Lawn Tractor Transmission Types Updated: January 2014
30-40 years ago gear drive transmissions were about the only transmission available for your tractor. They were built just like the transmissions in a Model A Ford or a 1953 Farmall tractor. Big, strong gears. Heavy axles and cast housings. They didn’t break but they were hard to use. You had to stop the tractor to change gears and most of the time you had to wiggle the tractor to move the shifter from one gear to another.
Because the transmissions were so heavy there was a lot of weight on the rear wheels and you could pull just about anything with them including moldboard plows. Because they were so heavily built they were also very heavy and would put grooves in your lawn if you mowed the same way more than once or twice.
Over time we asked for lawn tractors that mowed faster, turned better and didn’t cause so much damage. We no longer had the huge Victory Gardens that required plowing with the garden tractor and if we did we used rototillers instead. So the manufactures listened and changed from the heavy, cumbersome tractors to lightweight tractors that mowed well, mowed faster, turned easier and didn’t cause damage to our lawns.
Seven Types Of Transmissions:
There are now seven types of transmission found in today’s lawn tractors and zero turns. They are gear, friction disk, automatic or CVT, hydrostatic, pump/motor, electric and hybrid. I’ll spend a few paragraphs going through each type so you have a better idea of the best type for you. I am not going into the details of how each one works. Just Google the transmission type and you can read to your heart’s content.
Twenty years ago the gear drive transmission was the most popular but today automatic hydrostatic and automatic CVT transmissions have replaced them in popularity. Often called Manual transmissions this type uses a series of gears to change the ground speed of your tractor. These transmissions are not like the older styles though. They shift better, are much, much lighter and easier to use. They use and inline gear selector instead of the old H-pattern. The biggest downfall of this type of transmission is you have to stop the tractor to shift to a different speed (range). This makes them harder to use when you have a lot of garden beds and landscape features to go around.
To drive the tractor you must push in on the clutch, shift the transmission to the gear you want to use, release the clutch, and hang on. This is a dependable transmission that will give you years of service.
Some manufactures have a shift-on-the-go transmission. This is sometimes listed as a manual transmission but it is actually a CVT. These transmissions are found on the least expensive lawn tractors and are usually listed as 6 or 7 speed.
Friction Disk Transmissions
This is actually the transmission of choice for snow blowers but there are a few mowers like the Snapper Rear Engine Rider that still use this trans. It is a good, dependable transmission when used properly. It uses a friction wheel and disk to change the forward speed of your rider. Don’t use this transmission to pull heavy loads…you will tear up the friction wheel.
You can shift-on-the-go with some models but to get the longest life most brands suggest you push down on the clutch/brake pedal and then shift to the speed you want.
Automatic or CVT
John Deere originally used a CVT in conjunction with a manual transmission on the Model 110. Now days, CVT’s have now matured to the point where you find them in cars, snowmobiles, snow blowers and even heavy-duty farm tractors. There are very few parts that wear in these transmissions and the recently introduced Element V from General Transmissions for your yard tractor is now stronger and requires less worry than all the hydrostatic transmissions. CVT’s for lawn tractors essentially a belt and variable pulley system similar to the drive system in a snowmobile or mini-bike.
I predict that CVT transmissions will replace most of the hydrostatic transmissions within the next 5 years.
MTD is using this on many of it’s least expensive lawn tractors. Using one is very much like driving your car. Put the lever on the fender in F and then press the right foot pedal. The farther you push the pedal the faster you go. To go in reverse put the fender lever in R and press on the right foot pedal. This trans is designed to mow lawns and is not designed to pull heavy loads.
The Element V from General Transmissions is another CVT that you will now find in Yard Tractors. This transmission is tougher, lighter weight and takes less power than the very popular Tuff Torq K46 and Hydro-Gear T2 hydrostatic transmissions. In fact the RS 800 Element V transmission is power rated very close to the most popular garden tractor transmission, the Hydro-Gear G730. These transmissions are very easy to use. Either a fender mounted lever or foot control varies the speed and direction just like the hydro transmission you are used to. These transmissions do not need maintenance and I expect them to last the life of the mower.
To see how tough these new transmissions really are check out spot 1:27 in the next video!
There is one other form of CVT that has the possibility of also replacing the hydrostatic transmisson. Fallbrook has announced a commercial partnership with Hydro-Gear to bring NuVinci technology to the lawn & garden market. Instead of a variable pulley system uses a variable disk or ball/disk system. This is the transmission of the future because it uses fewer moving parts than a gear trans, can pull heavier loads than an automatic and uses less oil than a hydrostatic. At this point in time though they are not yet cost effective for lawn tractor applications.
The most common transmission for lawn tractors today is an internal pump and motor drive system called the hydrostatic transmission. There are two types of these transmissions used in Lawn & Garden equipment, hydrostatic enclosed single and hydrostatic enclosed dual. Everything is enclosed in an aluminum housing. Hydrostatic transmissions are more expensive than mechanical transmissions but they are much easier to use.
Hydrostatic – Enclosed Single
Most lawn tractors, yard tractors, garden tractors and estate tractors in the last 20 years have an aluminum housing and inside that housing is the pump, motor, differential and drive axle. These transmissions are sized to the mower application so a lawn tractor trans is designed for mowing and light hauling. A garden tractor transmission is heavier duty and can be used not only for mowing but ground engaging tasks like pulling a DR Power Grader/a>. Hydrostatic transmissions are very easy to use. Either a fender mounted lever or foot control varies the speed and direction.
The residential models you find on today’s lawn tractors are sealed units and are not serviceable by you. Most of the transmissions have to removed from the tractor for any repairs. As an owner the only maintenance you have to do is periodically clean the outside of the case with a leaf blower or garden hose. They are designed to give you hundreds of hours of service for normal use. The garden tractor and estate tractor hydrostatic transmissions are heavier and built to handle heavy loads and ground engaging attachments. Most of the hydrostatic transmissions in lawn tractors do not have posi-traction or differential lock.
These transmissions are very easy to use. Either a fender mounted lever or foot control varies the speed and direction. The pedal on the left side of the tractor is the parking brake. You do not need to depress that pedal to shift the tractor. The forward and reverse is controlled by either a lever on the right fender or two pedals on the right side floorboard. To go forward push the fender lever forward or press on the large pedal on the floor board. To stop the tractor pull the lever back to the middle position or lift your foot off the pedal. To back the tractor up pull the fender lever to the rear or press the small pedal on the floorboard.
On the fender mounted control you HAVE to move the lever to the middle to stop your tractor. It will not go to neutral by itself like the foot controls.
Hydrostatic – Enclosed Dual
Two hydrostatic transmissions are mounted side-by-side in the residential zero turns. Each trans controls a separate rear wheel. That is the primary reason why zero-turn mowers cost more than the lawn tractors. Again these trans are designed for the application and most are not designed to pull loads, just mow and bag. If you want to pull a leaf vacumn or move dirt in your yard cart this is not the transmission for you.
Most of these transmissions are controlled by individual levers called lap bars that sit in front of you. This type of transmission takes practice to keep the tires from digging into your lawn but with a little practice these are very easy to use. A large lever on each side of the seat controls that side transmission. To go forward push on BOTH levers. To stop, pull them back. (The easiest way to explain how to drive a two-lever zero turn mower is to use a shopping cart as an example. With the mower turned off sit on the seat and put your hands on the two large levers in front of you. Close you eyes and pretend you are gripping a shopping cart. What do you do to move a shopping cart forward? Right, you push on the handle. To back up? Right, you pull back on the handle. To go left? To go right? Correct, you PUSH the handle in the direction you want to turn the cart. Two lever zero turns work the same way. Instead of one bar like a shopping cart, the bar is split in two and you move each side to make it move.)
Hydrostatic – Pump & Motor
The more expensive commercial zero-turn mowers, stand-ons, and some golf course mowers use a separate variable displacement pump near the gas engine connected to the wheel motors with hydraulic hose or metal lines. These are usually cast iron for long life and durability. A few of the high-end commercial mowers are now using enclosed cast iron hydros.
The Raven MPV-7100/a> uses a hybrid drive system. A smaller gas engine (13 hp) charges batteries. These batteries then are used to power the lawn mower just like an all electric lawn mower. The batteries alsodrives an electric motor that powers a cast iron geared transmission for the rear wheels. This technology is beneficial because it uses less fuel to mow your lawn and is quieter than using lawn tractors with larger engines. This will be a great alternative to the gas powered lawn tractor.
Electric drive systems are found in the mowers like the Cub Cadet Zero/a> and Mean Green Products consist of batteries, electronic controllers and electric motors. The huge advantage of this design is it uses no belts, filters or fluids so they take less yearly maintenance. If you want green technology, no gas engine emissions and 30% less noise on your lawn this is an up and coming alternative to gas powered lawn mowers. You charge the mower using normal household current. They are currently limited by battery technology and battery price but that is changing fast. Electrics are coming and I feel in the next 5 years you will see affordable homeowner versions. These machines are not lawn tractors with electric motors replacing the gas engine but true state of the art electric vehicles. There are already commercial models that will mow all day long on a single charge.
At what RPM does the transaxle operate?
Changing the size of the pullies ‘should’ affect rear diff speeds. Right?
If you put very small pullies, for example, say… 2″, on engine and rear pinion, would the tractor go faster? Could the transaxle handle it?
Are higher RPM transaxles available without super high wheel spin? “lower gears”
1. At what RPM does the transaxle operate? Measure the drive pulley on the engine and the drive pulley on the transmission. Figure out the “gear ratio.” For example, if the engine pulley is 5 inches and the transmission pulley is 10 inches – then the trans pulley runs at 1/2 the engine RPM.
2. Changing the size of the pullies ‘should’ affect rear diff speeds. Right? The “guys” who race lawn tractors do this with MANUAL transmissions. No one races with hydrostatic transmissions.
3. If you put very small pullies, for example, say… 2″, on the engine and rear pinion, would the tractor go faster? Could the transaxle handle it? No, it’s the ratio of the engine pulley to the transmission pulley. For example, a 10-inch pulley on the engine and a 5-inch pulley on the transmission would make it go faster. No, the only transaxle that may handle it is the K66 – all the other will overheat.
4. Are higher RPM transaxles available without super high wheel spin? “lower gears” different gear ratios? K46 transmissions are available for 18, 20, and 22 inch rear wheels. That way the manufacturers can keep the ground speed under 5.5 MPH for safety. (Lawn tractors are very suceptical to roll-overs.)
Hey Paul, Just stumbled upon your fabulous website while trying to research Zero Turn mowers. I live in Hawaii where the grass never stops growing. I read, I think, all your replies and did not notice anyone asking about Hustler Turf ZTM. Our local farm tractor supply store carries different models the Raptor SD and the Fastrak. What do you think of these Hustler ZTM? They seem to be quite sturdily built. And are made in Kansas. We have a place with a large lawn (~ 1/2 acre) with some slope and about 2 acres (with gentle slopes) of pasture divided into a couple of paddocks that have not had grazers for years. I plan to hire someone with a tractor to mow the pastures before I tackle them with my prospective ZTM. Eventually, we will get goats, sheep and or cattle to keep it under control. Until then want to keep in mowable with a ZTM. Thanks you again for your very informative site. Cheers
Hi Erick, Yes, Hustler is a good brand and they make great high end residential and commercial mowers. Personally, I would go with the Fastrak. It has heavier duty transmissions and a deck that can handle rougher ground like your pastures. Just remember ZTR’s are lawnmowers – not field mowers – so cut the grass when it gets no more than 12 inches tall. Taller than that and you’ll have to mow it 2-3 times to get it all cut down.
The Hustler does seem well built. What do you think about deck width. Do narrower decks, e.g. 48″, stress the spindle/belts less than a wider 54″ or 60″ inch deck? I would have to make more passes to complete the mowing but that is ok.
Hi Erick, No, each deck is designed for the stress. I’ve always had great luck with 60-inch decks in that price range. They cut well and get rid of the grass very well when mowing the taller stuff. .
thanks again Paul, you da man!
So I’m thinking about buying the Troy bill super bronco xp 50 for my 2 acre yard. I plan on using a small trailer and plowing in the winter. The yard is relatively flat, will the xp 50 be able to handle it with its transmission or do I need to step up to the super bronco GT?
Hi Casey, Yes, The 2019 Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP 50 at Home Depot is built correctly to give you a long life on your property.
K46 transmissions are designed for lawn tractors with 18-20 in rear wheels and 42-50 inch decks. The Super Bronco XP 50 has 20 inch rear wheels and the 50-inch deck so it was made correctly for the trans.
Hey Paul, I’m looking to buy a new lawn tractor and I’m looking at the Craftsman they sell at Lowe’s. The Craftsman T310 Turn Tight 24-HP-V twin 54 inch and the Craftsman T260 Turn Tight 23-HP-V twin 50 inch. According to MTD the T260 has the tough Torq k46 transmission, and the T310 has the hydro gear t2. My question is if the t2 transmission is better than the k46? Can you tell me what the difference is and which one is better? Thanks.
