Review By : Raymond, MS on 6/5/2012
Price Paid : $2,000.00
Years of Use : 3+ Years
Implements : None
Purchased From : Home Depot
Strengths Reliabiltiy, ease of maintenance, quality of cut, seat comfort.
Weaknesses -Steering gear on end of steering column is made of soft metal, with no effective way to lubricate. Not an expensive part, but pain in the neck to replace.
-Plastic idler pulley. Works fine until a stick gets lodged and friction melts it. Only a $7 part but should be metal.
- Engine exhaust and mower deck a little noisy, but on a par with others lawn tractors
Overall Bought my JD L120 new in 2005. It has been an outstanding little machine for me. I've used it to mow my 1 acre yard every week during growing season (April to September down here). Have trees, hills, and rough terrain in places. Put about 50 hrs per year on the meter. Stored in shed and greased it every-other week. There are only 5 grease fittings; deck spindles are sealed. I would prefer that the spindles had grease fittings, but after 7 years with no failures I can’t argue with the design. Changed oil and filter (easy to get to) once per season, used air compressor to blow off the air filter element (also easy to get to) 2 or 3 times per season and replaced air filter element every other year. I sharpened my own blades at start of each season and replaced the blades every 2-3 years. Used leaf blower to clear grass and dust off machine and deck after every use...which probably contributed to life span of deck spindles (NOTE: don’t use a water hose, it just makes a muddy, grass packed mess and invites rust and corrodes electrical parts).
Had to replace two broken belts in all this time; one of which the neighbors broke when borrowing it to cut their 1.5 acre grossly overgrown yard while their mower was in the shop.
The original battery lasted 7 years and I just replaced it this month.
Had to replace rack and pinion gear set (wore out) and an idler pulley (melted by friction when a stick got lodged against it that I didn’t see until it was too late. The gear set is made of soft metal and open to the elements. Putting grease on it just makes matters worse because it further attracts and holds the dirt and grit. This is just a bad design on many garden tractors that should be improved; on the other hand, it’s only been replaced once. The plastic idler pulley should be made of metal. Another cost cutting design feature by JD no doubt; but again only replaced once.
The 20hp Briggs twin-cylinder engine has plenty of power on hills and while pulling a 10cu ft garden cart. Only problem at times is with traction in steep places due to those turf tires on wet grass and light weight of the tractor (~500lbs). The seat is adjustable, comfortable and allows plenty of leg room for me (6’, 155lbs).
I’ve seen the posts about transmission problems but I’ve never had a bit of trouble with mine. It has whined a little since the day I bought it, like ALL hydrostatic transmissions do, but it pulls strong to this day.
Bottom line: if you take care of maintenance and don’t abuse it, it will take care of you and your yard for years. Some folks could find a way to tear up a steel bowling ball, but with a little care (and I didn’t say babying) this machine is in my opinion as good or better than any other lawn tractor in its class.
Parts : 9 Performance : 9
Ease of Use : 10 Financing :
Reliability : 10 Overall : 9