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Garden tractors going out of style?


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#31 Leonard VanCamp OFFLINE  

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Posted August 29, 2019 - 04:42 PM

I grew up on tractors and will probably one day pass away on one. I like the fact that I can take one tractor, mount different attachments, and then do many different task. I look at zero turns and the only thing they really seem suited for is lawn mowing and that's pretty much it. Although now with nine different JD's, I pretty much have a different tractor for each task.


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#32 DChappy OFFLINE  

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Posted August 29, 2019 - 06:53 PM

I grew up on tractors and will probably one day pass away on one.

I grew up in a farming family that also had a JD dealership, so like you I grew up on tractors! I have also been the parts manager for 2 different dealers in the last 27 years. Just happens that it took me 50 years to have a hankering for a classic garden tractor and now I've got to make up for lost time!  :thumbs:


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#33 olcowhand OFFLINE  

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Posted August 29, 2019 - 07:05 PM

Zero turns are ONLY safe on flat lawns as far as I'm concerned.  I have tested out ZTR's after fixing them, and even on slopes I'd never consider dangerous at all, those things go all screwy and will get you in serious trouble fast!  I have no use for them at all.  GT's or my front mowers only for me!


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#34 yardiron OFFLINE  

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Posted August 29, 2019 - 10:18 PM

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

 

We don't get much snow here these days, maybe a few storms a year and its over.

The ONLY Bolens interest I ever got here was from guys shipping them to South America or the Caribbean.

The interest seems to be only in Bolens or Kubota when it comes to shipping them south.

I don't think I've sold any Bolens tractors locally, they all went to South America or the Islands.

I get the same thing with boats, they buy boats but not outboards or trailers to ship south.

I had another guy who rents a container every few months and fills it with old Mercury outboards and ships them to South Africa, Shetland, UK, or to San Cristobal in the Solomon Islands. Apparently he's either got a market for them there or is keeping them for his own use. He's been doing this for at least the past 30 years.

 

I've had a complete S12D listed for a year with the only email being from a guy in Argentina and I don't care to deal with

shipping it. Its complete, it came from a tractor with a broken frame. It has good compression and its all there. I listed it at $250 or best offer. After only one email I let the ad expire and I buried it on the shelf in a trailer outback. I've got a 30 old motors out there that won't sell unless Iet them go for $10-$20 each. That's not going to happen. All are motors I saved for future use but never got around to using. I did sell one Kohler Magnum 20 twin for $300 a couple years ago but it wasn't advertised for sale. I was going to use it on an AC 917 that I had sitting around but figured after getting a $300 offer on the motor, I wouldn't likely make that much off the tractors WITH the engine installed so I let the motor go by itself.

I had a Cub Cadet RZT 50 Zero turn a year ago which was a good running machine, it was a few years old but with low hours. I listed it for $1200, It looked and worked like new but I didn't have all the rear bagger parts.

I got a ton of emails offering $200 - $300, but nothing higher. It sat through the winter here, still listed but no takers. I finally had a guy email me from up in CT who wanted to know if I knew where he could find a deck for one. I ended up selling him the deck for $750, he was here in five hours after calling me. I sold the engine for $300 to a guy who drove here from Virginia, and sold the back wheels to a guy in NY, the transaxles went to PA and DE. I ended up making double what I was asking. Two months after the guy bought the deck, he called me back and asked if I'd take $600 for the rest of the machine because one of his guys bent an axle. It was too late, it was long gone.

I have never sold anything locally, I don't think I've had more than a half dozen emails from people in this immediate area.

I think those with spare cash just buy new or pay a lawn service, those without money, can't even afford a push mower. There's no in between.

 

I gave up on eBay after they started forcing returns and refunds, I had two people return boxes of rocks for a refund and another change his mind and get his money back without so much as an email to me. He hadn't even gotten the part yet when PP issued him a refund. Tracking said 'in transit' and he claimed 'Significantly Not As Described" and they just issued a refund. Gone were two perfect JD wheel weights and $90 in shipping. Never again. Up until that point I had sold 3,500 items on eBay without an issue, and as soon as they took away the ability to leave a proper negative for a bad buyer, I had nothing but scammers and thieves. Its about an even mix between non paying bidders, scammers, and real buyers. Those numbers aren't worth the hassle for me.

