Pros: Strong Frame, Kohler Engine, 10 Gage Deck, Starts Easily Every Time, Easy To Operate
Cons: Air filter is a bit awkward to get back on after cleaning or replacing
I bought this mower new in the spring of 2002. Sears had them on sale for around $2500 I believe. I added a front bumper for an additional $49 on sale the same day. This will be the fourth mowing season on this mower. Still using the original battery! Never had to charge it to date!
I currently mow about 5 acres with this mower. It has proved to be a very strong and reliable mower. Cuts level, fans the grass clippings nicely, starts very easily, turns easy and smoothly. I like the PTO blade engage system on this mower. It works really well. A simple knob that you pull/push to start/stop the blades.
I used to mow 3 acres, but after buying this mower I have kept an additional 2 acres of hay pasture cut as lawn.
This mower can handle tall wet grass just about as easy as short dry grass. It throws the clippings a great deal away from you as you cut if you keep the throttle near a wide open position. You do need to prop up the rubber blade guard just a bit to achieve the best grass clipping spreading. A small bungee strap did the trick nicely.
I adjusted the seat all the way back so my knees don't hit the dash while mowing. My hydro lever was out of adjustment slightly when I brought this new mower home, but that only took a minute or so to fix as there is an adjustment nut just under the fender.
I also pull a 1000 pound water filled lawn roller behind this mower every spring and fall. You can hardly tell it's back there with this garden tractor. The 23HP Kohler engine is more then strong enough for any task you throw at it.
The only complaint I have about the Kohler engine is that it puffs a small amount of smoke every time you start the engine from a cold state. Everyone tells me that all Kohler engines do this..hmmm But mine never uses any oil between oil changes.
Sure there are better mowers out there, but you pay a much higher premium to own one. For the money, I'd press any one out there to find a better mower then this one for the amount it cost new!
It appears so far that this mower will give me several more years of trouble free service. I just do regular maintenance, oil & filter changes, grease the front axles, etc. Never had a day of down time to date.. knock on wood..lol
Update 5/10/05: Since I purchased this mower new, I have always used a name brand oil( Quaker State, Pennzoil, etc ) with a OEM Kohler oil filter at the recommended service intervals. This past weekend, I purchased the Kohler Brand 10W-30 along with the OEM oil filter. I noticed an immediate difference in the way the engine sounded after starting the engine with this new oil type used. The engine ran smoother and quieter. The most important thing to note using the Kohler brand oil is that my Kohler engine has now quit putting out that little puff of smoke when starting from a cold state!!! The additives in the Kohler oil seem to work better with the overhead valves in this 23HP engine. I will use the Kohler brand oil from now on with this lawn tractor!