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Hello everyone tractor/plowing question looking for opinions

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by clarktenk, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. clarktenk

    clarktenk Junior Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 2

    Hello everyone. I have been looking at lawn tractors today and decided I might get some better info off the net and lo and behold I came across this site with an absolute wealth of information. I have just been reading away hear for the last two hours and thought I should post my situation up and see what others thought.

    It takes a good 2 hrs plus to mow my lawn (walk behind) and I am getting tired of shoveling snow. So I have been investigating a few tractors in my price range in the hopes of killing two birds with one stone. What I am looking for is a nice little tractor that can mow this huge honkin yard (Looked good when I was buying for the kids and dog but damn.) and pull double duty by plowing out my driveway which is a double car driveway roughly 30 feet long on a slight downwards slope towards the street.

    So here are the ones I have been looking at and was wondering what experiences others have had with them either yay or nay and hopefully the reason behind it.

    John Deere 17.5 hp from Home Depot, No hydrostat drive

    Toro 18 hp from Home Depot with Kohler engine hydrostat trans and foot pedals

    Yard Works 17.5 hp from Canadian Tire with Briggs and Stratton engine hydrostat trans and foot pedals which seems to be the exact identical machine to the Toro with the Yard Works name on it except for the diferent engine.

    Craftsman 18 hp from Sears with Briggs and Stratton engine and hydrostat drive, no foot pedals.

    Husqvana 17.5 hp from TSC with Kohler engine, no hydrostat drive

    So far I have liked the Toro best because it has the Kohler engine, hydrostat drive and the foot pedals. From what I have heard and read it seems that Kohler makes a very reliable long lasting engine and hopefully I am not way off base here.

    There is another John Deere just a about $400 more that has the hydrostat and foot pedals but it is really pushing the budget/wife hard.

    Now my big question involves the hydrostat drive. Since I am going to be plowing out my driveway I was wondering if the hydrostat drive would be better suited to this or not? WOuld being able to select a low gear and stick with it be a better option for the plowing?

    What are the real advantages or disadvantages of one of these machines versus the other? What kind of maintenance issues and longevity can I expect? I am looking for any and all relavent information and honest opinions.
  2. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Well, this isn't what you want to hear, but I'd suggest none of them. Get something meant to do the job. What I mean by that, is get something with front and/or rear hydraulics to put a blade on and a front end loader. While you're at it figure at least 24 hp to handle the snow load you're likely to ask it to push. If you're getting turf tires, get chains for the snow. Yes, I realize it's only 30' of driveway; but if it slopes to the street, you either have to push it all to the side down there or push uphill to the area away from the street. You live in Ontario where you will likely have some snowfalls of significant depth and water content (weight). Trying to push snow with a lawn mower will be frustrating, at best.
  3. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    I've been plowing about 250' of drive and a 70'X80' parking area with a Craftsman lawn tractor, blade and wheel weights/chains. Some of that is on a hill. The tractor is barely adequate for the snow I get. If it's a wet snow, or deep, the frustration mounts. I end up trying to get a path up the middle of the driveway, and then shove the snow to the sides from the path. That's a lot of backing up and going froward.

    This next winter I'll be parking the lawn tractor and plowing with my 76' 3/4 ton W200 Power Wagon and a fully articulated snow plow. I can hardly wait!
  4. Yaz

    Yaz PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,061

    I agree with mick....

    If you need a good lawn tractor save and get a better John Deere than the Home depot special. It is not the same units as sold in a John Deere store. Things you want... ball links on the steering, cast iron front end. etc..all the better John Deer tractors like the LX and LT are going to last longer. Save up and get what will cost you less in the long run. Even look at used, it will be worth it. Same goes for a snow blower.. You would be better off with your one driveway. The Arians unit at home depot are different.. look at the auger, you want a cast one and you find them at the dealers that do that equipment.