Hi Pedro, The two transmissions are equal. Equal in specs and life. One is not noticeably better than the other. I think it’s interesting the MTD is now using a Hydro-Gear trans in that mower. That said,
I don’t recommend the T310 unless you have a flat lawn and don’t expect to pull anything other than a small cart. The problem with this mower is the same as all “LGT” (light garden tractor) mowers in the $2000-$2500 price range. The transmission is designed for 42-48 inch deck and 18-20 inch rear wheels. The 22 inch wheels and the 54-inch deck is too big for the lawn tractor transmission. If you want a 54 inch deck in a lawn tractor that will last you have to go up to the $2700-$3300 Garden tractors with the K58 or K66 transmissions.
Thank you for your answer, it helps me a lot. So do you think the Craftsman t240 46 inch deck will be better than the t260 50 inch deck? Which one would you recommend since both of them have the same specs besides the size of the deck? Thanks again.
Hi Pedro, It depends on the size of your yard. The 46 cuts the best and can handle up to 2 acres.
Thanks so much for the helpful information.
Could you tell me the craftsman and John Deere and cadet equivalent to the Husqvarna TS354X?
Do they have one with the k66 with differential lock with the k66 or higher?
It looks like some of the Cub Cadet GT and John Deere gt use the k58.
Is the k58 is weaker than k66 ?
Thanks again .
Hi David, Husqvarna is the only one of the three still using the K66. The rest have moved to the newer K57 or K58. The K57 has 3/4 inch axles. The K58 has one-inch axles like the K66. The specs for both the K58 and K66 are pretty close.
You have to get above $5000 to get the K58 in an X500 Deere. If I remember correctly they then jump to the K72 on the X700 series.
Locking diffs are very hard to find. Everyone wants them but no one wants to pay the extra money to get it. Craftsman has the locking diff in the 50 Craftsman Pro. Cub Cadet has one in the XT2 54 inch Garden Tractor and of course the XT3 with the cast-iron driveshaft hydro. I don’t know if John Deere even has a locking diff anymore in the X500 series.
Which brings up a good point. If you want a really good Garden Tractor the Cub Cadet XT3 is one of the best choices around. It’s built “like they used to be” with full channel frames, drive shaft driven cast iron transmissions, and commercial grade horizontal shaft engines. It’s not that much more than the Husqvarna or XT2 Cub Cadet and quite a bit cheaper than the equivalent John Deere or Simplicity. It’s a dealer only model and your local dealer may have to order one in.
Darrell N Maybank
Hey Paul. I’m very close to purchasing a new garden tractor and have few questions about three that interests me. All are Craftsman…model: 20409 (54″ deck 24hp Briggs, 48″ wheelbase, turn tight) and model: 27055 (54″ deck 26hp Briggs, 40″ wheelbase, turn tight extreme) and model: 27048 (50″ deck, 26hp Kohler, locking differential, 40″ wheelbase)…no turn tight…why?? Is the shorter wheelbase a Pro Series attrbute? And what are the types/model transmissions each is equipped with?
Hi Darrel, All three models are heavy-duty tractors capable of ground engaging work. The 20409 has not been made for two years. Does your local SearsHomeTown Store still have one? It was made by Husqvarna and has the Hydro-Gear 730 garden tractor transmission. The front end is weak and a lot of the last ones made needed the toe-in fixed right out of the box so make sure it has the full warranty. Other than that it was an excellent tractor and was a staple in the Craftsman line for years.
The other two are Craftsman Pro made by MTD (Cub Cadet) They have the K58 Garden Tractor transmission. The shorter wheelbase does turn better than the old 20409.
The 27048 does not have Turn Tight Extreme because the tractor will not turn that tightly with the diff locked. It will just keep sliding straight ahead.
Thanks for your insight and fast reply. I now have enough info to make a purchasing decision here.
How durable are the Husqvarna lgt54dxl transmissions? How would it compare to the TS354D?
Hi David, Yes, it is very frustrating. A few of the brands want you to buy – and then buy again a few years later. They get away with this because most people only look at the price. Plain and simple, if the tractor is less than $2500 it has a lawn tractor transmission. LGT stands for “light garden tractor”
The LGT54 is the worse. It has a K46 lawn tractor transmission, large tires, and a huge deck. Most people only get 2-3 years out of the trans.
The TS354D, Troy-Bilt GT, Craftsman Pro GT and the Cub Cadet GT tractors have a heavy duty garden tractor trans.
Have 2/3 acre with steep hill up along side of house, want to pull an aerator, leery of K46 tranny .. can you confirm what tranny is in 42″ Craftsman Pro 27038 tractor … will it handle the work and what is expected life? Do you like thaht tractor? Thanks, Ray
Hi Ray, A K46 inch tranny in a lawn tractor with a 42-46 inch deck is a good choice. It will last for your lawn. The 27038 is a good tractor for the price.
Thanks, its on order! What lawn baggers will work … I want a three bag but they are \telling me they only have a two bag version for the 27038, but I see a three bag version on the site that fits42-46″ mowers ??
Hi Ray, The 3-bin bagger is for older Craftsman tractors made by Husqvarna. The only bagger that is available for the current 42-46 inch mowers is a 2-bag. The correct bagger is the Craftsman 19A30003799 42–46″ 2-Bin Bagger
Just so you know, 3 baggers on a 42-46 inch mower is wider than the tractors so it’s easy to catch it on trees, fences, and shrubs. It can also get too heavy with wet grass. It can cause steering problems and overload the rear axle.
Thanks Paul,You have been a tremendous help! I was in analysis paralysis, and reading your knowledgeable and reasoned discourse was just the unbiased info source I needed. and was was looking for, You helped this picky-about-equipment WI farm boy finally make a choice> I was looking to buy used but reading your opinions on that, especially on tranny life expectancy, helped me decide to buy new … and I got a great deal on the Craftsman with Kohler 2 cylinder engine and cast iron front axle.,And I was wondering if the width/weight would be an issue.for the bagger.
I will report back.
Hi Paul, I just bought a new house and it’s on 3/4 of Acre and also on a hill. What kind of mower would you recommend? I want something that will do good on a hill and I may also try to put a striping kit on at some point. Thanks
Hi Evan, A hill generally rules out a zero-turn so you should go with a lawn tractor. If you want a striping kit I suggest going to your Simplicity dealer and looking at the Broadmore or Conquest tractors. They are good tractors and stripe your lawn automatically.
In March 2015 I purchased a brand new Troy bilt super bronco 50/vat 50” hydrostatic lawn mower and I used it occasionally to pull a light weight trailer to haul brush- I punch an extended warranty’s from Lowes and this past Oct the tractor would not go forward or reverse. Took it to Lowes and they said that the ext warranty did not cover this defect, I was told that I could spend $930 to replace the trans and the rear axle, but I don’t think it is worth doing.
I am now shopping for another garden tractor. I mow about an acre of lawn and I need a tractor that can hold up to pulling med to heavy loads of brush, would you have any recommendations.
Hi Bob, I have one question to ask about the Lowes warranty and your tractor. Did they inspect it and tell you the belt from the transmission to the engine was broke or bad? If it was that is not covered? (it’s called wear and tear) Did you just talk to the store or did they take it to a service center for repair? I’m just curious why a major component wasn’t covered with their “best in the business” extended warranty.
That said, A good garden tractor with a heavy duty transmission that will last many years is going to be around $3000. Anything under $2500 does not have a strong transmission. There are going to be a few new models introduced sometime around March 1st. I suggest waiting another month or two so I can give you the best choices for 2019.
Lowes sent it to their service center and the service technician advised Lowes that the transmission failed along with valve covers are leaking and belts are worn. Based on this the est to repair was $932; and Lowes told me the ext warranty only covers normal wear and tear: for the price I paid for the ext warranty I surely thought it would cover something like a bad transmission.
I will hold off on my purchase to wait for your review of the 2019 mowers
hey paul first time on your site…going to buy husqvana TS 354 x or TS 354 XD one has a tufftorq K66eld the other has hydro gear G-730 I am cutting about 3 areas of lawn 1 or 2 times a week which do you think would
bold up better. thankyou jerry
Hi Jerry, Both transmissions are the toughest you can find in the $3000-$6000 price range. Both will last longer than the rest of the tractor. That said, The K66ELD has a locking differential so if you ever want to mount a snow blower on the tractor or you have slopes steeper than 10 degrees that trans has the best traction. The G-730, on the other hand, has an 8 mph top speed. You can’t mow that fast but you can zip around the yard doing other chores faster than the K66.
Hi. I have a Craftsman 19HP, Model 917.20380 42″ riding mower, purchased new in 2014. It performed well until this year when the transmission shift link, part # 166231, broke. I ordered a replacement from an online vendor and installed it. It broke after about 20 min. of mowing, so I returned it for a refund. I then ordered another one from a different vendor who claimed his part was OEM supplied. It, too, broke after less than a hour of use. So what gives with this? Am I just getting crappy parts, or is there something wrong with the transmission that is over stressing the link? The transmission is a gear type.
Hi Will, the simple answer is aftermarket parts are almost always different or have different quality control than OEM parts. You should always order your parts through searspartsdirect.com.
That said, Is the transmission case black? If it is then I suggest going to General Transmissions and get the correct OEM parts for it. Here is the page to figure out what tranny you have and what parts you need. : https://services.generaltransmissions.com/en/?lang=en
Hi. I have a Husqvarna YTH2648TDRF with a Tuff Torq K46Cr in the back end. The transmission is causing all manner of problems and Husqvarna are less than enthusiastic to resolve it under warranty. What would be your suggestion to replace the trans? I don’t mind doing some modifications to accommodate something different.
Hi Philip, Just curious. Have you changed to the new blades from Power Equipment Discounters? Their blades cure all the mowing issues that deck has.
Yes, The only real solution is to upgrade the transmission. There is “a guy” who offers a complete K66 upgrade kit here: K66 Upgrade Kits
I can’t find any true manual transmission mowers built in 2018. Or am I missing something here?
They all say 7 speed manual but also say shift on the go style as you mention above. There seems to be only a hand full of these mowers. Maybe that’s the best I can do? Do you know of any true manual shift gear drives? If there aren’t any which of these that claim to be are the best? I want a gear-manual style shift and not a peddle style. Bad legs, arthritis, si joint pain, etc, make it rough using a foot peddle. The so called manual-shift on the go of course don’t use peddles, but… I’m not so much interested in mowing as much as I am in using around the property for hauling, pulling, general working. Want kind of a work horse. I’ve worn out 2 zturns doing this kind of stuff. I don’t want to spend $2,500 or more for a garden tractor with a K58 or better hydrostatic transmission. I don’t want to buy a small farm tractor or sub-compact utility tractor. Don’t want to spend that kind of money. Is it hopeless for me?
Hi Randy, If you want a gear drive you have to go to a sub-compact nowadays. There hasn’t been a gear drive transmission in lawn tractors for almost 20 years now. The Husqvarna built machines used to have a 6-speed inline Peerless. The MTD built manual transmission mowers today used a CVT belt drive with notches in the gear lever.
But there is one tractor left that I think will work well for you. It has the hydro lever on the fender. It also has the larger tires and garden tractor frame. This is the last year for it so don’t wait.
Buy it here: Craftsman 20407 48″ 24 HP V-Twin Briggs & Stratton with TurnTight Garden Tractor
Thanks Paul very good info.
I’m curious, is the hydrostatic in this mower a K46 or what might it be?
Hi Randy, it is a K46 but it has the properly sized deck for that transmission. It will not give you the issues and short transmission life the tractors with a 54-inch deck are known for in that price range.
I’m not really concerned about the mowing part. I’m sure all is fine there. I’m concerned about transmission strength without having to get a K57 or larger for basic around the property non-mowing work. Let me ask you this. As we know and you have very well informed us, the so called 6-7 speed transmissions aren’t that good strength wise these days. How do these 6-7 speeds compare to the say LT2000 or the K46? Are these two more dependable, durable, in holding up doing basic pulling and towing work around the property? I noticed the Poulan PP 175g42 has a Peerless 6 speed tranny and they don’t recommend shifting on the go like the others say is ok to do. Sorry to keep bothering you.
Hi Randy, The 7-speed manual transmissions are not gear drive. They are a CVT Belt drive transmission and that’s why you can “shift up” on the go. You move the shift lever and it changes the diameter of the two drive pulleys on the top of the gear case. They don’t downshift well without using the parking/clutch pedal. The “gears” are simply notches in the speed selector on the dash.
