2012 Craftsman 46 in 24 hp YT 4000 Hydro Model 28857 Yard Tractor Review

Executive Summary: This is the 46 inch version Craftsman’s most popular twin-cylinder riding mower. It has a better motor than other lawn tractor brands in this price range, a hydrostatic transmission, a great cutting deck, plenty of available attachments and Craftsman’s Turn Tight 6 inch turning radius. It will handle all of the non-ground engaging attachments Sears sells.  This is Craftsman’s best value twin-cylinder Yard Tractor. Compared to all the other brands this yard tractor has more of the features you want. With Craftsman continuing the Turf War this year it will be the best value twin cylinder yard tractor. This tractor has not changed for 2013.

By Paul Sikkema. Find Paul on 

This lawn tractor review covers the Model 28857, 46 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!
42 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28856,
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: Model 28857
Buy Here:  Craftsman 46″ 24hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 8 x 8 in. 
Store Pickup,Delivery: Buy Online, And Have It Delivered To Your Home:
Street Price: Less than $1829.99 

Basic Quality: (Cheap, Good, Best, Premium, Don’t Buy)  This is Craftsman’s Best Quality. The 28885 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 attachments at the end of this article.
Compare it to: Husqvarna 24-HP V-Twin Hydrostatic 48-in Riding Lawn Mower $1899.00 at Lowes, John Deere D130 22 HP V-Twin Hydrostatic 42-in Riding Lawn Mower $1899.03 at Lowes

 

Craftsman 46 in 24 hp Turn Tight Hydro

 Pros:
Foot Control Trans
Hydrostatic Trans
Step-through Platform
6 inch Turning Radius

Cons:
Could Use Larger Tires

Retail Price: $1799.99  Check The Best Sale Price Here:  Craftsman 46″ 24hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 8 x 8 in. 

My Review:

If you have a lot of landscape beds and yard stuff to trim around this is the best twin cylinder lawn tractor. The 46 inch deck sticks out the side of the tractor a little bit farther than the 42 in version.  This makes it easier to get closer to landscape beds, fences and buildings without the tires making a mess. The 6 inch turning radius is so good you will forget about wanting a zero-turn mower.

This tractor continues to be the best value tractor on the market for your average size suburban yard!  This tractor has plenty of power to attach a snow blower.  This is a great lawn tractor with an excellent cutting deck.  Independent review companies continue to rate this deck as one of the best for how well it cuts. It has an oil pump B&S motor, with yellow oil filter.  It has four anti-scalp wheels so it will mow your lawn without gouging or scalping the turf. This tractor continues to get the best reviews from the independent review organizations for value, cut, and dependability.  Sears has the best service 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 want a dependable mower with a dependable motor.  They want the step-through design, a nice seat all at a good price.  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 every week.  It mulches and bags well.

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by Sears.  There have been very 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 their repair policy if you have a problem.  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 3-5 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, Tightest turning radius in the U.S.

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: Separate Choke/Throttle
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3 U.S. gal. 
Transmission: hydrostatic 
Transmission Control:  Direction/speed – foot control with dash mounted cruise 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
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: 46 in.
Blades: 2, 46 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: 42-in. 
Width with mower: 57-in. 
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) 47-in. 
Height: ?-in. 
Weight: 526 lb with mower, no fuel

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

Craftsman 46″ 24hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 8 x 8 in.

Please give your city and state when you comment

  1. The blades keep turning when the clutch is disengaged. What is causing this and can it be fixed?
    Wilma Moore
    Steubenville, OHIO 43952

    • Hi Wilma, Do you have a lever to turn on the blades or a pull-switch?

      If you have a lever did you recently have a new belt put on? Or did you recently remove the deck to clean it or replace the blades?

      With the mower turned off look under the tractor and on top of the deck. Make sure there are no sticks caught in the top. Sometimes if you run over a stick it will get caught above the deck and under a pulley and make it stick in the on position.

      If you have a pull switch there is something wrong with the wiring on the mower. You need to take it to a service shop.

      If you had a new belt put on the belt is too short. Take it back to the repairman and tell him you want the correct SEARS belt put on. You can get the correct belt by looking under the seat and getting the model number. It will look like 917.12345. You can go to searspartsdirect.com and order a new belt or go to a Sears store and they will order it for you. You have to have the model number from under the seat to get the right part.

      If you recently had the deck off and it’s a lever engage the belt is not run through the pulleys and idler pulleys correctly.

      Last, does the lever move freely? If it does the lever is broke.

  2. Has anyone experienced a transmission failure? My YT seems to lag (no power) when I push the hydrostatic forward throttle. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Hi Jeff, That transmission will usually growl when it goes bad. So I would like you to check the engine to transmission belt first. The belt is a more common problem that the trans. It’s the top belt. Make sure the parking brake is NOT set (left pedal) and check to see if it is fairly tight.

      Everyone else can help out here.

    • I had a similar experience, I had managed to disengage the transmission when I removed the bagger attachment. Re-engaged the transmission via the wire at the rear and it was all back to normal. Also, is it possible you’ve gotten bubbles in the fluid? The owners manual outlines a tool-less procedure to remove the bubbles. Hope that helps.

  3. Paul, I’ve noticed that some of the more expensive models, built on a similar chassis, have features like a locking rear diff, and electric mower clutch, do you know if those can be easily (bolt on) retrofitted to the 28857? I’d really like the limited slip, or even locking diff as my entire road frontage is about a 25 to 45 degree slope and in the winter with snow clearing the open diff just causes more problems than I’d prefer to deal with in a snow storm.

    • Hi Tom, The majority of the tractors that have a locking diff use the TUFFTORQ K46CR. (Huqvarna Part Number 426121) It has the same frame mounting holes and axle diameter so your existing wheels will fit. You can use Google to find the best price.

      The Garden Tractors with locking diffs use the Tufftorq K66ELD. Husqvarna part number (580402201) This has a larger one inch axle and fit on the GT frame (the frame with the sloping back) You will have to buy new rims and tires.

      If you want to learn more here is a good place to start RJR Tractor

  4. Hello Paul, The repair tech came out today and replaced the carb which took care of the popping. Thanks again for your help.

  5. Thanks for the quick reply Paul. I physically checked the flywheel key and it is perfect. I am stumped by this and I assume the tech that came out to repair it is as well. My friend described it as sounding like a bag of microwave popcorn popping during the last 20 seconds (random popping) while engine is at idle. I am concerned that this will cause a complete engine failure soon after my warranty runs out. Do I just keep calling service until they do something to fix it?

    Is it normal for the grass to burn under the exhaust when the mower is stopped in one spot for a short time? Sometimes I need to stop the mower to pick up a branch and the next day the grass is all burnt in that area. That does not seem right to me and may be related to the popping.

    • @Bill, Craftsman tractors are not known for killing grass with the exhaust but it does happen with lawn tractors (especially on Cub Cadets) The exhaust is pointed down so all the heat from the engine is directed down. The popping may aggravate that.

      I would call Sears Repair and ask for seasoned tech. Tell them the last tech could not find the problem and you would like a more experienced tech. Use the words “seasoned tech.” They will send their most experienced tech out to figure the problem out of change out the motor.

  6. Hello Paul,

    Thank you for the information that you provide. I bought a 2012 YT4000 288572 based on your review back in September of 2012 with an extended warranty. I use it for mowing, bagging and plowing. For about a year now, I have noticed a misfire/popping from the engine. It is very prominent when running without a load and barely noticeable with a load (blades engaged). It seems to perform well other than the popping. I have tried different grades of gas, additives (sea foam) and replaced the plugs without any improvement. I have also checked the valve clearance and it was fine. It has about 100 hours on it. I had a tech come out and he changed the coils and replaced the plugs but that did not fix the problem. He said to call them back if it gets worse. The engine model # is 4456 77 2188 G5. I have also noticed that the exhaust is hot and it burns the grass if left in one spot for more than a few seconds. Any thoughts?