I listed a new old stock Bosch alternator once, a guy in CA ran the bid up to about three times what it should have sold for, he paid, I shipped the thing, he then emails and said its not what he expected??? It was exactly what was pictured and described, I had the OEM Bosch part number and two other 'manufacturer' part numbers. He first wanted me to refund him half the money he paid, when I refused, he went to eBay and claimed I shipped him an empty box. I forwarded eBay all his emails but they still refunded him the full amount after he showed them a return post receipt. I got half a red brick back in a box two weeks later via slow mail. I had similar case with a vintage motorcycle hub, with a very well known shop in southern California. That time eBay sided with me after the buyer claimed to ship it back but provided a bogus tracking number and receipt and got caught.

In the end it just wasn't worth all the headaches to sell a few parts here and there for not even enough to cover my time.


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#35 sledgehammer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 30, 2019 - 01:26 AM

I wasn't going to join in here but having just taken a year to sell a minty clean Case 444, with deck, I have to say the demand for the older stuff in way down. Ten years ago when I bought the 444 I had jump through hoops to find one and outbid 30 other bidders to get one that was even close to reasonable condition.

I then proceeded to put four new tires on it, rebuilt the motor, and touched up the paint top make it roughly 95% perfect all around. The deck was mint, the original owner never used it, the snow plow was still partially unassembled, and the rototiller was near perfect. The biggest pain was replacing mostly all the hydraulic hoses.

Then I moved and didn't need it anymore. The mistake I made was bringing it to my new house to sell. No one here every saw one before and no one here seemed to think any garden tractor could be worth more than what a new Murray costs at Walmart. I was asking $2100, after more than a year on both CL and FB, I ended up making a deal with some cash and a trailer as partial trade. I suppose I did okay, I figure the enclosed trailer had to be worth about $1500, and the guy came up with $300 in cash. I needed the trailer, I didn't need the tractor. I was going to just keep it for the snow plow but I don't have a garage and couldn't see letting it sit outside here. Burying it in the back shed would defeat the whole purpose of having it too.
 

I've since moved again, now I need a good mower and I'm older now and really don't care to fix up anything. if its not turn key, I don't want it, regardless of the price. I looked at a few diesel GT's and a few larger Cub Cadets, because those are the brands with parts support here these days. So far anything decent needs work or has been sitting for ages. I even looked up the guy who bought my Case years ago and even that's been sitting for several years now and not running. He said he quit mowing his own grass 4 years ago and put it outside behind his shed under a tarp and forgot about it. When I looked at it, it was too far gone, all the hoses on it were rodent chewed, the paint was all scraped up from being covered with a dirty old canvas tarp with bits of concrete stuck to it, and the tires were all flat and dryrotted from sitting in the sun. The air cleaner was missing and the wiring harness was all cut up with jumper wires all over the place. He said he gave all the attachments to a neighbor who helped him sell his old car. In that shape, I just wasn't interested even for free so i didn't even make an offer.

I'm leaning toward a diesel powered machine but the best I can find running is over $4k, anything less is either really beat up or not running. I just prefer to gamble at the casino not in buying a used tractor these days. Besides, pushing a mower gives me some needed exercise these days, as long as I can still do it.


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#36 sharktooth OFFLINE  

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Posted September 05, 2019 - 09:09 AM

I myself have been looking around for a good machine to push snow this winter, I've been looking for something smaller in a garden tractor to move snow at my new place. I had a front end loader before but had to sell that when I moved. Between taxes, lower wages, high home insurance, and high car insurance there isn't much left to spend on a tractor. I've looked at a bunch of decent machines but all needed work in some way, every one was under $300. A few were under $100, but I don't have room now for a project. What ever I buy will likely be my last one and I don't want something I'll have to be tinkering with when I'm older.
I don't mind a bad motor, or a bad deck, but my concerns are things like the hydrostatic trans, rear axles, etc. I can rebuild the motor, I can weld broken parts but I don't have any experience in fixing a hydro trans. I don't need a deck, I don't have grass, just a big driveway and some sidewalk to clear.

With some health issues I can't do the shovel thing anymore so a reliable tractor is a must. We don't get enough snow to justify a new machine nor do I have that kind of money.

What I do see is some really nice larger machines sitting for sale with no takers, machines that would have brought big money only a year or two ago. Now they just sit. My neighbor two doors down just bought a Ford LGT for $100, complete with a plow, deck, wheel weights, rear hitch, disc, ag tires, and a snow blower.
It was on CL for two years for $500 obo, he got it for half that after the seller apparently passed away and his wife just dumped it. It was a deal for $500, it only ended up needing a battery and some carb work to get it going again.

