Only mowed my hilly, tree and rut-filled 2.6 acres once with this guy, but could safely say it's a step up from my 10 y/o GT3000. Tighter turn radius, foot pedals as opposed to the hydro hand lever on the GT, deck height selector on the fender as opposed to a long pole sticking up next to your right leg (which blocks you from being able to mount/dismount the tractor on that side), and that locking differential makes all the difference in the world for what I mow. A couple nagging issues I found. The seat is kind of uncomfortable, a bit stiff and the seat back is too upright for my taste. I installed a mulch kit on the deck. To take the deck off for that, disconnecting the belt on the deck from the PTO pulley on the tractor is a royal pain. You need a 3/8" drive socket wrench but there's little room or leverage to work with on the left side, so I found I had to work with it on the right side using a cheater bar, it's a bit of a chore. Maybe I'll find a better method, we'll see. I plowed my driveway with the GT3000, with Craftsman's snow/dozer blade mounted on it. I was told the blade is compatible with this tractor. Well, not really, at least not without doing some mods. There's a heat shield in the way where the left plow mounting bracket would go, so you need to do a bunch of stuff there to make everything fit. Long story short, I did it, but I have a machine shop, so ymmv. Also on that topic, where those brackets mount on the tractor frame, it seems kind of flimsy. On the GT3000, there was a crossbeam bolted at that spot, whereas here, the frame ends with protruding "fins" I guess you could say, onto which bolt on the blade brackets. Time will tell how that connection will hold up, but I may just fab some sort of crossbeam myself to add some rigidity there. The tractor arrived with hydro creep, would roll backwards in neutral. No explanation in the manual on how to adjust the linkage, just said to contact the service dept. Well, the service guy shows up, has no clue how to correct it (also has no clue what a locking differential is, but I digress). He's on the phone with tech support for 20 min until I finally pull my phone out and google the tractor's tranny service manual, find it there. I was debating buying Craftsman's extended warranty, but if that's the level of skill they'd send out to work on my machine, no offense to the fella but I'm no worse a tech than him.
Craftsman has really dropped the ball here, they added a feature(locking differential) and then failed to provide operating instructions for that feature in the manual. Nowhere in the paper manual that came with my unit does it even mention the feature or its use. Craftsman has gone to the "one manual to rule them all" mentality, which means their manuals are going to be a mess. This one is horrible, covering 9 models, 4 or 5 decks, it is a shameful example of product support. They dont even have a section on drive belt replacement, just a sentence that says to see your dealer. Thanks Craftsman, but just flys in the face of your marketing for the DIY crowd, guess i will sell all my tools and rely on your dealer network...right. The tech support people asked if I had done a web search or watched some videos...um yeah, I read the manual posted online, the one they sent with the mower, no info, and they put it on me, as if I was asking a favor to know how this feature works. While I was on the phone(on hold for 15 minutes) they changed the link to the updated manual and thought I was not going to notice. Here are the links: Old Manual: http://i.sears.com/s/d/pdf/mp-tc/10068794/prod_12116137212 New Manual: http://i.sears.com/s/d/pdf/mp-tc/10068794/prod_12345288912 So far the unit is great, but come on sears/craftsman, get it together on the customer service front.
I have about 20k sq ft of lawn... get that done in about 45 minutes, with a lot of trees to go around, etc. Very pleased with the quality of the cut, and the quality of the mulching kit. Even when I let the grass go too long... I rarely have those piles of grass... mulching is excellent. Always starts right up and was even able to 'scalp' my 4" lawn down to 1.75" when I did the big re-seed. No issues with Sears (surprisingly) and no issues with this Craftsman mower. Looking forward to the locking diff when I put the snow thrower attachment on this winter.
So far I like this mower. Works as advertised, looks good, mows well. No issues, problems or complaints. Only negative was it took a month from date of order to delivery at local store for pick-up.
Excellent so far !! Love how it steers. One Caveat - do not turn it off while blades are engaged - danger of spring coming off - and belt as well. Happened to me casue I only added a little bit of gas - so ran out of gas and the movwer stopped but spring came of and belt as well. This is the infamous spring that seems to have beena aproblem mentioned in other reviews
I'm done with Sears, no wonder they are going out of business. I bought this tractor when it was on sale for 2,999.99 with ************* and I paid 25 extra to have them haul away my old tractor. As a side note, its on sale for even less now, grrr!
Problem 1 - Due to the delivery truck being full, they didn't take away my old tractor and said they would come back for it later....NOT! $25 bucks down the drain.
Problem 2 - I was overcharged for my order, somehow my pretax total came out to $3034.99 instead of 3024.99. $10 more bucks down the drain.
Problem 3 - My local sears didn't have the mulch kit in stock. I just happened to find one while on vacation 9 hrs away from home. Turns out it doesn't fit!
Problem 4 - I lost my receipt for the mulch kit while on vacation so my local sears would not let me return it. $100 more bucks down the drain!
Problem 5 - My tractor may be lightly used! Due to my work schedule and a vacation, I didn't get a chance to use my new tractor until yesterday. While trying to install my new mulch kit that doesn't fit, I noticed that my "New" mowing deck was actually used and had grass clippings and debris stuck to the bottom side. I bet the tractor itself is lightly used as well since it had some scratches and one dent on it when delivered.
It is really sad to see this once great company fall apart like this. I had a soft spot in my heart for Sears but I'm done, this kind of service explains why they are slowly going out of business.
Be aware that Sears Parts Direct doesn't have a listing for this Tractor.