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Anyone Use An Rj Or Lil' Suburban For Mowing?


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#1 Dane in PA ONLINE  

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Posted August 14, 2013 - 08:22 PM

I've been throwing around the idea of restoring a little tractor that would be easy to store for mowing purposes and light trailer towing for when I'm out of the house and on my own.  I really like the idea of an RJ.  I'm planning on only ever having a small suburban house, so I think it's the best size.  I just don't know how well the little engines do, so i wanted to know if anyone has ever had the experience of using one to mow.  Thanks.

-Dane M.



#2 antiquetractors OFFLINE  

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Posted August 14, 2013 - 08:28 PM

I used one. It did well but it's a small deck. I currently use my 58 bolens ride a matic to cut with. I mow about an acre with it.

Edited by antiquetractors, August 14, 2013 - 08:28 PM.

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#3 Dane in PA ONLINE  

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Posted August 14, 2013 - 08:36 PM

I used one. It did well but it's a small deck. I currently use my 58 bolens ride a matic to cut with. I mow about an acre with it.

 

I know it's a small deck...  I'm guessing like 36" or so.  That would be fine with me.



#4 antiquetractors OFFLINE  

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Posted August 14, 2013 - 08:38 PM

I think it's actually a 30" or 32". Can't remember exactly right now since I sold the tractor. It was fun to be on. You will get a lot of people staring at you lol
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#5 Dane in PA ONLINE  

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Posted August 14, 2013 - 08:42 PM

I think it's actually a 30" or 32". Can't remember exactly right now since I sold the tractor. It was fun to be on. You will get a lot of people staring at you lol

 

I bet!  That's really neat... Beats push mowing!  :thumbs:



#6 farmerall OFFLINE  

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Posted August 14, 2013 - 08:45 PM

Personally I wouldn't want to use an RJ for mowing. To me their steering is too touchy and fast. If you want a small Wheel Horse I would to find a suburban to mow with.


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#7 Gtractor ONLINE  

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Posted August 14, 2013 - 08:48 PM

Thats just what those tractors were designed for and they will do it today just as well as back then.  I agree with Farmerall that something just a touch newer would maybe have more creature comforts that would make it even handier. 


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#8 Dane in PA ONLINE  

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Posted August 14, 2013 - 08:49 PM

Personally I wouldn't want to use an RJ for mowing. To me their steering is too touchy and fast. If you want a small Wheel Horse I would to find a suburban to mow with.

 

One of my friends has both models.  I believe they are basically the same steering system unless it's the cable steer...  I don't know.  I'll have to do some more research.


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#9 antiquetractors OFFLINE  

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Posted August 14, 2013 - 08:53 PM

I've had 3. A 550, 401 and a 551. All did great! I liked the steering on them personally. They respond quick and handle great. The 3spd tranny does very well. The 401 seemed a little under powered for the mower deck though.
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#10 Dane in PA ONLINE  

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Posted August 14, 2013 - 09:01 PM

I was thinking it was probably going to have to be one of the Sub models, but I really am stuck on the front axle of the RJ's... I like the fab. look more than the cast look, but for me function usually comes before form.  I'm guessing that any RJ would probablt be a little underpowered.



#11 glgrumpy OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2013 - 01:14 PM

I like the B80's myself. Easy steer, small size, yet not so small you hate it. 36" deck, but can have rear discharge too for close cuts both sides. Would push snow off walks too with blade. Easy to come by on all these items.


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#12 Dane in PA ONLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2013 - 02:45 PM

I like the B80's myself. Easy steer, small size, yet not so small you hate it. 36" deck, but can have rear discharge too for close cuts both sides. Would push snow off walks too with blade. Easy to come by on all these items.

 

I had a Commando 8 at one time... Wish I hadn't parted it out.  I want a tractor with a shorter stature that is extremely simple, so I think the RJ's or Subs will be best.



#13 whst400 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 16, 2013 - 05:27 PM

One of my friends has both models.  I believe they are basically the same steering system unless it's the cable steer...  I don't know.  I'll have to do some more research.

The RJs had a simple drag link steering actuated by a bent steering shaft. They turn lock to lock in a little over half a turn of the steering wheel. That makes them very touchy when maneuvering close to fences, etc. The Suburbans had a rack and pinion steering that wasn't as "quick" as the RJs and it improved the handling a lot. I have mowed with a 400, albeit MANY years ago. It did a pretty good job. One thing to keep in mind is the availability of blades for the deck. The RJs and Suburbans used a blade with a removable tip. These tips are almost impossible to find. If I were going to pick a Wheel Horse for small size, easy handling and a good cut I would go with an 855/856/857/B80 or the like. Decks for these came in 32 and 36 inch rear discharge versions that can cut right up against most trees and the like. The blades are also still fairly easy to find. On the other hand, if you want a small Wheel Horse just for mowing and need it to take up as little storage space as possible why not consider one of the later rear engine rider versions?



#14 Florida_GT OFFLINE  

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Posted August 31, 2013 - 02:04 PM

I'm glad to see this discussion!!

 

I am currently mowing our 1/3 acre with a 1964 Cub Cadet 70 but would love to find an RJ or Suburban for the same task. It would be a real time-warp experience in the shadow of our 1955 house.

 

I was thinking about the potential lack-of-power concern the other day, while astride the 70....wondering how 4 or 5.5 hp would do in my thick southern grass.

 

It remains somewhat of a pipe dream as mid-engined WH's are scarce down here; I am oh-so-envious of you fellows in the midwest and your WH "finds". But I keep looking....



#15 GWest OFFLINE  

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Posted September 01, 2013 - 05:48 AM

The RJs had a simple drag link steering actuated by a bent steering shaft. They turn lock to lock in a little over half a turn of the steering wheel. That makes them very touchy when maneuvering close to fences, etc. The Suburbans had a rack and pinion steering that wasn't as "quick" as the RJs and it improved the handling a lot. I have mowed with a 400, albeit MANY years ago. It did a pretty good job. One thing to keep in mind is the availability of blades for the deck. The RJs and Suburbans used a blade with a removable tip. These tips are almost impossible to find. If I were going to pick a Wheel Horse for small size, easy handling and a good cut I would go with an 855/856/857/B80 or the like. Decks for these came in 32 and 36 inch rear discharge versions that can cut right up against most trees and the like. The blades are also still fairly easy to find. On the other hand, if you want a small Wheel Horse just for mowing and need it to take up as little storage space as possible why not consider one of the later rear engine rider versions?

 

The blade tips are still available from Toro using part number 6005 for a set of 4 but they are very proud of them.

 

Garry


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