2012 Craftsman 42 in 24 hp YT 4000 Hydro Model 28856 Yard Tractor Review

The 2014 Craftsman T3000 Model 20390 replaces this 2013 Craftsman and improves it with a great new look. 2014 Craftsman 42 inch T3000 Model 20390

Executive Summary: This is my choice for a 42 inch riding mower! It is one of Craftsman’s most popular riding mowers. For the features it offers compared to all the other brands it continues to be one of the best value riding mowers on the market today. If you want to put a snow blower on your tractor this is a great choice.   It has a better motor than other lawn tractors, a hydrostatic transmission, a great cutting deck, plenty of available attachments and the industry leading Craftsman Turn Tight 6 inch turning radius. This tractor has not changed for 2013.

By Paul Sikkema. Find Paul on 

This lawn tractor review covers the Model 28856, 42 inch version of the Craftsman Yard Tractor. There are seven other models in the series:

42 in 21 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28851,
42 in 21 hp Gear Drive Platinum Briggs Model 25022,
46 in 21 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28852,
46 in 22 hp Kohler Plus Model 28853,  This review covers all the features!
46 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28857,
54 in 26 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28858,
54 in 26 hp Kohler Model 28008.
The 42 in 24 hp Gear Drive Model 28925 is discontinued for 2013.

Brand/Manufacture: Craftsman / Husqvarna
Model/Series: Yard Tractor YT 4000
Item Number:  28856 (49 State) 28866  (CA Version)
Buy Online, Pickup At Your Local Sear: Buy Online, And Have It Delivered To Your Home Ship:Craftsman 42″ 24hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 8 x 8 in.
Street Price: Less than $1779.99

Basic Quality: (Cheap, Good, Best, Premium, Don’t Buy)  This is Craftsman’s Best Quality. The 28881 is less quality.  The Premium Craftsman’s are better.

Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) Yard Tractor. See the list of attachments at the end of this article.
Compare it to: John Deere D120 42 in. 21 HP Front-Engine Hydrostatic Riding Mower $1799.00 at Home Depot Note Home Depot does not have  42 in Cub Cadet with a hydro for 2012 (only a CVT)

Craftsman 42 in 24hp Hydro

 Pros:
Foot Control Hydro Trans
Twin Cylinder Motor
Step-through Platform
6 inch Turning Radius

Cons:
Deck is a wide as front wheels!

Retail Price: $1699.99 Check The Best Sale Price Here: Craftsman 42″ 24hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 8 x 8 in.

My Review:

This tractor continues to be one of the best value tractors on the market for your average size suburban yard! This is a great lawn tractor with an excellent cutting deck.  It has an oil pump B&S twin cylinder motor, with yellow oil filter.  It has only four anti-scalp wheels so it will mow your lawn without gouging or scalping the turf.  You have plenty of power for mowing and blowing snow. This tractor continues to get the best reviews from the review organizations for value, cut, and dependability.  Sears has the best service of all the big box stores and they come right to your home if your ever have a problem with your tractor.

This lawn tractor will mow in reverse.

People who buy this yard tractor know what they are buying and this is just what they want. That is why you will find so many good reviews on Sears.com.  This is a great tractor with a great cutting deck and may just be the best value for you and your suburban lawn.

This article was first published at TodaysMower.com 

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on this review.  If you have specific questions leave a comment below and myself or the readers will be glad to answer them.  This is a great tractor and if you want one to last this should be at the top of your list.

Comfort – Ease of Use:  Deluxe high-back seat, easy to use operator controls, good field of view.  This Yard Tractor is very comfortable to operate and drive. .

Power For Mowing:  This tractor has plenty of power for side discharge mowing, mulching and bagging. It will handles a snow blower well.

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by Sears.  There have been a few issues with the build quality. One thing to know – Sears takes the tractor out of the shipping crate but they do not “setup” the tractor. (John Deere dealers are the only retailer who does) You have to put gas in it, and run it for the first time. If there is an assembly problem you call 1-800-469-4663 and a service tech comes out to your home and fixes the issue. The store where you picked it up from or the delivery team does not repair the tractor. If you buy another brand make sure you understand the repair policy if you have a problem.  This is actually a good way to do this because many of the other brands make you take the mower to an “authorized service center”

Handling – Traction/Steering:  This tractor has average traction and handling and is similar to all the other lawn tractors from the other retailers.

Mow – Mulch- Bag:  This tractor gets high marks by owners for mowing, mulching and bagging.  But, be aware this is not a “high-speed” deck like you will find on a commercial lawn mower.  It mows perfectly at 3-4 MPH but don’t expect it to mow as fast as the tractor will go (5.5MPH) and give you the same results.  With this tractor/deck you set the height of cut using a lever on the tractor fender.