The Peerless was never listed as a shift on the go but we all just rammed it through the gears and it held up anyway. I don’t know if the new ones are as strong as the old trannys in the 1997-2010 LT2000
I have a 3% grade in my yard from front to back and I just hauled 90, 11 lb street pavers on a 4 wheel Gorilla Cart up that 400-foot slope with my zero turn mower. If I had the Craftsman tractor we are discussing I would have no problems or worries doing the same thing – many times over the next 10 years.
Thanks for your help. I think I finely understand.
Hello again Paul. I was looking through your top picks for 2018 and ran across the 25587. It has the fender speed control also as you mentioned earlier which is the way I’m going thanks to you. I think it has the K46 also, along with the smaller deck. How well do you think this one would hold up for my around the property work compared to your first recommendation? I like the price much better. I know it doesn’t have that total garden tractor size or look but just wanted to know your feelings on it for my uses.
Hi Randy, If you’ve had a Craftsman before with the fender shift lever the 25587’s controls are opposite. The speed control is on the left fender. that said,
The 25587 does not have a K46. It’s probably a T2 or smaller trans and It’s designed for mowing lawns – and little else. You can mount a 2 bin bagger or pull a small yard cart full of leaves but I don’t suggest it for anything else. To be frank, $1500 won’t get you anything that will last more than a few years.
Called Sears service dept and after 30 min they said the 25587 games a k46. What do you think of mower if this is true?
Hi Randy, Eventually you will learn to trust me and not some kid in some call center who last answered a call was about socks. It’s a T2. Check out the parts diagram here: Model #247255870 Craftsman lawn, tractor transmission.
Yes I see that. Also looked at one in the store today. It is right on the tranny housing. I trust you or I wouldn’t keep bothering you. I just thought when you said, it’s probably a T2 or less, you weren’t sure. I may just have to give in a get a foot pedal mower. Ran across a Husgavarna, which i see you don’t talk much about, today. Someone bought it and brought it back so now it is used. $1,199.00 now. YTA22V46. Has a RS80033060149 transmission. GT PIN 87128HOP PN587884401. I suppose this one isn’t anything special either since it’s at the local Rural King store?
Hi Randy, That model uses the GT CVT transmission. While it’s a tough tranny you have to have constant pressure on the foot pedal to make it go. There is no cruise control. If you can live with that – the tractor is a pretty good deal. Try it before you buy it! because used will not have a warranty
You are probably glad to hear this. I think I’ve narrowed it down thanks to you. (May do the foot pedal). The Craftsman 27333. Your second choice for 2018 under $1,500 the Cub Cadet. Then the fender control Craftsman. Then I’m not for certain but the Troy Bilt Super Bronco, 42 inch deck, 13A8A1BS066. I’ve been told per call to MTD by a tech who supposedly went and looked up the tranny’s, while on the phone, for the Troy Bilts and said this is the model starting with the K46 tranny. Now I’m not totally taking his word for it at this point, as you know how that can turn out. Didn’t find any info on your site on this one, (and that’s generally not good).
Just want to say thanks for putting up with me.
Hi Randy, The Cub Cadet 42, Craftsman 27333 46 inch and the Troy-Bilt Super Bronco 42 inch are all the same lawn tractor. They just have a few different options and paint color. Seat, deck size and engine brand are different – the rest is all the same including the k46 tranny. Do you want a red, black or yellow tractor? 🙂
Hey Paul I’m back! Checked out the Cub this morning. WOW what a tractor for the money. Love it!! The foot pedals seem well positioned and easy to use, great seat too! Also for service, repairs, etc. We have 4 dealers, not talking box stores, within a 25 mile radius. I assume using a yard seep weekly, hauling 300-400 Lbs now and then in a wagon is ok? What about one of those tow-behind 3 foot tillers with their own motor on them for garden work? I know this is land engagement but thought maybe since they kind of push as they go along that maybe they would be ok? Think they weigh around 260 Lbs.
Hi Randy, I can’t recommend using a tiller behind the lawn tractors. Only the Garden tractors with the heavy duty transmissions are designed for ground engaging equipment.
I go in tho talk to my local Cub dealer about that mower again .. and he says a used 4 year old Regent Simplicity he has with 255 hours is a better mower. It’s priced at $999. It also has the K46. Hitch looks like it has never been used. Can’t find any reviews and they are never in the ratings. Never even see any of them anywhere. How you feel about this?
Hi Randy, I NEVER recommend used unless you can work on them yourself. Why? 1. They don’t have any warranty. 2. The life of a K46 is anywhere from 200-1000 hours depending on how you use it. The dealer will want $1200 or more to replace it when it fails. 3. I’m sure it doesn’t have new belts, blades, tuneup, filters, or oil. That alone will cost you an additional $250-$400 before you get it home.
The Regent is just a normal lawn tractor with a high price tag so the dealer can make a profit. The Cub Cadet cuts better, steers better and will last longer. You can’t find reviews because Simplicity Tractors are not sold online.
By the way, The rest of the Simplicity tractors like the Conquest and Prestige are good, high-end tractors.
Hi Garry, The problem is not your weight – the problem is someone convinced you to buy a lawn tractor with large tires, a large deck, and a small transmission. In other words, if you pay less than $2500 for a lawn tractor with big rear tires and a 54-inch deck like your 1054 – it won’t last. That was not actually a garden tractor. That said,
For a 1/3 acre on a budget, level yard, I suggest the Craftsman 27333, Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series LT 46 or John Deere E140 48 in. 22 HP V-Twin Gas Hydrostatic Lawn Tractor
I have a 1/3 of an acre flat but I weigh over 300 lbs, I was told that a garden tractor would carry myweight better. I did wear out transmission on cubcadet 1054. Can you recommend a good mower , I’m on a small budget but need one I can use on like I said a level small yard no hard cutting just it has to carry me.
Are there any lawn tractors made today without the pedal drive? My husband is handicapped and cannot use his right foot…he is currently using a 20 year old Craftsman lawn tractor and looking to get a new one. Thank you!
Hi Judith, Yes, Craftsman has two.
1. Craftsman 25587 42″ 19 HP Briggs & Stratton Fender Hydro Automatic Riding Mower. This model has the speed control on the LEFT fender. So it’s opposite of the lawn tractor he has now.
2. Craftsman 20407 48″ 24 HP V-Twin Briggs & Stratton with TurnTight Garden Tractor.. This mower is very similar to his old one but it will have larger tires and a larger 48-inch deck. If your yard can handle a 48-inch deck he will like this lawn tractor a lot.
Hi Marvin, The E160/170 uses the same transmission as you had in the Bronco. The E160 has 20 inch rear tires and the E170 has 22 inch.
Personally, I would choose the E160. It has the 20 inch rear tires. Coupled with the 48-inch deck and the smaller tires will put less strain on the transmission on your hills and the trans will last longer.
Home Depot: John Deere E160 48 in. 24 HP V-Twin ELS
If you want a stronger transmission you will have to go to a Craftsman or Cub Cadet garden tractor.
Home Depot: Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series GT 50 in. 25-HP V-Twin Kohler
Hi Paul, I’ve been using a Troybilt Super Bronco 50″ cut with the Kohler KT725 24HP engine for 4 years. I have about 3 acres. Some is kind of rough terrain with some slopes and a couple of steep hills. I also weigh almost 400 lbs. The Bronco has performed very well considering the punishment it has taken but it’s time to get a new one. I’ve been looking at the new John Deere E160/170, although they seem to only come in 48″ cut, but have read that the transmissions may be a little weak on slopes and hills. What mower would you recommend for the type of duty I have described? Thank you.
DO NOT buy a John Deere. I have a LA 175. It will not go up a hill. Built very rugged, but they put the K46 Tuff Torq transmission in it…..same one that they use in the smallest mower that they make. Good for maybe 100hours. Waste of money! Keith
Hi Keith, just to keep the facts straight. The smallest Deere lawn tractor uses a CVT.
Here is the rest of the transmissions used:
Tuff Torq TLT200A – E110, E120, E130
Tuff Torq TLT200B – E140, E150, E160
Tuff Torq K46AC – E170, E180
Great article – interesting and informative. I was wondering why my Craftsman riding mower rear wheel was only spinning one wheel when it was stuck in the mud, thought something was wrong with rear transmission, now I know better. Thank you for writing this.
Does anyone make a manual transmission on a lawn tractor (54″ deck or larger)? I have all kinds of attachments (aerators, rakes, trailers, etc. that I cannot use. I am a victim of the John Deere LA175 that is worthless…….won’t even go up a hill. My 30 year old Murray will pull the John Deere up the hill with no problem, but it is starting to suffer from sheet metal fatigue, etc.
Both, Richie Tractor in Knoxville, AND Tuff Torq who makes the worthless hydrostatic transmission in the thing laughed at me for buying it. Tuff Torq told me that a new $1000 transmission would last no more than 100 hrs if I bought one. How do these people stay in business?
Right now, I’d gladly give $3000 for a new Murray like the one that I bought in 1989. It simply seems that no one makes such. I have even thought about putting the old Peerless manual transmission from the Murray in the John Deere.
Does anyone have any ideas?
Hi Keith, yes, the John Deere LA 175 is a lawn tractor. To get a John Deere with a transmission heavy enough to pull all the equipment you have you will have to go up to the Z500 series Deere’s. They start around $5995.
Cub Cadet has two that will work for you. 1. the Cub Cadet XT2 GX54 D around $3600. 2. The XT3 series. around $5000 plus the deck.
Craftsman has a few garden tractors that have the heavy duty transmission. All the models on this page will do the job for you. Craftsman Garden Tractors
Simplicity also makes a few models in the $5000 and up price that will work.
If you want a manual transmission (a real one – not an inline 6 speed) you’ll have to go to a sub-compact tractor. Most of the manufactures including Mahindra and Kubota still have one or two manual transmission tractors.
Looking to purchase a second hand cub cadet rzt s46 with 426 hours on it.
Just looking on the net which suggests the trans will only last 400-600 hrs. The seller notes the trans can go for 800-900 on flat land where the trans aren’t working as hard. Is bs’ing me ? Ps I have a goat section, but don’t know what life it’s had for the first 462 hrs.
Hi Steven, The seller is correct. Just mowing flat lawns they will hold up. Just so you know the RZT is for mowing lawns. It’s not designed at all to mow pastures or rough areas. You break it quickly.
I was thinking about purchasing Husqvarna YT42DXLS 42’ lawn tractor 21.5 hp Kawasaki. The trans is a hydro with rear locking differential(don’t know the model) How do you think the Trans and engine will hold up?
Hi Justin, It really depends on what you are doing with it. The engine is good and will last. The transmission is the standard K46 that’s found in most lawn tractors with the optional diff lock. Mowing lawns it will last a long time. Pulling a leaf vac up hills, pulling 500+ loads of dirt up hills, not so much. In other words, it’s a good combination lawn tractor if you have soft spots in your lawn or slopes that you would normally have a hard time going up and down with a regular lawn tractor.
It’s a perfect tractor if you want to attach a snow blade.
Maybe somebody have the same problem? TRANSMISSION GENTRANS VATR (582491201)/
It goes rear. But don t go front. Its almost new. Where can be problem? Spring? screw? or inside the transmission?
Hi Max, If you have been mulching leaves the top of the transmission is probably just dirty. Blow it off with an air compressor. Go here to troubleshoot your transmission and get help. GT is very willing to get it up and working correctly: TROUBLESHOOTING RS800
wILL THE tUFF tORQ FIT IN A jOHN dEERE mODEL 145 AUTOMATIC ?
Hi Terry, I don’t know. I suggest going to mytractorforum.com, create a free account and asking in the John Deere section.
I have a Hydro Gear PR-2HDD-G112XXX on my Everride Warrior lawn mower. I rebuilt both pumps several months ago, bout the left one, that is setting in the seat,
is doing the same as before. It is not allowing the mower to move on that side. How much to rebuild or if you have a rebuilt one how much? I can not afford a new one so I’m looking for this option.
Hi Roy, Everride was purchased by Ariens quite a while ago. I’d check with your local Ariens/Gravely dealer to see if they can get a replacement. If the dealer can’t help I suggest contacting Hydro-Gear directly.
I bought an Ariens IKON XL 52 after 2 Toro SS zero turns quit running because they kept throwing the drive belts in less than 2 hours of use. Now, with my Ariens at 3.4 hours, I don’t know what that part is called on the left hydro motor, but it lost the tension spring. Also noticed that the lever with teeth that I am assuming is part of the braking system is bent outwards. I’m tired of returning these things as this will be mower number 4 I return to Home Depot and will NOT buy mowers from them again. But I want to replace these parts, but don’t know what they are or what they do. Please Help! Ariens warranty states to contact Home Depot for the parts and HD has no clue on what to do. Thanks.
Hi Joe, The Ariens Ikon and Gravely are the same mower so you can go to either an Ariens or Gravely dealer for parts. They will be glad to help you. Be sure you have the model number and serial number off the frame of your mower. You go to ariens.com and/or gravely.com and find your local dealer.