I looked at a few larger Simplicity tractors that are on CL, one needed a starter, another needed tires or tubes but they didn't have plows with them. Both were $200 a piece and have been listed for a month or more now. The guy said he hadn't had a single person before me actually show up and look at them. Scrap around here is way down, something like $ ,03 per hundred lbs for light iron. I'd plant flowers in it or put a mailbox on it before letting something go that cheap.


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#37 [email protected] OFFLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2019 - 01:51 PM

I recently acquired a John Deere 430 in a garage clean out job, before I knew what I had I listed it on CL for $600 OBO, it was up for several weeks before I came here and realized it was worth more. But in those three or so weeks it was listed, I got zero offers, only the normal spam offering $100 and such.
It turns out the thing runs good, all it needed was a battery. Its also in better than average condition overall, so it wasn't a matter of it being some beat to death old parts machine. Other than some dull or faded paint, it looks good.

 

Big items don't sell lately, I've been doing clean outs for 12 years, I list anything worth saving on CL and lately almost nothing sells, regardless of price. Common push mowers used to bring $25 to $50 all day long, now I can't get $20 for a running mower. No one has cash, they ask for a warranty or want to 'trade' for something of no value. I had a guy get mad last week because I told him I wasn't interested in trading a barbecue grill for his 6 non running department store string trimmers.


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#38 Cvans ONLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2019 - 04:59 PM

I had a guy get mad last week because I told him I wasn't interested in trading a barbecue grill for his 6 non running department store string trimmers.

 

I don't know how you can keep subjecting yourself to idiots like that. I would get so sick and tired of the hassle. 

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#39 [email protected] OFFLINE  

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Posted September 09, 2019 - 11:13 AM

Lately its all I seem to get on CL, FB, or Fleabay. I gave up on fleabay, too many no pays and too many people who expect it for free.
FB is a total waste, both buying and selling unless you post a phone number and if you do that, you may as well throw your phone away because the spammers get hold of the number and you get thousands of bs calls over and over.
On the buyer end, more than half never reply to you, either they sold it or they don't know how to check their email, who knows.

CL is nothing but spammers and no shows. I had a guy last week hound me about a car trailer I listed, he begged me not to sell it before he could get there and he said he'd be here first thing Sat. morning. I told him to call me when he was leaving. He never called, and never showed. All communication went dead. I had left the ad up, but didn't renew. When I renewed it for more money, he emailed and said he 'thought we had a deal'? He tells me he couldn't get here and wasn't sure when he will but 'hold it till I do'. Yeah, right.

 

Worse yet, I've had a ton of people drive rather far to look at something which they swore they wanted, and had looked at dozens of pics, only to look at it, kick the tires, and tell me they're going to look at a few more and let me know. I even had a few leave cash deposits and never show back up. I had a guy from CT email me saying he really wanted a pair of speakers I had listed, he was 5 hours away or more so he had a buddy stop by and check them out, he spoke to his buddy on the phone while he was here, and the buddy left me a $100 deposit. The buyer, who was in CT was going to drive down the next weekend and pick them up and pay me the rest of the cash. I never heard from either one of them again, that was almost two years ago. Prior to this, he bugged me daily about them, worried that he'd miss out on them. I gave up waiting after 6 months and relisted them. They sold for asking price soon after. A month ago the first buyer emails me and asks me "How are my speakers" "I still plan on getting down there one of these days". He had ignored a dozen emails from me back before I relisted them. I told the guy I gave up and sold them over a year ago. After a few nasty emails from him he went away.

I had picked up a pair of what looked like brand new fishing reels with matching rods, both were Shimano Bait Runner reels on Shimano rods. An online check showed they sold for about $180 each new, these still had tags on them. I listed them for $100 each. I had a dozen people show up, look them over and make $20 or $30 offers and get mad when I wouldn't take it.

Finally I had a guy show up and pay cash and take them, they were here for two years.

You don't get reasonable offers, you get people who offer $20 on a thousand dollar item. If not the low ball offers lately, you get nothing at all. In the past two years, I'd venture to guess that maybe one in 50 emails are serious buyers.


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#40 dustnrust OFFLINE  

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Posted September 11, 2019 - 11:10 PM

 

I don't know how you can keep subjecting yourself to idiots like that. I would get so sick and tired of the hassle. 