Specifications, Features, Benefits

The rest of this article is taken from the retailers website. Specs subject to change.

Type:  Yard Tractor
Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 1.4 acres at 4 MPH
Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes, Moderate slopes
Excels in mowing around obstacles? Yes 
Will Mow In Reverse? Yes
Manufacturer: Husqvarana
Brand: Craftsman
Engine Power: 24 hp* 
Displacement: 724 cc. 
Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
Cylinders: Twin, cast-iron liners
Type: OHV, oil filter, Pressurized with automotive style oil pump
Charging System: 15 amp regulated
Battery: DieHard
Choke/Speed Control: Integrated One Lever
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.0 U.S. gal. 
Transmission: hydrostatic 
Transmission Control:  Direction/speed – Foot Control
Cruise Control: Yes
Forward Speed: 0-5.5 mph
Reverse Speed: 0-2.5 mph
Chassis: 11 ga.
Front Tires: 15x6x6
Rear Tires: 20x8x8
Front Axle: Cast Iron, lifetime warranty on axle
Hood Material: Steel
Hourmeter: Yes
Tool Tray: NA

Cupholder: Yes
Headlights: Yes
Translucent fuel tank or Fuel gauge: Yes, Under Seat
Deck washout port: Yes
12-volt outlet: No
Steering: Type 2-wheel steer
Turning Radius: 6 in.
Uncut Circle Radius: ? in. 
Spindle Bushings: Metal, replaceable
Seat Back Height: Deluxe high back
Fore-aft Adjustment: 6 in. while seated
Seat Suspension: Two coil springs
Deck Lift System:  Spring assist, Fender
Mower Cut Height: 1.5 in. to 4 in., 6 position
Cut Height Increments: ? in.
Preset Cut Height: No
PTO clutch: Manual

Mower Deck

Type: Side discharge
Mower Cutting Width: 42 in.
Blades: 42 in.
Mower Deck Material: 13 ga.
Mower Wheel Adjustment: Yes
Mower Level Adjustment: Exact
Mower Drive System: In-line belt, Manual PTO
Mower Attachment: 3 point Not EZ-Off
Mower Drive: Belt Tension Spring
Mower Wheels Rotate For Deck Removal: No

Dimensions

Wheelbase: ?-in. 
Overall Length: ?-in. 
Width without mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) ?-in. 
Height: ?-in. 
Weight: 518 lb with mower, no fuel

U.S. Warranty: 2 year limited, 3 and 5 year optional protection plan

Craftsman 42″ 24hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 8 x 8 in.

Please give your city and state when you comment

  1. I think I found the issue. There’s a noticeable gap between one of the cylinder heads and what looks to be a plastic intake manifold. There is a black residue cover a portion of that side of the engine.
    Brian
    Grand haven

  2. Paul, I held the choke with my finger to make sure it was closed while my wife tried to start it and still no luck. I then let the fuel drain out if the tank over night, put a new fuel filter in with fresh Shell gas and seafoam. I mowed the entire lawn and the next day it still won’t start. This is a head scratcher because it runs great after I get it started. Any more ideas?
    Brian
    Grand Haven

    • @Brian, You really can’t hold it closed with your finger. Try adjusting the cable to make sure it closes completely.

      Since it starts with the carb cleaner it’s a fuel problem. There are really two things left besides a carb rebuild. 1st, the fuel filter. Loosen the gas line on the carb side of the filter and make sure fuel flows through it. Second, the fuel pump. Follow the fuel line from the fuel filter towards the carb. The fuel line connects to the round black thing mounted on the side of the engine. That’s the fuel pump. Make sure the little brass screen is clean. (You can clean it with a toothbrush)

      Fuel pumps seldom go bad. Usually only the screen gets clogged. The easy way to check it is to remove the fuel bowl from the carb and crank the engine. A small dribble of fuel should drip out.

      Other than that, I have to say find a good mechanic and let them troubleshoot the issue.

  3. Paul, I have model number 288563. I bought it late last summer from a dealer it was returned from a customer because he had starting issues with it. They claimed they got it back to specification and I got a good deal on it. I mowed with it about 10 times and now it absolutely won’t start it’s own. The only way to start it now is to squirt a little carburetor cleaner down the air intake. Once I get it started it runs great. If it sits a day it won’t start again. Any ideas?
    Brian
    Grand Haven, Michigan

    • @Brian, Two things I would check. Choke Cable: 1. Make sure the choke is closing completely. Many of the 28856 tractors were not adjusted correctly right from the factory and because of that they don’t want to start. Check the choke cable and make sure the choke is closing completely. Find the set screw (cable holder) where it connects on the carb, loosen the screw and then move the choke lever to see which way the cable moves. Move the lever all the way to “choke close,” pull the cable in that direction in the holder and then tighten the set screw. Sometimes they don’t get it set quite right.