Hi Paul, I am on the market for a new riding mower, looking at the Cub Cadet XT2 LX42″ EFI. What do you think about it and about the new EFI engine? I cannot find any reviews about it….
Hi Bob, I predict everyone will switch to EFI in the next 5 years. It fixes most of the problems we are having with ethanol fuel. There are no reviews because it just runs..
I have a 2 yr JD with a hydrostatic tran D125 with 77hrs. Tran is slipping very badly, barely moving forward. Have about 2 weeks left on warranty. Will I have the same problem in the future? Lawn has 2 small slopes that rise about 5ft over 20 ft long. I do pull a small wagon with yard scrap. Lawn is about 3/4 acre. Thanks for your help.
@Raymond, I have no idea if it will give you the same problems later on but in the meantime get it fixed under the warranty.
Hi, I am looking for recommendations as to a garden or utility tractor for some recently purchased property. I will soon have 2 acre property with very gentle rolling hills. This property will need to be mowed (either drop cutting or mulching). I also would like to either pull 60 gallon sprayer or utilize 3 point version of same sprayer. I also would like to purchase 3 point tiller and snow blower as well. By doing this I can get rid of my existing snow blower, tiller, etc… Any recommendations as to what type of unit would best suit my needs?
Hi chris, It appears you would like a compact utility tractor. I don’t review and test them but I will tell you the local dealer is just about as important as the actual brand of tractor.
I recommend a smaller dealer That sell Kioti, Mahindra or Massey Ferguson over the big corporate dealerships, like John Deere that have 20 or 30 other stores.
With the local dealer you get faster service, usually better deals and a lot of expertise.
By the way Mahindra is the largest utility tractor manufacture in the world. Take some time to research them and Massey Ferguson.
I am looking for a rider mower to handle a less than 1/2 acre lot, flat terrain, very few trees shrubs. Because the lack of my garage space I have been looking at rear engine mowers with smaller foot prints. There doesn’t seem to be many mowers to choose in this category. I like the Cub Cadet CC30H, but the reliability rating is low according to CR. Have been warned that the use of plastic-nylon gears in their hydrostatic transmissions can be problematic. Do all hydrostatic transmissions use these type gears? Of these brands, Cub Cadet, Troybilt, and Snapper. which would you recommend?
Hi Bud, No, there are very few small mowers left. Yes, all hydrostatic and CVT transmissions today have some poly or resin parts in them.
But, the information you have gotten is old or doesn’t apply to the CC30H. That little Cub Cadet actually uses a transmission from a much larger tractor so in this case – it’s over built. Consumer Reports does list the Cub Cadet brand as more prone to problems but first that is based on just readers writing in and second the info is two years out of date. In other words over the last 3 years Cub Cadet has completely gone through their product line and their operations. I have been hearing of almost no instances of problems now.
I like Cub Cadet because there are many local dealers and it’s easy to get parts and help if you need it. The Troy-Bilt is the exact same mower as the Cub Cadet but they don’t have as large of a dealer network. Snapper has a great reputation but the price is insane.
I need a heavy load hauler small yard mower with steep hills to mow and pull heavy loads up , I trashed my yt300 in two years , it just screams and stops on the hills these days ,help …. i need to stay in the 2 to 3k price range , Is there any hope for that?
Hi Kenneth. There is one: Craftsman 54″ Fast Auto 24 HP Briggs & Stratton V-Twin Turn Tight® Garden Tractor Model 20408
Nice page! I tried to find out the difference between the 20HP through 25HP Kohler 7000 series (KT715-KT740) engines and have been unable to identify a difference except for the carb. They have the same bore and stroke, valves and I think the cam is the same as well. Is the only difference really just the carburetor? It make sense that it uses the same components to save money in manufacturing. I have a Cub LT46 XT1 which has 22HP and I can’t imagine needing to put the larger carburetor on it for more power. The last time I let my lawn get out of control (an area with 1ft+ tall grass) I was still able to mow at top speed without bogging down, so it would just consume more gas by putting the larger carb on and running at the same RPM to maintain same speed. I’m just wondering because if someone needs a replacement engine, they could buy whatever version of the engine block they can find the cheapest (possibly used) and use the old carb from their blown engine if that’s the only difference.
HI Daniel, I’m a user and the way these new Kohler 7000’s are performing it will be many years before i have to worry about a new short block. So, I’m not even interested in finding that out.
I do suggest the website mytractorforum.com. The guys over there live and breathe modifying this stuff.
I recently purchased my first piece of property so now I’ve been researching lawn tractors until everything is becoming a blurred mess in my head. An experts opinion will definitely help narrow down the search field with so many options out there. I’ve got about 5 acres of primarily flat land with only a little bit of slope on either side of the driveway. I’ll be doing mostly just mowing and snow plowing. Been keeping my searches around the 48″+ sized decks and preferably under $2500. I’ve got a little bit of leeway on the price range if the quality and reliability warrant it. I’ve seen a few listed with a type of locking rear differential. I’m certainly interested in such an option for plowing snow in the winter. After installing a limited slip in my Jeep I can attest to the traction benefits.
I’ve gotten some good info off of this site already, will appreciate any more you can provide to help out.
Hi Scott, The electronic limited slip on the Cub Cadet and Husqvarna has good points and bad points. The biggest issue is it pushes the tractor in a straight line. You can’t turn the tractor with the diff locked.
I have two that are great choices. Both of these are heavier than the under $2500 bunch and will last considerably longer.
Craftsman Pro Series 50″ 26 HP V-Twin Kohler Garden Tractor with Turn Tight® Extreme
This tractor goes faster than the ones with the diff lock. The extra speed will make a big dofference moving snow. It also has the largest wheels, heaviest trans and you can get a good dozer/snow blade for it.
Craftsman 54″ Fast Auto 24 HP Briggs & Stratton V-Twin Turn Tight® Garden Tractor
Both of these tractors are good machines and worth the extra $150-200 you need to spend.
I’m looking at the Craftsman T1800 (model #20376) with 42 inch deck and Koehler 20hp motor. I have under an acre to mow but it is hilly. I also pull a cart with prunings in it from time to time. I want to have as durable a transmission as I can in this price range. I would like to know if this mower has the RS 800 CVT transmission? Do you think this mower will hold up in hilly terrain?
Hi Jason, That tractor does not use the RS800 CVT. That tractor is made for Craftsman by MTD. MTD has their own CVT. No one ever talks about that trans because no one ever has any problems with it.
Now, the trans is great for what you are going to use the tractor for. Mowing, hills and light pulling.
Another thing that most people miss about the Craftsman T1800 (model #20376) is it has a cast iron front axle. It is the only Craftsman Lawn Tractor that has the cast iron axle. If you ever want to use it to push snow it will hold up.
One last thing. That tractor is on clearance and there are very few left. (Everyone wanted Craftsman to sell a lawn tractor with a Kohler but no one wanted to pay the extra price)
Hello ! I’ve been reading the comments that are posted on this site & I’m blown away ! Very good info but I do have a question . On the 2015 & the 2016 models of the Craftsman Pro Series model # 20442 , 46 “, 24hp Kohler engine, what # is the current transmission on this model # 20442 ? Correct me if I’m wrong , you stated that this model had a K46 TUFF TORQ tanny & a K58 TUFF TORQ tanny . Did the 2015 models have a K46 tanny & the 2016 models have a K58 tanny ? I’m confused , what # of transmission is on the current model # 20442 ? Which is better ? Also do you have any info about the KOHLER 7000 ELITE SERIES 24hp engine ? I’ve been told that this engine is very good & I’ve been told by a mechanic who works for a KUBOTA dealer & he says that this engine is ” junk ” ! I believe that most KUBOTA’s comes with a KOHLER engine , correct me if I’m wrong . If the engines were junk , why would KUBOTA have them in the first place ? Please advise asap & thanks for everything ! B.C.
Hi B.C. The 20442 has the K46 transmission. That is the right transmission for that mower.
The 20443 and 20445 have the stronger K58 transmission. With the larger 50 and 54 inch decks they need the stronger trans.
Your Kubota mechanic is behind the times. The old Kohler Courage V-Twins had a habit of blowing head gaskets and valve cover gaskets. That is the engine that he had to work on. The old Kohler Courage is the engine that he is complaining about. I’m wondering if they ever let him out of the back to he can see the new stuff 🙂
The new Kohler 7000 series don’t have any issues. In fact I have not heard of any problems with one. He hasn’t either so I don’t know why he would try to tell you otherwise. The only reason why he would tell you the engines are junk would be so that dealer could sell you a more expensive tractor with the Kubota diesel.
The Kohler 7000 is a residential engine. It will last you a long time. The Kohler 7000 Elite has a larger oil and air filter than the Kohler that comes standard in the Kubota tractors.
Hi, looking to buy a riding mower.i ve been reading alot of your sites comments. need a 42 in cut deck , need strong trans.like to do up to 1/4 acre. slight inclines , suberbs ,need it to be durable,budget is around 1,600. what is the best deal out there with these requests, respectfully yours, Jeff, not really bias to any.
I have a 2007 Husqvarna 2346xls. Transmission is K46LD. I used it to mow and to pull an overloaded yard cart up hills for years, but that finally caught up with me. Also push a 40″ Berco snowblower in the winter. Now it is fine on flats but even for mowing it seems after the transmission warms up after 10 minutes or so, I can’t go up the slightest incline – no power.
The engine, Briggs Vanguard, runs great and has been maintained well.
Would you recommend a new transmission $800 or rebuild kit $300, or am I going to kill it by doing the same type of pulling/ pushing and I should just put my money into another tractor?
3 acres, hilly, Nashua NH.
Hi Marc, I never suggest rebuilding a hydro. To do it right and to have it last at least as long as the first one you have to have clean room conditions. Any dirt, metal filings or other contaminants will greatly shorten the life of the rebuild.
You can buy a Husqvarna 960430212 YTA22V46 for $1700 to $1900. If you have to repair the engine down the road you are looking at another $1500. The YTA uses the CVT so you won’t burn it out. Yes, I feel you will kill it because pushing the BERCO is heavy.
Hello Paul, we have a 2009 Toro lawn tractor. But our lean-to it was parked under collapsed under snow. The hood & dash are wrecked. It works fine though. But will be about $600 (Canadian) to replace
My parents have a slightly older Saber by John Deere, but the hydrostatic Trans needs to be rebuild.
Can I swap the trans between these two with slight modifications and put the Toro trans under the Saber?
Or I have an old 5 sp trans from a JD. Can I use that in the Saber?
Hi Ryan, I don’t know. The tractors were made by two different companies (the Toro was made by MTD?) so the transmissions may be too different. I suggest pulling the tranny out of the Sabre. It comes out the bottom and you can find a video on youtube to show you how. Take pictures (with your cellphone) as you take it out of the linkages.
Then crawl under the Toro and check it out. The 5 speed is another option. They all basically mount in the same spot but the linkages for the shifter and brake are usually what needs to be modified.
I am Bryan,
I need a garden tractor for hilly aerating in Georgia clay. I was looking between jd X310 with K58 and Kawasaki. The husqvarna gt52xls with 22hpkawasaki and g730 transmission or husky gth52xls with Briggs and Stratton and I think K66. First question. Is John deer mite reliable than husqvarna which brand will last longer. Second question which transmission is best? Should I look forward the husky with K66 or g730. Which engine is best? What would you get between the three?
Hi Bryan, 1. The current X300 series John Deere’s cost considerably more than the Husqvarna, Cub Cadet and Craftsman Garden tractors. The use the same engines and transmissions yet the John Deere dealers charge $1000 to $3000 more. For that extra money I would really expect them to last 2 to 3 times longer than the other brands. So, at this point in time the current models are not lasting 2-3 times longer.
2. The K66 is bulletproof and is as reliable as the G730 – plus it has the electronic differential lock so it is my number one choice for you. The G730 is also bulletproof – it’s faster than the other two trans at 7.5 MPH. The K58 in the Deere is the same transmission that Cub Cadet and Craftsman Pro are also using in tractors costing $1000 less than the Deere.
3. The rest of the industry is running away from Kawasaki as fast as they can. John Deere is the only brand still sticking with them. I don’t exactly know why but I do know the Kohler 7000 and the Briggs & Stratton Husqvarna is using have great reputations.
For the same price or less as the 2015 X310 you can get a Craftsman Pro with larger tires, power steering, larger deck, arm rests, and a lot bigger Kohler 7000 Elite engine.
You can save even more money and still have a great garden tractor with the Craftsman Pro 20445 and Craftsman Pro 20443.
Hi Paul, I just bought a 2015 Craftsman 19HP 42″ tight turn mower. I believe is mostly made by Husqvarna. I assumed it had a K46 transmission when I ordered it but it has a Hydo-Gear T2. Do you know anything about these T2’s? Are they junk? I have a flat 2 acre lot with some tall weeds. Thanks.
