Pleasantly surprised as i had high expectations from a garden tractor. Ive used my 1999 lt1000 as a garden tractor without disappointment. Modifications and brackets for ground engaging equipment worked well but i felt like i was hurting it. Finally gave it to family and it still goes strong. The new g5500 has taken everything ive thrown at it, including pulling three sizable trees right outof the ground. Happy so far. Added a mulch plate, but the stock blades are not quite up to the task. Works but you have to slow down. The keyless start is cool, but i miss the simplicity of the key. Have to put the code in everytime you stop the mower and hop off even if its just for a second.
This tractor ran for 40 minutes cut out and did not want to restart for 2 days!!!!! The keyless ignition is a BAD thing! I'm very disappointed I expected better from Craftsman! Couldn't get anybody to deliver it and now can't get anybody to come and pick it up to return it! Very disappointed in Sears and the poor customer service and substandard product.
The GT5500 is a fine machine. You just have to know what it is capable of before you call on it. With plenty of power and a wide 54 inch cut it will make short work of most cutting jobs. This is not a heavy duty/professional grade mower.
The deck is thick welded steel, but not the thickest I've seen. The deck rollers are cheap and will likely be one of the first things to wear out if their axel is not cleaned and greased. The front axel is cast iron but the wheel spindle does not look all that strong....we will see. The frame is steel with welds and bolted pieces. Seems strong enough for home use, but it does flex on uneven ground. Check your bolts and welds regularly.
I tend to agree with a few other posts on here about the turn tight system not being right for this size mower. Going at a moderate pace and trying to perform a sharp turn will cause the front tires to skid and hop; which will eventually lead to failure of either the spindle or wheel bearings or mounting points. My advice is to complete sharp turns while moving slowly and when you are moving at a faster pace don't turn the steering wheel all the way. Also look into a suicide ball for your steering wheel. Without power steering this heavy tractor can wear your arms out working the wheel.
The deck wash system is nice never had that before....messy though.
I loaded the tires (water and antifreeze) and put on a set of chains and this thing will not slip anywhere on my yard. I have lots of inclines and uneven places.
I also purchased the sleeve hitch since this is dubbed a garden tractor and assembly was easy. It does seem a little light duty, but heavy enough to do light plowing, box blading, dethaching and so forth.
The keyless complete start system is neat, but as others have said it is just another component to wear out. It has many features such as idiot lights like on a car. If the system lasts then I call it a good thing...if it doesn't last then I told ya so.
The seat is nice and comfy and moves with you on uneven terrain. You will not feel like you are going to slide off.
Speed is moderate going forward and in reverse a turtles pace.
No hood latch is a minus for me. It just sits there and bounces along with you.
The Briggs 24 HP V-Twin is a durable and dependable engine with proper maintenance.
My final thoughts are that this tractor should last me and my family many years with routine care. Just like with anything I'f you ask it to do more than it's made for you will break it and it will be your fault. For $2,800.00 it's a fine machine.
After two seasons this tractor is still doing great. I have no major issues to report. Spindles are fine, deck rollers are still in good shape. The original belt is in good condition and the blades have held up well. Still happy.
I originally tried to order a GT 5000 but the one that was shipped to me was damaged and they didn't have any more since this was coming out. Sears was IMPOSSIBLE to deal with! They only wanted to refund my money (except they didn't want to refund the $1000+ worth of options I bought). I finally had to accept their awful offer to replace it with the 'latest, greatest' mower. After only two weeks the front wheels were pointing outward like a V. Tech came out and after waiting a week for parts he replaced the tie rods with adjustable ones (and said that this was a common problem). Then after several months it wouldn't start...just 'click' from the starter. Tech said starter was fine, the stupid 'no key' controller was the problem (another common problem according to him). A week later and the part was here and it worked again...for awhile. After a year, the same thing started happening again. Another keyless assy and it was running...until it failed AGAIN. This time, however, in addition to not starting, it would also randomly start ALL BY ITSELF with nobody sitting on it (HUGE danger problem). Another keyless assy. and a story about how this is a BIG problem but neither Craftsman or Husqvarna were offering a solution...but they went back to a key on the 2015s (but it wouldn't work on the 2014s). After the 4th keyless assy, the warranty expired and Sears wouldn't sell me an extended warranty (almost cheaper than the keyless assy) the tech also replaced the starter (just to make sure there was nothing wrong with the starter). I've gotten to know the tech VERY well and while he's nice and tries to do what he can, the problem is the assy. Every time I try to start the tractor...click, click, click. Eventually it either kills the battery or it will just suddenly decide to start. Craftsman USED to mean something other than ****. I have a garage full of Craftsman tools and equipment but this is the last Craftsman product I will ever buy.
From the salesman that claimed he knew everything about Craftsman tractors to the employee that prepped the tractor at the store, all were sorely lacking in proper training.
Salesman knew less about the tractor than I did. All I did was read the description on-line before going into the store.
Guy that prepped it didn't install the mower deck belt or grease the center spindle on the deck.
The Tractor is actually pretty decent. Wish it had a sturdier frame but it get the job done. Mows like a champ. You can run wide open if the conditions are right.
Thing thats needs improvement is this stupid "Complete Start" none sense. Just put a key switch on it already. And although the Tight Turn steering is nice for mowing grass, for everything else it's a hindrance. I would pay for a kit to eliminate those 2 things. Gladly!
And if you want to push snow, don't even think about buying the Snow Dozer Blade. The mounting brackets are WAAAAY to weak for the size/weight of the blade.
This is a great mower. Wouldn't buy any other. Smooth and Comfortable ride. Would highly recommend to buy.