      My internet is not working right tonight so I can’t get the manual to check if you have a separate choke lever. If you do, find the carb end of the cable, loosen the clamp and move the cable so when you set the choke the cable moves the choke fully closed. If you have one lever for both choke and throttle again find the clamp on the carb. Move the lever to see how it works. The loosen the screw that holds the clamp and move it so when you move the throttle into the choke position the choke is fully closed. Try it. It should start easier.

      2. Bad Fuel messing up the carb: Open the fuel line at the fuel filter. let all the fuel drain out of the tank and leave it set with the fuel line unhooked to at lease 2 hours. Replace the filter if you want. Get a clean fuel can and put 2 tablespoons of SeaFoam per gallon in new, fresh fuel. Fill the tank, get it started and then go mow the lawn.

      Let me know if this doesn’t work please.

  4. @Tony, That is the correct height for notch number 1. When you want to remove the deck putting it in notch 1 releases all the tension on the attachment pins and it makes them easier to remove. The numbers 1-6 or 1-11 don’t mean actual inches or centimeters, they are just there as a reference. Try it in Notch 2.

    To get the actual blade height lift the discharge chute and measure from the sharp edge of the blade to the ground.

  5. Hello Paul, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this website. Thank you for putting it together. I have a question about the 28856 Craftsman. I live in the snow country here in Syracuse, NY what are your thoughts on the snow plow blade? Would the salt from the winter roads corrode the mower? And would pushing anywhere from 2-3″, up to 6-8″ put undue stress on the tractor? I am getting mixes reviews, thanks!

    • @Rob, The 28856 has a top speed of 5.5 mph. With weights and chains it will push 2-3 inches with no problem, and many owners push 6-8 inches on a flat driveway with no issues. The biggest issue with a blade is making sure you have enough room for all the snow for the winter. You have to push it back farther in the beginning of the season so you have room later on.

      Now I have to assume you have found a used one to buy because the 28856 is no longer available. If you are looking at new the replacement is the 22 HP V-Twin 48" Turn Tight Fast Riding Mower - Non CA . It has a new 8 mph transmission and will do a better job of throwing the snow off your drive. You can read my review of this tractor here: Craftsman Model 20391

      The Lawn Tractor Snow Blade 14" High is the same for both of these tractors. It is designed to only move snow so it is fairly lightweight but no lighter than the blades on the other brands.

      Chains: 4 Link Tire Chain Size 20 X 8 X 8/20 X 8 X 10
      Weights: 55 lb. Tractor Wheel Weight. I like this system better than the mounted wheel weights.

  6. Paul,
    I am looking at a 2-3 year old yt 4000 42″ 24 hp with hydro. I have about 1/2 acre to lot but my dirt is “clay” so i am looking at pulling a rolling drum yard plugger that i can fill with water and the total weight will be about 400 LBS along with the pull & friction of the pluggers themselves. Will the hydro handle this or will it get hot and go bad quickly? There are several 8+ year old manual lawn mowers that i could bye just for the tractor because i’ve gathered the manual will survive longer than the hydro? Your thoughts?

    • @Matt, If you promise to pull the roller at mowing speed (about 3 to 4 mph) I will say you will have no issues with the YT 4000. If you have 2 acres and wanted to go as fast as the tractor will go then I would say no.

      A lot of the problems with overheating is owners do not clean the transmission. Grease, dirt and dry grass build up on it which causes the trans to overheat.

      Look under the rear of the tractor once a year to see if there is a lot of dirt and dry grass on and around the transmission. Blow it clean with compressed air. (a water hose or pressure washer does not work as well)

  7. Pingback: 2012-2013 Craftsman 42 in 21 hp YT 3000 Gear Drive Model 25022 Yard Tractor Review - TodaysMower.com

  8. Paul, I have an option to buy a Cub Cadet GT2542 for $1600 with 300 hours on it or an almost new one of these 28856 for $1200. How would you compare these 2 tractors? The CC has a 20 HP Kohler Engine and seems to be a fairly reliable Garden Tractor. Do you have any experience with these? Is it worth the extra money? I will be mowing about an acre and use it for snow removal during the winter months.

    Thank You.