Hi Dan, the T2 is the same trans as in the D125/D130 Deeres. It will do fine on your lawn.
I’m looking at purchasing a Poulan Pro 42 in. 19 HP Briggs & Stratton Automatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Mower Model # 960460078 (in my budget) to maintain 1/2 acre flat property warm season grass. Any thoughts on the unit? I am especially concerned with the nylon composite transmission housing and potential for fatigue cracking due to vibration, etc. Thanks in advance for your advice & time.
Hi Rick, Here are two articles on the CVT in that tractor. https://todaysmower.com/cvt-automatic/ and https://todaysmower.com/general-transmissions-now-has-a-u-s-parts-service-and-sales-center/. The second article has some questions and answers at the end.
If the CVT still scares you here is my article with the other Poulan Pro tractors with Hydros. The 2016 Poulan Pro Lawn Tractors at Amazon are the best deal you can get for 2016. The 960420182 is the equivalent tractor to the Home Depot version you are looking at.
Thank you for that info. The articles are very informative. The CVT sounds like the transmission I will look for. The only hesitation is the “plastic” (reinforced fiberglass) housing. I have a leaf vac with a deck of same material and it has cracked around engine mounting holes and in various other locations on the deck. Again thanks for your time and most valuable experience.
Hi Rick, that cracking is usually a problem with the designer – not the material. He cut costs in the mold. In fact, I tend to have better luck with glass fiber housings than I do with aluminum. The fiber housing take shock load and impact loads a lot better than aluminum. They will bend and give in places where aluminum will crack and steel will bend and not spring back (and get a memory).
Greetings from Winchester, VA. For many years I have mowed my 3 acre yard with an old 1970s Bolens QS16. This is a very stout lawn tractor, though my recently purchased zero turn is much quicker and cuts more cleanly. I hope to get the Bolens working again, however, for hauling purposes in my yard. I have rebuilt or replaced every system and nearly every component in the tractor, including the now obsolete Sustrand hydro 3 times. The hydro is now slipping again, and I hesitate to spend another $800 for repairing it when the repairs only last about 5 years (the last time only 2 years). I have only found one place in the US that repairs the old Sunstrands.
With the rest of the tractor in excellent condition, including a Kohler K341 engine with only 200 hours, do I have any options to retrofit an entirely different transmission? I am open to any possibilities – it doesn’t have to be a hydro. I realize I would need to fit any kind of unit to my current engine output shaft and my transaxle.
Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
Hi Jim, I remember your tractor but I don’t deal with used tractors on this site. Would you please go over to https://www.mytractorforum.com/ and ask your question over there. The people there love to rebuild and make the old stuff better.
I have about 1 + acre of rough unfinished yard. I want something that will be ground engaging rated and will push some dirt and blow snow. I do not care for the decks that are cut away on top for a discharge chute . I have determined that I need to buy a unit with a fabricated deck to get the square cut / flat faced discharge chute [no need to say why but it is a safety issue]. I know I need a garden tractor and have looked at the Craftsman Pro series, Cub Cadets, Husqvarna GT series etc. What seems to be the best value for what I need is the Troy-bilt Super Bronco 54 XP GT garden tractor. The price is right. The specs look good. It is supposed to have a locking Diff. What do you think.
Dave, I am not aware that any of the MTD built garden tractors have the electronic locking diff. They offered it on a couple of Cub Cadet lawn tractors last year with a K46 but have dropped it for 2016. They use the K58 trans in the Troy-Bilt GT’s and I am not aware that it is even available with ELD. As far as I know there is only the K46ELD lawn tractor trans and the K66ELD garden tractor trans.
If you want a fabricated deck and locking diff it will have to be the Husqvarna GT52XLSi or GT54LS. They have the K66ELD.
Paul: I am looking to replace by 2000 year model Sears garden tractor. It has the 6 speed manual transmission (which is bullet proof) I use the machine as a true ground engaging tractor, pull heavy loads,etc. I contacted Sears and they told me all the current garden tractors use the K 58 transmission? Nothing heavier like the K66. Do any of the Husquvarna GT models use the K66 or heavier in their equipment? Any additional info for a replacement would be appreciated. Thanks Dennis
Hi Dennis, As usual, whoever you talked to didn’t know the Craftsman line. Only the Craftsman Pro series uses the K58.
The Craftsman 20403 uses the G730 Tranny. It is as bulletproof as your old 6 speed and is the standard trans for garden tractors. Here is the tractor: 24HP 54″ Complete Start™ Turn Tight® Garden Tractor – Non CA
Husqvarna uses the G730 on garden tractors without differential lock and the K66 on garden tractors with differential lock. Just go to husqvarna.com to check them out.
Thanks for your help Paul. I have read thru your site extensively and I also got a lot of good information from the page you recommended to JDubs on 2015 tractors over $1500. Thanks for a great site and keep the info coming. Dennis
I am looking at getting the 2015 Cub Cadet XT2 GX54. The main selling points are the K58 TT transmission and size of the deck. I have also been looking at Husqvarna’s website to try to compare models, but Husqvarna doesn’t list any specs on the transmissions. Do you have any idea what they are using? And, if any of them have a heavier duty transmission (comparable or better than the K58)?
Other direction I may look is the 2014 Cub Cadets because I my 42″ snowblower would still fit on those models (not sure which ones specifically, but it’s the 42″ MTD snowblower that has been around for the last 10-15 years). Do you know which 2014 Cub’s have heavier duty transmissions? The Cub dealer didn’t have any brochures or specs left on the ’14 models.
I mow 2 acres with steep hills and use ground engaging equipment. Therefore, I want a heavier duty transmission to ensure the entire machine holds up. Expecting to get at least 15 years out of a brand new machine. I have been blowing snow with my current lower as well, and plan to continue. I may think about getting a tiller attachment, but don’t think I can cost-justify the prices.
Any other recommendations for other brands/models in the same price range as the XT2 GX54 (or cheaper!) would be great.
I also saw on one of your replies, something about Hydro-Gears being so great. Do you prefer them over the Tuff Torqs? What models of each are comparable to each other?
Hi JDubs, This page shows all the Transmissions 2015 Lawn Tractors Over $1500. Tractors with the transmissions G7, G730 and K66 are all heavier than the XT2 with the K58.
Check it out and then we can go from there to find the right mower for you.
Update: I am pretty set on the Cub Cadet XT2 GX54. Are there any that are of better value that I should consider?
The most significant thing I have against this mower is that my local dealer said that Cub has a “promise” date of June 19th for a ship date (they will ship it by then) and shipping takes 7-10 days, which puts me at the end of June. I saw a website last night: mowersdirect.com last night that has free shipping and would ship it immediately. I’m not sure about the reliability of the website.
Over the XT1 GT50: Additional 4″ and fabricated deck and ball bearing front wheels. Not entirely sure that these upgrades are worth $600 though. I guess it also has armrests, which aren’t cheap, but not necessary either.
Over the Husqvarna GT52XLS (equal price): It is only available in the same Kohler engine as the XT2. I think I would prefer the TT K58 transmission over the HG G7. I haven’t been able to find much information on the HG transmission and therefore think the TT K58 is more proven. Also, as all mowers get some bad reviews, Husqvarna has had more than their fair share of complaints. I am pretty sure Cub Cadet has a better warranty program. Lastly, Husqvarna’s website and dealer locator have been extremely frustrating. They do not list the transmission specs for the mowers (only that it is hydrostatic, and you were able to give me that information). They do not differentiate chainsaw dealers from lawn mower dealers. It took a couple visits and many phone calls to find a Husqvarna lawn mower dealer and it is not in a reasonable proximity to my home. Cub Cadet dealers seems to becoming fewer and further between, but there are at least five that are closer than the Husqvarna dealer I found.
Overall, I feel that the XT2 might be a little pricey, but I haven’t been able to find anything of better value.
Thanks again for the awesome site!
Hi JD, Mowersdirect is a good reputable site. I talk with them regularly and they are quick to fix any issues you may have with a mower or snow blower they sell. You can buy from them with confidence.
Thanks for a great and informative website. One question, as I can’t seem to find the answer on my own.
Do the GT RS 800 CVT transmissions drive both rear wheels? From their video, it looks like it may. That alone is a deciding factor for me in m choosing of a mower…
Eric, Denver CO
Hi Eric, The RS 800 has a differential in the transmission just like your car. It is not a solid axle where both wheels drive at the same time.
I have a 4 yr, old Craftsman Model # 917.288570 lawn tractor that will not engage in Forward or Reverse. I tried purging the transmission which I thought had solved the problem but it returned very quickly . Any sugestions ?
Thanks , Guido
Hi Guido, I’m not a mechanic. You have already done what I suggest. The next thing is get it to a mechanic.
Would you say that all machines sold today as “Garden Tractors” with hydrostats would have sufficiently-beefy units for hills, 300-600lb towing, ground-engage etc (Obviously, I wouldn’t hold you to it)? If you were potentially looking to buy a garden tractor sometime within the next five years (of 2015), what type of transmission would you most favor/wait for (besides manual)? I ask because for my next garden tractor, I want to make sure I don’t end up with a fragile transmission. Many people seem to have high-hopes for CVT transmissions. Also, if you have any general opinions on Craftsman vs. Cub Cadet vs. John Deere, I’d love to hear them.
Background, in case you’re curious: I manage between eight and 16 acres of residential terrain (mostly my parents’), much of which is quite hilly. For mowing, I have a Hustler Super-Z which, aside from the Kawasaki motor–an absolutely unreliable POS [pardon my candidness] since year two, has been a phenomenal zero-turn. It’s commercial-grade, and I recall reading it has some of the strongest hydro motors you can buy; so I have no concern for that mower (other than the Kawasaki–I’ve never cursed at one object so much…sorry, can’t express how much I hate that mill). For grass collection, spraying/spreading, and general hauling/towing duties, I pull out my late-’90s Craftsman 917-273061 garden tractor which dependably oversaw all jobs up until I got the Hustler five years ago. Despite its I-don’t-even-know-how-many-hundreds-of-hours of neglect (including running on e10 for half of its life [not under my supervision]), the Kohler starts right up and runs healthily (more dependable than the much, much newer Kawasaki) and the HydroGear 222-3010 has been phenomenally reliable despite negligent use (ie towing uphill at full speed, dethatching at 1/2 engine speed, wheelies lol–again, not under my supervision). It wasn’t until I inherited the Craftsman that I started reading up on hydrostats and learned that people generally don’t favor them for anything but casual mowing. Really makes me appreciate how great that Craftsman has been to us; unfortunately, it also now has me worried about using it as we have all these years…hence, my questions above 🙂
Lastly, I’ve noted that you’re a very helpful person to people who have questions. On behalf of all of the lurkers who don’t post questions/comments: thank you for your dedication to helping/informing others. It has been tremendously helpful to me and undoubtedly many thousands of others.
Hi Guy, You are very welcome, You have to get into the X500 Deere’s to get a “garden tractor” trans.
The 2015 Cub Cadet’s and Craftsman Pro’s use a K58 Tuff Torq. They say it is heavy enough for ground engaging work.
The Red Craftsman, Poulan Pro and some Husqvarna GT’s use the G730 Hydro-Gear. It’s pretty much bullet-proof.
Some of the Higher end Husqvarna’s use the K66. It’s also tough enough for anything you’ll ever pull with it.
Simplicity uses all three. You have to get up to the Regent to get the GT transmissions.
CVT’s currently are only in the lawn tractors. They are tough but General Transmissions does not have one for Garden Tractors yet.
So Paul, having read probably 100 comments and your replys, would I be correct in saying that you would recommend the Craftsman 20391 with a CVT transmission over the Pro Series 20442 with the K46? I have a few hills in my yard but also want to be able to pull a 4’x8′ aluminum golf cart trailer around to move deck chairs, hoses, brush, etc. My yard is a bit uneven…not the manicured laws at Consumer Reports. Thoughts?
Enjoy your reviews and expertise…
Hi Mark, Thank you for reading and I am very glad you found the correct mower! Yes, a few hills, pulling a little more than usual and an uneven lawn – the 20391 is the better choice.
I just checked Sears.com and the deal is very good right now. If you purchase online they offer Free delivery, an extra 5% off. In addition with a sears card you can either get 5% of no interest for 12 months.
You can see the tractor here: Craftsman 20391 at Sears
I just read some of the reviews on the 20391 and it seems a number of the reviewers weren’t happy with the RS 800 transaxle. I also talked to a Husqvarna dealer and he wasn’t too excited about the RS 800. Your thoughts….
Hi Neal, here is an article on the trans. Take a few minutes to read through the article and the comments. If you have questions then I’ll be glad to assist. CVT Automatic Transmissions
Good morn Paul,
I currently have a 2000 or 2001 Craftsman LT 1750 ( 917.272220) with a Kohler Pro 17.5 hp and ?Automatic transmission? along with a 12 gauge deck for the past 14 or 15 years. The engine is just about shot. Buts it’s been a great mower.
