Pros: Power & torque for tough mulching, mowing and bagging, starts easily, terrific performance
Cons: For me, the RIO feature (reverse implement option)
My old lawn tractor, the John Deere L130 (http://www.epinions.com/review/John_Deere_L130_Lawn_Tractor/content_192587927172 ) needed to be repaired for another season of use but instead of putting serious money in this repair, I opted to buy a new one. My old tractor had served me well so I saw no reason to buy a different brand. I did want a larger cutting width than the 48-inch width of my old tractor since I spend a lot of time keeping my yard mowed and looking neat.
I checked around at different stores to see what was available but I like John Deere, am use to John Deere, and think John Deere green suits country living.
My local Lowes store sells John Deere products so I chose to buy locally. The hydraulic LA175 tractor had a 54-inch cutting width with 26 HP (Briggs & Stratton). I liked the new 3-position lumbar adjustment seat (much easier on the back) and mower wash port. Just connect your hose to the port, start engine, turn your faucet on, engage mower blades, and water cleans under the deck. Cleaning under the deck of my old mower wasn't done as frequently as it should have been so I liked this new wash port. No, it doesn't clean as well as getting under the deck with your power washer, and sometimes scraper, but it does help with grass build-up. I'm happy with that.
Lowes was also having a special on their John Deere products. Anything over $300 and you get a new John Deere $229 green pulling cart free. I knew I'd not be able to put the cart together so I paid $20 to have it assembled. It was worth it.
SOME LA175 SPECS:
~26 HP, 54-inch cutting width
~V-Twin cylinders, hydro/automatic
~Headlights (good visibility at night)
~Briggs & Stratton, manufacturer
~4-gallon gas capacity. Rear tank. Front fuel sight gauge.
~2 pedal foot control (cruise control)
~18-in. turning radius
~Mower cut height 1-4 inches, 13 positions
~3 Starlock cutting blades w/7 point locking design
~Mower drive system electric PTO
~15-inch back seat height with lumbar adjustment support
~Cup holder, tool tray, hour meter, storage pocket
~Front tires 16x6.5-8
~Rear tires 22x9.5-12
~Cast iron front axle
~Frame is 12 gauge steel
~Front draft arms, spring pin
~Rear draft arms, spring pins
~Back-up protection, RIO (reverse implement option)
~One lever choke/speed control
~Forward speed-0-5.5 mph
~Reverse speed-0.3.2 mph
WHAT CAME WITH THE MOWER
Manual and Safety DVD
MY USE, THOUGHTS & EXPERIENCE
There was no delivery charge but since Lowes John Deere products were seemingly flying off the floors, I had to wait two days to get my tractor. The delivery men didn't need to go over the features or instruct me on how to use the tractor as I was a long time owner/user. Once they were gone, I filled the gas tank up and was doing my own inspection of the newer model, and was, overall, impressed.
It goes without saying that I love the new cutting width. It usually takes several hours to completely mow my yard but with the new cutting width, I'm done in a little over two hours and this includes at least one bathroom break. The gas tank holds 4 gallons of gas but don't as me how many miles per gallon I get because I don't know. I'm not sure if that applies to my tractor but I've heard men ask other men how many miles per gallon they get with their cars or trucks, so I threw the comment in on the off chance someone would ask. Let's just say I mow over three acres in a little over two hours and still have gas in the tank, but need to fill up when I'm finished mowing.
It's recommended to change the oil after your first 10 hours of use, or you can change it earlier if you wish. I always keep a check on my oil to prevent serious engine trouble. Changing the oil is a simple matter of draining it and adding new being careful not to overfill. I use a 10W-30 weight.
I don't like the RIO feature and will probably have my son disable it. Before backing up, the yellow RIO (reverse implement option) button must be depressed when using the reverse pedal. You can't put your foot on the reverse pedal and expect to go backwards. The engine will stop running but if you catch it in time, you can keep the engine running. You have to push the RIO button on the left hand side of the front panel and depress the reverse pedal at the same time. If you reverse a lot, you can wind up with a sore left thumb (or finger). There are places in my yard where I do reverse a lot so this button is an inconvenience.
The forward and reverse pedals are both located on the right hand side of your tractor.
Starting and stopping my John Deere LA175 tractor is flawless, the cut leaves my yard with a more manicured look, which I like, since the majority of my yard is weeds and not grass. When mowing one of the far fields, I experimented with the cruise control and while I do like it, I'd prefer to have control of my tractor at all times. It's like driving a car, and yes, my car has cruise control, but I never use it. I'm not about to give a piece of machinery control....can you imagine the havoc? I probably watch too many movies!
The steering wheel has a soft grip which is easy on the hands especially if you're mowing for long periods of time. There's a 12 volt power outlet where I plan to attach a small oscillating fan when our temp's get hotter. This is really a great feature to have and it wasn't something I was looking for when researching newer tractor models, but was very happy to have this extra bonus with my tractor. Our Tennessee summer‘s get really hot!
I don't have a bagger or sun canopy (plan on getting this) but according to the manual you don't need tools to attach them as this is part of the LA175 exclusive CargO Mount system. You can pull snow plows, carts and aerators using this system.
Read your manual and watch your safety DVD. I registered online at http://www.johndeerewarrantyregistration.com
VALUE: For $2,749 plus tax, I think I got a good deal.
PERFORMANCE: Powerful motor with less noise and vibration.
FEATURES: From great to excellent
WARRANTY: 2 years
Assembled in Greeneville, TN.
ddustyrose April 2010
Many thanks to Dawn (dlstewart) for adding this to the data base so quickly, and I do mean quickly (as in a matter of hours)!