    • The Cub Cadet is a better deal and a heavier tractor. It a little overkill for one acre. Check first with a dealer to make sure you can get a snow blower or blade for it. The 28856 is also priced well and is probably the right tractor for your size yard. A blade or snow blower for the 28856 is readily available.

  9. Hello, I have done a lot of research on this tractor and even purchased it on friends and family at a local hometown store. Do you think i’d be better off with the 20390 or the 28856. I realize the 28856 is an older model, but how do they compare? I was able to get the mulching kit, double rail bumper and a poly dump cart for under $1500 with tax. is there anything I am not getting asides from the higher price tag and less horse power?? great site!!!

    • @Robert, I don’t know exactly how you will use your 28856 so my answer is going to be fairly general. Unless you are pulling a yard vac up hills I don’t fell you need to switch. The only 2 real items that have changed on the 20390 is the hood design and the transmission.

      Now, the hydrostatic transmission in your 28856 has been around for a long time and there are 100’s of thousands out there doing a fine job every day. It’s only the owners who abuse their yard tractors that have had issues. By abuse I mean pulling a 1000 lb yard vac, pulling dozens of 600-1000 lb loads uphill, letting the teenagers use it as a go-kart, etc. Even then most of the time the drive belt wears out and needs to be replaced instead of the transmission going bad. In other words if you are tearing up the transmission in a 28856 you probably should have purchased a garden tractor or compact in the first place.

      I liked the 28856 and would buy one myself if I needed a new yard tractor for my 1 acre yard especially if I could get a deal like you did.

    • @Jim, yes, my neighbor uses his all the time. He does have traction issues right after a rain otherwise the tractor will go up and down the mound well.

  10. Pingback: 2013 Craftsman 46 in 22 hp Kohler YT 3000 Model 28853 Yard Tractor Review | TodaysMower.com

  11. Paul,

    Thank you for the prompt reply! Thanks to your input, I was able to steer away from the JD D130. Now that you point out some other ideas I have another few questions:

    1) 28856 or 28857?
    2) Sears Extended Plans?
    3) Bumpers really worth the money?

    • @Julian, The 28856 and 28857 are the same tractor. The 28857 just has a larger deck. If your land is open without a lot of landscaping the 28857 will get it mowed about 15 minutes faster. Both decks cut well, bag well, and mulch well.

      Bumpers: Are you lazy and try to get as close to a tree, fence or building as possible so you don’t have to trim? Do you have teenagers or will become teenagers in the next 10 years? Yes to either of these questions and you need a bumper. The two-bar is a good value. I’s also a good place to hook a rope to if you get it stuck.

      The Sears protection plan is more than just and extended warranty. It covers most of the wear and tear items on your tractor for 3 or 5 years. It covers belts, tires, battery and a bunch of other parts that are not covered under a manufactures warranty. It covers the mower not starting for everything except stale fuel. If you have the same problem 3 times or a part goes obsolete, you get a new comparable tractor.

      I know one couple who purchased a black/yellow YT4500 4 years ago and bought the 5 year plan. Last fall they asked if they could get a new seat under the plan. Their’s was torn. To get a warrantied part a tech has to inspect the tractor so they called 1-800-4MY-Home. A tech came out (trip charges are included, labor is included in the protection plan) and he said, “Sure I’ll get a new one ordered!” He found out the black/yellow seat on their tractor was obsolete because the new YT4500 are now gray/black. It took him about a week to finish the paperwork and check the other warehouses around the country to make sure there was no yellow seats left. He called up the owners and said, “Here is the order number for your replacement tractor. Go into your local Sears and do the paperwork.” They did and Sears delivered a brand new YT4500 to their home. They got a new $2200 tractor! The Sears protection plans work.

      • Paul,

        I brought my 28857 home yesterday, mounted my bumper, checked the machine over as you suggested and cleaned up the entire back yard before I wife was in and out of the pool.

        Your reviews and advice were great! Thank you!

  12. Paul,

    Great reviews on your site! Thanks for giving us a real view of what’s on the market.

    Just moved into a house settled on 1.2 acres of flat land. The 2 options I am seeing is the Craftsman YT4000 28856 and JD’s D130 with no need for much more than light hauling (grass seed and etc.) Pound for pound, option for option, and dollar for dollar, which would be my best option? Where would you look to get the best price?

    • @Julian, Today 9/2 and tomorrow 9/3 the 28856 is the best price of the two. It’s about $100 cheaper than the Deere D130. After 9/3 it wins because it has a better Briggs (Platinum verses Intek) and the 6 inch turning radius. Both are good choices but the Craftsman offers a little more for the money.

