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Garden tractors going out of style?


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#16 Avalontractor OFFLINE  

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Posted June 26, 2019 - 07:46 PM

Me Again,

 

Actually; though I'd love to luck into a complete and decent Massey 1600 series for something less than $ 500, I'd be satisfied to locate an Onan MF two lunger that ran well. Stumbled onto an 82 Onan 4.0 RV genset with a BFA for $ 200 last month. No interest in the generator, have two Honda's, but really need an engine.

 

I'm told, the BFA attached to the gen has a shorter (and tapered), crank shaft. Biggish deal to swap them. Anyone like to trade for a perfectly operational 4 kw onan in exchange for a solid MF engine. Shipping would be a big deal but the gen runs like new.



#17 Gtractor OFFLINE  

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Posted June 27, 2019 - 05:22 PM

Around Missouri [Misery] auction prices are so bad most people have given up the possibility of having an auction. Used to be 8-10 every weekend.  Now your lucky to have an option of 2 auctions in the same weekend.  Last one I went to, 4- 5 weeks ago now, the seller started buying everything back.  The only garden tractor item offered was a one owner '67 Massey 12 Variable Speed.  It was a nice machine and ran good.  Auctioneer was begging for a bid - ANY bid, and the junk man/flipper bid $100.  Then an old guy in the local tractor club that is totally deaf bid 200 because the auctioneer got right up in his face.  That was all she wrote. 

Now Marketplace is a whole other deal.   All the flippers finding cheap auction stuff and later that day its all for sale again for 400% over what things are worth.


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#18 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted June 27, 2019 - 06:05 PM

 All the flippers finding cheap auction stuff and later that day its all for sale again for 400% over what things are worth.

That's the major issue! Folks trying to make a quick buck!


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#19 yardiron OFFLINE  

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Posted August 25, 2019 - 09:49 AM

Around here all the auctions are closing up. We lost a dozen or more over the past couple years.
There used to be a half dozen huge consignment sales each spring and fall, all but one are gone now. I rarely see garden tractors at the few remaining smaller auctions, when I do they're low end department store types.

 

I had 40 or so 7117 and 7119 machines here, I listed them on CL over the past year for $100 without a motor and $200 with a motor each as-is, most were mostly complete, a few likley only needed batteries and a carb cleaning. None had decks. (These larger tractors rarely do around here). I got tired of looking at them so I pulled all the lug tires, tire chains, and a few motors and hauled them to the scrap yard. I got about $30 each give or take for them, and I've still got the engines and transaxles to break down. I sold the bevel gear boxes to one guy down in South America along with several engines and two three speed transmissions.
I absolutely hated tearing apart machines that were perfectly usable. Most likely just needed things like seat cushions, batteries, starter, tire tubes, etc. Nothing major. Worse yet, I had one minty clean 916 with a new motor and four new tires that I listed for $300, and didn't get a single reply in a year on CL. I ended up parting it out as well and all that sold was the deck, seat, and engine.

I had a super rough Jacobsen GT16 that was totally rusted, covered in poison ivy, with no wheels that sold for $650 with no motor. (It had a motor, the guy didn't want it, he left the motor on the ground and told me to just junk it. Other than being covered in vines, it has good compression and runs on carb cleaner when hooked up). I listed the motor for four months and got no offers at $100. I finally scrapped it with the last load. 

 

I had 7 John Deere tractors, two diesels, a 316, two 318's, a 112, and a 140. The 318's both needed engines, they sold first for just over a grand for the pair, the 112 was the cleanest, it looked almost new, it sold to a guy who hauled it to CA atop his SUV.

The 140 sold in pieces, the newer of the two diesels, (late 90's) got traded for an outboard for my boat, and the older diesel, which likely just needs a battery and some paint, hasn't had a single looker in two years. (Nor did the newer diesel, which is why I let it go in trade for a new 25hp outboard).

 

I had 12 large frame Bolens tractors, they sat on CL, four of them with FELs, for over a year, I finally sold the two 1250's, and one 1477 to a guy who packed them in a container and shipped them to south America. The others all ended up being parted out. with the bulk of the parts scrapped. I ended up junking four running S12D engines after I got tired of moving them. I had them listed for $80 each, complete and got no takers. I think I sold two S12D engines, and those were just long blocks. 15 years ago I'd have had a bidding war on any of this stuff. These days its a waste of time even listing it. I'm better off these days just looking at them for their scrap value and just torching them apart and hauling them to the junkyard. The tires end up being the only waste and I've got a buddy who works at a place that takes tires for free if they're off the rims.

