquidation sales around Sears for about $4100.
    Thanks,
    Tony

    • @Tony, I wish I had the need for a GT9500. I’d grab one immediately at that price.

      It seems Craftsman has decided to discount the Craftsman Professional line at this time. I can see that the YT and
      GT lines have been by far the most popular this year so it makes sense to get the overstock of the Professional line out of the warehouses.

      I personally won’t know what Craftsman is up to until you do and I don’t expect them to announce their plans until late January 2012. I can’t wait to find out!

  33. I wanted to post some additional, updating comments regarding my experiences with this mower (GT6000 w/54 inch deck). (Sorry for the length, but I’ve never been accused of being terse.)

    My wife & I purchased it this year, just prior to the cutting season here in WV. Since then, I have put almost 25 hours on it, and now feel comfortable that I have identified many of the pros & cons of this garden tractor… at least those that are immediately obvious, anyway. (Readers of this blog will probably notice that some of this is a repeat from previous posts).

    Let me say from the start that this tractor is a significant improvement over our previous lawn tractor – a 2004 Cub Cadet LT1018. I would highly recommend anyone considering a lawn or garden tractor to seriously look into the Sears line. And, if your needs fit into a heavy-duty, non-commercial garden tractor, I would put this one at (or near) the top of your short list. Like all mechanical devices, this machine isn’t perfect. In fact, looking at my seemingly long list of issues, all are relatively minor and none of them is terribly serious when weighed against the fact that this is a solidly made and truly affordable machine backed by Sears. It is around a grand less expensive than its closest competitor. The only reason that I can see spending that extra dough for is that you want the cachet that goes along with that brand’s green & yellow color scheme. 😉

    The Turn Tight steering, the tractor’s higher speed and the larger deck (my Cub Cadet was only 42″) have all combined to significantly reduce my cut time (by at least 40-50%!).

    Okay, first the pluses:

    1. To no one’s surprise, this is a very FAST tractor. Many times, I find myself just zipping along at easily twice the speed of my previous machine. On a lark, I had a friend (who is in LE) check the speed on a flat surface and the average top speed was 8mph, with a top speed of 9mph; the rated speed of 7.5mph is an accurate specification.
    2. The Turn Tight steering continues to impress me. I have easily knocked at least 30 minutes off of my total cut time in just this feature alone.
    3. The hydrostatic transmission is much smoother and easier to operate than the one on my previous tractor. Unless I’m careless, there is no jerking and the transition from slow to high speeds and back is imperceptible. The transmission is more than up to the task of cutting our large not-even-close-to-level yard. There are several sections that our previous tractor just couldn’t handle, especially if the grass was even the slightest bit moist. This machine has yet to slip or slide anywhere. And, due to its extra mass, I actually feel more secure than ever.
    4. The three-blade 54-inch deck is more than up to the task of my grass – even when it’s a bit high and/or wet. (Especially now that it’s properly adjusted and leveled.) The high lift blades did an above-average job of cutting and blowing the grass out of the chute. And the recently installed mulching blades do an even nicer job. With the exception of really high grass, there’s little-to-none of the clumping or residue lines inherent to mulching setups.
    5. Although not unique to this tractor, the service we received from the in-field technician sent out to look into our mowing deck issues was well above-average. He was a consummate professional, knowledgeable and quickly identified that there was, in fact, a problem with the way in which our tractor had been assembled by the local Hometown Sears. (FWIW, I had looked at the part in question several times and didn’t realize that it was installed incorrectly; more on this under “cons”. See #11 below.)
    6. To paraphrase Paul in his comments, this tractor has elevated my mowing task from just another chore to “That’s a lot of fun”.

    Okay, now the minuses:

    7. One drawback to this tractor’s speed and Turn Tight steering is that the operator must be constantly aware of how tight s/he is turning in relation to not only speed, but also the pitch of the ground. On more than one occasion, I have come to an abrupt halt, (or nearly so), when trying to cut a turn too tight for the speed or angle of the ground (the latter is much more of a problem going uphill than downhill). While not a design flaw of any kind, it is something that new operators need to be aware of. I can imagine that as Sears sell more and more machines with this steering system, that they will get more issues with broken front-ends.
    8. Related to item #7, is the fact that because of the tighter turning radius, there are times when the mower can actually pull a tighter uphill turn than the mowing deck can. This causes the deck to tear into the turf. Because of this, and due to the nature of my yard, I have had to alter my cutting pattern to always cut two specific sections of the yard moving downhill only.
    9. This tractor rides pretty roughly – even on relatively smooth turf. Of course, this is directly attributable to the fact that there really isn’t any kind of ‘suspension’ on it. OTOH, I was kind of expecting the ride to be at least smoother than the smaller (less massive) Cub Cadet I previously owned.
    10. The deck height adjustment lever is clearly on the wrong side of this tractor. As previously commented about, in its current location, it’s all but impossible to get off the tractor with the lever in anything but the fully raised position. And, even with it placed there, it’s incredibly easy to get hung up on it – especially if the operator is wearing shorts. Since I don’t have a bagger attached, it’s simple enough to get off to the right, although this has required quite a bit of body-memory retraining.
    11. As discussed by Paul previously in this blog, these decks are engineered to side-discharge first, with mulching sort of as a second thought. My experience has mirrored what Paul says in his review: There is a fair amount of blow-back experienced with the mulch plug installed. My only quibble with his assessment is that it happens with all mowing conditions, not just dry. If you mulch cut, be prepared for your lower legs (especially the right one) to be coated in fine grass particulate.
    12. Much of my consternation with this mower has been directly attributed to the fact that after almost 5 months of cutting, a Sears technician FINALLY agreed with me that the deck had been installed incorrectly. Once this was corrected, my cutting experience changed significantly. Apparently, the Hometown Sears mechanic who uncrated my mower failed to properly install the anti-sway bar at the rear of the deck. This caused the deck to be slightly offset and resulted in improper operation of the lift mechanism. Additionally, since the deck was “leveled” to this incorrect installation, when the lawn was cut in anything but the fully raised position, it actually wasn’t level. According to the field technician Sears sent out, this is apparently a common mistake with this particular mower; he indicated that Sears changed the hole locations on the frame at some point in the recent past and “not everyone got or read the memo”. 😉
    13. That said, I still have one minor issue with the way the 54 inch deck is engineered. According to everything that I’ve read and been told, the gauge wheels are designed to keep the deck from digging into the lawn. I understand that I can lower them from the stock position, but based upon my observation of how this thing moves, they appear to be manufactured too far away from the front corners of the deck. Even in a lower position, the corner of the deck still hits the ground *before* either gauge wheel engages the surface to prevent tearing up the turf. In my case, this is a minor issue, as I know where all the problem areas are and can proactively raise the deck slightly to avoid problems. (Now, I just have to get the grass to grow in those spots again.)
    14. Even after having the deck re-installed correctly and leveled by the field technician the mower deck *still* doesn’t travel over the full range of settings indicated by the adjustment lever. While I now get the get to smoothly raise to the highest point, it still ‘bottoms out’ before the lever reaches the lowest two settings. The field technician said that this is just the way it is with the GT6000. He/we fiddled with the deck leveling settings for the better part of an hour and couldn’t get it any better.
    15. I am switching a previous “pro” to “con” my feelings on the quick-connect washout port. I have religiously used this feature every time I’ve cut the grass, allowing the water to flow until it blows out clean and not green. Yet, when I recently removed the deck to install the mulching kit, the underside of the deck was in terrible condition. It’s obvious to me that this feature is designed only to be a temporary substitute to regular deck removal and serious cleaning. In fact, I would caution anyone reading this that if they rely solely on the hose bib to clean their deck, they are courting with problems down the line (such as severely clogged spindle vents). Which makes my next “con” even more important…
    16. One last thing about the deck system: I still contend that the deck suspension system has been over-designed. Other than the lever-and-spring mechanism to relieve tension on the drive belt, there is nothing about deck removal/installation on this tractor that is simple. With half a dozen spring clips and associated washers to remove, retain and then reinstall – and risk breaking or losing – the engineers at Sears R&D need to seriously rethink this one. (I’m thinking that I will want to have at least a couple ‘hot’ spares of each of the two sizes on-hand, just in case.) I’m not anywhere near a novice when it comes to mechanical stuff, but I have to say that I actually dread removing the deck.
    17. I will say that not everything about dealing with Sears service was a positive. After finally deciding to contact Sears warranty repair and get a technician out, I encountered two problems. The first is that the auto-scheduling system failed to recognize that our machine and location qualified for a field visit. I had to wait on hold for almost 20 minutes to speak with a human, who confirmed that we could have a tech come out. This raised the second issue: The soonest available slot was more than 3 weeks from the date/time of my call. Had this been truly an emergency, I’d be S.O.L. (To be fair, even bringing a machine into a service center doesn’t guarantee immediate response, but I doubt that we would have had to wait three weeks.)

    • @ed, I have just one question. Did you reduce the air pressure in the tires to 14 lbs.? When it comes from the factory the tires are over inflated.

      • I did reduce the pressure in the tires, not to 14, but to the PSI marked on the tires. Off the top of my head, I believe it was 12 on the rear and 10 on the front.

  34. I bought a Sears GT6000 about a month ago and have mowed with it three times. The first two times the ground and grass was wet and mowing conditions was less than perfect. I wanted to reserve my comments until after I had a change to mow a dry lawn. The mower works GREAT on flat ground. The turn tight feature is nice on the flat ground. On hilly uneven ground the mower has issues pushing the 54 inch deck, the tires break traction OFTEN. The turn tight feature on the hilly uneven ground is useless. The mower truly is worth the money, someone just needs to be aware of it’s performance on hilly ground.

  35. Well a follow up to the post made on feb 27th or about that date. Had the gt 6000 delivered last thursday after paying the layaway off and took it for a spin around the yard. It was just the best money can buy! Better than the over priced deere or any other brand. A quick note if no one has mentioned or perhaps a copy of someone else’s post. 1) Remember that if you need new blades at any time, go to a fleet farm or other store that sells the husqvarna brand as the blades are about $27 instead of the $50+ at sears. Remember to cross reference and you should save even more money. I am sure Paul can shed lite to the other things that may cost less than going to sears. They sell a great lawn mower and try to get the money out of you perhaps on the other things you will need. Alot like buying a car and paying for a warranty you will more than likely never use as most cars have 5 or 6 year 100,000 mile warranties to start with. Be wise shoppers folks. Thanks again Paulyou are spot on on this mower! Rob

  36. Got this baby delivered last Friday and I have to say, Ive never liked mowing my 2+ acres more than I do now…Wow…Love everything about this mower!!, 54″ cut, turn-tight steering, speed. Can’t wait to really use it along with the attachments. Thanks for the great recommendation Paul!

  37. Some new comments now that I have had the tractor a few weeks.

    This tractor cuts like a dream compared to my 24 year old Crafsman GTII. The hydrostatic drive is fantastic.

    As far as complaints, the seat is a bit hard to get out of once in, relative to the left side and the deck height lever.

    This tractor turns on a dime, so much so, that the first time I cut with it I turned too sharp next to a tree trunk and caught the left outer deck roller and bent it to the point of not spinning. The spacer washer was bent so it was relatively easy to fix. Learned I had to be a lot more careful while manuevering.

    I’ll update as I put more hours on.

    • @Mark: I’m glad that I’m not the only one who thinks that the designers screwed up the placement of the deck height lever. (See my earlier post on this topic.) I can tell you that since I don’t have a bagger attached, it’s simple enough to get off on the right. (Although, for the past 7 years, it’s been on the left of my Cub Cadet, so it has required a bit of body-memory retraining.)

      Also, I know what you mean about the sharp turning thing. I didn’t do anything quite so severe, but there were a few times in the beginning, when I did lurch to a stop when I tried to turn too sharply at too great a speed! OTOH, the Turn Tight, the tractor’s high speed and the larger deck (my Cub Cadet was only 42″) have significantly reduced my cut time (by at least 40-50%!).

  38. I’m considering purchasing the GT6000 and went to look at them at my local Sears store last night. The one thing I noticed that gave me some concern was the fuel cap said “E10 Fuel”, which I can’t get in Michigan. I inquired about the warranty on this tractor and the “E10″ issue and he said basically, if I were to use E15 fuel (which is what is available in Michigan), it would void out the warranty. What sense does that make???