  13. Paul, Is there a standard way to adjust deck wheels on this model? I’ll be doing it on a “level” patio surface. GREAT site!!!
    Tony

    • @Tony, You don’t need to adjust those wheels. They are not used to control the height of the deck or height of cut. They are called anti-scalp wheels and are there to help the deck ride over obstructions in your yard. The are 2 holes for them on the deck though. If you are mowing at 2 inches or high and have a lot of tree roots, ant hills and other harder bumps in the yard I suggest putting them in the lower hole. Otherwise leave them alone.

    • @Joe, The 28856 has a better motor and the Turn-Tight steering. (The 23V42 has an Intek, the 28856 has a Craftsman Platinum/Intek Plus) Briggs claims 25% more life out of the motor in the Craftsman. Plus if you buy the Husqvarna from a big box store be sure you understand the repair process for warranty work.

  14. I recently purchased the 28856 VTwin and originally thought I got a great deal at < $1429 including tax delivered after all the SYWR coupons… And it looks fantasic… but some parts of my yard (most) are not smooth and the 'hood' rattles like crazy (its not secured, just a floating hood) and I sometimes think I'm driving a tin can on wheels..
    Is this normal??

    • @Howard, Yes, it’s normal. The all metal hood on the Craftsman’s tend to rattle more than the other brands. By the way, none of the brands have latches on their hoods. The John Deere’s do no rattle as much because the hoods are plastic. About the only hood that doesn’t move around is the Simpicity. These hoods have a rubber bumper that the hood sets into and keeps it from making such an obvious rattle.

  15. Paul,
    I order the 28856 and it will be delivered in July. I am not in the continental USA. But I am still a little concern with the tranny. Are the hydros really the weak link when compared to the same tractor with a 6 speed? Any special service required. I know you can change the oil but you will need to remove the tranny from the tractor. While surfing at the Tuff Torque site they recommend changing oil at the first 50 hrs and every 200 hrs after that. Is it worth the work required to change the oil?

    • @Orlando, Yes, Tuff-Torgue does recommend you change the oil, but I would guess that only 1 owner out of 10,000 actually does it. Keep it clean. Blow off the debris at least twice a year. If you think it is going bad replace the belt. 90% of the time the belt starts to slip and the owner blames the trans.

      I see a lot more engines failing than hydro transmissions. The old Briggs I/C and the early Inteks really don’t like hills. I see a lot of them fail after 5-8 years. The Platinum engine in your new YT4000 is holding up well though. I have heard of no common failures with this engine. The failure rate is at least 1 in 10,000.

  16. Is there any difference other than the transmission between the 28856 and the 25023? I saw a 25023 at a store today and the front wheel wheelbase appear to be just a little less wide than the deck. If the tractors are the same ( same chassis and front wheelbase) I will go with the hydro unit. I know both are turn tight but I do not know if there are any difference in the front wheel system. I saw the 25023 at one of the independently own sears retailers and the representative at the store was not very knowledgeable about the tractors. The 25023 is no longer on the sears catalog so I can’t compare specs from there. Thanks!!

    • @Orlando, The only difference is the transmission. The 25023 was clearanced off last fall (lack of sales) from the Full Line Stores.

  17. (I added the numbers so I can respond to a few of these comments. Paul) I purchased the same riding mower in 2010 after my 1988 craftsman garden tractor finally died after 21 years of hard use. Here it is 2013 and I can say the quality of the new riding mowers sucks period. 1. The mower was supposed to be delivered and setup including leveling the deck. Obviously the person who did this didn’t have a clue what they were doing because the left side was cutting about 3/4 of an inch lower than the right side. 2. The blades that came on the deck were garbage, I threw them in the trash and got a set of gator blades which also helped with the uneven cutting problem. 3. Spent about 20 minutes getting the deck leveled and now in 2013 it still doesn’t stay level. If you need to remove the deck its 5 pins, then trying to get the belt off, and releasing the piece of crap manual deck engagement cable take far more time than the 5 minute removal of the deck on my old craftsman that was 4 quick release spring pins and removing the belt off 1 pulley. 4. Another thing that gripes me is the completely open top of the deck allowing everything to collect around the belt, pulleys, and the mechanical parts that control the deck engagement and disengagement. Its impossible to clean out unless you completely remove the deck which is time consuming and about the dumbest design I’ve ever seen. 5. Craftsman needs to go back to their designs of the 80’s and earlier and leave all the so called upgrades in the dirt because this new riding mower is anything but an upgrade. 6. My old riding mower had an electric PTO and cost far less than this new riding mower that has a manual deck engagement and can’t pull itself out of its own tracks in dry conditions, not to mention won’t start most of the time in the winter, yet snow removal attachments are available… 7. pretty useless given the pile of crap won’t start when its colder than about 40 degrees regardless of what oil is in it, and taking the time to do a proper tune-up. These new craftsman (American yard Products) equipment is nothing but garbage. If you have an older riding mower, lawn tractor, garden tractor, etc. keep it, you’ll really thank yourself for it. 8. Don’t waste your money on a new mower from Sears, Husqvarna, etc. If you truly want a good machine you have to go to an actual dealer like John Deere, Snapper, Simplicity, etc. 9. Do not buy a John Deere at your local Home Depot or similar store either they are just a rebadged American Yard Products pile of crap. 10. FYI all of the major retail mowers are built by that AYP company, which is why they’re all looking the same and have all the same parts.