I have an 1/2 acre with mostly hills with some trees and bushes. A Kohler or Kawasaki engine with a CVT transmission and heavy gauge deck with mulching included would be great.
Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Clayton, The direct replacement for you LT1750 is the 25081. See it here on Sears.com: 19HP 42 in. Turn Tight® Automatic Riding Mower.
You can read my review here: 25081 review.
If you would like to move up to a V-Twin here is the review of the 20390. Note: it has a foot control CVT instead of the fender control: 20390 Review
Looked at Husqvarna’s equivalent…have to admit my old Craftsman LT 1750 has features like: 10 inch rear wheels, electric PTO, heavier gauge deck, and hand control clutch that the current model doesn’t have..
JoeBillyBob, I have a Craftsman 42″, 21 VTwin, DYT 4000, Model #917-274040, SR 072204B005810. It starts and runs ok, but the transmission will no longer engage. This model has a shiftier on the fender. I have misplaced the manual but I think this is a hydrostatic transmission. Is this transmission repairable or do you suggest buying a new Lawn Mower?
Hi Joe, Well your tractor has gone well over 10 years so it may be time for a new one. Generally, You tractor is worth about $400 in great shape. It will cost between $400 and $800 to replace the trans. Is your steering wore also?
You can get a Craftsman Model 25081 for around $1450 and is the direct replacement to your old Craftsman. Craftsman has made many improvements including better steering, more legroom room, better seat, better engines and the the new CVT trans. The 25081 is a lot easier to get on and off.
Use this link to check it out on Sears.com:
19HP 42 in. Turn Tight® Automatic Riding Mower
Go here to read my review: 25081 Review
Are you sure it’s the transmission? If you haven’t checked the engine to transmission belt please do that before you give up on the tractor. Trans replacements are usually around $800 if you have someone buy new parts and do the work. If you find the transmission yourself off of ebay or someplace similar and do the work yourself you can usually get the project done for half that. The trans is a Hydro-Gear 314-0510.
If you like to work on them and you want to take the time you can sometimes get a really good deal on a tractor with a bad engine. Then take the two and make one. For example over a 12 month period I picked up a 2004 Craftsman with a bad motor for $20 and then later on picked up a “dead” 2001 and a 2002 for free. The 2001 looked bad but come to find out the only thing wrong with it was a bad battery and bad fuel. I took the engine out of the 2001 and put it in the 2004 and ended up with a good running tractor that we used around the yard here until I found the Husqvarna Riders. The rest of the parts tractors went to two handy guys who couldn’t afford new and they used them to keep their own Craftsman’s running.
I’m looking at purchasing a new cub cadet 18 hp or higher but have seen a lot of mixed reviews about them and purchasing them from Home Depot. I have a very hilly and uneven 4 acres and haul things around with a trailer too. Can you clear up my concerns and do you know if the 2015 models have improvements that may help assist me? I’m looking at spending no more then 1699 and really don’t want to spend the money and find out I have invested in junk. Any opinion appreciated since I have spent hours among hours researching and basically can’t find any reliable consistent information that is helping me make up my mind. I have been using a 17.5 hp crafts man that’s about 13 years old and it gets stuck on the hills and has been abused and in wearing out. It now only starts when it wants to and the grass is only getting taller!!!! Help
Hi Laurie, I have bad news and good news for you. The bad news is: Four acres is a lot of lawn to mow and I really can’t think of any tractor under $1699 that will be dependable and do the job for you. The good news is Cub Cadet does have two tractors that will work for you and are rugged enough to last a long time on your property.
You need a lawn tractor with the heavy duty transmission. The two I will show you have the Tuff Torq K58. That transmission can handle hills and uneven ground well.
The transmission in all the other Cub Cadets is a K46. It is a good transmission but has a reputation of not holding up on hills. It is strong enough for your normal suburban lawn but not strong enough for hilly properties.
The first model is the XT1 GT50″. You can get this tractor at Home Depot or you local Cub Cadet Dealer. It has larger wheels to give you a better ride and the heavy transmission. The 50 inch deck will get you mowing done in a couple of hours. You can see it here: Cub Cadet Lawn Mowers XT1 Enduro Series GT 50 in. 25 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic Gas Front-Engine Garden Tractor with Cub Connect Bluetooth GT50
The second tractor is a dealer only model. It has two additional features over the GT50. Traction control and fabricated deck. If you have had problems going up your hills in the past the XT2 GX54″ with Fabricated Deck has a feature where both rear wheels will get traction to pull you up the hills. (traction control) This feature is found on very few lawn tractors and really makes mowing a safer experience. The fabricated deck is stronger than conventional decks and takes a beating well. If you have problems with the deck on your last lawn tractor this deck will be a lot better.
You can see the XT2 GX54″ with Fabricated Deck at your local Cub Cadet dealer and you can read about it more here: XT2 GX54″.
Laurie, The biggest problem with lawn tractors and hills is the transmissions. The majority of the tractors are designed for you normal, suburban lawn. The Cub Cadet tractors I showed you will do the job and last but they are twice the money you have budgeted. So I am going to suggest you look at one other lawn tractor. It is closer to your budget. It has a transmission strong enough for your hills and a deck that will hold up well. (It’s also a good driving tractor)
This tractor has been around for two years and has proven to be a great lawn tractor. 2014 Craftsman T3200 Model 20391 48 in Automatic 22 hp Yard Tractor Review
Please read these articles and reviews. Feel free to ask any other questions you may have.
This is the one I was leaning towards. Has the traction control but still the k46 transmission. Is the k46 transmission really that much different? I have been using a 17.5 hp 2002 craftsman for 13 years and its main problem with the hills has been losing traction ? I want to get what will work the best and if need be will save a little longer for the better transmission of needed but if the one above will work I’d rather get it. So confusing. How important would traction control compared to the transmission be in your opinion? I may give up the traction control if it is to save some money. As for craftsman I need the better seat that only cub offers and have not been happy with Sears lately..thanks again
Hi Laurie, The transmission in the XT2 is different than the standard K46. I have never heard of anyone having issues with the K46 with traction control (the one that’s in the XT@ you are looking at)
Okay so that one would be okay for hilly yards then? Sorry for all the questions and thank you for your time too!!
@Laurie, Yes, the XT2 is the best one for hills
Only spending $1699 won’t get you anything capable of the tasks you mention. And you probably won’t find anything at a chain “department store” that is either.
After much research, I pulled the trigger on a Simplicity Prestige for my hilly and uneven yard but spent $8000 on it. It’s easily capable of all my needs (snow blower, heavy hauling, rear mounted tiller, etc.), has a locking differential and doesn’t have all the plastic parts most lawn or garden tractors have these days. It’s true “you get what you pay for” when it comes to garden tractors (John Deere is the exception, except for their top of the line tractors and the Simplicity is still a better tractor).
Hello Paul. I am considering the Craftsman 20386 manual transmission yard tractor to replace my Craftsman 917.271831 which I’ve had for about 15 years. Engine still works but it won’t move, and other things are starting to go so it’s time to replace. I can’t find any reviews and am hesitant to buy a model that I don’t know anything about other than what the manufacturer says. I have about 4 acres, flat, not too many obstacles. I know I want a 42″ deck, 22 HP, 2 cylinder B&S engine, preferably Craftsman. I do some very light hauling (branches). I don’t want to mow with my foot on the pedal, sounds tiring and I’ve read complaints about that very thing. Basically I want what I had-but I don’t want to end up with a clunker. I know these manual transmission models are being phased out. I’ve also looked into the 25081. Not a manual but I believe that it has a cruise control feature. But there are some negative reviews that are scaring me on the 25081. I have to watch what I spend (no more than $2,000). I would appreciate any suggestions. Great site. Thanks so much.
Hi Lynn, I do not recommend a manual transmission. Why? There is no clutch in these tractors. When you press on the left foot pedal you only release the v-belt between the engine and the transmission. When you release the pedal the belt tightens. The tractor usually jumps or jerks. If you are in a higher gear like 4, 5 or 6 the front wheels may jump off the ground.
But you know that already – that’s the same way your old mower worked. The rest of the mower is a nice step up from you old tractor. It’s only about 4 inches longer but has a lot more room to get on and off. It steers easier and the steering doesn’t get all that play your old one got. The new Briggs Platinum is smoother than your old 21 HP “boxer.” For you I feel this may be exactly the mower you are looking for.
If you have spare blades or a bagger it will still fit on this tractor.
42″ 22HP Vtwin BS Manual Gear
You’ve done your research but the 25081 does not have any reviews up yet on Sears.com. You may have been looking at the 20381. About half of the negative reviews there are not for that tractor. The biggest issue people were having – the trans has been replaced this year with a more dependable unit (that’s why the model number change)
Hi, Paul. I’m considering purchase of the new for 2015 Sears Craftsman Pro Model 20442, 24 HP, 46″ mower. Sears’ web page for this model provides no specs for the transmission. From your research, does this tractor use one of the ne Element V transmissions? If not, which transmission does it use, and what are your thoughts about that transmission.
Thanks, Paul. Great site!
@Wayne, The Pro uses the K46 Tuff Torq hydrostatic.
My view point on the K46. It’s the most popular transmission installed in lawn tractors. John Deere uses it on all of the D140, D150, D160, D170, X300 and X304. Cub Cadet is using it on all of the 2015 Enduro series and Troy-Bilt lawn tractors. Craftsman uses it in the 20401 tractor and the new 2015 Pro series. It holds up well for lawn mowing and normal yard duties like pulling a yard cart, sweeper, snow blade, etc.
If your yard is all hills or you regularly pull 500 lb loads uphill then it does have a history of needing repair around 300-400 hours. For most people that’s 8 to 10 years of use. I have one here in an old Yard Man that’s almost 20 years old. It’s working even though the tractor has fallen apart.
Also take into consideration – You can find people who have problems with anything – particularly if you read the tractor forums. You can find people who have had problems with the K46 in the heavier D160, D170 Deere’s and the LGT Husqvarna tractors. But also remember there are about 1,000,000 million of these transmissions sold EACH year. All the complaints you read don’t add up to a “recall” problem with the trans.
The GT Element V has an edge for working hills. It will take more abuse. But I also have people who don’t like the high foot control and the slow reverse in the Element V.
So I recommend the K46 if you mow lawn and do light yard work. If you burnt up the transmission in your last two yard tractors then the CVT is a better choice.
I guess I’ve been spoiled by my old Sears Craftsman II. I bought this mower new I guess it was back in 1986. It has the 12 HP Brigs engine and the manual 5 speed transmission. The engine is shot and uses about a half quart of oil for every tank of gas I put in. Trying to find a suitable replacement for this mower is becoming a real chore. I have been looking at the Poulan Pro PB20A46 with the 20 HP Kohler engine and the cvt transmission. I run up and down some pretty steep grades pulling a trailer loaded with fire wood. My big question is, does the cvt transmission allow you to use the engine as a brake while going down hill? Also, if not the Poulan Pro, is there anything else you would recommend as a suitable replacement for the old Craftsman. I mow about an 1.5 acres on rough hilly land.
Hi Bill, The exact replacement for your mower is
42″ 19HP Riding Mower with a six speed.
All of the current transmissions will not coast downhill. This includes the manual trans in the 20380 above, the CVT’s and the hydrostatics. I do like the CVT in the Poulan Pro PB20A46. It’s the RS 800 GT. The single cylinder 20 HP Kohler is also a good transmission. The engine doesn’t act like a brake, the trans itself holds the load. One thing you should be aware of – When you bring the CVT pedal to neutral it sets a brake inside the trans. In other words the parking brake is automatic on the General Transmissions CVT.
If you want you would like a V-Twin the Poulan Pro PB20VA46 Briggs 20 HP V-Twin Ready Start Pedal Control Fast Auto Drive Cutting Deck Riding Mower, 46-Inch is the same tractor with a Briggs 20 HP V-Twin.
Paul , is there any NEW info. on the CVT transmission from G.T. I’ve read some reviews about a grinding noise in reverse and the Sears people can;t figure it out, and have actually told consumers to trade it for a machine with a hydro-static trans. That must raise a few eyebrows ! It sounds like the ideal trans, but why are there so few machines that utilize it ?? Is G.T. aware of the issue ? Have they re-called them ? Thanks for any info. you can bring concerning this issue, Ted M.
Hi Ted, Yes, there is a lot of new info on the GT CVT’s. It is such a good unit that over half of the new 2015 tractors this year were introduced with them installed.
The biggest thing to understand is the grinding noise does not mean the transmission is going bad. The reverse portion of the RS 800 is a high speed to very low speed gear reducer and the speed reduction is all done with gears. So it is “noisier” than a hydro.