    • @Plannerrob, You have E-15 available already? Please read this article: http://fixitherself.com/blog/2011/05/20/ethanol-will-kill-your-engine/.

      You can’t use E-15 fuel in ANY small engine. The E-15 fuel is designed for ONLY specific cars and trucks built after 2007. I repeat, DO NOT PUT E-15 FUEL IN ANY SMALL ENGINE. You will ruin, destroy, wreck, and just plain trash the motor.

      E-15 fuel effectively obsoletes every small engine ever made in the U.S. If E=15 is all you can get for fuel, you will have to get out the scissors or electric clipper to mow your lawn from now on.

      • Well, Im just going on what the guy at Sears told me last night. Guess I never really paid much attention to the ethanol content of the gas I use, and he may have told me wrong info, but I am going to double check on this when I get gas this afternoon. I regularly use Stabil in my gas cans for my lawn equipment and my generator and snow blower and have never had a problem.

        • OK…talked to the guy again this afternoon…He was talking about E-85 fuel (15% gas), not E15…which makes a whole lot more sense. I guess I hadn’t realized that most if not all gas here in MI is 10% ethanol.

          • @Plannerrob, Good, E-15 was approved by Congress, but the last I heard there was a hold on implementing it. Yes, E-85 should not be used unless the car or truck specifically is labled flex-fuel

            • Yeah, the biggest problem is that, (as you said), it completely obsoletes every non-automotive gasoline engine in use today – includes those on most boats. I talked (briefly) with my the Representative from my district about this and she didn’t seem overly sympathetic, basically taking the approach that those of us with non-compliant engines will just have to upgrade when the folks at Briggs & Stratton get around to coming out with something new. Well, I guess you know who I won’t be voting for next time around, eh?

              • @Ed L, Yea, they want us to go all electric. Too bad they won’t get the nuclear power program back on track.

        • @Plannerrob, Ok, let me know please if you have E-10 or E-15. Do you have ethanol free premium available?

  39. I received the GT 6000 yesterday and I noticed today that the front wheels point inward. If you make one wheel straight the other points in a lot.
    Also the bar under the front that the wheels attach too is very loose when you turn the wheels it move forward and back hitting the c-channel piece over it and makes noise.
    It seems really loose to me. I have a 10 year old Troy bilt and it does not do that.
    Sears will come and look at it.
    Question is this normal? A lady was telling me this is normal.
    Thanks for your time

    • @ Jim, I think you are talking about the u-bracket where the front axle attaches to the frame. This channel allows the axle to move up and down. There is some play in this joint, but what you explain is excessive.

      I hear every once-in-a-while of a GT6000 coming from the factory with too much play there. The tech usually tightens the nut that hold it all together and the problem is fixed.

      • Got mine the other day and it is doing the same thing. The front wheels point inward. Is there away to adjust the front alignment? I can not find anything in any manuals? Also my steering wheel is not straight. I’m guessing after I adjust the wheels it might straighten my steering wheel. Let me know what you think.

        • @Joel, I missed you question yesterday. How far to they point in? With the new steering geometry the wheels need a little toe-in to allow them to turn sharp. Does it scuff your lawn when you mow? If not, I would say leave them alone.

          Send me a picture if you are still unsure and let me see how much toe-in you are concerned about.

  40. Hi Paul:

    Please bear with me as well; I do get to a question eventually!

    I live in the country and currently mow with a 42″ Troybilt Super Bronco bought approximately 5 years ago. I cover about 2 acres currently, of which a little more than half is irrigated and fertilized (although the smoothness could be better – the moles wreaked havoc a couple of years back) and the rest is old farm pasture. I could easily annex another 1-2 acres of pasture land (complete with a labyrinth of mole tunnels) but have been reluctant to do so because it already takes too much time each week to tend what I already do. Last season I went as far as demoing a Toro Titan and a Toro Z400 because I was fed up with how long my mowing takes. However, the price points forced me to hold off.

    Well, another season is upon us and I’m still in the same boat. I got to thinking about those Toro’s again, but price and the inability to pull attachments (I currently use a utility cart, and a lawn roller, but would like to add a dethatcher and core aerator to my arsenal) has me holding off. I really don’t want to maintain my Troybilt for just 3-4 uses per year.

    So, it was with great interest that I read your review of the GT6000. I thought hey, this might be the perfect compromise for me. I can mow additional acres, still pull attachments, and maybe at least stay even on the mowing time. I ran off to Sears to check it out. Wow, it’s tall compared to my Troybilt! Which leads me to my question.

    When we built our house a few years back we couldn’t dig the basement in very far due to a relatively high water table. So we dug a pond and backfilled the house with 6 feet plus of clean fill sand. For the most part the slopes are of little concern (we didn’t want the house to look like it was built on a pimple, so they mined sand for over a week) but there is one area where I would say that the slope falls in the 30 degree range. When I mow across it I tend to “hike out” a bit to subconsciously balance the machine. I’ve never felt the machine tip or lose traction on either wet or dry grass. But when I looked at how much taller the GT6000 is then my Troybilt it made me pause.

    So what do you think?

    Thanks in advance for your opinion.

    • @Brian, It really isn’t that much higher than the other tractors. The height primarily comes from the larger rims. But to make you feel better about using it…..it is probably 250 lbs heavier than your Troy-Bilt. A heavier, stronger transmission, a heavier, bigger motor will all make the tractor as stable if not more than your old mower.

      Of course I can’t tell you that you can mow at 30 degrees, but I would feel comfortable hanging out on the edge of the seat. If the slope bothered me too much I would mow it diagonally or find (make) a set of 2 inch stud extensions for the rear axle.

      Yes, for the price I like this tractor. The trans is strong enough to pull an Acrease Brush or wing mower or just about anything else you want to pull. The engine is my favorite Kohler and I personally have gotten over 1500 out of these without a wimper. With the new Turn Tight Steering and 7.5 mph ground speed I can’t find an better tractor for 2 to 5 acres, hauling, and generally putzing around for under $3000.

  41. I Left a post earlier but it disappeared. I am trying to find out if I should be getting the GT 6000. I purchased the model #28947 from Sears and they are to deliver it on Wednesday. The salesman sold me on this tractor before I did any proper research. I was told the sale was ending and if I wanted to I could cancel it if I found it was not what I was looking for.