 

I think buying and selling is how a lot of us can afford this as a hobby. I buy and sell to fund buying the things I want or need.

Its a double edged sword lately, those who are selling are finding less buyers, and those same sellers are a good portion of the buyers themselves. If I need to sell something I have to buy something else, and it won't sell, then there's no money to buy that something else.

 

I just looked at a couple of machines that a guy has listed on CL in South Jersey, I'd love to own them but I've got 12 here now and they have to go before I both have room for something else or have the money to play with. So I'm forced to pass on a pair of Simplicity 7119 tractors.for $100 each.

 

Its been the same thing with cars and most of the other things I have. I can't say I blame a guy for scrapping something if it just won't bring what its worth. I had a John Deere 112 last fall that I couldn't give away, the thing was a time capsule with near perfect paint, a mint deck, and it ran like new. I bought it from the wife of a deceased neighbor with the intention of keeping it but it took up to much room and had to go. I couldn't get $800 for it on CL, not a single serious email. I got a bunch of $100 and $200 offers and offers of strange trades but no cash. I finally got tired of moving it around and parted it out. I made more in the end, it brought three times what I'd have taken for it whole in the end. Most of those picking up parts off it said how clean the thing was, "If I knew it was for sale I'd have bought it whole". But most of them admitted they wouldn't spend more than a few hundred dollars for it if it were hole. One of those comments came from a guy who paid $200 for the transaxle alone. In other words, they'd love to have it for free or darn near free but not if it cost them more than some pocket change.


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#41 Cvans ONLINE  

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Posted September 12, 2019 - 10:56 AM

Good post dustnrust. You've pretty much summed up why I'm no longer looking for older GT's. The hunt and purchase is fun but the selling not so much so. 


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#42 bubbajunk OFFLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2019 - 02:51 PM

I don't think its so much that old GT's are going out of style, its the type of guys who know how to work on their own stuff that went out of style or just faded away to almost nothing.

I live on a street that slowly became mostly all 20 something college graduates who couldn't figure out how to check their own oil or even put air in their tires. They go to the big box store and buy the cheapest thing they can find, run it till it dies, push it to the curb and buy another one. I've watched a few of these guys go through more than one machine each year.

20 years ago, I'd say 1 in 5 guys had at least some ability to fix things around the house, now its more like 1 in 50, maybe less. Some got older and couldn't be bothered, some moved to retirement type communities where they don't have to do anything.
I see these younger guys moving in and they don't own any tools, some not even a screwdriver or hammer. A few don't even own basic garden tools, they just pay someone when they need something done.
This type of guy can't fathom buying something, then rebuilding a carb, changing a starter, installing a couple tire tubes, and changing a battery. They'd have to pay some shop to do all that for $100/hr in labor plus parts.


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#43 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2019 - 04:30 PM

Sad that things are slowly reaching the next level past what I will call modular repair of items (whether on vehicles, tractors or appliances).  Back in the late 60's starters, alternators, master cylinders, brake calipers, etc. used to be repaired rather than replaced.  Then came the rebuilt exchange units that saved on labour and come backs (usually - depending on whether the tech could diagnose things properly or just guess and then claim the new part was defective if it didn't fix the problem or failed shortly after replacement because the tech only replaced the result of the failure rather than the cause).  Then as parts became lighter and not rebuildable in some cases new units (such as starters, alternators, water pumps, etc.) began to show up in the market place.  Enter computer diagnostics and more toys and creature comforts / safety systems demanded by the consumer or legislated for the people who don't have common sense and the ability of the average person to diagnose and replace parts is quickly being eroded.  Unfortunately the newer generation seem only wanting to push buttons rather than turn wrenches and understand the mechanics of how something is constructed and functions which may eventually lead to a population of what used to classified as white collar workers.  God help us as a species when only a select few blue collar workers will have the knowledge and ability to actually repair something that is broken - kind of scary in a way!  A truly throw it away society even when the only thing wrong with an appliance or vehicle may be that the button that you are supposed to push to make it start or work is lying on the floor broken off and the average person can't glue the button back on.  