    • @Bill, A few items I would like to respond to. 1. Sears does not “set up” the tractors like a John Deere dealer is required to do. If you buy it from a full line store the tractor is delivered in a crate to the store. The backroom personnel take it off the truck and out of the crate. With the YT 4000 that is as far as they go. No one in the store levels the deck. It is assembled at the factory in South Carolina and most of the time is level. I always recommend that you reduce the tire pressure to 14 lbs and then go mow. Make a couple of passes and only if difference in the height is more than 1/2 inch from one pass to the other then read the section on leveling the deck from side to side. There is one adjuster on the left side of the tractor. The front of the deck should be 1/4 to 3/8 inch lower than the rear.

      2. Like Bill I am not personally fond of the standard Craftsman mulching blade. I have weak bluegrass on sandy soil and the standard mulching blade does not provide enough lift to cut it well. I suggest the Craftsman 42" Premium Hi-Lift Replacement Blade for side discharge and the Craftsman 42" Advanced Mulching and Bagging Blade Set for mulching.

      3. The cable deck engage was introduced around 2001 because the old mechanical system wore out quickly.

      4. I have never owned a Craftsman older than a 1998 so I don’t know about deck covers. I use an electric leaf blower to clean off the deck if it gets too full of leaves in the fall. I’ve owned many commercial mowers with deck covers that were more of a headache than they were worth but I can’t speak to the old Craftsman’s covers.

      5. As a side-note, Simplicity did just what you want. They kept the heavy frame, large component tractors and their mower now costs over $6000!

      6. I have mixed feelings about electric clutches. They are nice, the belts appear to last longer on decks with electric clutches. But when they go bad, they are very expensive to replace. (Over $250)

      7. If your tractor does not start when it is cold out, inspect and adjust the choke cable. I have noticed many Briggs motors becoming harder and harder to start over time and it is simply loosening the choke cable clamp on the carb and moving it an 1/8 of an inch or less.

      8. Unfortunately in today’s economy not everyone can afford to spend $3000, $4000 or $14,000 on a lawn tractor.

      9. I have a feeling that the workers at the Greeneville, Tennessee John Deere plant would enjoy giving you a tour of their factory where the 100 series tractors are made. If you ever tour the Orangeburg Husqvarna plant and you see green paint please let us know.

      10. Go and read this article. http://todaysmower.com/2011/riding-mower-brands/. While Husqvarna is now the largest world-wide mower manufacture, only Poulan, Ariens, some Husqvarna and some Craftsman’s are made in Orangeburg. Many of the retail mowers are also made by MTD and Briggs & Stratton. AYP, Roper and Hahn-Eclipse are long gone. Husqvarna purchased that plant many years ago. They also purchased Dixon and those zero-turns are now made there in the new wing. John Deere makes their own at Greeneville, Tennessee and Horicon, WI.

    • @Jake, The 28851. It is the YT3000, 42 inch with fender control hydro. The best price will be Saturday night after 8 pm (central)

      There is one cheaper. It is the 25002. YT3000, 42 inch with six speed transmission.

  18. Pingback: 2012-2013 Craftsman YT 4500 54 in 26 hp Hydro Yard Tractor Model 28858 Review - TodaysMower.com

  19. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Husqvarna yth19k42. Since craftsman is made by husqvarna why not just get thr husqvarna?

    • @pat, Are you referring to the new YTA19K42? That one has an automatic trans (belt drive) If not, here is the difference………..

      Yes they come out of the same factory, but they are spec’d for different customers. The Craftsman you wrote this comment on has a v-twin cylinder, 24 hp motor, turn-tight steering and Sears service right in your home. It has more features and power than the YTH19K42.

      The YTH19K42 compares better to the Craftsman 28851. That Craftsman has a 21 hp single cylinder Briggs against the Kohler single cylinder 19 hp in the Kohler.