    • @Bill, That is one problem I haven’t run across for a long time. I did have one engine with a problem like this back in the 90’s but I hate to tell you what the solution was because it was it is a very expensive to check. If that is not the problem it’s a couple hours labor for nothing. We found the flywheel key was partially sheared. The flywheel had moved about 1/2 a degree. That wasn’t enough to keep the ignition from working but enough that it would backfire all the time.

  7. Paul, can you tell me if there is a commercial oil filter replacement for the Craftsman 28857, or is the yellow Craftsman from Sears the only available?

  8. Geesus. Every year I learn something new from your site. Thanks a lot. By the way, I changed the plugs, oil and oil filter, fuel filter and air filter on my 28857. That baby is purring like a kitten.

  9. I see. Help me out here. Do people actually use chains on grass? Do they cause any damage to the lawn?

    • @Miles, yes chains tear up the grass, but there are some owners who have hills to steep to mow with conventional tractors. Instead of buying a tractor with a diff lock or 4 wheel drive they use tire chains to get the traction they need to mow up the hill.

  10. That’s an unfortunate trade-off in my view. The 42 does not allow close cutting around flower beds and other landscapes and the 48 does not produce as smooth or uniform a cut. Flying down the lawn at 8 mph is OK if you are cutting an open field or similar tract. But I doubt one could expect anything close to uniformity at that speed unless the ground under your lawn is perfectly flat and smooth. I’ll take my 28857 any day. Seems like with these new mowers, one might be paying more and getting less. But as Earth, Wind and Fire sings, “That’s the way of the world”.

    • @Miles, a lot of people asked for a 48 inch so Craftsman added it to the V-Twin models. The 46 is still available on the single cylinder Briggs and Kohler 20383 and 20385. (Also the MTD built 20374) The 48 inch deck does fix one issue that has plagued the 46 inch deck. There is now room to add tire chains for the owners who use the tractors on more than 15 degree hills. There was not enough clearance between the 46 inch deck and the 20x10x8 tires for chains on the 28857. (The new ones still mow well at 3-4 mph. The 7.5 mph is just for running around the yard)

  11. Hello Paul,
    It’s just about time for me to get cranking and mowing. I see that Sears no longer manufactures the YT 4000 (28857). What a shame. What is the 2014 equivalent?

    • @Miles, There are now two replacements for the 28857. The 42 inch Model 20390 and the 48 inch Model 20391. The 46 inch deck is only offered in the single cylinder Model 20383.

      The new T3000 and T3200 have the new 8 mph automatic trans. The engine is still the same Platinum Briggs but the government now requires a different rating system so the engine is now 22 hp (more accurate)

      I like the new look.

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

  13. Paul

    The Sea Foam helped w/ the rough running of my YT-4000 tractor but I am still running the battery down trying to start it most of the time. Did you ever locate the instructions on how to adjust the choke ?

    Thanks , Guido

    • @Guido, Well, I can’t find the explanation so I’ll restate it. You have a YT4000. You may want to have someone help by moving the throttle cable. Let’s see if we can do this without pictures.

      1. Unplug the headlight cable and remove the hood. If you haven’t removed the hood before, open it, unhook the plug on the right side. Close the hood about 6 inches and then lift it straight up.
      2. Looking at the front of the engine below the air cleaner have the other person move the throttle back and forth. Do you see where the end of the cable moves and is attached to the carb? That lever the cable attaches to is the throttle/choke. We are going to adjust the cable so that closes just a little bit more.
      3. Have them move the cable to full throttle and then to choke position. Again watch how it works. Move the throttle back to the full position and leave it there for now.
      4. Right below the part of the cable that is moving is a set screw and a clamp around the cable. You are going to loosen that clamp and move the cable 1/8 inch in a moment.
      5. You can use a screwdriver or 1/4 inch socket to loosen that set screw. Loosen it and move the cable DOWN 1/8 inch. Tighten the clamp.
      6. Move the throttle cable again and you will notice the throttle lever (in step 2) now closes just a little bit more than it did before.

      If you laid your tools on the tractor remove them. You don’t need to put the hood back on right now. Have the other person move the throttle all the way up into the choke position and then start the tractor. It should start much faster than it did before.

      If it is starting better, put the hood back on.

      Let me know how that works.

  14. Hello Paul,

    Can I trouble you to give me step by step instructions on how to “block the rear axles” for tire change purposes, starting with where the jack should be located? Thanks.

    • Miles, personally I have an old oak block of wood about 24 inches long and 14 inches square. I lift the tractor and set the rear hitch on that block. I always loosen the axle nut before I lift the rear of the tractor up. If you remove the axle please remember to catch the key in the axle slot and put it back in when you re install the rim.

  15. Paul,
    Would you recommend the Craftsman YT4000, new from Sears, or the John Deere X300 slightly used, with 50 hours on the clock, from a Deere dealer? The JD is in like new condition and I’d have to buy a new grass catcher for $650; total price $2650. The Craftsman is about $2350 with grass catcher, possibly slightly less if I buy on-line rather than in the store.

    • @John, I assume the X300 is a 42 inch deck. If the dealer will give you the standard warranty (put in writing on the sales slip) I would chose the Deere. See if you can get a 30 day return policy so if you don’t like the tractor, you can return it.

      If the tractor is “as is” and you feel a warranty is important I would go with the Craftsman. In my opinion the engines are both full pressure, the transmissions are the same so internally they are about the same. Both decks cut well, but Consumer Reports does give the deck on this Deere a better rating than the YT4000. The 300 series Deere does have a better “fit and finish” than the Craftsman and retails for $1000 more. I know Deere dealers are pretty hungry this year so it sounds like a really good deal.

  16. Bought this tractor earlier this year and have been mulching the grass. Since fall is approaching, I decided to spring for the bagger. I used it for the first time this week, and it did a great job, but I have one question. What’s the best way to wash the deck (using the port) without having all the water go into the back?

    • @cameopilot, The best way is to remove the bagging chute when you go to wash the deck. It’s only a 12 second job to unclip the 2 bungee cords and lift the end of the chute off the black clip on the deck. You can take it off, or spin the chute opening so the water doesn’t go in the hole.

  17. Paul, thanks for your very reassuring response. I may have overstated my mechanical ineptitude-but not by much. I have been able to do all of the routine maintenance on the tractor so I guess tightening tranny bolts is within my capabilities-assuming I can get a wrench on the bolts. I realize that there will be “lemons” in almost any production run. Other than the issues I have mentioned, I have been delighted with the YT 4000 overall, especially considering the fact I paid just under $1500.00 for it. But I still think the extended warranty is an investment worthy of serious consideration. Not everybody possesses your mechanical prowess.

  18. Geezus guys, you’re scaring me. I purchased my tractor in May 2011 (you’re making me glad I also got the 5 year extended warranty). The only “mod” I did was to reposition the fuel line off of the muffler as a safety measure. The choke has been twice adjusted by a Sears technician. The carburetor was replaced early this season-one of the orifices was clogged despite the fact I have always used fuel stabilizer and fresh gasoline. The technician seemed to think the problem might have been related to ethanol but he wasn’t real certain about that. However, tightening tranny nuts and bolts and implementing major modifications as you describe are way above my mechanical aptitude. Incidentally, I used to own a Honda lawn tractor and none of this stuff was ever an issue. You’ve got me wondering if there is any truth to those who claim Craftsman is better named Crapsman.

    • @Miles, It’s not that these machines are bad, it’s that these machines are mechanical devices. I firmly believe in preventative maintenance. If I see any kind of a trend, I want to let my readers know. For example, The chute on the 30 inch Craftsman was found here. Craftsman not only recognized the problem but changed the design.

      I don’t want to scare anyone. There have been very few problems and these problems are not limited to Craftsman. I have knowledge of Husqvarna, Poulan, John Deere and Cub Cadet transmissions coming loose and cracking the frame. My old mechanic even has had a couple of Simplicity tractors with loose trannys.

      If you are mechanically inclined, check the bolts. If you have a friend or neighbor who works on his own equipment have him check the bolts. If you have your tractor tuned up by a mechanic, have him check the bolts. If you have none of the above and have the Protection Plan…don’t worry about it.