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#44 vintageiron OFFLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2019 - 08:41 PM

Its gotten beyond just a throw away society, most people make zero attempt to fix anything themselves these days.
I've got a 5 month old stainless steel side by side Whirlpool refrigerator that I got for free after the guy next door couldn't stop it from blowing circuit breakers.
He bought a fancy new fridge because his wife said the old one was making the lights dim. He gets the new one, and all if fine for a week or so. Then it starts popping breakers. He bought the thing on a going out of business sale so he's got no recourse so out to the curb it goes. I wheeled it into the garage, plugged it in, thinking that even if only half the stuff on it works, its good enough for beer and bait. The thing works perfect. I put it in my kitchen and put my old one in the garage. A few weeks go by and he's over my house and tells me about the nightmare he had with a refrigerator just like mine, he then goes on to say the new one isn't right either, he's giving up on buying name brands and he plans to buy one from China next.

So,,,,after a few days, he's wheeling the second refrigerator to the curb, I told him to just keep wheeling it over to my garage.

I plugged it in right in front of him, it works fine. He shook his head and went home. A week later he's back here asking if that fridge was still working, I said its perfect, not at thing wrong with it. He tells me the one he bought now is acting funny and everytime the fridge cycles, the AC kicks off or the breaker blows. I finally walked down to his place to see what's up.

It turns out that the fall before all this started he had central air installed, when they wired in the compressor, they tied into the same breaker as the refrigerator in the kitchen. The breaker box was a mess, wires going everywhere but about 15 empty slots.
The fridge, the 4 ton AC compressor, a humidifier, and porch lights were all on one 15a breaker at 110v.

Rewired the AC blower to run on 220v, and gave it a new breaker all its own, I moved the fridge to its own 15a breaker, and surprise, no more dim lights, no more blown breakers. He wanted to pay me but I just thanked him for the two new refrigerators and left. What's worse, he's got a degree in electrical engineering, but works as an accounts receivable caller at some collection agency.

He's got no tools, not even a screwdriver. If it breaks he throws it out and buys new or calls a repairman. He don't mow grass, he uses one of those services that stuff flyers in your door every two weeks. He's got two new cars and a new truck, all leased,
When he moved there he spent a fortune remodeling the place, probably more than the place was worth. Including a completely finished basement with a pool table, bar, etc. The bad part is that the house didn't need anything, they just ripped it all out just to change things. It was completely remodeled just before it was sold. Last week he had someone there and was talking about painting the vinyl siding because his wife don't like that shade of beige. The new color she wants is barely different from what's there now. I can't wait till he finds out what happens to painted vinyl siding in about 5 years.

 

He's got a push mower, one of those with a rear bagger, electric start, four wheel drive, and dual blades for mulching. The other day he comes walking down the road with it and says it just died, and won't restart. I give it a pull and it don't feel right. I check the oil, its not full but not low enough to be the problem. I tip the mower back, and find the main blade bend like a boom a rang. I ask him is he run anything over and he says no, never. The blade is bent almost 90 degrees, there's 20ft of twine and part of an orange extension cord wrapped around the crank, and the second blade has an inch deep dent in it.

Yet he insists it just stopped running. I get it up on the back of my truck, I take off the blade, I heat it up and get it back in shape, I cut away all the junk wrapped around the crank, and I reassemble it with the straightened blade for now just to see if start up.
One pull and it started right up. I tell the guy he has to buy a new blade, the straightened blade isn't safe, I even wrote down a part number and told him to go get a blade and we'll change it. He leaves, and comes back with a brand new mower, he tells me to keep it, he got a 'deal' on a new one for $750. ?????
I guess I got a new mower. Its not more than a year old. I ordered a blade online but cut my grass this afternoon with it anyway.

Its still got is hang tag on the handle with an $899 price on it. The thing has a hydrostatic transmission, all wheel drive, dual blades, electric start, and some sort of composite or plastic deck.

He moved in that house last fall, since then I've gotten two new refrigerators, two mowers (this one and the JD the last owner left behind), the air compressor the last owner left in the garage, (he threw it out the day he moved in), a full patio furniture set his wife didn't like which the last owner bought and placed just to sell the house), and a pair of almost new steel entry doors which they replaced because his wife didn't like the style.

Slowly but surely he's re-outfitting my place one item at time with things I'd never spend that kind of money on. He doesn't buy cheap, only the best.


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#45 Doug E. ONLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2019 - 09:55 PM

Part of me (very small part)  says "gosh, wish I had neighbors what wheeled new stuff out to the curb", but the rest of me is glad I don't have close neighbors like those!  I just have a couple of really cheap neighbors that don't know how to fix things. 

 

D.


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