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BigRed84

Holy Moly if I've ever made a mistake before....

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Sorry in advance for my long story.  

It started about 6 or 7 years ago, Dad got sick, health was declining over the 4 or 5 years to follow.  I was trying to get my own life together, so between the two of us, the 1997 or 98 (I'm unsure) 314-H unfortunately took some neglect and lack of routine maintenance.  Anyways, within a couple more years Dad passed, and as strong as Mom is, she kept pushing me to show her the ropes around the yard work Dad used to take care of.  That being said, the 314-H needed a battery, choke knob was replaced by a small pair of vice grips, cable was cruddy and difficult to slide, starting was annoying, usually 3 or 4 tries, steering was heavy for Mom, and I ultimately convinced her to buy something new that was more user friendly.  After looking at the junk at home depot and Lowes, I couldn't let her buy one of those ( we also used the WH to snow throw in the winter).  So I went to the dealer that sold my Dad the 314 back in the late 90's.  He now sells Husqvarna lawn and garden tractors.  Dad had always drilled into our heads to buy American.  So I went to a real Deere dealer, after looking at the comparable Husqvarna, and Deere X series, the Deere just seemed so much more user friendly.  Mom would have a simple time steering it, adjusting the deck height, and starts were a piece of cake with the auto choke it came with.  Deck removal and 2 stage blower was supposedly a breeze.....so, I recommended the X350.  Yesterday we got about 4 inches of snow here in the southern CT area.....I have since repainted, new battery, new belts, AG tires in the rear and tri-ribs up front, new plug, new choke nob, lubricated the cable, and the 314 fires up on the first try, seems to bog down just a small bit when throwing snow but she gets the job done.   Steering with the tri-ribs feels like having power steering, no chains or weights necessary even when pulling the cart with the blower in it UP a hill in the 4" of snow, the AGs just keep on gripping!  So i'm in love with this 314-H.   I trailered it to Moms first thing this morning because i hadn't swapped the deck for the blower on the Deere X350 yet (we JUST got the last of the oak leaves cleaned up a few days ago)  so the 314 cleared her driveway and then a path down the hill to the shed to pick up the 2 stage attachment for the Deere.  After spending 3 times as long trying to install the two brackets, two arms, cross pins, and blower.....i managed to overlook something and the belt would make this loud click when engaging, so I got frustrated with it and called it quits for the day.  I'll go back after work during the week to figure it out.  That being said, after driving the Deere, and wheel horse the same day....the Deere is complete garbage.  The Kawi engine is great, yes, but for the money the trans and non-serviceable rear is weak and the light weight of the tractor overall makes it difficult to get grip even with chains and rear suitcase weights.  I think i messed up big time.  Mom wanted to keep price down, but i should have just stepped up and gone with the bigger better tractor and paid the difference.  I had a feeling the little X350 would be trouble for the type of work I need it to do.  And seriously....what is the deal with the HORRIBLE blower attachment design?  Wheel Horse figured out a way to allow me to hook up the thrower with two cotter pins and all of 10 min....20 years ago....yet Deere uses this awful design that took me all morning, and still isn't right?  Worst part is, this wasn't even my first time setting it up, I did it last year, and even though time consuming, I got it done.  

 

So if I didn't lose you yet, i'm considering selling the Deere, and just paying the extra for her so we can get hydro lift back, and the better trans and rear....the question is, what is comparable to the 314-H regarding user friendly, and price?  I believe 20 years ago a 97 314-H went for around $5000??  Factor inflation over 20 years, what am I looking at, 6 or $7,000?  Brand?  Anything made in America anymore?  The next size up with the Deere jumped up to $7000 but didn't even include a deck or blower.  What do you all think???  I'm disappointed in myself for this mistake.  Feel like I let Dad down.  

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Didn't I hear you say, there's no comparison....

so, why not another c4de4e3e828515de81c9f10919b51b20--head-hunter-horse-head.jpg.e2aaa156bdfc85df4e96d8b686070f19.jpg for your Mom? 

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Take it back to the Deere dealer and tell them it is a POS and you want your (moms) money back!

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Thanks for sharing. The JD X350 is a lawn tractor and could never hold a stick to a 314. I can't think of anything comparable that's American made other then spending the big bucks for a higher line JD :hide:

I'm with Craig on another Wheel Horse. They are still out there in pristine original shape but you will pay some bucks for them, just not the new price of the JD's. One thing to consider is your Mom's ability to get on and off the tractor. One of the X series may be better for her. :)

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Yea, while I was developing this love and turning the 314 into a new hobby (who knew)...and I love it, I started looking at craigslist.  Someone had a 520-H with (I can't remember the exact number but) a ridiculously low amount of hours, and it looked like you can eat off of every surface.  I should have jumped on it.  

 

I went with the Deere for Mom because she insists on cutting the grass herself, but because it doesn't have hydro lift, not to mention it's cold out, I do the snow blowing.(but when everything is working right I actually enjoy doing it!)  I just enjoy the wheel horse a ton more.  The Deere is easy to get on and off without the need to swing your leg up and over, the steering feels like power steering, and the ease of starting it is a lot better for her.  However, she isn't THAT old, maybe I should bring her back the 314 and let her ride around for a bit now that I have it tuned up and close to back to new condition.  The Deere wasn't even impulse, I spent 2 months researching other brands and prices.  I can't believe I thought a little lawn tractor would do what I needed it to do.  Oops.  