      I knew two farmers who each harvested 2000 acres of corn and beans a year. One farmer ran his combine until it broke down and then had it fixed by a repairman. The other farmer spent about 2 to 3 hours every evening going over his combine, checking all the belts, nuts, bolts and greased all the bearings.

      The first farmer complained about his machine all the time and every couple of years traded it in for a different brand.

      The other farmer always got his crops out 2 to 3 weeks sooner, kept his machine for 10 years or more, and still buys the same brand even though his dealer is now 50 miles farther away.

  19. G’Day Paul, and all (poetic?), Based on this blog and what you specifically told me about the 28856 and 28857 I am having my Craftsman 46 inch being delivered today. I shall be checking all the bolts and perhaps doing a few aforementiined “mods” I had the snow plow returned but may try a different model later. I have a bro in law who owns a few years older 28856, he added the snow plow and did not remove his mower deck. However he did use a different Sears model plow. He bought the 14 inch high model. I need to look at his and see what he did…
    This is a very imformitive site and I appreciate all the efforts…Daniel

  20. Hi Paul,
    Just wanted to chime in. I recently picked up this model and so far it’s been great.
    I did do a couple of mods though:
    1. I noticed it had the mounting bracket for a front center gauge wheel which was not included, so I added that and it really helped with scalping small mound areas in my lawn.
    If I hit these areas just right where the high area went right down the center of the deck it would scalp.

    2. I replaced the right side fixed deck height linkage with a adjustable one. I just ordered another left one and it fit perfectly and really allowed me to tweak the deck height to how I wanted it.

    3. there are two deck limiting brackets that mount the frame and I noticed they where gouging the deck on one side, so I remove them and shortened about 1/4 inch and bolted on a rubber stopper to the bottom, so there is not a steel on steel possibility.

  21. Hi Again, thanks so much for your prompt and enlightening reply to my first question. Now I am a bit concerned after reading about the engine/ tranny bolts loosening.
    My lawn is small enough that I am now considering cancelling the order for the 46 inch and going with the 42 incher with a 24 HP motor. This way it seems I will be able to plow snow and not have the deck removal issues and perhaps I’ll just be better off…Your thoughts, Daniel

    • @Daniel, All tractors need maintenance and after having this blog for a few years now one of the items that gets missed is checking the trans and engine bolts after the first year of use. All the mowers can have this problem, Craftsman, Cub Cadet Husqvarna…even Simplicity and Snapper have all had a tractor (or 10) where the transmission or engines bolts loosened.

      I like’n checking those bolts to checking the lug nuts on an RV 25 miles from the factory. 999 out of 1000 trailers have the lugs tighten properly, but it still plays to be safe.

      The 46 inch and the 42 inch are exactly the same machine. Just the deck is different.

    • @Daniel, All tractors need maintenance and after having this blog for a few years now one of the items that gets missed is checking the trans and engine bolts after the first year of use. All the mowers can have this problem, Craftsman, Cub Cadet Husqvarna…even Simplicity and Snapper have all had a tractor (or 10) where the transmission or engines bolts loosened.

      I like’n checking those bolts to checking the lug nuts on an RV 25 miles from the factory. 999 out of 1000 trailers have the lugs tighten properly, but it still plays to be safe.

      The 46 inch and the 42 inch are exactly the same machine. Just the deck is different.

  22. Wow, it’s hard to believe all the trouble I’ve had with my YT4000 purchased in 2009. It has 113 hours on it and has been down most of this summer. If I didn’t have a good friend that can do welding, fixing the frame would have probably been cost prohibitive enough to have canned it when the transmission came loose in the Spring, causing the frame to crack. Then the wheels came out of alignment (BTW, there is no adjustment), then the transmission started leaking. It’s been one thing after another. I may be forgetting 1 or 2 things I’ve had done on it. The 24-hp Briggs engine seems great but that’s about all that seems reliable on this unit. My brother has a very similar Cub Cadet with 450 hours on it and it’s still going strong w/no major repairs.

    • @John, The trend is starting to show up that about 1 out of every thousand Husqvarna YTH series, Craftsman YT series, Poulan and Ariens tractors sold over the last 5 years have a transmission that tries to fall out. It appears the four bolts that attach the trans to the frame get loose and if you don’t catch it the frame cracks. Once the frame cracks all sorts of problems show up. Tearing up the drive belt, not mowing even and so on.

      I actually wrote an article this summer showing everyone where the bolts are and that you really should check them every year.

      Here’s the article: 8 Bolts You Must Check

  23. Paul

    I purchased a Craftsman YT 4000 (model#28857) in May 2011 . Recently it is very hard to start . It also speeds up and slows down when idling and at low speed. Under load conditions – while cutting – this seems to go away or at least is much less noticeable . I recently changed the plugs , fuel filter ,oil & oil filter and cleaned the air filter but that did not help . Any thoughts on what to try next – the hard starting cannot be good for the battery or the starter ?

    Thanks, Guido

    • @Guido, Number 1. It sounds like your throttle cable has slipped and the choke is not closing completely. Somewhere on this blog I went through how to adjust the choke on your tractor. I can’t find it now, but tonight. I’ll look for it.

      Number 2. I strongly suggest you clean the carb. The simple way is to put about 4 tablespoons per gallon of Sea Foam in your gas (you can get it at any auto parts store) and go mow your lawn. If that doesn’t fix the oscillating then have it cleaned. Bonboy73 on YouTube has a video or ten on how to clean it if you want to do it yourself.

      Number 3. Your symptoms can be misdiagnosed as needing a valve linkage adjustment. Your engine is not old enough to need a valve adjustment.

  24. I am purchasing this lawn tractor (48 inch 24 HP turn tight) My question is: I want to also use the 48 Inch snow blade in the winter, does the mower deck have to be removed to install/use the blade?
    I know the blade instructions say yes but I have heard it really is not necessary. I am handicapped and to have to remove the deck and reinstall every year for me would be nigh impossible…Thank you, Daniel

  25. Paul, did you not receive my inquiry regarding whether it is advisable to apply WD-40 to the mower undercarriage to prevent rust and clippings from adhering?

    • @Miles, Sorry I’m just getting to your question. I was at the 50th Anniversay Celebration of the John Deere 110 lawn tractor this weekend. I don’t like WD40 for outdoors. It doesn’t last very long. It does have some oil in it and of course where ever you spray oil, dust and dirt will collect. Myself, I would use a dry-lube like silicone spray. Myself, I use a spayable grease from Liquid Wrench but only on the areas that are getting stiff. (shifter linkage, idler arms, etc)

  26. Hello Paul,

    What is your take on applying WD-40 to the undercarriage of the mower as a rust preventive and means to reduce adherence of clippings? I read somewhere that this was a good idea.

    • @Miles, Sorry I’m just getting to your question. I was at the 50th Anniversay Celebration of the John Deere 110 lawn tractor this weekend. I don’t like WD40 for outdoors. It doesn’t last very long. It does have some oil in it and of course where ever you spray oil, dust and dirt will collect. Myself, I would use a dry-lube like silicone spray. Myself, I use a spayable grease from Liquid Wrench but only on the areas that are getting stiff. (shifter linkage, idler arms, etc)

  27. I’m new to developing web sites and I was wanting to know if having your site title related to your content really that important? I see your title, “2012-2013 Craftsman 46 in 24 hp YT 4000 Hydro Model 28857 Yard Tractor Review ” does seem to be spot on with what your website is about but, I prefer to keep my title less content descriptive and based more around site branding. Would you think this is a good idea or bad idea? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    • To My Readers: I normally don’t answer these types of questions (and I get dozens of this off topic stuff every 24 hours) but candice actually read the article and asked a real question.

      Candice, I’m an expert on this stuff but I’m too busy helping home owners with lawnmowers to answer your question. I would strongly suggest you go to Duct Tape Marketing and read everything he has to offer.

  28. Paul. Great info on your site. I am looking at the 42 or 46 in deck versions in the YT series. I have a simple trailer type core aerator for the lawn. Any problem pulling this with the YT models? Should I go for the 24 hp version or are the 21/22’s good enough? Thanks!