The sad truth is the average person I get these days would rather spend $500 on a used Sears lawn tractor than buy something they could likely own for the rest of their life. No one knows how to fix anything, and no one wants to pay to 'maintain' anything.

 

I've got about 25 or so tractors left, some complete, some needing a bit more but I'll likely put myself one or two together and just scrap the rest. The harsh reality is they're worth more in scrap than whole, especially if I separate the engines and transmissions and strip off the tires.

 

 



#20 olcowhand OFFLINE  

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Posted August 25, 2019 - 09:51 AM

You could be onto something. I know age is affecting my interest and ability to work on them. The idea of pulling a deck out from under a GT is now depressing. 

I hear ya Chris!  Both depressing AND painful!


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#21 sharktooth OFFLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2019 - 06:31 AM

A guy trying to get a couple hundred bucks for a vintage, quality make tractor doesn't sound like someone trying to make a quick buck to me.
I see tractors sell cheap all the time at local auctions but they're generally pretty rough or late model junk but the bidders seem to chase the junk.

What I tend to see is that if its not a Wheel Horse, it goes cheap. I was at an auction early in the season where they had a lot of 23 tractors, the bid was for one or all for the winning bid. There was a decent looking Ariens GT16 in the lot. I'm not an Ariens guy but it was clean. The first guy won the bid for $450, he can take any tractor for $450, or as many as he likes for $450 each. He points out two later model home depot John Deere D110's. They run the bidding again, this time it goes to $500, (I'm thinking that for sure the Ariens is gone now), the winning bidder points to and takes away an old Craftsman LT10/36. This goes on for another 20 minutes, I won the 15th time they ran the bid, the Ariens was still there, and I got it for $40, and I also took two LT1000 Craftsmans, and a 90's model Cub Cadet HSD2135, for $40 each. The few that were left were really rough or had obvious signs of major issues.
I loaded up the four machines, went back to the auction and won several Brinly attachments and washing machine box full of brand new power drive belts for $3.

 

When I got the load home, the Ariens started right up with a jump, it ended up needing a battery, and new deck spindle bearings, and a pair of tire tubes in the rear tires. The LT1000,s both needed new deck spindles, batteries, and blades, and I ended up having to hunt down a good used deck for the Cub Cadet.

I sold the two LT1000 tractors within a week for $450 each on CL, I kept the Ariens for a while but realized it was too big for my needs and I sold it, and a plow I had built for it for $700 to a buddy and took two Snapper rear engine riders in trade as well. I sold the two Snappers for $300 each soon after.

The Cub Cadet is still here, it become my mower for now. Its cosmetically challenged from a former owner banging into things but it runs perfect and has only 300 hours on it.

I bought a super clean Cub Cadet 2072, with no deck, but with a snow plow and a small rear box grader someone made. I hunted down a good used deck for it, and listed it for sale on CL at $1500. It was super clean, barely a scratch on it and it was showing only 430 hours. It had four newer tires as well.
I had one guy show up to look at it, after almost three hours of him fiddling around with it, taking pics, and a test run around my yard, he come back with a $250 offer. When I refused he cussed me up and down and told me I wasted his time and a tank of gas to get here.

If he would have said $1000, I'd have thought about it, but come on, $250?

It was listed for another 9 months, I let the ad lapse over the winter, then I had a guy here looking at stereo I had listed mention he just bought a yard with a 'big' lawn to mow. I showed him the 2072, and he was drooling over it. He said he had looked at one closer to home but he didn't have the cash, and mine was a lot cheaper. I asked where 'home' was and he said he lived in North Carolina but was up here for work for a few weeks. He had no way to get the thing home. He Said he'd kick in a few hundred more if I'd deliver it but I don't have the time for a trip. Nearly a year since I got the thing, I've sold the deck, sold the plow, sold the grader blade, and now I started to part it out, the engine, trans, wheels, front axle, hood, and steering box and wheel are gone. I retrofitted the larger seat to my 2135, and the rest will likely get scrapped. I made more than I was asking for it in the parts, so I didn't lose but I couldn't believe no one wanted it as a good running machine. But if I list a Craftsman, Troy Built, or any other department store crap, its gone in a day or two.



#22 Doug E. ONLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2019 - 08:06 AM

I'm amazed that you were not getting any interest in the large frame Bolens.  They are still actively sought around here, and if the price is reasonable, you need to be quick to get it.  Prices here for the older well made tractors is higher than most places I have noticed on Craigslist. 