    Good luck, buy fall you can save for the snow blower.. and if you don't have it saved up... one of us will plow for you! :):drinkup:
  5. jasf

    jasf Member
    Messages: 63

    I have a 21.5 HP Craftsman with a 42" blade & it works great for me. LTX 1000 model with 48" deck for summer work. I've got the chains & weights as well. I plow 80' double wide with a turn around. The only problem I had was with an angling cable. 2 second,2cent fix. I've still got my walk behind blower just in case,but it hasn't been used since I got this little plow in Feb. of '04. I bought what I could afford at the time. I have had thoughts of putting a real plow on my truck or moving up to a JD or Cub,but hey this little tractor works.
  6. hlenoble

    hlenoble Junior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 5

    I think Horsepower may be overrated

    I read the posts above and finally decided to chip in with my experiences, limited as they may be. First, a little history. Last February I moved into a house in the southern tier of NY, in snow country. The previous owner had contracted with a local to plow the (250' long with a slight downgrade from the road and with 2 parking pads) driveway, and I continued that relationship last winter.

    I had to buy a tractor to cut the lawn, so I was thinking about using that to plow myself this year. I posted some questions here last year, and got some very helpful answers and suggestions. Ultimately, I purchased a used lawn tractor off eBay, deciding upon the specific model due to another listing of a new plow and tire chains for that model.

    I wound up with a Murray "select" (save the laughs please) 13.5 HP lawn tractor, and I purchased the plow and tire chains from the other listing as well. It cut the lawn very well all season, and then I assembled and installed the plow in late September, and awaited the 1st snow.

    Of course, I didn't have to wait too long. Despite the fact that the overall snowfall is under average for the area so far, I have plowed approx 10 times, with snow ranging from a light and fluffy 2" to a VERY heavy slushy mess of close to 6". The tractor/plow have worked exceptionally well, better that I even expected. I did listen to the experts here and I plow during the storm is possible rather that letting the snow build up. Of course, the wet heavy snow was more difficult to push than the light stuff, but I was able to clear the driveway every time.

    So, despite Murray's poor reputation, my heavyweight body in the seat, the low 13.5 HP engine, and the fact that it's only a lawn tractor, the setup has worked well so far. Of course, let's see how the rest of the winter goes, but I would certainly say that a low HP lawn tractor can work very well for you.
  7. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Think about what you've said here - The most you've pushed at one time was less than 6" (maybe 2" or 3"?) of snow, as you "plowed with the storm" and even then it was difficult to push.

    Yes, you can push snow with about anything - including an old 5hp push mower - if you make the conditions right. My advice was based on the overall realities of his situation given the machines he was considering. So I can't see where you're justifying saying "horsepower may be overrated". The more horsepower, the less it's going to struggle in any given situation. As I told myself when I bought my tractor - I'd rather have a little more than I'll ever use than less than I need right now (said as I'm standing there getting ready to hook up an attachment I hadn't thought about when I bought it).
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2006
  8. southofheaven73

    southofheaven73 Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    my little ride

    Hey, i have a Murray garden tractor with a 54inch blade on it that i found in the trash and fixed up. It pushes good, it has a 2clyinder briggs n straton. Just thought i would say that. Have a nice day :waving:
  9. Yaz

    Yaz PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,061

    let's say your working or sleeping and 15" falls.. what then?
  10. southofheaven73

    southofheaven73 Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Actually, that happened to me. Sure it wasnt 15inches, but it was about a foot. To my surprise the lawnmower pushed the snow like a champ...for a lawnmower. Only got stuck once but that was plowing up a hill. But oh well doesnt matter, for that thing is now only for lawns..im gettin my self a nice chevy:)
  11. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Find somebody with a snow blower or get shoveling parts of the driveway. It happened to me before and I had to use both options!:realmad:
  12. clarktenk

    clarktenk Junior Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 2

    Well right now I am considering putting the blower attachment on the front as opposed to a blade due to concerns about the tractor having enough weight to push the snow around.

    Please keep in mind though that due to a bad back I cannot really walk behind a blower. This is the primary reason I want a tractor to mow the lawn and take care of the driveway.

    I am still looking for more opinions on the hydro stat drive and which tractor would be more suited to the specific application. I am curious as to how effective/rugged these blower attachments are.
  13. Yaz

    Yaz PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,061

    Sorry to hear about your back..

    You are asking a machine not really designed to something it not well suited for, although it will work. Axles are not designed for the extra weight that's why the weights are put directly on the rims. and they are not as maneuverable. IMO as long as you don't have a hilly drive way with a good quality setup not a cheap one you should be OK.