    • @Paul, a 21/22 is plenty strong for all the work you want to do. I really only recommend you move up to the 24 if you want to mount a snow blower or if you like the smoother operation of a v-twin.

  29. Paul,

    Thanks for the great site… very informative. I’m in the market for a tractor and like the the YT 4000 series, but I also stumbled across the Johnny Bucket Jr and am very interested in that as I think it would make the tractor much more useful. However, some of the people I’ve discussed this combination with think that the chassis/front axle on the YT may not hold up very well with the addition of the JBJr. Can you comment on this? Are there major design differences in these areas between the YT and GT tractors? I’d be ok with a GT, but really don’t want a 54″ deck and it looks like that’s pretty much the standard.

    Thanks for any insight you can provide

    • @cameopilot, Johnny Bucket makes a version to fit on the YT4000 but Craftsman does not recommend the tractor for ground engaging work. Myself, I would go with the GT6000 if you wanted Craftsman. If you wanted a smaller deck with the Johnny Bucket the Husqvarna YT42XLS or the YT46LS has locking differentials. The Husqvarnas are only found at dealers, you can’t get them online.

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

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

  32. Paul, thanks for your prompt and detailed advice and for all the great information on this site. I have learned an awful lot.

    With regard to the vibration on my YT 4000, I checked the plugs and wires and both were fully secure for each cylinder. The engine mounting bolts are a bit tricky to access as you mention in your article on bolts to check. After several attempts, I gave up and called Sears to check the issue. I’d like to give them the opportunity to correct the problem in case it’s something minor.

    You mention that a carb adjustment issue might be the problem. Not sure what other symptoms might accompany that problem but I noticed yesterday when I turned the key to the off position, the engine continues to stumble and run for a few seconds before finally dying. Starting is easy and smooth, so no issues noticed there. Thank you for informing the consumer!

    • @Ap1, I went looking for the engine manual but without your engine model number I can’t get to it. If you want you can get one from B&S Operator manuals I wanted to see if there is a fuel shutoff solenoid on that carb.

      I’m shooting in the dark now, but it still sounds carb related. There should be an electrical wire connected to the bottom of the carb. That is a fuel shutoff valve that keeps the engine from running on after you turn off the ignition.

      It will be interesting to see what the tech does. In most cases they will not work on the engine, (believe it or not, it’s not cost-effective), they just replace it. Don’t be surprised if you end up with a 26 hp Platinum in your new tractor.

  33. Pingback: 2012-2013 Craftsman 46 in 21 hp YT 3000 Kohler Hydro Model 28852 Yard Tractor Review - TodaysMower.com

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

  35. Started with a YT 3000 with 42″ deck, 21hp Briggs, and 6 speed manual transmission. Other than noticeable chassis flex when cutting certain challenging sections, I was happy with mower.

    When I realized I could get the YT4000 with 24hp vtwin Briggs, 46″ deck, and hydrostatic trans for several hundred dollars more I went for the upgrade.

    YT4000 arrived today and while the engine is quieter, it definitely feels significantly rougher than the 21hp single at 3/4 to full throttle. In fact, at full throttle, without deck engaged, the vibrations through the chassis, through the seat, and through the wheel are far stronger and more noticeable than with the single cylinder engine. In fact, it would not be acceptable to mow for an hour with this level of vibration.

    This can’t be normal can it? One of my primary motivations when trading up was to have the smoother and quieter experience of the vtwin.

    • @Ap1, no that is not normal. The v-twin Briggs is noticeably smoother than the single. If you are mechanically inclined, make sure the spark plugs are tight. Make sure the spark plug wires are firmly inserted on the plugs.

      If that doesn’t fix the problem, check the four engine to frame mounting bolts. I just wrote an article on checking them.

      Other than that it could be as simple as a carb adjustment or as complex as a bad rocker arm. Briggs is very good at quality control but I heard of one engine last year that was bad right out of the box.

      If that doesn’t fix the problem, call the store where you picked it up. Ask them if they want to exchange it or have a service tech come out and find the problem.

      Please let us know what happens.

  36. Paul thanks for the quick reply. Does one bagger perform better than the other as far as filling the bags evenly? I have read some reviews that the 3 bin bagger has issues filling the third bin.

    • @Chris, Wet Grass and Wet, Heavy leaves are always a problem when using a mower powered bagger. Normal weekly mowing after the dew is off or leaves that are not packed down from rain or snow fill ok using the 46 inch deck.

  37. Paul I have a couple of posts under the main review page frot the “best tractrors for 2012″ and I have decided to get this tractor. After getting jerked around on the price at Lowes on a used D110 I cut bait and am headed to sears tomorrow.

    Current Online price is 1611$ from the comments here some have done better but is that a decent price for this model? Second question is on the bagger, I plan on mostly bagging with this and what are the thoughts on the 6 bushel vs 9 bushel bagger for the 46 inch deck? My Budget is ~2k so both are in the ballpark.

    Thanks for all of the time you put into the site and I have learned alot. I have been able to define what i need with the information here and it has been tremendously helpful.

    • Chris, The sales associate has the ability to give one person an additional 5% off each day on the IN-STORE price. Even with this discount the on-line price may be cheaper.

      If the online price is cheaper, the sales associate just orders the tractor off of sears.com and you can still pick it up the same day at the store.

      Don’t forget about the shop your way rewards program. With a Sears card you get 2% back in points, ( 1% without using the Sears Card)

      There is also a 5% cash back AND 6 months no interest using a Sears card. (This is a limited time offer and I don’t know how long it is running)

      The 9 bushel bagger is 48 inches wide so if you have narrow areas to go through or high fences to run alongside you will have to be careful that you don’t snag the bagger. The 9 bushel hold 30% more than the 2 bin so you won’t have to empty it as often.

      • I picked up the tractor tonight at sears. I think i got a good deal at 1536.19 it was less than I thought. I also picked up the 3 bin bagger for 387$ and it will all be delivered on Monday for free. Thanks again Paul for all of the assistance.

  38. Paul is the platinum briggs in my yt4000 24hp better then the briggs v twin intec @ do you know what the differences are. my neighbor has a husq with a v twin intec and thinks he has the better eng thanks nick

    • @nick, Your neighbor does not have a better quality motor than yours. If he has an Intek he has a lower quality. If he has an Intek Plus he has and equal quality, but your engine still has more features.

      In addition to the full pressure oil lube you have the exclusive Craftsman oil drain and I believe an exclusive air filter.

      The Craftsman Platinum in your tractor and the Intek Plus are advertised to have about 25% longer life over the regular Intek and Craftsman Gold engines. Your tractor has an actual oil pump that pumps the oil right to the bearings.

      The regular Intek has an oil pump but it just circulates oil through the filter, cleaning the oil. It does not pump oil to the bearings. It uses the standard splash system to lubricate the motor.

      Does you neighbor’s Intek have the black oil filter with the yellow label? If it does then your motor is a higher quality.
      If your neighbor’s Intek uses a yellow oil filter than it is the same quality engine as your’s.

    • Why do you even care what your neighbor has? Oh, forgive me. This is America where keeping up with the Jones is essential to life. All of my neighbors own John Deere and I could give a rat’s a** about what engines come in those tractors. I realize, I am in the minority as your post amply demonstrates. If you can, enjoy your tractor, regardless of what your neighbor owns.

  39. Thank you for the reply!

    Now I’m torn between paying $1100 for a tractor-attached snow thrower that’s a little wider, or $1100 for a walk-behind that might be more maneuverable.

    No steep grades to worry about. I was hoping the tractor-driven one would be less expensive since it doesn’t have its own engine.

    I guess I have a few months to decide. :)

    Thanks again!

    • @Andrew, $1100 is not all you will pay. You still need tire chains and wheel weights. The first time you install it you will need about 3 hours. After that it is a 45 minute job.