 

There are still a bunch of 2 to 10 acre parcels around here for which people still need a decent garden tractor.  That may be what keeps the demand and prices up.  We also have snow issues, which also helps keep the demand up.  I ran into a guy who had bailed out of the bay area and moved up here.  After last winter, he found a Case 446 chassis that he was repowering with a Kohler diesel and was retrofitting a Bolens tube frame blower to it. 

 

I'm not surprised that some of your large frames were sent out of country.  I am aware that older tractors in the PNW are being bought up and sent to other nations.  There is one guy that constantly advertises looking for late model JD, Kubota, and New Holland tractors.  He even has different phone numbers for the different area codes, but the ad verbage is the same.  My guess is he is also shipping over seas, as I never see much for sale on craigslist.  His ads are kind of homey, like he just wants a tractor, but his ads are too often and wide spread for that.  Tractors are not the only items that are being cleaned out btw, much of our manufacturing equipment has been shipped off shore as well. 

 

I am of the opinion that a lot of the older garden tractors (except for JD) are under priced for what they are.  But we are in a society that does not fix things.  I love to pick up older stuff for pennies on the dollar just because it does not work, however I am running out of space to store all these projects until I get time to work on them!

 

One thing I have not figured out, is that I often see high end walk behind tractors for sale with implements that are hardly used, but were purchased new for big money.  I see comments on sites that you can garden up to 5 acres easily with one of these wonders, and granted they are nice pieces of equipment.  But I think I would rather pick up a larger older garden tractor to do the same work much quicker for a whole lot less money. 

 

Regards,

 

Doug


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#23 Austen OFFLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2019 - 10:56 AM

Location is definitely everything. Here on the west coast where GTs and vintage OPE is not so plentiful, they tend to be listed for much higher prices compared to the mid west and east coast.

 

I agree with Doug, vintage GTs have often times reached unobtainable prices these days here in the PNW. It's not uncommon to see a Bolens large frame example with no attachments listed for $1k-$2k around here and that's when they actually do pop up for sale. While Bolens equipment like this is not so plentiful in our area, when it does come up, probably the most common attachment I see is a tiller. Usually I see them listed for anywhere between $400-$800 alone- just for a a single LF attachment!

 

For $250 you might be able to find a rear wheel set around here, wheel weights not included- that would be an extra $125-$175.


Edited by Austen, August 27, 2019 - 10:56 AM.


#24 oldiron OFFLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2019 - 07:35 AM

Bolens is a foreign brand around here, the average guy doesn't remember them or what they were.

I had a super clean barn find 1250 with a FEL, complete with a snow plow, snow blower, 48" mower deck, three point hitch, rear disc, plough, cutivator, and a spare set of tires, one ag, one turf. The thing had been sitting in an attached garage since 1972 untouched, it even had a vintage battery in it and a brand new dry charged battery with it.

I listed it at $1500, I wasn't going to take a penny less for the package. It was listed for 15 months, I got three emails, all were $200 to $300 offers.

It was clean, had good paint, and was complete. I didn't try to start it, i just listed it as found. I got it for $600. If I had gotten an offer of $1200, I'd have let it all go.

I ended up parting it out, the engine went to TX, the hood to PA, the front end to CT, the seat to DE.

The attachments went to a guy raising Kiwi fruit in SC. The mower deck went to IL, the three point hitch went to Haiti.

The ag tires went to MO, the turf tires went to NY. In the end, I made a lot more money, but really could have done with out having to do all the work taking it apart and listing it in bits and pieces.

I was left with the transaxle, frame, and dash console in the end and it went to the junk yard.

 

I did a clean sweep of all the old parts machines and things that weren't selling in May, I loaded up my 20ft trailer and hauled it all to the junk yard.

I saved some engines but anything that wasn't complete got smashed and junked. I can't keep it all and if its not worth anything to anyone, I'm not saving it.

I'm not a business, I got into these as a hobby but they take up time and space after a while.

I even listed a hand full of parts machines for free on CL, I didn't even get scrap guys because they were too much trouble to deal with because they had to remove the tires and fuel tanks. Even the junk guys don't want to work it seems. I had a pair of Cub Cadet 149 tractors here, both were complete and running with decks. I listed them for $300 each, ready to use, the one could have used a new battery but it worked as is.