A hydro’s speed reduction is mainly done with the internal pump. The trans takes the full engine RPM at the pump. That pump then drives an internal motor that runs a lot slower. That motor then drives the differential at a very low RPM. The only sound you hear is the pump. With the RS 800 there is more mechanical reduction using gears so you will hear more “noise” from the trans. The way the RS 800 is designed it actually has a lot more torque available to the rear wheels. You can stall out a hydro to the point where the wheels stop. It is almost impossible to stall out the RS 800. It will keep spinning the tires even if you put 1200 lbs on the rear of your tractor.
Now, GT realized that the new owners are used to a quiet transmission so they made a change in early summer to keep more lube up in the gear set when the trans in in reverse. If you buy one this year it’s quieter.
To get the “their’s so few machines” into perspective. MTD has their own CVT. So they are not going to use the General Transmissions brand. Husqvarna is using them in all models of the Poulan Pro and Ariens tractors – except the Garden Tractor Models. Craftsman is now using them in all Husqvarna built tractors except the Garden Tractors. John Deere is continuing to use them in some of the 100 series lawn tractors. In addition there are a bunch powered of landscaping items like top dressers and aerators that are using it. I would guess GT has tripled their sales for 2015 over last year.
I don’t know what division of Sears you are talking to. The store sales associates are not part of the repair loop. The Repair techs should have a spec sheet that helps them to understand if the trans is bad.
The biggest problem has been that owners are used to the old style gear drive transmissions and hydro’s so they expect this transmission to “behave and sound” in a certain way. The GT CVT is different and is designed completely different. It’s not bad – it’s just different.
One way that I look at this. Say, you only drove passenger cars all your life. You are used to the sounds of a passenger car. You are used to the fact that lifter noise means the engine is going bad. You went in and purchased a new car but the sales associate didn’t tell you it now has a diesel and you’ve never have any experience with one. What would your first reaction be? It would be, “This engine is bad! Take it back! I want one that sounds like my old car!” That is really what is going on with most of the reviews of the CVT.
muskogee,ok 74401 where can I find part for cvt trans that plastic part on top of trans/cam configuration controls forward an reverse ? I have ariens A22A46 auto trans , the cam configuration for forward an reverse broke seems pretty flimsy. Ariens’ parts says you have to buy whole trans at $600 poor design any ideas
@james, Yes, the tractor manufactures typically are parts changers so they only carry the major components.
To research your parts you really need the numbers off of the transmission itself. They should be in the back of the trans near the bottom. Copy all those numbers
I don’t have a good source for individual parts but here is a place to start General Trans Parts page.
If you get nowhere with those 2 companies find a dealer in your area that uses the ARI Parts network. They should be able to find parts breakdowns for the transmission.
Recently got a 917_259530 hydro by craftsman that was running fine but now it won’t move either direction now and I feel a slight tug. I’m thinking it’s either the transaxle or clutch. Any ideas?
@Dixie, The guys over at mytractorforum would be able to help you more than I can. But in the meantime check to make sure no one has pulled out the coast lever on the back of the tractor. Also, I would check the belt and idler springs that put tension on the belt before I would blame the transmission.
Your tractor does not have a clutch. When you press on the left pedal it releases tension on the transmission drive belt.
I just bought a 1978 8 hp craftsman mower the gear box gets very hot and brown sludge starts leaking from where gear shift goes into gear box,any body know why? and can I fix that problem?thanks,shane.
@Shane, We really don’t do troubleshooting here (even though sometimes I can guess what’s wrong) I suggest you go over to https://www.mytractorforum.com/ and ask those guys. They will be able to quickly help you with your antique Craftsman.
I have the transmsision shown in video # 2, gentrans RS 800, the gear selector cam shown at 1.10 sec has shattered ,where can I gat a replacement cam?
@John, Exactly what tractor do you have?
Until then, I have to assume you bought your tractor in the last year so it should be under warranty. Go back to the dealer where you purchased the tractor to get the parts. If it’s a Craftsman call 1-800-4MY-HOME and get a tech out to repair it.
I recently entered the market for a new lawn tractor in the $1000 to $1300 price range. I noticed that some of the manufactures are using Plastic! hydro-static housings. How long has the industry been doing this? Have these plastic housings proven them selves in the field for say 10 years?
@James, Actually none of the tractors in your price range use a hydro anymore. The $1000 ones like the Craftsman T1000 have a manual, shift-on-the-go transmission. The $12-1300 machines are now all using a light duty CVT. These low priced tractors are designed just for mowing lawns and most are not capable of anything else.
The current range for good quality lawn tractors is between $1350 and $1999. Many of these still have a hydro but even at this price range the manufactures are quickly switching to the more dependable medium duty CVT. Here are 2 typical tractors that I recommend. 42 inch hydro and 42 inch CVT. These tractors have many more features like 6 inch turning radius, long life engines and nice seats.
Chaska, MN Paul, I greatly appreciate your articles and education on riding mowers. I have a walkout, so there is a hill on each side of our yard with about 5-6 foot gradual drop over about 20-30 feet. I currently have a Simplicity Regent Hyrdro 14 (leaves a mohawk cut with net gator mulching blades and also mohawk with old mulching blades) and I picked up a 2011 John Deere D130 this winter. After reading your articles and realizing I have a quality 14HP Vanguard Briggs engine, I am second guessing myself for buying the JD (not sure how well it will handle the hill with the transmission, and lower quality engine. Looking for your advise on whether to try to figure out the mohawk issue on the Simplicity, or keep the D130, or look for something that is better suited for the hills. There is quite a bit of landscaping and 5 trees to maneuver around on our 0.6 Acre lot. I only cut grass with the mower, and may pull a cart with bags of mulch down the hill each spring.
Bob, If the Simplicity is leaving a strip of grass in the middle with new blades usually that means you have the wrong blades. Get a set of original equipment blades (from a Simplicity dealer) and compare them to your blades. If the blades you have are shorter…there’s your problem.
If it’s leaving a stepped cut where one side is longer than the other, it may be a major issue with the deck (shell is bent) Look under the deck and meet the two ends of the blades. There should be less than 1/4 inch difference in height.
The D130. The guys destroy transmissions by mowing those long slopes or constantly pulling a leaf vac, using a bagger with wet grass or more hauling than 300 lbs in a yard cart. The max weight for the K40 transmission in a D130 is 650 lbs. That’s 150 lbs. for the tractor’s rear weight, plus you, plus the trailer, plus the load.
Don’t pull anything up the slope. Get in a habit of checking the oil and keeping it filled. Don’t have the engine running on the slope for more than 30-45 seconds at a time. If you are mowing up and down that slope you are not on it for more than 30-45 sec.
The new Gator blades are almost 1/8″ longer than the originals, and the mohawk eventually showed up on the original blades as well (not sure when it happened…after sharpening the old blades?), and a little less of a mohawk on the new blades…I notice the mohawk more when I have left the grass to grow an extra 1-2 days. I was wondering if I put one or both of the new blades in upside down (or even the same on the old blades after sharpening them). Thanks for the feedback….I will likely try to fix the mohawk and sell the D130. I weigh about 250. Any concern on the transmission of the ~2004 Simplicity Regent Hydro 14? (I always change the engine oil with synthetic, every year)
Note: I am never on the slope for more than 10-20 seconds, but don’t want to stress the tranny to early failure. (Do you ever rate/review the Simplicity mowers…I did not see it on a search of Todaysmowers.com…I was impressed they used Vangard and Command engines…back in the day).
@Bob, Yes, It was rumored that Briggs was completely changing the Simplicity line so I haven’t been in to big of a hurry to review the current models. To be honest, new Craftsman owners have been keeping me almost too busy to write for the last few weeks. The new Craftsman tractors are really doing well.
Do you know what tranny the new 2014 ariens from home depot uses? Looks like they could be the element rs800 as there’s no selector gear just petals.. And they’re not hydro.. Any idea?
@Joe, HD has 6 different Ariens tractors this year. The
Ariens Riding Lawn Mower. A20VA46 46 in. 20 V-Twin HP Briggs & Stratton Automatic Gas Front-Engine 960460063uses the automatic. The easy way to tell is look under the rear. If the trans case is black it’s the automatic, if it’s aluminum then it’s a hydro.
Yeah I looked they’re black on the 2 auto models in store… Are they the element v rs800-rt400 or is there another company making auto CVT these days? The older ones were hit or miss.. But the new gentrans in the Deere d105 are getting good reviews was just hoping this auto is similar to the Deere and not some junk knock off one
@Joe, I don’t know. I don’t know which models are at your Home Depot. If you have the stock number go to the page on homedepot.com. Near the bottom of the page is a section called “Inof & Guides” Click on the replacement parts list. In there you can find the trans part numbers. Do Google search using the trans part number. If the trans part number comes up at searspartsdirect it’s a rs800.
Will do… Thanks brother
Paul, I just found your info, this is fantastic.
I have a 3 yo DT3000 Craftsmen that has been great. At the end of the season, it started “jerking”, and then it seemed as if the gears were mashing (usually during a turn). If i went back into neutral, and then back into gear, the mashing sound stopped. I replaced the belt, and purged per the instructions, but with no luck.
This is different than any other description I have found concerning transmission problems on this tractor, so I was wondering if you had any thoughts?
@Greg, That’s a tough one to diagnose over the Internet. Let’s try a couple of things though.
– Raise the rear end of the tractor off the ground (you can use your car jack) an inch or so. Spin the rear wheels by hand. One wheel should turn forward and the other in reverse. It should be smooth and no grinding noises.
– Next, place one rear wheel on the ground and spin the free wheel. It should turn smoothly without grinding noises. If there more than a 1/2 inch of play before you can feel the gears inside the trans?
– Check the other wheel.
– In front of the right wheel is the parking brake (usually) it should be loose but not bent. Spin one wheel to see it spin.
Read this article and use the info there to check the transmission bolts.
If everything looks good at this point take it to a mechanic you trust. Everyone uses the same transmissions so it doesn’t have to be a Craftsman Mechanic.
Thank you so much for your very prompt reply. I will follow up with you once this deep freeze ends and the snow melts. Best regards,
Paul, My tractor is a DYT4000 built by AYP, so it is a bit older than I originally thought.
I would like to check the bolts, what is the article you are referencing in your earlier reply?
@greg, 8 bolts
How as a consumer would I know if a machine has a light or heavy duty cvt auto transmission? Thanks
@Anthony, The brands are treating transmissions just like another component like a starter, tire or steering wheel so it is very hard for a consumer to figure it all out. That’s why I’m here to help you find the best for you.
As of right now Craftsman is the only brand that has this CVT. If the price of the tractor is less than $1500 it’s not the heavy duty CVT.
Paul, I’ve read your review on the craftsman 20385 but on the sears site it lists the trans as a hydrostatic, not a cvt auto. Thy list the 20390 as an auto.
@Anthony, at this time I am not trusting the descriptions on sears.com. Go to searspartsdirect.com and enter 917.20385 as the model number. Parts listings pop up there and it shows a CVT. I will check an actual tractor tomorrow.
Can’t thank you enough for the help.
In this price range would you recommend a auto cvt trans or a hydrostatic? Also I’ve read some not so great reports on the kohler courage line of engines. It becomes confusing.
@Anthony, as of right now Craftsman is the only brand that has this CVT. So if you are looking at any other brands stick with a hydro.
Paul, I’m looking at two craftsman models and hoping you could clarify their “automatic” trans. Item#7120374000 lists the trans as an auto. Would this be a cvt variable pulley type? Would you recommend it for mowing, light to medium pulling? On models with a hydrostatic trans they list it as a hydrostatic one. I’m looking for a simple tractor/mower with longevity/reliability in mind. Thank you, Anthony.
@Anthony, Yes, the 20374 is a light duty CVT that uses the variable speed pulley. The 20374 will work for mowing, and light pulling. It does not have cruise so you have to keep your foot on the pedal all the time when you are moving. It’s a good basic mower at a great price.
If you would like a heavier duty 46 inch look at the 20385. I just posted my review of that tractor. It uses the new heavy-duty automatic CVT.
I would like the best most reliable auto transmission in this general price range. Also trying to stay with a B&S engine after reading some poor reviews on the Kohler Courage series. I could not find the 20385 on SEARS site.
@Anthony, 2014 Craftsman T2600 Model 28853X 46 in Hydrostatic 19 hp Yard Tractor Review – 540cc Single Kohler Courage Typical Price $1779.99 Item # 07120385000P
Craftsman 19HP 46" KOHLER Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor - Non CA 15" X 6" - 6"
If you want a Briggs then your best mower is the 2014 Craftsman T2200 Model 20381 42 in Hydro 19hp Yard Tractor Review – 540cc Single Briggs Platinum Typical Price $1499.99 Item # 07120381000P
Craftsman 19HP 42 Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 1 Acre and Above
P J Drieci
I have an older z 3050 toro time cutter. The hydrostatic drive started making a lot of noise this year. It functions properly but it just to loud! Is there anyway to service this unit?