      With your long drive you are a good candidate for a tractor mounted snow thrower. Myself I prefer the walk behinds because I can go through the side doors on my garage. I can do the driveway and then go through the garage and clean the patio and a spot on the lawn for the dogs. If I had a tractor mounted snow thrower I would have to make a path around the garage to the side gate to the back yard (about 250 foot extra)

      A 30 inch snow blower like the http://www.sears.com/craftsman-30inch-357cc-dual-stage-snowblower-w-ez/p-07188396000P?prdNo=4&blockNo=4&blockType=G4 Is only 2 passes up and down your single car drive.

  40. Paul, thank you for such a helpful and comprehensive site!

    I know farm tractors fairly well, but I’m completely new to the world of large lawns and “yard tractors”. I’m worried my expectations will be too high of a consumer product.

    I’m buying a house with about 2 acres of lawn, and about 300′ of (mostly single-width) driveway. It’s getting late in the season for mowing here in southern New England, but I’ll have leaves and snow to contend with soon enough.

    This Craftsman model is attractive: well-reviewed and less expensive than a Deere. Does anyone have thoughts/experiences with it as a snow thrower driver? I can’t find an appropriate attachment on the Sears site, but I’ve read several mentions that there is one.

    I don’t actually care much about perfect lawn grooming. My standards are not high there. Anything that minimizes follow up time with a push mower and/or weed whacker is a *huge* plus.

    I do care about a well-made, long-lasting product. The CTX series looks great, but seems overkill for me, targeted at serious lawn groomers. I just want a solid, flexible machine that is good for lawn, leaves, and snow. At the CTX price level, I’d rather have a used Kubota and a push mower.

    I’d be grateful for your thoughts, especially on the snow thrower question.

    Thanks again!

    • @Andrew,

      Like you I “want” heavy duty, high quality, but I “need” a 42 or 46 inch lawn tractor. The Craftsman has one of the best cutting decks, a “better” Briggs motor, the best 6 inch turning radius and the legendary Sears service. Most owners get their money’s worth out of the Craftsman Yard Tractors. Many owners get 10 to 15 years out their Craftsman mowing 2 acres a week.

      Coming off the farm I want you to know that lawn tractors use sealed bearings through out instead of greaseable races and bearings. You run the parts until they fail and then replace them. There is no preventative maintenance except tuneups and an occasional belt. Replacement parts are relatively cheap compared to farm machinery. ($50 for a complete deck spindle or $6 for a new steering gear)

      Here is the link to the snowblower for this tractor. http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07124837000P. You will also need chains http://www.sears.com/arnold-tire-chains-for-20inch-x-8inch-x/p-07124862000P?prdNo=13&blockNo=13&blockType=G13 and weights http://www.sears.com/craftsman-30-lb-wheel-weights/p-07124434000P?prdNo=11&blockNo=11&blockType=G11.

      The tractor is adequate for a snowthrower. (I would prefer a Craftsman 28861 Garden Tractor) If you have a steep sloped drive though consider a walk-behind like the 30 inch http://www.sears.com/craftsman-30inch-357cc-dual-stage-snowblower-w-ez/p-07188396000P?prdNo=4&blockNo=4&blockType=G4 or 33 inch http://www.sears.com/craftsman-33inch-357cc-dual-stage-snowblower-w-ez/p-07188397000P?prdNo=13&blockNo=13&blockType=G13. You can go over to movingsnow.com and read my reviews of the snow blowers.

  41. @Bryan, I examined the underside of my deck and much to your chagrin I’m sure, I saw no evidence of rust after two seasons of utilizing the wash out port after every cutting. I’ll take you up on your offer to hold the hose for me. Please provide a telephone number at which you can be reached so that I can schedule your first session for next week. I will look forward to you arriving on one of your vehicles, come rain or shine.

  42. Ok, my mower is about 5 months old, got it the week before Easter this year. Now, with about 10 hours on it, it wont go up a slight incline. Push the pedal all the way down and it wont go, but back off of it to 75% and it will start to go up the driveway. Same with going across the yard, no incline. Seems like a hydrostatic problem, pressure of some sort.

    I will call Monday, but Paul, what should I be on the look out for? Will they come to the house and fix it? Is this something I should ask for a new mower rather than a repair?

    • @Sam, Do you still have your manual? If you do, try purging the transmission and see if that helps. (If you can’t find it go to managemylife.com, go to the manuals tab, and type in 917.288570 to get a copy.

      I’m just wondering if you have pulled heavy loads with it up your inclines. I know I can tear out a drive belt pretty quick on my old tractor moving 10 cu ft loads of dirt and sand.

      If the purge doesn’t help, set up the appointment and they will come to your home and fix it.

      There is usually only 2 problems and both are an easy fix for the service tech. Did you purchase the protection plan?

      1. The drive belt is wore and slipping. Honestly, this almost never happens with this model unless you are pulling heavy loads (don’t tell the tech if you are) Hills and inclines don’t usually wear out the belt on this model. If you bought the plan this repair is free, if you didn’t they will charge you for the new belt and labor.

      2. The transmission is bad. If the problem is the trans it’s covered under the defects warranty and they will fix it. If he diagnoses the problem as the trans, he orders one right when he is at your house, it takes a few days for it to arrive and then he comes back out and replaces it.

      It’s the service tech’s responsibility to authorize a new mower. For a tranny issue though they usually just switch it out.

      • Paul, will check the manual when I get home. No, I dont use the mower for anything other than cutting the yard,. I use the blower and blow it clean and then use a hose on it every third cutting, to get dirt and any loose grass out of all of it. Just start loosing traction going up the driveway a distance of about 10 yards. I have no protection plan, as other than the belt on my Craftsman self propelled mower (which I can replace myself), nothing has ever gone wrong with that. I’ll try to purge the transmission, I’ll go online later today to look it over, print out what I need (I think I have the manual at home if it came with the mower, I save all that stuff) and if not, will call to set up an appointment next weeek

        • Doesn’t the manual advise against using a hose for washing the tractor due to concerns about the motor and transmission? I’m only posting from memory as I am not near my manual at this time.

          • @Miles, the manual advises not to use a HIGH pressure hose or washing the transmission when it’s hot.

            I read that to mean, don’t use a pressure washer on the trans itself because you can deteriorate a seal or force water past a seal into the transmission.

            1700 to 4000 psi is enough to cut a gasket or blow one into the trans.

            Using cold water on an overheated aluminum case could cause it to crack or warp.

            • You wouldn’t cut the grass while it was wet, so don’t introduce any other water to it at anytime. Scrape off the build up and save a lot of mess and hassle of potential rust and/or other damage.

              • The manual clearly recommends regular use of the clean out port for build up under the mower deck. This would constitute a permissible use of water that should not have an adverse effect on the warranty.

                • It’s all marketing, a “me too”, if you will. I don’t care if it doesn’t affect warranty or not, water and metal don’t mix.

                • If I could always keep my vehicles out of rain, of course I would. Why would I or you want to introduce a chemical reaction if you could prevent it? Look at the underside of your deck and let me know if you don’t see any bare metal. Something tells me your blades have exposed metal.

                  No shirt off my back if you want to prematurely cause rust to your tractor. Next time you want to, let me know and I’ll come over and hold the hose for you.

            • Copied directly from page 20 of the manual: We do not recommend using a garden hose
              or pressure washer to clean your tractor
              unless the engine and transmission are
              covered to keep water out. Water in engine
              or transmission will shorten the useful life of
              your tractor. Use compressed air or a leaf
              blower to remove grass, leaves and trash
              from tractor and mower.

              • @Miles, I missed that section. The paragraph I found is on page 18 and it states:

                TRANSAXLE COOLING
                The transmission fan and cooling fins
                should be kept clean to assure proper
                cooling.
                Do not attempt to clean fan or transmission
                while engine is running or while the
                transmission is hot, To prevent possible
                damage to seals, do not use high pressure
                water or steam to clean transaxle.
                – Inspect cooling fan to be sure fan blades
                are intact and clean.
                • Inspect cooling fins for dirt, grass clippings
                and other materials. To prevent
                damage to seals, do not use compressed
                air or high pressure sprayer to
                clean cooling fins.

                They must have had two different writers and neither one talked to each other :) Personally I understand not using a pressure washer on the trans and I can understand why they would say not to use one on the engine because there is the chance that you could get water past the air cleaner into the engine.

