John Deere D110: an excellent lawn tractor
Sep 8, 2012
Review by harpitect
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Powerful, fast, easy to drive, good fuel capacity, controls easy to use, comfortable
Cons:Location of deck lever, low-back seat
The Bottom Line: This is a really nice lawn tractor that's easy to operate. It feels solid, is easy to service, and povides a good cut.
Having bought Toro lawn equipment since 1974, I naturally considered Toro first when looking for a new(er) lawn tractor. My acre yard is on a hillside so a ZTR was ruled out right away, as residential zero-turns have a bad reputation on anything more than gentle slopes. On the other hand, Toro licensed MTD to build their current lawn tractors, and those don't have very good feedback.
Recommend this product?
When considering alternatives to Toro, John Deere came to mind. I checked Home Depot and Lowe's websites and found the D110 at both stores, for the same price ($1699+tax), and with really good feedback. I chose the D110 for several reasons: 1) the 42" deck was the biggest size that would fit thru my backyard fence gate; 2) the D110 is the least expensive model with hydrostatic drive (automatic transmission), meaning no gear shifting; 3) the 19.5 HP Briggs & Stratton engine has plenty of power and features full-pressure lubrication; 4) the D110 has a tight turning radius; and 5) the D110 has a 2.4 gallon gas tank, meaning fewer stops to re-fuel.
BTW, I found a 2011 model with just a few hours on it on Craigslist, so I got a nearly new tractor at a great price.
As I mentioned, an important consideration was the ability to drive thru an existing 48” fence gate. I have to raise the grass chute, with a bungie cord, but once that’s done the D110 goes thru with ease. Though the 42” deck is only 4” wider than the deck on my old Toro 12-38XL, cutting is noticeably faster. Raising and lowering the deck is easy with the spring-assisted lever. One thing I don’t like, however, is the fact that the deck lever is in the path to the seat and, if you don’t lift up high enough, your bottom gets scraped on the way to the seat. The 42" deck provides a smooth cut.
Speaking of the seat, the D110’s is very comfortable but the back doesn’t provide enough support for someone like me with low back trouble. It adjusts from front to back, however, with little effort.
Instead of having to manually shift gears the D110 has an “accelerator pedal,” just like on a car. Push down more to speed up (5.5 mph top speed), back off to slow down. To the right and behind the first pedal is the reverse pedal. Press down and back on it to back up, at up to 3.2 mph. If you want to keep the blade engaged while backing up, you must press a button labeled “RIO” to the left of the steering wheel. Otherwise, the engine will die.
The brake/clutch is on the left side of the tractor. it needs to be fully depressed to start the engine. There's a brake lock on the left side of the steering tower.
19.5 HP Briggs & Stratton Engine
This is a big single-cylinder engine with overhead valves and full-pressure lubrication, which means an automotive type oil filter is used. Incidentally, the B&S and Deere filters are overpriced, to my way of thinking. I use a Purolator filter that fits my Honda Odyssey. The oil drain plug has an extension pipe with a cover that requires no tools.
It seems to bother some owners that when climbing a 15º hill the mower slows down. I think we’d need a significantly bigger engine to eliminate that.
Tight Turning Radius
To be precise, the radius is 18”. That’s tighter than what my Toro would do. Steering is easy and responsive.
2.4-Gallon Fuel Tank
That much gas allows me to mow my own yard in one fill-up. The fuel tank is under the hinged seat. There’s also a gas gauge located on the slope between the operator’s legs. It’s pretty accurate on the top side of the 1/2-full mark. When it gets close to the 1/4 mark it’s really nearly empty, however. I learned that the hard way. To be safe I don’t let it get below 1/2.
General Operating Observations
This lawn tractor is so easy to drive. A one-lever fuel control allows for choked starting, followed by the drive setting. The manual PTO is on the top side of the steering wheel, making blade engagement easy. The flip-up hood is weighted at the rear so it doesn’t pop up like hoods on some other LTs do.
With smooth steering and responsive power, the D110 makes quick work of my front yard. It tracks pretty well, so there aren’t a lot of adjustments to be made. Again, with car-like controls, turning is easy with the ability to slow down quickly. The D110 is very responsive, and I’m glad I bought it.
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