 

 

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:text-yeahthat: I see a couple nice hydro :wh:'s listed on your local C/L now.  

Search "Wheel Horse" there both, as one...then, two separate words. 

 

Edited by AMC RULES
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Like Racinbob said try to find a Xi model Toro . I've seen them on c/l and your mom won't have the problem getting on and off them plus some came with power steering.

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A Deere X350 is not in the same class as the WH 300 series, you would need to go up to an X500 series to be in a comparable class.  The X300 series if you ask me as an owner for 7yrs is little more than a mower.  I don't use mine for anything but mowing and it does very well as a mower in my opinion, comfortable, easy to operate, easy on and off, love the twin pedals,,, but if I need to do anything beyond mowing I break out the 16 Auto, no comparison hands down the 16 will out push or out pull the JD, effortlessly,,, however the JD is hands down more pleasurable and easier to operate than the WH.  Being 40 yrs older I guess the WH has to be expected to fall short in that area.

 

 

 

 

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Yes, I will have to clean up the Deere and see if I can come close to getting our money back between the blower and tractor.  If I see reasonable offers, I'll have her hop up on the 314 and see if she comments on difficulty getting on and off the seat.  Hopefully she is o.k. with it, otherwise maybe as mentioned before i'll just sell the blower attachment and use it strictly for cutting the lawn, and i'll pick up a cheap ariens walk behind so I don't have to trailer the WH back and forth. 

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Deere has never had any equipment that is even close to WH in how the attachment systems work - theirs is overly complicated , weak and takes a book and way too much time to install/remove compared to WH .For the price range of what they charge for their newer lines they should be ashamed and once you get into their top line GT's you might as well look at other brands in used sub-compact units as they would be cheaper and even tougher/better built . I haven't personally operated one , but I would think one the late model Toro X* series would work perfectly and it has enough WH DNA in it to make it reasonable to swap attachments . If she doesn't want to handle the snow duty you could hunt down another WH in the older models such as a C-160 and leave that at her place to do the heavier work and blow snow - the 16hp Kohler will kick a modern 23hp V-twin's butt in the torque department easily . Plus , it's built simple enough and rugged enough to handle a lot of other work you wouldn't want to do with the X* series Toro....

 

I inherited an LA series 145 lawn tractor . Yes , easier to get on/off and it mows fairly well - but the thing is so light the rough ground here kills my back trying to operate it as it has no real weight to it and it's wheels are far too small . I'm sure that bouncing doesn't do the tractor any favors either but I keep it around since it was Dad's , just hate to dump it and if we move to a place with a small yard it would suit using it there instead . Those Deere X350's are all over this area for sale pretty cheap - people are getting rid of them in nearly new condition when they find out they can't handle the work they claim and dealing with their attachments is a real pain . Our local dealership regularly sends a guy out to install blowers and such on customer's tractors twice a year for the seasonal swaps as the owners can't figure them out - so don't feel bad . Even worse , hang on tight if you break anything on them - I talked with a guy in their parking lot that had paid a huge bill for getting a stick jammed into the deck belts on his 350 - cost him a new clutch , belts and some brackets that got bent to the tune of over $900 , he wasn't impressed with it being less than a year old . Even the dealership's own mechanics hate that whole X series due to how they are built and they are expected to keep the hours down on repairs - they are way too complicated in their design for working on anything behind all that plastic . I'm not knocking the brand , but I see more of the newer Deere's for sale than anything else as the owners hate most of them . Their best series was the 400's , especially the later model 425 and 455 diesel - those were well built tractors and not too bad to work on . After that series , it all went downhill ....

 

Sarge

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It makes perfect sense.  Seemed great up front on the showroom floor, but after owning and experiencing it first hand, I just can't convince myself to keep it around, even knowing the kick I would take in selling it used.  I'm still cooling off from trying to get that blower installed, so once I finish that, hopefully I'll have a change in heart and hang on to it, give it a second chance, maybe bring it back to the dealer for some post break-in tuning, and then go from there. 

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i've worked at a john deere plant over here in the netherlands, assembling the scut tractors, 1026r and one or two sizes up, they all came from japan complete and only needed the parts put on the customer ordered like different tires(turf or skidsteer like tires) or cabs/rollbar, some had to have a deck put on. the plastic rear fenders couldn't keep a wrench on them as they would flop down, hoods regularly came with damage on them from leaking batteries in transit.

even tho i didn't really liked them as in working on them they're stout tractors, no doubt about it, but they are much the same as all the other scut tractors only with different tupperware on it

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I'd make the decision fairly quick , hours and time will not treat it's value very well - these new lines lose a lot of money in a hurry and will never recover with age like the 400 series and others .

 

Sarge

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Yea, maybe I'll just price it comfortably and throw it up on CL this winter with the blower attached.  Use the mulching deck as an added incentive if they don't beat me down on price too much.  If no one is interested I'll just do my best to hang onto it.  With the ease of operation in the newer walk behind snow blowers, I'll just let Mom remain comfortable on the Deere during summer months for cutting the lawn and hauling the utility cart full of gardening supplies, and I'll put a walk behind blower in the shed for myself in the winter. 

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We have a JD 455 that we bought to replace our D160 (big gas hog and 48" on 3 acres gets expensive) the 455 is definitely a beast but the 60" deck works that yanmar but the power steering is nice but the hydro I dont care for the tuff torque in it it doesn't have a cooling fan or oil cooler so it gets hot (thanks JD) 

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