    I have approximately 6 acres of land with 2 of them being pretty hilly. Some of the land was recently cleared so it until I fix/get used to it the machine is going to get some abuse. I was thinking of a zero turn mower but the salesman talked me out of it because of my hills. He sold me on the fact that the sears tractors have the tight turn technology and to get the standard transmission because of the hills and obstacles I have.

    After reading your posts on your site I think he sold me the wrong tractor. I don’t think this tractor even has the tight turn feature and a automatic transmission might be better for hills because of the added weight. I am also not sure (although I want a fast mower) if I should consider a smaller deck size due to my terrain (hills and some dips). I am thinking the GT 6000 might be the way to go. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Adam

    • @Adam, I don’t know what happened either. Both your question and my answer disappeared. So, Lets’s try it again. I’ll be here all night so ask away. In your first question I thought you said a 28945. In this one you mention a 28947 so I’ll go through both.

      I like the 28861. The 28945 is a 2010 version with manual transmission and does not have Turn Tight or the 7.5 mph transmission. The 28947 is also a 2010 and has the 7.5 mph hydro, but does not have turn tight.

      I don’t agree with the old train of thought about manual verses hydro trans. The Sears Associates are taught that gear is better on hills because if you get in trouble, you just put in the clutch and used the separate brake to guide your way down the hill. It was this way with the old H pattern manual trans. BUT, todays tractors all use an inline shift and when you push in on the Clutch/brake the tractor stops. You have no control over the coasting. If you push in on the clutch/brake while the tractor is slipping it will slide uncontrollably down the hill. Plus the manual trans tractors tend to be a little jerky when starting out. I know a few 28925’s that will pop the front wheels off the ground when you release the clutch.

      The problem with a hydro is…. for example: You are going down a hill and the rear tires start to slide on the wet grass. You first instinct is to let up on the speed lever. This causes the tractor to slip and slide more (often uncontrollably like a car on ice) You need to learn to actually increase the speed lever so the wheels keep up with the slide. You then regain traction and control.

      The 54 inch deck cuts well. It has 5 anti-scalp rollers to keep it from digging into rough terrain. It is sized well to the 26 Kohler.

      • Thanks Paul! I am glad I asked. I am calling tomorrow to cancle. Do you think I should consider the modles 28984 or 28867?

        • @Adam, The 28867 is the California model of the 28861 and is only available in Cal for left coast residents.

          Just ignore the 28984 for now. It doesn’t have the turn tight and has a lift mechanism that will break on your rough area.

          You will really like the 28861!

  42. Hi Paul, QUESTION, but first the gory details: Northern California, 3+ acres, hilly, rough, and the goats and/or sheep haven’t been “installed” yet. Fire Season restrictions during the fire season, so all metal-blade mowing must be done prior to 10:00 AM (when dewey/wet & slippery). This acreage ate up a Husq. iZ series 48″ zero-turn’s left-side hydraulic pump in about three years of rough use, plus it only mows hills straight up and down…(forward-reverse, forward-reverse, etc…) California Air Resources Board (CARB) dictates… OK, OK, no politics here. Sears sells the 28861 in 49 states, along with many others, but the “Califoria” equivilent appears to be the 28868 for about a hundred bucks more. I’ve compared the two, along with several others, but within the Craftsman lineup, these two particular ones seem obviously different, but some of it just doesn’t make sense to me. 28868 seems to be using a B&S engine, not Kohler, and most of the specs make it look look more like the “pro” version, #28984, but with a “de-tuned” B&S 28HP putting out 26HP for California sales? It’s listed as a 26 HP engine on the web… If you do the side-by side comparisons with these three models, the California version looks more like the pro model than the 28861 GT6000 version. Deck metal, frame, warranty, etc… Have any idea what is what, and without spending a ton of money more, any thoughts or suggestions for us “Left-Coast” people? I was seriously looking at the 28868…

    • @Gordon, I’m no left-coast expert, but the 28955 looks like the CA equivalent of the 28861.

      Can you get the 28985 out there? It has traction control, differential lock and a serviceable trans. It is very heavy-duty compared to all the other tractors Sears sells.

      If you want a zero-turn again look for mowers that have cast-iron pumps and motors. ExMark and Toro have a wonderful reputation for bulletproof drives.

      If I had hills like yours I would seriously look at the 48 or 60 inch Exmark Vantage, Toro Grandstand, and Wright Stander. You can throw your weight around on these for traction and balance and work hills you can hardly walk on. They are expensive, but you can always make money on the side doing other properties :)

  43. Finally took delivery of the tractor a week ago Saturday. I didn’t bother to try the mower deck until after the delivery people had left, but they had installed the mulch kit. However, as soon as I engaged the deck, massive vibration and a cloud of fuzz flying out of the left side just above the deck. It was the belt abrading against the pulley post as they had missed the pulley. I was very peeved to say the least.

    Attempted to call Sears and complain, and set up a service call. It took 4 different tries as their system stinks. Got a service guy out by Wednesday afternoon. He did a good job but the “bill” was over $200 ( N/C for me). What a waste of time and money as they should have checked to make sure the belt was installed properly.

    Asked the serice guy about the plow kit and the front bumper as when I initally looked at it, they two components were not compatible (in other words, with plow brackets on, no front bumper). Service guy said you couldn’t do it as well. After service guy left, I looked at it again and found that if I loosened the muffler shield belts on each side of the frame and removed 2 front spacer washers I had intalled with the plow kit, I could mount the bumper bracket in the space, then retighten the muffler sheild bolts. I haven’t tried to attach the plow yet with the bumper mounted, but its easy enough to pull the bumper off with four bolts.

    I did try mowing the front lawn after adjusting the height, and I was impressed. With the mulch kit on, and hydrostatic drive, it just flew over the grass. It will definitely be a pleasure to use once the grass starts really growing here in Michigan.

    • @Mark, Read the comment I left below about using the mulch kit on this deck.

      I agree with your comment about calling Sears. The corp is so big and they have so many different departments that it can be tough to get to the right group to get something done. Just trying to call a local Sears store and talk to someone actually in the store can be a 15 minute task sometimes.

