Thursday, February 11, 2010
Nothing Runs Downhill Like A Deere
My John Deere LA130 is returning from its week in the repair shop. A new trans-axle priced at one third the cost of the original tractor package, $825, has restored function to this machine. Seeking information from the John Deere service pros, I learned much about my lawn tractor. First, it is really designed for half acre flat suburban lawns. Mowing on my sloping terrain is a bigger job than the machine was designed for. When they delivered the machine how did they miss seeing my mowed slopes? Their comments were about the scenic beauty of our land not that my new tractor was inadequate as a mower here.
A snow plow was part of the package. John Deere has a snow plow that is made to fit this machine. Apparently, the plow is intended for use on level blacktopped suburban driveways. It is understood that these driveways extend only a short distance from the house to the road. When my machine was delivered the John Deere delivery truck drove a great distance up a sloped gravel driveway that contained three separate curves. Now it seems that I can only plow downhill. The engine has more than enough power to plow uphill but the trans-axle cannot deliver that power to the wheels without shredding itself.
The John Deere dealer offered to sell me a machine that was built rugged enough for my machine killing terrain. We talked several times but their price remained elusive. An internet search revealed that a mere $6,500 would make this tough monster mine. When we went to pay the ransom freeing our repaired inadequate machine, I walked past the beast that could tame my land. The dealer had one in stock. His price remains a secret.
I have a plan. First I need to live long enough to save that much money. Having saved the money, I then have to have a reasonable expectation to live long enough to justify the cost of such a machine. For now I have a plan of operation. I will plow only downhill. If the snow is wet or deep, I will pay to have the plowing done. I will mow so that I only go downhill on the steepest parts. This may require some circuitous escapes. Since my trailer bearing the John Deere name, colors and logo is intended only for lawn clippings from flat suburban lots, I will use my wheelbarrow or pickup truck to move the sand, gravel and field stones that are in wide use here. The old man with an invasive cardiologist will resume pushing wheel barrow loads of sand up the hill to his garden. All this because John Deere, in my opinion, mismatched an engine and a trans-axle.
While my machine was in the shop we had a snow storm. My neighbor plowed during the storm. We drove over the inch of snow that fell after he plowed. I did spend an enjoyable hour plowing downhill with my repaired machine. I did miss it and I am glad that it is back. My driveway looks great.