      The Craftsman also has the Turn-Tight Steering. A 6 inch turning radius against the Husqvarna’s 16 inch.

      And lastly, do you orange or red better? :)

  20. Hi Paul,

    I love your reviews, thank you for your time in making them. I wanted to offer my experience with this tractor and any feed back you may have.

    First off, I have never owned a riding lawn mower or tractor. However, I have found myself in need of one this year. I went to my local Home Town store originally to buy a refrigerator my wife picked out earlier in the day. And there sitting next to the appliances ON SALE, was this tractor. FOR LESS than the refrigerator!!! It was like clouds peeled back and heavenly song reverberated in my head as I said to my self, WE NEED THIS NOW and we can wait to “Match” the appliances later.

    So, went home, researched, compared to all other brands. Came back and bought it. BTW my Wife agreed on my thinking:)

    Delivered a week later, followed the manual for getting started, lowered tire pressure, adjusted mower deck, then spent 30 Min’s mowing. I have 5 acres to mow, somewhat hilly, and for sure not a golf course. I told the store this. Sadly I found several issues.

    1. There is a piece of metal attached to the frame on the drivers left that extends down. After 30 mins it not only took off 6 inches of paint off the deck it dug in 1/16” into the deck.
    2. The slightest incline the wheels slip. About 7 degrees.
    3. The brake peddle rattles so bad it sounds like the engine is knocking.

    After showing the Store manager the damage and issues he said to call Sears and have a service call since I purchased the extra 3 yrs warranty ( GREAT THING ) all of it should be covered except for the slippage.

    The repair tech came out in 3 days! Great right? Not. He was abrasive and rude. He told me that the deck issue was normal and not to just take off the metal piece. Even though my extended warranty covers cosmetic, the damage was considered “NORMAL” and he won’t replace the deck until it rusts. The brake peddle sound is also normal. And if I want to go up any slight incline I should have chains and wheel weights. But wait there’s more… Can’t use them with the mower deck installed.

    I also found an inconsistency with the “quick start” guide and the Manual as it pertains to the deck wash port. The quick start said to NEVER use water to clean the deck as this will cause a void of the warranty as it will damage the mandrels. Yet the Manual says to use it after every use.??? The repair man said and I quote. ” DO BOTH” one or the other wont affect the warranty.

    He also stated that if I use this machine out here it won’t last 1 yr.

    I went to the Store Owner and much to my surprise he was EXTREMELY helpful and sympathetic.

    End result… Matched price of comparable Lowes Husqvarana $2200 Plus 10% price match for the GT6000! Full refund and great customer service. Yes the GT6000 is more than I wanted to spend but for my needs its an incredible value for what I paid. Also the 3yr service plan is not valid with the 6000 so I had to bump up to the 5yr. But they split that with me.

    Great HOME TOWN STORE, I purchased the wrong tool for the job that may, have a design flaw with the deck. But just 5 more days and I have the new GT6000 that I will use for ground engaging. I have read your reviews of the 2012 GT6000 and I am excited.

    Thank you for your time and my long review.
    Dustin
    Parker, CO.

    • @Dustin, One of the hardest thing to do is to suggest the right mower for a yard without seeing the yard. It is also hard to get the right mower for many people because they have a predetermined price in mind instead and end up getting too little mower for their situation. I am glad you found the best Home Town Store.

  21. Pingback: 2012 Craftsman 42 in 21hp Turn Tight Hydro Yard Tractor Review - TodaysMower.com | TodaysMower.com

  22. Paul, Got ready to order this model at $1529.99, but when in my Cart it jumped to $1547.99; what gives? Also, are you sure 33472 is the mulching plug # for this model? Plus, how do I get you a peso-or-ten for this handy-dandy site?

    • @Tony,

      Make sure your profile has your ShopYourWayRewards info and your Craftsman Club Number. To check, log in, click the profile tab, click the about me tab, and then the club tab.

      DO NOT use the chat feature they offer. That group steals my commision.

      I just went there and got the same results. It looks like the “midnight madness” pricing is in effect instead of the craftsman club pricing.

      Tony, wait until tomorrow morning and the Craftsman Club price will be back. Sears has too many sales………..

      Here is the explanation from the sales page.

      Reg Price: $1989.99
      Savings: $290.00
      Sales: $1699.99 Save an extra 10% during Midnight Madness on select tractors that match-up to John Deere!
      Hide Details – $ 153.00 Discount seen in cart. Items are Sold by Sears. No instore price matching is allowed on this offer. Valid thru 4/30
      $1546.99

      Yes, the 33742 is the right mulch kit.