                There is no reason that the manual writers would assume the American consumer has any common sense or would actually read the manual cover to cover. :)

                On the other hand, I have cleaned hundreds of hydrostatic pumps, twin cylinder and single cylinder motors over the years with a pressure washer and I have yet to have a failure from getting water into the engine.

                • That’s because you know what you’re doing, an assertion that most likely does not readily apply to many modern consumers.

  43. Paul traction issues have been the only problem do you think changing the rear tires with a different tred would help ?thanks nick

    • @nick, I don’t know where you could get a different tread that would fix your traction issues (maybe an ATV tire?) Most owners put chains on but with the 46 in deck on your tractor may have clearance problems between the tire, chain and the deck.

      Other owners put fluid in the tires, weights on the rear tires, or build a weight rack for the back.

      This is one of the main reasons why Sears came out with the Premium tractors. The 46 in andlarger come standard with traction control. All of the $1500 to $3000 lawn tractors just don’t have all the traction some owners need.

  44. Paul, thanks for the recommendation. Based on your review of the deck and an attractive offer from Sears I purchased this tractor. My only concern is that when I use the bagger, the weight of the chute causes the right side of the deck to drop and mow the lawn unevenly. Any thoughts on the best way to level the deck out when the chute is installed. I alternate between bagging and mulching so I’m hoping there is a solution that could switch back and forth. Thanks!

    • @Tom, That is another new issue, I have not run across before.

      I would make sure top of the chute is pushed into the bagger correctly and as far as it will go. That rubber ring the it goes in in the top of the bagger usually holds it in place. If that doesn’t take the weight off the deck I would use a bunge cord wrapped around the chute (or a shorter one screwed into the chute) and attached to the tractor floor board.

      If you don’t change the height of the deck when you have the bagger attached, You could also use a length of bunge cord from the front anti-scalp roller bracket to the floor board.

      These are not pretty solutions, but they should work.

      • I find it difficult to believe that the weight of the shoot alone results in uneven cutting. Even with a clogged shoot, I have not noticed this phenomenon. There must be something else involved.

  45. Paul, I just bought the YT4000 mower after doing quite a bit of research. Apparently I missed one detail. The deck size doesn’t necessarily mean the actual measurement from one side to the other. Long story short, my 46 inch won’t fit through the door to my shop. I’m considering replacing the deck with a 42 inch. Can you give me the pros and cons of doing this? Also, if I did do this, should I expect a refund at all from sears. It looks like the 42 inch is at least $100 cheaper in most cases. Thanks in advance, love the site.

    • @Steve, Yes the 46 inch deck needs 48 inches with the discharge up. The 42 inch needs about 44-45 to get through.

      I am assuming you want to return your 28857 tractor for for the 42 inch 28856. You have a 30 day return window and if you have not used it there will be no charges (unless you had it delivered, in that case you lose the delivery fee and will be charged for the fee again for the new tractor)

      I don’t expect you to have any issues with the exchange but in case you do here are some options to help you get the best customer service out of Sears.

      If you used it the store has the “option” of charging you a 15% restocking fee. If they want to apply this charge talk to the department and/or store manager to have the charge waived. (this restocking fee is not mandatory at the stores and they have the option of waiving the fee)

      If the store will not waive the charge go to mysears.com, find the discussion boards for tractors and complain. A Sears assistant will contact you and get the matter resolved.

      • Paul, Thanks for the quick response. Good info on the return poilcy. I was actually wondering if it was possible to just get the deck switched out to the 42? I have run the tractor and hate to penalize them for my mistake. Are those two models the same besides the deck size? Are there any major performance issues between the 42 and 46 inch decks? I have about half an acre of lawn and 3/4 of an acre of pasture that I might mow occassionally. Thanks for your help.

        • Unfortunately Craftsman does not sell the decks independent of the tractor so they just won’t switch out the deck. The model number of the tractor designates not only the tractor but also the size of the deck.

  46. Loving the mower. However, that feature that suppossedly lets you see how much gas remains in the gas tank is useless. The plastic is not see through, is white, and is darker than the gas one puts in. Unless there is a tip, like add a whole bunch of food coloring, it is best to just top off the tank before or after each use as the sight feature is worthless.

    • @sam, Yes, at least you don’t have to raise the hood to see the gas level. I find that you can view it best when you are in the shade. Out in bright sunlight, you can’t see it at all.

    • Gauge is all but useless. If I need to check gas level, I pull into sun or brightly lit area, lift the seat allowing light to strike top of tank and then look at the tank from the rear of mower where you can actually see the gas level line. Otherwise, I just top off as needed. I have finally learned the number of times I can mow the yard before gas runs out. I still think its a great mower for the price. The engineer who designed the gas gauge should have his/her credentials revoked.

      • @Miles, I do like the old gauge where you have to lift the seat and read the top of the gas cap.

        But having the large cap on the fender is also nice. I’m wondering if the engineer lived in a state where they dye the off-road fuel. I know in Illinois the off road (less tax) fuels are dyed red and they would show up well in the sight gauge.

    • @Nick, Yes, According to searspartsdirect it is a k46bt. Here is the link to Tuff Torq. http://www.tufftorq.com/level4.asp?ID=1

  47. Since I can’t get a 28857 (being in California) I was looking at the 13AR91PT299, which is sold by Sears, but is apparently made by MTD (see http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07128880000P?sLevel=0&redirectType=SKIP_LEVEL&prop17=13AR91PT299). It seems like more tractor for not too much more money. Am I missing something? What is your opinion of these? I’m looking for a 46″, twin cylinder, with a decent engine and transmission (i.e. not Kohler Courage or B&S Intek), to mow about 2 acres of rough, but not rocky, mostly flattish ground.

    Jim

    • @Jim, Yes, this tractor was made for Sears by MTD and is very similar to a 1046 Cub Cadet with a really good motor. The 26 hp Briggs was their best in 2010. It has a good trans and a 12 inch turning radius.

      Is it better than the 28857? They are two completely different tractors made by two different manufactures (MTD and Husqvarana) so they are really hard to compare.

      The bottom line. You can’t go wrong with the price. The tractor is worth it and the great engine makes it a really good value.

  48. Paul:

    I have an acre yard that includes a moderate slope. I’m looking at the Craftsman YT4000 and the JD D140. How do you compare a 2-blade deck vs. a 3-blade deck?

    thanks.

    • @George,

      The two decks are meant for two different types of owners. If you normally side discharge and mow a “normal” lawn, the 48 inch will do a fine job. If you also want to bag and you are very meticulous about your lawn buy the 46 inch. The 2 blade 46 inch deck lifts the grass better and it also throws it into a bagger better than the 3 blade 48 inch. If you have a lot of trees and other landscaping to go around buy the Craftsman 46 inch with the 6 inch turning radius.

      The D140 tends to be $300 more than the YT 4000.

      Decks, As far as I know both the 46 and 48 decks have the same thickness of steel.

      The YT 4000 has a mechanical blade engage, the D140 has an electric clutch.

        • @Jim, Depends on the deck.

          John Deere has an insert that goes into the 48 inch deck. It takes up to 2 hours to install it but once it’s in there their 48 inch deck is one of the best mulchers around.

          The Husqvarna 48 inch decks just use a cover over the discharge. This arrangement (like the 54 inch deck) tends to give you a lot of blow-by when mowing dry grass. You end up with grass all over you.

          The Craftsman 46 inch deck also just has a cover but doesn’t have the blow-by problems the 3 bladed decks have. You can also get the premium mulching blades (gator blades) that really work well.

          I would pick the 46 inch Craftsman Deck over the Husqvarna 48 inch deck if I am going to mulch most of the time.

    • Paul:

      A follow-up question….

      At present, I tend to side discharge mostly; are you saying that the 2 blade deck does a better job of blowing the grass out?

      thanks.

      • @George, Yes, The 2 blade 46 inch Craftsman deck has a “straight” discharge path. Conventional 3 blade decks have a triangular path. (the middle blade sits farther forward than the two outside blades) The straight path allows the grass to leave the deck faster.