      Not only Craftsman, but lawn tractors in general need a complete “rethink” on attachments. They are too hard to put on, but most of the time you do have to take all the brackets off to put another attachment on. Agrifab, Berko, and Ohio Steel make the bulk of the attachments for lawn tractors. It would be great if they would come up with a “universal” mount for all front mount attachments.

  44. When is a mulching kit for a garden tractor NOT a “tractor attachment”?

    When you have a 10% off all tractor attachments coupon from Sears…

    …not a terribly big deal, since it was covered under yesterday & today’s 20% off sale. And, with the points we got from buying the GT6000 last month, it was essentially for free.

    Just thought it was an amusing bit of marketing irony that an item that’s got a graphic of a yard/lawn/garden tractor on the box isn’t actually considered a tractor attachment by Sears corporate.

      • The short story is that when we tried to use the coupon, the computer system, not personnel rejected it. I’ve received a PM (on Facebook) from a member of the Sears Cares Team; we’ll see how it goes.

        • @Ed L, Good, I wasn’t sure if Sears considered a mulch kit an attachment or a repair part even though it is listed as an attachment on Sears.com.

          I do want to warn you about blow-by using the mulch kit on this deck. The deck is designed for high-lift and has vented spindles. These spindles allow a lot of air to get under the deck to aid in lifting the grass and cutting it evenly. It cuts very well for a 54 inch deck.

          But the air has to go somewhere and it would normally go out the discharge chute. When you plug the discharge with a mulch cover the air will come out from under the edges of the deck. For normal mowing this is not a problem, but if it is really dry, the dry grass and dust also come out everywhere.

          So if it really dry and you don’t want to take a bath each time you mow take the mulch plug off then.

          • Thanks for the head’s up about the blow-by issue. Right now, it won’t be an issue, as we’re far from “really dry”. (We seem to be getting rain at least every other day. However, later in the season, this will change.

            I do have an update on the original comment (coupon issue):

            I got off of the phone with the Blue Ribbon Escalation department (they called me after I posted a comment on the Sears Facebook Wall) about an hour ago. I won’t go into more detail, but I am once again a satisfied, (if still a little cynical) Sears customer. We still don’t know for sure why my coupon didn’t work, but all is now good.

            The short of this story is that in today’s online world, if something happens in a retail environment that is not to your liking, blog about it… especially if the store has a presence on Facebook. Trust me, they are listening.

            • ed L, Great companies use a program like radian6 that tracks every reference to their brand good or bad.

  45. Pingback: 2011 Craftsman 52 inch Model 28007 Zero-Turn Review - TodaysMower.com

  46. Paul, So far so good. My GT6000 (28861) was delivered about a month ago and it is has performed exactly as I expected. In fact, a couple of the neighbors dropped by to tell me how great the tractor looks and performs. I did run into a big problem last week. Besides the acre of grass around my house, I have another 1/2 acre of just dirt and GOAT HEADs! After cutting the 1/2 acre last week, I noticed that all of my tires have lost air or gone flat. I’m actually surprised that the small goat head thorns penetrated the thick Craftsman tires. Have you heard of this before? Should I inflate them with a sealer? What is the best solution?
    Thanks!

    • @Marty, Great! Yes, lawn tractor tires are not that great. The Carlisle brand is the worst. Even the commercial turf tires are constantly getting holes in them. I remember a Toro Groundmaster I had that had over 140 plugs in one tire before the sidewall finally fell apart.

      My solution has always been Slime. Slime is the best. If possible find the Slime with the little dark specks in it. For your instance I would put 1 quart in each rear tire and a pint in each front tire. About $30 worth!

      My local WalMart has the best price on the Slime.

      • Paul,

        Once again you were right! Slime seems to be working and Walmart was the cheapest by far.

        Thanks again!

  47. Although I am still waiting to take delivery of my new GT6000, I have a question regarding the front bumper and the installation of a front plow. The local Sears dealer(independant,not chain) could not answer my question.

    The Model 28861 has a fold down,(for opening the hood) front bumber. I have ordered a new 48″ snow/dozer plow with the tractor. Looking at the plow installation instructions from the Sears website, I see no mention of what to do, if anything, with the front bumber. Will the bumper have to be removed to install the plow? Is the front bumper compatible with the plow mounting hardware, even when the actual plow is not attached?

    Any comments are appreciated.

    • @Mark, You can usually get both sets of brackets to fit on the tractor. But, you are right the installation instructions all assume you are only putting on one thing at a time.

      I would try to mount the bumper and the dozer brackets together.

      Leave the bumper brackets on until you figure out where the dozer brackets go. If it all looks like it will fit put the dozer brackets over the bumper brackets. If you have to buy longer bolts to get it all to fit……

  48. I just ordered a new GT6000 with the TightTurn feature. I am replacing a #917255917 – CRAFTSMAN Gt 18 twin (44inch deck)that I bought new back in 1987. It’s been a great tractor, used year round. Plowed snow in winter here in Michigan. Unfortunately it is just wearing out. The drive belt pops off if I hit a snow pile too hard, even though I adjust the belt to the spec. It stays adjusted for about two “plows” then loosens up again. Very annoying putting a drive belt on at the end of the driceway on your back in the snow. In the summer, usually in late July when it starts heating up, I get a vapor lock issue after 30 minutes of cutting grass. Replaced eveything in the fuel system except gas tank (gas cap, new fuel lines, filters, pump, rebuilt carb). I have to take the fuel filter off, blow it out, replace, then I’m good for about 10 more minutes. Definitely heat related because I can plow snow for and hour with no problem (other than belt issue). Anyway, its been a good tractor, very low maintanence. Changed oil 2X year, greased wheel ends, etc. Original tires (leave chains/weights on year round now for traction). Looking forward to the new GT6000. Hope I can find a good home for the GT 18 as someone with a smaller yard/driveway should be able to use her.

    I’ll write something after I get the new GT6000. Looking forward to hyrdostatic drive.