  23. Paul,

    I have about an acre, or just under to cut. I was looking at both the YT3000 and 4000. It looks like the main difference is HP and 2 cylinders vs 1. Am I missing anything else? I’m just mowing, not planning at this point for hauling and definitely not doing snow removal. Also, is the initial set-up difficult? I read that leveling the deck can be difficult. Thanks for your input. -Rick

    • @rick, The ONLY difference is the engine. I prefer the twin because I like the sound of a V-Twin and I think it is smoother. The whole tractor doesn’t vibrate as much.

      The set-up does not need to be difficult.
      Read the manual and get comfortable with the controls.
      Check the air pressure in the tires and set the front and rear for about 12 lbs.
      Check the engine oil ..it should be ok. Make sure the transmission free wheel rod is pushed in.
      Put gas in it.

      If you are ready, start it up and drive it around. Get comfortable with it? Does the transmission make a lot of noise? Read the manual on purging the trans and do it.

      When you are ready, mow with it. Set the lift control on the fender for 4. (That’s about 2 1/2 inches) Make two passes along side each other in the same direction. Does it look even? Yes, you are good to go. No, read the directions for leveling the deck and perform the task. Only 1 out of every 50 tractors or so will need the deck leveled.

  24. Pingback: 2012 John Deere 42 in 22 HP Hydro Model D130 Review - TodaysMower.com | TodaysMower.com

  25. Guess I didn’t actually ask a question with my last post, but do you know why Sears has changed the frame gauge on these mowers from 11ga to 12ga; and still 13ga on the 6-speed models?

    • @Tony, When they built the website for 2012 some of the data was wrong. The frame ga is 12. I went back to 2009 and the frame ga on the Yard Tractors has been 12 ga for quite some time. The MTD Pro series had 11 ga. That was because it used a “z” frame instead of the Channel frame used on all the other models.

  26. Well, here we go again…..now Sears has changed the stat sheet to show a 12ga frame on this series. You’ll notice your stats still show 11ga. Getting the turning radius wrong is bad enough, but frame gauge roulette shows poor attention to detail.

  27. Is there a way to tell if you’re buying the 2012, as opposed to the 2011 model?
    Why didn’t Sears apply the TTT to the Premium line; seems like a no-brainer, although I realize they’re made by different companies.

    • @Tony, I am going to answer your first question with an article. It is one that needs to be addressed for all the manufactures. Hopefully I’ll have it done this morning.

      The TTT is patented and I don’t know exactly who owns the patent. (Husqvarana or Craftsman) But, the manufactures like to keep features to themselves and not let the other companies make them just so they have an edge on the competition. And the lawn tractor industry is extremely competitive….. For, example Ariens bought an British firm (Countax) last year for technology they have that no one else has.

      In my opinion, Craftsman is going to “grow” the premium line. They test marketed the 30 hp last year and expanded it this year to the more common sizes. These new mowers already have better features than the competitors for the price and if they can pull the existing “estate” buyers away from them….. The competition will try to catch up and I can see them adding more features like turn tight later to again beat the competition.

      The turn tight is good, but it is not for everyone. For example, if you fly around your yard and don’t slow down when turning, you won’t like it. I have had a few owners already who just don’t get that and are breaking the Turn Tight. It would have to be beefed up considerably for the heavier, premium tractors.

  28. Paul’ one more thing i forgot to ask you on my last comment.does this have cruise control ? you are saying yes on the review and sears does not say but on the 46″ deck sears list it. thanks again nick

  29. Paul is the yt 4000 42″24hp the same as 2011? and do you have a part # for gator blades and a mulch plug ? thank you. nick noel

  30. Paul, Couldn’t help but notice the pic didn’t match the review. Are you rating the 2012 model, or re-hashing the 2011 info? If the former, are you confirming an 11 ga. frame for 2012?

    ps Any word on upcoming sales?

    • @Tony, Thanks for the catch of my mistake. I’m using a “form” this year so all the reviews have the same info. It will make it easier to compare the different tractors from the different brands.

      Still haven’t got the final word on the frame gauge on the gear drive YT’s. I do know there will be no change for the rest of the YT line-up. The frame will stay 11 ga.

      Any sale over 20% off L&G is a good one. They are continuing the “Turf Wars” theme so they will be VERY competitive against Lowes and HD.

      Sears is going to continue the “change the price every 5 days until you like it” campaign. But they are going to have fewer “Family & Friends” events and more “Shop Your Way Rewards” (SYWR) events. If you are not a SYWR member go to Sears and get signed up.