        The best way to see which decks throw the grass best is to run them for a few months without cleaning them. Take them off and look at where the grass builds up under the deck. Most 3 blade decks have a major build-up between the 2nd and 3rd blades (1st blade is the one farthest from the discharge)

        When you look at a Craftsman 2 blade deck it is clean all along the discharge path.

  49. I am not mechanically inclined. Basic set up is included in the owner’s manual and is very simple. While it would certainly be nice to have the delivery guys do it, the fact they didn’t in my case (although they claimed they did) was not a deal-breaker for me after doing extensive research on comparably priced and equipped tractors. But that’s a call only you can make. Some people enjoy the convenience of paying more and getting less. For me, having the guys show up in the nice green shirt and set that baby up was not as important as having a tractor with a better engine, shorter turning radius, one that bags better and includes a national network of repair people who will come to your home (at some expense perhaps, depending on your issue and warranty coverage) was more important. On the other hand, if you are concerned about factory defects and reliability (when compared to the comparable Deere model), my research suggests there is no significant difference. It’s your money. No one on this site or any other site(even Paul for whom I have the highest admiration and respect) should presume to tell you how to spend it.

  50. @Dave, I know your area well and the Model 28857 is a good choice for you. The tractor has the 6 inch turning radius so it will go around your trees as good as a zero-turn. The 46 inch deck sticks out of the tractor just enough to make trimming with it easy. The 24 hp v-twin gives you a smooth motor with enough power for your good, thick, blue grass lawn.

    I understand the personal touch of having someone deliver your tractor and go through the operation with you. Sears and Deere are the only two companies that go through the mower’s operation with you.

    You can buy your tractor here (online) and have it delivered or pick it up at your nearest Full line Sears. Either way, go to the store and go into the lawn & garden department. Ask anyone in a blue shirt to give you the “five minute drill” on your new mower. If you have a small, hometown store ask the counter associate who has gone to the lawn mower training and ask that person to give you the 5 minute drill.

    The associate will go through all the features and the operation of your tractor.

    I talked to the manufacture rep yesterday and got him to tell me about any assembly issues they were having this year. (last year the assembly plant was new, was rushed and didn’t get many of the pre-assembly processes done. This caused a few issues with the build quality on the Husqvarna, Ariens and Craftsman mowers.) The rep told me they are having no issues this year. The early reports from buyers say the same. I have only seen 2 instances of the engage lever on the deck not getting hooked up right. (out of about 5000 mower sold) When you get it home and there is any problem, just call 1-800-4MY-HOME and a tech comes right out and fixes it for you.

    I don’t make commission on the Protection Plans but being a new user it does make sense for you to purchase the 3 year. Why? Because any issues you have with your new mower are covered including “operator error” In other words if you don’t think the mower is running right, you can call Sears and a tech will come out and look at your mower free of charge. (without the Protection Plan if the issue is not a factory defect you would get charged a trip charge and labor…) With a Deere you have to bring the mower to the dealer (or have them get it) to have any issue looked at.

  51. Paul’ It seems that my tractor leaves a small strip of grass in the middle (in between the blades)?Have you heard of this problem before @ do you know of a fix ?The deck is level @ tire pressures are good.thanks nick

    • Yes, I am assuming it leaves it when you are mowing in a straight line. A 2 blade deck this size can sometimes leave a strip when you turn too sharp to the right, but I don’t of hear this happening on the Craftsman decks.

      Call Service. Most of the time the tech changes the blades and the problem goes away.

  52. Paul,

    I continue to be baffled by Consumers’ Reports rating of this tractor below the Deere D 110 series. The Craftsman has a better engine, bags better and costs less. Reliability is 2 points below the Deere but CR indicates point differences of less than 6 are not “meaningful”. CR mentions that Deere has extensive dealer service network in place. What they fail to mention is that in most cases, the owner has to take the tractor in while Sears repair will come to your home. So please tell me how the Deere comes away with a higher overall rating.

    • @Miles, I haven’t been to the magazine aisle in a while. Did they get a new report out for 2012?

      For some reason CR doesn’t recognize that Sears has 11,000 qualified techs riding around in vans and that you never have to take your tractor anywhere to get it serviced.

      The way I understand it, CR’s service record is based on owners that are also subscribers to CR. They periodically poll their readers to find out many things including service needed to a mower.

      I do wonder what kind of priority you get at a Deere dealer when you bring your mower in for warranty service and there are also half a dozen $350,000 tractors and combines also sitting there waiting for service.

      • Yep. 2012 report raises the same questions regarding CR’s rating of this tractor as I had last year. I just don’t see how any objective analysis could result in a higher Deere rating.

  53. Paul’ i have a question about the trans in this tractor. tuff torq 46bt part # 426120 at sears online its $755.99 at sears parts direct its $330.65 ??? also i guess it is k46 trans ? as always thanks nick

    • @nick, The Mowforce TRANSAXLE(K46BT).PDL.TX.TG For Sears Craftsman Lawn Mower # 426120 is from an outside source. Be aware sears.com is like amazon, there are many other retailers that sears allows to sell on sears.com. These are called Sears Marketplace vendors. When you find an item, look under the price and if it is not from Sears it will say: Marketplace Item | learn more | Sold and shipped by Mowtownusa.

    • Paul,

      There doesn’t appear to be a California version of the 28857. Is that correct? And, if so, what would the nearest thing to a 28857 that would be California legal? Thanks.

  54. @Paul, with the mulch plug installed, I’d like to remove the discharge chute that came installed. What’s the best and simplest way of removing this chute?

    I made my first cut today on 1.5 acres. It took me approximately 1-1/2 hours. Last year, when I pushed the 1.5 acres, it took me 4 hours. This was so worth the investment.

    • @Byran, The best way is to remove deflector bracket. That will take the whole chute off. Here is a diagram showing the bolts from searspartsdirect. http://c.searspartsdirect.com/lis_png/PLDM/1101562P-00007.png

      • I presume that is #23 in the diagram? If that is the case, isn’t the mulch plug using a part of the bracket to hold itself in place? (Along with the pins on both ends)

        I thought removing the pin (#29) would do the trick.

        • @Bryan, Yes you can remove the pin but it is harder to reassemble if you ever want to go back to side discharge.

            • @Byran, I was wrong. I forgot that the plug sets on that bracket. I would remove the bracket with the chute, then remove the pin. That will take the load off the spring and make the rod easier to remove. Then reinstall the bracket.

  55. Paul: Just cut the yard with the mower. I have a Crafstman self propelled that I used before this rider, and I have it set midway on the six stops on the wheels, one to six, I am a four in back and a two up front. Well, using the 5th setting on the riding mower deck, it cut it even lower than what the push mower did, so that means all the way on the last (6th) setting, I will never get it very high like I used to with my push mower.

    Thinking it was the deck wheels, i lowered them from the topmost setting (up to the top of the mower deck) to the next to last setting. Still did not help much. Any suggestions

    The only other sears mower I had was like 10 years ago and you used a dial to set the grass height.

    Oh, I did not switch out the mulch blades yet, but I dont think that would make a difference. I am loving the hydrostatic and mowing in reverse and would hate to return this because right now, it looks like the grass heighth won’t approach even 2.5 inches at the highest setting.

    • @sam, Put the mower on a flat surface like your driveway. With the mower/motor turned off raise the discharge chute and measure from the sharp edge of the blade to the ground.

      If the deck is in position 6 it should measure about 3 3/4 inch to 4 inches. If it is only around 2.5 inches call 1-800-4MY-HOME and schedule a tech. The tech will come out and diagnose the problem.

      I have heard of a few tractors that had the wrong rear lift links installed. (this is a factory assembly problem) Only the techs know about this, the stores don’t.

        • @Sam, So it is mowing at 3.5 inches. The tractor is designed to mow from 1 to 4 inches. So with deck in the topmost setting it should mow around there. That’s the best you can get with these mowers. You can try inflating the tire to 20lbs. that may give you another 1/4 inch.

          The only tractors that will mow higher than 4 is the 28861 GT6000 and the new Craftsman Premiums. Those will mow about 4.5 to 5 inches.