  49. As I said in my previous post, I’m not yet ready to give it a complete review… But, I do have some observations, (the good first):

    1. This is a FAST tractor! I don’t know if the 7.5mph rating is accurate, but I *can* tell you that compared to my 7 year old Cub Cadet, this is an Indy racer.
    2. The new Turn Tight technology is incredible! I can easily see just this feature alone reducing my cutting time. (My wife believes her main gardening/landscaping job is to turn our lawn into an obstacle course.) Seriously, we have several crepe myrtles with mulched bases that each required at least three stop-back-up-go cycles to cut around. This tractor does it in one pass.
    3. Although not unique to the Craftsman line, several “new” features all are great and work well: The hose quick-connect washout port, the key-switchable reverse-operation-system, separate forward and reverse pedals, etc.

    …Now to the not-so-good:

    4. Several problems have been noted that are directly attributable to the tractor’s uncrating and assembly by the dealer. I won’t go into detail on the individual problems, as they are somewhat unique and likely no one else will see them. Even though the response from the dealer has been prompt, courteous and each issue resolved, if one more issue comes up, my wife is adamant about having them send out a factory-certified technician go over it.
    5. The Kohler engine seems to run roughly when not under load, often seeming to ‘skip’ when the transmission is engaged. We have had the dealer out twice for other issues (see 4 above) and he claims that it’s not unusual for this engine to run a bit rough when not completely warmed up and/or under load. I will say that when out in the yard and mowing, I fail to notice any rough running.
    6. This tractor rides roughly. Admittedly, we don’t have the smoothest of yards, (which was something we’ve told every salesman we’ve chatted with). And, while I’m not expecting a luxury-car ride, I was kind of expecting the ride to be at least smoother than the smaller Cub Cadet. (Part of this was corrected when I checked the tire pressure and reduced it to the recommended rating.)
    7. While the mower deck *supposedly* has a wide range of adjustment, this is a bit misleading. Making the assumption that the deck is installed and adjusted properly, I cannot get the deck to the lowest three (hits the ground) or highest two (can’t pull the handle up any higher) settings. (This *may* be another installation/assembly issue to take up with the dealer.)
    8. It seems to me that the deck suspension system was over-designed. As opposed to several other brands we looked at, it is *not* a simple task to remove/reinstall the deck. One of the few superlatives I can give to my old Cub Cadet was the simplicity with which the deck came off and went back on. IMO, there are way too many bars, washers & clips and springs in the GT6000’s mower deck mounting system. We’ll see how this all holds up over the long term.

    Okay… That’s it for now. Looking back, it would seem like the cons outweigh the pros, but I’m still very excited about our new tractor. Although some of the issues (like #5 and #7) could be long-term issues, everything else *is* relatively minor. I am much more concerned about how well this tractor will hold up over the long haul. Our Cub Cadet had so many problems over its (relatively) short life and I’m NOT looking for a repeat in this tractor. Also, anyone reading this should realize that all of this is from just one mowing and some tinkering.

    Lastly, one BIG plus: Unlike every other dealer, the support Sears will be providing is heads above the rest. While John Deere had pretty decent basic warranty coverage, the extended warranty offered by Sears is better on paper. Also, with John Deere, I still had to figure out how to get it to the dealer and back. (No mean feat, since they’re around a half hour drive and in another state.) Sears, OTOH, will actually send a technician out to our house for everything covered under the Extended Warranty, (which includes such mundane things as belt replacement and blade sharpening). Hopefully, though, the only time we’ll see the guys is for regular maintenance.

    • @Ed L, Just a couple of things.

      The is nothing like the sound of a ’57 Harley, ’65 327 Chevy, ’67 Hemi, and a big bore Kohler. The Kohler V-twin has a distinctive sound and many of the ones I owned “loped”, especially around 12 to 1500 rpm. To most people they actually sound like they are mis-firing.

      I have been telling everyone that the turn tight is the answer for most people instead of a zero-turn.

      Most sales associates fail to tell you that the tires are inflated from the factory with way too much air. They (and the operators manual) should tell everyone that the tire pressure should be around 12 lbs.

      Take your manual and read through the deck installation section. Then go out and make sure that the rear lift brackets are in the right position and turned the right way.

      No the deck is not as easy to take off as a Simplicity or some of the Cub Cadets but there are only 6 connecting points. The front mount, the lift/leveler brackets and the sway bar. It is called a “three point” mount and does a great job of following contours for such a big deck. Unless you are “one of those” that regularly bangs the deck into trees, foundations and the chain link fence, the deck will stand the test of time. The deck and mounting system have been around now for over 5 years on all 54 inch decks on Craftsman, Husqvarna’s, and Husqvarna zero-turns.

      • Ooops…. didn’t see that you had posted a reply.

        RE: Kohler engine: I’ll let it ride for now. I know what you mean about many engines having their own distinct sound and feel. FWIW, my wife is mad at me since I’m riding without ear protection right now to get a feel for how things are supposed to sound and feel while new. (Although, she’s learned to respect when I tell her when something just doesn’t feel or sound right, even though to her it’s just engine noise.)

        RE: Zero-Turn vs. Turn Tight: I agree with you. We considered a zero turn mower, but just didn’t think it was the right thing for us. And, not only because you can’t pull carts and things with most of them. I really think that you’re spot-on that this is a game-changer for the industry.

        RE: Deck installation/adjustment: As I indicated in my other post, that’s my task for tomorrow. I also think that the points were the rear lift brackets slide need a bit of spray lubricant.

        RE: Tire over-inflation: One would think that the dealer would know this and take care of it BEFORE the tractor is delivered, wouldn’t you? Should be part of the pre-delivery checklist, at the very least. I will be mentioning it to the dealer when I see him next.

        RE: Over-teching the mounting system: I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Especially if it is now a tried-and-true design. Considering that I was removing the Cub Cadet’s deck every other mowing to clean it, (they added the quick connect port the following year), deck removal on the GT6000 should be an irregular task instead of frequent.

        • @Ed L, The tire inflation is one small issue that Sears needs to deal with. I read a lot of “issues” with the tractors that directly relate to the store not “deluxing” the tractors.

          When the tractors are delivered to a store (particularly a Sears Full-Line or Mall Store) they are supposed to be “deluxed” This means that they are taken out of the crate, assembled, tire pressure checked, oil checked, and battery hooked up (MTD models) Accessories purchased with the tractor are installed. There is a picture/poster that explains every step to the warehouse personnel.

          The 54 inch decks will not be installed unless you ask for it because a lot of people come and get them with a pickup truck.