@PJ. I am assuming you have the Toro zero-turn mower and not the Toro 3050 greens mower. The time cutter trans are sealed units and there are no user serviceable parts inside. You may want to talk to a large Toro dealer to see if it is cheaper to just replace the drive or if it can be rebuilt.
Thanks Paul. I will be using it about 2-4 hours each week for about 6 months in the summer but not use much if any for about 6 months in the winter. I have a large hilly yard with most inclines less than 5 degrees but a couple of areas are perhaps 20 degrees. I am considering the 4 year extended warranty.
Paul, you have a great site. I looked for a review about the Deere d110. I purchased one about a week ago and it works great. I sold my old lawn mower to a repair shop. The owner suggested that I get an extended warranty on the d110 because some of the d110 hydrostatic transmission have experienced problems after about 2 years. Should I be worried about the transmission?
@Don, If you mow about 2 hours a week, 25 times a year. (50 hours) If you don’t use it on hills more than 15 degrees. I would say that you will have no issues with the trans. If you use it more than that, I would consider the extended warranty.
What Zero Turn Mower(s) would you recommend for less then one acre, residential usage, some hills (20-30 degrees), durable for 10 years, and less than 4000$. The names that I see locally are John Deere, Toro, Husqvarna, X Marks, Craftsman, Cub Cadet, Ariens, Kohler, Poulan, and Stihl.
Thank you for your comment.
@Hank, There are no zero-turns under $4000 (residential) that will handle 20 degree slopes and last 10 years. If you really want a zero-turn look for a used 48 inch ExMark. Please make sure the drives (transmissions) and engine are good before you buy one.
Kathy and Jim Priolo
We have a manual trans mission Gt 5000. (yrs old and well maintained. We are stumped. Out of the blue the deck stopped engaging, the PTO switch popped out. My husband changed but still no luck. Thought it must be the clutch so we ordered one from sears. While waiting for it to arrive I read the manual and researched the web and found that it might be the 30 amp fuse,so we found and changed it and it started right up. Then the PTO popped again. Cant be the clutch because it initially engaged when we changed the fuse, and it never made any noises prior to this to indicate any problems. What do you think. Sears just kind of fluffed us off.
@Kathy & Jim, Sears will gladly send a tech out to diagnose and repair your problem. But they do not have anyone at a call center or store that can troubleshoot your problem over the phone. Only the computer industry has phone techs, but they charge for their time. That said,
If you go and replace the fuse and it works again…the problem is the clutch. I have a clutch out of a Dixon zero-turn lying on a shelf in my garage with the same problem. You put in a new fuse and it works for about 10 minutes and then blows the fuse. I replaced the clutch with new and the mower works fine.
The clutch is basically an electromagnet and the windings don’t always go bad all at once. The insulation around the individual wires of the coil fail over time and eventually the whole winding will short out (and catch on fire if you put too big of a fuse in the wiring)
So even though it works after you change the fuse, the windings are failing and the problem will only get worse.
If the clutch is bad the timing of the fuse blowing will be consistent. (every 5 seconds, 30 seconds, 5 minutes etc.) If there is a wiring problem the timing will not be consistent. (it blows when I hit a bump, or raise the deck, etc.)
When you change the clutch please take pictures as you disassemble it. Use a camera or the camera on your phone. There are quite a few different belt guides and brackets that can trip you up if you don’t get them all back in the right place. Loosen bolts on the guides and brackets, don’t bend them out of the way. Be careful to route the clutch wire in the same way as the one you took off or it could catch and tear itself up when you go to use it after the repair.
Help! I’ve read a number of your posts and I still can’t decide between the manual and hydrostatic versions of the Craftsman LT3000 42″ turn tight lawn tractor.
I have less than three-quarters of an acre with moderate slopes and lots of bumps, ruts, roots, etc. I’m replacing a 38″/14 hp MTD with a 7 speed shift-on-the-go manual. It lasted through fifteen years of modest maintenance and serious abuse. The engine is still fine, but the transaxle seems to be shot — makes a clunking noise, oozes goo, and won’t go. I’m not crazy about the idea of having to stop every time I need to shift gears, but I’m also not crazy about having to use my right hand (instead of my left foot) to control my speed. More importantly, I’m a bit worried about how the hydro will hold up to handling my hills. If this tractor came with a shift-on-the-go version, I’d definitely go with that just because it’s what I know. Other than cutting grass, I might occasionally drag a small cart, broadcast spreader, dethatcher, or spike aerator. Possibly put a snow blade on it, too. Based on what I’ve read, I’m pretty sure that you’ll recommend that I go with the hydro, but I want to make sure I’m not missing something important. The price difference is down to around $50, so that’s not really an issue.
Thanks for the great site and any helpful advice.
@Michael, The hydro on the YT3000 Model 28851 will hold up just fine. Typically you will need to replace the engine to trans belt a little more often using it on hills (every 3-4 years instead of every 6-8 years)
I have been using an older LT2000 Craftsman with the same transmission in it as the YT3000 Model 25022. I have been using it to mow last fall and so far this year (my Dixon zero-turn has failed permanently) I also use it to pull 600-800 lb loads of dirt, sand and landscape rocks. My yard slopes 8 feet in 300 ft and I am always pulling the loads uphill. The mower previously was used to mow a flat lawn and the drive belt is about 10 years old. In the six months I have been using it I have noticed significant wear on the drive belt. When you let out the clutch it is now really jerky. (In higher gears it will pop the front wheels off the ground) I expect the belt to fail completely sometime this year. The transmission will last. I hear of very few transmission failures (maybe 1 in 50,000) no matter what you do with the tractor. I also don’t like to stop to shift, but I live with it because I’m too cheap to buy a better tractor at this point in time.
I am looking at the Ariens 42in. 21 HP Briggs & Stratton Automatic gas Front Engine Riding mower (from Home Depot), and comparing it to a Craftsman of the same HP and deck size. Both are made by Husqvarna. The question is about the trans? the craftsman is a Hydrostatic, but the Ariens is just called an automatic? Both have the same type of fender controls. Is the Ariens a belt drive or a hydrostatic? What about the new composite axles?
@Mark, From what I can tell you are looking at the Model # 960460054 Ariens and either the 28884 or 28851 Craftsman.
The Ariens uses a Tuff Torq TRANSAXLE, T2-CDBE-5X1A-18C1, The 28884 uses a variable speed drive and the 28851 Craftsman uses the tried and true K46 Tuff Torq trans. I was unable to get a parts break down of the Ariens but it does have a variable speed pulley on the top of the trans so it is not a true hydro. I don’t expect it to be a true hydro for the cheap price HD is asking for it.
The Ariens compares favorably to the 28884 craftsman made for them by MTD. Briggs-Intek motor, tube steel front end and automatic trans. They are both good machines for flat lawns, no hills and pulling only light loads.
The 28851 Craftsman has a better Briggs Intek Plus engine (they call it a platinum) has a better seat (whoopie!) has a heavier trans, and has the turn tight steering (6 inches verses the 14-16 inches on the Ariens)
Composite axle – Let’s be honest. Ariens makes some great equipment but in this case this Ariens lawn tractor is made a cheaply as possible so HD can pull you away from Craftsman and all the others. And they will sell a ton of them to people who only want the lowest price and don’t care about quality. But people who want a good reliable tractor will see right through the plastic front axle, cheap motor and duplicate hood and see that HD is just out for their money on this one. Of the 3 lawn tractors in this discussion the 28851 Craftsman is clearly the best deal (and it’s only $200 more than the Ariens)
Hey Paul I have asked questions about my '09 Exccellerator before and from what I understand it has a hydrogear G730 trans. in it however I have not been able to get any specs on it. By specs I mean how musch it can to what the best tire sizes are and any other info I can get on it. I push my tractor to the limit a lot and I question myself sometimes whether or not I should tow 1000 lbs. of logs in my tow behind cart up a hill or pull a 30 foot tree out of the woods or pull cars out of the snow and I need to know some info on this trans. that way I can know when I should be careful about what limits I can push this transmission to.
This site is great and thank for all the advice. I am currently looking at either a manual or automatic transmission model, but wondering about the reliability and maintainability aspects of the two compare. Not planning on using a tractor for ground type equipment, but possibly for carts, etc for a large flat open lawn. Any recommendations for a new kid on the block?
I will always recommend a pedal control Hydrostatic Transmission over a manual or an “automatic” for the new kid. (Sometimes called a automatic hydrostatic)
1. A foot control “hydro” is the easiest to use. On the right side of the tractor you push on the big pedal to go forward and push on the little pedal to go backwards. Maintenance-wise the hydro is the most dependable. The belt from the engine to the transmission is always at the proper tension and usually lasts for years.
Safety-wise the hydro is the easiest to learn and if you get in trouble just lift your foot off the pedal and the tractor will stop. The hydro also has “built in” braking. Under most conditions the transmission will hold the tractor in position without having to step on the brake. (Always set the parking brake when you get off the tractor though. It is normal for these transmissions to slowly creep (move forward or backwards) if left unattended.
2. A fender control hydro is just as dependable, but it takes a little more practice to drive. You use your right hand to set the speed of your tractor, to stop the tractor and to make the tractor to go in reverse.
3. An “automatic” transmission on the gray Craftsmans is a variable speed belt drive. The ground speed is controlled by your right hand and the forward/reverse is control with your left hand. You usually set the ground speed and then “shuttle” tractor forward and reverse as you mow. The “automatic” has two belts and if you ever use your tractor to pull heavier loads (like loads of dirt in your cart) you will wear out these belts. The tractor eventually will go slower than normal or slow to a stop going up a slope. You will have to change these belts more often than the one belt in the hydro model. I have had belts last 10 years in “normal” use and I have destroyed the belts in as little as a day trying to pull loads of dirt.
4. Manual transmissions today do not have a clutch like a car or truck has. They use the belt tensioner from the engine to the transmission to start and stop the tractor. When you engage the clutch (lift your foot off the clutch with the transmission in gear) you are just tightening the belt tensioner. The problem is it is almost an on/off type of device. The “clutch” is either engaged or disengaged. This tends to make the tractor “jump” when you left out the clutch and I have a lot of people complaining about how jerky this is. If you have the transmission in 4 or 5 and the engine at mowing rpm many times you can pick the front wheels off the ground when you let out on the clutch. It takes some practice to start and stop a manual transmission tractor.
What else would you like to know?
Thanks Paul! You answered all my questions. Understand your description of the manual drive train and see they all use belts, but is just a matter of how they are engaged. I’ll leave comments on my “new to me” home owner purchase. Thanks again, Zack
I ended up with the hydrostatic – it's great. Went the whole summer with no issues. If you have hilly property a manual tranny might make sense as the hydrostatic doesn't have any "engine braking" so it speeds up some when you go down a hill. It takes a little getting used if it's hilly to but overall it's been a great mower – no issues.
I have a 15 horse hydrostatic drive craftsman lawn tractor.
I have had it about 9 yrs. The transmission wears out after about 4 years of use. I plow my drive in winter and my yard is on a hill so I use the transmission heavily.I need to rebuild the transmission again but think I would be better off buying
a tractor that will hold up to the hill and snow removal. Is this a common complaint and what tranny do I need. Shifting gears on a hill is tough. I like the hydrostatic but it wears out fast.
This is not a common problem. In fact the Sears Service Techs feel the hydro is stronger and will hold up better than the manual trans.
I suggest you look at the <code>GT 5000</code> It has a heavy-duty hydrostatic transmission. Sears calls this heavy duty unit a "Premium Hydrostatic Transmission"
@joebillybob, The Sears service techs tell me the hydrostatic trans have the least repairs. The belt that drives the hydro also lasts longer than the one for the manual trans.
But, the manual is usually 200 to 300 dollars less so you can buy a lot of belts over the life of the mower for that.
I personally like the fender hydro controls because my foot gets cramps using the foot controls for a long time. But the hydros with foot controls on all the Craftsman mowers comes with cruise control and drives very similar to a car so many people like that.
That said, if you have a lot of landscaping to mow around the hydro is easiest to drive. If you have large open areas to mow the cheaper manual works just as well because you just put it in a gear and go…go…go
Your site was very helpful, thanks. One question re: transmissions. I'm going to buy a YT3000 and am trying to decide between the 6 speed and the hydrostatic. Many years ago I used a JD 212 w/ a 4spd manual and the manual suited me fine. Durability wise which type would you recommend?
What did you decided on? I am trying to make the same decision…it seems the hydrostatic would be easier cutting the grass. This will be my first yard tractor…and my yard is relatively flat with a small drainage ditch and some trees to go around. However, the 6 speed is a lettle less expensive and I understand repair bills are usually lower.