          This is a general problem with lawn, yard, and garden tractors made today. Many of us want to mow above 4 inches, but none of them are designed to mow that high. It doesn’t matter which brand, they are all that way.

          A few customers have ordered a “Rear lift link assembly PART NUMBER: 195181″ from Searspartsdirect.com. This is the right hand adjustable lift link for the deck. They put the new on on the left side and screw both up as high as they can go. This gives the a little over 4 inches.

    • Sam,

      Sam, around 3.5 inches is all it will do. The optional lift kit may give you another half inch or so. I always mow at the highest setting unless I am preparing for fall maintenance such as plugging or dethatching. It’s such a great cutting deck that I am prepared to live with the height limitation and cut more often, if necessary. That’s a call only you can make. I don’t believe you can make any adjustments that will result in a significantly higher cut.

      • It’s very hard to get any of the current tractors to mow higher than 4 inches. Most will only go up to 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 inches. Even the commercial rotary mowers won’t mow any higher.

        Most of the lawn mowers on the market worldwide only raise up to 4 inches (101mm) Only the ride on brush cutters like the Canycom CM and razorback will mow in the 5 to 7 inch range.

  56. Just ordered mine at Sears yesterday, delivery thursday. Ad was $1695 but that was 17% off so in store they took it town to $1645. also got free delivery, the basic.

    question: shows hi lift blades, so ordered the mulch kit. Should just be able to unbolt the stock blades and put the new ones on and then the rubber enclosure to the deck. Any suggestions on how to get the mower up so I can access the deck to do this change out?

    Decided to go with the mower expensive mower, vs. a 21hp, single cylinder (this model is 24hp and 2 cylinders) and the 46 inch cut, since I read that it gets closer to the fence and stuff since the deck justs out past the tires.

    • @sam, Personally I have an 18 inch high work table I built out of 2X4’s and 1X10’s that I use to work on tractors. I use two eight foot 2X12’s for ramps to get the tractor up on the table. I push the tractor up on the table and it get’s it up high enough to easily change the blades. I built the table so I can set it up on it’s end when I am not using it.

      I have put the tractor across the bottom of a ditch to get under the deck, the ramp on a trailer, lifted the front-end with a come-a-long tied to the rafters in the garage. Sears sells a tractor lift if you want to spend $150.

      You only to need to get the front wheels lifted up about 6 inches to get both your hands under the deck.

      You can remove the deck and once you remove the deck a few times, it only takes 5 minutes to take it off or put it back on. Read the manual and take pictures with your cell phone if you need to. I have three 8 inch 2X4’s I put under the deck to hold it off the ground while I remove the clips and pins.

  57. I pushed my 1.5 acres all of last year, so now it’s time to relax and ride the 1.5 this year. My wife and I went to Sears last night to check out the YT3000 and YT4000. After comparing the two, we were sold on the YT4000 #28857 with 46″ deck. It was listed at $1799, but the sales rep checked the computer and said to come back on Sunday (3/25/12) as the price will drop to $1699. Needless to say, we’ll be going back on Sunday.

    In the meantime, however, I purchased the Advanced Mulching (‘Gator’) Blades and Mulch Plug. Chances are I will receive those before receiving the 28857.

    Should be a fun lawn cutting season. :)

    • @Paul, Thanks for the advice. I asked about free shipping yesterday and while they said they didn’t offer it in store, if I brought in the ‘Free Shipping’ information from Sears.com, they would honor it…or so the sales rep’s manager said. We’ll see what happens, but in either scenario, this tractor will be purchased :)

      • @Byran, Don’t let them play games with you. They can look up the free delivery info on sears.com right there, using their in-store computer and get the same info as you can at home. It’s always in the “special offers” tab on the page your item is located at.

        Any extra savings codes I will keep current in the right hand column of this page.

        You don’t have to waste your time printing it out.

        • Paul is absolutely right. In my experience, some Sears L & G managers and associates are notorious for providing incomplete or misleading information to consumers. Sadly, I believe this has become part of retail culture especially when sales are commission driven. When I purchased my tractor last May, I received conflicting information from two sales associates and finally ended up with the purchase for under $1500. Best to have full knowledge of specials before you arrive at the store.

          • @Miles and all my other readers. Sears has the best tractors this year and the best prices, but they also have the most confusing sales. Most of the time the sales are changing so fast that the store associates can’t keep up. Most of the sales staff is part-time (most retail staff is part-time) and their shifts change every day so they don’t always get the info they need to give you the best deal, let alone what is going to happen next week.

            From what I see 20% off retail is a “normal” sale, 23% off is a great sale, and anything more than that is a “buy now” sale. Also look at the sale plus any special incentives like bonus Shop Your Way Rewards points, free delivery and coupon codes. I’ll do my best to keep these “extras” posted in the right hand column of this site.

            • Well, the tractor went on a deeper sale and we ordered up the tractor on Sunday. The associate couldn’t honor the online free delivery, but he did have another 10% off coupon he could ring to compensate for the delivery and a little more off the top. Before tax and $74.99 delivery, we got the 28857 for $1525.50. It should be delivered tomorrow :)

              • To all my readers: Don’t be afraid to order through the links on this site instead of going into the store, especially if the deal is better online. Sears.com is safe. The same information (name, address, etc.) asked for online is also asked for at the store. The information all goes into the same database. The commission I get from your sale pays for this website.

                Buying from Sears can be very complicated so be sure to read this article before you buy here, online or at the store. How
                To Get The Best Deal At Sears
                The store associates don’t always set this up for you and it does give you the best deals.

                By the way. Don’t ask in the store if they have extra coupons like the one Byran got. If you ask and the associate says no, “I don’t have any”, don’t push the issue. Those coupons are printed at the register when a customer checks out (or on your electronic receipt in your email) and are for you, the customer. The coupons are based on your spending and geared just for you. If the associate keeps them and uses them for other customers he/she can get fired from Sears.

              • Not bad. Not bad at all. I feel confident you will enjoy your new tractor. The cut is outstanding. Routine maintenance is easy, even for a non-mechanically inclined person like me.

  58. Paul just picked up my tractor today and was going over some things and could not find the tire pressure in the manual. The front say 14psi max @the rear 10psi max on the tires.What psi do you think should go in the front and rear. thanks again nick

    • @nick, Congrats!

      Interesting….they usually come with 20-25 lbs in them.

      10 to 14 in the front. 10-12 in the rear. If you get one that won’t hold aair at that pressure put a little Dawn dish detergent around the rim to tire seal and then inflate to 20 lbs. Drive it around for a few minutes and then set the pressure to normal. The leak should stop.

  59. Paul’ just bought the yt4000 46″ 24hp using your link.was going to get the 21/46 husq. at lowes but this seemed like the better deal. i think you get more for your money with the yt 4000 ? if i have any problems i will post them. thanks again nick

    • @nick, yes it is hard not to buy a Craftsman again this year. They are continuing the “Turf Wars” so they are keeping the price less than comparable models from the other brands. Plus they have a few innovations on the YT 3000, YT 4000, YT 4500, and GT 6000 like the Turn Tight steering that are better than anyone else.

    • Lots of buyers would prefer to purchase “green” and pay more to get less. It’s insane. One would never go broke betting on the ignorance and biases of the American consumer.

  60. Paul,

    As best I can tell from your review, the only difference between the 2012 and 2011 version of the 28857 is the former has a turning radius of 6 inches and the latter 8 inches. Would that be correct?

    • @Miles, Actually the turning radius is the same. Sears re-measured it this year and the turning radius is actually 6 inches for both the 2011 and 2012 models. Imagine that!

      • Thanks for that tidbit. Like I said last year, dollar for dollar, it may be the best lawn tractor out there for under 2 grand. I can think of minor improvements such as an easily accessible and readable gas gauge, tires with better grip, greater deck height and lifting the gas line off the muffler (by the way, thank you for the fix on this latter issue; I only modified it by inserting a rubber sleeve with hooks around the line and then using a zip tie attached to the hooks to lift and secure away from muffler). As you said in your review last year, the turn tight technology is a game changer.