          When the full-line stores deliver the tractor the delivery crew is trained to go over the mower and explain how it operates. The Blue L&G Crew sales associate is required to explain all the features and operation of the tractor to you at the time of sale

          For everyone reading this: If you get your tractor and no one has explained the operation of it to you feel free to go to your local store. Go to the L&G Department and find a sales associate with a blue shirt. Ask them to give you the “five minute drill” on your new tractor.

          You say “dealer” so I assume you picked up the tractor at a hometown store. I don’t know the specific procedures they are supposed to do.

    • Okay, one thing that’s gonna take some getting used to: The deck height adjustment lever is on the wrong side. Why? In its current location, it’s all but impossible to get off the tractor with the lever in anything but the fully raised position. And, even there, I’ve gotten hung up on it several times already. For those who may be reading this who might say, “Well, dummy, just get off on the other side”, this is even harder – and probably not recommended – since that’s were the ejecta chute is, (and presumably the bagger if I had one).
      .
      .
      .
      If you have *any* influence on the design of these tractors, pass *THIS* one along.

      • @Ed L, I agree, the lift is counterbalanced and works great, but because of that the handle could be smaller. I usually stand up on the tractor and then step off, the large floor boards allow for that. If I “slide” off the tractor I usually get hung up on the lift lever.

        Maybe the new electric lift on the Snapper will get the rest interested in putting electric lifts on the mid-priced models.

  50. Okay… After mulling it over – and based in part on your comments – my wife & I bought this garden tractor from our local Hometown Sears outlet. We took delivery a couple of weeks ago.

    While I’m not yet ready to give it a complete review, I do have some observations — and one BIG question, which I’ll ask in this post and split out my observations into another: When the mowing deck is extended to its lowest point and is on flat & level concrete (ie, in the garage) which should be in contact with the floor – the metal deck or the gauge wheels? (I know what the manual says – but that doesn’t quite answer my question.)

    • @Ed L, Without looking at the manual….it doesn’t make a difference if the wheels touch the ground when the deck is all the way down. The only advantage of having them touch is they glide easier on most floors when you take the deck off and slide it out from under the tractor.

      What you need to know about the gauge wheels. They are designed to keep your deck from digging into the lawn and tearing up your turf. Raise or lower them based on your lawn. If you have a fairly smooth lawn with no large dips of roots leave them in the up position. If you have ditches, dips, etc. lower them so they lift the deck over the obstacle or hit before the deck in ditches.

      They are NOT designed to ride on the ground like the 1960’s Deere and Cub Cadets. Back then they used those wheels to actually control the height of the cut. Today they are JUST used to keep the deck from digging into the ground.

      • FWIW, I didn’t expect the gauge wheels to ride on the ground. That didn’t even happen on my Cub Cadet, (which is only 7 years old).

        What I am concerned about is that in their current position, I don’t think that they will accomplish the task they’re designed for – keeping the deck from digging into the ground. In fact, based upon your comment, I’m sure there’s no way that they’ll work. I suppose that tomorrow, I will be spending some time learning about and adjusting the deck suspension and gauge wheel setting.

        Interesting side note: In the 48″ and above category, it appears that all John Deere X300 & X500 series decks come with gauge wheels that are hinged and held in with heavy-duty spring pins. This not only makes them easy to adjust, but also allows them to turn sideways to facilitate pulling the deck out from under the tractor! (Pretty cool feature, eh?) Of course, these *are* pretty high-end garden tractors and don’t really compete with the GT6000.

        • @ Ed L, Listening to you, I suggest you lower the gauge wheels to the bottom hole. This will give your deck the best protection. The 54 inch deck also has a rolled edge which rides over obstacles better than the welded decks. The welded decks are stronger when you beat them against a foundation though.

          You do get what you pay for…. and when you go over $4500 you get many features you won’t find on the $1200-$3000 tractors. Power steering, hydraulics, tilt wheel, traction control. The x340 is $4700 and has some nice features like the swivel gauge wheels. The Craftsman PGT 9500’s deck comes off in 30 seconds.

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  52. GOOD comments on the Turn Tight Technology pros and cons and the negative reviews

    A VP of Customer Service at Montgomery Ward told me this…….

    A happy customer will tell one or two people about his GOOD experience.
    An UNHAPPY customer will tell EVERYONE about his BAD experience.

    • @Dave, My goal here is not to sell you a tractor. There are enough “salesmen” out there trying to get you to buy their product. My goal is to help you find the best mower for you. The best compromise of quality, value and price. For some readers that is a $900 Smartrider, for others it is the $6000 PTG9500 or a $35,000 KutKwik.

      It’s not what I think is the best. It’s what is best for you.

  53. Liked your review of the GT6000. I am considering a new lawn tractor this year and the GT6000 was advertized in the local Sears Ad and cought my eye. I went and looked at it and it was impressive. I only wished that I could text drive it. The one concern I have with any mower I purchase is the transmission. I have a JD LT166 and I had to replace the transmission once and it is weak again. I believe the LT166 had a Tuff Torq K51 in it. Is the Hydro-Gear G7-BCBB-1XDC-1FCA that much better a transmission? I read on another web site that there is a filter in the Hydro- Gear and that the fluid can be changed. Is this correct.

    This is a GREAT web site, I found it today and have told several of my friends about it already.

    Thanks for the GREAT work you are doing, saves the rest of us from making mistakes.

    • @Dave, Your Sears mall store will be having a test drive weekend sometime in early May. Check with the Lawn & Garden Manager at your local store for the exact date. They usually don’t bring out this tractor, but they will have a YT3000 or YT4000 that you can test drive. And as I said, if you have weak areas of lawn that won’t take too much abuse just don’t turn sharp. Stay around a 14 inch turn radius in those areas and it is fine.

      The transmission on the GT6000 is NOT serviceable. There is no filter that you can change. None of the under $4000 tractors on the market have serviceable trannys for 2011.

      But the trans in the GT6000 has been bulletproof. I talked to a district service manager (for 3 states) and he has no records of a problem with that transmission in the last three years.

      The only tractor Sears sells with a serviceable transmission is the PGT9500 Model 28985.

      • “The transmission on the GT6000 is NOT serviceable.”

        That is not true. Mine has a spin-on filter and looking up the service manual, it tells you how to change it and what oil to use.