I got a bunch of $100 offers, and one guy finally showed up and turned them down when I offered him both for $250. The guy even cut half my back field with the one trying it out, but he walked away. He said it was 'too much money' for an old machine. His best offer was $75 for the pair.
Needless to say they both got parted out too. The decks sold first, I shipped one to MO, the other went locally. The engines went to a guy in DE, the rest of the them went all over the place. No one wanted the transaxles or frames, they got scrapped.

I stopped buying older machines, they don't sell anymore.

I have a house in PA and one in NJ, its the same in both places, in PA, it seems the only interest is old Wheel Horse machines, but nothing else gets so much as an email. In NJ, all I can sell is department store junk, the newer the better, clean and shiny sells and Craftsman is king with John Deere being a distant second.

I can sell all the green LT1000's I can find all year long.
Those that can afford better buy new, those that don't know any better and don't have money buy the brands they know and see advertised. The average buyer is in their late 20's to late 30's.
I'm also getting a ton of people who want to pay via PayPal or Apple Pay or similar, they don't have cash. Most would rather go down to HD or Lowes and plunk down a Credit Card for a new tractor than have to go get cash to buy a used one for a fraction of the cost. I had a neighbor push his two year old John Deere over here a few months ago, the starter seized up on it. I told him to just go online and buy one and I'd show him how to put it on. He looked at me like I was speaking a different language. I finally just ordered a starter of eBay, and put it on, it was like $60. I also changed his oil and filter and sharpened his blades.

When he came to get it, I told him just give me the $60 I spent, he got out his phone and wanted to know what pay service I used. I said cash. He looked at me dumbfounded. I held up my 20 year old flip phone and said I don't do all that crap, but good old cash works fine. It took him three weeks to come up with $60 cash, He gave me a $20 bill each Friday and complained how it was going to leave him short on cash during the week. If I knew I'd have to wait three weeks for my lousy $60, I'd have charged him double, neighbor or not. Getting cash from some people is like pulling teeth. I'm glad I wasn't around when it popped a belt last month. When I asked how much they charged to fix it, he didn't know, "They just came and got it, and brought it back fixed", "It went on my wife's credit card", He never got the bill. I suppose to him that was easier than forking over cash. The guy has three new cars in the driveway and he just replaced two of them this summer. He seems to drive them till something breaks and he just trades them in rather than fixing anything on them.

 

I think he's a good example of what's out there when it comes to the buying public today. Those of us who look for a deal to fix up and save some money are few and far between. The average guy these days can't change a flat tire or sharpen a mower blade, they don't have tools and have no clue how to use them.
I couldn't imagine not having a full tool box, an air compressor, and a shed full of spare parts. I also couldn't imagine going to HD or Lowes to buy something to mow my lawn.


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#25 freeisforme OFFLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2019 - 08:29 AM

Hey yardiron,

 

Wish I had your problem around here. The closest place to me where you see garden tractors regularly posted for sale would be The Maritime provinces. And, nothing even halfway decent has an ask below $ 1,500 to $3,000. Not to mention; for me a ten hour drive and an eight hour one way ferry trip. If you ever see a Massey 1655/1855 in need of a good home for the prices you note, please grab it for me and I'll pay you double your cost.

I sold an 1855 in parts about a year ago here, had it listed for 6 months but gave up. I parted it out, used the motor on another machine and traded the rest to a guy in NY for an outboard.

CL around here is either full of way overpriced junk that will never sell or scam ads. There's more scam ads lately then real items for sale.


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#26 Cvans ONLINE  

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Posted August 28, 2019 - 08:41 AM

I think he's a good example of what's out there when it comes to the buying public today. Those of us who look for a deal to fix up and save some money are few and far between. The average guy these days can't change a flat tire or sharpen a mower blade, they don't have tools and have no clue how to use them.
I couldn't imagine not having a full tool box, an air compressor, and a shed full of spare parts. I also couldn't imagine going to HD or Lowes to buy something to mow my lawn.

 

Unfortunately your right. I've got two packages setting in the shop addressed to people who wanted parts for basically nothing and then disappeared when they were notified what the shipping costs were. I guess I'm suppose to give them the parts and pay the shipping. I'm not a business either just an old retired guy trying to help someone out. Not anymore. 