        • @David, Would you please send us the model number of your tractor? It is under the seat and looks like 917.123456. I would like to investigate this further because the manufactures are really good at changing things and not telling anyone.

          The current manual on managemylife states on page 23, “TRANSAXLE PUMP FLUID The transaxle was sealed at the factory and fluid maintenance is not required for the life of the transaxle. Should the transaxle ever leak or require servic!ng, contact your nearest Sears or other qualified service center.”

          For the rest of you, There are 3 filters on the machine that I know of. The air filter, the fuel filter and the engine oil filter. These are all located under the hood. The discussion we are having is about the transaxle. If it does have a filter it will be located under the tractor, up in the frame in front of the rear wheels.

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  56. I have looked at your review of the 2011 gt6000 and have one on layaway. I am looking forward to geting this item and enjoying it. Still winter here in Minnesota so will be getting it this spring.I plan on adding the berco 44″ blower next fall for winter blowing and would just like to know any info you can give as to the matchup of the 2 items. You say they will work together but I am not as good at the mechanical aspect of putting the 2 items together so any hints etc would be of great help from you Paul. Thanks much for the helpful review of the item I am buying. Rob

    • @Robin, Great! I think the Berco is the best choice for the GT6000. It will take you a few hours to mount the brackets the first time but Berco is known for good assembly manuals. Once you get the brackets on though, it is now much of a job to take the blower on and off. The hood of the GT is very easy to take off so mounting the brackets is pretty easy…it just takes time.

      I understand the snow. I still have at least 20 inches on the ground over here.

      • I am thinking about purchasing a GT6000. I have around two acres surrounded by woods with a gravel driveway that is 300 yards long and is on a slight incline. If I purchase this garden tractor, I believe I should get a snow thrower with it. Why a berco over a craftsman? I would also like to put in a garden an a food plot. Is this tractor a good choice?

        • @Bruce, The GT6000 is exactly what you need. It will mow the lawn quickly, cultivate the food plot and you can use it to till the garden.

          I like the Berco because it is heavier. Thicker steel, etc. But it is more money. You can get an electric lift and electric chute for the Berco. If you ever trade your tractor you can get new mounts for the Berco for your new one.

  57. This comment is kinda lengthy, please bear with me…

    My normal mow is around 1 acre, of which about half was never given a ‘final grade’ by the builder. About 3-4 times a season, I have also been pressed into mowing a neighbor’s 3/4 acre with a similar rough grade. When we first moved in – and not knowing much – my wife & I bought a Cub Cadet LT1018 at the end of the 2004 season from Lowes. The short story is that I now know far more about Cub Cadet repair than I ever wanted to, and we have placed the brand in the same category as Chrysler/Dodge; we’ll never own another one. :-(

    Although we’d really like to buy a 54″ deck Deere X500, the $6000 price tag is *very* off-putting. Even down-stepping to the X320 with a 48″ deck @ $4100 seems steep. They’re probably well worth it, but the price tags are truly budget-busters.

    We read with interest your review of the Deere D170, including your suggestion that for a mere $100 more, one can significantly up-step to the Craftsman GT6000. We’ll definitely be going to Sears to look at that machine this weekend. One fly in all of this is that we’ve also looked at the 54″ deck Ariens “Tractor 54″ (model number A25KG54 @ Home Depot). Spec-wise, it seems like a very close competitor. The few reviews I’ve found rate it very highly. And, if properly maintained, my understanding is that Ariens machines are pretty close to indestructible. (My father has had two riding mowers over the past 40 years – both Ariens models.)

    Since you don’t even have the Ariens in your list, this may be an unfair question: Assuming that the X-series Deeres are out of the picture, (and I already know how you feel about the D170), how would you compare the GT6000 to the Ariens Garden Tractor 54?

    • Ed,

      If you like the X500 seriously consider the 28985 Craftsman Professional. Here is the link to my review http://todaysmower.com/2011/2011-craftsman-professional-garden-tractor-54-inch-30-hp-model-28985-review/

      Anyway to your question. Feature-wise the Ariens and the GT6000 are very similar but I actually have to say the Ariens is equivalent to the 2008 Craftsman GT5000. Since then Craftsman has made a few changes. (improvements) In 2009 they restyled the hood, raised the HP to 26, added arm rests and the front brush guard. In 2010 they raised the maximum ground speed from 5.5 to 7.5. This year the 2011 now has “Turn Tight,” the 8 inch turning radius that is 10 inches tighter than the Ariens.

      Here is a link to the full specs of the Ariens. http://www.ariens.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/Ariens_Lawn_SpecSheet.pdf

      The Ariens is priced the same as the 2008 GT5000 so the additional price for the GT6000 is acceptable for the additional features.

      It’s always your choice to make, but I like the new features of the GT6000 over the Ariens Garden Tractor 54

  58. I enjoyed your review of the 2011 Craftsman GT6000. I am debating on upgrading my current mower to his new machine. I would like to know your opinion of the GT6000 vs the Husqvarna GTH27V48LS. I am most interested in the cut quality…..would the fabricated 3 blade 48 inch deck of the Husqvarna provide a better cut than the GT6000 ?

    • @C Dow, This is a tough call.

      11 ga deck on the Husq, 12 ga on GT6000. That’s 1/64 of an inch difference in thickness.
      The GTH has a welded tube edge, the GT6000 has a rolled edge.
      The GTH will have a few more areas that “catch” grass. The GT6000 has a “smoother” discharge. Not a problem unless grass is wet.
      I like “the longer the blade the better” for throwing grass from under the deck. So I would like the 54 inch deck better. Most other brands have gone to a 46 inch 2 blade deck instead of a 3 blade 48. The 46 throws better.
      If you have a lot of dips and swails in your lawn the 54 inch will mow more uneven. That said the cut quality will be the same.
      27 hp Briggs, 26 hp Kohler. The Kohler has better torque, the Briggs has better valves.
      Both have the same 7.5 mph heavy duty transmission.
      GT6000 has the new 8 inch radius Turn Tight front suspension, the GTH has an 18 inch turning radius

      So everything being even, pick the best deal and the best service for your area. Sear has the largest nationwide service network. Your local Husqvarna dealer should have been around for years and customers should praise him, not complain about him.

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