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#27 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted August 29, 2019 - 05:50 AM

Only myself speaking here . I won't be having a big garden at the new house ( that's what I keep telling myself ), I left the Economy Jim Dandy at the old house , I wanted to sell it anyway . If your only cutting grass and have snow to deal with .  My thoughts , are if you can cut grass in your yard with a zero turn why buy a GT , plowing snow , the 4 wheeler we have works way better the either of my GTs . At our first house year ago we all had JDs , ranging from 317 to 430 ,    now mostly zero turns , with some having tractors to go with them but sub to compact 4WDs


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#28 freeisforme OFFLINE  

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Posted August 29, 2019 - 06:30 AM

When I had more grass to cut, I used a Simplicity with a 60" deck, but these days I don't need a mower much. If I got rid of some of the junk, I could maybe plant a garden again but right now the yard is full of tractors, boats, trailers, trucks, etc.

I never really liked using zero turn mowers, especially on big lawns. A tractor was just easier for me. A zero turn is faster but if I'm going to be mowing for several hours at a time, I'd rather be on a tractor. For snow, I've tried ATV's with plows, but I had better luck with my old Allis Chalmers 410 with a factory plow, ag tires, and lots of weight. The suspension up front was what limited the quad when plowing and the fact that I could never get enough weight on it to maintain traction.

The AC had loaded tires, wheel weights, and a weight box. I don't think it ever got stuck. I sold it when I downsized about 9 years ago.

 

I had a guy call me about a JD 425 I had listed for $3200 last night, he kept on about how he's been looking for just this machine for a long time, then asked me if I'd take $250 for it. He seemed to think I had made a mistake in the price and kept on about how no used garden tractor was worth more than $250. It belongs to a friend who moved to FL last year, if it don't sell I'll haul it down to her when I go this winter. The thing is pretty clean with around 800 hours on it. I've turned down higher offers for just the deck. In 11 months, I've only had three emails and two phone calls on it. A few sounded serious but wanted free delivery hundreds of miles away. The bad part about the idiot yesterday was that he kept calling back and trying to convince me it was only worth $250. He finally quit calling after I suppose he came to the conclusion I wasn't going to give it away for cheap.
 

Lately, CL, FB, and Let Go have really drawn some real winners. I had a guy show up with a van load of people to buy a push mower for $30. After he and five other guys looked it over up and down, mowed half my field, he finally decided he wanted it and offered me $10. When I refused, he got mad because "I" had wasted 'his' time!. He spent an hour over a cheap push mower that looked and ran like new and left empty handed. That one called me back four days later to offer me $12. It had sold about 20 minutes after he left the first time. When i told him it was gone he got mad because I didn't give him first shot at it???

 

I had listed a bicycle last winter, it was huge frame, meant for someone over 6ft tall. I made that clear in the ad. All I got were short guys who couldn't even get on the thing. A few got mad because I wouldn't lower the price because they were too short to ride it. It finally sold to a guy who said he was an exchange student, he was actually too big for the bike but like it and paid my asking price. He showed up by cab from NYC, and rode the bike away. For months later he emailed me pics of him on the bike all over the country.

 

I answered an ad for a small utility trailer for $75. The pics were just from the web. It was one of those Harbor Freight type folding trailers but it was in new condition. The guy decided to put it together in his living room and couldn't get it out of the house by himself. I went there with a few buddies, paid him for the trailer and we turned it sideways and carried out outside. The guy said he wasn't sure if it would fit out the door or not. He said if he knew it was going to be that easy he wouldn't have sold it. A week later I had it listed on CL and he bought it back for $250. A week later he had it listed for sale again for $200. He found out that they wanted $300 to put a hitch on his car and didn't want to spend any more money. A buddy went back there and bought it for $100 cash. His son used it to move back to college, and he sold it at college for $300 a few months later.


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#29 number2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 29, 2019 - 09:17 AM

It just amazes me that there are what I call “educated idiots” around who have degrees in all sorts of things but can’t figure out how fix anything simple or don’t want learn how to fix things. If nothing else there are all kinds of videos on YouTube on how to fix different things.

Maybe it is me as I grew up on a dairy farm in NW Illinois where if something broke we had to figure out what broke on a piece of equipment and get it fixed so we could keep feed and water in front of 160 head of hungry Holstein cows and another 400 head of young stock.

I would rather spend few bucks on parts than waste hard earned $$ on new junk.
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#30 Bob E OFFLINE  

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Posted August 29, 2019 - 09:57 AM

I think old GT's became popular because everybody could pick one up for almost nothing and tinker with it. Then came all the hobby guys. Who scoop them up by the hoards and would rather scrap them than give somebody a good deal on them. That gave everybody else the idea that the old turd in the back 40 must be precious. Not so popular no more...


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